From April 2012

Open House Looks at Bay View Construction Projects

By Carla

Rafael Bolon, Bridge Program Manager, (Samtrans) Caltrain; Supervisor Malia Cohen and San Francisco County Transportation Authority Deptuy Director for Planning Tilly Chang hosted an open house at Bay View Opera House.

A Transportation Projects Open House was held recently at the historic Bay View Opera house for community members to provide input and learn about opportunities at some potential construction projects in the neighborhood.
At the April 21 meeting, managers discussed the possible replacement or closure of Quint Street Bridge, a conceptual design of a Quint-Jerrold Connector Road and the results of a Caltrain Oakdale Avenue Station Ridership Study.
The meeting was hosted by San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Caltrain, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and Supervisor Malia Cohen.
The Caltrain Station at Oakdale Avenue is intended to support economic development in the Bay View and improve transit access to Peninsula job centers and create a new pedestrian access.
The $50-million project would be funded by Prop K Transportation Sales Tax and other local, regional and federal funds.  The ridership study will be presented to the Transportation Authority Board for approval in June.
Supervisor Cohen said it was an important step to hold the event at the opera house in the heart of the community.
“We’re planning what transportation modes will be available over the next 20 years,” she said. “I want the community to know what’s going on and understand the access options available.  There’s opportunities for contractors to bid on and the community can provide input for what will make an impact on their own neighborhood.”
The Quint Street Bridge replacement project includes three options; replacing the bridge with a berm that closes Quint street at a cost of $20 million; replacing at a cost of $25 million but precluding the Oakdale station; or replacing with a bridge that allows for future station platforms at a cost of $35 million, $10 million beyond the currently allocated budget.
The Quint-Jerrold Connector Road would cost $5-8 million, including  $5 million from Caltrain.   A new road would connect the southern portion of Quint Street with Jerrold Avenue along the west side of the Caltrain tracks.
For additional project information go to and
To schedule a community group presentation contact Colin Dentel-Post 415-522-4836 or

Historic Preservation Award Winners

Winters Building

Richmond is recognizing individuals, organizations, businesses, and agencies whose contributions demonstrate outstanding commitment to excellence in historic preservation, local history and promotion of the city’s heritage.
This year’s award recipients:
George Coles for preserving the history of Richmond and for being an Inspirational Educator;
Steve Gilford for his book “Build ‘Em by the Mile, Cut ‘Em off by the Yard.” Steve Gilford is a filmmaker, writer, and historian who specializes in the history of Kaiser Permanente as well as in the life and times of Henry Kaiser;
East Bay Center for the Performing Arts for the rehabilitation of the Winters Building at the at the corner of 11th Street and MacDonald Avenue; Rosie the Riveter Trust for the rehabilitation of the Maritime Child Development Center; and
Richmond Museum of History for collecting and preserving Richmond’s history.
The Richmond Historic Preservation Commission and the National Park Service is inviting interested persons to attend the Historic Preservation Awards Ceremony 5 p.m. on Monday, May 7th in the Richmond City Council Chambers.
The ceremony will be followed by a reception across the plaza at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium lobby. The reception will be catered by the Contra Costa College Culinary Department and there will be a no-host bar.
For information contact Hector Rojas, at (510) 620-6662.

Students Study Garifuna, A Little Known Caribbean Language

Graduate students in linguistics professor Lev Michael’s class at the University of California, Berkeley, will wrap up the year by producing a legacy for speakers of an endangered language called Garifuna.
Under the guidance of Michael and native Garifuna (pronounced Ga-RIF-foo-nah) speaker Philip Tim Palacio of Rocklin, Calif., the nine students have spent the fall and spring semesters studying the complex and little understood indigenous language of the approximately 200,000 Garinagu living in Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala as well as within Diaspora communities in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and New York City.
“This is groundbreaking work that we are doing, and it will leave a lasting legacy for the world, and for everyone who has an interest in learning Garifuna,” said Palacio.
The Garifuna people, also known as the Garinagu, are descendants of West African, Carib and Arawak people and trace their origins to a wrecked African slave ship that washed ashore in the Caribbean in 1675, and the Calinago, Carib and Arawaks who inhabited Eastern Caribbean Islands including St. Vincent.
Intermingling of the Caribs, Africans and indigenous Arawaks resulted in the Garifuna language, which also was influenced by English, Spanish and French. Garifuna belongs to the Arawak linguistic family, whose members are mostly found in the Amazon Basin.
The language, music and dance of the Garifuna were collectively proclaimed a “masterpiece of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2001.
Garifuna has not been studied extensively, and Michael said its quirkiness presents challenges. It features a vocabulary split between terms used only by men and terms that are marked for common use, and used by women, children and men. But the split doesn’t affect the entire vocabulary, and the terms used by men tend to come from the Carib language influence while the common forms are largely from Arawak.
Michael said students’ scientific analysis of the phonetics of the language, including its nasal vowels, its conceptual structure of spatial relations and the syntactic factors governing “what is the most complex and baroque agreement system I have ever seen in my life” represents a major advance in the understanding of Garifuna.
Christine Sheil, a UC Berkeley graduate student in linguistics, said she loved that the students had to struggle to work out the basic grammatical structure of the language: What sounds does the language have? Where does the subject go?  And as they worked up to more complicated structures, they had to discover how questions are asked, how nouns are modified and how things were discussed in the past and progressive tenses.
She noted that Michael banned students from reading anything about Garifuna for the first semester so that they would experience more realistically what it might be like to document a totally unknown language.
Palacio acknowledged that Garifuna can be challenging to translate. “For example, when my dad used to see any of his seven children were wasting time and not working as hard as they should, he would tell us that we were ‘ataha gañé’ (drinking eggs), ‘éleha mesu’ (peeling cats), or ‘adimureha dabarasi’ (talking pan). These expressions are similar to the English expression of ‘being in la-la land.’”
Courtesty  Kathleen Maclay, UC Berkeley.

“Streets Alive” Brings Art To City Utility Boxes

Christina Monzer (Streets Alive! project assistant), Brad Aldridge, Jim Horner, Kira Stoll, Ariana Katovich (Streets Alive! director), Ryan Kerrigan (artist of utility box on Shattuck and Allston) and family in front of D. Cichon’s utility boxes at Shattuck & University.

Community members gathered at the UC Berkeley campus Tuesday, April 24 to celebrate the unveiling of new pieces of public art – placed on utility boxes owned by the City of Berkeley, and was paid for by the university’s Chancellor Community Partnership Fund.
The project was produced by the Earth Island Institute’s Streets Alive Initiative, which aims to bring more art and nature to the streetscape.
Local artists were chosen to design original works based on the theme of “Sustainability,” and the university worked in partnership with the city’s Civic Arts Commission to select and approve the art.
The Chancellor’s Community Partnership Fund contributed $20,000 to this effort, paying for art on 7 boxes around the campus edge.
The works unveiled were:
“Plum Blossoms and Pole” by Robbin L. Henderson at the corner of Berkeley Way and Oxford;
“Leaf Study” and “Tree Cathedral” by Dotti Cichon at Shattuck and University;
Sending Signals” by Brad Aldridge at the corner of Hearst and Oxford;
“Grow” by Erin Johnson at the corner of Durant and Telegraph; and
“Cross Section” by Keenan Gravier at the corner of Telegraph and Bancroft.
A walking tour included speeches by the artists who designed the art, a question and answer session with the printer and installer Bay Area Sign Installation, and remarks by the university, the Earth Island Institute and Councilmember Jesse Arreguin.

County Launches BikeMobile Fix-it Service at Local Schools

Students at Rosa Parks Schools in Berkeley having their bikes repaired. Photo by Tony Wilkinson.

The Alameda County Transportation Commission, Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Cycles of Change launched a BikeMobile program and a newly designed BikeMobile vehicle at an inaugural ceremony and bike “Fix-a-Thon” event Tuesday at Rosa Parks Elementary School in Berkeley.
The BikeMobile and its bicycle mechanic staff will visit schools and community organizations and events to deliver no-cost hands-on bicycle repair and bicycle safety training to promote riding bikes to school.
Cycles of Change, which supplies the repair staff, has learned over the years that a large number of children are unable to ride because of broken or poorly maintained bicycles, which are unsafe or uncomfortable to use. Many of these children do not live near bicycle shops, nor do they have resources to pay for bicycle repair.
While Alameda County children are the primary beneficiaries, the BikeMobile will also reach out to interested parents, teachers and community members, especially in low-income communities.
BikeMobile Fix-a-Thons are pre-arranged using an online signup form at On the designated day, students bring their bikes to the BikeMobile, recognizable by its bright graphics, parked at their school or other pre-determined location.
BikeMobile staff supply parts and expertise to help youth repair their bikes. Safety-essential accessories, such as locks, lights and bike helmets, are also available to increase bike safety, and encourage children’s enthusiasm for riding bikes to school.
The BikeMobile is a pilot program managed under the transportation commission’s Safe Routes to Schools (SR2S) program that will run through November 2013. The program is funded in part through Measure B, Alameda County’s half-cent transportation sales tax passed by voters in 1986.
The BikeMobile is expected to make up to 275 site visits over two years. Requests for a BikeMobile visit can be made online

Energy Alliance to Host Town Hall

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner

Over 150 renewable energy leaders will gather on May 10 for the third annual Clean Power, Healthy Communities conference at the California Endowment in downtown Oakland.
Participants will bolster efforts to accelerate urban clean energy projects and create local green jobs in the Bay Area, working with new models and programs that are bringing the benefits of local renewable power to communities.
Organized by the Local Clean Energy Alliance, Clean Power, Healthy Communities will focus on how cities can ramp up local renewable energy while cutting global warming pollution and creating thousands of family-supporting clean energy jobs.
The conference also includes a town hall discussion with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, who chairs the Natural Resources Committee and sits on the Utilities and Commerce Committee.
The Local Clean Energy Alliance is now Northern California’s largest clean power alliance, with 90 organizational affiliates.
For a schedule of activities, see
For more information go to

Congressional Artistic Discovery Winners

Freddie Lambright, III with Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) has announced that Berkeley’s Saint Mary’s College High School junior Freddie Lambright, III was selected as the winner of the 30th annual Artistic Discovery High School Congressional Arts Competition.
Lee announced the winner of this year’s competition during a ceremony at Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley on Saturday, April 21.
Lambright will have his “Self Portrait” displayed in the corridor that connects the Cannon House Office Building with the U.S. Capitol for a year. He will also receive a pair of round-trip tickets to attend a ceremony that will be held this summer in Washington D.C. to celebrate the winners of the arts competition.
“I was impressed with the efforts of all of the students who participated in Artistic Discovery,” said Lee. “The creativity and energy of these students and their art is an inspiration to us all.”
“An Artistic Discovery” is an annual Congressional art competition that recognizes emerging high school artists throughout the country. Forty-six students from throughout the 9th Congressional District competed in this year’s competition.
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since its inception, over 650,000 high school students from throughout the country have participated in the competition.
Castro Valley High School sophomore Grace Moon took home the competition’s second-place prize and will have her artwork displayed in Congresswoman Lee’s office for the next year. Eriana Panopoulos, a senior from Saint Joseph Notre Dame, finished third.

LDS Volunteers Lend a Hand to Baptist Church

Rev. H. H. Lusk

Saturday, April 28  is the annual Mormon Helping Hands Day in California.
It is a day set aside when an estimated 70,000 to 80,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their friends will spread out up and down the state tackling hundreds of service projects to benefit their communities.
One of the projects this year will be repairs to the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Seaside, Calif., where Rev. H. H. Lusk is pastor. As many as 500 Mormon volunteers, joining with members of Rev. Lusk’s congregation, will work together to paint the building and make necessary improvements.

Yolanda’s Construction Administration & Traffic Control

Yolanda Jones. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, BAPAC.

By Kia Croom,
Contributing Writer

Yolanda’s Construction Administration & Traffic Control (YCAT), an African-American and female owned firm that offers a range of administrative and traffic control services, opened the doors to its Richmond office March 1 at Suite 306, 3101 MacDonald Ave.
The office will support prime contractors in and around the Richmond community in their engineering and construction projects.
Working at the office are Erica Munoz, a Richmond Village resident and volunteer providing clerical support and community outreach; and Yolanda Jones, company proprietor. Within the year, Jones hopes to hire at least one additional staff person from the Richmond community.
Jones is proud to have established her firm’s Richmond headquarters and grateful for the reports she has received so far from the community and city.
“Thanks to Janet Johnson of the Richmond Economic Development Agency. I would not have been able to open it (without) Janet (who) believed in my company and helped me establish my company in Richmond,” she said.
Since opening the headquarters’ doors, Jones has hit the ground running.
“My goal is to engage all the major prime contractors in Richmond that do work and let them know that I am a certified business trying to employ people in the community for construction (and) supplies… I plan to partner (with) Wollborg/Michelson personnel services, Inc. and a host of others to benefit the Richmond community,” she said.
Jones expects to receive a small business certification from the Richmond in May. The company will receive the San Francisco Small Business Recognition Award on May 10 at the City Club of San Francisco.

North Richmond Garden Dedicated

From left to right: Theresa Jimenez, Dejanique Dean, Doria Robinson, Jeff Rutland. Photo by Joe L. Fisher, BAPAC.

By Carla Orozco

Volunteers and community members celebrated Earth Day with the dedication on April 21 of the Fred Jackson Harmony Garden on Fred Jackson Way in North Richmond.
Adult and children volunteers also participated in a day of service, helping to clean up and improve the environment. Some volunteers worked on community gardens, while others picked up litter at target locations.
The North Richmond Earth Day event was organized by a combination of resident groups and local non-profit organizations, businesses and agencies that are working to make a difference in the environment and the health of the North Richmond community.

Energy Alliance to Host Town Hall

Over 150 renewable energy leaders will gather on May 10 for the third annual Clean Power, Healthy Communities conference at the California Endowment in downtown Oakland.
Participants will bolster efforts to accelerate urban clean energy projects and create local green jobs in the Bay Area, working with new models and programs that are bringing the benefits of local renewable power to communities.
Organized by the Local Clean Energy Alliance, Clean Power, Healthy Communities will focus on how cities can ramp up local renewable energy while cutting global warming pollution and creating thousands of family-supporting clean energy jobs.
The conference also includes a town hall discussion with Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner,.
The Local Clean Energy Alliance is now Northern California’s largest clean power alliance, with 90 organizational affiliates.
For more information go to

Community Opposes Transfer of Walgreens Manager

By Jesse Brooks

Community members, vendors and coworkers are protesting a decision of the Walgreens chain of drugstores to transfer the popular, longtime manager of the store at 81st Avenue and International Boulevard.
Customers say manager Hassen Almaweri has brought positive changes, making people feel safe and welcome while they are in the store. They say he has the ability to deal with irate customers and can manage the problems associated with shoplifting and other crimes.
He has been working at the store since 1989, starting as a service clerk. He has been manager since 1999.
If he is not brought back, some customers who have patronized the store for years have threatened to take their business elsewhere. Supporters have even created a “Save Mr. Hassen” Facebook page.
Coworkers said Hassen made every customer who walked into the store feel like a close friend and leave feeling like a family member. He treated his customers and employees with respect and dignity and ensured they were treated fairly.
Since he was transferred, the community has not been the same, according to one coworker. Hassen had a great impact on the community and sales that no one understands the meaning behind this move.
Staff at Allen Temple Arms Retirement Home and East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC), which are across the street from the store, expressed concerns about the transfer.
Regina Jackson, EOYDC executive director, was the author of the Facebook page. “District 58 (of Walgreens) has made the wrong decision in transferring him because it is affecting so many people that the morale in the store is weak,” she said.
A representative from Walgreens, Community Manager Terry Conners, said that the protests unfortunately will not do any good.
“The pain that people are feeling is understandable, like separating a family,” she said. But Hassen is being transferred to Richmond a location where the store is state of the art and less than one year old.
“So we feel it’s a great opportunity for him,” she said.
Temela Harris, who was Hassen’s assistant manager for only 14 months, has enjoyed working with someone who is so highly experienced. “It has been by far the greatest experience I have ever had,” she said.

Healthy Babies Project Founder Majeedah Rahman

Majeedah Rahman,
Photo by Adam L. Turner

By Marvin X

Family, friends, co-workers and members of the community attended a recent tribute to Majeedah Rahman, founder and director of the Healthy Babies Project, a recovery program for women with children.
Over 70 guests were on hand to wish Rahman happy birthday and give thanks for the many community programs to which she has made contributions. The family told stories about how she was always available to help family members when they were in need.
Shirley Orndoroff from Stockton spoke about the Community Involvement Program that was organized by Rahman in 1968 at the University of Pacific, describing how she and fellow students closed the University tower down until demands were met.
The major demands were for the university to accept 250 disadvantaged students each year, as well as to provide free books, tuition, food and housing. The students in turn agreed to volunteer 30 hours per semester at a community agency.
Orndoroff was one of those who received her degree from the Community Involvement Program, which is still in operation at the university.
Tarika Lewis, a former member of the Black Panther Party along with Rahman, spoke about the party and the 10-point platform and other Panther community programs.
One program organized by Rahman was the Samuel Napier Intercommunual Youth Institute, which became the Oakland Community School.
Rahman organized a 24 -hour residential school for children between the ages of 4-18. During the day students were involved in school activities, and in the evenings they participated in community activities and cleaning the school.
Many African-American students and other international students enrolled at the school, which included a strong parent participation program.
Five women who graduated from the Healthy Babies Program explained how well they are staying clean and sober. They talked about their many years of sobriety and what they are doing today.
Two of the women are now working for Child Protective Services to help make sure other women do not fall through the cracks. Another is a general manager at a well-known restaurant.
Co-workers and staff from the Contra Costa College spoke about wonderful things Rahman is doing at the college. One of her students recently received an $8,000 scholarship from the King/Kennedy Foundation.

Is Goldman Sachs Holding Oakland Hostage?

Rev. Daniel Buford

By Rev. Daniel Buford and
Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan

We write together today – as a pastor and a politician – to ask for social justice.
The Great Recession of the last five years has been a travesty that we’ve all shared in together. We’re still working to recover – to regain our jobs, our homes, and often, our dignity.
And even as we’ve had things taken from us, we’ve still been a giving people. Told that they were ‘too big to fail,’ we bailed out American banks to stave off financial disaster, helping save this country from the brink of ruin.
So, as residents of Oakland – a shining city – it’s outrageous to watch bailout beneficiaries like Goldman Sachs continue to hold hostage our city.
One of the largest banks on the planet, Goldman Sachs refuses to let the City of Oakland refinance the municipal bonds it owns. Holding onto these “toxic assets” has allowed the company to pocket almost $30 million of our money – and to keep profiting at a rate of $5 million a year.
That is, of course, unless Goldman Sachs agrees to let us renegotiate.
Leviticus 25:6 tells us, “If your kinsman being in straights comes under your authority, let him live by your side. Do not extract from him usury through interest.”
Do not charge us unjust interest, Goldman Sachs.
We implore you – the good people of Oakland implore you – to help us recover from the Recession the way we helped you.
The bank bailout was justified to the public on the grounds that it would enable companies such as Goldman Sachs to be able to operate in a manner that is beneficial to the public.
But the second part hasn’t taken place, and this is evidence of that.
The City of Oakland will continue to negotiate – and will take whatever action is necessary – to terminate this “deal.”
But do unto us the way we graciously did unto you when you were in trouble, Goldman. We used taxpayer dollars to salvage private, for-profit companies like yours.
As with many other cities across our country, our struggle with debt continues. This poses an even greater burden at a time when we grapple with some of the harshest cuts to our most basic and critical services. The weight of this contract threatens to further destabilize our city, threatening the most basic core services.
This is money that could build a health clinic in East Oakland, create a jobs program in West Oakland and so much more.
On behalf of our parishioners, our constituents – and a large coalition of active and vocal community members throughout this city, we demand action to terminate this deal.
Join us in demanding that Goldman Sachs renegotiate our debt – the same way we renegotiated theirs.

Occupy Crashes Wells Fargo Stockholders’ Meeting

Protesters at Wells Fargo stockholders’ meeting in the San Francisco financial district.

More than 1,000 people took Occupy Wall Street’s message to Wells Fargo this week, rallying outside the bank’s annual stockholders’ meeting in the San Francisco financial district
About 30 protesters managed to get inside the meeting to directly challenge bank officers. Police said 24 people were arrested, including 15 for disrupting the meeting while inside the standing-room-only gathering of nearly 300 people
Protesters, many of whom had come from out of state, targeted what they said was Wells Fargo’s high rate of foreclosure, predatory lending practices, tax dodging and investing in private immigrant detention centers.
Inside the meeting Wells Fargo Chief Executive John Stumpf highlighted the bank’s efforts to work with struggling homeowners, including 740,000 loan modifications and more than $4 billion in forgiven loan balances. But he acknowledged, “We could not help everyone.”
Demonstrators outside the Merchant’s Exchange Building waved signs and blocked the street, chanting, “We are the 99 percent! Let us in!”

Holy Names University’s First Black Department Head

Holy Names University in Oakland held a celebration Sunday, April 22 to honor the appointment of Dr. Kimberly Mayfield to head the Education Department, making her the first African-American tenured faculty member and first African-American department chair at the institution. Among those who attended and cosponsored the event were Mayfield’s sorority sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., shown in photo (L to R): Theresa Clincy, Wandra Boyd, Evelyn Hogan-Jackson, Lynette Hill, Cheryl Chambers, Kimberly Mayfield Lynch, Jeanette Fisher-Kouadio, Rhonda Carson, Edwyna Elzie, Marilyn Varnardo, Emma Becton, Tina Bolden, Erma Cobb. Photo by Ken A. Epstein.

“We’re too quiet – We need to get in the way,” Says John Lewis

Young leaders from the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland met with Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep. John Lewis before the speaking event at Beebe Memorial Cathedral. Left to rght are: Rep. Lee, Deric Fuller, Rep. Lewis, Jack Huang and Genay Markham. Photo by Stephen Brooks, Jr.

By Ken A. Epstein

Congressman John Lewis – seasoned veteran of historic Civil Rights battles and lifelong human rights champion – remembers that others told him not to take chances, as he was growing up on a chicken farm in rural Georgia.
He was a teenager, he said, and he could see segregation and injustice all around him. “I asked why, and they said that’s the way it is. Don’t get into trouble – don’t get in the way.”
At 15, inspired by Rosa Parks, he decided he had “to get in the way.”
That was Lewis’ message when he spoke Saturday, April 21 to a packed audience as part of the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series at Beebe Memorial Cathedral in Oakland.
“We’re too quiet,” he said. “We need to find a way to get in the way if we’re going to save America.”
When Lewis went to college, he went on join with others to organize Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins, lead the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), march in Selma, Alabama and appear at the podium as a speaker at the March on Washington.
Bringing his message up to the present, he called upon people to utilize the right to vote for which so many died and went to jail.
“We’ve got to use the vote,” he said. “Go out and vote like we never ever voted before.”
Lewis said he is frequently asked if the election of Barack Obama is the fulfillment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream.
“No, it’s just a down payment,” he said. “We´re not there. We cannot stop now.”
While he was in town for the event, Lewis visited his sister Rosa Tyner and her family, who live in Richmond.
Tyner, a longshoreman, is a member of St. Luke Baptist Church in Richmond.
She remembers that as a child her older brother was constantly in the media. “ I was a little girl. I didn’t understand why he was always on TV and always getting arrested,” she said. “I finally understood what he was doing was good. We always prayed for him.
“We (his family members) are forever grateful for the sacrifices he has made and continues to make,” she said.

New Red Cross Machine Doubles Impact of Each Blood Donation

Jeff Meyer, CEO of Northern California Blood Services.

The American Red Cross Northern California Blood Services Region is set to begin using an automated blood collection system – called ALYX – at its Oakland Blood Donation Center.
The ALYX Component Collection System ensures a steady and continuous blood supply for local patients by collecting two units of red blood cells from one donor. With the ALYX system, only red blood cells are collected; and the machine returns the other blood components – such as platelets and plasma – to the donor.
“Red blood cells are the most frequently used blood components,” said Jeff Meyer, CEO of Northern California Blood Services.
“ALYX allows people to safely double their red blood cell donations. So with each visit, donors can give more of what patients need the most,” he said.
Red blood cells are needed by almost every type of patient requiring a transfusion – including accident and trauma victims, and patients with blood disorders and other life-threatening diseases. Also, many patients – such as those suffering with sickle cell disease – require several red blood cell transfusions.
Double red cell donations are not a new concept. The Red Cross has been performing double red cell collection in the Northern California Region since 2002. But currently the agency has been using ALYX machines in this region only at mobile blood drives and the Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton and San Jose blood centers.
“We are looking to increase red blood cell collection in the Northern California Region,” Meyer said. “And by putting ALYX machines in more of our donor centers, we’re making it as convenient as possible for our donors to give those red blood cells. And that will help to ensure that we continue to meet the needs of patients in the Bay Area.”
In addition to meeting other blood donor qualifications, double red cell donors must also meet the following criteria. Men must be at least 5’1” and weigh at least 150 pounds. Women must be at least 5’5” and weigh at least 175 pounds. The machines are usually used for people with blood types O, A-negative or B-negative.
The local Red Cross region supplies blood to 30 Bay Area hospitals and must collect more than 300 pints of blood each day in order to meet hospital needs.
The Oakland Blood Donation Center is located at 6230 Claremont Ave. For information call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit

100 Black Men Hosts Tommie Smith Track Clinic

By Carla Thomas

One Hundred Black Men of the Bay Area recently held its annual Tommie Smith Track Clinic for Bay Area youth at McClymonds High School.
The event, which took place April 7, was based on the work of Smith, an Olympic gold medalist, who discussed the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and persevering through adversity.
Afterwards, youth competed in the Tommie Smith Track and Field Youth Track Meet at UC Berkeley’s Edwards Stadium.
Participants in the clinic were introduced to the 100 Black Men of the Bay Area Community School, scheduled to open in the fall.
The charter school is designed to prepare African American boys to be leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
According to chapter president Dr. Mark Alexander, the school will teach critical thinking skills, leadership and civic responsibility with dedicated educators and mentors in small class sizes.
The school will be located at 106th and McArthur in Oakland, previously Thurgood Marshall School.
When the school opens, it will offer kindergarten, first-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade classes. For information contact

Laney Student Energizes AIDS Awareness

From left to right: Laney College President Dr. Elnora T. Webb; Tori (a finalist who the judges critiqued as promising); Braunz Courtney, who served as MC and is Program Manager of HIV Education and Prevention Project; and Dean Marco Menendez.




By Jesse

Randell Thompson is a college student who is working to reduce the incidences of HIV/AIDS in young people. He has dedicated himself to educating fellow students about health risks and how to protect themselves.

Today, people under the age of 25 account for half of all new HIV infections each year. Within that group, African Americans are 56 percent of those who become infected.
Thompson says in the year he has attended Laney College in Oakland, he has witnessed male students’ ignorance and denial of HIV risks, especially their nonchalant attitude about unprotected sex.
Thompson said he knew he had to take action when he heard young African American male students say, “Only gays get HIV,” a perception he himself had until 10 years ago.
It was only when he started seeing reports of African American women and African American heterosexual men coming infected that the epidemic hit home for him. After hearing a speech on leadership by Laney’s President Dr. Elnora T. Webb, he made the decision to do something
He realized he needed to increase awareness on prevention methods such as use of latex condoms. The best way to educate people would be to bring to campus speakers who are living with HIV so students could gain real-life examples about the importance of prevention, he said.
“Young people of today have grown up in a world where HIV is taken for granted,” Thompson said.
“Many college students are unaware that they are at risk for HIV and it’s prevalence,” he said.
Thompson came up with a concept to mix HIP Hop music and HIV education. The American idol type of format worked, attracting over 150 students, with more than 50 testing for HIV for a free ticket to the show.
Webb, who has been Laney’s president since 2010, said she fully backed the Hip Hops AIDS education event.
Students and faculty “pulled this off, leaving my job simply to say yes to this and that,” she said with a smile.
The AIDS crisis affecting the Black community in Oakland is alarming, she said, “But events like this leave me feeling a little less distressed, because they are an example of “our community being responsible, choosing to help one another and addressing this very challenging but manageable condition together.”
The HIP HOP for HIV event was held on April 12.
For information contact or (510) 575-8245.

PG&E Selects Black-Owned Bank for $400 Million Bond Sale

Pacific Gas and Electric Company has selected Loop Capital Markets, an African Americanowned investment bank headquartered in Chicago, as one of four firms to manage a $400 million offering of 30-year bonds.

The company also engaged two other diverse firms – womanowned MFR Securities in New York and service disabled veteran- owned Mischler Financial Group in Southern California – to join BNY Mellon Capital Markets, LLC and RBC Capital Markets as co-managers of the deal.
“We are proud to work with these firms to complete this transaction,” said Kent Harvey, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of PG&E Corporation. “The low-cost financing this provides represents a great outcome for our customers, and it’s another example of the way PG&E is continuing to leverage the capabilities of diverse suppliers in keeping with our strong commitment to supplier diversity.” This bond transaction is the third that PG&E has completed with a minority-owned investment bank as a lead manager. The bonds mature on April 15, 2042, and bear an interest rate of 4.45 percent – a record-low 30-year coupon for PG&E. The bonds are rated “A3” by Moody’s Investors Service and “BBB” by Standard & Poor’s. Proceeds from the bonds will be used primarily for general corporate purposes, including repaying a portion of the utility’s outstanding commercial paper. “We were delighted to work with PG&E on this important transaction,” said Jim Reynolds, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loop Capital Markets.

“The company was patient in accessing the markets and really benefitted from enthusiastic participation by a broad range of investors seeking to have a highquality bond in their portfolio.” “Supporting the development of women-, minority-, or disabled veteran-owned investment banks is an important step in helping meet diversity procurement goals,” said Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). “The CPUC will continue to work with California utilities to assure that diverse
businesses fully participate in our state’s economic gains.” For information on PG&E’s supplier diversity program or to learn how to apply to become a certified diverse supplier, visit For more information, visit and

Trayvon Martin’s Parents Thank Supporters

We are still devastated by the loss of our son Trayvon Martin,
and nothing can bring him back. But we are heartened to tell you
that justice may finally be served for Trayvon.
Florida State Attorney Angela Corey announced that she will
charge George Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder, weeks after
he confessed to killing Trayvon – and now he’s in custody.
For weeks after Trayvon was killed, authorities refused to arrest
Zimmerman. We couldn’t believe that in 2012, public officials
would turn a blind eye to our son’s killing. We couldn’t let
that happen.
More than 2 million people joined our call for Zimmerman’s
arrest. We are so much closer to justice with the decision to bring
charges against our son’s killer. We feel less alone knowing that
so many people stood with our family during this impossible
When Trayvon was just nine, he ran into a burning house to
save his father’s life. He may be gone, but he is still our hero. We
are so thankful to all of you who fought to honor his memory.
Thank you for standing with us, and with Trayvon.
- Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton

Doris Chibuko, 40 Nigerian born nursing student at Oikos University in Oakland was killed by a gunman on April 2.

Doris Chibuko

Doris Chibuko, 40, was three months away from graduating from a nursing program when she and six other people were killed April 2 by a gunman at Oikos University in Oakland. Born Sept 18, 1971 in the state of Enugu in eastern
Nigeria, she went to law school and worked as a lawyer in Nigeria. She met Efanye Chibuko in college,
and in 2002, they were married in a big traditional Nigerian wedding. That same year, the couple immigrated
to the United States. She leaves behind 4 children: Ngozi, 14, Chioma, 8; Ifeyinwa,5; and Chimelie, 3; as well as her mother, Victoria Achu; husband, Efanye Chibuko; and sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts. Her family said she loved
to cook and was mostly a housewife, but she also worked part time at Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in San Leandro. Her mother came to California from Nigeria to take care of the children while Doris studied at Oikos University. A memorial will be held 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturday, April 28 at ILWU Local 6, 99 Hegenberger Rd., in Oakland. The funeral will be held 11 a.m., Monday, April 30 at All Saints Catholic Church, Hayward.
For information go to

Trayvon Martin Judge Steps Down


Judge Jessica Recksiedler

The Trayvon Martin trial will be heard by Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr., instead of Judge Jessica Recksiedler as
originally planned. Recksiedler removed herself from the Trayvon Martin case claiming there might be a conflict of interest for her if she remained the judge in the controversial trial. The next judge who would be in the court rotation, John D. Galluzzo, also cited a conflict, so Lester was selected. Judge Recksiedler´s husband works with a Florida attorney who the family of accused killed George Zimmerman had initially hoped to hire to defend their son.
In addition, the judge’s husband is the law partner of Mark
NeJame, who has been hired to comment on the case for CNN. Zimmerman is being charged with second-degree
murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Martin on Feb 26.