From April 2008

Volunteers Needed: Help Police Hiring

Citizens interested in lending a hand to help the City of Oakland reach its goal of having 803 police officers by the end of 2008 have an opportunity to participate in this important effort.
The Oakland Police Department needs community volunteers to serve as oral board panel assessors for the hiring of Police Officer Trainees. Interested candidates must meet one of the following criteria 1) live in Oakland, 2) work in Oakland or 3) own a business in Oakland. Read more

Hillary Wins Pennsylvania

hclinton.jpgSenator Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on her decisive victory over Senator Barack Obama in Pennsylvania to proclaim “the tide is turning” in the Democratic nominating fight, arguing that her performance proved she was best suited to take on Senator John McCain in the fall because of her capacity to carry key swing states.
Mrs. Clinton won the Pennsylvania popular vote, 55 percent to 45 percent, giving her a critical boost as the she heads into the next nominating contests in North Carolina and Indiana in 13 days. Polls suggest that Mr. Obama is better positioned in those states than he was in Pennsylvania.

Fremont, YMCA’s “Cool” After-School

afterschool.jpgThe principals of Fremont High’s new smaller schools have teamed with the YMCA to make an even bigger impact on the study habits of students by emphasizing after school learning activities. Their “Eye of the Tiger” partnership provides much needed programs for more than 360 students. From left to right: Chris Chatmon, Daniel Hurst, Robin Glover, Anisa Rasheed, Benjamin Schmookler, Terry-T Butler.

African American AP Students Celebrate

apstudents.jpgLeft to right:James Gray, Sr., Principal of BEST College Prep High School (Business Entrepreneurial School of Technology) with students: Derricka Grundy, Jamelia Little, Megaen Curl, Quaneda Morris; ( Rear, left to right) : Jourdan Williams-Hoskin, Ronald Mills, Jermilia McLane, BEST Scholarship Director, Marsha Rhynes.

By Brenda McCuistion

There was standing room only as Oakland youth were acknowledged for participating in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. AP classes are college courses that provide college credit. A student that begins taking AP courses in their freshman year at high school could potentially receive their high school diploma and start college as a sophomore.
Walter Robinson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at U.C. Berkeley was the key note speaker. His speech and presence at this event uplifted students, parents, teachers, educational community, and community supporters.
None of those who attended will forget Mr. Robinson sharing of a quote from Dr. Wade Nobles about the definition of POWER as being “the ability to define reality and have other people believe it is their reality”.
Mr. Robinson shared his personal story and encouraged African American students to take ownership of their education, realize that they are more than their life circumstances, and to continue to set their expectations high. (“I am often asked if it’s better to take an AP class and get a “B” or a regular college prep class and get an “A”. I tell them, it’s better to take an AP class and get an “A”). Read more

Swanson’s “Green Jobs” Training Bill Advances

SandreSwanson.jpgAssembly Labor & Employment Chairman Sandré R. Swanson has introduced AB 2147 to establish the Green Jobs Corps Grant Program to implement an energy efficiency and renewable energy worker training program for individuals seeking employment pathways out of poverty into economic self-sufficiency.
“We have a tremendous opportunity in California for job growth in the ‘green’ economy,” stated Swanson. “However, we need to match up that opportunity with those members of our communities most in need of jobs, including at-risk youth and formerly incarcerated individuals. That is why I believe this bill is so important.”
The Program will be administered by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which will develop application procedures and criteria to award $500,000 in grants to community-based organizations, local agencies, and service providers (or partnerships thereof).
Grants will be funded with State and Federal workforce development and job training funds, and/or funds allocated for rehabilitation and treatment of prison inmates and parolees. Monies will be awarded to fund programs in urban, suburban, and rural areas of northern, central and southern California. Read more

South Africa Honors Dellums


Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums with South African President Thabo Mbeki in South Africa. 

Historic Work to end Apartheid puts Mayor with Ghandi, King, Mandela and Annan

South African President Thabo Mbeki presented Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums with the “Order of the Grand Companions of OR Tambo Silver Award”, the most prestigious award granted by the South African government. Mayor Dellums is being honored for his leadership to end apartheid in South Africa.
Mayor Dellums said: “On the occasion of my leaving the Congress, many told me, ‘Dellums, you made a difference in the world.’ I had been audacious enough in my very first campaign to argue that one person could make such a difference. After a lifetime of public service, I have learned that one doesn’t make a difference by oneself. Even as I listen to others say that my efforts on the anti-apartheid sanctions bill had helped to change the world, I knew that I did not make that contribution by myself. We did it when millions of people took the time to coalesce into a mighty force that could bend the political process to its will.”
In 1972, Dellums began his campaign to end the racially segregated apartheid policies of South Africa. For all practical purposes, there was no anti-apartheid movement in the United States at the time. This bill started the process that fourteen years later would lead the U.S. House of Representatives to pass his anti-apartheid legislation, calling for a trade embargo against South Africa and immediate divestment by American corporations. The bill finally agreed to by both houses of Congress, The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 had broad bipartisan support. It called for sanctions against South Africa and stated preconditions for lifting the sanctions, including the release of all political prisoners. President Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill, which was overridden; it was the first override in the 20th century of a presidential foreign-policy veto. Read more

Race in America

A new site just launched to tackle the issue of race in America.  The site’s owner’s don’t make the claim to end racism, but rather to provide a place for honest discussion and debate.  Recent posts include an examination of Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s recent interview with Bill Moyers and an op-ed by novelist Colson Whitehead.  Join the discussion here:

Post Profile: Jehmu Greene, President, Rock the Vote Foundation

Jehmu Greene was named president of Rock the Vote in September 2003. Among her myriad responsibilities, she oversees the operation of Rock the Vote and its satellite office in Washington, D.C., and manages the organization’s $5 million annual budget. Jehmu also manages the foundation’s 31-person-strong board of directors, which includes some of the most influential leaders and executives in the entertainment and media communities. Jehmu serves as the spokesperson for Rock the Vote and has appeared on numerous television programs, including CNN’s Inside Politics and 360 With Anderson Cooper, MSNBC, Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor, NBC News and on ABC Radio. In print, she has been quoted and provided commentary for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and Time magazine, among others.Jehmu joined the Rock the Vote staff in the summer of 2000. She served as director of partnerships and public relations, political director, deputy director responsible for Rock the Vote’s partnerships and programs, and finally executive director before being named president. Jehmu’s ties to Rock the Vote, however, go as far back as 1990, when as a college student at the University of Texas in Austin, she was registered to vote for the first time by a Rock the Vote volunteer. Read more

Faces Around the Bay:

RennieStockhard.jpgRennie Stockhard is pictured here at a recent event at Yoshi’s.
Stockhard has long been an advocate for children and was a teaching assistant at Ben Franklin School in San Francisco.  He is a gourmet chef and dreams of one day having his own restaurant. He has one child, Nia Stockard.  Stockard is the son of the great educator and political activist, Gloria R. Davis, for whom the Gloria R. Davis Elementary School in Bay View was named.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

African American Historical Society Kicks Off Black Exodus Events

historicalsociety.jpgMinisters prepare to address packed Black Exodus meeting last Sunday Left to right; Rev. George Woodruff, Dr. Amos C. Brown, Rev. Arnold Townsend, Rev. Regnaldo Woods.

The Ecumenical Program held last Sunday at the African American Art and Cultural Complex brought together the founding churches who were instrumental in organizing the Black Exodus movement, First African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Third Baptist Church and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal church.
At Sunday’s event the 3 churches celebrated what was called the libation in remembrance of the Black Exodus declaring a year of Jubilee marking the 150th anniversary. Representatives of the three churches recited verses relating to their church’s participation in the Exodus Movement the clergy represented at the Libation celebration were Rev. Regnaldo Woods, Bethel AME Church who told the audience; Whereas great servants such as Rev. Barney Fletcher, Rev. J.B. Sanderson, Rev. Thomas Marcus Ward were sent by the African Methodist Episcopal Church to form AME congregations throughout California, including Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church and members such as fugitive slave and Underground Railroad leader James Williams helped build the Church. Read more

Faces Around the Bay: Jenny West

JennyWest.jpgJenny West is shown here personing the store, Abeba, in the Pelton Shopping Center in San Leandro.  Her friend, Abeba Wright founded and owns Abeba, but was not in when we stopped by.  She has owned the store for 13 years.  Featuring “culturally inspired wearable art” and nail care, the store is a wonderful find……many African accents!
West has lived in San Leandro for 3 years, graduated from Skyline High,  worked for P.T.&T. for 20 years in S.F. and Pleasanton and East Bay Mud in Oakland for 8 years. She has three sons: James and Jamil West live in San Leandro, as does Demaurea Smith.
West attends the Bay Area Christian Connection Church in Oakland and volunteers with the Lend A Hand Foundation, where she is a member of the Board and the Secretary.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

Faces Around the Bay: Mark Ealey

MarkEverettEaley.jpgMark Everett Ealey has lived in Vallejo most of his life. A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., he as been a practicing psycho therapist for all of his working days.
When asked about the children on the streets, he expressed optimism, “I see people come through with assistance; many of the youngsters can assume a good outlook, but you have to help them find it. Faith is an important ingredient.”
Ealey supports the Omega Boys and Girls Club. His wife is Martha Stutsman!

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

Faces Around the Bay: Mark Bowens

markbowens.jpgMark (Marvin) Bowens is the man who moves the cars around at Berkeley touchless Car Wash, located across from the Cal campus,, where he’s been working for five months. Bowens is high energy and seems to enjoy his job.
A graduate of Fremont High,  Bowens is currently a part-time student, studying computers at classes given at the West Oakland Library.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

DeClancy’s: True Southern Cooking


By Stephen Fitch

DeClancy’s Welcome Table is aptly named because when one enter’s the restaurant it is lsimilar to walking into your mother’s dining room. My interviews with many of the patrons, who had  come from many cities around the bay,revealed that people have “discovered” genuine soul food. I watched how some began to order meals to be delivered to their offices in downtown Oakland.
Owners Tami Rabb and Jonathan McCardell  said their business began with catering and now they cater to Oakland from their business located at 2000 Park Blvd. near Lake Merritt in Oakland. They are open Tuesday thru Thursday from 12:00 to 9:00pm, Fri. & 10:00pm. and Sundays to 8:00pm.To order call 510-832-8705. For banquets call 510-306-7607.

Marcus Books Sponsors Michael Eric Dyson

Dyson’s book signing and lecture: April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America

MichaelEricDyson.jpgMichael Eric Dyson, acclaimed public intellectual and best selling author will examine the nation’s progress in carrying out King’s dream, measuring the distance of Black folk from the Promised Land that King envisioned 40 years ago on April 30th, 6:30pm at the East Bay Church of Religious Science, 41st and Telegraph Ave., Oakland.
Published on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, this timely work ends with an examination of Black leadership from Jesse Jackson to Barack Obama. As the country heads toward its first Black presidential nominee, April 4, 1968 stands as a major challenge to renew our commitment to King’s moral vision. The East Bay Church of Religious Science is cosponsoring the event with Marcus Book Store. Read more

Haitians Clamour for Aristide’s Return


Ousted Haitian leader Jean Bertrand Aristide with South Africa’s president Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki last week after receiving an African languages doctorate from the University of South Africa (BBC).

PORT-AU-PRINCE–Haiti’s president has lowered rice prices and the Senate has sacked the prime minister. But hungry Haitians who rioted over food prices still want more.
“Aristide or death! Aristide or death!” young men chant outside parliament.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide – the slum priest-turned-president who needed a U.S. intervention to restore him to power in 1994, and who accuses Washington of kidnapping him into exile a decade later as the country descended into political chaos.
The clamour for Aristide’s return was deafening during last week’s unrest over skyrocketing food prices that left at least seven people dead and Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis out of a job. Some protesters vowed to press on until they unseat President René Préval, a former Aristide ally. Read more

Aime Cesaire, Voice of French Black Pride Dies

“Negritude with Attitude”

By Astrid Wendlandt

AimeCesaire.jpgPARIS (Reuters) – French Caribbean poet Aime Cesaire,founding father of the “negritude” movement that celebrated black consciousness, died of heart problems April 17, in his native Martinique.
Cesaire, 94, was mayor of the island’s main city Fort-de-France for more than half a century.
His writings offered insight into how France imposed its culture on its citizens of different origins in the early part of the 20th Century.
In 2005, Cesaire refused to meet then French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy (now French president) over concerns that Sarkozy’s conservative UMP party had pushed for a law which proposed to recognize the colonial rule. The law was eventually repealed.
The Negritude movement, which was influenced by “attitudes and philosophies” of the Harlem Renaissance writers Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, Jean Toomer, and Countee Cullen, was founded by Cesaire, Leon-Gontran Damas , a poet from, French Guyana and African intellectual Leopold Senghor– later President of Senegal. In 1934 they published “The Black Student” to encourage people to develop a black identity.The Caribbean writer rose to fame with his “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land,” written in the late 1930s, in which he says “my negritude is neither tower nor cathedral, it plunges into the red flesh of the soil.” Read more

Volunteers Needed: Help Police Hiring

Citizens interested in lending a hand to help the City of Oakland reach its goal of having 803 police officers by the end of 2008 have an opportunity to participate in this important effort.
The Oakland Police Department needs community volunteers to serve as oral board panel assessors for the hiring of Police Officer Trainees. Interested candidates must meet one of the following criteria 1) live in Oakland, 2) work in Oakland or 3) own a business in Oakland. Read more

Poverty: Are Churches Doing Enough?

SteveHaas.jpgTwo thirds of Americans surveyed in a new poll say their churches are doing enough to help the poor despite the latest United States Census Bureau statistics showing consistent year-to-year increases in the numbers of Americans living in poverty. This, combined with poverty indicators such as rising food stamp usage, points to increased demand for a complacent church to do more to help the poor.
Conducted by Faith in Action and Harris Interactive, the national survey revealed that sixty-seven percent of respondents “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement, “My church already does enough to help the poor in my community.” Yet current data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau reveals the national poverty level has increased from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 13.3 percent in 2005, or 38 million Americans.
Additionally, demand for food stamps during 2007-08, a key economic indicator provided by the United States Department of Agriculture, is up significantly in 43 states, increasing the need for significant help among more than 28 million Americans.

Read more

4,000 Deaths Too High a Price

As the death toll of American soldiers has reached 4,000 in the U.S. occupation in Iraq, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-9) released the following statement:
“This is a sad milestone and my thoughts and prayers are with the families of the 4,000 soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their service.
“This great loss is a stark reminder that President Bush’s failed and disastrous policies have real and tragic consequences. It is a stark reminder that even in the midst of the Iraq recession, nothing compares to the human costs of this war and occupation. It is a stark reminder that our nation was misled into a senseless war that now must end. Read more

“Obama: From Promise to Power” by David Mendell

Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer

obamabook.jpgWelcome to 2008, a year of campaign ads and – ultimately – a moving van at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Have you made up your mind to which candidate you’ll throw support?  If your opinion isn’t set in concrete, read “Obama: From Promise to Power” by David Mendell.  It might not change your thinking, but it might make you take a second look.
Born to a white woman who was originally from Kansas, and a father born and raised in Kenya, Barack Obama is a self-admitted child of many cultures. When Barack (who was born in Hawaii and named for his father) was two years old, Obama Sr. left the family to attend Harvard, then returned to his native country.  Despite the abandonment, Obama’s mother painted her ex-husband in a very favorable light and taught her son positive history about African American culture.  Read more

Is Water the Next Oil?

water.jpgWater is an essential commodity for our growing nation and yet our leaders regrettably overlook its importance.
Budgets for infrastructure maintenance and improvements continue to be slashed at the Federal, State and municipal government levels.  It is another national problem waiting to happen, with the question being not “if?”,but “when?”
Water shortages are one of the most looming threats for our communities in the near future.  In some communities, the shortages may be severe or catastrophic.
A majority of the nations ground water is servicing the needs of a constantly growing domestic population.  The demand for water increases twice as fast as the population base.
Industrialization and agriculture techniques are harming the supply of clean water. High quality potable water is becoming a commodity. Read more

A Strong Workforce: For our State, For our Families, For our Future

By Assemblymember Sandré R. Swanson

SandreSwanson.jpgAs Chairperson of the Assembly Labor & Employment Committee, California’s working families are at the forefront of my mind every day.   Our budgetary crisis has thrown into stark focus the many issues our workforce faces, highlighting the reforms and investments we must make now to ensure that Californians continue to prosper, and that our state becomes even more competitive as we move forward into the 21st century.
Our first and most important task is to ensure the health, safety, and education of our children is truly our top priority, and that our State budget reflects that value.  Education is the cornerstone of our workforce, with the best educated generation, the Baby Boomers, having led the way as they graduated from quality public schools to build one of the most powerful economies on the planet.
Sadly, we are now struggling to keep even the most rudimentary programs and services in place, falling from the top ten to the bottom ten in terms of our funding for schools in this country.  The results can’t be more apparent: incredibly high dropout rates, increasing incidences of youth violence, and more and more students unprepared for college or the workforce.  In the end, we spend more on state services for the unemployed, and even more on incarcerating well over 100,000 prisoners, the most in the nation, many of whom are unable to read at a middle school level. Read more

Dymally Seconds Bass' Speaker Nomination

arttorres.jpgWhy register as a Democrat? If you believe in good jobs, a balanced budget, choice, a clean environment, quality education, more cops on our streets and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals – join us as Democrats to unite people in California. We are pro-family and pro-children. We fight for a quality education and safe schools for our children. We’ll continue to fight to raise the minimum wage, protect Social Security and provide quality and affordable health care for all people.

History Maker Makes History

swansonbass.jpgAssemblywoman Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, will become the first African American woman to hold the post of Assembly Speaker in the United States, and following the customary nomination by the incumbent Speaker, Fabian Nunez, the motion was seconded by Assemblymember Mervyn Dymally.
Dymally, an early supporter of Bass’ candidacy for the coveted Speaker’s position, was among the 48 Democrats she assembled the day before to garner the nomination.
“Assemblymember Bass is someone who believes in reconciliation.” Dymally said. “She will make an outstanding Speaker.” Read more