From June 2008

Faces Around the Bay: Winston Bastom

WintonBastom.jpgWinston Bastom stands at the corner of O’Farrell and Mason in San Francisco, usually on Friday nights, playing the steel drum. The drum and Bastom are from Trinidad. The beautiful bell like sounds of the drum fill the block with familiar melodies, and people occasionally drop coins/dollars in his case. Bastom has been in this country for 13 years!

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

Fun-Filled Fiji Festival in Haywarrd on July 5-6

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2007 Fiji Festival Contestants.

The Fiji Festival which attracts over thousands of people to Hayward will be held at 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd., Hayward on July 5-6.
The 2-day festival showcases the multi-racial, multi-cultural society of the Fiji Islands and is full of fun, sports, games and delicious food and music and dancing.
Fiji Festival is an undertaking of the Fiji American National Association (FANA). It was founded in 2002 and is located in Union City, CA.
Fiji Festival provides a medium for Social, Economical and Cultural enrichment for the people of Fiji origin and those of the South Pacific. Read more

Faces Around the Bay: Gabriel Hampton

Gabriel-Hampton.jpgGabriel Hampton graduated from Hercules High and was crowned Prom King in the same week.  He is shown here at one of the after parties following the graduation.  Hampton was offered a four year football scholarship to Southern University, but chose to enroll at S.F. City College instead.  He has already started football practice there, and classes begin this week.
Hampton hopes to play professional football.  He also loves to cook and would like to open his own restaurant one day.  He will major in Business Administration, and his grandfather  Waheed Zafir,  has urged him to minor in  a technical trade.  Hampton’s parents, Tim and Sarah Hampton live in Hercules; he has three brothers and one sister.

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

California Endowment Awards $249,214 to RYSE Center in Richmond

The California Endowment has announced that it has awarded a two­ year grant to the RYSE Center in Richmond.  The grant, totaling $249,214, comes at a time when RYSE organizers are completing plans to create a positive space for young people in West Contra Costa County.
“This youth ­driven, multi-­sector collaboration is poised to help Richmond and West Contra Costa County confront its challenges and create a healthy, safe and vibrant city,” said Diane Aranda, program officer for The California Endowment, a private, statewide health foundation.
The RYSE Center will serve as a hub where West Contra Costa County youth to gather and work together to develop leadership skills, promote peace and multi­racial unity, and participate in a range of  programs including tutoring and career support, health services and health education, media arts, performance arts, recreation and community building. Read more

Barbara Lee Nominates Two Local Programs for National Award

Community programs recognized for battle against hunger through education

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) recognized two local programs for their fight against hunger by nominating them for a prestigious national award. The Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Network for a Healthy California Garden and Cooking Program and People United for a Better Life in Oakland (PUEBLO) were both nominated for the national Victory Against Hunger Award.
The Congressional Hunger Center, a bi-partisan anti-hunger training organization, presents the award annually to programs that battle hunger and work to improve a community’s health through education and hands on experiences.
BUSD and PUEBLO were both nominated by Congresswoman Lee in recognition of their outstanding achievements in the ongoing fight against hunger. “It is always a great pleasure to acknowledge the hardworking organizations and agencies in my Congressional District,” Lee said. “I am particularly happy to nominate these two groups for their fine work in addressing hunger in our communities.” Read more

Congresswoman Lee Introduces Haiti “Next Steps” Legislation

Bill provides critical assistance to Haitian people

Last week Congresswoman Barbara Lee introduced The Next Steps For Haiti Act which would create a professional exchange program designed to improve critical sectors of the Haitian economy from education, health, energy, transportation, to disaster preparedness. The bill is intended to help expand Haiti’s capacity to absorb development aid and improve the welfare of the population.
The need for the legislation is significant. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and most sectors of its economy face significant challenges. The recent 40 percent rise in global food prices and subsequent 50 percent rise in the cost of Haiti’s staple foods since mid-2007 has placed additional stress on the economy and has severely impacted the Haitian people. Read more

Obama As A Grass-Roots President

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Presidential candidate Barack Obama speaking at one of his rallies.

It’s far from clear that he could run the country the way he’s running his campaign.
More than any other candidate, Barack Obama has used the power of the Internet to involve millions of people in his campaign. His bottom-up approach tapped a wellspring of money and votes. But organizing from the grass roots is one thing. Could he govern that way?
He says he wants to, if elected. “Real change doesn’t begin in the halls of Washington, but on the streets of America. It doesn’t happen from the top down, it happens from the bottom up,” the presumed Democratic nominee told an Indiana crowd in April.
Only vigorous citizen involvement can overpower special interest groups and move dead-weight issues through Congress, Mr. Obama preaches. He and his potential White House advisers imagine mobilizing an e-army of millions with a keystroke, then steering it toward Washington on behalf of universal health care or reduced greenhouse gases. Read more

Faces Around the Bay: Paul Hampton

Paul-Hampton.jpgPaul Hampton grew up in North Berkeley, and graduated from Berkeley High. He attended College of Alameda, majoring in Psychology. Since then he has held several jobs including First Data Resources in Omaha for 3 years, Chiron in Emeryville for 3 years in Administrative Services and Pac Bell for 4 years. He currently works with ETNA doing claims pre-certification.
He enjoys surfing on the net, likes to work out and is a “good cook”. Hampton is concerned about the break down in moral values in our society. He feels, “the responsibility is in the home and in our schools as well.”

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

Bella’s Chocolate Surprise Fair Trade Kid’s Book

bellechocolate.jpgBella’s Chocolate Surprise* by Adam Guillain and illustrated by Elke Steiner is one of the first children’s picture books to focus on Fair Trade.  It stars inquisitive, adventurous heroine, Bella Balistica, and takes readers from Bella’s home in London to Ghana, West Africa. In Ghana, Bella befriends a group of children who work in the cacao fields to make chocolate as part of a Fair Trade CertifiedTM collective.
Transfair USA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is one of twenty members of Fair Trade Labeling Organizations International (FLO), and the only third-party certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States. They audit transactions between US companies offering Fair Trade Certified  products and the international suppliers from whom they source, in order to guarantee that the farmers and farm workers behind Fair Trade Certified goods were paid a fair, above-market price.

Black Think Tank Director Calls On “Millions of Combat Divas” in New Book

JuliaHare.jpgDr. Julia Hare, National Executive Director of The Black Think Tank, is calling on “millions of combat divas” in her much anticipated new book, The Sexual and Political Anorexia of the Black Woman. The author of numerous titles, including the bestseller “How to Find and Keep a BMW (Black Man Working)” raises an eleventh-hour reveille for all black women (“sistas”) in a massive quest for unity aimed to avenge “The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman” (the book’s subtitle).
“The Pain Guts and Glory of the Black Woman” took hold when Dr. Hare was speaking at the University of Washington in Seattle, and saw a wall high portrait of a solitary black woman hanging in the black student center.
Beneath it lay the caption “Bearer of Pain,” illuminated by slivers of sunlight. Beneath it lay the caption “Bearer of Pain,” illuminated by slivers of sunlight shining through the window pointing the way to that painting and this book,” the author writes. Read more

Michael Ferguson’s Secret is Out

His product puts Spice in your life

Ferguson-Mug.jpgMichael Ferguson is best known as a successful CPA, providing tax and accounting services to Bay Area small businesses and taxpayers for over 30 years. Today, though, you’re just as likely to find him pitching a seasoning spice to local grocery stores and specialty shops. If you shop at Farmer Joe’s, Galvin’s Market or several other neighborhood stores, you may even get to sample delectable grilled chicken morsels or vegetables, prepared with his increasingly popular Secret Spice.
It all started when Ferguson was a newlywed, and had begun experimenting with his brand new barbecue cooker. He was pretty proud of his first attempts, and became even better when a new neighbor offered to show him a few tips to improve his grilling. He taught him the basics of proper fire intensity, cooking with woods, and introduced him to various sauces. Although he became pretty proficient in his grilling and barbecue techniques, he noticed he never could attain the taste and quality of his friend’s cooking. Whenever he asked him why his was so much better, his friend always answered “it’s a secret”. Read more

Khiari Swift Accepted Into Sports Ambassadors Program

By Graig Brooks

KhiariSwiftmug.jpgWhile many young men dream of performing awesome dunks, like Kobe Bryant or flying down a basketball court like Lebron James, some actually reach that goal. Being able to razzle and dazzle a crowd can take them to stardom, high acclaim and around the world. Such is the case, for Khiari Swift.
Swift has been selected for the Alameda County area, People to People Sports Ambassadors Program Delegation. As a member of the delegation, he will travel to Holland, where he will participate as a member of a USA basketball team, composed of athletes from all over the world.
“I feel great about it,” said the 14-year-old Swift. “I get to travel, get exposure and experience life in different countries.”
He will also take part in a basketball skills training camp and work with other athletes to promote peace through understanding.
Swift was selected while playing in an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball tournament in Las Vegas in which his team placed first. Read more

Revisiting 7th Street: The Blues Capitol of The West

Terryjonesfile.jpgBy Terry Jones

Part 1

Just the other day I was on my way to visit a cousin in West Oakland and missed my turn and wound up on 7th Street. Amidst the urban renewal, the U. S. Post Office, the Bart station, and modern apartments still stand some of the old reminders of a grander time for Black businesses and the Black community in West Oakland during the 1940s and 50s.. While I am too young to remember its glory days, my cousin tells me that 7th street was a real “happening place” back in the day. Given what I see now, I wonder how this could have ever been true. What brought Black people to 7th Street and what changed this “happening place?”
The story of Black people in West Oakland and on 7th Street is tied to the Transcontinental Railroad terminal, navel shipyards, industrial development and a war. These factors pulled Blacks from the south, but they were also pushed by the brutalities of racism and economic oppression. Read more

DeLauer’s Keeps Its 24/7 Hours

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Landmark Newsstand Gets Reprieve

Thanks to an overwhelming outpouring of citizen concern, phone calls and last-minute purchases, Oakland is still the home to the only 24 hour newsstand, bookstore in the country.
Yes, you can say it isn’t so to the news that the DeLauer’s Newsstand doors would close Thursday morning.
David Glover, executive director for Oakland Citizens Committee on Urban Renewal, with the help of the Oakland Post, helped to organize some last-minute negotiations that resulted in a reprieve for the beleaguered 101 year-old landmark. He and Post publisher Paul Cobb made media appeals for assistance and “Glover reported “an overwhelming outpouring of customer support, curiosity and demand, has made it necessary to postpone indefinitely.
Glover said city officials and private individuals will meet Thursday to present a business plan outlining a business model that can be sustained by the Bay Area’s diverse population. Read more

7th Street As A Video Game

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Slim Jenkins’ the hallmark club on the Landmark seventh street strip. Right, Pullman Porters often patronized businesses on 7th Street during their stay-overs from cross-country trips. The video project, initiated by Paul Grabowicz at UC Berkeley, is co-sponsored by the Oakland Post. Chauncey Bailey, the Late Editor of the Post worked with Grabowicz at the Oakland Tribune and wrote articles about the project.

Oakland’s famed 7th Street blues and jazz club scene from the 1940s and 1950s is being brought back to life by UC Berkeley students as a virtual world and video game scheduled for public release in July.
“Remembering 7th Street,” a project of the UC Berkeley Schools of Journalism and Architecture, will be accessible for free over the Internet and let people experience this amazing part of the city’s history, especially the musical heritage of Oakland’s African American community.
Seventh Street was once a vibrant stretch of blues and jazz clubs, a cultural Mecca that drew musicians and music lovers from all over the country. Musicians like Lowell Fulson, Saunders King, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Jimmy McCracklin and many others played at hotspots like Slim Jenkins Place, Esther’s Orbit Room, John Singer’s and Harvey’s Rex Club.
Railroad workers, especially members of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, the nation’s first black union that had its west coast office on 7th Street, distributed records cut by black musicians across the country. The porters union was co-founded by C. L. Dellums, uncle of current Oakland Mayor Ronald V. Dellums. Read more

Edgerly Retires

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Mayor Ron Dellums listens as City Administrator Deborah Edgerly re-announced her retirement effective July 31. Photo by Gene Hazzard

Jerry Brown Appointed Her in 2003

By Post Staff

Oakland City Administrator Deborah Edgerly, with Mayor Ron Dellums by her side announced that she had sent a letter to the Mayor on January 28 to inform him that she would retire July 31.
Edgerly, an appointee of former Mayor Jerry Brown said the announcement’s not a reaction to anything. This is progression from a decision that was made many months ago.”
She said she will be allowed to stay at her post until July 31, even as she faces increasing criticism for possibly interfering with a police investigation.
Dellums and Edgerly said that under a months-old agreement, Edgerly’s retirement has nothing to do with recent allegations that she intervened on behalf of a nephew, William Lovan, 27, in the police department’s ongoing investigation of the Acorn gang of West Oakland.
Edgerly said, “I just want to make it clear hat the understanding the mayor and I have, so that there’s no misconceptions, I am the city administrator with all the duties and responsibilities that come with being the city administrator.”
However, the police department will report directly to Dellums to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest as the allegations against Edgerly are investigated. Read more

Faces Around The Bay: Agatha Sharpe

AgathaSharpe.jpgAgatha Sharpe left her home in Trinidad 34 years ago and moved to Concord. She had heard the reputation of Concord was good and the crime rate was low. She says, “People are so friendly; I go to the grocery store and the bank, and they call me by my name.” Sharpe has one daughter who lives in England. She worked for 10 years at Highland Hospital as an LVN. She quit because of health issues and later had two bouts with cancer. “By the time I had the second occurrence, I was much more positive. I prayed a lot and that really helped me.” She attended a class, Reach to Recovery. in Walnut Creek. “Many people helped me during my recovery.”
Sharpe is now a volunteer for the American Cancer Society in Pleasant Hill who does follow-up with cancer patients. She loves to cook and prepares and serves meals to the sick in her neighborhood and cooks for men training for the ministry at her church, The Community Bible Church in Vallejo.
Gospel music is her great source of pleasure.

Ashland and Cherryland Communities Receive Philanthropic Funding

Barbara Lee’s support helps deliver important funding

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) announced that the Koshland Committee of The San Francisco Foundation has selected 10 community leaders from Ashland and Cherryland communities of incorporated Alameda County as recipients of the prestigious 2008 Daniel E. Koshland Civic Unity Awards program.
Barbara-Lee.jpgThe fellowship awards are part of a $300,000 five-year initiative in the Ashland and Cherryland communities that is designed to enhance civic unity and improve the quality of life for residents in those communities, which is achieved by promoting collaboration and increasing understanding among different types of people in those communities and by promoting the concept that nurturing these differences is a crucial element in solving neighborhood problems.
Congresswoman Lee played a critical role in advocating for this vital funding. This is the second year a community in the Congresswoman’s 9th Congressional District will receive this philanthropic support. Last year, eight civic leaders from Berkeley were selected for the fellowship. Read more

Faces Around The Bay: Patricia Taylor

PatriciaTaylor.jpgPatricia Taylor of Richmond, Virginia, was at the Diahann Carroll performance at Hotel Nikko on last Friday, the 13th.  Her son, Dr. Derek D. Taylor, a surgeon in Redwood City, took her to hear Carroll because the two had been childhood friends.  They grew up in N.Y. City and went to school in Manhattan at PS 46 in Elementary and PS 164 after that..
She remembers, “Then Diahann went to a special school and I got married.” Taylor sat in the front row at the performance and only spoke when Carroll asked how old the audience thought she was.  It was Taylor who said, “You’re my age.” Carroll asked, “What is that?”  Taylor answered, “73”. Then Carroll said she would be 73 this year.
Taylor has three children and was out here to see her grandson Tahara Taylor graduate from Bishop O’Dowd.  Her other 5 grandchildren go to Head Royce. The performance of her old friend was a bonus she hadn’t expected.

Danny Glover Gives Rousing Speech At Juneteenth City Hall Kick-Off

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Danny Glover (fourth from right) poses with Juneteenth Sponsors, from left to right: Luis Cancel, San Francisco Arts Commission, Jacques Pryor, KBLX, Susan Hinchman, Wells Fargo, Danny Glover, Maria Costen, KBLX, Dexter Woods, Juneteenth Executive Directer, Shelly Tatum, Shelly Tatum Presents.

By Wade Woods

On June 6th at the City Hall Rotunda an overflow crowd kicked off the Juneteenth season with the Mary Helen Rogers Community Reception. The quest speaker was actor Danny Glover, who in his speech laid down the circumstances surrounding the Haitian Revolution and the lead up to the emancipation of slavery in the United States. The Actor said the Slaves were the first Capital in this county and on those back this capitalist county was built.
Glover and other speakers called on young people to join the struggle that his generation had carried on from other generations. Glover said “ it was time for the mantel to be passed to a new generation, and they must be prepared to accept it and move on.” Glover also said that while there are many problems facing the African American Community, this can also be an exciting time if young people challenge the status quo, and pick up the challenge of change. Read more

Nanny’s Sober Living House Celebrates 1st Year

By Wade Woods

Sober-Living.jpgNanny’s Sober Living house started by Suritha Jackson in 2007 was designed as a sober living environment house designed to assist women in their re-entry stages of recovery. Jackson says “someone has said it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes that same village cooperating with one another in order to fix the broken hearts and shattered dreams of the men and women of that same community.”
Nanny’s Sober Living House is designed to assist women who are re-entering society form drug addiction or any other vice that derailed them from the mainstream of society. This program hopes to instill to all clients the courage to grow once again to maturity and productivity as they take advantage of job offers and other community based programs that are designed to prepare them for work, college, trade school and other things that will help them to be successful. Read more

Oakland First: 18 Couples Marry at City Hall

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Mayor Ronald V. Dellums congratulates Lisa Fujie Parks and LaRaye L. Lyles (holding child) after their wedding ceremony was performed at City Hall. Mrs. Cynthia Dellums and Congresswoman Barbara Lee were in attendance at City Hall wedding ceremony for 18 couples. Congresswoman Lee also officiated at the nuptial agreements Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Berkeley International Food Festival, Sunday June 29

Berkfest.jpg“I know Jazz” played at the 10th Street Blick Community Mural site at the west Berkeley YMCA for last year’s Berkeley International Food Festival. They will also playing at this year’s Berkeley International Food Festival, which features a live cooking stage, music and activities for the whole family. Enjoy samples of food from around the world. The Berkeley International Food Festival takes place from noon – 5:00 p.m. Sunday, June 29 two blocks in either direction from the University and San Pablo Avenues intersection. Admission is free. For information, call 510-845-4106 or www.berkeleyinternationalfoodfestival.com. Photo by Som Sharma

By Sally Douglas Arce

In its third year, the Berkeley International Food Festival hosts its culinary extravaganza from noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 29. This showcase of west Berkeley’s international market district takes place in the blocks surrounding the University and San Pablo Avenue intersection. The festival features restaurant specials, samples at specialty food markets, food booths, cooking demonstrations and entertainment. The public is invited to attend and there is no admission cost. The cooking demonstrations take place in Wells Fargo Bank parking lot.
This part of West Berkeley is an undiscovered gem. Savor the myriad of culinary delights that this West Berkeley neighborhood has to offer. Take a culinary trip to experience the aromas and tastes of worldwide cuisine – the foods of Mexico, El Salvador, Afghanistan, India, Spain, Pakistan, Thailand, Jamaica, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands and more. The festival is presented by the nonprofit West Berkeley Neighborhood Development Corporation, which began in 1989 when community members and ministers met to discuss their concerns about the future of West Berkeley. Read more

Diahann Carroll, 72, and Still Singing

DiahannCarrollmug.jpg“I’ve done it all,” she says, referring to the hair color, and other age defying acts. “When I first started in this business, my Father hated the make up, the false eye lashes and everything else. I said, Dad, it’s paying my rent, your rent, and a few others. It can’t be that bad.”
And fifty years later, she sounds much like she always did, hitting the high and low tones easily, making transitions seemingly effortlessly, and charming her audience with the old favorite songs we all (well most of us) remember. She remembered Frank Sinatra as a special friend, and sang an exquisite rendition of Nancy With The Laughing Face. She wore a shimmery black dress with a long slit up her leg.
Her hour long show was interspersed with stories of her life, remembering how she became the first African American woman with the lead role in the 1968 NBC-TV sitcom “Julia.” A native of the Bronx, she also described what she and actress Joan Collins really did during their famous cat fight scenes in the popular 1980s prime-time soap “Dynasty.” She mentions her upcoming book, “The Legs Are The Last To Go,” and her battle with breast cancer.
She referred to her 4 marriages and told the audience, “If you don’t have a grandchild, get one. Buy one, find one, anything, but get one.” Read more