From December 2008

Keeping a home for the holidays

homecollage.jpgTop: Gwen Winter rejoices next to her Montclair home with Lee Bazile whose firm HSCG saved her home from foreclosure. Bottom: Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums with Winter and Bazile. Photos by Gene Hazzard, graphics by Alapi Bhatt.

pdphotos-d-019.JPGBy Dion Evans,
The Baptist Post

“I’ll be home for Christmas – You can count on me – please have snow and mistletoe – and presents on the tree,” is a favorite holiday song but not if your bank has cheated you out of your home. If you have been foreclosed, you have no home for Christmas. If you have no home, you have no place to gather your family and friends.

Instead of the snow falling on your home – it falls on you as you lay flat on your back, sleeping on a local park bench or in a seedy shelter. But, there is hope.

Gwen Winter, a homeowner in Montclair and a retired electrician with children, experienced her monthly mortgage payment of $1,400 shoot upward to $4,200 over a two year period. She states, “I literally became bankrupt without even the financial means to declare bankruptcy.” Read more

Roberts Hotels named largest Choice Hotels franchisee

Choice Hotels International, Inc. announced that Roberts Hotels Group is the company’s largest African American franchisee with Choice Hotels room inventory fast approaching the 1,000 mark.

Roberts Hotels Group also happens to be the largest African American owned and managed hotel group in the United States. With the purchase of five Choice Hotels franchises since 2006, Choice branded hotels will comprise over 40 percent of the Roberts Hotels Group’s portfolio.

Their Choice properties include the currently open Comfort Inn and Conference Center hotel of Tampa, Fla. and the Clarion Hotel of Shreveport, La., as well as three properties slated to open in 2009 — the Comfort Inn & Suites hotel of Fort Myers, Fla., the Roberts Benchmark Clarion Hotel of Memphis, Tenn., and the Roberts Walthall Clarion Hotel of Jackson, Miss. Read more

The Black West: Buffalo Soldiers, Black Cowboys

The largest exhibition of Western art by Black artists ever assembled opens December 20 at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia.

“The Black West: Buffalo Soldiers, Black Cowboys and Untold Stories” features 65 works of art by 16 contemporary African American artists. Visitors to the museum can view the exhibition through March 22, 2009.

“The Black West” is an important and groundbreaking exhibition because it tells the often overlooked story of Blacks in the West through the art of contemporary African American artists. In addition to the stories of Black cowboys and buffalo soldiers, the art chosen for the exhibition focuses on the complete African American experience in the West, encompassing Black explorers, lawmen, rodeo stars, outlaws, and women. Read more

Faith leaders sound off on Bailey Assassination

pdphotos-d-019.JPGBy Dion Evans,
The Baptist Post

It has now been over a year since Journalist Chauncey Bailey of the Oakland Post was gunned down on the streets of Oakland. His memory is still alive, but for many in political power and or in the police department – they would rather hope this assassination just “goes way” like the other unsolved murders in the streets of Oakland.

Mayor Ron Dellums seems to know something that he is not letting the rest of the community know – so he has requested an independent outside investigation be conducted. Is this too much for the Mayor to ask? Doesn’t the community care about justice? I sat down with some East Bay Clergy to gather their take on Mayor Dellums’ request. I contacted over 50 faith-based clergy in the city of Oakland to comment on the Mayor’s petition – many, unsure of what to say or because of their own personal fear – support the Mayor in silence. Here are some brave soldiers for Christ who care more about justice for Chauncey Bailey and his family than they care about the politics that may cut funding to their faith-based organization.

If you would like to comment on the Mayor’s request for an independent investigation into the murder of Chauncey Bailey – send your comments to (50 words or less). Read more

Clergy respond to Brown's Prop 8 flip flop

pdphotos-d-019.JPGBy Dion Evans,

There are two characteristics most people agree they desire from others – 1 ) Say what you mean and 2) Mean what you say.  There is one character trait most people agree is undesirable, hypocrisy!  What is going on with Attorney General Jerry Brown?  Why the change and aggressive charge to the High Courts to reverse the will of the voters in California? 

Local Clergy respond to the Attorney General of California’s latest and unfortunate act of hypocrisy.  If you would like to share your thoughts on the matter – email (50 words or less) Read more

Motorcycle Clubs bring Christmas to low-income families


By Post Staff

Samantha Wise, CEO of the Community Enrichment Organization (CEO), non-profit organization that works in Oakland with City Councilmember Desley Brooks, mobilized more than 17 Motorcycle Clubs and businesses to donate cash, computer games and bicycles to hundreds of youth from low-income families.

Wise said “We wanted to make sure that needy families and children would be able to celebrate Christmas with gifts showing that someone cares.” Read more

Steve Hollister Is New San Leandro City Manager

Interim City Manager Steve Hollister was formally appointed by the San Leandro City Council in a closed session of their regular business  to serve as San Leandro’s next City Manager, succeeding long-time City Manager John J. Jermanis, Jr., who retired in September.

Hollister joined the City of San Leandro in 2004 after an extensive nationwide search and has served as Interim City Manager since September.

In Hollister’s four-plus years with the City, he has helped implement a wide range of City Council policies and actions, including those related to the City’s award-winning Downtown Transit-Oriented Development Strategy, downtown revitalization efforts such as the launch of the new downtown farmers’ market, a renewed focus on emergency preparedness, increased efforts to combat crime and the development of a comprehensive plan for the shoreline. Read more

A Miracle on Pier 48: Feeding 5,000 San Francisco Families

sfawards.jpgTop, from left to right: Warrior Anthony Randall handing out boxes, Willie Brown surrounded by Warriors Anthony Randall, Rob Kurz and Corey Maggette, Volunteer Bobby Jones and daughter Chantal; Middle left to right: Warrior Anthony Morrow, Willie Brown and Warrior C. J. Watson, NBA Union Chief Billy Hunter, BART Board President Lynette Sweet and Feed The Children Founder Larry Johnson; Bottom,  left to right: Volunteer Marina with recipient Maria Henderson, Volunteer Carlton McAllister of True Hope Ministries, Terilyn Love of Avon, Joe Nurisso of 311 Call Center, and recipient David LeGrand. Photos by Kevin Jefferson.

By Wade Woods 

The holidays arrived early this year for an estimated 5,000 San Francisco families, as they received free food, personal care items and toys in a relief effort called the “Miracle on Pier 48”.

The event kicked off the first of four nationwide food distributions that will also be held in Los Angeles, Houston and Detroit.

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), Feed the Children, and the Willie L. Brown Institute on Politics and Public Service hosted the event which started at noon Thursday, December 11, with individuals and families lined up at Pier 48 just south of AT&T Park. Read more

The Village Project Presents Kwanzaa 2008

By Kevin Jefferson

The values of Kwanzaa, Nguzo Saba, the seven principles are critical tools to addressing the issues facing the African-American community.

Adrian Williams, founder of The Village Project, a youth service organization focusing on education and cultural enrichment for young people in San Francisco’s Western Addition, has revived the traditional San Francisco celebration of Kwanza. This African-American holiday, created by Dr. Maulana  Karenga, is celebrated by more than 30 million people worldwide over seven days from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.

The Village Project, in collaboration with community organizations, presents Kwanzaa Celebration 2008 for the Western Addition.

The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa will be hosted at seven different venues throughout the Western Addition community. Read more

‘Tis the Season for School Concerts

Series of Highlights Add Sparkle to MLK  Middle School Band Christmas Concert

By Barbara Fluhrer

myers.jpgMaybe better things do come in smaller packages.

A 12 piece jazz band gave a strong performance at the Christmas concert last week directed by Jesse Anthony at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley.

Tom Myers, Saxophonist of The Equanimous Jones Quartet remarked after the students performed, “This is one of the best groups in many years, tight and a good ensemble”.

The original improvisations of each student seemed to emanate from their hearts, and it was obvious they enjoyed performing. The band performed the theme song of James Bond and “Boogie Down”.

Anthony explained the importance of “Boogie Down”, “This song is one of my favorites because it is all about encouragement. It means: decide what you want to do, and DO IT.”   Read more

Morrie Turner’s Holiday Tribute to Obama


Morrie Turner, an Oakland native, created the Wee Pals comic strip in 1965.  The Wee Pals comic strip characters portray a world without prejudice, a world in which people’s differences — race, religion, gender, and physical and mental ability– are cherished, not scorned.

Wee Pals achieved nationwide acceptance in 1968 when the strip appeared in over 100 newspapers nationwide.

Wee Pals continues to reach approximately 25 million readers with his Wee Pals characters. Morrie’s latest book is “Wee Pals Salute African Americans in the Military: Past and Present.”

PIC Wins Grants to Help Formerly Incarcerated Find Jobs

By Post Staff

The Private Industry Council has received a $16,500 grant to provide job training, work readiness and support for formerly incarcerated men and women, which PIC plans to combine with other grants to reach out to this severely underserved group of jobseekers.

The one-year grant from the East Bay Community Foundation will provide services for 100 people re-entering the workforce through the Community Opportunities for Re-Entry (CORE) program. Read more

Oaklander is Director of Bayview Opera House

By Kevin Jefferson

kristiblack-solwazi.jpgAn Oakland native, Kristi Black-Solwazi was recently appointed Director of the historic Bayview Opera House, in the Bayview/Hunters Point community in San Francisco.

Kristi graduated from Oakland Public Schools, and attended Hampton University and San Francisco State University, majoring in Early Childhood Education and Speech Communication.

Kristi’s multi-faceted background includes over ten years of finance, youth arts programming and business administration experience. Read more

Murray “Butchie” McGowen Had A Heart of Gold

butchie.jpgThe only child of Nuna and Murray McGowen Sr., Murray “Butchie” McGowen, throughout his life, brought a smile to everyone he knew.

On Thursday, December 4, 2008, Murray McGowen passed after courageously battling kidney problems for several years.

Born in Oakland in 1950, Murray was baptized at Beacon Light Seventh-day Adventist Church in Richmond.

He was a graduate of Oakland High School, attended California State University Hayward and worked at Fisher Laboratories in Oakland. Read more

Get a Job Through The Stride Center

Finding a good paying job in 2008, or any year for that matter, can be very hard, but an exciting career in computer technology is looking good even during these tough times.

The Stride Center is offering the opportunity for job seekers to earn between $15-$20 an hour after A+ technical training and placement.

The good news is that this program is aggressively recruiting now for enrollees throughout the Bay Area.  Stride Center wants to fill its January classes in Oakland, San Pablo and San Francisco. Read more

Lao Family Services Offers Job Training and Education for Young People

By Post Staff

kathychao.jpgLao Family Services Community Development, which has been providing valuable programs to the community for almost 30 years, is partnering with the Oakland Workforce Investment Board and the Private Industry Council to provide job training and educational support for in-school and out-of-school youth.

The WIB-funded Year-Round Youth Leadership and Employment Program serves about a dozen out-of-school youth and more than twice as many in-school students.

Participants attend after-school classes where they get help with homework and college counseling which they may not receive from other sources.

“We offer support for kids and their families,” said Kathy Chao, Lao Family’s executive director. Read more

Rapid Response Team Supports Laid-off Workers

As layoffs and business closures escalate, the Private Industry Council’s Rapid Response Team is busy providing information on jobs, training and other resources to employees who are losing their jobs at local companies and agencies.

“These are stressful times for empaloyees in all different types of industries,” said  Anne Chan, Rapid Response Team Coordinator.

“In past years, laid-off workers were able to find some level of work, but now with hundreds of thousands losing their jobs, competition is fierce for the jobs that exist,” she said. Read more

Berkeley’s Stephen Chu Secretary of Energy

chu.jpgPresident-elect Barack Obama has picked Nobel-Prize winning physicist Stephen Chu to head the Department of Energy and to be the point man for the effort to fight global warming. Chu is known for work on technologies to help slow climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee applauded President-elect Barack Obama on his choice of Nobel Prize Winning Physicist Steven Chu to head the Department of Energy.  She released this statement: Read more

African American Art and Culture Complex 7th Annual Holiday Fair

1300.jpg1300 Club owners Moneta White and husband Chef David Lawrence sit surrounded by toys that will be donated to the African American Art and Cultural Complex Holiday Fair and Toy Give-away. Photo by Wade Woods.

By Wade Woods

On Dec. 20, in San Francisco, the African American Art and Cultural Complex will celebrate its 7th annual Christmas Fair and Toy Give-a-way at 762 Fulton Street.

This event promises to be the best it’s ever been.  Festivities begin at 10:00am with performances from the center’s youth program participants in the recording studio and dance classes. Many of the center’s partner programs will showcase their talents, including the Top Notch Steppers, Seahawks Cheerleaders and Larkin Budido Karate class. Read more

Leora Overall-A pioneer among pioneers

Pastors David Kiteley, Leora Overall and Violet Kiteley of Shiloh Christian Felloship

pdphotos-d-019.JPGBy Dion Evans,
The Baptist Post

In 1965 a newly widowed woman preacher from Canada named Violet Kiteley, known to parishioners as Pastor Violet, started the Shiloh Christian Fellowship in Oakland, CA. Pastor Violet started this ministry during a time when tensions where high among many of ethnic groups living in the Bay Area and when the Civil Rights Movement held the captions of the news. In 1967 she would receive some help in the ministry from a former Baptist woman by the name Leora Overall.

Leora Overall, known to parishioners as Rev. Leora, recalls her first time attending Shiloh one Friday Night. She had previously been struggling to understand a recurring dream she’d had for seven years. Her dream centered around ministering amongst a diversity of races. At that time, Rev. Leora was a member of a Baptist congregation and sought understanding from her minister. His response to her was “Don’t worry, you’re just dreaming.” However, Rev. Leora knew she was experiencing more than a dream. Read more

Hunters Point Resident Volunteered for Obama in Ohio

volunteers.jpgSan Francisco Obama Ohio volunteer Micah Allen, center, with Cleveland volunteer Chinyere Tutashinda, left, and Clecia Calvin of Louisiana, right

By Micah Allen

The following is the first-hand account of Hunter’s Point resident Micah Allen’s experience as a volunteer in Barack Obama’s Ohio Campaign after attending the S.F. Post-sponsored Obama boot camp.

It was a cold night when I arrived in Cleveland, Ohio My first thoughts were, “Man! What a change it was from Hunters Point.”

I had no idea what to expect in Cleveland, a blue-collar steel town with a mix of spacious parkland and a robust downtown that is so spread out it can’t be strolled.

I never had time to absorb any one street or neighborhood. I spent my time as a community organizer, knocking on doors and recruiting volunteers, which kept me far away from all commercial spots. I was a deputy field organizer for the Barak Obama campaign for President. Read more

Children of Color Exploited For Enjoyment of The Rich

boxing.jpgLeft to right:  Coach Robert Salinas, Coach Ramona Gatto, Danial Ramirez-10yrs old fighter, Jani Ramirez-mother of Danial,  Oscar Ramirez-father of Danial (at back), Mylene Corcega-fiancee of Ryan,  Ryan Stewart-fighter. Photo Kevin Jefferson. 

By Wade Woods

In a scene right out of Richard Wright’s Invisible Man, boxing matches are being held in exclusive clubs throughout San Francisco, including the City Club and the Olympic Club, where African American and Latino youth fight each other in front of drunken, wealthy whites in  tuxedos and cocktail dresses.

Rounded up by unscrupulous promoters, the young men fight for audience members who pay $125, enjoy an open bar and eat filet mignon served at ringside while making bets at these private boxing matches.

ABC recently aired an expose on the shameful activity using undercover video shot by Ramona Gatto, a local boxing coach who has been fighting what she calls unlawful activity that borders on child abuse. Read more

Free Class to Help Your Child in School

By Post Staff

Are you a parent who wants your children to succeed in school? Common sense and lots of research tell us that parent involvement is crucial to student success, but sometimes parents find it difficult to help.

Oakland Adult Education, in partnership with the Office of Mayor Ron Dellums, is sponsoring a fun-filled class which will help parents who have important questions like these:  What can I do to make sure my child graduates from high school?  What is my youngster actually learning in school?  How can we finance college education for my children?  Read more

Dellums, Schwarzenegger Team to Improve City

By Post  Staff

The city and state are about to undertake an unprecedented partnership to revitalize 470 city blocks in East and West Oakland, according to Mayor Ron Dellums, speaking Friday to businesses leaders at the Oakland Marriott and a “Hiring Heroes” Appreciation Breakfast at the Oakland Museum.

Dellums spoke Friday to the San Francisco Business Times’ “Building Oakland”  breakfast and to a breakfast hosted by the Oakland Workforce Investment Board and Private Industry Council to honor 17 businesses for their special efforts to hire Oakland residents. Read more

More Patrol Officers for Oakland

By Post StaffMayor Ron Dellums announced this week that the Oakland Police Department will modify its current deployment strategy to enhance weekend and evening enforcement, provide better working conditions for patrol officers and reduce staffing costs.

This change is the result of joint efforts of the OPD, the Oakland Police Officers Association and the Mayor’s office.

“This agreement is a win-win for the City of Oakland and its residents,” said Mayor Dellums. “Not only do these modifications allow us to put more officers on the street when we need them, but they allow us to save city dollars and improve the morale within our police force. This agreement is a testament of what can be accomplished when the city and our union partners come together for the benefit of the people we serve.” Read more