Tagged Berkeley

Mayflower Community Chorus Presents “Holiday Magic”

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, the Mayflower Community Chorus presents “Holiday Magic,” featuring a diverse program that includes the chorus, instrumentalists, soloists, choral ensembles and a special Hawaiian surprise.
The Mayflower Community Chorus is directed by renowned Argentinean maestro Daniel Canosa, with script by Jennifer Sowden and stage direction by Candace Brown.  Assistant director David Manley provides accompaniment.  Program notes for each song are included in the program.  Performances support the activities and programs of the nonprofit Mayflower Choral Society.
The show will be held Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m. at the Marin Center Showcase Theatre, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. The Sunday, Dec. 12, show will be held at 2 p.m. at Church of Saint Isabella, One Trinity Way, Terra Linda. Tickets are  $17, general admission; $12, seniors and students; $5, 8 years and under For information call (415) 491-9110 or go to www.mayflowerchorus.org.

Lee Supports New Nutrition

By Tasion

On Wednesday, December 1 Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, released a statement regarding CBC’s support of  The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.
‘The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids’ Act was introduced earlier this year by Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln in hopes of expanding program access to reduce childhood hunger and to improve nutritional quality to promote health and address childhood obesity.  Since being passed, the bipartisan, fiscally responsible bill has become the largest investment in federal child nutrition programs to date. It will provide nearly $4.5 Billion in new children nutrition program funding over the next ten years “With poverty and childhood obesity on the rise, this legislation achieves the twin goals of expanding the pool of needy children who are eligible for school nutrition programs while establishing healthier meal guidelines for American schools,” said Congresswoman Lee. Read more

Oakland Pilot City for Healing Black America

Last week, Susan Taylor and other notable celebrities, inspirational speakers and psychologists convened in Oakland for a three day retreat to discuss wellness principles and the necessary steps to heal Black America.  Celebrities included Harry Belafonte, Malik Yoba, Michael Eric Dyson, Iyanla Vanzant,  Dr. Na’im Akbar and Dr. Wade Nobles. The retreat’s participants committed to volunteering an hour a week with the children in  local organizations served by Oakland Bay Area Cares.

From left to right – Top:  Bantaba Drummers lead recessional; Second row: Arnold Perkins, Dereca Blackmon, Vera Nobles, Shonda Scott, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Susan Taylor, Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Third row: Susan Taylor, Yolanda Mansfield, Brent F. Burton, Lou Gossett Jr. , Dr. Wade Nobles, Dr. Na’im Akbar, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Jason Seals. Photos by Gene Hazzard.

Ministry Seeks ‘Education Direction’ for Youth

By Tasion

Pastors Donnell & Christine Jones of New Direction Ministries.

Some ministers in Richmond say “ a minority teenage youth, especially a boy, is as susceptible to becoming involved in, or becoming a victim of, a violent crime as they are likely to attend college.”
The City of Richmond ranks sixth in the nation for its violent crimes and Pastors Donnell and Christine Jones of the New Direction Ministries want to change those statistics.
They have launched ‘Moving Ministry into Academia’ (M.M.I.A.), a hands-on ministry that focuses on transitioning young men and women from the streets of Richmond into Historical Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU). “We want our youth to choose education as their direction to the future,”says Pastor Christine Jones.
“I got involved in a life of drug use and partying that hindered my education. But, after I began to feel a calling into the ministry, I knew I needed to prepare myself academically to preach and teach the word of God,” said Pastor Donnell Jones.
After going away to college and having a successful pastoral career in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Alabama, Jones said he knew it was time for him “to return to Richmond and be a blessing to his hometown. “ Read more

Richmond Tales Causes Outbreak of “Reading Fever”

Verde Elementary students track Maisha and Mario’s time travels

By Tasion Kwamilele

What makes a great book?  Some would say it’s the plot. Others would argue it’s the affect it has on its readers. From the captivating art work to the well crafted story line, Summer Brenner’s Richmond Tales: Lost Secrets of the Iron Triangle, has sparked and outbreak of “reading-fever” in the Richmond community because the storyline gives readers a ticket to ride backward and forward in time.
Richmond Tales portrays two Richmond youth, Maisha and Mario, who journey back into a simpler place in time, into the Richmond of 1914 and in 1942 when the city experienced its phenomenal growth during World War II. The book allows the readers to “trip forward” too, with the two youth, to the year 2050, to uncover the futuristic digital world.
Lanre Ajayi, who served as principal for the summer school at Verde Elementary School, incorporated the book into the curriculum.   Ajayi says the students and parents both were excited about the book and its companion workbook. Read more

BYA Starts New Reentry Program

Kevin Williams

Through a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Community-based Job Training Grant awarded to the Peralta Community College District, Berkeley Youth Alternatives’ (BYA) new Reentry Program under Dionne Carter, MPH is designed for previously incarcerated individuals, dislocated workers, long-term unemployed individuals and people with limited English-proficiency.
The Reentry Program offers similar workforce services as BYA’s Steps-2-Success program (S2S) and provides services targeting the youth Reentry population. From bus and BART passes to work clothes and academic supplies, the Reentry Program provides case management, training and support services toward removing barriers to education and employment. The program offers GED and High School Diploma assistance as well as counselors for individual sessions. In addition to work readiness, the program is geared toward sustainable employment. Through Merritt College and College of Alameda, participants will take courses in Green Building and Energy Management, Logistics and Transportation, Medical Assistance, and Counseling.  Paid internships will be offered in these areas as well that hopefully, lead to jobs. Read more

Chevron Donates $1 Million To Nonprofit Groups

To continue its support of Richmond’s education and job preparation needs, Chevron will announce investments in seven non-profit organizations on Tuesday, Dec. 14, at 10:00 a.m. at the RichmondBuild location, 500 23rd Street.
A total of one million dollars will be given to seven organizations from Richmond and West Contra Costa County. The organizations were selected based upon their assistance to local schools and their support for job creation activities.
Chevron said the grant awards are part of their California Partnership, which is an initiative to invest in education and job creation in California.   Chevron said their California Partnership is committed to education and job creation as “essential building blocks of strong communities and further economic growth and prosperity.”
For more information contact: Brent Tippen at 510-242-4700 or Brent.Tippen@chevron.com.

EDA Saved Jobs and Businesses

From left to right: East Bay EDA Executive Director Karen Engel, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and County Administrator Susan Muranishi.

The East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA), the largest business group of its kind in the East Bay, celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Oakland on Thursday, December 2.  The group spotlighted the East Bay Indicators Report (EBIR) which highlighted the innovative industries that will help the region pull through the Great Recession.
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who has been Chair of the organization for the past 15 years, said “The organization was founded to bring together leaders from our diverse community to solve major challenges that directly and indirectly affect us in the East Bay, the Bay Area Region and Northern California.”
One of the EDA’s first successes was helping to secure $258 million in federal funding for a dredging project that deepened the channels leading to the Port of Oakland.  They were a part of a consortium of diverse groups that forged an agreement that protected wildlife and at the same time allowed for newer container ships to enter the port. Read more

Marriott Settles Debro’s Lawsuit

Hotel denied him a room “because  of how he looked,” during a blizzard, called police, sent him to a homeless shelter

By Tasion Kwamilele

Joe Debro, a prominent Oakland businessman and builder who also serves as the Chair of the Housing Assistance Council, a $60 million dollar organization, was denied housing at Washington’s Marriott Hotel, just a stone’s throw from the White House. The Marriott staff told Debro there was no room in their inn because he did not look the part.
Even though the hotel employees saw Debro’s suitcase and plane ticket, they summoned the police who gave Debro two options, go to jail or go to a homeless shelter.
Debro chose to spend the night in a homeless shelter.
When Debro arrived in Washington, D.C., in the middle of a snow blizzard, after a late-night “redeye” flight from Oakland, he could not find a taxi. Wearing only a knit cap, a white t-shirt, and an overcoat, Debro rode the subway and walked five blocks to the hotel.  Debro said the Marriott clerk would not check him in.  Assuming Debro, by his appearance, was a homeless man, she disregarded his ID and debit card. Read more

IRS as Santa?

Agency to Return $164 Million in Undelivered Checks

Jesse Weller

The Internal Revenue Service is looking to return $164.6 million in undelivered refund checks. A total of 111,893 taxpayers are due one or more refund checks that could not be delivered because of mailing address errors. Nearly 2,300 Bay Area taxpayers are due undelivered refunds totaling $2,663,000.
“Our main goal is to help people get the money owed them as quickly as possible,” said IRS spokesman Jesse Weller. “Those who are missing a refund should update their address with the IRS. That’s all that needs to be done in most cases.”
Undelivered refund checks average $1,471 this year, compared to $1,148 last year. Some taxpayers are due more than one check. The average dollar amount for returned refunds rose by just over 28 percent this year, possibly due to recent changes in tax law which introduced new credits or expanded existing credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. Read more

Paul Haymon, McClymonds Grad Earns Two UC Berkeley Degrees

Paul Haymon

Paul Haymon

By Conway Jones

Four years ago, Paul Haymon graduated from McClymonds High School in Oakland. This year, he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with two degrees and a grade point average of 3.8.
That’s not all to this story however. He was the recipient of a $6000 scholarship when he started at Berkeley, a grant from the Kiwanis Club of Oakland.
Haymon graduated from UC Berkeley in four years with two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Art Practice and a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies.
Joe Debro, a Kiwanian, says,” Paul Haymon epitomizes the type of high school student we are looking to support with our (Kiwanis) scholarship funds – bright, aggressive, and determined.” Read more

City of Oakland Chorus, Jacqueline Hairston, Elsie Giani Honored

Director to conduct her “Spiritual Arrangements” at Carnegie Hall

By Barbara Fluhrer

Jacqueline Hairston

There’s truly something to sing about in Oakland. The city’s singing employees were applauded by the City Council for bringing joy to the city, especially during Christmas.
The Council chamber, normally the place for hearings and law-making, was recently converted into a concert hall, to hear Jacqueline Hairston, along with pianist Mary Watkins, direct The City and Port of Oakland Employees’ Chorus. The chorus was honored with a City Council Proclamation for their more than 70 years “of Annual Holiday Concerts.”
The Chorus recognized its founder, Elsie Giani, who, at age 97, is still an ardent and vivacious Soprano in the chorus, which gave its first performance in 1941 in Oakland’s City Hall Rotunda, the site of its annual appearances during the holidays.
Hairston, the Chorus’ former accompanist, has been the Director for three years.
Pianist Mary Watkins, also a composer, wrote the new Oakland opera production, “Dark River,” based on the history of the SNCC (Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee) and the biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, the voting rights activist and civil rights leader. Watkins’ “Five Movements in Color,” will be presented in February, 2011, by the Columbia College of Black Music Research in Chicago. Read more

Whitney Merritt Lester, 97

Whitney Merritt Lester was born Sep. 27, 1916 in Beaumont, Texas to the union of Whitney and  Carnellia Lester.  At an early age he accepted Christ and was baptized at the Church of the Living God in Beaumont, Tx.
Lester moved to Oakland in 1943 and went to work for the U.S. Government where he served as a Safety Officer for nearly 32 years before retiring.  He met and married Luella McLemore Thompson and they both became active members of the community and the church. They both served faithfully at the Church by The Side of the Road under the leadership of Reverend A.S. Jackson. Working in the church, led Lester to obtain a degree in ministry from the Bay Cities Institute. After graduating, Lester was licensed and later ordained for ministry through Reverend A.S. Jackson whom he also served under as Associate Pastor. Years later, Rev. Lester was selected to serve as the Senior Pastor of Independent Community Church. It was here that Rev. Lester’s ministry and testimony to God’s faithfulness begin to flourish.
Rev. Lester departed this life on November 25th and leaves to cherish his memories his wife Luella Lester, 2 daughters, Donita R. Lester-Bell and Kimberly Lester, 3 grandsons, Jovan Chambers, Whitney Jackson, and Jonathan Bell, 1 granddaughter, Briana Luella-Catherine Bell, 3 sisters, and a host of nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.

Swanson Sworn in for Third Term

From left to right: Assemblymember Swanson signs declaration after the swearing-in ceremony at the State Capitol; Swanson pictured with Dolores Huerta, renowned labor leader, and his wife, Anita.

Assemblymember Swanson was sworn in at the California State Capitol for his third term in the Assembly and he immediately introduced AB 12, the Abolition of Child Commerce, Exploitation, and Sexual Slavery Act (ACCESS Act), which continues his  efforts to tackle human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of minors.
The legislation would increase the fine against an adult convicted of paying for the sexual services of a minor to $25000. And, the fines collected would be directed to community agencies that help sexually exploited minors obtain education, counseling, and shelter.
“The average age of a child entering the sex industry is 12 years old, with some of the most horrible cases involving children as young as 4 years old,” said Swanson.

Black Holiday Gift Show

On Dec. 11 and 12, the African American Businesses Exchange will hold its 25th Annual Holiday Gift Show at the Oakland Marriott Convention Center; one of the newest sponsors of the Holiday Gift Show is the East Bay Dragons Motorcycle Club (EBD). This year AABE and EBD invites you and your family, church, motorcycle club, organization, etc. to come out and spend some of your holiday gift dollars with African American vendors
“We’re one of the few organizations and events who have been consistent in promoting Black Businesses and economic prosperity for our community,” said Executive Producer, James C. Moore.
AABE and the EBD will also be announcing the launch of their 2011 “Support Our Businesses” Campaign at the opening on December 11. The campaign is designed to drive African American consumer dollars to African American owned businesses in Oakland throughout the year.
“In these extremely challenging economic times each of us must think carefully about every dollar we spend and what each dollar spent produces for our community,” said Moore.
The entertainment will feature Oakland’s own and former American Idle contestant, Latoya London in her new group Urban Punk, on Dec.11th at 4pm.
For vendor booths or more information about the event, please call 510.534.1590, 510.866.3081, or visit the website www.aabexchange.com

Good Paying Tech Jobs, Digital Careers for Low-Income Residents

Joe McKinley (center) with Stride Graduates Eddie Franklin (left) and Carliss LeRoy.

EmpowerNet California, a new Bay Area non-profit organization, wants to open the doors for everyone to get technical training for future jobs. CEO, Joe McKinley brings some specialized experience to the table from his experiences as the Director of Training at The Stride Center, an organization responsible for training and preparing more than1,300 men and women for technical jobs since 2000. EmpowerNet programs are designed to assist extremely low income adults with barriers to employment.
McKinley says Careers in the IT field are ideal for entry level workers because provide access to careers that offer growth. “One can get excellent entry level pay and receive industry standard credentials and technical certifications.
EmpowerNet offers a range of services from simple access to free web-based tools such as curriculum and instruction manuals to access to fully advanced training programs conducted by authorized partner organizations.  Read more

Friendship Christian Center to Donate 200 Dinners

From left to right: Ray Carlisle Jr., Latisha Carlisle Malbrough, Dr. Alesia Agee, Dr. Gerald Agee, Sr., Pastor. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

Each year Friendship Christian Center gives away 50 full dinner boxes to families in the West Oakland Area.  The generous donation of $1300, given by Ray Carlisle and his daughter Jacqueline Carlisle, is making it possible for the church to serve nearly 200 families this year. Friendship Christian Center, located at 1904 Adeline Street, Oakland will host its giveaway Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010 from 11am to 3pm. Families interested in receiving a dinner box must submit their names to the church office by Wednesday, Dec. 15 that 1:00 pm. For information call the church office at 510-835-8539.

Kaiser Donates $10.5 Million to Schools

Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals, Inc.

Kaiser Permanente, the largest health-care provider in Northern California, this week announced a $10.5 million investment in the Oakland community designed to help school children stay healthier as they learn, help increase their attendance rates and academic performance and teach them about humanitarian leaders who made positive differences in their communities.
Through grants from a fund established by Kaiser Permanente at the East Bay Community Foundation, the gift will establish or expand programs offered by the Oakland Unified School District, the Oakland Police Department’s OK Program and Remember Them: Champions for Humanity.
“We consider ourselves a part of the fabric of the city and strongly believe we have a responsibility to play a leading role in improving the health and well-being of this community,” said Gregory A. Adams, president of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals, Inc., in Northern California.
“These grants are expressly tailored to address important community health needs in this city,” he said. “By focusing specifically on programs that serve schoolchildren, the grants represent hope for the future by giving youth the tools and direction they need to thrive.” Read more

World AIDS Day Celebrated

Allsup offers free posters to promote prevention and treatment

Today is World AIDS Day and an opportunity to recognize the many faces of AIDS, according to Allsup, a nationwide provider of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) representation and Medicare plan selection services. Allsup is offering free World AIDS Day posters to promote prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS and related disabilities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States. One in five of those people is unaware of their infection. An estimated 56,300 people become infected with HIV, and more than 18,000 people with AIDS die each year in the U.S.
These statistics illustrate the scope of the epidemic. However, numbers often mask the faces of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters living with AIDS and the loved ones that are lost to the disease.
The physical toll of HIV/AIDS often makes it impossible for individuals to work. At the same time, they incur healthcare expenses that leave them with few resources. The National AIDS Housing Coalition estimates that 70 percent of those living with HIV/AIDS are at risk for homelessness. Obtaining SSDI benefits has been shown to help stabilize their housing situations so they can better meet their needs and focus on wellness. Read more

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s Thanksgiving Feeding

By Dion Evans,
Religion Editor

Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church members (right) serve hot meals during Thanksgiving.

The Lower Bottoms is the name for a neighborhood in West Oakland that used to be a bustling and financially stable community but is now far different.
However, one institution has remained a beacon of hope through it all, the historic Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.
Mt. Zion has gone through a few leadership changes over the last 10 years but seems very confident regarding the newest Senior Pastor of two years – Pastor Michael Wakefield Wallace.
This year, Pastor Wallace led efforts to ensure that residents of the neighborhood around the church facility did not go hungry on Thanksgiving.
“This is our annual community Thanksgiving feast in which we try to serve all the residents of the West Oakland community.  Typically we serve between 200-300 families.  We also provide them with boxes of food to go,” he said.
As for the “to go” food boxes, volunteer LaDonna Vanderhorst stated, “First they eat, and then they come to get grocery bags to take home with them to feed the rest of their family.  In the grocery bags we provide canned goods, onions, potatoes and chicken.” Read more

AARP Says Social Security Is Barrier to Poverty

A new report released by  the AARP Public Policy Institute finds that under a  “experimental” poverty measure, older Americans have the highest rates of poverty among three key age groups.
The current official poverty measure, based on consumption patterns from the 1950s, does not take into account the higher health care expenditures of older Americans in poverty, which according to the AARP report is one reason the official measure understates the number of people over 65 who are living in poverty.
“Older Americans living at, below or near the poverty line are some of America’s most vulnerable and are faced daily with lots of tough choices in their everyday budgets and lives,” said AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins.
For the past decade, the U.S. Census Bureau has published estimates of an experimental poverty measure that reflects more modern needs and living standards.
The AARP report finds that under this measure, the poverty rate in 2008 for persons aged 65 or older is 18.7 percent, nearly twice that of the official measure. Read more

Discovery Halts Breast Cancer Stem Cells

Charlotte Kuperwasser, Ph.D.

Breast cancer stem cells (CSCs), the aggressive cells thought to be resistant to current anti-cancer therapies and which promote metastasis, are stimulated by estrogen via a pathway that mirrors normal stem cell development.
Disrupting the pathway, researchers were able to halt the expansion of breast CSCs, a finding that suggests a new drug therapy target. The study, done in mice, is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Early Edition this week.
“A critical aspect of our work was to discover that estrogen could promote breast cancer growth by modulating the proportion of breast CSCs. Since CSCs were not directly sensitive to estrogen, it wasn’t clear how estrogen could affect their numbers. However, we found that hormone-sensitive cancer cells can communicate with CSCs to regulate their numbers. By disrupting the interaction between cancer cell populations we were able to prevent tumor growth,” said Charlotte Kuperwasser, Ph.D., associate professor in the anatomy and cellular biology and radiation oncology departments at Tufts University School of Medicine, and member of the genetics and cell, molecular & developmental biology program faculties at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.
“Interestingly, this signaling pathway involves many of the same players that control normal stem cell biology, raising a more general possibility that CSCs in other tumors might be regulated by the mechanisms guiding normal development,” said Kuperwasser. Read more

Strengthen Family Ties During Holidays

By Kris Perry,
Executive Director
First 5 California

We all have such busy schedules that it can be a challenge to find time to spend together as a family.
Although many African Americans get together once a year for a traditional family reunion, which often times includes extended family, frequent and consistent quality family time is important throughout the year because when parents learn and play with their children every day, it boosts a child’s self-esteem and helps kids develop positive relationships.
Even 10 to 30 minutes of one-on-one time per day is a good start, as long as it’s part of a regular routine. Young children will benefit from the love and attention they receive during these precious moments.
This holiday season, First 5 California encourages parents as well as grandparents and caregivers to give the gift of quality time. By planning educational and nurturing activities everyone can enjoy together, families can set up healthy routines that last through the holidays and well into the New Year. Read more

Lee Calls for a Renewed Focus to Fight HIV/AIDS

Congresswoman Barbara Lee said, “As we recognize World AIDS Day, we must all recommit ourselves – as a global community – to stamping out HIV/AIDS from the face of the earth.”
She said the release of the 2010 Global Report by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS highlights some progress because, “more people are on treatment, there are fewer new infections and there were fewer deaths in 2009. The trend lines around the world are encouraging.”
Despite the progress Lee urged continued vigilance when she said, “last year 1.8 million people died from AIDS-related illnesses, while 2.6 million people became newly infected – leading to an increase in the number of people living with HIV to approximately 33.3 million. We must increase our funding for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.”
“I also welcome the results of a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health indicating that a widely available, two drug combination pill – taken once a day – can substantially reduce the risk of HIV transmission among men who have sex with men,” Lee said. Read more

Chevron’s a Global Corporate Leader in AIDS/HIV Education and Eradication

By Jesse Brooks

Rhonda Zygocki, Vice President, Policy, Government and Public Affairs for Chevron.

Dr. Marcia Martin, Director of Get Screen Oakland.

David McMurry is Manager of Global Health & Special Projects for Chevron.

Ernesto De La Torre is Coordinator of Global Public Health for Chevron.

When it comes to facing up to the global AIDS epidemic, Chevron does more than just give a monetary donation to organizations fighting AIDS and HIV infection.  Chevron has shown, by their actions of direct community involvement, on the ground, in countries where they operate, and elsewhere in emerging countries, that they have a corporate policy of forming strategic partnerships with local governmental jurisdictions as well as non-governmental community health organizations. The company, which is based here in the bay area in San Ramon, is on the ground, all over the world, establishing strategic partnerships to help promote AIDS prevention, education, testing and treatment.
Chevron is a global corporation with 62,000 employees operating in many areas where HIV/AIDS is prevalent. In the 1990’s Chevron recognized HIV/AIDS was not only affecting the communities where it operates, but its own workforce as well. As a result, Chevron became an early leader in employee education, training and awareness, and has broadened its efforts beyond employees to the communities where they live in urban areas such as Oakland. Read more