From June 2012

Al Sharpton Remembers Rodney King

By Al Sharpton

 

Video of Los Angeles Police beating Rodney King, March 3, 1991.

It’s difficult to watch someone get atrociously beaten and not feel something. To bear witness as kicks, punches, batons, and pure evil rain down on a defenseless person isn’t something most of us would ever want to experience. Yet we all did.

In 1991, Rodney King became a household name for the wrong reason: as a victim of police brutality. His brutal beating at the hands of LAPD officers and the subsequent failure of the courts to hold the accused officers responsible became a symbol for the modern day civil-rights struggle.

And his subsequent personal journey was emblematic of strength, perseverance, growth, and hope. Today, we remember him.

“Can we all get along?” was King’s phrase heard around the world as the devastating L.A. riots occurred in 1992. An ordinary man who never asked to be struck by police more than 50 times and who played no part in the verdict against the accused officers, suddenly found himself thrust into the limelight during one of the worst racial incidents in this country’s history.

He never sought the role of national leadership, but he picked up the mantle when we needed to hear words of peace and calm the most. He was chosen, and he delivered.

I’ve been fighting against police brutality for most of my life. Even before King’s horrific beating, I’d worked to raise awareness and bring justice to victims of exactly this sort of abuse. But the unprecedented videotaping of King’s police beating was the first time America was forced to come to terms with this dreadful reality.

It’s easy to ignore or dismiss facts and figures, but when the ills of society are reflected back to us like a mirror image, it truly is difficult to deny. The individual who filmed the infamous incident, George Holliday, knew he was observing something very disturbing when he reached for his camera.

God used this human being with flaws to show us how a society failed to deal with its own flaws.

Just a few months ago, King appeared on my MSNBC show Politics Nation to discuss his new book, “The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption,” as well as his thoughts on the L.A. riots 20 years later.

He discussed his own personal demons, shortcomings, and growth. Though his body still bore the marks of the beating decades later, he utilized his remaining time for further progression, while showing all of us how an ordinary man can be called upon to open an entire nation’s eyes to its own failings.

“It’s been a long road to get to this point in life as a human being. There’s no need of thinking that violence is going to get us anywhere. We should be more civilized than that and come together,” King said.

Without seeking it, King led an entire nation to deal with its harsh reality, the one that lies beneath the surface of political correctness. At a time of utter chaos, he urged reconciliation and peace. Today, we hope that he will finally find eternal peace himself.

“Monumental First Step” for Army Base Jobs

By Post Staff

 

Pastor J. Alfred Smith, Jr.

Oakland will develop its old Army base with more benefits to the local community than most cities achieve in local development projects.

That is the opinion of representatives of major community organizations, who have been working for years to create an agreement on the $1 billion project that serves local residents and not only corporations and developers.

At the same time, many feel that the City Council made unnecessary concessions to the developers, which did not conform to its own jobs policy passed just a few months ago.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done here. It is a monumental first step, but we know there’s still a lot to be done,” said Shirley Burnell from Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE).

The deal that passed at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting contains a 50 per cent local hiring agreement on construction jobs, with no loopholes for contractors to bring employees from somewhere else, at least for half the jobs.

A “jobs center” through which all the jobs will pass will be created, so that it is clear that local residents and those from the most affected zip codes are being hired.

The resolution contains preferences for small local businesses and small contractors.

The community will have a voice in enforcing the agreements and community participation in the design and funding of the Jobs Center.

“OaklandWORKS is especially proud of the fact that a strong voice for West Oakland and other marginalized residents has been created that is not affiliated with any particular politician, contractor or trade,” said Kitty Kelly Epstein, a local education professor and activist.

At the same time OaklandWORKS, ACCE and other community members are determined to keep up the fight about issues that have not been resolved.

There are many concerns whether enforcement will have sufficient teeth. Councilmember Desley Brooks has proposed stronger reporting requirements and sanctions for failure to comply with the agreement, which will be discussed at next week’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting.

There is no clear “ban the box” agreement that guarantees the formerly incarcerated can apply for employment without the automatic discrimination that comes with having to declare their arrests on an application.

“While I am still somewhat skeptical about the loophole that deals with the box, I am somewhat hopeful,” said Pastor J. Alfred Smith, Jr. of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, speaking at the council meeting.

“Don’t equivocate when it comes to the box,” he told council members. “Stand your ground.”

There are also concerns about whether the 50 percent local hire requirement will actually be applied to later phases of the development.

Several local businesses that already hire more than 500 local workers in port-related logistics and transportation need to be  assured  space in the development, said local businessman Dexter Vizenau.

Concerns are also being raised that the principal developer’s record on other projects in the city has included overspending and broken agreements.

 

Community: “Don’t Close Lakeview”

By Post Staff

 

Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland.

Parents and community protesters continued this week to occupy Lakeview Elementary School, one of the five Oakland schools shut this year by the school district as a cost cutting measure.

Protesters have been camping out in tents since Friday and holding daily support rallies. They also organized an informal summer school for children at the school, located at 746 Grand Ave., which had educated generations of Oakland children since it opened in 1914.

The central demand is to stop plans to close the five elementary schools –  Lazear, Lakeview, Santa Fe, Maxwell Park and Marshall.

Protest organizer Joel Velasquez, the father of three children who attended Lakeview, says   the school board should reevaluate its decision to close the schools.

“The money’s there, they aren’t putting it into classrooms,” said Velasquez.

“We’ve tried proposals, we’ve tried diplomacy, and the board has rejected everything. I’ve been in the school system here for nine years and been in the Oakland community for 20 years,” he said.

“I think the number one problems facing the school board are dysfunction and mismanagement. Because of these problems, they are kicking out 300 families from Lakeview,” said Valasquez. Read more

Lee Brings $15 Million TIGER Grant for the Port Oakland

Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) announced this week that the Port of Oakland will be awarded a $15 million TIGER grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to modernize the Port’s ship-to-rail exchange capacity.

The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, awards the most promising local infrastructure proposals with investments in road, rail, transit, and port projects that advance critical infrastructure goals in the U.S.

The grant will allow the port to improve access for existing ship and container traffic. Additionally, the project will enhance the port’s reputation as a shipping gateway to the Asia-Pacific by modernizing transfer infrastructure, reducing emissions and significantly increasing the port’s efficiency and competitiveness.

“I am pleased the Port of Oakland has been selected to receive this critical and highly competitive funding,” said Congresswoman Lee. “This key logistical project will streamline and enhance the port’s critical operations while maintaining and creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs.”

Four consecutive shutouts for the Giants

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – The only competition going on right now is between the Giants pitchers.  For the first time in the history of the franchise, they have recorded four-consecutive shutout games.  This is unbelievable baseball we are watching here.  It’s like the passing of the baton in a relay race, with each runner gaining more stride and speed.

Tonight was Madison Bumgarner’s turn to keep the streak going.  San Francisco’s 5-0 victory over the the Cincinnati Reds was the small prize for the organization.  An epic performance from the pitchers has captivated many with their remarkable pitching leaving many in disbelief.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” said manager Dusty Baker.  “He [Madison Bumgarner] had that going into the 6th.  He had everything working for him, the change-up, occasional curve ball.  He threw a great game.”

Bumgarner pitched his first complete game without giving up a hit until the sixth inning.  For nine frames he surrendered one hit, two walks and eight strikeouts.  The anticipated match-up between Madison and Johnny Cueto turned out to be a one-sided show for the Giants.

The southpaw became San Francisco’s first pitcher to win ten games this season and the first to win five games in a calendar month since Tim Lincecum did it back in September 2010.

“It’s nice to finally get a complete game but I had a little luck on my side” Bumgarner said.  “My mindset was to go out there and make good pitches, especially against this team, they’ve hurt me in the past couple of games.”

The last two times these teams met luck was not on his side.  Bumgarner came into this game with a 0-2 record and 8.56 ERA in his three career starts against the Reds.  Now he has a 10-4 record with a 2.85 ERA.

The Giants have recorded 36-scoreless innings, which is the longest scoreless streak in San Francisco’s franchise history since July 26-30.  They surpassed the longest scoreless streak in the SF-era history, which was 35 innings (May 10-14, 1960).

“It’s been quite an impressive run these guys have been on,” said manager Bruce Bochy.  “That’s how good they are.  They all have been locked in.  Four consecutive shutouts, I’ve never seen it, it’s so hard to do.”

After Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Lincecum each pitched seven innings in a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.  Madison followed with a memorable night of his own.  Tomorrow night, Matt Cain returns to the mound to face Mike Leake, will he keep the streak alive?

“I didn’t think we were going to get shutout,” Baker said, when asked what his thoughts were about the four-game shutout.  “No, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that or not, I don’t know.  It’s a pretty good streak that they’re on, they’re in a real good place right now.

Giants unstoppable against Dodgers

By: Malaika Bobino

San Francisco, CA – It was only a matter of time.  Without their leading hitter Matt Kemp, the Los Angeles Dodgers struggle to maintain their top spot in the National League.  Collectively as a team they were getting wins after Kemp was put on the disabled list.  But now the team has fallen into an offensive slump.

The Giants are now two games behind the first place Dodgers who were shutout 8-0 tonight.  Barry Zito was off to an amazing start after pitching a stellar game.  He surrendered three hits through seven innings and had the offense to back him.

“This is a very important series,” said Pablo Sandoval.  “We want to finish in first place before the MLB All-Star break.  When we return for the second half, we will already have the focus we need to get better.”

Sandoval was the key to the offense, he doubled twice and drove in three runs.  The Giants scored four runs in the first frame, which was the most runs they have scored in the first inning this season.  This is the closest San Francisco has been behind the Dodgers since April 6th.

“Given where we were, it’s great to be in this situation,” manager Bruce Bochy said.  “There’s so much baseball left, but your where you want to be.  It’s important even in this point of the season.  But it’s too early to be looking at standing.”

For the Dodgers, they have more concerns than the standings.  Nathan Eovaldi who is now 0-4 and recorded his sixth straight start without a victory.  He tossed five innings, allowing 10 hits, 8 runs (all earned), one walk and one strikeout.  Eovaldi showed no command on the mound and left the plate wide open.

“He had a little bit of bad luck in the first,” said manager Don Mattingly.  “We couldn’t stop the bleeding.  He [Barry Zito] kept us off balance, it’s tough to get back into the game being down by seven runs early.”

A few sloppy plays from the Dodgers lead to an easy inning for the Giants.  Ryan Theriot grounded to short stop Dee Gordon who tripped on his own two feet and Theriot was safe at first.  Melky Cabrera followed with a pop up with the ball dropping between Gordon and center fielder Tony Gwynn for the base hit.  Then Angel Pagan’s RBI  double with a grounder that went over first baseman Juan Rivera was unbelievable.

The hits continued, three more runs earned in the second.  More mistakes from the Dodgers, Gregor Blanco singled center, a fielder’s choice when Dee threw to first for the out and the ball bounced off Juan’s foot at first base.  Two back-to-back RBI singles from Theriot and Pagan.  And a sacrifice fly from Sandoval gave the Giants a 7-0 lead to end the inning.

That launched a stretch in which Zito retired 14 of the 16 batters he faced until Jerry Hairston and A.J Ellis singled back-to-back in the seventh.  But thanks to the defense and Barry’s calm on the mound the next three batters hit fly balls to both left field and center field to end the inning.

“Zito changes speed and tries not to throw it over if he doesn’t have to,” said Mattingly.  “We’ve got to be able to keep it close and make their pitcher work in danger all night long.  He didn’t have any danger.”

“It’s the biggest rivalry in baseball,” Barry explained.  “We’re going to play them down the stretch in crunch time in September, no doubt.  So, it’s good to get that win under your belt.  They’re banged up right now over there.  We have to capitalize on that, we were banged up early in the year and they capitalized on that.  That’s the nature of the game, it’s a marathon.”

Walk-off homer sweeps the Dodgers

By Malaika Bobino

Oakland, CA – It was a duel on the mound.  The Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw did what he could in hopes of avoiding a sweep.  Through eight innings both he and Travis Blackley battled on the mound.  But it was the heroic effort in the ninth inning that was the deciding factor.

Yoenis Cespedes’ first walk-off home run brought the 23,337 fans in attendance to their feet after the A’s claimed the 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.  For the first time Oakland won three straight games in a series since September 2010.  Winning eight of their last nine interleague games, the A’s have found the momentum they’ve been looking for.

“I’m very happy,” Cespedes said.  “My teammates have already said, ‘You have done so much.  You have hit home runs.  You have put us ahead, but you still need a walk-off.’  I was very happy to get it today.”

Oakland got the offense going early again, Jonny Gomes began the second frame with a double then advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Brandon Inge’s sacrifice fly to left field put the A’s up 1-0.  But shortly there after Juan Rivera tied the ball game 1-1 when he hit an RBI single in the fourth.  Through the next five innings the defense played their best game.

The Dodgers who held the best record in the Majors failed to make good decisions in the end.  A’s closer Ryan Cook walked Matt Treanor to start the ninth.  Dee Gordon followed with a bunt and Oakland went for the out at second rather than first to prevent the runner advancing.  While Elian Herrera was at-bat, Gordon went for the steal at second and was tagged out.  Cook struck out Herrera to end the inning.

“Honestly, we didn’t do enough in any of the games to win any of them,” manager Don Mattingly said.  “We didn’t put them in any danger at any point of the series.  You can’t really expect to win if you don’t get guys on base.  We got chances and didn’t execute.  We’re not good enough to not execute.  We didn’t deserve to win any of these.”

Dodger’s closer Josh Lindblom wasn’t as savvy.  To start the bottom of the ninth, he walked leadoff hitter Coco Crisp who advanced to second on a wild pitch.  Jemile Weeks grounded a bunt single and Lindblom was the first to retrieve the ball but spun around twice looking for third baseman Juan Uribe who was standing right next to him.

Both runners made it safely to third and first.  That was probably the biggest error of the game.  Now there is two runners on, no outs and the game is tied.  Rarely is an opportunity of this magnitude presented for the A’s.  But when one of your best players steps up to the plate anything can happen.  Cespedes lined what looked like a foul ball to left field but it was just inside the left-field pole for the home run.

“I wasn’t looking for a specific pitch”, he explained.  “I was just looking for something to drive deep enough to bring in a run.  I knew it was in fair territory.  What I didn’t know was it was going to be a home run.”

A's keeping winning streak alive

Oakland, CA – Winning the last six of their seven games is nothing to brag about but when you beat the best team in the Majors twice there is something special about that.   Keeping their winning streak alive the A’s defeated the Dodgers 4-1 in game two of the series.

Pitching his first complete game, Tommy Milone dominated through nine innings.  That’s two nights in a row that Oakland’s pitching has been outstanding.  Allowing only one run Milone was awarded the lineup card as a memento.

“Pretty similar to every other one we’ve seen here,” manager Bob Melvin said.  “Good cutter, good slider, enough curveballs, changeups, both sides of the plate.  Really effective, even the only run they got, wasn’t a hard ball.  And [Reddick] almost came up with it.  Terrific performance.”

Thanks to right fielder Josh Reddick, the Dodgers scored their only run.  Juan Uribe lined an RBI double out to right fielder Reddick, who caught the ball while flipping over.  While in motion he lost the ball which looked secured in his glove.  Read more

Dodgers shutout by McCarthy and the A's

Oakland, CA – Interleague Play returned to Oakland, this time the A’s hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers who currently hold the best record in baseball.  But without their star player Matt Kemp who is out for a month with a hamstring.  Yet, the Dodgers have surprised many with their winning ways.

Unfortunately their strategy didn’t work tonight.  Oakland shutout LA 3-0 with the help of some stellar pitching from Brandon McCarthy.  He had great command on the mound and surrendered only two hits and a walk.  McCarthy remained calm, kept a good pace and did not get distracted with the pitching changes made by the Dodgers.

“I don’t have 100 or 120 pitches to play with,” Brandon said.  “If I want to stay in the game long a long time, it’s gotta go fast.  So, I try to be on the attack and have power.  I don’t care if they put the ball in play in the first or second pitch.”

“I don’t know how he does it with 11 days off and a routine being messed up some,” said manager Bob Melvin.  “But he goes out there and he looks like he’s pitching every five days.  It’s pretty impressive.  I’ve never had to do this, where you deal him one time, comes back, give him extra time, and it’s unique.” Read more

George Zimmerman's Jailhouse Calls To Wife Reveal Couple's Alleged Plan To Hide Funds (AUDIO)

The special prosecutor in the case of George Zimmerman, the Florida man accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, released a half-dozen recorded jailhouse phone conversations between Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, which prosecutors say reveal the couple’s plans to conceal more than $130,000 of donated money via transfers between their personal bank accounts.
The release of the recordings comes just a week after Shellie Zimmerman was arrested and charged with perjury for lying under oath about the family’s financial status during an April hearing in which her husband was granted bond.
Prosecutors say that while George and Shellie Zimmerman told the judge under oath that they were broke, and their lawyer requested a low bond because of the couple’s dire financial situation, they were instead paying off credit card bills and transferring funds into his wife’s personal bank account from a Paypal account linked to a website to raise defense funds. Read more

Winning streak continues for A's

Oakland, CA – Coming into this series, both teams were coming of wins.  Hoping to keep the momentum and winning streak both the Oakland A’s and the San Diego Padres are seeking a win.  Unfortunately, one team’s streak ended and that decision was made early.

The A’s demolished the Padres 10-2 and left pitcher Anthony Bass confused as to how it happened so quickly.  The offense got the bats going in the first frame.  Two back-to-back walks by Bass set the tone for Josh Reddick’s two-run triple.  Reddick continues to stay hot and got help from his teammates, especially Cliff Pennington.

“It’s always nice to get a couple knocks, and when it’s your birthday it’s sweeter,” said Pennington.

Celebrating his 28th birthday he gave himself a huge gift by going 3-for-3 sparking the offense throughout the game.  He reached base four times and drove in two runs.  It was a solid effort from all on both offense and defense.  Not known for many high-scoring games Oakland did not disappoint. Read more

“Courageous Women” Fight Modern Slavery

By Aneesah
Dryver

Toshonna Ross

While many believe slavery is something found only in history books, there are a group of modern-day abolitionists who are fighting human trafficking, child prostitution and other forms of abuse and exploitation of women and children that occur today.
Nearly 18,000 victims are trafficked to the U.S. Oakland has seen some of the worst cases of child prostitution in the country. According to NPR news, in 2003, the FBI called Oakland a “high-intensity child-prostitution area.”
One of these modern abolitionists who is working in the Oakland community is Toshonna Ross and her organization Courageous Women.
“The community needs to be educated,” said Ross.” We need to draw on law enforcement, healthcare officials, school districts to come together and create stronger networks and create a relationship with the community because most people don’t know.”
Courageous Women will be celebrating its 4th anniversary on Saturday, July 21 at the Piedmont Veteran’s Memorial Building, 401 Highland Ave. in Oakland.
Ross says the anniversary is not simply a celebration of the organization but also an opportunity to make people aware of what needs to be done to help women and children in the community.
“Many reasons victims are involved in prostitution are because of basic survival after abandonment, drug abuse and the promise of a better life by older men or boyfriends who young women trusted. The very same thing is happening around the world,” she said.
Jane Anyango, founder of Kibera Women for Peace & Fairness, contacted Ross because young girls in Kenya were facing similar issues.
“A lot of human trafficking is happening in Kibera, a poor area of Kenya,” said Ross.
”Girls as young as 10 are being promised by older men to take them to the bigger city so they can bring soap, medicine, and other basic needs back to their families,” said Ross. Courageous Women is planning to build a support center for young girls in Kibera who are victims of sex-trafficking and other abuse.
Jane Anyango will be this year’s guest speaker at the  anniversary event, which also will also feature a documentary, spoken word and a praise dance.
“I want people to be angry, sad and ready,” Ross said. “I want people willing to get up and take action.”
For information call (510) 273-2412 or visit www.courageouswomen.org.

Raiders hold mini camp

Oakland, CA – The Oakland Raiders held a mandatory mini camp this week and the new look team did not disappoint.  After a controversial year of ups and downs, the organization had to make some drastic changes.  Owner, Mark Davis brought in a new General manager and a new coach during the off-season.

GM Reggie McKenzie was on the sideline watching head coach Dennis Allen direct his team in drills.  With everyone is attendance Allen got a chance to see what he’ll be working with this upcoming season.  What neither McKenzie nor the head coach expected was for the players to come back better than ever and more hungry than ever.

“Nothing personal but obviously, before with, rest in peace, he [owner Al Davis] had his hands in all the defense,” Michael Huff said.  “He had all the little things he liked to do.  Now with D.A [Dennis Allen] out there, we’ve got all kinds of blitz’s, we’ve got 3-4, 4-3 fronts with a lot of variety.  We have a lot of things going on so, I’m going to love it.”

Dennis along with Defensive Coordinator Jason Traver worked on multiple schemes to change the predictable plays that were done in the past.  Oakland didn’t blitz much but now the goal is keep the opponent guessing on which play will be called until the final seconds.  Huff will have will have much more responsibility playing standard defense among other things. Read more

Laborers Union Local 324 Helps Build Careers

By Kia Croom

 

Willie Lee Hicks, Jr. Photo by Joe L. Fisher.

For more than 100 years, the Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) (commonly referred to as Laborers Local 324) has been helping community members establish viable careers in the construction industry and even within large firms. Laborers Local 324 is one of the largest unions in the Northern California District  Council of Laborers with over 2,500 members from various industries.

According to Laborers Local 324 President Willie Lee Hicks, Jr. the union is full of resources that can help its members harness viable careers.

“It’s about more than just a job, members utilize our training center to better their skills and find great jobs to support their families”, Hicks said. “It’s more than just a dig-a-ditch kind of job our members can become engineers, superintendents etc. Many people in these occupations started out as laborers.”

The Laborers Local 324 has a targeted outreach strategy to reach both members and non-members in the broader community to avail the union’s resources to them.  Laborers Local 324 has partnered with the Central Labor Councils and Construction Trades—two American Federation of Labor and Congress Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) associations. Through these partnerships, Laborers Local 324 has leveraged resources to bring valuable programming to community members such as job fairs, awareness and advocacy for fair treatment of workers.

“We created the Helmet to Hardhat program so that people coming out of the military can go to work at the various trade unions as laborers, pipefitters, iron workers, electricians and even operating engineers.We offer courses in basic math skills and certifications at our training site in San Ramon,” Hicks said.

The Laborers Local 324 stands by its mission of enhancing, conserving and advancing the interests of its parent, the international union, its affiliates and members. At the heart of its mission is the union’s commitment to organizing its members to promote good will through its civic involvement within the community.

In 1992, Hicks joined the Local 324 Union in Richmond and was appointed Business Representative for the union 1995. In his new capacity he would soon have the opportunity to work with a number firms including Chevron, RichmondBuild, Bechtel, Ghilotti Brothers and a host of others which have played an integral part in employing many union members in the construction industry.

Under the leadership of President Hicks, in the 2010/11 year Laborers Local 324 successfully organized several local employers in the area and encouraged them to execute the union’s master agreement, guaranteeing members healthcare for their families, prevailing wage pay and a host of other fringe benefits.

Richmond Holds Juneteenth Parade and Festival, June 16

Clarence Van Hook

West Contra Costa County will hold a Juneteenth Family Day Parade and Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, June 16 in Richmond.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. at Cutting Boulevard and Marina Way and ends at Nicholl Park at 33rd Street and Macdonald Avenue in Richmond.

This year’ grand marshal is singing cowboy Clarence Van Hook. The parade also features the Wells Fargo historic stagecoach. The festival is hosted by Eddrick Osborne.

The festival will include gospel award winners, food, arts and crafts and vendors as well as a youth karaoke, a poetry contest and other children’s activities.

The event is presented by the National Brotherhood Alliance, City of Richmond and Chevron. For information call (510) 620-6516 or email richmondcajuneteenth@gmail.com.

Summer Programs for Children

By Mieasha Harris, 

Executive Director of Girls Inc.

 

Tetteh Kisseh, Mieasha Harris, Omar Arteaga, Recreation Aide.

Need a place for your kids to be entertained, engaged and excited about learning activities? The Nevin Community Center in Richmond will have its doors open this summer to provide interactive fun, sports, field trips and science and technology classes for youth.

Operating from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., June 11 – Aug.17, the center located at 598 Nevin Ave. is open for parents to register their children to participate in programs such as swimming, volleyball, basketball, soccer and daytrips involving sailing, camping and outings to regional parks.

“With the presence of a caring and supporting staff, we will build positive and healthy relationships with all the kids that come to the camp,” said Nevin Center’s program coordinator Tetteh Kisseh.

There also will be a special program for girls to learn about science, math, engineering and technology (STEM) subjects.  Girls Incorporated of West Contra Costa County will offer its Operation SMART class to inspire young women to pursue these fields.

Girls are still lagging behind boys in the STEM field. Through hands-on activities, girls explore, ask questions, and solve problems.  They will also consider careers in these fields by interacting with women and men pursuing such careers.

Other activities at the newly renovated center include a Teen Eco Action Week rom June 25 – June 29, which will encompass lessons and activities on restoring the environment and community; understanding “reduce, reuse, recycle “and an introduction to environmental justice and pollution solutions.

“Dr.” Musilee Davis Passes at 96

Musilee Davis

Musilee Davis was born in Texas in 1916 to Josh and Cora Adams.  After high school she attended Henrietta Beauty College in Shreveport, Louisiana.

In 1939 she married Algie Davis and they bore three sons.  The family later moved from Texas to San Francisco and then Berkeley, CA.  She was an active member of Progressive Baptist Church, singing in the women’s choir.  Davis loved music and seldom missed a Four Seasons Concert or their Yachats Music Festival in Oregon.

She was best known for her dedication and perseverance in her community for healing the sick.  Her book, “Naturopathic, Holistic, Alternative Natural Health for the Body” is a compilation of many years of work on herbal benefits and recipes.  Davis was tireless in working with friends and acquaintances who sought her advice.

She is survived by three sons and their wives: Donald and Carol Davis, Norris Davis and Sam and Teresa Davis.  She leaves behind grandchildren: Cheryl and Kirk Scheerer, Charlene Davis, Donald Davis, Jr., Eric Davis, Aneshah Davis, Sammy Davis Jr. and Algie Davis II.  Great grand children are Jaylyn Davis, Abbeni Davis, Shanecia Davis and Shawn Davis and two great, great grandchildren: Nj-Jzel Jackson and Tiffany Rose Batty.

The Celebration of Life took place on June 7 at Fouche’s Funeral Home.

DJ J12 Refuses to “Slow Down”

By Chanelle 

Bell

 

DJ J12 teaches Post Publisher Paul Cobb how to do his dance while visiting the Post Headquarters. Photo by Adam L. Turner.

When you first meet 19 year old Thomas Wheeler he comes off as a shy well-mannered young man. It is hard to believe that in 5 short months he has turned himself into a house hold name under his DJ alias, DJ J12. One can’t listen to a hip-hop radio station without hearing his name numerous times throughout the day. Any party that is thrown in the Bay seems to never be complete without an appearance by DJ J12. Even this weekend’s highly anticipated Summer Jam just had to have this young DJ “swag” out their stage. He is the Bay Area’s new up and comer and has proved himself to be a genius marketer.

It all started with a dance, a simple dance that has changed the course of Thomas’ life. Last January, Thomas and fellow collaborator Priceless Da Roc came across a song on YouTube called “Slow Down” by Clyde Carson and The Team.  After the first play they were hooked on the song’s hard bass and catchy lyrics. Thomas can remember thinking, “This is a hit, why is this not on the radio?” Before they knew it they had choreographed a dance named after Thomas called the “J12”.

Read more

Versie Ross Gave $43,000 to Guice Academy

Left to right: Gail Johnson-Murphy, Eddie Morris,(baby) Maliyah Morris, LaWanda Morris, Vershon Moss, Michael Moss, Gloria Booth, Martha Brown, Barbara Bowman.

 

Versie Ross who passed on January 13 surprised everyone when she left $43,000 to be contributed to the Adopt-A-Child program of the Dr. Herbert Guice Christian Academy’s Grandparents Club in Oakland.

The generosity that Ms. Ross has shown even after her death has inspired her loved ones, “We believe in mom’s vision of helping children and we will continue her legacy” says her two daughters LaWanda A. Morris and Vershon M. Moss.

 

Dr. Agee, Chief Jordan Praise City’s May Decrease in Crime

By Post Staff

 

Chief Jordan

Dr. Gerald Agee, President of Pastors of Oakland and Senior Pastor of the Friendship Christian Center, commended Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan for his May crime reduction report.

“Chief Jordan should be praised for following through with his plans to reduce crime by aggressively engaging the community,” said Rev. Agee.

Jordan attributed the May reduction in crime to enhanced community involvement, implementing additional resources and crime strategies, and partnerships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Chief Jordan touted the results of Project Gideon III, a law enforcement initiative involving Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and their collaboration with OPD officers.

He said, “Operations like Project Gideon and the day to day work of the men and women of the

Oakland Police Department have identified and led to the arrests of known violent criminal offenders and recovered guns from our streets.”

During May, Jordan said burglaries were down 20%; robberies were down 24%; property crimes were down 18%; violent crimes were down 14%; Part 1 crimes were down 17% and officer field contacts were up 25%.

Chief Jordan said, “The Oakland Police Department and the City of Oakland will continue to work with the community and other agencies to reduce crime in our city.”

Dr. Agee said his ministerial organization, which represents more than 70 congregations, will work with Jordan and the city to establish neighborhood watch organization. “We want Jordan to succeed. We want crime to decrease significantly and, we will work with all the stakeholders to make that happen.”

Teach Tomorrow Celebrates New Teachers

By Post Staff

From left to right: Michael Williams, Kemet Bender, Constance Cobb-Zunino, Diane Johnson, Irene Cho, David Orona, Daniel Villarreal, Roderick Patterson. Photo by Stephen Brooks, Jr.

They are teachers in training – part of Teach Tomorrow Oakland – and in so many ways they are outstanding. They are from Oakland, and they understand Oakland.

In a profession where so many people have become cynical, they are not. They care about teaching, and they go the extra mile for their fellow teacher trainees.   They don’t give up on their students, they love their students. And they are honored and grateful for having discovered the nurturing support of TTO.

TTO Director Rachelle Rogers-Ard says 93 percent of Oakland students are kids of color, and they need more teachers who look like them and live in the same neighborhoods.

TTO, a project created by the school district and the office of former Mayor Ron Dellums, has prepared three cohorts of such teachers, and they have a 92 percent retention rate.

A new cohort of 60 teacher trainees is set to begin teaching in the fall.

The program has higher “standards” than most teacher preparation programs.  The candidates are interviewed by a team that includes students and professional educators.  They have to demonstrate a lesson, before they are even admitted.

They also have to sign a commitment to work in the district for five years.  (The average teacher leaves after 3 years). They have to take special workshops during the summer and do extra professional training.

Funded by federal grants, TTO is a not a substitute for a university-based teaching credential program. Those who want to teach still must earn a credential.

What TTO does is help those who want to teach find a position as an intern teacher and provides those who need tutors with help to pass the CBEST and CSET exams.

To do its recruiting, TTO reaches out more broadly to more diverse communities than many traditional teacher programs.

Once interns begin, TTO gives them the kind of professional and  nurturing support to help them be successful. Organized in cohorts, the interns become a kind of family, which helps them through  the rough parts.

For more information on Teach Tomorrow Oakland, call (510) 273-2339.

Oakland Wants to Put Local Residents to Work. What Do Developers Want?

By Paul Cobb 

and Post Staff

 

The current plan to use the old Oakland Army Base, developed under the administration of former Mayor Dellums, will use the former base for logistics (research, warehouses, etc.)  to support an expanding Oakland port.  These uses are projected to create 8,000 new jobs.

As part of the planning, City Council member, Jane Brunner, volunteered to host open discussions for everyone to define an effective local hiring policy for the proposed development. Bruner said, “Oakland has never gotten local hire right and if we don’t get it right on the Army Base we will have lost the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The interests of the unemployed, the under-employed, the formerly incarcerated and the youth populations in Oakland were represented by a new coalition called, OaklandWORKS.

One group that did not participate in a significant way was the proposed developers, California Capital Group, an Oakland-based real estate investment company, and AMB Properties, a global commercial developer. The CIG/AMB group said they preferred to hold comment until a finished jobs agreement was drafted.

In November, 2011, Oakland City Council unanimously passed the comprehensive jobs proposal, which included a requirement that 50% of jobs at the new logistics center be held by Oakland residents.

A jobs center that would connect residents to training and jobs was also defined as a critical element of success. All jobs at the base would pass through the Jobs Center and existing skills training organizations would supply workers “ready to work”.

In the spring of 2012, a smaller working group began the process to make the jobs report a legally binding.

Even though the proposed development could not exist without public funding, the “presumed developer” (they no longer have an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement), now called CCIG/Prologis, said, in April, they did not like parts of the city policy.   While they accepted the right of the city to demand local hiring for the publicly funded site preparation at the base, called “horizontal development”, they refused to accept such requirements for the parts of the privately funded “vertical” construction.  They also objected to requiring their future warehouse tenants to abide by the local hiring policy.

The “presumed developers” now proposes a package of last-minute changes to the Jobs Agreements. These changes amount to “loopholes” that would allow contractors or future tenants at the Oakland logistics center to avoid any local hiring. A “core employee” exemption would allow contractors to import their entire workforce and avoid any local hires.   Aggregating apprentice hours worked on other jobs could lead to no apprentices, or only lower-wage, semi-skilled labor apprentices, working on the new army base development.   Their suggested “seven-day residency” rule would allow anyone after a week’s stay in a local hotel to qualify as a “local hire.”

The development group refused to meet or negotiate with the OaklandWORKS community coalition and refused to sign on to a community benefits agreement if community groups were allowed to sign, too.

Community organizations approached by the Post reject the idea of any project that uses Oakland land and tax dollars without bringing jobs and rights to Oakland residents.

Curlee (Denise) Dennis, 92

By Tanya  Dennis

 

Curlee Dennis.

Curlee Dennis, affectionately known as Denise to close friends, passed peacefully in her sleep on May 31st .  Mrs. Dennis was the wife of building contractor Benjamin Dennis.  Together they built a real estate empire in the Berkeley-Oakland area.

Mrs. Dennis graduated from Tennessee State University with a BA in Education and from San Francisco State University where she received her MA degree.  She was a teacher in the San Pablo School District for over thirty years, and Real Estate agent for S.B. Odell.  Mrs. Dennis also graduated from Hastings Law School in 1960 and was former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown’s “study buddy.”

Mrs. Dennis was the co-founder of the C’est La Vie social club, one of the oldest African American Social Clubs in the Bay Area who last year celebrated their 60th year.

In 1968, Mrs. Dennis appeared in the premiere performance of the newly founded Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley.  She played the role of “Missy” in the play Purlie Victorious. She was also a writer, an avid water color artist and dabbled in ceramics.

Mrs. Dennis was one of the first African-American run-way models in the Bay Area and was the first African-American model for the iconic Irene Sargent who owned an up-scale department store in downtown Oakland.

She  was featured in the Post Newspaper regarding her world travels in 1963. She also appeared in Maureen Bee’s (Velda Berkley) Society Pages, and “Faces around the Bay”.    She was often featured in the San Francisco Sun Reporter.    She also wrote a  column in the Bayviewer Magazine.

Mrs. Dennis, a history and home economics teacher at Walter T. Helms Middle school in San Pablo was a proponent of teaching African American history before it was popular.  As a life-time member of the NAACP she was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement in the ‘60’s.

She leaves two daughters; Brenda Harris Lugo and Tanya Denise Dennis, three grandchildren; Deja Williams, Erica Alexis, and Alexsandra Verlin, and two great grandchildren; Skye Williams and Devin Williams, C’est La Vie Club Members and many friends to mourn her passing.

The quiet hour will be held Friday at McNary-Morgan-Greene & Jackson Mortuary at 36th and Telegraph from 6pm-8pm and the Memorial Service will be on Saturday at the same location at 11:00 a.m.

Barbara Lee Works to Keep Benefits for the Long-Term Unemployed

By Post Staff

 

Congresswoman Barbara Lee held a roundtable discussion with career counselors from the Oakland Private Industry Council, Inc., (PIC), representatives from the Employment Development Department (EDD) and individuals whose unemployment benefits are due to expire.

Oakland PIC Chief Executive Officer Gay Plair Cobb told Congresswoman Lee that since last July 1, Oakland’s career centers had more than 89,000 visits from area residents looking for work.  Lee met with representatives of the PIC and EDD to discuss the need for Congress to address the nation’s employment crisis by making vital investments in direct job-creation and job-training initiatives.

Lee addressed the roundtable participants, whose unemployment benefits were expiring, stating that she will continue to fight to extend their support. Lee said, “In this recovering economy, we should not be cutting benefits. Recipients need more weeks of assistance, not less.”

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