From July 2008

100 Black Women To Award 21 Scholarships

The National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Oakland/Bay Area Chapter, will host its annual Scholarship and Awards Reception at 6:00Pm, Thursday July 24th at the Midtown Ballroom, 420 14th Street, Oakland.
This scholarship awards ceremony will be given to support women and girls who are working to improve their own lives, and who will impact the lives of their children, families and communities, through their pursuit of higher education. The Oakland Bay Area Chapter has awarded over $150,000 on scholarships. Read more

Lee Calls for Pay Equity for Women

Demands immediate action on equity legislation

Last week, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) joined Lilly Ledbetter and several members of Congress in calling for immediate action on the “The Paycheck Fairness Act and the “Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.”
For every dollar men earned in 2006, women earned 77 cents. The wage gap is most severe for women of color. Of full-time workers, African American women’s median weekly earnings ($429) were only 64% of the earnings of white men ($669) in the year 2000. In one year, the average African American woman earns approximately $12,000 less than the average white man does. Over a 35-year career, this adds up to $420,000. Read more

Wells Fargo Top Donor to Bay Area Non Profits

Last week, the San Francisco Business Times named Wells Fargo the Bay Area’s #1 corporate giver among financial institutions for the seventh consecutive year.
Wells Fargo – the oldest and largest financial services company headquartered in San Francisco – set a milestone in corporate giving to Bay Area nonprofits in 2007, donating a record $14.4 million with 1,860 grants contributed to local nonprofits and schools serving the Bay Area last year; nearly $40,000 in giving each day. Read more

President Bush signs Proclamation honoring Armed Forces Integration

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White House photo by Eric Draper

President George W. Bush is joined by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, center-background, and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake, right, as he signs a Presidential Proclamation in honor of the 60th Anniversary of Armed Forces Integration, Wednesday, July 23, 2008 in the Oval Office at the White House.

President Bush signs Proclamation honoring Armed Forces Integration

 clip_image002.jpg

White House photo by Eric Draper

President George W. Bush is joined by members of the Tuskegee Airmen, Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen, center-background, and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake, right, as he signs a Presidential Proclamation in honor of the 60th Anniversary of Armed Forces Integration, Wednesday, July 23, 2008 in the Oval Office at the White House.

“The Main Event” Youth vs. Adult Scholarship Game a Success

By Stacy A. Johnson

For the third consecutive year members and friends of First African Methodist Episcopal Church, Oakland came together for “The Main Event” Youth vs. Adult Scholarship Basketball Game which is a fund raiser benefiting the church’s graduating high school seniors who will attend college in the fall. Families came out to cheer for loved ones, the “Youngsters” came to redeem themselves from a two year loosing streak and the “Mature Adults,” now a year older, came to defend their undefeated title. The competition didn’t stop with the players. Retired NBA Coach Alvin Attles of the Golden State Warriors 1975 Championship team was on hand to lead the “Mature Adults.” His worthy opponent, Leon Powe, Forward of the 2008 Boston Celtics NBA Championship team, who is known for his determination both on and off the court, lead the “Youngsters.” Read more

Faces Around the Bay: Antonio Sambrano

Sambrano.jpgAntonio Sambrano was born in Pittsburg and raised in Concord.  He worked at The Chateau Three in Pleasant Hill as a food server and is presently working at Cost Plus in West Oakland.
Sambrano is an artist!  He works at Victory Outreach at Cole Middle School with Pastor Walter Martin, who is helping to get children off the streets, “so they can flourish”.  They are  working toward getting a film and music studio. Sambrano’s Mother, Anna Sambrano has been active in organizing prayer watches for victims of violence.  He says, “Children don’t have to be on the streets and in gangs, and Mother organizes prayer groups to pray for the families.”

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer

KPAAPA’s 19th Annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner

By Brenda McCuistion

Kaiser Permanente African American Professional Association (KPAAPA) is committed to ensure the future viability of African Americans and Kaiser Permanente by utilizing rich heritage and cultural knowledge to eliminate disparities while improving the health of members and the communities they serve.
Kaiserscholarships.jpgEach year KPAAPA provides scholarship awards to empower deserving African American students to cause the fulfillment of the KPAAPA mission.
Barbara Rogers, Anchor of CBS Channel 5 graced the ceremony with her presence as Mistress of Ceremony.  She shared her experience of growing up in the segregated south.
Barbara Rogers explained, “I never dreamed of being anchor woman, because I’d never seen a black woman or man anchor on television while growing up.”  Yet, she became a successful anchor for CBS 5 (KPIX-TV)
Gregory A. Adams, President of the Northern California Region of Kaiser Foundation, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals was the keynote speaker.
He also shared his experience of growing up in the segregated south.
Gregory Adams generously shared one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences in his career.  He was hired as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for Baptist Healthcare System of Southeast Texas .  On his first day, the chief of staff refused to shake his hand.  Later, Mr. Adams learned that although the organization had a membership at Beaumont Country Club, he was not to be seen there eating with the public.  He could only attend meetings.  Out of his experience as COO, Mr. Adams developed an appreciation for the value of diversity. Read more

Army Base Development May Not Provide Oaklanders With Good Jobs

As the city prepares to select developers for the former Oakland Army Base, the national Partnership for Working Families will unveil a new report on June 25 showing that most military base redevelopment efforts fail to create sufficient family-sustaining jobs and address poverty and other critical community needs.  The report also highlights ways that communities can better harness investment in public land at military bases to create good-paying jobs for residents, affordable housing and other community benefits.
Titled, Rebuilding the Base: Lessons from Four California Communities’ Efforts to Reuse Closed Military Installations, the report offers an alarming picture of how communities are devastated by base closures and are often unable to replace the number or quality of jobs lost.  California has been hard hit by base closure, losing 93,546 military and civilian jobs by 1995, over half of the total jobs lost in base closures nationally.  While base redevelopment offers an opportunity to revitalize local economies, California communities have often failed to capture its benefits for residents. Read more

Donielle Evans, 26, Needs Bone Marrow Donors

DonielleEvansMug.jpgDonielle Evans is 26 years old and was recently diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) which is a cancer of the blood. MDS affects the bone marrow causing it to not make enough normal blood cells for the body. All three types of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets may be affected by this disorder. The best chance for Donielle to be cured is a marrow transplant.
A marrow donor recruitment event was held on Sunday June 22nd at the Allen Temple Family Life Center at 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland, CA from 10am to 2pm.
Donielle is currently in search of a suitable matching unrelated marrow donor.  Unfortunately, neither of Donielle’s siblings were suitable matches. Through the National Marrow Donor Program (NDMP), Donielle’s tissue type is matched against available donors. Because tissue type is inherited, patients are most likely to match someone of their same race or ethnicity. Some racial and ethnic groups have greater diversity of tissue types than others. The more uncommon a person’s tissue type, the more challenging it will be to find a match. Read more

James Byrd Jr. Remembered on the 10th Anniversary of His Murder in Jasper, Texas

LaniSilverfile.jpgBy Lani Silver

Mrs. Stella Byrd, the heroic mother of James Byrd Jr., the woman who kept the country calm during the horrific hate crime committed against her son in Jasper, Texas, ten years ago, quietly took her seat for the Tenth Anniversary Tribute in Jasper, Texas, marking the death of her son with all of the dignity she’s ascerted throughout the past decade.  A hundred or more eyes focused on Mrs. Byrd, and for an hour she and a dozen other family members and speakers remembered the 49-year old father-of-three who was brutally murdered when he was chained to a truck and dragged three miles to his death by three white supremacists on June 7, 1998.
Louvon Byrd Harris, her youngest daughter, who drove her mother to the James Byrd Jr. Memorial Park, just before 10 a.m., just a few blocks from their house, recounted that her mother was thrilled to see a swarm of people walking to the park, “Mom was so happy when she saw cars parked everywhere. She expressed her joy at seeing the James Byrd Memorial Park fill with people, happy see people coming from all corners of town  together to remember James.”
The parking lot filled up way before 10 a.m. to mark one of the worst hate-crimes in American history.  Stella Byrd had not expected to speak, but was so moved by the outpouring of support that she gave a short speech, thanking everyone for coming, when presented with an award during the program by the Byrd Foundation for Racial Healing. Read more

Boots Riley Counters Charges

Oaklander Says Norfolk Charges Racially Motivated

Norfolk, VA – A music performance at the Bayou Boogaloo & Cajun Food Festival by Boots Riley, the well-known front man for The Coup, ended abruptly with police charges of “abusive language. The city is pressing forward with the charge – which the city is enforcing for the first time in 26 years.

Since the incident on June 21st, numerous false reports have emerged, and Riley is looking to set the record straight.

Riley claims the charges were racially motivated as they are part of a backlash from the recent Afr’Am Festival in Norfolk in which Gospel and R&B performances generated “noise complaints,” despite the performers adhering to the same decibel parameters as all of Norfolk’s other festivals. The Afr’Am fest has been the subject of controversy since, both festivals occurred at Towne Point Park, an area where high-priced condos have recently been built and an impending $11.5 million makeover is in the works. Read more

Faces Around the Bay: Sabreen Zafir

SabreenZafir.jpgSabreen Zafir is the Program Manager of Brighter Beginnings in Antioch. Born and raised in Richmond, she remembers living in Parchester Village. “We were some of the first to live there. Drugs and Prostitution got bad and we moved away with our kids. After 8 years, they had grown up and we moved back to Vallejo.”Zafir and her husband Waheed Zafir have six children: 5 girls and one son. She advocates for teen goals and dreams, “I was a family advocate for 7 years and I’ve seen teens change to other, positive avenues. Parenting is real important. Children need mentors!”

Photo and text by Barbara Fluhrer.

 

10th Annual SF Black Film Festival a Success

By Ave Montague

The San Francisco Black Film Festival (SFBFF) celebrated its ten-year anniversary from June 4-8 and June 11-15, 2008. Befitting its milestone status, the theme of this year’s festival was “10 Years, 10 Days, more than 100 Films” as the SFBFF spanned the globe with works from Africa, Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States.

filmfestival.jpgAve Montague, SFBFF founder and director commented, “Screening at five venues including MoAD, the African American Art and Culture Complex, Yoshi’s, Sundance and 1300 on Fillmore presented its challenges, and at the end of the day we were exhausted but thrilled with the number of new and repeat filmgoers and record breaking box office numbers.”

The festival got a jump start with the annual Urban Kidz Film Series at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Created with young viewers in mind, the annual film series is an offshoot of the San Francisco Black Film Festival and featured a striking assemblage of short and feature films, designed to spark the imaginations of the 5-to-12-year-old set. Audience favorites included The Don of Virgil Jr. High and African Academy Award winner, Do You Believe In Magic? Read more

State of Black San Francisco Forum

By Wade Woods

BlackSF.jpgLast Saturday morning African Americans filled into the West Bay Conference Center on Fillmore Street in the Western Addition to listen to a panel of organizational heads discuss the State of Black San Francisco. The panel and forum was put together by community organizer Julian Davis, founder of the Osiris Coalition.

The panel consisted of a cross section of professionals and community organizers from different areas of the city and representing several areas of expertise. On the panel was Dr. Nadine Burke, Director of the Bayview Child Health Center, Ms. Regina Davis, President and CEO of the San Francisco program in the Western Addition. Ms. Kelly Dearman, Executive Director of the SF Urban Community Housing Corporation. Mr. Ed Donaldson, Director of Housing Counseling at the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation. Mr. Kevin Epps, activist and filmmaker, Ms. Sharon Hewitt, Director of the Community leadership Alliance, Mr. Chris Jackson,a policy analyst for the San Francisco Labor Council, Ms NTanya Lee, Executive Director of Coleman Advocated for Children and Youth, Minister Christopher Mohammed, presiding San Francisco representative of the Nation of Islam. Ms. Lateefah Simon, Director of the Center for Young women’s Development. Mr. John Templeton, President and Executive Editor of eAccess Corporation. Read more

Gilbert Lee Pope, 70

Community Organizer, activist, and Fighter for Worker Rights

By Wade Woods

GilPopemug.jpgLongtime Community Activist Gil Pope , Passed away on Saturday June 21, 2008 at Kaiser Hospital surrounded by his family. Gil was born on October 31, 1938 in Gary, Indiana to the late Gentral G. Pope and Lilli M. Lee. He graduated from Roosevelt High School in Gary and served six years in the United States Navy as an aircraft maintenance mechanic.

Gil moved to San Francisco in the early 1960’s and immediately found himself involved in the civil rights struggle. In 1966 Gil joined SNCC and angered my the killing of Medgar Evers, borrowed funds from Glide Church’s Cecil Williams and along with lifelong friends Pleasant Carson and Chico Jones traveled to Mississippi to register Blacks to vote. Read more

The Poet's Corner

THE SEASONS
By B. G. Betts

The images that flow
through time
are not always like sand,
fleeting irretrievable
Their colors are heavenly
sliding like rainbows
to the ground
past horizons unseen
And if an eye focuses
Where this bridge meets
The ground
All the seasons can be seen
Mingling with one another
Mixing with the aspects
of earth
buffeting the senses
with
clarity of color
Giving new observations of
Images
….eternal moments to shine
BGBettsmug.jpgBrian G. Betts did undergraduate studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. He has written several volumes of poetry, the first is to be published in 2008. The Seasons is from a collection of five poems, commissioned by “Two Sisters’ Originals”.

Juneteenth Weekend Huge Success Comedy Show, Parade, Festival

By Wade Woods

It all began with the sold out, packed comedy show at the African American Art and Cultural Complex Theater on Friday Night. The Show, produced by Shelly Tatum brought some of the Bay Areas best comedy talent together for this Juneteenth special comedy showcase featuring Kirk McHenry, Dennis Gaxiola, Shea Suga, Rip Da Playa and special guest Ryan Nicole and MC Speedy from Los Angeles.

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Musical Group Pure Ecstasy was a crowd favorite with Motown Sounds of the R&B glory years

Saturday morning under hot and sunny skies the Juneteenth Parade featuring hundreds of participants including marching bands, horses, floats, cars, motorcycles, entertainers, politicians and dignitaries weaved it’s way through the Fillmore District ending at Civic Center Plaza the site of this years Juneteenth Festival. The Grand Marshall for this year’s parade was Dr. Don Q. Griffin, Interim chancellor of City College of San Francisco. Dr. Griffin started his career at City College in 1969 as a faculty member in the Department of Behavioral Sciences where he taught until 1996. Dr. Griffin was appointed Vice Chancellor of Student Development in 2000, while simultaneously performing the responsibilities of Vice chancellor of Academic Affairs 2003 through 2007. A licensed Psychologist in the State of California since 1982, Dr Griffin has been active in the Bay Area Association of Black Psychologists.

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Kevin Jefferson a member of the Juneteenth committee escorts the Precision Drill Ministries to Civic Center Plaza on an American Chariot. Photos by Ace Washington.

The Festival began in earnest at 1:00 on Saturday the 21st as the Gospel Group Young and Gifted took the stage and tore the house down as they say. They were followed by the Eloy Band, Lolita Sweet, Sam Bostic, the Al Von Allstars, the Classic Steppers and the Lily of the Valley voices of Excellence to finish off the musical selections for Saturday.
This year the festival hosted a record number of venders selling everything from jewelry and clothing to product giveaway by Safeway. There were information booths from groups such as Walden House to the San Francisco Police Department. There were of course the Food Booths featuring classic BBQ vendors as Moes BBQ on Wheels, Lady J. Catering to Starbucks.
The Music returned on Sunday with the outstanding performances Pure Ecstasy. The Juneteenth Festival is run by a group of committed Individuals including Chairman Louis Garrett, Sr. and Executive director Dexter Woods along with office staff Melloney Carroll and Reyna Collins. The Committee will be meeting next month to begin the planning for next years festival. For information on how you can become involved visit the Juneteenth web site at www.sfjuneteenth.org

Fillmore Slim Performs at Packed Benefit Concert For KPOO

Yoshi’s sold out for benefit for Northern California’s only Black Owned and operated Radio Station

By Wade Woods

Fillmoreslim.jpgThe crowd packed Yoshi’s last Monday night for a benefit concert for Radio Station KPOO featuring the legendary Fillmore Slim.
KPOO was founded in an alley off 6th Street by a group of young African Americans interested in giving Blacks a voice on radio and given no chance to survive in the early 1970’s.
However some 40 years later , KPOO has not only survived but is flourishing at it’s state of the art facility on Divisadero St. KPOO is a listener sponsored station and depends on the support of it’s listeners to continue to stay on the air.
KPOO is located at 89.5 FM featuring the most culturally diverse music on Radio.

Bella’s Chocolate Surprise

Fair Trade Kid’s Bookbellechocolate.jpg“Bella’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. Read more

Lee Applauds Removal Of Nelson Mandela From Terrorist List

Mandelamug.jpgCongresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) applauded legislation signed into law Tuesday by President Bush, to remove former South African president Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress (ANC) from the United Stated Terrorist Watch list.

Inclusion on the list has meant that Mandela and members of the (ANC) have had to obtain a visa waiver under the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to enter the United States.

As the former leader of the (ANC), Mandela and other multiracial organization members, who worked to extend the franchise to the whole population and end racial discrimination, have been on the U.S terrorist list since 1970.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee said “despite Mandela’s legacy as a hero of the anti-apartheid movement, a former South African president and recipient of the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize” Mandela continued to be on the list due to his leadership and participation with the (ANC). Read more

Labor Rally at City Hall

Several hundred people rallied late Monday night at Oakland City Hall to commemorate the June 30 expiration date of the labor agreements of tens of thousands of local workers.

Called by the Alameda County Central Labor Council, the rally included unions with contracts about to expire or that had already expired. Represented were leaders and members of the Oakland school custodians union, university service workers, newly organized reporters in the Media Guild, airport food servers, port workers, hospital workers and temporary city workers.

There’s a new spirit in the air; all of labor is coming together,” said Morris Tatum, president of the AFSCME Local 257, which represents custodians in Oakland schools. Read more

Ruby Finds $2.8 Million Waiting To Be Spent

CourtneyRubymug.jpgTaxpayer funds for the City’s emergency medical services and paramedic services have been used appropriately, according to two audits the City Auditor released today. The audits also identified fund balances of about $1.4 million for each measure, which the City Auditor says can help relieve pressure on the City during these difficult budget times.

Measure M is the voter-approved “Emergency Medical Services Retention Act of 1997,” a parcel tax to retain and enhance emergency medical services in Oakland. Measure N, the “Paramedic Services Act of 1997,” is a parcel tax to increase, enhance, and support paramedic services in the City. From 1997 through the end of fiscal year 2007, Measure M and Measure N have received over $15 million and $11.6 million, respectively.

Both Measures M and N require an annual audit by the City Auditor to determine if funds are being used in accordance with the terms of the measures. Read more

Retired, Unretired, Fired

Edgerly, De La Fuente Political Fireworks have City Hall on Edge

By Post Staff

With the blasts befitting a July 4th show of flares, cherry bombs and political firecrackers, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente exploded the Oakland City Hall environment with thunderous claims of finally pledging to end the nepotism and cronyism that began before Ron Dellums was elected Mayor.

Deborah Edgerly also managed to be caught in the middle of a political firestorm involving her rapid-fire announcements of her retirement, her unretirement and the Mayor’s eventual Firing—all within one week. She and De La Fuente, both under media scrutiny for charges of nepotism and cronyism, defied Dellums and claimed separately, but simultaneously, that they would be in charge despite the Mayor’s desire to move in a new direction.

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Mayor Dellums with former City Administrator Deborah Edgerly

Mayor Dellums interrupted a meeting with De La Fuente to hold an impromptu press conference Wednesday to assure the city’s residents that Oakland is “embarking on a new day.“

Alluding to his eventual firing of Edgerly, Dellums sought to assure residents that Oakland is continuing to move forward.

Dellums said “there is already a national search to fill the City Administrator’s position and that Dan Lindheim, (the former head of the city’s Community and Economic Development Agency) will continue to fill in as City Administrator.” De La Fuente and other leaders have bristled at Lindheim’s appointment because they understand that the move helps facilitate Dellums’ vision of an “alignment for a seamless administration of the City,” referring to his office and that of the City Administrator.

De La Fuente says that he encourages the Mayor to hire a City Administrator with a reputation for excellence as soon as possible, so that Oaklanders can be sure that the city is being well-managed.

Even though De La Fuente was re-elected in the past June election amidst charges of nepotism and cronyism, he has now pledged to root out all vestiges of favoritism in hiring and contracting practices in Oakland.

One City Council member acknowledged that it is common practice for Councilmembers to call the Administrator directly to do business on their behalf. When Dellums appointed Lindheim, it was interpreted that all requests would have to be channeled through the Mayor’s office. Former Mayor Jerry Brown was known to allow the City Council President to have full access to City staff. “Dellums’ move (appointment of Lindheim) can do more to break up the patronage culture that is well-known around City Hall than anything we’ve seen since before Jerry Brown,” the councilmember said.

Dellums said Oakland is moving forward and that over the next few weeks he “will be assembling a group of professionals and experts that will assist him on how to best realign the mayor’s and city administrator’s office.”

Some of the “flaming” blog messages on Internet websites have referred to De La Fuente’s past as an ex-boxer who uses a pugilistic approach versus the debonair Dellums who diplomatically tries to remain above the fray but has created the appearance of a leadership vacuum. Some blogs now echo De La Fuente and are calling for a recall of Dellums.

In a recent press release, De la Fuente said that Oaklanders are looking for a City government that is responsive, and delivers the services paid for by the citizens.

Dellums said that as the Chief Executive Officer he looks forward to running a stronger, more effective and transparent branch of government.

According to a City Hall source, during a private conversation between Dellums and De La Fuente, Dellums said they shook hands and that he welcomed the leadership of the City Council’s legislative branch to help him further his Model City vision for Oakland. But the Mayor’s opponents are predicting that Dellums will lose because of his disdain for De La Fuente’s “hand-to-hand” political combat style which is designed to make Dellums quit or cave in to the pressure. The source added “they don’t call Oakland ‘Bump City’ for nothing.”

Oakland to Receive $71.5 Million From State

State Partnership to Bolster Efforts on Housing and Infrastructure

Mayor Ron Dellums announced on Monday that eight housing development projects within the city of Oakland have been awarded funding under the first round of the California Infill Infrastructure Grant Program and the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Grant Program. Both grants are administered by the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development. The total funding award for eight projects totals $71.5 million.

Mayor Dellums. said “Oakland, is extremely vulnerable and in desperate need of modern infrastructure improvements for our deteriorating roads, highways, housing and water systems.”

Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) added he authored Proposition 1C because he knows infill housing and residential development near transit hubs are crucial components of helping reduce traffic congestion and provide more affordable living options and generate decent-paying construction jobs in Oakland. Read more