From September 2011

Sweet Bye Bye Coming to Stage Play

Denise Michelle Harris

Warner Books National Bestseller Sweet Bye Bye is coming to the stage at the Berkeley Black Repertory Group Theatre. Written by author and playwright, Denise Michelle Harris, the stage play is adapted from the novel, which was featured in Essence magazine and on CBS.
Harris’ amusing and inspirational inaugural novel earned its place on the Top-seller List just two weeks after its debut, and also found a home among Walden Books African American Bestsellers. The book’s popularity, entertainment quality and compelling message were key to Harris being offered an opportunity to develop a script for the stage production. Read more

John Salley Speaks to Kids at Baseball Clinic for Children Age 7-18

Former Detriot Pistons center John Salley gave a motivational speech to Oakland’s youth at a baseball clinic. Photo by Theron Henderson

Major League Baseball players C.C. Sabathia, Jimmy Rollins and Dontrelle Willis, who at one time attended free baseball clinics are a testimony to the importance of supporting free sports clinics for those living in underserved communities.  And the city of Oakland has produced some of the best,  Rickey Henderson, Joe Morgan, Frank Robinson, Ernie Lombardi, Harry Hooper just to name a few have come from the East Bay. Read more

Erika Alexander’s Remarkable Life

Erika Alexander

Erika Alexander has the kind of life story that seems like it could only happen in the movies. The child of two orphans, Erika grew up in the mountains of Arizona. Her father was an itinerant preacher who kept the family moving. Then an amazing series of “discoveries” by a who’s who of film, theater and television propelled her into a remarkable career.
Famed producers Merchant and Ivory “discovered” her in a basement theater in Philadelphia and cast her as the lead in their film, My Little Girl. She was then “discovered” by theater legend Peter Brook for his epic Royal Shakespeare Company production, The Mahabharata. She created the role of “Madri/Hidimbi” and toured the world. Public Theater founder Joseph Papp “discovered” Erika and cast her in his last play, The Forbidden City. As if this weren’t enough, TV icon Bill Cosby then “discovered” Erika, and created the role of “Cousin Pam” for her on The Cosby Show.
Alexander starred for five years as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw”in the hit series Living Single, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy. She also won critical raves as parole officer-on-the-edge “Dee Mulhern” in Showtime’s original series Street Time. Read more

4th Annual Iscah Uzza in the Pink Fashion Show to Benefit the Mammography Screening of Alameda Inc.

Camari Henderson brings the strut and swagger back to young urban America, by creating high-end quality clothing with the heart and versatility of today’s urban market.
Camari believes that fashion should not confine you to a certain level or place in life but should be used as a key to open doors to your future.  An individual’s sense of style should not solely be based on the environment that they are in, but should be as broad as they envision their future.  
 Seeing many people in her life affected by not just breast cancer, but cancer in general that in 2008 she put on her first solo project fashion show in Berkeley,  that became an annual event to raise money for breast cancer awareness.  Read more

Four Seasons Arts Celebrates 53rd Season

Tai Murray

Four Seasons Arts will open their 53rd concert season with renowned artists  Ann Hobson Pilot, harpist,  and violinist Tai Murray in a duo recital, playing works by Donizetti, Bach, Saint-Saëns and Piazzolla. The concert will be Oct. 15th at the Regents Theatre at Holy Names University, Oakland at 7:30.
A documentary of the legendary African-American harpist Ann Hobson Pilot will be aired on KQED-Channel 9 on Sunday, October 2 at 2:30 pm. This compelling documentary, entitled “A Harpist’s Legacy – Ann Hobson Pilot and the Sound of Change” profiles the inspirational life and musical career of a gifted African-American woman’s triumph over barriers of race and gender to become the principal harpist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for nearly 30 years – the first Black woman principal player in a major symphony orchestra. She is revered by many, Read more

Documentary “Hole in the Head” Reveals Another “Tuskegee” Atrocity

Verus Hardmian

By Tanya Dennis

The infamous “Tuskegee Experiment” between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service took 399 African American men in the late stages of syphilis and allowed them to go untreated in order to document the ultimate outcome of the ravages of the disease.  This experiment has remained a black eye on American society for decades.  The fact that our Public Health Service would take poor illiterate sharecroppers from the poorest counties in Alabama, and tell them they were being treated, and allow them to die, was believed by most to be the worst story that could ever emerge regarding white America’s ruthlessness.  Think again.
In a documentary narrated by actor Dennis Haysbert Read more

Heart Transplant Survivor Anderson Irvin Dies

Anderson Irvin, an 11 year heart transplant survivor died Sept. 3
 Anderson Irvin, the brother of Tennessee Tribune Publisher, Rosetta Miller Perry, had a phenomenal life after receiving a Heart Transplant in 2000. He returned to college and earned a B.A. at age 63, received a heart transplant at age 66.
He became a member of the Milwaukee Special Olympics at 68 as a broad jumper (same role he played in high school in Coraopolis, PA). He was a devoted volunteer who spoke throughout the country to ethnic groups about the need for African Americans to become organ donors. He was an avid participant of the Transplant Games nationally and internationally, winning both Read more

Banks Pull Out of Settlement With Attorney Generals

Reverend Mario Howell of the Antioch Church Family before his arrest told Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf at the Shareholders meeting that “If you believe in the same God as I do, then you will stop the foreclosure madness right now.” Photo by Jonathan Nack

By Tanya Dennis

In May, thousands of people gathered in California, New York, Ohio and North Carolina and demanded that the Attorney Generals not cower under the pressure of the big banks during their multi-state negotiations and hold the banks accountable for their fraudulent loans.
At that time American Banker, a publication read by senior banking and financial services executives, reported that the banks had presented a revised draft of the settlement proposal removing principal reduction and instead proposed a “cash for keys” program that would speed up foreclosures.   This proposal by the banks would have worsened the housing crisis, further weakening the nation’s recovery.  It also showed that the banks intended to continue to profit from their illegal activities and not be held accountable. Read more

Elouise Westbrook Mourned By Mayor Lee Of Elouise Westbrook

Elouise Westbrook

Mayor Edwin M. Lee issued the following statement on the passing of legendary civil rights leader Elouise Westbrook, former President of the San Francisco Housing Authority Commission and activist for the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood and the African-American community in San Francisco:
“I am deeply saddened by the passing this morning of a dear friend, Elouise Westbrook, a truly inspirational woman who has left a legacy of advocacy and activism for affordable housing and healthcare for the poor. Her message was heard from City Hall to the halls of Congress. Elouise worked tirelessly to bring quality health care services to all residents throughout our City. Read more

Bethel AME Church Celebrates Women

Reverend Rosalyn K. Brookins

By Lee Hubbard

Women and the “Life of Women in the Church” will be the center focus at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco, September 24th  and 25th beginning with a kick-off prayer breakfast on Saturday morning.
“I want to bring a message of importance of mentors and people in your life that will pour into you positive things to your mind and spirit,” said Pastor Renee Winston.
Winston’s ministry caters to hurting women, as well as youth and young adults. She began singing in church at the age of three and has sung for her local, district and national church. In 1999, Winston wrote and recorded, “Whatever Happens.”
She is also an entrepreneur, as she was the proprietor of her own Coffee House from 1997 -2005. In 2005, she started “First Lady’s Fragrances” which debuted in 2005. But it is in her work in the pulpit and her message of hope to women that will brings her to Bethel AME for the prayer breakfast.
“At the breakfast, I am going to talk about Naomi in the bible and her two daughters,” says Winston. “Naomi lost her husband and two sons and she was still able to maintain her life and to contribute to the lives of others. In these days and times we are living in, things are haywire so we have to remain more focused on our dreams and aspirations.” Read more

Corky Booze’s Fundraiser a Financial Success

Latressa Alford, Congressman Millers Office, Councilman Corky Booze, Martha Mosley, Veolia Water North America West and Lori Brown, City of Richmond.

Councilmember Corky Booze has attracted contributions and support from various sectors of the Richmond community, including some of those who opposed his candidacy. In less than a year Booze has garnered support by focusing his attention on crime prevention, infrastructure improvements including fixing potholes in Richmond’s streets and roads, homelessness and creating an attractive business environment so that much needed jobs can be available for Richmond residents.
BAPAC President, Lloyd Madden stated that “Corky Booze will continue to have BAPAC and the community’s support if he continues to be the community voice for the citizens of Richmond who are unable to speak out for themselves, be the arms for those who can’t reach out for the help they need, and be the feet for those who can’t travel to City Council meetings, especially senior citizens and the disabled.” Read more

Morgan Freeman brings levity to DOLPHIN TALE

Morgan Freeman brings levity to DOLPHIN TALE

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      Oscar winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) stars in DOLPHIN TALE, the true-to-life story of Winter, a disabled fish given a second chance to thrive following a life-threatening injury.  The film is rated PG-13 and opens in theaters September 23.  DOLPHIN TALE has an inspiring payoff for audiences if you  just hang in there.  The story starts slowly but moves into a more captivating gear as the fight to save the dolphin intensifies.

      The most rewarding aspect is the illumination of the plight of disabled persons –be it from emotional or physical trauma– that provides an appreciation of overcoming adversity in spite of major challenges.  Families from all backgrounds will find it a praiseworthy. 


      Uninhibited in the deep wide sea, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where her fight for survival begins.  Named Winter, the highly sensitive and affable dolphin wins the hearts of those treating her and changes lives of others in the process. 

      Winter’s future is uncertain.  To restore her to an improved state, it will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle—a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help thousands of people around the world.

      The real Winter, who plays herself in the film, today serves as a symbol of courage and hope to millions of people—especially those facing their own physical challenges—who have been touched by her remarkable story of recovery and rehabilitation.

      Freeman, as Dr. Cameron McCarthy, a prosthetics specialist, plays the pivotal character with an entertaining degree of levity.  A rare nuance given his acclaim for numerous stoic and dignified film roles (Invictus, Shawshank Redemption, Amistad), the Mississippi resident had this to say about DOLPHIN TALE –  Read more

Who Owns the Federal Reserve?

Will Chase CEO Jamie Dimon be the next Secretary of the Treasury?

Part 9
By Tanya

“The Federal Reserve System is not federal, has no reserves and is not a system”*, and it is candescently clear that whoever owns the Federal Reserve also owns the media.  Last week a Federal Reserve audit revealed the Reserve loaned 16 Trillion dollars to national and foreign banks and that revelation did not make primetime news. Read more

Military Service “Academy Night”

George Miller

The Offices of Congressman George Miller and Rep. John Garamendi have announced two Military Service Academy Nights in Contra Costa and Solano Counties. These informal meetings are designed to offer students interested in attending a Military Academy the opportunity to meet with representatives from the Military Service Academies and staff for their Member of Congress. Current and prospective Academy applicants will learn about the unique educational advantages available at the services academies and about the Congressional nomination process.
The U.S. military academies offer an educational opportunity for young men and women. Accepted students receive a 4-year university education, room and board, medical and dental coverage and a stipend in exchange for a 5-year military service commitment upon graduation.
There will be two meetings:  The first meeting will be from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Tuesday, September 20th in Fairfield at the Solano County Office of Education, located at 5100 Business Center Drive in Fairfield and the second meeting will be held Friday, September 23rd, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Diablo Valley College in the Trophy Room, 321 Golf Club Road in Pleasant Hill.
For more information call Congressman George Miller’s office at (510) 262-6500 or Rep. Garamendi’s office at (707) 432-1822 or join their staff for “Academy Night” on September 20th or 23rd.
Attending will be representatives from the US Air Force Academy, the US Naval Academy, the US Military Academy (West Point), the US Merchant Marine Academy and the US Coast Guard Academy.

Richmond Native d’Mekka Joseph Places Third In Miss California Teen Pageant

d’Mekka Joseph. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, BAPAC.

d’Mekka Joseph’s got talent!  The 18-year-old senior at West County Community High School, competed in the July National Miss California Teen Competition in Santa Clara.  Her talent accomplishments gained her a place in the National Teen Pageant which will be held in Anaheim in November.
d’Mekka thanked God for the opportunities she’s been given and then thanked her sponsors Rev. Bernstein, Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church (BMBC), Black American Political Action Committee (BAPAC) Board of Directors, Contra Costa County Sheriff Dave Livingston, Michael Davenport-DP  Security, L. McIntosh, Girlfriends Network, Palace Furniture, Fuller Funerals, City of Richmond for giving her the opportunity to host the Youth Stage at the 2011 Juneteenth Celebration, Cuttin Up Salon, and family members Diamond, Eriauna & Bianca, who spent the weekend with her in Santa Clara keeping her fired up, confident and relaxed. d’Mekka said, “Each of them played an important part of making her dream a reality. “Thank You,” to all of them she said. Read more

Richmond Showcases its Cooking Skills at Mayor’s Healthy Cook-off Challenge

From left to right: Savannah Mullens, Jeanpierre Pitre, Baron Cope, Carol Chin (Heart Foundation), Olanrewaju Ajayi, Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Shaam Shabaka (EcoVillage). Photo by Gene Hazzard.

This past Saturday, Richmond participated in the 3rd Annual Healthy Mayor’s Cook-off Challenge.  On a hot morning in Clayton, 13 Contra Costa cities participated by cooking up delectable and healthy brunches in the park.  The intent of this Cook-off was to get the message out that healthy eating is essential to turn around all too prevalent diseases and conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.   
The Richmond team included Mayor Gayle McLaughlin, Chef Baron Cope from Richmond’s EcoVillage Farm Learning Center, and Richmond Principal Olanrewaju Ajayi of Olinda Elementary School, with assistance from Sous Chef Savannah Mullens.   Mayor Gayle McLaughlin said she called on EcoVillage to join her in this event because she highly admires the work of Shyaam Shabaka, EcoVillage’s founder and director.
Shabaka owns a remarkable urban farm in Richmond that grows healthy food and teaches young people the importance of a “from the soil to the table” philosophy.  She also called on Principal Ajayi because she knew of her commitment to young people’s holistic education, including the need for healthy nutrition and exercise.  
Congressman George Miller was present at the event to encourage the cities in their healthy challenge.  The Richmond team told the Congressman how this healthy challenge ties right into the Healthy Richmond Initiative, a multi-million dollar effort in Richmond to improve the health and wellness of local neighborhoods and schools.    Read more

Tyler Perry, Highest Paid Man in Hollywood

Tyler Perry

Simon Cowell and Steven Spielberg step aside, the highest paid man in entertainment according to Forbes is writer, actor, producer, director, Tyler Perry, who earned a whopping $130 million this year with his Medea Movies and two television shows “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns”.
The once homeless Perry, born on September 13, 1969 in New Orleans Louisiana, was also a high school dropout and at one point even attempted suicide.  Inspired by an Oprah Winfrey talk show regarding how writing about difficult situations can lead to personal breakthroughs, Perry used these personal letters to himself as the basis of his first musical “I know I’ve Been Changed.”  However his famous character Medea, a Read more

Ruby Bridges’ Book Signing at First AME Church

From left to right: Dr. Harold Mayberry, Ruby Bridges, Mary Mayberry (wife of Dr. Mayberry). Photo by Gene Hazzard.

World renown for singularly integrating William Frantz Public Public School during the 60’s, Ruby Bridges was the keynote speaker at First AME Church’s 8 a.m. services  regarding her experiences at the age of six going to school in New Orleans, Louisana in 1960.  
Mrs Bridges was escorted daily to school by U.S. Marshalls as they walked past a coffin held by white protesters with a black doll inside .  After service Mrs. Bridges signed  her recent book “Through My Eyes”.

Churches Get Help With Budgeting and Cash Flow

Every faith leader and/or nonprofit executive needs to know how to manage budgeting and cash flow analysis, especially in these tough times. These elements are widely considered as key to building healthy organizations and financial integrity.
OCCUR and The San Francisco Foundation FAITHs program will hold a workshop entitled, “The Essentials of Budgeting and Cash Flow”, Thursday, September 22nd, 2011 from 8:30 am to 12:00 pm at Bay Area Christian Connection, 810 Clay Street, Oakland.
This session will include presentations by Holly Lofgren, Principal, Holly Lofgren & Associates, Elaine DeNault, Program Coordinator, Operation HOPE and Tyrone Cosey, Market Vice President, Operation HOPE.
For more information or to RSVP for this event, email, fax to (510)268-9065 or call (510)839-2440.

Ghana ‘s Trade Mission with Oakland

From left to right: Ghanian delegates, Honorable Sherry Artittey, Minister of Science, Technology and Environment and Chairman Ade Coker. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

By Tanya Dennis

Wednesday night’s reception at Everett and Jones with high ranking Ghanaian officials marked the beginning of a lucrative opportunity for the City of Oakland.
In 1995 at the Hilton Hotel, shortly before his untimely death as the result of a tragic plane crash, then Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown announced  “if African-Americans do not engage Cuba and Africa in trade and allowed “others” to take advantage of the rich opportunities that exist by establishing a relationship with Cuba and Africa, then we’d have no one to blame but ourselves.” Read more

“Love Will Find A Way”

Rev. Kevin Barnes (left) visits Augusta Lee Collins at Pizza Pazza. He once fed Collins while homeless. Photo by Adam L. Turner

By Paul Cobb

Singer, songwriter, guitarist Augusta Lee Collins says he’ll never forget where he came from as he sang a song he wrote called ‘A Thousand Miles From Nowhere’.
“I felt so proud when Rev. Kevin Barnes came to see me play last Friday night at Pizza Pazza.  When I was homeless he fed me in his church just 8 blocks from where I now play.”
Recalling more desperate times while on the streets playing for survival money, he sang “I’m out here in the rain, with my guitar in my hand, writing you this letter, and I hope you understand that I am standing up, waking up…” at that point Rev. Barnes encouraged him to continue to stand up in a traditional Baptist call and response acknowledgement.  Collins responded with “Love will find a way” another song he dedicated to Barnes and his Abyssinian Baptist Church family. Collins says he was formally a professional meal seeker. “I knew where all the places were that served meals but Abyssinian was the best because his members showed each of us the utmost respect. We were made to feel as if we were a family member,” said Collins. Read more

PG&E Engages Minority-Owned Bank to Help Lead $250 Million Bond Sale

Christopher J. Williams, CEO of Williams Capital Group.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) selected The Williams Capital Group, L.P., an African-American owned investment bank headquartered in New York, to be one of three joint lead managers, along with Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, for a $250 million offering of 10-year senior notes that closed yesterday. This represents the second bond transaction that PG&E has completed with a minority-owned investment bank as a lead manager. Read more

PG&E Engages Minority-Owned Bank to Help Lead $250 Million Bond Sale

Christopher J. Williams, CEO of Williams Capital Group.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) selected The Williams Capital Group, L.P., an African-American owned investment bank headquartered in New York, to be one of three joint lead managers, along with Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, for a $250 million offering of 10-year senior notes that closed yesterday. This represents the second bond transaction that PG&E has completed with a minority-owned investment bank as a lead manager. Read more

A Safe Place Hosts Its 10th Annual Walk Against Domestic and Teen Dating Violence, Oct. 1

By Carolyn Russell
Executive Director
A Safe Place

October is Domestic Violence awareness month; A Safe Place will host its 10th annual Walk against domestic and teen dating violence October 1.  The event will be held at Lake Merritt Bandstand, 666 Bellevue Oakland CA 94610 where registration begins at 8:00am, and the walk will begin at 9:00am.  Our goal this year is to raise fifty thousand dollars to help us continue to provide services.
A Safe Place has been providing shelter and supportive services to battered women and their children since our inception in 1987.  We have increased the general public’s awareness of issues surrounding domestic violence through on-going community education.
A Safe Place provides a 24 hour crisis hot line where calls are received from victims of domestic violence, friends, family members, hospital emergency rooms, police and sheriff departments, community organizations, and the community at large.  In the fiscal year 2009/10 our crisis hotline received over five thousand calls.  Over two hundred families received emergency housing, financial support and referrals.  This past school year, five hundred teens participated in our violence prevention program.    
FACTS: One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
 An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
85% of domestic violence victims are women. Read more