From January 2013

Newlywed Couple Launches National Campaign for Marrow Match

Lateefah Simon and Kevin Weston and Lelah, their 1-year-old daughter.

A Bay Area newlywed couple, Kevin Weston and Lateefah Simon, has started a national effort to register 1,000 African Americans as possible bone marrow donors and find a match for Kevin, who needs to undergo a transplant in less than two months for an extremely rare form of leukemia.
“My story is just one of many,” said Kevin. “There are thousands of African-¬Americans and people of color around the country who desperately need a bone marrow transplant but can’t find a match. My wife and I started this campaign to do what we can to raise awareness about this urgent issue and to register as many people as possible.”
Kevin, a 44-¬year-old award-¬winning new media journalist, is father to Lelah, 1, stepfather to Aminah, 16, and husband to Lateefah, a civil rights activist and MacArthur Genius grant award recipient.  In August 2012, Kevin was diagnosed with T-¬cell Prolymphocytic Leukemia (T-¬PLL), which primarily affects adults over the age of 30. The cancer is very rare and aggressive, with only 10 cases per year in the United States. Since being diagnosed, Kevin has endured a month-long stay in the ICU, five emergency surgeries and multiple hospitalizations.
Every year, more than 10,000 patients in the U.S. are diagnosed with life-¬threatening diseases for which a marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope of a cure.
About 70 percent of patients in need of a transplant do not have a matching donor in their family and depend on an international registry to find a match. Patients are more likely to match someone from their own ancestry. Only about 7 percent of the nation’s 10 million registered potential bone-marrow donors are African-American.
“Everyday, I ask for forever with Kevin,” said Lateefah. “I know there is a match out there, and I want to do everything in my power to find that person who will save the love of my life and Lelah’s daddy.” Kevin and Lateefah are working with local organizations and volunteers to organize a series of drives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Among the drives currently scheduled include: Jan. 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the African American Museum and Library, Oakland; Jan. 27, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the Third Baptist Church, San Francisco; Feb. 11, from 1 to 5 p.m., at San Francisco City Hall, San Francisco; Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Quad, 525 4th Street, Oakland.

Registering takes just a few minutes, and involves a prescreening and swab sample of the inside of the cheek. People can also go online to www. marrow.org to order a kit to be sent to their homes.  Formore information visit Kevinandlateefah.com.

Pelosi Celebrates 25 Years of Service

Community Advocate Irene Williams Doss (Left), Nancy Pelosi and Carlotta Lane Jackson.

By Carla
Thomas
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi thanked her supporters recently at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio celebrating over 25 years of service, speaking with pride of the nearly 50 new Democratic Congressional representatives.
“We now have more women and minorities in the house,” said Pelosi at the Jan. 6 event. “We will continue to fight and lead the way while protecting the interests” of constituents.
Among those who attended were Mayor Ed Lee, Business Advocate Irene Williams Doss, IT engineer LaRon Doss, Municipal Transportation Agency Board Member and Commissioner Leona Kelly, West Bay Community Center Coordinator Thelma Bridges, Jim Mayo of the United Negro College Fund, former San Francisco Supervisor and Freedom Rider Carol Ruth Silver and Paul Henderson of the Mayor Ed Lee’s Office.

Local Lawmakers Back New York Gun Law

George Miller

Rob Bonta

By Ashley
Chambers
Local government officials are responding enthusiastically to a New York law passed this week expanding a ban on assault weapons, making the state the first in the country to strengthen gun-control laws after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) is looking at the part of the New York legislation that requires reporting when guns are lost or stolen.
When it comes to developing a new law for California, which already has some of the strongest gun control laws in the country, Bonta says he is looking for what is most effective.
“Some of the things we’re looking at here in California are some of the ongoing checkins. After a gun has been registered, seeing if the owner has any issues with mental health, looking at mental health
screenings, making sure the owner is still a responsible owner. That’s an important issue for me,” he said.
“We have to look closely at what the president introduced and how we in California can support and supplement what they’re doing (at the national level),” Bonta said.
Bonta recently co-authored AB 48 with Assembly member Nancy Skinner, which would regulate ammunition sales.

The New York law broadens the definition of what is considered an assault weapon, reduces the permitted size of gun magazines from 10 to 7 rounds, and places stronger penalties on people who use guns in committing crimes.
According to Congressman George Miller (D-CA), “It’s important that we work at both levels here. There are too many loopholes, not current in each state. We need to keep criminals and people with serious mental health issues from gaining access to firearms and get rid of the high capacity magazines and assault weapons.
“New York was able to pass the law very quickly, and I’m glad that they did. It’s going to be more difficult in Congress,” he said.
Miller supports the development of mental health services and stronger background checks. He is continuing research on this issue to hear from people who have been impacted by gun violence.
“We all know these are difficult emotional fights, but I think we can protect people and do a better job of this and protect the Second Amendment right. But we should also understand some guns aren’t protected by the Second Amendment,” Miller said.
Senator Loni Hancock (DOakland) has pledged to work for strengthened laws at the state level. “As chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee, I am planning on taking significant action this year. As someone who represents Oakland, I’ve seen the tragic consequences of gun violence-too many children are dying,” she said.

Councilman Booze to Receive NAACP Peace & Freedom Award

Cocky Booze

The Richmond Branch of the NACCP has announced that an award established to recognize individuals demonstrating acts of non-violence will go to Councilman Corky Booze (right), who responded non-violently to a physical attack.
The Richmond NAACP and the other members of the Community Mobilization Leadership Coalition have officially adopted this award that will become an annual recognition of a person in the community who demonstrates non-violence in the face of adversity.
This award will be presented to Councilman Booze at the NAACP Richmond Branch Annual Freedom Fund & Membership Awards Banquet on Feb. 2.
For ticket information call Willie Robinson at (415) 722-9167.

Chevron Program Funds $1 Million for 960 Classroom Projects

Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager at Chevron.

Chevron has announced that its 2012 Fuel Your School program has paid out $958,739, benefitting 960 local public school classroom projects and impacting 111,925 students in Alameda and Contra Costa counties.
Through the Fuel Your School program, teachers at 344 public schools in Alameda and Contra Costa counties received classroom resources.
Linda Townsend Bryson, a first-grade teacher at Peres Elementary School in Richmond, received hands-on science materials, including a big screen microscope and slides, as well as books on forces and motion, to help increase her students’ scientific awareness.
“Despite coming from economically challenging environments, my students can shine when given the right opportunities,” Townsend Bryson said. “With the tools received through Fuel Your School, my students have better and more exciting opportunities to learn about the world around them.”
The Chevron program contributed $1 for purchases of eight or more gallons, up to $1 million, from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, adding up to a total contribution of $958,739 to benefit public school classroom projects posted on DonorsChoose.org.
“We’re proud to give back to our local communities through working with specialized and innovative nonprofits,” said Andrea Bailey, community engagement manager at Chevron.  “The Fuel Your School program exemplifies Chevron’s commitment to supporting teachers, students and schools,” she said.
The Fuel Your School program is to support education programming and resources, particularly in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and math – to help prepare students for the growing number of technical jobs in the modern economy, including possible engineering positions at Chevron.

Dr. King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail Still Speaks to Us

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sit in Birmingham jail in 1963.

Commentary

By Kia
Croom
On April 12, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with 53 members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights (ACMHR), launched the Birmingham Campaign— to put economic pressure on local merchants and government through a series of non-violent protests during the Easter shopping season.
Dr. King and protestors were arrested for violating Alabama’s law against mass public demonstrations. In response to their arrests, eight members of the local clergy issued a public statement that criticized the strategy as “untimely and unwise.”
They referred to Dr. King and the SCLC as “outsiders coming in” and igniting racial tensions in within their community. The eight clergymen urged “white and negro citizenry” to cease their protest and “observe principles of law and order and common sense,”
Dr. King was deeply upset by the clergy’s statement. Behind bars, with wet eyes and with a heavy heart, he wrote the “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” in the margins of the Birmingham News.
His open letter became one of the most poignant literary Commentarypieces of the 20th Century.
Dr. King did not understand why the clergymen were unable to see how racism and segregation conflicted with Christian principles.
“Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world?” He asked
How could they be opposed to the SCLC’s campaign against injustice? Would their statement divide the Black church and its position on civil disobedience? How could he, Dr. King, be viewed as an outsider, when he marched alongside hundreds of brothers and sisters withstanding the same blatant hatred and racism both near and far?
Dr. King warned of mounting frustration with the status quo within the Black Community. He feared brewing tensions coupled with emergence of a strong Black Nationalist presence could give way to violence.
According to King, the “Negro Church” could exert a direct influence, not to mention duty, to keep violence from erupting.
“The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march,” he wrote.
He expressed his disappointment with the laxity of the church, which he believed had shirked its obligations to the Black Community, hiding behind the “security of stained-glass windows.”
On this King Day holiday, when so much calls out to be done, community members should take heed of Dr. King’s plea to unite and be bold enough to face the issues that divide us and find the resolve to move forward.
Kia Croom is a contributing writer for the Richmond Post.

Berkeley Adult School Offers Mediation Training

SEEDS Executive director Jeff Sloan.

SEEDS Community Resolution Center is partnering with Berkeley Adult School to offer community conflict resolution services and mediation training.
The Spring 2013 training
SEEDS Executive director Jeff Sloan.
Clockwise from left: Anjelica Mendoza, Luis Renteria, Mark Esguerra, Vanessa Gutierrez, Nathan Yung, Matthew Crimp, Ryan Gabriel, Henry Duran, Annie Xu, Maryam Zafer, Caitlin Dunn, Marikah Davin, Rita Chang and Nicole Gordon.
By Danielle
Savage
Lifelong Medical Care center’s Community HealthCorps is presenting its first “We Dream: A Community Health Fair” this coming Monday, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists at 1924 Cedar St. in Berkeley.
“It’s really an opportunity for us to connect people with services available in the community that they might not know they are eligible for,” said Caitlin Dunn, Community HealthCorps Navigator for LifeLong in West Berkeley.
The free fair will include legal services, arts and crafts, food, and relaxation exercises.
Members of the community may able to sign up, for health coverage, in spite of legal status or income.
To enroll individuals must come with proof of identity, residency and income.
Dunn began working at the clinic in September and has been looking to do outreach with immigrants. “This event is focused on immigrants refugees and asylees, but everyone is welcome to come,” she said.
“Lifelong medical has about nine different clinics spread across are nine different AmeriCorps members,” Dunn said. “We’ve gone door to door [and] we’ve been posting flyers all over the community. It’s not going to be a huge event, [but] we welcome everyone.”in conflict resolution and mediation skills takes place at the adult school each Tuesday evening from 6 – 9 p.m. between Jan. 29 and May 7.
The 40-hour program is open to the public and includes professional instruction and practice sessions in communication skills, conflict styles, culture and cultural identity, and mediation skills.
Participants may receive credits toward licensing for Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPSC).
“This new partnership is an important step in our larger strategy of bringing SEEDS’ services to more people more affordably. By hosting our popular training courses in cooperation with Berkeley Adult School, we’ve been able to reduce certain overhead costs, which allows us to both sustain our high level of training and the number of available scholarships we provide to residents in need,” said SEEDS Executive director Jeff Sloan.
Berkeley Adult School is located at 1701 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. For more information on the SEEDS training, call (510) 548-2377 or go to www.seedscrc.org

Ed Meese Says Obama Risks Impeachment Over Gun Control

Ed Meese

Former U.S. attorney general Ed Meese says President Obama will risk impeachment if he goes too far on gun control.
A fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation and a former attorney general under Ronald Reagan, Meese warned in an interview with conservative website Newsmax that it would be unconstitutional for Obama to enact aggressive gun-control measures through executive order.
“It would not be legal. It would not be constitutional. And, indeed, if he tried to override the Second Amendment in any way, I believe it would be an impeachable offense,” said Meese.
Obama is considering a set of executive actions on guns that would not require congressional approval.
“Then, it would be up to the Congress to take action, such as looking to it to see if, in fact, he has really tried to override the Constitution itself,” Meese said. “In which case it would be up to them to determine what action they should take, and perhaps even to the point of impeachment.”

MLK Day Berkeley Community Health Fair

Clockwise from left: Anjelica Mendoza, Luis Renteria, Mark Esguerra, Vanessa Gutierrez, Nathan Yung, Matthew Crimp, Ryan Gabriel, Henry Duran, Annie Xu, Maryam Zafer, Caitlin Dunn, Marikah Davin, Rita Chang and Nicole Gordon.

By Danielle
Savage
Lifelong Medical Care center’s Community HealthCorps is presenting its first “We Dream: A Community Health Fair” this coming Monday, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists at 1924 Cedar St. in Berkeley.
“It’s really an opportunity for us to connect people with services available in the community that they might not know they are eligible for,” said Caitlin Dunn, Community HealthCorps Navigator for LifeLong in West Berkeley.
The free fair will include legal services, arts and crafts, food, and relaxation exercises.
Members of the community may able to sign up, for health coverage, in spite of legal status or income.
To enroll individuals must come with proof of identity, residency and income.
Dunn began working at the clinic in September and has been looking to do outreach with immigrants. “This event is focused on immigrants refugees and asylees, but everyone is welcome to come,” she said.
“Lifelong medical has about nine different clinics spread across are nine different AmeriCorps members,” Dunn said. “We’ve gone door to door [and] we’ve been posting flyers all over the community. It’s not going to be a huge event, [but] we welcome everyone.”

Joel Overall, 64, Painted the Globe with Jesus’ Brush

Joel Overall

The life of Joel Overall, whodied last week at 64, was celebrated by more than 1,000 in arousing “home-going” funeral service at Shiloh Christian Fellowship.
Affectionately known as the “Ministering Painter,” he was remembered by Pastor David Kiteley: “Joel always found time to preach the gospel of the scriptures to his clients, sometimes while still up high on a ladder painting their houses.”
His mother, Pastor Leora Overall, 91, associate pastor and matriarch of Shiloh, saluted her son with a tribute.  “He was an evangelist, who, if you would talk to him for 20 seconds, you would hear the name ‘Jesus’. He had so many friends.”
Elder Angelina Archie told of how Joel Overall, “while in the oncology hospital ward was converting people to Christianity.”

She said he was a man of faith who travelled to China, India, Mexico and Africa as a missionary-evangelist who won souls to Christianity. He was infectious for Jesus.”   She said his life was exemplary of the teachings of his grandparents Early and Ora Bland, who owned Bland’s Grocery at 5th and Pine and a farm in Madera.
He was born in Oakland Nov, 16, 1948, to Roy Romeo Overall and Leora Mae Bland Overall.
He received a degree in Theology from Shiloh Bible College. He leaves his wife Denise Ora Overall, and children; Ayanna Lee Overall, Jonathan David Overall and Rachell Marie Overall; siblings Angelina Archie, Roy Overall, Jr., Shirley Davis, Timothy and Michael Overall.

Schaaf, Reid Agree with Clergy on Local Hire, Safety Plans

Clergy met with Councilmember Libby Schaaf recently to support a plan, authored by her and Councilmember
Larry Reid, to hold additional Oakland Police Academies and to contract with the Alameda County Sheriff’s
Department to help patrol the city’s street. The clergy also expressed concerns about a local hiring commitment
by AC Transit and will continue to meet with Schaaf on that issue. Pictured from left to right: Scott Blake (McGee
Baptist Church), Dr. Marty Peters (Victory Baptist Church) Dr. Gregory Payton (Greater St. John Baptist Church),
Council member Libby Schaaf, Rev. Daniel Buford (Allen Temple Baptist Church), Lynette Gailord (Coalition for
Black Trade Unions), Rev. Ken Chambers (West Side Baptist Church) and Rev. K. David Johnson (Prince of Peace).
Photo by Bruce Stoffmacher.

Reid Upset over Tagami’s Base Evictions

Larry Reid

Phil Tagami

By J. Douglas
Allen Taylor
Are some members of Oakland City Council becoming disenchanted with Phil Tagami’s development of the Oakland Army Base? At least one veteran Councilmember gave that indication at a meeting of Council’s Community & Economic Development Committee this week.
“I’ve never been a fan of this whole process,” committee chair Larry Reid said, referring to the handling of the removal of several existing businesses on the old Army Base property to make way for the new development.
“I’m really disappointed in the way we’ve treated these businesses. I don’t like the way CC&G [Tagami’s California Capital & Investment Group] has handled this process. I’ve supported them, but I’ll tell you, going forward, you guys ought not to expect a vote from me regarding their efforts on the Oakland Army Base. I will abstain from any future voting because I do not like how they have disrespected the businesses that are out there on that piece of dirt.”
Tagami’s Oakland-based CC&G development company is the general contractor for Oakland’s multi-million dollar development of the old Army Base property. In addition, Tagami serves as an agent for the City of Oakland in the Army Base project.
The first stages of development of the City of Oakland’s portion of the 1,800 acre Army Base site is scheduled to begin sometime this fall. But standing in the way are several businesses on the property, including the Pacific Coast Container and Oakland Maritime Support Services, both of which supply support for Port of Oakland activities, the Oakland Film Center, and Urban Recycling.
All of the businesses have been on short-term city leases on the base property at least since 2006, and city officials are now seeking to get them to sign agreements for a May 31 deadline to vacate the property.
Oakland stands to lose $174 million in federal funds if the city does not have complete control of the army base property by October 1, and city administration officials have set an earlier vacating deadline for the businesses in the event court eviction action is necessary.

None of the Army Base businesses have indicated that they are interested in fighting the evictions, and all are trying to find new sites within Oakland to relocate. City of Oakland Real Estate Agent John Monetta told Council CEDA committee members this week that he is “optimistic” that the vacating agreements will be signed and the businesses will be gone by May 31.
However, none of the four companies have yet reached agreement with the city over the terms of leaving, although representatives of the Oakland Film Center indicated that only a few minor provisions stand in the way of their signing.

“Our intention is 100% to be out by [May] 31st,” said Tim Ranahan of Ranahan Production Services, a Film Center tenant.

But other companies are less satisfied with their removal.
Oakland business leader Dexter Vizinau, who represents PCC Logistics, one of the Army Base businesses, said that while PCC is “one of the reasons why we are now developing the Army Base for logistics,” the company is now “being kicked out with nowhere to go, and they’re doing the business that’s proposed to be done” in the new Army Base development.”
Saying that three-quarters of the export activity currently taking place at the Port of Oakland is handled through PCC.  “I don’t think everybody understands the ramification” of PCC’s eviction, Vizinau added. “That’s going to have an impact on the Port.”
Saying that “the city and the port haven’t worked well together to come up with a transition plan” for the removal of the existing companies, Vizinau asked for a meeting of executive staff members from both the City and the Port, key City Councilmembers, Port of Oakland Commissioners, and Army Base Master Developer Phil Tagami, “to come up with a way for PCC to have an interim space at the port.”
Councilmember Reid said he would take the initiative to move forward on Vizinau’s suggestion.

Police Consultant Protested

By Post Staff
Hundreds of protesters filled Oakland City Council chambers this week to oppose spending $250,000 to give a short-term contract to nationally recognized police consultant Bill Bratton. After five hours of passionate speeches by community members Tuesday evening at the Council’s Public Safety Committee, the four-member committee sent the resolution to hire Brattton to the full City Council for a decision at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
The resolution was modified, however, saying the police chief could consider hiring a consultant other than Bratton, former Los Angeles police chief and New York City police commissioner.
The controversy is based on Bratton’s connection to New York police department’s stop and frisk policy, which critics say frequently results in racial profiling and the harassment and unwarranted searches of Black and Latino young men. New York police stopped and searched “700,000 people last year, and what did they come up with? A handful of weapons. What this (policy) is doing is stigmatizing people on the basis of race and age and what neighborhood they live in,” said Dan Siegel, Oakland civil rights attorney. ¨
Hiring Bratton would essentially mean “the city would be thumbing its nose at (federal) Judge Thelton Henderson,” who is requiring Oakland to eliminate practices that amount to racial profiling of Oakland residents, said Siegel.
Given that a federal compliance director has not been yet appointed to oversee the police department, why is the city rushing to hire a consultant before the federal appointee has a chance to weigh in on the decision? Asks Rashidah Grinage, head of PUEBLO in Oakland, which has been active of many years promoting the accountability of police to Oakland residents.
¨The police chief is saying Bratton is not coming here to do stop and frisk,” said Grinage. “But Bratton said in a television interview that any city that does not implement some kind of stop and frisk is doomed to failure. ¨
According to Grinage, “Three of the four council members (on the Public Safety Committee) said they had not yet seen Bratton’s contract. Why were they being asked to vote on something they hadn’t seen?”
In addition, she said, Bratton will be paid $250,000 for just a few weeks’ work. “Some people say it’s for three months, but I heard three weeks,” she said.

Chauncey Bailey Memorial Near White House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oakland Post staff members Adam Turner and Carla Thomas visited the Chauncey Bailey Memorial Exhibit at the Newseum for journalism at 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington,D.C. while on their way to cover the second inaugural of President Barack Obama.
Bailey, former editor of the Oakland Post, had interviewed Senator Obama before he announced his first presidential campaign, discussing his views on urban gun violence. Bailey was gunned in downtown Oakland in 2007 while investigating violence and sloppy police practices in Oakland. The photos above show Bailey’s computer, notes and other personal property. Photos by Adam L. Turner.

Is Oakland Wasting Money on Bratton?

Bill Bratton

By Kitty
Kelly Epstein In light of Oakland’s increase in homicides in 2012, the Oakland city administrator is asking the City Council to hire as a consultant William Bratton, who brought “stop and frisk” to New York and Los Angeles and who argues that some form of the policy is necessary in all cities.
In New York this policy, under
which police stop 700,000 residents per year without probable cause, is opposed by a majority of New Yorkers, including 75 percent of African American residents. It has been criticized as racial profiling by organizations and individuals ranging from a federal judge to the ACLU, NAACP and the SEIU.
In a recent interview on KCBS, Bratton argued that all cities have to use some form of “stop and frisk” and that his $250,000 proposed contract with Oakland is “very small.”
There are a dozen good reasons why this approach does not belong in Oakland. Perhaps the most important one is this: Oakland dramatically reduced its homicide rate between 2006 and 2010 using a
very different strategy.
But in 2012, homicides are back up to 126. Why? Because the Dellums administration (2007-10) had a multipronged crime reduction strategy, which produced stronger community involvement, better prevention and stronger enforcement. First, Dellums got control of police deployment, including hours and use of overtime, because he was not dependent on the contributions or endorsements of the Oakland Police Officers Association.
Neither of the police chiefs he employed, first Wayne Tucker and then Anthony Batts, had been part of the Oakland Police Department insider culture that led to unreasonable police contracts and the policeabuse of residents revealed in the “Riders” case, which resulted in federal court intervention.
Second, during this period, the city engaged in an expansive form of community involvement. Some 150 diverse residents developed public safety policy proposals, most of which were adopted.
For example, one proposal called for an intense focus on the needs of individuals returning to the city from jail or prison.
These individuals were invited to City Hall for respectful orientations on jobs, education and involvement in the life of the city; a Day Reporting Center was built; public works jobs were obtained for some; and so on.
Third, in spite of funding challenges, the city found federal, state and local resources to fully staff the police department at 837 officers, compared with the current staffing of 613 officers.
Further, the total economic development approach supported the most critical of public safety deterrents – jobs for residents.

Obama’s Gun Initiatives

From left to right: Hinna Zeejah, 8, Taejah Goode, 10, Julia Stokes, 11, and Grant Fritz, 8, who wrote letters to President Barack Obama about the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., watch as Obama signs executive orders to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak).

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, talks about proposals to reduce gun violence, Wednesday, Jan. 16, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak).

Courtesy of Reuters

President Barack Obama proposed a new assault weap-ons ban and mandatory back- ground checks for all gun buyers this week as he tried to channel national outrage over the Newtown school massacre into the biggest U.S. gun-con- trol push in decades.
He is taking 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun violence that do not require congressional action, includ- ing measures to encourage schools to hire police officers and improve efforts to pros-Chauncey Bailey Memorial Near White House ecute gun crime.
Rolling out a wide-ranging plan for executive and legislative action to curb gun violence, Obama set up a fierce clash with the powerful U.S. gun lobby and its supporters in Congress, who will resist what they see as an encroachment on constitutionally protected gun rights.
Obama presented his agenda at a White House event in front of an audience that included relatives of some of the 20 first-graders who were killed along with six adults by a gunman on Dec. 14 at Sandy

Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. “We can’t put this off any longer,” Obama said, vowing to use “whatever weight this office holds” to make his proposals reality. “Congress must
act soon.”
The proposals stem from a month-long review led by Vice President Joe Biden, who on orders from Obama met with advocates on both sides, in- cluding representatives from the weapons and entertainment
industries.

Obama’s plan calls on Congress to renew a prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.
He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counselors and “resource officers” in schools and better access to mental health services.
The most politically contentious piece of the package is Obama’s call for a renewed ban on military-style assault weapons, a move that Republicans who control the House of Representatives are expected
to oppose.
The Newtown gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, used a Bushmaster AR-15 type assault rifle to shoot his victims, many of them 6- and 7-year-olds, before killing himself.
The National Rifle Association has launched a scathing advertising campaign against Obama’s gun control effort and deployed its representatives in force on Capitol Hill. Polls show that public sentiment shifted in favor of increased gun-control measures after the Newtown shooting, and Obama hopes to take advantage while there is a mood for action in Washington.
Obama acknowledged the political challenges but made clear that he is prepared to take on the NRA, despite its widespread support among Republicans and significant backing among Democrats.
He warned that opponents of his effort would try to “gin up fear” and urged lawmakers to think more about the safety of schoolchildren than trying to “get an ‘A’ grade from the gun lobby that supports their campaign.”

Laid Off Teacher Fights to Save Home

Gaylynne Hudson and supporters celebrate in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch on Fruitvale Avenue in Oakland after learning the sale of her home has been postponed. Back Row (L to R) Gaylynne Hudson and Ann Colten. Front Row (L to R) Barbara Jean Knox, Marianne Etlinger and Dan Spalding.

By Danielle
Savage

Gaylynne Hudson, a laid off teacher who lives in Oakland, was facing immediate foreclosure of her home. With the help of friends who marched into Wells Fargo Bank, she was able to head off the auction of her house, winning a short-term extension.
She has been struggling to avert foreclosure on her Fruitvale District home since 2010.
Hours before Hudson’s home was scheduled to be auctioned, Hudson and about 25 others on Monday, Jan. 7 entered the Wells Fargo Bank at 3450 Fruitvale Ave. in Oakland.
“We started to call the bank’s manager and the loan representatives on our cell phones. They began to bring police. Then they locked the doors, then they brought more police,” said Jessie Ortiz, former colleague of Hudson’s at the Oakland Unified School District.
“We began to chant songs. By then there were no more customers in the bank – it was just us and the police. We weren’t going to commit any felony, said Ortiz.
“We did get a postponement for a month. We got to speak with somebody quite high up. I think this has kind of made them a bit scared.” Hudson noted.
Wells Fargo spokesperson Mariana Phipps said the bank’s mortgage division was looking into Hudson’s case.
“They haven’t been following the law,” said Hudson, referring to the Homeowner’s Bill of Rights, which went into to effect Jan. 1, only six days before the scheduled auction of Hudson’s home.
The new Homeowner’s Bill of Rights is a set of laws, backed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, that tries to halt mortgage fraud, prevent arbitrary evictions and ensure fair lending and borrowing practices for homeowners.
“The bank has been trying to sell my house for eight months. I made payments on time until I lost my job, and I have done everything I can,” she said. “There is not really any human element. The system is so complex that you can’t even figure it out,” she continued.
Hudson said she had been in a forbearance agreement with Wells Fargo—under which she made payments towards her mortgage—for six months, and once the agreement expired, she requested a new application package.
While negotiating for a renewal of her payment agreement with Wells Fargo, Hudson said she has also had to deal with collection agencies and law firms acting on behalf of the bank.
“This is about people being forced out of their own homes,” said Hudson. “I’m going to continue to fight not just for myself but for other people.”
Hudson has been supported by Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) in Oakland, which can be contacted at (510) 269-4692.

New Documentary “End Game: AIDS in Black America”

From left to right: Renatta Simone, producer, writer and director of End Game: HIV in Black America, Nel Davis and POST journalist Jesse Brooks. Nel and Brooks got a chance to tell their experience of being HIV positive in the film.

Left to right: Post reporter Jesse Brooks, Nel Davis with Host of KQED Forum – Michael Krasny.

By Jesse Brooks

The public is invited to participate in a conversation at the Bay Area’s first public showing of PBS’s Frontline documentary “End Game: AIDS in Black America.”
This documentary explores how politics, social factors and cultural factors allowed the AIDS epidemic to spread rapidly in the African American community over the past three decades.
The film was originally released in July 2012, and premiered at the 2012 International AIDS conference held in Washington.  It has done what Renatta Simone, producer, writer and director intended it to do, encouraging people to start to talk and be aware of the conditions African Americans face regarding HIV/AIDS in America.
In 1986, 20 percent of all people in the United States living with AIDS were African American. The most recent statistics from Center for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that 45 percent of all new cases of HIV infection are among African Americans.
In the film Simone explores why the HIV epidemic is so much more prevalent among African Americans than among whites. “The film is about race in America as much as it is about HIV, how a virus has exploited our inability to deal with our problems around race,” said Simone, who also produced the award winning series, “The Age of AIDS,” which appeared on Frontline in 2006.
Why is HIV so much worse in the Black Community? This is a question that comes up all the time at speaking engagements. This film gives the answer. Three years in the making, this groundbreaking documentary film tells the story of how, from the earliest days, prejudice, silence and stigma allowed the virus to spread deep into the Black community.
The film was shot coast to coast in Los Angeles, Oakland, Atlanta, Birmingham, Selma, New York, Boston and Washington, D.C.; in churches, clinics, a high school classroom, a prison, a nightclub, a restaurant kitchen and on the street.
Meet others from the film, like Nel Davis, who told her story of being 65-year-old Black woman, infected by a deacon she married from her church and how she found out his status when a piece of  paper with the positive HIV test results fell out of his bible one day while she was cleaning.
According to Dr. Marsha Martin, an HIV prevention leader,   “We have achieved some things as  Black people in America because the civil rights movement got us to some places. But at the same time, AIDS is everywhere, showing us all the places that we have missed, saying look over here, look over here, and look over here!”
Martin has worked in Oakland with Get Screened Oakland, a mayoral initiative that encourages testing.
The showing is also a kick-off of a year-long calendar of events of two merging groups: the Bay Area Treatment Advocacy Network (BTAN) and the Bay Area Regional African American HIV/AIDS State of Emergency Coalition (BARAASEC).The two groups are joining forces to advance HIV treatment in the Black community and to ensure that the community is prepared to participate in the treatment process.
Whether watching “End Game” online or at the community conversation, activists have been at this for 30 years, and they are at a different point in the evolution of the crisis. Now is the time to be talking about the “End Game.”
“End game: AIDS in Black America” and an intimate conversation with the community, will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27 at the New Parkway Theatre, 474 24th St. in Oakland.
To purchase tickets for $10, go to Spectrumfilm012013.eventbrite.com or call (510) 575-8245.

Chinese Delegation Visits One Stop Career Center and Stride Center’s Technology Training in Oakland

Members of the Shuozhou Municipal Government from China are shown at the offices of the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) on Jan. 14. The delegation was briefed on the One Stop Career Center and the Stride Center’s technology training in Oakland. Shown are members of the delegation along with Anne Chan, PIC One Stop Career Center Manager, third from right, and Joe McKinley of the Stride Center, far left. There have been 12 delegations from China to the PIC over the past few years to learn about services and resources for the unemployed and underemployed. Photo by Adam L. Turner.

Santa Rita Jail Holds 1,000 Immigrants Per Year for ICE

By J. Douglas
Allen Taylor

While the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department is not required by federal law to hold suspected immigration law violators for pickup by federal immigration authorities under the “Secure Communities” program, the county Board of Supervisors has no power to force the sheriff to stop the practice.
That was the general conclusion of a three-hour Board of Supervisors committee hearing on the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) office’s controversial program held in Oakland last week.
Under “Secure Communities,” which went into effect four years ago, ICE asks for 48-hour holds on close to 1,000 persons a year – over 80 a month-being jailed at the county’s Santa Rita Facility on allegations that those individuals are in the country illegally.
Some 75 percent of the holds turn into detentions by ICE officers, who visit Santa Rita from Monday through Saturday every week for that purpose.
Under federal law, local law enforcement officials are not authorized to make arrests for immigration violations, and the persons being held for possible ICE pickup were incarcerated at Santa Rita on allegations of violation of unrelated state laws.
While the sheriff’s office “is not subordinate to the board when it comes to law enforcement responsibilities, there appears to be a willingness by the sheriff to continue to discuss this issue,” said District 2 County Supervisor Richard Valle (Hayward, Newark, Union City; the northern Fremont and a portion of Sunol), chairperson of the board’s Public Protection Committee, following the hearing.
Valle said the two-member committee, which also includes District 1 Supervisor Scott Haggerty (Dublin, Livermore, most of Fremont, and a portion of Sunol), would report the results of the hearing to the full Board of Supervisors for possible further action.
In addition, Valle said that his office plans to tour Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail later this month in part to further investigate the “Secure Communities” inmate holds at the jail.
Assistant County Sheriff Brett Keteles, who made a presentation at the hearing on the sheriff office’s “immigration hold” policy, agreed that while the sheriff has sole authority over the issue, he “wants to cooperate” with supervisors on possible revisions to the policy.
Although the “Secure Communities” holds are supposed to concentrate on removing persons convicted of major crimes from the country, a representative of the Asian Law Caucus of San Francisco presented information at last week’s hearing to indicate only a quarter of the persons deported nationally through the program have been convicted of violent offenses.
A quarter of the deportees were never convicted of any crime.
Jail officials make no special effort to identify immigration violators on behalf of ICE.
Fingerprints of all arrested individuals are automatically forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for possible additional warrants or charges from other jurisdictions. Part of the FBI screening is to send the fingerprint information to federal immigration authorities.
While operated by the Alameda Sheriff’s Department, Santa Rita houses people arrested by both sheriff’s deputies and city police officers throughout the county.
The arrested individuals have not been convicted, and are being held either for an appearance before a judge or for a full trial.
Close to 40 individuals-including clergy, attorneys, and immigration rights activists and advocates-testified at last Thursday’s hearings against the “Secure Communities” jail holds, many arguing that the federal government should do its own immigration law enforcement work and not rely upon local jurisdictions to hold suspected immigration violators.
They also charged that the immigration holds made immigrant communities “unsecure,” and led directly to the loss of family breadwinners and the breaking up of families.

We Have Come a Long Way But Still Have Far to Go

By Jesse
Jackson

When President Barack Obama is sworn in for his second term, his hand will rest not only on President Abraham Lincoln’s Bible, but on Dr. Martin Luther King’s, too.
As the ceremony falls on the federal holiday celebrating Dr. King’s birth, the civil rights leader would no doubt be proud as an African-American president is sworn in on the steps of a Capitol built by slave labor, about 170 miles from Jamestown where slave ships landed.
We have come a long way.
But Dr. King would not be satisfied. He marched to his own drummer, and wanted to be remembered as a “drum major for justice.” He worked tirelessly for change, but he never took his eyes from the prize.
He understood there must be a creative tension between the political and the prophetic.
The political seeks the popular, and attempts the possible. The prophetic seeks the moral, states the truth, and challenges the limits.
For Dr. King, bipartisan agreement had little value in itself. There was bipartisan agreement on slavery. Abolition was outside the consensus. There was bipartisan agreement on segregation. The Montgomery bus boycott, the Selma march for voting rights were outside the box.
When Lyndon Johnson pushed through the Voting Rights Act, stating that “We shall overcome,” Dr. King praised him. But he challenged Johnson’s war in Vietnam, and the retreat on the war on poverty. He spent part of his last birthday organizing a poor people’s march on Washington, prepared to commit civil disobedience to force the nation’s attention on the poor.
We know what Dr. King would be focused on today. Nearly one in four children is being raised in poverty. More than 46 million people struggle with poverty in this wealthy nation.
Nearly 18 million households are “food insecure.”
Millions are facing foreclosure. School budgets are being starved, even as jails are stuffed. An extreme and obscene gulf exists between rich and poor, with working families suffering mass unemployment, falling wages and increasing insecurity.
There is a growing racial polarization as African Americans and Latinos, the greatest victims of the Great Recession, are the last to recover from it. Schools today are more segregated than they were in Dr. King’s time, but now no one talks about it.
The U.S. also has a larger military budget than at the height of the Cold War, and drones in six countries are likely generating more terrorists than they are killing.
Dr. King would no doubt celebrate the re-election of an African-American president, but he would not stop there. He would challenge the limits of the current debate. He would be organizing mass civil disobedience to call the nation back to its senses — and to demand action against poverty, violence and the endless war that has shredded our Constitution, wasted lives and squandered scarce resources.
The partisan is too petty to address the unpopular. The bipartisan is too limited to speak the truth. Dr. King told us that “there comes a time when silence is betrayal.” He understood that the movement for justice would often offend the majority. We would make progress, he argued, “not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
The second inauguration of Barack Obama on the day we celebrate Dr. King’s birthday reminds us how far we have come. But Dr. King would demand that we look clearly at how far we have to go. It is not a time for complacent celebration.
We cannot accept mass unemployment, grinding poverty and endless war as a new normal.
On Dr. King’s birthday, it’s time to mobilize the creative maladjustment of citizens of conscience once more.

Debutantes Delighted at Links’ Cotillion SF Ball

(Top Row, L-R): Aria Charles, Ariana Donaville, McKenzie Oldham, Keisha May, Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Loren Lassiter, Amoni Brown, Ariell Bostick, Daija Stafford, Simone Goldman, Lauren Bellow; (2nd Row L-R) Loren Lassiter, Waverlee Craig, Aria Charles, Diane Harris-Wilson, Tamara Jefferson, Loren Lassiter, Tatiana Hobson, Ivoryana Brown, Ariana Donaville, Justice Moore, Maya Williams; (3rd Row L-R): Tamara Jefferson, Maia Tillman, (group photo -Front Row L-R Ariana Donaville, Tamara Jefferson, Ariell Bostick, Jacquelynn May, Lauren Bellow, Maya Williams, Maia Tillman, Aria Charles; (Middle Row L-R): Joseph Jackson, Michael Sneed, Jr., Winston Hill, DeShawn Brown, Justice Dorsey-Moore, Tatiana Hobson, Amoni Brown, Waverlee Craig, Ivory White, Mckenzie Oldham, Jelani Smith, Andrew Abrams; (Third Row L-R): Andrew Daniels, Alex Guillory, Alexander Estes, Sasha Wallace, Rachel Buckner, Loren Lassiter, Daija Stafford, Ivoryanna Brown, Simone Goldman, Ernest McMurry, Colin Leach, Joseph Villa, Kyle Hogg, Kyle Mouton ; (Top Row L-R): Joshua Norman, Harold Terrell, Shaka Gant-Kendricks, Spencer Hollie, Keiland Callum, Joseph Jackson, Tre Clayton) Rachel Buckner, Simone Goldman, Justice Moore ; (Bottom Row L-R): Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Keisha May, Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Maia Tillman, Diane Harris-Wilson, Sasha Wallace, Ivoryana Brown, Ivory White Link Diane Harris-Wilson, Ivory White, Tatiana Hobson, Sasha Wallace, Simone Goldman, Waverlee Craig, Tamara Jefferson, Daija Stafford, Aria Charles, Rachel Buckner, Ivoryana Brown. (Photos and collage by Adam L. Turner.)

The Oakland Bay Area Chapter of Links, Inc. sponsored this year’s 56th Cotillion, Dec. 22 at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis Hotel, featuring 20 debutantes and their escorts who made their debuts to nearly 800 family members and guests at this gala holiday ball, which is now a Bay Area tradition.
The ceremony was an elegant and festive rite of passage for these selected, highly accomplished, young high school seniors and several juniors marking a transition from adolescence to young adulthood.
The event recognizes these  high school students for their outstanding academic achievements, community service and leadership skills.
The theme of this year’s Cotillion was An Affair to Remember. Each debutante was presented separately first by her father or guardian and then by her escort.  This was followed by a series of intricate and classic ballroom dances performed by debutantes and escorts.
Throughout a three-month period beginning in September, the debutantes and escorts participated in  workshops on college planning, career options, self-esteem, etiquette, financial literacy and effective communication skills. They also participated in a community service project, preparing and providing Thanksgiving bags of groceries for 50 families at Lafayette Elementary School in Oakland.
The Oakland Chapter of Links adopted Lafayette Elementary several years ago, and each year the chapter provides extracurricular programs for students and a program for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.  The funds raised from the Cotillion will support programming at Lafayette Elementary, the OBAL Celebration of Excellence Book and Scholarship Program, which will be held in April, as well as grants to community service organizations.
This year’s co-chairpersons for the Cotillion were Michelle Davenport and Valarie Kelly.  The president of the Oakland Bay Area Chapter of Links, Inc. is Felicia Stuckey-Smith.
For more information visit www.oaklandbayarealinks.org.

Darrell Carl Burton, 68

Darrell Carl Burton

Darrell Carl Burton, a former PG&E employee and a mentor to children, died Wednesday, Jan. 9. He was 68.
Burton graduated in 1963 from Lincoln High School in Port Arthur, Texas and joined the U.S. Army, becoming a drill sergeant.
After leaving the military in 1968, he relocated to Alameda where he attended Alameda College, earning a certificate in auto mechanics.
Burton spent most of his life in Oakland. He worked at PG&E for over 37 years. He loved traveling, bowling, fishing, photography, good food, good music and good parties.
He also enjoyed serving the seniors at the East Oakland Senior Center on a weekly basis and continued to do so until his health started to fail.  He was also a member of the Super Dad’s Club, where he was a mentor for young children.
He made his home a warm and welcoming place where he shared his large movie and photograph collections and the latest technology.
Darrell is survived by his wife, Rachel Docks Burton; three sons, Willie Barnes (Mary) and Jeremiah Barnes, both of Portland, Maine, and Darrell Carl Burton, II of Oakland; three brothers, James Burton (Margaret), Beaumont, Texas, Steve Burton (Marsha), Bay Town, Texas, and Carlton Sparrow Burton, Nashville, Tennessee; two sisters, Lois Faye Burton and Mary Dean, both of Las Vegas, Nevada; and an aunt, Mary Agnes Sparrow, Alameda.
He is also survived by four brothers-in-law, Charles Docks, Lawrence Docks, Quentin Docks (Theresa), all of Gary, Indiana and Jeffery Docks, Atlanta, Georgia; four sisters-in-law, Emily Collier, Gary, Indiana, Clementine, Titus (Mack), Cerritos, California, Kathy Greenlow (Jesse), Olympia, Washington, and Gale Thomas (Vernon), Maryville, Indiana.
He was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Alma Sparrow Burton, brother Willie Burton and his sister Verna Lee Ned.
A public viewing was held Jan. 16 and services were Jan. 17 at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland.

Classical Star Performs at East Oakland Leadership Academy

Nokuthula Ngwenyama, on stage at Regents Theater at Holy Names University in Oakland. Photos by Fluhrer/Chin.

East Oakland Leadership Academy students greeted the artists after the performance. From left to right: Miracle Sheperd, Sandra Rivers (pianist), Nokuthula Ngwenyama (violist, violinist), Kris Rivas, Rovijon Davis, and Lizeth Castillo-Simon.

Nokuthula Ngwenyama shares her story with students at East Oakland Leadership Academy.

About 50 middle school students from the East Oakland Leadership Academy had the opportunity last week to hear a performance by classical violinist and violist Nokuthula Ngwenyama, who the L.A. Times called, “A Face to Watch,” hosted by Four Seasons Arts.
Ngwenyama played pieces for the students, discussed the viola and violin and answered questions about her struggle to become an international star.
Born in Los Angeles of Zimbabwean-Japanese parents, Ngwenyama told the students, “I started playing the violin at age 5.  My father was initially opposed to my playing “the white man’s music’. Much later he became supportive.”
A graduate of Curtis Institute and a Fulbright scholar, Ngwenyama earned a Masters in Theology from Harvard University.  She has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad, appeared at the White House, on CBS Sunday Morning, and was featured on the Emmy Award-nominated PBS program Sound of Strings.
She is an advocate for the arts who testified before Congress on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts.  She served as visiting professor at the University of Notre Dame in 2007 where she lectured on African Music and Music and World Religions.
Four Seasons Arts is bringing Music Share to East Oakland Leadership Academy, a program designed to expose students to classical music, which is strongly supported by the school’s principal Dr. Laura Armstrong.
Besides attending classical concerts and in-school seminars by major performing artists, the young people are participating in classes that make classical music accessible on iPods and other technological devices.
Ngwenyama performed with world renowned pianist Sandra Rivers on the piano, on Jan. 12 at Regents Theatre at Holy Names University in Oakland. Several of the children from the Leadership Academy were the first to greet the artists after the performance.

Oakland Youth Orchestra’s Winter Concert

Oakland Youth Orchestra

The award-winning Oakland Youth Orchestra is opening its season with a winter concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27 at Holy Names University in Oakland.
The free winter concert follows on the heels of the orchestra’s participation in the Bay Area Youth Orchestra Festival, known as the “Bay of Hope,” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 20 at Sonoma State University.
Started in 2009, the festival brings together six of the Bay Area’s most prominent youth orchestras for an afternoon of music, with proceeds benefitting charitable organizations serving homeless youth.
The Jan. 20 festival will take place at Green Music Center, Weill Hall, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park. The Jan. 27 event will take place at Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd. in Oakland.
For more information visit www.oyo.org.