From January 2008

Marcus Books Drowning From Neglect

Marcus-Books.jpgThe Post stopped by Marcus Books during the last storm to inquire about any progress on the flooding in front of the book store. Pedestrians were being forced into the car lane to proceed north past the store and there was considerable foot traffic. Cars and buses were forced to veer into the center lane on MLK in order to miss the pedestrians. Read more

Governor Appoints Cynthia Dellums

Cynthia-Dellums.jpgCynthia Dellums, 54, of Oakland, has been appointed to the Commission on the Status of Women. She has worked as a volunteer for the mayor of Oakland and his office since 2007, assisting in the development and implementation of a comprehensive urban agenda for the city of Oakland. Dellums has been co-founder and chief executive officer of Dellums & Associates, a management consulting firm, since 2003. Prior to that, she was a consultant for Dellums, Brauer and Halterman from 1998 to 2003 and director of economic development at the East Bay Conversion and Reinvestment Commission from 1995 to 1998. This position requires Senate confirmation and there is no salary. Dellums is a Democrat.

Dimensions Dancers Making History

Dimensions-Dance.jpgFront Row, from left to right: Teola Sanders, Cora Brown, Mary Smith, Margarette Robinson, Lynn Champion, Ruth Beckford, Deborah Vaughan, Gwen Austin, Carolyn Himes, Shirley Brown; 2nd Row: Joycie Mack, Cheryl Perry League, Vera Sims, Henrietta Hartshorn, Zakiyyah Rashid, Lorrita Ford, Wendy Eaglin Kelley; Banister: Evelyn Wesley, Marietta Jubert, Lynn Coles, Myrtha Muse; Not pictured: Gene Hazzard, Joyce Cooper, Geraldine Washington, Jacqueline Keels, Jacqueline Fletcher, Margot Dashiell, Marissa Gholston-Edwards, Jacqueline Burgess, Genia Paden, Sharon Lee, Majorie Smith and Jessie Pittman. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

“HARD WORKING COMMITTEE” – Deborah Vaughan, Artistic Director of Dimensions Dance Theater (DDT) proudly presents the 35th Anniversary Celebration Committee. Ruth Beckford, Committee Chair and the Honorary Chairs: Dr. Maya Angelou, Danny Glover, Mrs. Cynthia Dellums and Councilmember Nancy Nadel, invite you to a year of celebration. The culminating event will be the DDT Concert in the beautiful Mormon Temple, high in the Oakland hills. Save Saturday, November 15, 2008 for a night to remember. Ms. Vaughan’s Rites of Passage Program for boys and girls 8-18 years, will celebrate its 16th year too.

Leaders Ask Dean to Lead

Several Bay Area political and religious leaders have called on Democratic National Chairperson, Howard Dean, to use his authority to get, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to “focus on issues rather than personalities”. The letter referred to the recent flap over remarks considered to be racially insensitive. Dean was also warned that “the stakes are far too high to tolerate ‘politics as usual’; this is about more than just winning an election.”

The letter was signed by,
Desley Brooks, Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Bishop Keith Clark, Hon. Larry Reid, Hon. Kathy Neal, Darleen Brooks, Clinton Killian, Esq., Toni Cook, Dr. Charley Hames, Rev. Francine A. Brookins, Rev. Donnell O. Miles, Pastor, Hon. Surlene Grant. Dr.Frank Pinkard, Rev. Patricia L. Colvin, Dr. Clarence and Mrs. Wandra Boyd, Aileen Moffitt, Pastor Raymond E. Lankford, Pastor Randy McRae, Pastor Eric Mills, Pastor Robert Daniels, Pastor Larry Brice, Pastor Dwayne Wilson, Pastor Johnnie Clark Jr.

Post Endorses Clinton

Hillary-Clinton.jpgWe have good choices for President in the Democratic Primary, both are smart and both would have the interest of minorities and urban areas in their administrations. Either one could defeat the representative of Bush’s party in November.
Hillary Clinton, however, receives our support for her long standing commitment to implement the Dellums Commission agenda which addresses employment and anti-crime measures. Her experience, knowledge and commitment will serve us well. Her success as New York’s senator where she demonstrated an ability to work both sides of the aisle bodes well as to how she could bring us together as a nation. The Post News Group and El Mundo agrees with Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, Councilmembers Ignacio De La Fuente and Jean Quan, Mayors Ron Dellums, Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters along with half of the members of the Congressional Black Caucus that Hillary Clinton has the mettle to fight for a green economy, increased educational support, withdrawal from IRAQ, jobs for ex-offenders , foreclosure protection and prosecution of predatory lenders and increased support for urban areas.
On Monday February 4, 2008, the Clinton campaign will host an unprecedented live webcast town hall with 21 Super Tuesday states participating simultaneously in the conversation by satellite. It will be the first time in presidential campaign history that voters in the Super Tuesday states can have their voices heard in a single national town hall. The event, called “Voices Across America: A National Town Hall” will be simulcast starting at 9 p.m. EST on
We also recommend the following Ballot measures:
Yes–Measure A
Yes-Measure B
Yes-Measure –G
No-93, 94, 95, 96, 97

Dellums Leads Statewide Mayors’ Clinton Tour

DellumsandNewsome.jpgPhoto by Gene Hazzard.

Mayor Ron Dellums hosted San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk on a tour of Merritt College’s new collaboration with the Regional Technical Training Center, which trains students in green jobs and gives them opportunities within the exploding green industry. The mayors were campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton across California as she announced her economic stimulus package.

Absentee Voting for February 5 Election

The absentee voting period for the February 5, 2008 Presidential Primary Election is from Monday, January 7th through February 5th at 8:00 p.m. Voters may request an absentee ballot by mail by completing the application on the back of their sample ballot or by sending a written request to the Registrar of Voters.
Written requests for an absentee ballot must include the voter?s name, residence address, the address to which the ballot is to be mailed, and the voter?s signature. All requests for absentee ballots must be in writing and include the voter?s signature. Law precludes the Registrar of Voters from issuing a ballot based on a telephone request. Requests for absentee ballots may be faxed to 510-272-6982. Requests may be mailed to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, 1225 Fallon Street, Room G-1, Oakland, CA 94612. The Registrar of Voters must receive all written requests for absentee ballots no later than January 29th. Voted ballots must be returned to the Registrar of Voters or any polling place in Alameda County no later than the close of polls on election day.

For more information, call the Registrar of Voters at 510-272-6973.

History and Harmony at Allen Temple

By Post Staff

Once again Allen Temple Baptist Church will present four Friday evening concerts February 8, 15, 22, and 29, as part of the church’s mission to culturally as well as spiritually enrich the community it serves. The Annual Black History Memorial Concert Series acknowledges and celebrates the colorful varieties of African American music history and cultural contributions.
East Oakland is not the typical site of concerts and culture, but for years Minister of Music Betty Gadling has made sure that the church and surrounding community has every advantage she can offer musically, culturally and spiritually.
“This year’s slate of performers promises to be one of the best years of African American cultural and performing arts Black History Month Series,” Sister Betty says. “Families will be able to share memorable evenings of entertainment during the whole month. Audiences will be able to walk down memory lanes of the past and share experiences with children,…even the smallest and youngest will have fun learning about the past and have pride in the contributions of their elders, while reliving the present and looking forward to the challenges they may face in the future.” Read more

Healthier Eating in the New Year

By Dr. Rani G. Whitfield

Want to lose weight this New Year’s? Here are 5 simple steps to help you achieve your goal:

1. Eat lots of fruit. They are high in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
2. Get full on vegetables; similar to vegetables in regards to health benefits.
3. Drink lots of water; its calorie free!
4. Eat breakfast every morning and try to eat 4 to 5 meals a day avoiding hunger and poor food selection.
5. Choose leaner cuts of meat and other sources of protein, like legumes or tofu.

These are sensible tips, and if followed closely, you can not only maintain, but lose weight in the New Year! Read more

Plato’s Students

By Marvin X

In 1972, his, partner, student and co-worker from Black Arts West Theatre and the Black House, Hurriyah Asar (Ethna X. Wyatt), introduced him to Victor Willis, a young singer, who starred in Marvin’s myth-ritual drama Resurrection of the Dead, then went on to become the lyricist and lead singer of the Village People. He wrote and sang such songs as YMCA, Macho Man and I’m In the Navy. Victor said it was the energy from Resurrection that gave him the ability to tackle New York. A dancer from Resurrection, Jamilah Hunter, went on to dance with Shirley MacLaine and Alvin Ailey. Another dancer in the production and his student from UC Berkeley, Nisa Ra, is mother of his daughter, Muhammida.

Muhammida, in the do-for-self manner of her dad and mom , operates her own event planning company, Sun In Leo Productions. She arranged her father’s East coast book tour last year which took him from Boston to South Carolina. She graduated in Microbiology from Howard University, but decided to become a filmmaker, after studying under Haile Germaine, director of Sankofa. The young lady traveled to Japan, Cuba, Brazil, South Africa and Europe to produce a documentary film on hip hop culture entitled, “Hip Hop: The New World Order.” She is as well known on the streets of Paris and London as she is in Harlem and Brooklyn where she resides and recently opened a coffee house. Read more

Measure Y Grantee Receives Humanitarian Award

Measure Y Grantee Marilyn Washington Harris is the 2008 City of Oakland Citizen Humanitarian Award recipient. This award, presented at In the Name of Love: The 6th Annual Musical Tribute Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 20th, recognizes an individual who has given back to the community in extraordinary ways. Marilyn Washington Harris is a long-time resident of the Acorn community in West Oakland who has become a leading activist in the effort to create a Safe Oakland.
On August 4, 2000, Mrs. Harris’ son Khadafy was shot and killed while riding his bicycle. He was only 18 years old. Mrs. Harris turned her shock and grief into determination to call a halt to the cycle of violence. Toward that end, she founded the Khadafy Foundation for Non-Violence. The purpose of the Khadafy Foundation is to serve as a catalytic agent for the prevention and cessation of the murders of young African Americans. Through Mrs. Harris’ efforts, the Khadafy Foundation provides support services to anyone who has lost a child through murder, illness, or accident. The Foundation provides consultation, education and counseling and provides referrals to relevant services. Since April 2007, as a partner with Catholic Charities in the Measure Y funded Oakland Crisis Response and Support Network (CRSN), Mrs. Harris has become a first responder to scenes of homicides and in the homes of families and friends who have lost loved ones to violence. She has assisted dozens of families with grief counseling, memorial planning and preparation, and referrals to needed services including food, clothing, child care, government assistance.
“Marilyn’s dedication, passion and abilities in her performance of her duties are priceless,” says Measure Y Violence Prevention Network Coordinator Kevin Grant. “All who, through unfortunate incidents, are blessed to meet her will always know that they have been completely embraced by a courageous, empathetic and truly wonderful person.”
Oakland voters passed Measure Y, the Violence Prevention and Public Safety Act of 2004 in November of that year, providing more than $20 million annually, generated through a new parcel tax along with a parking surcharge in commercial lots, to support police service, fire safety, and community programs. Measure Y eliminated Fire Department rotating station closures so that all fires stations are now open 24/7. Approximately $6 million annually funds community-based violence prevention programs administered through the Department of Human Services. Approximately $9 million of Measure Y revenue is set aside each year to add new Problem Solving Officers to the Oakland Police Department ranks, as well as additional officers for truancy enforcement, domestic violence, and special victims units. Measure Y is part of Mayor Ronald V. Dellums’ strategy of PIES – Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement and Sustainability.For more information, visit

Ms. Ruby Dee Gets Nabs Oscar Nomination

Celebrity Profiles by Sandra Varner

Decades of memorable acting performances to her credit, Ms. Ruby Dee received her first Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category for AMERICAN GANGSTER.

Last year’s awards ceremony bestowed the award upon Jennifer Hudson for her role in DREAMGIRLS. Hopefully, Dee will go home with an Oscar this February, another crowning achievement during Black History Month.

GANGSTER was one of the most anticipated films in 2007 and is the Harlem-heyday epic, starring Academy Award winners: Denzel Washington (Glory, Training Day), Cuba Gooding Jr. (Jerry Maguire), Russell Crowe (Gladiator) and acclaimed actress, Ms. Ruby Dee (Do The Right Thing, Buck and the Preacher, A Raisin in the Sun and TV’s Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters). Read more

Bay Area Artist Spotlight: “Agerman”

The grace of God has truly sustained ‘Bay Area’ Gospel rapper ‘ Agerman’ who is also a pastor of Chosen Generation Church. Agerman also known as Ramone Curtis grew up in Oakland Ca. He formed the secular group 3X Crazy now he says ” I’m going ‘Crazy’s for Christ”. Agerman says that he almost lost his natural and spiritual life to the streets with drug and worldly living. Now that he has abandoned his old way of living he has come to understand the purpose for his life. Serving as a mentor and pastor has been a blessing for many youth. Agerman believes that what the youth listen to have had a major impact on their actions, he says his mission is to offer good positive music.
If you’ve ever experienced the voice instrument of Agerman in a live setting, you would see the power of God ignite the audience with hand clapping, dancing and song participation. Since 1998 he has released 5 gospel cd’s including Crazy for Christ, Kingdom Business, The Truth, Tried by the Fire, Crazy for Christ, Remember Me and New day.
Agerman preached his first message and now more than ever he is definitely on a quest to minister and spread the word of God. He treasures his life experiences, though many were unpleasant and some life threatening he believes it was to prepare him for where God has him today. When I asked Agerman about what he thought a solution would be for the senseless killings in Oakland and the surrounding areas he said he said adamantly “better music” He believes that music is powerful, and negative lyrical content in songs have had an effect on the listeners especially those who are young aSnd impressionable. I also asked him what words of encouragement he has for the Youth today. He said ” trust in God you can’t go wrongs”.

The Genome of James Watson

By Jonathan Leake
JAMES WATSON, the DNA pioneer who claimed Africans are less intelligent than whites, has been found to have 16 times more genes of black origin than the average white European.
An analysis of his genome shows that 16% of his genes are likely to have come from a black ancestor of African descent. By contrast, most people of European descent would have no more than 1%.
The study was made possible when he allowed his genome – the map of all his genes – to be published on the internet in the interests of science.
“This level is what you would expect in someone who had a great-grandparent who was African,” said Kari Stefansson of deCODE Genetics, whose company carried out the analysis. “It was very surprising to get this result for Jim.”

• DNA of Dr Watson
• Race row Nobel winner suspended, scraps tour
• Avoid Boring People
Watson won the Nobel prize, with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, after working out the structure of DNA in 1953. However, he provoked an outcry earlier this year when he suggested black people were genetically less intelligent than whites.

Angela Davis Keynotes Taylor Memorial King Program

Service features Swisher, Clottey, Fox, Choirs, Rappers, Drummers, Awards, Free MealAuthor/international lecturer, social activist and Professor Dr Angela Y. Davis will keynote the “Make the Dream Real”
Program that Celebrates the Holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., January 21, at 10am. This free celebration is hosted by Reverend Ron Swisher, pastor of Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Dr. Matthew Fox, founder of Friends of Creation Spirituality and Kokomon Clottey of the Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc. A community meal will be served after the program.
Clottey said the focus of the program is “to remind everyone to make the King Holiday a day of service, and not just a day off from work or school. This year, we continue to advocate for peace in our communities by encouraging all to help stop the violence.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Awards will be given to activists leaders: Rev. Thomas C. Wilson Jr. of True Vine Baptist Church, Ellen W. Parkinson, a business owner and community volunteer in the Oak Center neighborhood and Korey Gibson an 11th grade student, educator, leader and Youth Operations Director of Love Life Foundation.
The multicultural performance will include Rev. Michael Yoshii, Sweet Medicine, a Native American drummer, rapper Virtuous (V), story teller Africa Williams, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Youth Choir, Ishmael Combs & the Unity Choir, singers Dezorah Smith and 10-year-old Destiney Knuckles.
The Attitudinal Healing Connection Inc. (AHC), which was founded in Oakland, in 1989, works to eliminate violence by supporting creative and educational programs – for adults and youth – that transform the spirit in order to build peaceful and loving communities for all humanity. Visit for more information.

Alameda County Opens Model Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs

KeithCarsonmug.jpgBy Supervisor Keith Carson

On Wednesday, January 9th Alameda County opened two new exciting alcohol and drug treatment programs: the Safe House Sobering Center and the Cherry Hill Detoxification. In 2004 I was approached by a group of advocates and city leaders about the need for a detoxification facility in Alameda County. Through much research as well as collaboration with community members and stakeholders such as city governments, law enforcement and the Alcohol and Drug treatment provider community it was decided that the County would develop a detoxification and sobering program. Using Measure A healthcare funds we have constructed state of the art buildings and developed a Detoxification and Sobering Service program that makes Alameda County’s program a model in the nation. It is our hope that detoxification services will close a critical gap in our healthcare system in addition to being an efficient use of very limited funds. Read more

Chauncey Bailey: The Cross and the Lynching Tree

Chaunceyin blue suit.jpgBy Marvin X
From the 12th floor office of the Oakland Post newspaper at 14th and Franklin, one can look down the block to a tree at 14th and Alice. Chauncey Bailey was lynched near that tree, although it was not in the tradition of a white lynching, but in the neo-America, his lynchers were black. And although the suspect is a young black man, there are witnesses who say the killer was an older person. Does it really matter, except for the fact that we are now doing the work of the KKK. We wear the hoods these days, and the fad is to wear gear with “stupid” designs, including skull and bones, thus signaling to the world our deathly intentions. We have become death angels, as sinister as the suicide bombers in the Middle East, although we have no purpose, no mission, except to kill another black, for of the nearly 130 killed in Oakland last year, not one white man was killed by a black. And for the most part, this is true throughout America. Our youth exhibit an animal consciousness as opposed to their spiritual consciousness. No, they do not use the mind God gave them, as my mother told me to do, but they seem motivated by a demonic spirit of hatred of self and kind, causing them to perpetuate the internal violence Dr. Franz Fanon wrote about in Wretched of the Earth. Read more

Personal Pick: David E. Talbert’s First Sunday


Ice Cube (left) and Tracy Morgan star in “First Sunday”

Sandra Varner’s Celebrity Profiles

Hollywood embraces the church community in David E. Talbert’s First Sunday, opening in theatres on January 11th.
What happens when a down-on-his-luck single father fails repeatedly and the one thing that he’s good at is threatened? Durell (Ice Cube) may not win an award for parenting, but there’s no doubt he loves his son, Durell, Jr., and will do anything for him.
Young Durell’s mother, Omunique (Regina Hall) wants a better life and is tired of doing hair at the salon and at home to make ends meet. Plus, she needs over $17,000 to keep the shop open if they are to stay in Baltimore. Frustrated, broke and tired of big Durell’s empty promises, she plans to move to Atlanta.
Taking his son away would destroy Durell, emotionally. Read more

Mabel Louise Avant Hazzard-Martin 1924-2008

Mabel Louise Avant Hazzard-Martin was the youngest of two daughters and six sons of Isaac Avant and Mary Jane Dailey Avant. She was born in Webster, Florida, in 1924; two years after her parents had migrated from Oceda, South Carolina. In 1945, while attending Mary McLeod-Bethune College in St. Augustine, Florida, earning her Nursing Degree, Mabel met and later married Horace Hazzard, who was then stationed at a Navy Base close to her college. Her son, Gene, was born in Little Egypt, Florida, before they moved to Berkeley, California, in 1946. Four more children, Lavora, Donald, Langston and Leslie, were born to this union in California before her husband, Horace’s, death in 1954.
Through deep faith and a strong work ethic, Mabel raised her five young children alone with timely assistance from Mrs. Lottie Sibley, who lived nearby in Berkeley. In 1967, Mabel re-married to Rev. James C. Martin, with whom she lived happily until his death in 1983.
Mabel Louise Avant Hazzard-Martin was always active in her faith community, being a dedicated worker at Liberty Hill Baptist Church, where she was also a member of the choir. And, after her second marriage, she continued her dedicated service at the church her husband, Rev. James C. Martin, founded, the Greater St. James Baptist Church in Oakland.
Mabel Louise Avant Hazzard-Martin passed peacefully from this early abode on Wednesday, January 2, 2008, at her home from natural causes at the age of 83. Celebrating her long life are her two remaining brothers, Walter (91) and Sam (85), both of Center Hill, Florida, and her children, Leslie, Langston, Donald (Abdul), Lavora and a special son, Gene, who lived with and cared for her for the last quarter century (25 years). Also, a special granddaughter, Marla Bonner, Lavora’s daughter, who she helped raise as another “daughter”. In addition, two daughters-in-law, Ronda Hazzard, Langston’s wife, Zaynab Nasir, Donald (Abdul’s) wife, and twelve grandchildren. Mabel also leaves behind in Florida and South Carolina, too many cousins, nieces and nephews to count (over 100).
Mabel always placed others needs before her own; it was always what she could do for others, not what others could do for her. In affect, she was a totally selfless individual and always welcomed friends of her children with open arms and a warm and loving heart. She always made everyone feel as though they were part of the family.

Part Three: Plato Reviews The Great Debaters

by Marvin X
This is a coming of age film of the North American African Nation. It is about a people regaining their consciousness after decades of obscurity. This film puts them back properly in the time and space of history, for they present themselves as a civilized people, the children and the adults, thus making it a movie on the goodness of life and the power of consciousness to reveal the very best of a people, thus regaining their self respect before the world community. It shows the intelligence and leadership of American African youth– of adult leadership and intelligence as well, including the radical activist tradition in North American African History.
Every North American African, every Pan African, can be proud that Oprah Winfrey and Denzil Washington produced this. Perhaps we have reached that moment in time when our people have no choice but to be their true selves, their best selves.
For the first time in a long time, we see the intellectual genius of a people during the turbulent 1930s. This should be a lesson to all North American Africans that we have a dignified liberation tradition to uphold, thus we cannot sink into the morass of today, but in the manner of this film, take a great leap forward into dignity, respect, and intelligent behavior.
As a people, we must be proud of the young performers in this drama. They have exhibited the very best in us as human beings, as African people. The children teach us and themselves in this movie. They teach us the worst in human consciousness with their remarks on a lynching.
They repeatedly show us the power of using the black mind for intellectual dexterity rather than barbarity and expressions of animal consciousness.
But imagine, so-called Negroes having an intellectual debate, even a team of debaters with a coach who apprises them on the Willie Lynch syndrome, who tells them straight out white supremacy has them insane, thus confirming the sister who says it is not white supremacy but white lunacy, thus we are victims of an insanity far beyond the economic implications. I love James Baldwin’s quote, “It’s a wonder we haven’t all gone stark raving mad,” dealing with white supremacy for four hundred years. The Debaters is a hopeful sign that we can and shall overcome.

Embracing the Dream

Embracing The Dream Organization is sponsoring a two day event located at Love Center Ministries 10400 International Blvd. Oakland Ca. Beginning Saturday January 19, 2008 a free Community Health Fair along with June R. Wallace California Transplant Donor Network from 12 noon- 5pm. Musical guest include Helen Stephens and The Lighthouse Choir of Marin/ Nor. Cal Chapter Choir of GMWA@ 1pm.
On Sunday January 20, 2008 @ 7:30 pm a benefit concert for the Bay Areas own Grammy nominated Rev Daryl Coley who is a minister, musician and songwriter. Over the years Daryl has experienced considerable success. ‘Just Daryl’ debuting on Light Records in1990 was nominated for a Grammy. His record ‘He’s Right On Time’ made it to number three on the Gospel charts, while his 1992′s ‘ When The Music Stops’ made it to number one. Also, the1997′s Live In Oakland’ duet with Vanessa Bell Armstrong on‘ Don’t Give Up Jesus’ was another major gospel hit.
Currently Rev. Daryl Coley is battling diabetes and has been for the past 17 years. Consequently, the disease worsened and has caused traumatic and extreme damage to his eye site and kidneys. He is in immediate need of a kidney transplant in order to preserve his health. This benefit concert will offer an opportunity to support his surgery. Musical guest include Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Richard Smallwood, Ranetha Macklin, Pastor Jerome Bell and others. For more info call 510- 593-0805

Plato, Part Two: Youth Make History on the Streets of Oakland

Youth at the corner of 14th and Broadway read the Oakland Post

By Marvin X

Oakland youth have been much maligned lately for their violent behavior, low test scores and high drop out rate. But they made history recently when four of them gathered around Oakland’s street corner philosopher Plato, aka Marvin X. He gave them each a copy of the Oakland Post newspaper containing an article he wrote on condom use in prison and how it affects the wider community when former inmates are released, driving up the HIV/AIDS infection rate, especially among black women. Plato thought the youth would take the paper and continue down the street, but instead they stood around reading. Plato was shocked at the sight before his eyes: four youth standing on the corner reading a newspaper. Read more

All Star Team Provides Pathways to College









Participants from the Babe Ruth Baseball League

By Chester Livingston
VP- Oakland Babe Ruth Baseball League

Oakland All Star Baseball, a travel team with the Oakland Babe Ruth League traveled across country to tour the campus of Bethune-Cookman University on November 26.
Team organizers say their objective is to create pathways to college for players and help them positively influence their siblings, peers and the broader community through academic achievement, competitive athletics and community service.
The team, coached by Chester Livingston, Kevin Blackburn and Rusty Jackson, participates in a variety of community service events. In July, team members volunteered at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle to prepare and serve an Independence Day brunch for over 300 homeless and underprivileged citizens in Oakland, CA.
Bethune-Cookman University is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Dr. Trudie Kibbe Reed, is the President of Bethune-Cookman. Read more

Blacktrospective 2007: The Best and Worst in Film

Tasha Smith (as Angela), Janet Jackson (as Patricia) and Sharon Leal (as Dianne) in Tyler Perry’s “Why Did I Get Married?” Photo Credit: Alfeo Dixon

By Kam Williams

With two excellent offerings in Why Did I Get Married? and Daddy’s Little Girls, 2007 truly belonged to Tyler Perry. Not only did he make the two best black ensemble pictures released by a big studio, but his films also boasted some of the year’s most memorable performances in both the male (Perry and Idris Elba) and female (Tasha Smith, Gabrielle Union and Jill Scott) acting categories.
I’m sure many readers might want an explanation for the relatively-poor showings of Denzel’s box-office hits American Gangster and The Great Debaters. Well, the former was not much more than a big budget variation on the gangsploitation genre in this critic’s estimation. Meanwhile, the latter did feature several inspired performances, but was simply too riddled with comical anachronisms and historical inaccuracies to take seriously.
I hope you take the time to check out some of the lesser-known independent film and documentaries, as you will be well rewarded for investing a couple of hours in labors of love like Banished, What Black Men Think and Diary of a Tired Black Man. Read more

Pregnancy 101: What Every Woman Should Know

By Gonzalo Garretón, MD, FACOG

Everyone has a story about a friend’s difficult labor. It’s essential that you remember that pregnancy is a natural process. Ninety-eight percent of pregnancies result in a healthy baby and a healthy mother. The best way to dissipate your fears about having a baby is to talk to your doctor, midwife or nurse practitioner.

Here are some common questions expectant mothers ask me every day:

What can I do if I think I’m pregnant?
Set up an appointment with your doctor rightaway. Not only is this important for the health of you and your baby, but talking with your doctor can also help you emotionally. It’s important to refrain from drinking, smoking or taking other drugs even before you know for sure if you are pregnant.
What are my options if I am pregnant?
Every woman reacts differently. One patient of mine decided it was a sign that she should get healthy. She signed up to train for a marathon! Although that was not the right choice of exercise for that period in her life, her impulse to get healthy was right.
For those who want to end the pregnancy, in the state of California you have that right, no questions asked. Planned Parenthood is often the most accessible. However, most clinics, both public and private, can provide these services. Adoption is also an option.
Prenatal care is essential to having a healthy pregnancy. If you don’t have health insurance, there are many public clinics and non-profits that offer it for free. Don’t worry if you are not a legal U.S. resident. Physicians are not required by law to report any patient’s legal status, and doctors have long resisted any pressure to report undocumented persons. You may not be eligible for state-run programs, but there are many community groups that have programs to help you get the care you need.
Does being pregnant mean I can eat anything I want?
I tell every one of my patients to eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s easy to forget the fat content in butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream and fried foods. Avoid excessive sugars and sweets.
By getting eight hours of sleep a night and walking 30 to 60 minutes daily, you can reduce many of the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy.
Will one beer or one cigarette really affect the baby?
There is no safe amount of smoking or drinking during pregnancy. Smoking and alcohol have the same basic effect on the fetus – they inhibit its development. Alcohol causes physical, mental and behavioral problems, while smoking decreases blood supply to the baby.
I’ve heard horror stories about morning sickness. Will I be sick for nine months?
Morning sickness is the term for symptoms many women feel in the first trimester of pregnancy. Here are tips to lessen your discomfort:
• If you’re nauseated, don’t drink fluids. Try to eat something dry in small amounts, like dry cereal, toast or a hard-boiled egg.
• When the nausea quiets down, drink fluids only by the teaspoon.
• Try dividing meals into smaller meals, from three to six servings a day.
In the next “Doctor’s Word,” Dr. Garretòn will answer more questions about pregnancy, including postpartum depression.
Dr. Gonzalo Garretòn specializes in pelvic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Harbor City.
Email Dr. Garretòn at: