From November 2010

Urban Solutions celebrates Rebirth of Fillmore

The Western Addition area, including Fillmore Street, has long been the historical home and heart of San Francisco’s African American community.  Blacks flocked to the area just before World War II, as part of the great migration from the South- Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas, coming west to California and San Francisco.

Soon Black-owned nightclubs and businesses sprouted up on Fillmore Street.  Clubs such as the Texas Play House, Blue Mirror and the Bird Cage, ushered in a golden area of jazz and Black business in San Francisco. But this ended in the 1960s, as the Fillmore became he target of Redevelopment, which destroyed thousands of African American owned homes, businesses and much of San Francisco’s Black community.

Today, the Fillmore is a shell of its former self, but the area is making a comeback.  The past few years have seen the opening of new restaurants, such as 1300 on Fillmore, the Sheba Lounge, Bruno’s Pizzeria and Bumzy’s cookies.  New entertainment venues such Yoshi’s Jazz supper club, have renewed interest in older venues such as the Fillmore Auditorium, the Boom Boom Room and Rasellas Jazz Club. Read more

Church Leaders Urge End to Cuba Travel Restrictions

Religious leaders in the United States and Cuba are hopeful that U.S.-imposed restrictions on religious travel and financial transfers soon will be eased by the Obama administration.
In a Nov. 15-16 visit, a delegation of Cuban Protestant church leaders from the Cuban Council of Churches pressed their concerns about the inhibiting effects of the travel restrictions and financial transfers in meetings with officials of the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council.
They also spoke at a briefing for members of Congress and their staff aides, hosted by Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jim McGovern (D-MA).
One objective of their meetings was to convince the Obama administration to remove severe U.S. restrictions on religious and other `people-to-people` travel, to Cuba. The tightened restrictions, in place since 2005, are an outgrowth of the Bush administration’s new interpretation and application of the U.S. Code governing travel. Read more

Protesting Neighbors Halt Home Auction

By Talia Ehrlich Dashow

Lynette Neidhardt, an Oakland homeowner for the past 23 years, had filled out forms and done everything the bank had told her to do in an attempt to avert foreclosure.
Despite her efforts, she was told that her house, where she is still living, would be auctioned off  on the steps of Alameda County Courthouse.
Joining with her friends and neighbors Nov. 12, just a few hours before the property was to be sold, she staged a protest at US Bank offices in Oakland, chanting “Stop the auction, stop the sale today!”
She and her friends showed up in person ask for more time, to make sure that the bank could not avoid listening.  Providing support were members of the Oakland chapter of Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), which is working to resist foreclosures.
There was no manager at the bank and no mortgage office. So far, no one at US Bank had sat down with her to discuss renegotiating her mortgage, she said, although she says that federal law requires someone at the bank to meet with her face to face. Read more

Black Historian Margaret Burroughs, 93

Margaret Burroughs

Margaret Burroughs, founder of Chicago’s famed DuSable Museum of African American History, died in her sleep this weekend at the age of 93.
Burroughs, who earned a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1948, was a political activist, artist, community activist, poet and author of children’s books who helped shape the lives of Chicago residents for decades in large ways and small.
Burroughs gained her greatest notoriety in 1961 when she, with her second husband Charles, founded the DuSable Museum of African American History, which gained fame for exhibits dedicated to the civil rights movement.
After serving as museum director until 1985, Burroughs was appointed Commissioner of the Chicago Park District in 1985.
Burroughs spent her life exposing Black people to Black and African culture. Her work has inspired younger generations to follow in her steps.

James Fowler Pleads Guilty to Killing Jimmie Lee Jackson 45 Years Later

James Bonard Fowler

Forty-five years after he was killed by an Alabama State Trooper Jimmie Lee Jackson, whose death lead to the first civil rights march on Selma, he is finally getting a small measure of justice.
James Bonard Fowler, 77, a former state trooper, pled guilty to shooting Jackson and will serve six months in prison. He also apologized for his actions but still claimed the shooting was in self-defense:
“I was coming over here to save lives,” said Fowler. “I didn’t mean to take lives. I wish I could redo it.”
It is the conclusion of a court case that has lingered since the 1960s, but the conclusion still seems to not value Jackson’s life.
Albert Turner Jr., Perry County commissioner, called the verdict “a slap in the face of the people of this county.”
“I understand District Attorney Michael Jackson’s reasoning as to why he accepted Fowler’s plea of misdemeanor manslaughter,” Turner said. Read more

Little Rock Central High School Desegregation Silver Dollar Program

Silver Dollar Uncirculated Obverse

On the fiftieth anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, AR, the United States Mint introduced commemorative coin in 2007. These 500,000 silver dollars recognize and pay tribute to the strength, the determination and the courage displayed by African-American high school students in the fall of 1957.
In the landmark 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the United States Supreme Court declared racial segregation in public schools  to be unconstitutional. The events in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, was an important step in the country’s quest for racial equality in public education.
So important was the successful integration of this school to the American Civil Rights movement that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. personally attended the 1958 commencement for the school’s first African American graduate.
The obverse of this coin features a simple, yet powerful design depicting students, accompanied by an armed United States soldier, walking to school. The design includes nine stars, each symbolic of those who faced  violence and hatred of a segregated society unwilling to live by the words of its most important declaration, that “all men are created equal.” Read more

NAACP Returns to Roots of Activism Daisy Bates Education Summit

The Daisy Bates plan was implemented in 1957, called for the NAACP to register nine black students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High. They were selected on the criteria of excellent grades and attendance. The “Little Rock Nine” consisted of Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford , Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts , Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray Karlmark , Thelma Mothershed , and Melba Beals . Daisy Bates, standing econd from left .

The NAACP will be hosting its annual Daisy Bates Education Summit Dec. 2-4 at the Sheraton Raleigh Hotel in Raleigh, NC.
The summit will convene grassroots organizers from across the country to train them on how to move the NAACP’s education agenda forward with a combination of traditional and innovative education organizing techniques conducted in concert with local allies.
The late Daisy Bates was president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP and the advisor to the Little Rock Nine.  NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous will deliver the keynote address and call for leaders to emulate the work of Daisy Bates.
The Daisy Bates plan was implemented in 1957, called for the NAACP to register nine black students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High. They were selected on the criteria of excellent grades and attendance.
The “Little Rock Nine” consisted of Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed and Melba Beals.
“Despite mob threats and intimidation and cross burnings on her property, Daisy Bates persisted because of her strong beliefs of a quality education system for America’s children,” said Jealous.
“This nation needs comprehensive education reform from pre-kindergarten to college, and now is not the time to sit on the sidelines,” he said. “The only way that we can pull this country out of the great recession is to educate the next generation to compete in a global economy, and that starts with access to a quality, equitable and fair education system.
“Throughout this summit the NAACP will address the current problems within our education system, the attempt to re-segregate schools across the country and roll back the clock on the children of this nation.”
The NAACP has over 2200 branches, and units and each has an education committee.

Food Safety Tips for Holiday Feasts

As the holiday season ramps up, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reminding Californians about the importance of safe food handling to prevent foodborne illness.
“Thorough cooking, adequate refrigeration, good hand washing and work area hygiene are the key practices to prevent foodborne illness,” said CDPH Director Dr. Mark Horton. “Properly prepared and handled foods ensure not only a safe holiday meal, but a safe meal every day.”
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths annually in the United States are related to foodborne diseases. Read more

World AIDS Day Will Keep Light on Human Rights

By Jesse

On World AIDS Day, which is observed Dec.1 of each year, it is common to hold memorials to honor people who have died from HIV/AIDS.
Informative and educational events are being held on every continent. The theme for 2010 is Lights for Rights, a campaign that focuses on human rights and HIV by encouraging people around the world to dim their lights in remembrance of the devastating effects AIDS has on the world.
Turning the lights back on expresses the will to help keep the spotlight on human rights and HIV. Read more

Comcast Children’s Holiday Parade in Oakland

More than 100,00 spectators on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 2 p.m., will celebrate the 11th Annual Comcast America’s Children’s Holiday Parade along Broadway and 20th Street in downtown Oakland.
Joining the parade this year for the first time as Honorary Grand Marshal is Mr. Steve from Mornings on PBS KIDS. Parent’s Choice Gold Award-winning music sensation Steve Songs joined PBS KIDS as Mr. Steve in 2008. With his winsome smile, melodic voice and guitar, Mr. Steve delights preschoolers every day.
Miss Rosa, also of Mornings on PBS KIDS, will be returning to the parade as Honorary Grand Marshal with Mr. Steve. Miss Rosa is a lovable, bubbly, preschool teacher of Costa Rican and Puerto Rican descent. She is bilingual and switches back and forth between English and Spanish.
There will be a full lineup of PBS KIDS favorite stars including: “Cat in the Hat,” “Buddy the Dinosaur,” the cast of “Super Why,” “Sid the Science Kid” and “Hooper.”

County Accepts Nominations for Annual Women’s Hall Of Fame

Alameda County is now accepting applications for the 18th Annual Women’s Hall of Fame, which will honor outstanding local women in 12 different categories.
Organizers of the Hall of Fame have decided to expand the program in 2011 by adding the 12th category, Philanthropy.  Women in this category will be honored for “efforts to increase the well-being of humankind by promoting and championing charitable aid.’’
Other categories are: Business and Professions; Community Service; Culture and Art; Education; Environment; Health; Justice; Non-Traditional Careers; Science; Sports and Athletics and Youth.
The inductees for 2011 will be honored at a luncheon and awards ceremony Saturday, March 19, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral on Lincoln Avenue in Oakland.  The event will be hosted by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and the Alameda County Commission on the Status of Women.
The deadline to submit nominations is Dec. 3.   To submit an online nomination or to obtain more information, go to, or call (510) 272-3884 or (510) 259-3871.
“Last year, we had our largest-ever event with nearly 500 people in attendance,’’ said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator and co-chair of the Women’s Hall of Fame Planning Committee.
“We hope the event is even bigger in 2011 – with more people in attendance to honor some very special women and more donations available to give to some very deserving charities in Alameda County,’’ she said.
The program raises money for local charities addressing issues affecting women and children. In 2011, the Women’s Hall of Fame will also sponsor a Youth Scholarship to help an 11th or 12th grade female student further her education.
“We are very excited about the 2011 Women’s Hall of Fame because, as this program grows, we are bringing new levels of recognition to outstanding local women who make vital contributions to our communities,’’ said Shirley M. Bordelon, chair of the commission.
The 2011 Women’s Hall of Fame inductees will be announced in January. Tickets to the March 19 luncheon and awards ceremony are $75.

Jobs and Youth Mentoring Are Priorities for Mayor Jean Quan

By Ken A. Epstein

Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan (second from left) and Rev. Harvey Blomberg (second from right) present Thanksgiving gifts to neighbors of Miracles of Faith Community Church.

While most of our neighbors are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, Oakland’s  Mayor elect Jean Quan is working furiously to prepare to step into her new role as chief executive of the city.
On top of her busy schedule of meetings and meeting with community leaders are the large numbers of requests for media interviews, some coming from reporters as far away as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai who are fascinated by Quan’s status as a pioneering Chinese American  mayor of a major U.S. city.
To come to grips with Oakland’s still catastrophic unemployment rate, Quan says she believes that the city’s upcoming development projects, including the Oak to 9th Street, the airport connector and the Oakland Army Base projects, can provide many Oakland residents with jobs for six to 10 years, if local hiring rules are strictly enforced and companies are not allowed to avoid, sidetrack or dead-end the new workers
“I want to make sure it is tracked, and (the newly hired workers) get all the way through the program to get their union cards, guaranteeing compliance of the city and unions,”said Quan in an interview with the Post. “They have to be able get through the apprenticeship get their union cards. Read more

Sobrante Park Resident Ken Houston Gives Back

Mendoza Family with Ken Houston. From left to right: Victoria Reiz, Stephenopolus, Ken Houston, Christopher Rodriquez, Maria Rodriquez, Isabella Rodriquez and Margarita Rodriquez. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Local Sobrante Park resident and neighborhood advocate Ken Houston organized a charitable turkey giveaway this week in the Woodland and Sobrante Park neighborhoods of East Oakland.
Houston, a second generation Sobrante Park resident, felt compelled to give back during this holiday season, “I see despair and poverty every time I walk out my door,” he said.“Being in the position to help neighborhood families like this is something I couldn’t ignore.”
Connected to the Turner Construction Group, he recently completed renovating a portion of Sobrante Park Elementary School and felt the best way to use those profits would be to immediately reinvest them in the community.
“Sobrante Park has been stricken with murders for years, and just last week a close friend who I grew up and went to school with fell victim to this violence,” he said.  “I love my community and my neighbors and wanted to give them a little something extra to be thankful for, and hopefully brighten their holiday.”
A long time neighborhood advocate, Houston has leveraged his personal relationships to pull together a vibrant coalition of holiday sponsors, including District 7 City Councilmember Larry Reid, and Broadway Mechanical Contractors. Inc., which will provide transportation for the project., helping distribute  500 free turkeys at churches and schools in neighborhoods during the week leading up to Thanksgiving.

Emeryville Ravens Heading to Florida Youth Super Bowl Championship

Adger,Demaria, Neal,Erron. Talton, Daymonte. Sanchez, Antonio Smith, Eric Harris, Breon Gibbs, Kalee Torrence, Jamel Robinson, Deshawn Whittley, J Ordan Jackson, Lionel Hill, Jumaal Brown, Kenneth Jefferson, Michael Ingram, Perrish Glover, Alexis Robinson, Ryan Thornton, Justice Mason, Gerald Thomas,Eld’zhan Massey, Carlos Gonzales, Fernando. Head Coach: Solomon Ervin.

The Emeryville Ravens of the American Youth Football Nor Cal league won their division as Bay Area champions and are planning to go Orlando Florida to participate in the Jr. American Youth Football Super Bowl Championship Game.
The team has dedicated its current season to a young athlete who lost his life in the streets. Young people from group homes, foster children and kids from single parent homes compete on the Ravens team.
There are actually two teams.  The Cadets are children ages 7 through 10.  Older competitors, aged 13 through 15, play for the Midgets. The players come from Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley and Emeryville
Minister Mustafa Muhyee, pastor of the newly founded BASIC Ministry Church of East Oakland, serves as the team’s general manager. He is also one of the head coaches.
“This football team offers so much more than athletic competition,” he said.  “Young people learn discipline, anger management, goal setting and life skills from caring adults.  We have all the components here that serve to redirect a person’s life away from the pitfalls of the streets to the promise of purposeful life and higher education.”   Read more

UC Berkeley Gets $16.5 Million for Children’s Health Studies

Stephen Shortell, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health are getting $16.5 million to support three research centers as part of a federal initiative to examine the environmental factors influencing children’s health.
The grants to UC Berkeley are among $54 million recently awarded to 12 university-based centers across the country by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). UC Berkeley is the only institution to have received awards for multiple centers.
The new grants are part of a program that began in 1998 with eight centers funded by the NIEHS and the EPA. The newest funding incorporates the latest biomonitoring tools and advances in epigenetics, or the study of inheritable genetic changes linked to exposure to chemical and environmental agents.
“This research will address the environmental health risks of some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, and the knowledge gained will lead to new polices and practices that will help mitigate these risks,” said Stephen Shortell, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health.
Of the 12 new centers, six will each receive an average of $7.5 million over five years. An additional six, charged with studying less-established environmental determinants of children’s health, will each receive an average of $1.5 million over three years. Read more

SF Rally Against Japan Abductions of Unification Church Members

With shouts of “Stop Japan Abductions!” and “Protect Human Rights & Religious Freedom!” a group of 25 people held a rally in front of the downtown offices of the Consulate General of Japan in San Francisco.
Sponsored by the Coalition to Stop Japan Abductions, the Tuesday rally joined similar rallies taking place that day in major cities across the U.S. calling for the government of Japan to stop the practice of relatives of Unification Church members in Japan abducting, confining, torturing, and in some cases raping church members to forcibly try to break their faith. Read more

Malia Cohen Reaches Out to Former District 10 Candidates

By Lee Hubbard

Malia Cohen

With the election of Malia Cohen to the Supervisors seat in District 10, she also becomes the de-facto Black political leader in San Francisco, as she will be the highest-ranking Black elected official in the city when she is sworn into office on Jan. 3.
“It feels good and humbling to know I will be the Supervisor for District 10,” said Cohen. “I am elected to represent District 10, but I will be caring for all people of San Franciscans. That is one of the lessons that I have learned.”
Elected as supervisor under the ranked choice voting system, she won 52 percent of the vote, beating Tony Kelly who had 47 percent.
One of her main issues will be on jobs and economic development in the area, promoting development of small businesses and the revitalization of Third Street, she said.
“We need … jobs that provide careers to the residents in the southeast sector,” she said. “I want the area to see sustainable jobs that are pathways to careers. Oftentimes, when we see construction, Black laborers are holding up signs.”
Since the campaign, she has been spending much of her time meeting with the other candidates in the race, already talking to former candidates Dewitt Lacy, Geoffrea Morris and Marlene Tran to get a sense of their issues and concerns.
This is important, according to Ed Donaldson, a housing advocate and one of the candidates in the race, who feels that Cohen needs to reach out to everyone who ran to form a broad perspective on what needs to be done.
“I think the lesson learned is that Malia needs to do more coalition building, like maybe running a coalition-style government,” said Donaldson.
“Malia Cohen won because the bulk of Lynnette Sweet’s second place votes went to her over Tony Kelly,” Donaldson said. “This suggests that by having so many African American candidates in the race, the second and third choice votes were going to African Americans.”
Cohen has to address a list of important issues that will come to shape the future of District 10, an area that includes Potrero Hill, Bay View Hunters Point, Portola Valley, Visitation Valley and Sunnydale.
“ There are lot of critical issues going on including mandatory local work force hiring, housing foreclosures, public housing displacement, stopping the Black migration out of the city, the development of the Hunters Point shipyard and Third Street, re-entry programs for ex-offenders in San Francisco and District 10, ” continued Donaldson. “The groundwork is engaged for her to work with people and make things happen for everyone in the community
“Frankly we need some political respect for our community,” said Willie Ratcliff, the publisher of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. “It will be up to her to stand up for this community.”

Delta Sigma Theta’s Scholarship Breakfast

Delta Sigma Theta Holds Prayer Breakfast at Allen Temple. From left to right: Reverend Natalya Johnson, Pastor Brondon Reems, Pastor Charley Hames, Jr., Candace Hill Lewis - President San Francisco Alumnae Chapter, Reverend Gwendolyn Boyd - guest speaker, Reverend Sharon Hollie, Reverend Dr. Katherine L. Ward, Father Jay Matthews and Iman Sideeq Islam

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. San Francisco Alumnae Delta Community Foundation held its first Annual Prayer Breakfast fundraiser in Oakland,  “A Day To Be Thankful,” to raise money for student scholarships
The event was held last Saturday at Allen Baptist Temple Church, Family Life Center Auditorium.
The scholarships will support students who are residents of San Francisco and Marin Counties, high school seniors accepted for admission to a four-year college or university. Applicants must be able to demonstrate community volunteerism within their school or community and have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5.  In addition, the Chapter awards scholarships to an African-American student accepted in the San Francisco Merola Opera Program. Scholarship awards total about $12,000.
The special guest speaker at last Saturday’s fundraiser was Reverend Gwendolyn E. Boyd, an ordained itinerant elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She serves as the Executive Minister for Church Operations at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church in Fort Washington, Maryland. Read more

Ethel Melba Mouton, 99

Ethel Melba Mouton

Ethel Melba Mouton, the matriarch of the Mouton family, died Saturday Nov. 20. She was 99.
Born Feb. 15, 1911, she raised six children in Oakland, two of whom preceded her in death. She will be laid to rest Friday, Dec. 3. The funeral service and mass begins at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church 1023 Peralta St. in Oakland. The burial service will follow. A reception will also be held at St. Patrick’s.

Howard Ransom, 83, Golfing Pioneer, Entrepreneur

Howard Ransom, Sr.

Howard Ransom, Sr., 83, died Monday in his sleep of natural causes.
He had lived in Oakland for 50 years before moving to his family farms in Oklahoma. He and his daughter Sheila Medina, who lives in Los Angeles, were visiting the Bay Area for their relatives’ Thanksgiving celebrations.
Ransom became the first African American to manage a major metropolitan golf course when he took over the Galbraith Golf Course near the Oakland Airport. He also was the U.S. Army Golf Champion while serving during the Korean War.
He had operated many businesses and franchises in Oakland including Creamcrest Dairy, a Jack in the Box restaurant and a shoe store.
In 1966, he and Johnnie Lacy, Dr. Norvel Smith, Paul Cobb, Beatrice Slider, Booker Emery, Lillian Love and Ralph Williams started the West Oakland Economic Development Corporation, which was the forerunner of the Oakland Model Cities Program.
As a member of OCHI and OCCUR he helped establish and acquire numerous properties for seniors, low-income and homeless populations.
Ransom was born Feb. 27, 1927 in Muskogee, Oklahoma. His mother Isadore Cobb, his brother Stanley Delance Cobb and his late wife, LaRita Cooper Ransom all predeceased him in Oakland. His son Howard Ransom, Jr., died in 2009 in Los Angeles.
He is survived by is daughter Sheila Medina, granddaughter LaRita Medina and his son Phillip Ransom in Okalahoma City.
A memorial service will be held at Evergreen Baptist Church in December.

Jay-Z Says When He Was 12 He Shot His Brother

By Mac Montandon


In an interview with The Guardian newspaper the rap star and entrepreneur said that when he was 12 years old he shot his brother, Eric.
The brothers were living in the notoriously rough Marcy housing project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn at the time. Eric was addicted to crack, Jay-Z says, and had stolen one of Jay’s rings to help finance his addiction. So the future multi-millionaire shot him.
“Jay-Z Reveals Secrets to New Book “Decoded”
Ultimately Eric never pressed charges and later apologized for the theft when Jay-Z visited him in the hospital.
“I thought my life was over,” Jay-Z said. “I thought I’d go to jail forever.”
He didn’t, of course, and instead went on to amass a fortune pegged at $450 million from his musical career as a performer and label founder, as well as savvy investments in everything from fashion to the Broadway hit, “Fela!”
In a manner, the mic master has already discussed the chilling event — in his 1997 song “You Must Love Me” Jay-Z raps: “Saw the devil in your eyes, high off more than weed, confused, I just closed my young eyes and squeezed. What a sound,  opened my eyes just in time to see ya stumbling to the groun.”

Kamala KOs Cooley

Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General

Three weeks after the Nov. 2 election, California residents finally learned that San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will become the state’s next ‘s next attorney general, after her Republican opponent conceded Thursday.
Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley had declared victory on election night, but in ensuring days, the race flip-flopped between the two candidates as areas across the state continued the slow process of counting mail-in and provisional ballots. Thursday, Cooley called Harris, who is leading by 50,000 votes, to concede and congratulate her.
She will be California’s first female and first Black/Indian attorney general.
In a prepared statement, Cooley said his campaign believes that “we cannot make up the current gap in the vote count.”
Harris will now join San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom – the state’s lieutenant governor-elect – in Sacramento next year.

Iraq Veteran’s Films Portray Realities of Coming Home

Christopher Loverro

Veterans returning home from the war will be the central theme of a benefit student film screening hosted by the College of Marin Drama Club on Sunday, Dec. 5, 5 p.m., at Only Hall on the college campus in Kentfield.
“The whole idea is to have a dialogue with the community,” said filmmaker Christopher Loverro, 43, who served 12 months in Mosul, Iraq as an Army Reserve Civil Affairs Staff Sergeant attached to the U.S. Army’s first Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Lewis, WA. He returned home at the end of 2004.
Loverro, a former Berkeley police officer, enrolled in the Berkeley Digital Film Institute where he made several short semi-autobiographical films about veterans coming home after service. He has enrolled at College of Marin to study acting. His work draws attention to the issues combat veterans face when they return from battle.
The film screening will feature three short films:
• “Soldier’s Journey,” a semi-autobiographical depiction of a soldier talking about suicide and Post Traumatic Street Disorder with a therapist. (8 minutes)
• “A Journey Home,” a film about a solider serving in Iraq with best friend who gets killed and volunteers to go home and notify the widow. (25 minutes)
• ‘Hidden Casualties,” a wordless depiction about a soldier who commits suicide. (4 minutes)
After the screening, a panel of Bay Area veterans will discuss the issues veterans face and how they can be assisted in returning to their home communities. Representatives from UC Berkeley Veterans’ Club, College of Marin Veterans’ Club, J/P Haitian Relief Organization and Pakistan Flood Relief will be available at the screening to accept direct donations. Read more

Living Legend Dick Gregory Speaks in Marin City

By Godfrey Lee.
Melvin Atkins contributed
to this story

Top row from left: Melvin Atkins, Oshalla Dianne Marcus, Dick Gregory. Below: Dick Gregory speaking to the audience in the Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City. Photos by Godfrey Lee.

With less than a 24-hour window in which to act, the Black History Year Committee and the Marin City community came together to host Richard “Dick” Gregory, one of America’s living legends and historic figures.
Gregory had been in Oakland earlier last Thursday to help commemorate the 32nd anniversary and memorial of the massacre in Jonestown, Guyana. The Jonestown massacre, which occurred in 1978, took the lives of over 900 people, including 350 children and infants. The memorial was held at the Evergreen Cemetery and was organized by Jynona Norwood.
Gregory was one of several speakers at the memorial.  “As a family man with 10 children and 12 grandchildren, I can feel the pain of that tragedy, and I want to share my sympathy with family and friends,” he said, identifying grief as a devastating experience that often kills those who cannot rise above it. Read more

The Chinese and all that Jazz 中國的節奏 zhōng guó de jié zòu

By Gregory

The nightclubs in China rivaled any I had seen in the States only on a larger scale–I mean gymnasium size.
The music was contemporary and rhythmic summoning the crowds to the dance floor.
I heard R&B tunes from the O’Jays to Michael Jackson.  In more quaint settings, I heard a young man accompanying himself on the keyboard while singing the tunes of Nat King Cole.
The Mainland Chinese have discovered Black America, or should I say its musical art form.  Dare I say their interest seems to be more pervasive and intense than that of the American Born Chinese (ABCs).   It appears even the stoically reserved Chinese can’t resist the rhythms of R&B and the free-flowing expression of Jazz.  Indeed, the latter might explain the Mainlander’s embracing of Jazz for its unfettered self-expression. Read more