From May 2009

A's Win Big on Holiday

Oakland, CA– It’s a beautiful day in Oakland!  The fog that layered the city for the past few days has cleared.  The sun is out, temperature is 59 degrees and 15,580 fans are here to support.  In honor of Memorial Day, the Oakland A’s along with all MLB baseball clubs will wear special “Star & Stripes” caps in support of “Welcome Back Veterans”.  The caps will have an American flag etched into the team’s logo and for the first time, will be red in color.

Before the game, I spoke with a long time fan (Dan Lopez) of the A’s who is excited about today’s game being played on a holiday.  “I’m here with my family and enjoying this beautiful day.”  Dan guarantees a win for the A’s due to their “fair-weathered” style of play.  I asked Dan to explain further and he said, “the A’s play better in warmer weather than on cold, foggy days!”  Hoping there are more “at bats” to go along with this beautiful day, I’m curious to see if Dan is right?

Top of the first inning Kurt Suzuki was called on a strike but it looked as if the pitch was a ball.  A’s manager Bob Geren came out immediately to argue the call, this then led to the ejection of the A’s pitching coach Jim Skaalen.  Not really sure what Skaalen’s position was on this call but it led to the A’s offense exploding in the next two innings.  Things got started with Adam Kennedy stealing third base right after Skaalen’s ejection followed by Jack Cust’s single which led to Kennedy coming in for the lead 1-0.

The A’s then scored three more runs off Jack Hannahan’s single and Kennedy’s double.  Travis Buck hit a home run off a 2-2 pitch during the fourth inning while, the last run scored off a wild pitch in the sixth inning securing the A’s 6-1 lead over the Seattle Mariners.  It looks like A’s fan Dan Lopez called the game correctly, predicting a win with Oakland’s great weather.  The A’s win over the Mariners is the first of a three game series.

I’m not sure if I believe that great weather will bring wins at home for the Oakland A’s?  Though, it is definitely something to ponder when the sun is shinning at the Oakland Coliseum on game day.  Despite the weather, this is a good start as the A’s are home for this series before heading on the road for seven games.

On June 6, 2009 please come out and support American Idol WInner Jordin Sparks who will perform after the Oakland A’s game on Saturday.  This is a free concert to fans who purchased tickets on game day.

Written by: Malaika Bobino

Holliday's Shine Despite Loss

Oakland, CA– The Oakland A’s lost 2-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  The A’s are off to their worst start of the season.  Remaining in last place in the AL, the A’s continue to look for opportunities in getting hits.  The highlight of the game was Matt Holliday’s solo home run.  Matt Holliday hit his sixth home run of the season.

Pitcher Billy Buckner threw out the first pitch of the second inning and Holliday connected getting Oakland on the scoreboard quickly.  Jason Giambi next up at bat hit a single and then followed with three outs as Oakland could not get past second base.

The A’s offense was stale and could not get runners in a flow.  However, the pitching from Trevor Cahill did not allow the Diamondbacks any opportunities to control the game despite the A’s lack of runs.  Bottom of the second Augie Ojeda singled to center field and then stole second base.  Gerardo Parra also single to center and Ojeda scored.  The score was tied until Felipe Lopez homered during the top of thefifth inning.

The A’s have lost for the sixth time i the last eight games.  Frustration looms over the Oakland clubhouse as they continue to find ways to get wins.  They are home through next week before starting a seven game road trip at the end of the week.

Children’s Hospital to Receive $240,000 in Recovery Funding

Children’s Hospital and Research Center of Oakland will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a biomedical research project.
Children’s Hospital and Research Center will receive $240,000 from HHS to fund a proposal to test a new genetically influenced mechanism that can contribute to inter-individual variation in drug response. The results of this research could yield improvement in the ability to identify individuals most likely to achieve cardiovascular benefits from statin treatment, and new pharmacologic approaches for increasing statin effectiveness.
money is being made available through the American Recovery andReinvestment Act.  To learn more about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, go to

Public Works Director in Nation’s Top 10

<br />Raul Godinez II holds his national American Public Works Association (APWA) award, presented to him at the Oakland City Council meeting by Steven Yee, President of the Northern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association, which nominated Godinez for the national honor. Simon and Raul III enjoy their dad’s recognition. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Oakland Public Works Director Raul Godinez II has been named as one of the National Top 10 Public Works Leaders of the Year for 2009 by the American Public Works Association (APWA).
Godinez received the national award last week at a banquet sponsored by the APWA Northern California Chapter.
“This award recognizes the great work being done by Mr. Godinez and his staff for the residents of Oakland,” said Mayor Rom Dellums. “Public Works staff are on the front lines everyday paving our streets, fixing our sewers and keeping our infrastructure intact; they play an important role in the health and vitality of our city.  APWA, an international educational and professional association, is the largest and oldest organization of its kind. One of the most prestigious awards presented by the APWA is its Top Ten Public Works Leader of the Year designation.
“Raul Godinez exemplifies the best among public works leaders. His everyday behavior at work, in the community and with family provides quality examples for those who want to excel in their endeavors,” National APWA President Noel Thompson said,
The National Top Ten award was the second honor Godinez received this year. In April, the Northern California Chapter of the APWA recognized him as a Public Works Leader of the Year for the twelve Bay Area and northern coastal counties.
Some changes instituted by Public Works include a Customer Call Center, an enhanced Safety Training program, the implementation of   a work management system and a Technology Learning Center to adequately bridge staffs’ computer skills for the requirements of the new work management system.

Memorial for Rev. Daima M. Clark

The Association of Africans and African Americans (AAAA), Wo’se Community Church, the Association for the Study of Classical African Civilization (ASCAC) and the Claude Memorial Scholarship Fund came together recently to celebrate the life of Rev. Daima M. Clark.
The event was held Saturday April 25, at Beth Eden Baptist Church in West Oakland, Clark passed away on Dec.10 Her interment was held at Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside CA, and many associates and friends were unable to attend the service.
As the founder and chief elder of AAAA, Clark played a major part in heading collaborations with ASCAC and Wo’se to sponsor ASCAC conferences at Laney College and an ASCAC conference in Aswan Egypt.
Claude Clark, the husband of Daima, was a renowned artist. Together, they founded the Claude Clark Memorial Scholarship fund of $69,000. This fund has provided scholarships to African American youth to attend Spellman, Fisk and other African American Colleges. Queen Mother Thurston said, “The Clarks will always leave a legacy of their dedication to the African American community.”

“Daughters of His Promise” Women’s Conference

By David Scott

Tree of Life Empowerment Ministries recently held a “Daughters of His Promise’ Women’s Conference, designed to enlighten women on the issues that impact their lives.
Over 100 women from ages 9 to 70 years old attended the conference, held May 8 through May 10 in East Oakland. The event was designed to enlighten and discuss with women, within the context of spirituality, issues such and as financial management and sexuality, including pregnancy, abortion and abstinence.
One speaker, Shavonne Banker from Bank of American, explained how to purchase a home under present economic conditions.  Jetaun Maxwell, of the Invisible Womb healing ministry, spoke on grief, loss, healing and the sacredness of women and their bodies.  And Rev. Joan Wright Richardson, spoke on women and their relationship with God, themselves, community, families and each other.
“It is time for women to come together of all ages, to begin to build on the promise that God has for them, and to receive their portion of well being, empowerment and knowledge,” said Pastor Phyllis Scott, who was the organizer of the event.
For information on the Tree of Life Empowerment Ministries, call (510) 689-9544

Gospel Singer Launches TV Show

By Sandra Varner

Donnie Mcclurkin

Donnie Mcclurkin

Renowned gospel singer, Donnie McClurkin, has more to share than just a song.  He will soon be seen on television on a weekly basis sharing the spoken word. The New York based pastor/singer has inked a deal with RNN (Regional News Network) to air “Perfecting Your Faith” on WRNN-TV on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. (ET).
The broadcast premiered May 17 and those in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut areas can check their local listings for exact channel and tune in for worship, inspiration and empowering messages.
The broadcast will launch regionally then expand to a national audience. The networks’ total basic cable and DBS Homes reaches over 5 million TV households.    “Its my privilege to bring Perfecting Faith to the masses through our new television ministry.  These practical messages and prudent instructions from the living Word of God will help you understand the will of God for your life.  So get ready…as every bit of this television ministry helps you in Perfecting Your Faith!” Says McClurkin.
The weekly broadcast will feature sermons delivered by McClurkin from Perfecting Faith Church in Freeport, NY where he is the senior pastor.   The 2,700 member church opened its’ doors in 2001 and continues to grow as it increases its community outreach with annual events such as: Church Without Walls – summer services that are held outdoors at a municipal parking lot in Roosevelt, NY, Youth Explosions and the-ever popular New York Call (
The launching of New York Call, a coalition of pastors and churches throughout the tri-state area, was birthed in 2004. Families come together for a day of fun and activities highlighted by a fellowship in the park. Long Island’s Eisenhower Park has served as host to 17,000 plus people at the all day affair.
“We All Are One (Live in Detroit)” is a boldly eclectic collection from McClurkin, moving from the powerfully opener “Trusting in You” and the lilting call and response vibe of “You Are My God and King” (featuring a playful battle of the choir sections on the reprise) to the soul-soothing “Let the River Flow” and a duet with the ever-amazing Karen Clark-Sheard for “Wait on The Lord.”
For more information about the “Perfecting Your Faith” broadcast visit

NAACP Works to Save Life of Troy Anthony Davis


Troy Anthony Davis

The NAACP is campaigning to save the life to Troy Anthony Davis, 23, who is set to be executed in the state of Georgia despite his strong claim of innocence.   He has been sentenced to death for the murder of a Savannah, Georgia police officer on what many considerable to be questionable eyewitness testimony.
According to Davis’ supporters, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony, no murder weapon was found, and no physical evidence links Davis to the crime.
The NAACP is calling on members and supporters to send letters and emails through its website or individually to Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue asking him to commute Davis’s sentence.   The courts are refusing to consider the new evidence despite the facts that indicate that Davis is innocent.
“Governor Perdue must act quickly and decisively to prevent Troy Anthony Davis, a young African American man, from being executed for a crime he did not commit,” said NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous.
“Georgia is no exception to the rest of the country,” Jealous said.  “All over the nation, we have witnessed scores of persons wrongfully sentenced to death.   And far too often, African American men are overrepresented in their ranks.
“The preponderance of evidence in Troy Anthony Davis’s case points to his innocence.  Justice requires that we not turn a blind eye to killing an innocent man – a travesty that can never be rectified.   We must join together to raise our voice in a clarion call to Georgia Governor Perdue to stop this injustice and save Troy Anthony Davis’s life. ” Jealous said.
Las Tuesday was Global Troy Anthony Davis day, coordinated by Amnesty International, during which people from around the world pressed for the commutation of Davis’s sentence.
Racism continues to characterize the use of the death penalty in the United States, according to the NAACP. Nearly 60 percent of all inmates on federal death row are racial or ethnic minorities.   While whites represent approximately 50 percent of murder victims in the U.S., they represent a disproportionate 80 percent of the murder victims for which current death row inmates have been sentenced.
“This practice of executing Americans is not only morally wrong but makes no common sense,” said Jealous.  “We must end our country’s barbaric practice that is now disfavored by most nations in the world.:
Individuals can send emails to Governor Perdue by visiting

Resource Guide for Formerly Incarcerated

A new resource guide – three years in the making – will help formerly incarcerated persons find the basic services they need to stabilize their lives. The guide, sponsored by the Private Industry Council, City of Oakland, Port of Oakland, Community Re-Entry Services Provider’s Network and Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program, directs people to resources for housing, jobs, food, health care and more. Distribution is just beginning at the Santa Rita Jail. For information, contact Pooja Bhakta at (510) 768-4434 or pbhakta@oaklandpic

Congress Passes Credit Card Bill

Congresswoman Barbara Lee this week voted for a national credit card bill of rights to protect consumers against unfair practices.
The legislation, passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 361– 64, will now go on to President Barack Obama’s desk to be signed into law. The law would end the unfair practices of the credit card industry and protect consumers from the abusive tactics that have driven so many Americans deeper and deeper into debt.
“It’s unacceptable that during these incredibly difficult and challenging economic times, our constituents are increasingly being squeezed with egregious fees and dubious business practices by the very banks that their tax dollars have been bailing out,” said Lee.
“The bill will level the playing field between card issuers and cardholders by applying common sense regulations that would ban most retroactive interest rate hikes on existing balances, double-cycle billing and due-date gimmicks. While I believe the consumer protections in this bill should have gone into effect sooner, I am pleased that Congress has taken swift action to get this legislation to the President’s desk.
Lee said she was disappointed that the final bill retains language to allow guns in national parks. This language is not only unnecessary but unrelated to the goals of this bill which is to provide critical credit protections to consumers, she said.
“We cannot continue to allow the gun lobby to hold us hostage to their agenda,” she said.
The credit card bill would ban most interest rate increases on existing balances and increases notice of interest rate hikes going forward on new purchases. It requires that bills be sent 21 days before the due date; prohibits charging fees just to pay a bill by phone, mail or web; bans over-the-limit fees unless a consumer opts-in in advance; bans due-date tricks; requires payments to be applied fairly to the highest interest rate balance first; and strengthens credit card protections for young people.

DVD Tribute to Stanley “Tookie” Williams

By Jesse Douglas Allen-Taylor

If Crips gang co-founder and five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee Stanley “Tookie” Williams had not been executed by the State of California, could he have made a difference in calming troubled inner city neighborhoods and turning the country’s gangsta youth away from street violence and towards a more positive, productive path?
The question can never be answered, of course, but longtime Williams supporter and political-social activist and writer Barbara Becnel of Richmond keeps pushing us to continue asking it, as well as to continue the work Williams began after his conversion from gangsta to gang peace and street violence prevention while he was incarcerated on San Quentin’s Death Row.
Becnel’s latest project is a powerful and poignant hour-long documentary on the events surrounding Williams’ execution-”Tribute: Stanley Tookie Williams”-now available both in DVD and for showing at large venues.
The documentary is not a biography of Williams, but is an account of the events immediately preceding and following his execution. In fact, Williams himself only appears as something of a spirit-vision, never in motion but only as a series of mostly-black-and-white montage photographs, speaking only once, like a ghostly echo, at the film’s end.
The effect is like having just missed an earthquake or a lightning bolt striking a tree in the front yard, or a meteor blazing into the atmosphere across the night sky, and then sitting and listening to a group telling you about the experience.
“Tribute” switches back and forth in random order between three events-the vigil outside the grounds of San Quentin on the night of Williams’ execution in December of 2005, his funeral services, and a staged re-enactment of his execution held at Berkeley’s Black Repertory Theater on the first anniversary of his death.
Of the three events, the staged re-enactment is the weakest. By many witness accounts, Williams’ execution was botched, with the attending nurse unable at first to find a vein amidst Williams’ powerful arm muscles, and Williams later appearing to violently shake and suffer far longer than the swift passing of sentence the State of California contends. In all, the execution took 35 minutes to complete. The Black Rep re-enactment fails to capture what must have been the horror of those long moments.
But that is more than made up from the live footage of speakers at the San Quentin vigil and the Los Angeles funeral-the vigil in grainy black and white, the funeral in feature-length movie quality color. The funeral footage includes excerpts from a speech by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a eulogy by the Rev. Louis Farrakhan, who called Williams “the patron saint of all those struggling in gang life.”
But more powerful-if that seems possible-are the remarks by film producer Rudy Langlais, who witnessed Williams’ execution and recounts in quiet, understated tones both the execution itself and Williams’ last meeting with a small group of supporters-including Becnel-in his cell six hours before his death. Also included is footage of a poem read by rapper Snoop Dogg at the funeral, who credited Williams with turning him away from the gangsta life, and who breaks down in tears before its ending.
“TRIBUTE: Stanley Tookie Williams” can be purchased through the Stanley Tookie Williams Legacy Network at The website also includes a trailer on the movie, as well as information on where and when the movie will be shown.

Chris Rock’s “Good Hair” Gets Movie Deal

By Sandra Varner

According to reports from The Hollywood Reporter, “Good Hair,” the HBO Films documentary, which won a special jury prize when it premiered at Sundance in January, looks at hair culture in the black community. Roadside Attractions is set to release the film theatrically in the fall.

Chris Rock

Chris Rock

“I’m very happy to be working with the good people at Roadside Attractions,” Rock said. “I loved the job they did with ‘Super Size Me’ and hope we can have similar success.”
Rock produced and co-wrote “Hair,” and Jeff Stilson directed. The doc is a travelogue that explores the way hairstyles affect the activities, pocketbooks, sexual relationships and self-esteem of Black people. Ice-T, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symone, Maya Angelou and Rev. Al Sharpton share on-camera stories and observations.
Currently, Rock is filming “Death at a Funeral,” which he co-wrote and stars in. He also has “Grown Ups” in production with Adam Sandler.

Lee Honors High School Students at Congressional Arts Competition

Barbara Lee poses with East Bay young artists.

Barbara Lee poses with East Bay young artists.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) hosted the 29th annual “An Artistic Discovery” reception and awards ceremony on Saturday, May 16 2009 to honor budding high school artists from throughout the Ninth Congressional District of California.
“I consider it a privilege to participate in this important ceremony to highlight the wonderful young talent we have here in my Congressional District,” Congresswoman Lee said. “I extended special congratulations to the winners and commend every student who participated. I was very impressed by their potential, and I know they have made their family, friends and community very proud.”
The first-place winner of “An Artistic Discovery” – a Congressional high school arts competition that recognizes emerging artists throughout the country – was Evan Yee of Piedmont High School. Yee will receive three roundtrip tickets compliments of Southwest Airline to fly to Washington D.C. for a formal reception honoring winners from around the county in June. Yee’s work will also be displayed in the Halls of Congress for one year.
The distinction of second place went to Ben Bloom of Berkeley High School and Humanities Academy. Honorable mention went to Angela Won of Bishop O’Dowd High School and Loren Wong of Skyline High School.
This is the 11th year Congresswoman Lee has hosted this event. The Congresswoman presented each participant with special certificates of recognition during the ceremony. Artists and community leaders served as judges. Some 75 students representing public and private schools from throughout the Ninth Congressional District participated in this year’s competition.

Local Businesses Win Indie Awards

By D. Jean Collins
Special to the Post

Valerie Cotton (left) of Your First Thought Gifts & Events and D. Jean Collins of Beadwork by Black Louts show off their crafts at the Third Annual Indie Awards  celebration, held at the Crucible in West Oakland.

Valerie Cotton (left) of Your First Thought Gifts & Events and D. Jean Collins of Beadwork by Black Louts show off their crafts at the Third Annual Indie Awards celebration, held at the Crucible in West Oakland.

Allen Michaan, owner of Oakland’s landmark Grand Lake Theatre, triumphantly waved his Indie Award at an annual celebration honoring achievements of the city’s independent small businesses, artists and craftspeople.
“When your government tries to prevent you from speaking the truth don’t back down,” said Michaan, whose award recognized him  “Pillar” of the community.
The event was OneCalifornia Foundation’s 3rd Annual Indie Awards, held last Friday evening at the Crucible, a fine arts and industrial training center in West Oakland. Hundreds of people turned out to honor award winners, listen to music, examine and sample the products of local restaurants, artists, craftspeople and merchants.
This year’s winners included Woody’s Drapery & Laundromat and Rough and Ready Repairs, both winning “Neighborhood Dynamo” awards; Awaken Café, the “Greenie” environmental hero award; Khalil Shaheed, the “Oakland Soul” award; Girl with a Truck, the “Innovator” award; Margo Weiss, the “Ripple” effect award; Hip Learning, the “Youth Empowerment” award; and Catered to You, the “Newbie” award.

Students Give Rebirth to Miles Davis’ Cool

By Lee

Left to right:  Khalil Shaheed, Director; Parker Grant, trumpet; Nate Scheider, trumpet; Gurbir Dhillon, alto sax; Sarah Safae-bari, sax; Ian McArdle, piano; Baron Arnold, trombone; Savannah Harris, drums; Natallie Cressman, trombone; Thomas Semow, bass; Kaylin Jang, French Horn.

Left to right: Khalil Shaheed, Director; Parker Grant, trumpet; Nate Scheider, trumpet; Gurbir Dhillon, alto sax; Sarah Safae-bari, sax; Ian McArdle, piano; Baron Arnold, trombone; Savannah Harris, drums; Natallie Cressman, trombone; Thomas Semow, bass; Kaylin Jang, French Horn.

“Y’all nailin’ this. There’s nothing for me to do,” Khalil Shaheed tells 10 high school musicians following a run-through of the George Wallington composition “Godchild,” made famous by Miles Davis on his monumental 1949-50 “Birth of the Cool” recordings.
It’s the band’s third Saturday morning rehearsal at Oakland’s Studio One Art Center in preparation for a performance at 8 p.m. on Monday, May 25, at Yoshi’s in Oakland in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the classic jazz album, as well as the late trumpeter’s 83rd birthday.
Veteran jazz educator Shaheed, himself a trumpet player, has assembled some of the most gifted student musicians from schools throughout the Bay Area, including his 15-year-old daughter Savannah Harris, a freshman at San Francisco School of the Arts. She kicks the band along nicely with her solidly swinging drums on “Godchild” and other tunes, and her improvised, cleverly syncopated fills and brief solos bring to mind Max Roach, the drummer on two of the three sessions that yielded “Birth of the Cool.”
“I’m definitely inspired by a lot of things that he does, ‘cause he’s really melodic as a drummer and that’s one of the skills that’s hard to gain,” Harris later says of Roach.
“I would like you to know whose part you’re playing,” Shaheed says before counting off “Boplicity,” written by Davis’ friend Gil Evans for the  “Birth of the Cool” sessions. “Play their entries to the solos, ‘cause that’s what people will recognize; then you can play what you want.”
Two trumpeters switch off playing Davis’ parts, a baritone saxophonist fills in for Gerry Mulligan and a trombonist blows solo choruses originally taken by either Kai Winding or J.J. Johnson.
Although all tackle their tacks with a level of professionalism unusual for players of their age, Gubir Dhillon, a 17-year-old senior at Acalanes High School in Lafayette, succeeds especially well in capturing the spirit of Lee Konitz with his fiery alto saxophone solos. Konitz, now 81, is one of the few “Birth of the Cool” players still living, and Dhillon actually had a chance to meet him, two years ago at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.
The dozen selections that became known as “Birth of the Cool” were recorded in New York City for Capitol Records between January 1949 and March 1950 and were originally issued as 78-RPM singles.  It wasn’t until 1957, when Capitol compiled them for a 12-inch album, that a company executive titled them “Birth of the Cool.”
Davis previously had recorded as a sideman with Charlie Parker and others and cut a few records under his own name, but the Capitol sessions marked his stepping out as a major artist in his own right.
“This music really is ageless,” Dhillon says when asked why he enjoys playing jazz of such vintage.
“You never get tired of hearing albums like ‘Birth of the Cool’ and  ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis and ‘Blue Train’ by John Coltrane,” Shaheed adds. “They stand the test of time.”

Mayor Proposes Fee for Cigarette-Butt Cleanup

Mayor Gavin Newsom is proposing a fee on cigarettes sold in San Francisco. The fee will recover the cost of cleaning up cigarette litter on sidewalks and in gutters.
“All litter creates unnecessary costs for the city and its taxpayers,” said Mayor Newsom. “Cigarette butts are a big part of the problem.”

<br />

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom

This year, the city’s annual litter revealed that cigarette-related litter makes up 25 percent of all litter found on sidewalks in gutters. City government spends $44,282,843 per year picking up litter in San Francisco, and $10,694,425 per year is directly attributable to cigarette litter.
A new study documents the relationship between these costs and the incidence of tobacco litter; preliminary results indicate that the per pack fee will be 33 cents a pack.
Newsom will include this fee as a line item in his June 1 budget and will introduce legislation to enact a regulatory fee to recover these costs from the consumers of cigarettes. Retailers will be responsible for reporting and remitting the collected fee back to the City on a regular basis.
The collected revenue will go back to City departments charged with collecting litter.
Newsom also said that cigarette litter is bad for the environment.
“Cigarette butts contain benzene and toxic heavy metals that can poison the marine environment and leach into groundwater,” he said.
Newsom said that researchers at San Diego State University have learned that chemicals from just one filtered cigarette butt can kill all fish living in a one-liter bucket of water.

Celebrating Our History, Community and Pride

By Senator
Mark Leno

<br />

Senator Mark Leno

June is Pride month!  For nearly 40 years, the San Francisco Bay Area has been home to one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, which includes a month-long series of events and programs and culminates with the annual Pride parade.
We have many reasons to celebrate our pride this year as many states across the nation continue to recognize the importance of marriage equality for same-sex couples. At the same time, the passage of Proposition 8 in California shows us that we must redouble our outreach and educational efforts as we work to achieve full equality in the Golden State.
The celebration of Pride gives us an opportunity to highlight our community’s diversity and support civil liberties for all people. It is also a good time to appreciate the hard work of the pioneering advocates who came before us and courageously fought for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to be treated with dignity and respect. It’s a fight we continue today.
The origins of Pride date back to the last weekend of June 1969. The Civil Rights movement had been in full swing for at least a decade. The Second Wave of the Women’s Rights Movement was taking root.  Protests against the Vietnam War were growing, and Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated a year prior. Within this social and political context, another movement was about to emerge.
On June 27, 1969, police raided a popular gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Law enforcement officers claimed the raids were used to enforce liquor laws, but these laws were being selectively used against establishments that catered to LGBT people.
Before the Stonewall Inn incident, most patrons did not protest police raids for fear of being publicly exposed as gay or lesbian. The names of people who were arrested in raids would often be printed in the newspaper the next day as part of a social campaign to intimidate, threaten, and shame LGBT people. This fear only gave the police greater power to physically abuse, arrest, and scare people without resistance.
But on this June night in 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back. Street riots ensued on three subsequent nights, giving birth to a movement that prompted thousands of LGBT people to “come out of the closet” and proudly proclaim their identity.
In June of 1970, San Francisco held its first Pride parade in commemoration of the Stonewall riots, and that tradition continues today.
While many Pride parades in past 39 years have held special significance, 1977’s parade was particularly historic. That year, San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk rode down Market Street – a memory that many LGBT people still cherish. Harvey was the first openly gay person elected to public office in California. He served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors until he was tragically assassinated in 1978.
During his short political career, Harvey fought for social change and championed many issues, including access to education, affordable public transportation, low-income housing and civil rights. His fundamental belief that all people should be treated equally paved the way for the populist movement he pioneered for LGBT rights and his legacy continues to inspire the community to this day. In honor of Harvey, I have proudly authored Senate Bill 572, which creates Harvey Milk Day in California.
To learn more about the contributions of LGBT people and the community’s rich and vibrant history, visit the GLBT Historical Society at 657 Mission St. or view their special exhibit on Harvey Milk at 499 Castro St.. The Society’s galleries, archival materials and programs illustrate the LGBT experience. For information, go to the website at or call (415) 777-5455. To find out more about this year’s Pride events, contact San Francisco Pride at (415) 864-0831 or
If you are interested in marching with my contingent at this year’s Pride parade on Sunday, June 28, please contact my San Francisco District Office at (415) 557-1300 or San Rafael District Office at (415) 479-6612. You can also reach us at, or email me directly at

Third Baptist Celebrates 33 Years of Rev. Amos Brown’s Leadership

Rev. Amos C. Brown answered the call to the pastorate of Third Baptist Church of San Francisco in June 1976.

Pastor Amos Brown

Pastor Amos Brown

Celebrations for Dr. Brown, include: Sunday, June 7 at 3 p.m., featuring Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., Pastor Emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago; Sunday, June 14 at 10 a.m., featuring Dr. Charles Booth, Pastor of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church in Columbus, OH; Sunday, June 14, at 1 p.m. (Doors open at 12:30 p.m.), Pastor and Mrs. Brown will be honored at a brunch at the Westbay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore St. Tickets are $40 adults, $15 for children.
On Sunday, June 14 at 6 p.m., Jim Davis. Jr., former Minister of Music at Third Baptist and now, Minister of Music of Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York, will be featured in concert of sacred and classical music.
Under Dr. Brown’s leadership, Third Baptist Church has filled the social, academic, and spiritual needs of the underserved in the San Francisco Bay Area through the establishment of a summer school program that was approved by the San Francisco Unified School District, making units transferable; co-founded an after-school enrichment program, “Back on Track,” in partnership with Temple Emanuel Congregation; and the Charles Albert Tindley Academy of Music, an artistic, academic, and cultural enrichment program designed to reclaim the African American Musical heritage.
Through Dr. Brown’s leadership, Third Baptist Church has sponsored more African/Haitian refugees than any local congregation in the nation and sponsored 80 children from Tanzania, who received heart surgery in the U.S.
Pastor Brown led the Bay Area in raising $68,000 for the Somalian Relief Effort in 1984, which led to the founding of the Black American Response to the African Crisis, which raised $300,000 for the Ethiopian Famine and led to an airlift to Ethiopia under the auspices of the National Baptist Convention.
In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Dr. Brown has served as a member of the governing board of San Francisco Community College, National Chairman of the National Baptist Commission on Civil Rights and Human Services, member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Chairman of the Bay Area Ecumenical Pastors Conference, first Vice President of the California State Convention, and a member of the governing board of the National Council of Churches of Christ.
In 1997, Dr. Brown was inducted into the International Hall of Fame at Morehouse College’s International Chapel. In 2002, he was the recipient of the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Award Chapel and in 2007 the Morehouse College Candle in Religion Award. In 2004, he was the recipient of the A. Philip Randolph Institute’s C. L. Dellums Award for outstanding service to the San Francisco Community.
Third Baptist Church is located at 1399 McAllister St. San Francisco at the corner of Pierce St.

Roberta Flack to Open At Stern Grove

Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack will kick off Stern Grove’s Festival on Father’s Day, Sunday June 21, 2 p.m. The R&B legend will be joined by the “Piano Prince of New Orleans,” Davell Crawford.
This first event of the Stern Grove Festival’s 72nd Season will be admission-free, on the grass at 19th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.
Flack can trace her musical roots back to the era of Sam Cooke and Mahalia Jackson, emanating from the Baptist Church on her block.  Following her studies at Howard University, she shared stages with Liberace, Bill Cosby, and Woody Allen.  Her debut album featured “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” which hit number one on the charts.
In the 70’s she won back-to-back Grammys for Record of the Year in 1973 and l974, for her first hit and “Killing Me Softly.”  She collaborated with Donny Hathaway and soon released four albums.  Flack is currently working on her fifteenth album, due for release this year.
Guests are encouraged to bring picnics. low beach chairs and ground covers.  No pets or beach umbrellas.

Summer Jobs Program Needs Business Support

By Katherine Tam
West County Times

Jay Leonhardy

Jay Leonhardy

Richmond teens are lining up for summer job training by the hundreds, but there aren’t enough businesses to take them.
With less than two months to go before the teens are supposed to start work, the city of Richmond is finding itself short of work sites for about 200 youths. Officials are trying to recruit more businesses by the end of May and fear they will have to turn teens away if they can’t get enough.
“This year is challenging because of the economy,” said Jay Leonhardy, program manager. “It’s not free labor. It does take staff time to supervise and mentor, and employers are telling us they don’t have it this year.”
Richmond’s summer youth employment program places people ages 15 to 21 at the sites of partnering community organizations and businesses, which allow teens to work up to 121 hours throughout the summer while providing supervision and mentoring. Youths can earn up to $1,000 for the summer, depending on how many hours they work.
The program handles more youths per capita than larger California cities, including Oakland and Los Angeles, Leonhardy said. Last year, it placed more than 500 youths in job sites.
Officials hope to reach 600 students this year, and have amassed $592,000 of the $600,000 in donations and grants needed to cover their wages; businesses that take on the youngsters do not pay from their own pockets.
Recruiting enough businesses to partner with the city has proved challenging this year. They could place more students at work sites that have agreed to participate, but “we’d still be short,” Leonhardy said.
Businesses don’t get paid for participating. The payback, Leonhardy said, comes in the form of helping local youths get jobs, which reduces youth crime and pumps money back into the economy when the teens spend their new wages.
“The thing every youth has in common in this city is sooner or later, they’re going to have to pull a paycheck,” Leonhardy said. “We want local businesses to help groom them.”

Youth of Color in Theater

By Lisa Riley Roche
Deseret News

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. was named Saturday by President Barack Obama to be U.S. ambassador to China.
“I wasn’t looking for a new job in life, but a call from the president changed that,” Huntsman said, standing beside Obama at a White House press conference.
Obama described the importance of the post and asked Utahns to forgive him for taking away a popular governor.
“There are few countries in the world with a past so rich or a future so full of possibilities as China, with a vast population, growing economy and far-reaching influence, China will have a crucial role in confronting all the major challenges that face Asia and the world in the years ahead,” the president said.
During the early morning announcement, President Obama noted the GOP governor had played a key role in the campaign of his rival for the White House, Arizona Sen. John McCain. “I know Jon is the kind of leader who always put country ahead of party,” the president said, noting he understood Huntsman’s decision to join a Democratic administration would not be easy to explain to some in the GOP.
The appointment of Huntsman means Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will take over as the state’s chief executive.  Huntsman, a Republican, met late last year with representatives of the Democratic president’s administration about a possible appointment.
The governor, 49, has served as U.S. ambassador to Singapore, and was on a short list to fill the same role in China under President George W. Bush. He was also a U.S. trade ambassador to the region and has negotiated agreements with the Chinese government.
Huntsman speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese learned for an LDS Church mission to Taiwan. He and his wife, Mary Kaye, adopted a daughter from China.

South Berkeley Senior Center Announces 4th Annual Barbecue Fundraiser

Bennie Owens, Treasurer of Seniors In Progress.

Bennie Owens, Treasurer of Seniors In Progress.

“We’re planning a spectacular barbecue,” says Bennie Owens who is busy making plans for the event which helps finance the senior center’s activities.  Chicken, links, and ribs will be served with baked beans, salad and dessert on Saturday, June 6 from 10 am to 6pm at the South Berkeley Senior Center at 2939 Ellis Street in Berkeley at Ashby.  “The cost for dinner ranges from $10 for chicken to $12 for ribs, or we’ll be serving combos for $14 and $16, or a slab of ribs for $23.,” reports Owens.  “We’ll have music and activities, and it all goes for a very good cause.”
“This annual event welcomes senior citizens within the community to socialize and build friendships while dining on good food,” says Shellie Hill-Williams, Senior Service Aide at the center.
“The mission of the City of Berkeley Division on Aging is dedicated to promoting a dignified healthful quality of life for older adults by advocating for vital services.  It is an accessible and trusted community resource,” according to the Mission statement of the City of Berkeley.

Black Caucus Launches Darfur Fast for Life

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman Barbara Lee (center), along with 15 members of the CBC, actress/activist Mia Farrow (right-center) and activist Marcia Dyson (left-center) gathered on Capitol Hill today to draw attention to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman Barbara Lee (center), along with 15 members of the CBC, actress/activist Mia Farrow (right-center) and activist Marcia Dyson (left-center) gathered on Capitol Hill today to draw attention to the mounting humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Donald M. Payne, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health on Tuesday launched the Darfur for Life Campaign on Capitol Hill. T
The campaign is being led by the Congressional Black Caucus and calls the entire Congress and others to fast in solidarity with the Darfuri people who are suffering at the hands of the Omar al-Bashir regime in Sudan .
“Almost 15 years ago in Rwanda, the international community turned a blind eye while a million civilians were hacked to death,” said CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee. “Can we really say we have done any different in the case of Darfur, South Sudan, Abyei, and Nuba? We declared genocide in 2004, but we failed to act decisively to stop it.”
By fasting, Payne and Lee seek to remind Americans that the violence in Darfur continues and also to compel the U.S. government and the international community to take robust steps to end the humanitarian crisis. The Darfur Fast for Life Campaign will continue until Congress adjourns in August.
On May 10, Payne began a four-day water-only fast to prompt congressional leaders and the Obama administration to keep Darfur high on the agenda.  “I want to seize upon the momentum built after my initial fast by launching the Darfur Fast for Life Campaign on Capitol Hill,” said Payne.

Mural Adorns Wall in West Berkeley

By Doug Oakley
Berkeley Voice


A work in progress: Scaffolding covers a mural that is being painted on the wall of Mi Tierra Foods, a market at the corner of Addison Street and San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Sixteen-year-old Alejandra Avalos is learning to paint a mural.
It’s something she never thought she could do, but she gave it a try anyway.
Now she’s proud to tell friends and family that she’s part of a team that’s making a Berkeley street corner come alive with a painting that tells a story of the city’s Latino culture.
The 60-foot long mural in vivid colors at the corner of San Pablo Avenue and Addison Street is called Living without Borders, and is overseen by internationally known muralist Juana Alicia, also a resident of west Berkeley.
The project was started to inspire young people in the neighborhood and offer them an alternative to criminal temptation.
Avalos, who plans on being a nurse or working in a hospital some day, said working on the mural for the last month gave her confidence that she can try new things and succeed.
“One thing I really couldn’t do when I started is paint, and I thought I was going to mess up everything I did,” said Avalos, who lives around the corner on 7th Street.
“The first few times, I really messed up, so Juana helped me blend the colors, and that’s when I really got it.” At first she painted a woman’s skirt bright pink which looked “real horrible,” Avalos said.
“So I put in purple, blue and a little bit of red and now it looks like it’s supposed to,” she added.
Avalos gets paid $8 an hour for 10 hours a week. Beyond that, her labor is volunteer, she said.
Avalos agreed that a project like this is probably good for kids in west Berkeley.
“Some of them don’t even go to school, and they’re just wandering around the street during the day,” Avalos said.
The project is funded by grants from UC Berkeley and other sources and has no less than 10 community groups and the city of Berkeley involved.
It features a variety of stories, but includes a pro-immigration message with a woman tearing up a map of the U.S. Mexican border, has a couple saying goodbye at the border and pays tribute to area youths killed in gang violence.
Alicia, who teaches a mural program at Berkeley City College, said she hopes the mural will be done by the end of May. A veteran of several murals projects in San Francisco, Alicia said a good mural needs support from area residents or it will fail.
“The community is the silent partner, and if you don’t make them your partner, they’re not so silent,” Alicia said.
Mi Tierra Foods owner, Jesus Mendez, whose wall the mural is being painted on, turned out to be a great partner, Alicia said.
“I thought this would be a good opportunity for some of the kids to show their talent and for the at-risk youth to do something positive,” Mendez said. “And since we’re a small business, we try to support anything that helps the community.”