Tagged Community

Free Community Health Fair in Marin City

By Sally Douglas Arce

Marin City welcomes the community to its free Health Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25. There will be health screenings and fun for all. For information call 415-366-6421 or e-mail terriegreen1@comcast.net

The Marin City Health and Wellness Center will host its free, fourth annual community-wide Health Fair Saturday, Sept. 25, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 630 Drake Ave. at the intersection of Donahue Street.
“This fair is all about educating the public about common health problems and increasing access to primary care medical services,” said Terrie Green, the center’s Director of Programs and Community Outreach.  “Good health is about physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.  So, we will give people prevention tips for stress, ideas about healthier foods to eat, how to stay active and ways to head off health concerns.”
The day’s activities will include free screenings and information on blood pressure, skin cancer, prostate cancer, dental screening, breast exams, rapid HIV testing, cholesterol, vision, diabetes and asthma.  Also available will be health education, nutrition, first aid, CPR, and exercise demonstration to promote good health and encourage local residents to use local health care resources within the community. Read more

Marin Residents Turn Out for “In the Red and Brown Water”

Jared McNeill, Lakisha May, Isaiah Johnson, and Dawn L. Troupe in the Marin Theatre Company production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” a special outdoor performance in Marin City.

Local residents enjoyed a free outdoor performance of Marin Theatre Company’s production of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “In the Red and Brown Water,” last Saturday in Marin City.
Audience members met and chatted with cast members and playwright McCraney after the show. Also attending were Felicia Gaston of Performing Stars and Maureen Parton of Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashan’s office.
“In the Red and Brown Water” is the first part of the acclaimed trilogy, “The Brother Sister Plays.”
A second free performance takes place Sept. 25, 1 p.m.,  in Marin City at 200 Lot Courtyard.
McCraney is a rising African American playwright who has won many accolades. His trilogy is influenced by his experiences growing up in the Liberty City housing projects outside Miami. The plays draw on West African Yoruba and Afro-Christian Santeria traditions. Read more

Minorities at Greater Risk for Kidney Disease

African Americans are nearly four times more likely to develop kidney failure than white Americans

Certain ethnic minorities, including African Americans and Hispanics, are at a higher risk than the general population for developing potentially life-threatening chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has been linked to higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, according to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
Chronic kidney disease is a progressive, usually permanent loss of kidney function that affects more than 26 million Americans, according to the NKF. When CKD leads to kidney failure, or end stage renal disease (ESRD), the only treatments are a kidney transplant or dialysis.
African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans are at higher risk than the general population for developing kidney disease because they also tend to have higher rates of diabetes and high blood pressure, the top two causes of kidney disease, according to the NKF.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, (NIDDK),
African Americans are nearly four times more likely to develop kidney failure than white Americans.
Early detection and treatment can help prevent further kidney damage and slow the progression of kidney disease, according to the NIDDK’s National Kidney Disease Education Program. People in these at-risk groups are urged to get regular screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes plus make changes to diet and exercise to help reduce their risk of progressive kidney disease.
Dialysis is a life-sustaining process that cleans waste products from the blood, removes extra fluids, and controls the body’s chemistry when a person’s kidneys fail. Dialysis patients typically require treatment on an ongoing basis unless they receive a kidney transplant.

San Francisco “Complete Count Committee” Director Urges Residents to Be Census 2010 “Early Birds”

From left to right. Census Partnership specialist Wade Woods, Status on Women Commissioner Andrea Shorter, US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, and Supervisor Carmen Chu during Locke’s visit to San Francisco early this month. Photo by Kevin Jefferson.

Adrienne Pon, OCEIA’s Executive Director, has announced  that “March 19 has now been designated as SF Counts Day.  Residents are invited to a Civic Center Plaza Rally and Census information Fair – with prizes and giveaways for the first 1,000 people who return their forms between Noon and 2:00 PM. on that day at the park across from City Hall.
The City’s comprehensive plan for “making every resident count” in the 2010  Census is now being tested as official survey forms begin to appear in mail boxes across the City – ready to be completed and returned to the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
San Francisco’s  Complete Count Committee – comprised of 25 volunteers selected by Mayor Gavin Newsom in May 2009 for their  leadership experience in the City’s “diverse” communities – has moved into high gear with a spate of  events scheduled in many areas of the City traditionally considered to be “hard to count” for a wide array of reasons.
Staffed by the City’s Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA) and bolstered by a variety of community-based grantees and City agencies, sub-committees of “Complete Count” have been implementing a series of innovative plans developed for the purpose of enticing these “undercounted” communities of the past to mail that completed survey back to the U.S. Census Bureau as quickly as possible.
Messages about the importance of the Census have been re-vamped and translated into a variety of languages to appeal to the City’s richly diverse residents; meeting agendas have been modified to allow time for questions and answers on subjects of concern; incentives that encourage public attendance at meetings have been identified and utilized effectively, as has distributing Census materials widely where people are already expected to be gathered, for any reason.
The opening of Black History Month at City Hall, a soccer tournament in the Mission, the Chinese New Year and St. Patrick’s Day parades, and a Block Party in the Tenderloin all became good venues for “pitching” the Census.
In the Bayview Hunters Point community (identified as hard-to-count), members of the Mayor’s Complete Count Committee joined with leaders of local organizations and businesses – and Census staff – to hold informal family-focused  “TOWN HALL” meetings in four BVHP neighborhoods as a prelude to a community-wide Gospel Festival celebrating the anticipated early return of completed forms to the U.S. Bureau of the Census. The Festival will be held on Sunday, March 28, from 1:00 – 5:00 PM at the Alex Pitcher Room, Southeast Community Facility, 1800 Oakdale Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124.
An unexpected, but welcome result of the process in the Bayview has been the high level of cooperation that developed among all the individuals and organizations involved in confirming that everyone does count!  That bodes well for the future!

San Franciscans Reflect on Women’s History Month

By Lee Hubbard

Dr. Julia Hare

Brigette R. LeBlanc

Rev. Staci Current

Sharen Hewitt

Women’s history month has various meanings for Black women in San Francisco.  This month highlights the progress and the various issues Black women face today in society in general and within the African American community.
“For so long, our contributions were invisible and unrecognized,” said the Reverend Staci Current, senior pastor at Jones United Methodist Church.  “It is wonderful to be able to celebrate this month, what women have achieved.”
As pastor of one of the largest Methodist Churches in San Francisco, Current has been a leader in speaking out against Black on Black violence in the Western Addition community.  She believes that women taking on more active roles in business and political leadership should be the avenue taken by the black woman.
“President Barack Obama has paved the way to make the possibility of a Black woman president a reality,” continued Current.  “The sky is the limit for Black women.  There are no boundaries for any positions for Black women.”
This opinion is also echoed by Brigette R. LeBlanc, president of the San Francisco chapter of Black Woman Organized for Political Action, which advocates for Black women in politics.
“Black women are doing a lot of great things politically,” said LeBlanc.  “But we need to make sure we plan for the future for the next generation.  We need to mentor our younger women, so they will be prepared when the baton of leadership has to be passed.”
London Breed, executive director of the African American Art and Culture Complex in the Western Addition, was mentored in the African American community and she also mentors younger women.  At the cultural complex, she helps to highlight Black women’s issues with the various exhibits, plays and performances.
“Women have come a long way and we are a part of all endeavors,” said Breed.
She cited women such as Ursula Burns, the CEO of Xerox and Kamala Harris, the current San Francisco District Attorney and leading Democratic candidate for the California Attorney General position, as role models for black women in business, politics and life.
“Black women have been the matriarchs in families and have historically held things together.  Now we are setting the paths in business, politics and within the community,” said Breed.  “But we still have a lot of things to do, to demand the respect we deserve.”
She acknowledged that economic gaps persist between black women and white men and even between black and white women, despite the growing clout of black women financially and, professionally.  A national report by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, titled “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future,” confirms Breed’s point.  The study showed that single, middle age white women have a median wealth of $42,600, about 60 percent of single white men; the median wealth for single black women is only $5. Married white women have a median wealth of $167,500, but married black women have a median worth of $31,500.
In assessing the study, experts noted that Black women are more likely to be found in careers that pay less and offer little or no health insurance or retirement plans.  Also, over 40 percent of black women are single, making them the primary financial earners for their families.  This news however has not deterred Sharen Hewitt, the executive director of the Community Leadership Academy and Emergency Response Project, which deals with public policy for inner city families of color in San Francisco.
“Black women have to understand that even if they live in the lowest economic strata, they are still privileged and have the capacity to maximize and use the resources that they have,” said Hewitt.  “Especially, when you look at Haiti, Chile, Darfur, we do not have it that bad.  We have power and resources and we have the ability to be part of major transformative change in the 21st century.”
Change and the role of women in change was also the theme echoed by Dr. Julia Hare, head of the San Francisco based Black Think Tank, which deals with strengthening the Black Family, when talking about Women’s History Month.
“In order for things to change within the black community, within our families and schools, the Black woman has to do it,” said Dr. Hare.  “Black women can’t sit around and wait for someone to help. If we don’t do it, no one else will.  Black women have had to work for everything we have received.”

Gioia, West County Stimulate Heartsafe Community Program

From left to right: Chief Lance Maples, El Cerrito Fire; Art Lathrop, Director, County Emergency Medical Services; Supervisor John Gioia, Contra Costa County; Lawrence Gurganious, father; Leslie Mueller, American Medical Response; Pam Dodson, County Emergency Medical Services; Janet Abelson, El Cerrito Mayor; Christian Felgenhauger, American Medical Response; Joanne Liebe, American Medical Response; Andrea Bailey, Chevron; Batallion Chief Anthony Kirby (partial), Chevron; Brent Tippen, Chevron .

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia joined by city leaders, emergency services experts, Chevron representatives, and community residents to kicked-off West County’s HeartSafe Community program and to challenged other West County cities and communities to participate.
Sudden cardiac arrest strikes people of all ages and often without warning.  The victim’s heart stop beating and they stop breathing.  The chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest are increased if 9-1-1 is called, CPR and defibrillation are applied, and paramedics arrive.  But not everyone knows what to do if they see someone suffering from cardiac arrest.
That’s why leaders and stakeholders in West Contra Costa County including Supervisor Gioia joined together to call attention to the lifesaving program.
HeartSafe Community is a Countywide awareness program to educate residents about identifying the symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest and responding quickly so the chances of someone suffering from an emergency will have the best chances of survival.
Quick response is what saved 15-year-old David Gurganius’ life last month after he collapsed from an apparent heart condition at a basketball game.   El Cerrito firefighters and paramedics arrived at the El Cerrito High gym within six-minutes of receiving the 9-1-1 call from emergency dispatch.
“Attendees at the game knew to call 9-1-1 when they saw David suffering from the cardiac arrest,” said Supervisor Gioia, whose district includes El Cerrito and is this year’s Chair of the Board of Supervisors.  “I have no doubt their quick action saved David’s life.”
Shortly after the incident in early February, the Chevron Richmond Refinery agreed to donate defibrillators to schools in West Contra Costa Unified School District.
For Supervisor Gioia, education and awareness of cardiovascular disease is personal. His father died from a heart attack in 1987.  Supervisor Gioia has been a strong proponent of installing defibrillators at public places.
“Saving the life of someone suffering a cardiac arrest is everyone’s responsibility,” said Supervisor Gioia.
Current West County partners include the unincorporated community of El Sobrante, the City of El Cerrito, the West Contra Costa Unified School District, and the Chevron Richmond Refinery.

Valerie Betts Woman of theYear

Honors for church service, work with drug users and women with HIV/AIDS

Davis Chapel C.M.E. of Richmond’s Missionary Society recently honored First Lady Valerie Roby Betts as the Woman of the Year for her outstanding service in the church and the community. She was recognized for her friendliness, warmth, faithfulness and commitment to the work of the church.
Betts is a native of Gary, Indiana and the proud mother of two daughters and the grandmother of four. She graduated from Indiana University Northwest with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. During her career, Betts has held administrative and management positions in governmental entities including Court Administrator for the Municipal Court. In this position, Betts was able to work directly with the court’s drug program. The program received national recognition for the service provided in restoring families and communities.
“Working with people on drugs has been my focus for years because the transitioning aspect into the work field is so important,” says Betts. “We have to remind to them to stay focused, keep the faith and it will all work out”.
Betts relocated to the Bay Area in 2005 with her husband, Rev, Dr. Nicholas L. Betts, when he was assigned to Davis Chapel C.M.E. in Richmond. Since relocating to the Bay Area, Betts has taken the initiative to continue her passion for service.
She works as the Administrative Assistant at Reach Fellowship International in Oakland, a faith-based Oakland organization that provides assistance to impoverished people in the community. This program also focuses on women with the daily life challenges of HIV/AIDS.
Betts enjoys extending a helping hand wherever she can. It is her diligence that inspired the missionary society of her church to recognize her as Woman of the Year said Carol Macon.
“This is a very humbling to receive recognition from my members. When people see that you perform and you perform from the heart, they appreciate it and I appreciate them for giving me the recognition,” said Betts.
Betts is the Secretary of the Annual Conference of Ministers’ Spouses, Widows and Widowers Department and serves as the President of the San Francisco District Ministers’ Spouses, Widows and Widowers Department.
“I also serve as the President of the Board of Christian Education that inspires our youth to study God’s word. We teach them how to implement all that they learn about God’s word into their everyday lives. We all fall short but we have to learn how to pick ourselves back up,” says Betts. “I think words of encouragement to our youth are very important. People did this for my children, and I love doing it for others. ”
According to Jackie Turner, Vice-President of Women Missionary Society, Betts was honored because she utilizes the gifts given to her by God.
Betts enjoys spending time with her children and her four grandchildren. She notes the most memorable and exciting time she experienced recently was when she travelled to experience the inauguration of President Barack Obama with her family.
“I never thought I would get to see such an historical event but to witness it during my lifetime with my children was such a humbling experience,” says Betts.

2010 Census Forms Arrive In Mail This Week

The once-in-a-decade census questionnaires have arrived. Households throughout Northern California can expect to receive the much-anticipated, 10-question form as soon as Monday, March 15. Census officials hope that people will fill out their 2010 census questionnaires and mail it back as soon as possible, saving millions of taxpayer dollars.
It costs the government just 44 cents for a postage paid envelope when a household mails back the 10-question form, which should take just 10 minutes to complete. It costs the Census Bureau $57 to send a census taker door-to-door to follow up with each household that fails to respond. In 2000, the nation reversed a three-decade decline in mail rates, achieving a participation rate of 72 percent.
Mandated by the U.S. Constitution, the census takes place on April 1, 2010. Census data determine boundaries for state and local legislative and congressional districts. More than $400 billion in federal funds are distributed annually based on census data to pay for local programs and services such as free lunch for low-income students, vocational training, road construction and emergency services.
For more information about language assistance guides and translations of the form, which are available in 59 languages, visit 2010census.gov . Telephone assistance in filling out the form is available in Spanish (1-866-928-2010), Chinese (1-866-935-2010), Vietnamese (1-866-945-2010), Korean (1-866-955-2010) and Russian (1-866-965-2010) in addition to English (1-866-872-6868). Deaf and hard-of-hearing persons can call the TDD number: 1-866-783-2010.
The US Constitution requires that everyone living in the United States be counted every ten years. All census information collected, including addresses, is confidential and protected by law (Title 13, U.S. Code, Section 9).    By law, the Census Bureau can’t share respondents’ answers with any government agency such as the FBI, the IRS, welfare and immigration. No court of law or law enforcement agency can find out respondents’ answers. All Census Bureau employees — including temporary employees — take an oath for life to keep census information confidential. Any violation of that oath is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000 and five years in prison.

Gayles, The Consummate Artist

James Gayles

James Gayles is a consummate artist. In fact, art is his passion.
His art is featured in a wide variety of venues in and around Oakland .
There is a current exhibit of his work in the downtown Oakland Marriott Hotel at 11th and Broadway. Fifteen of his pieces are on exhibit in the main lobby. Joyce Gordon curated this exhibit.
James’ art is also on display at the Asian Resource Center Gallery, Oakland , California . He says, “Art is a tough field, especially for minorities. It’s a struggle for notoriety. It’s a struggle to get recognition. It’s a struggle to get an exhibit.”
The Alameda County Arts Commission purchased several of his works as a part of the County’s art program. These pieces are on display as a part of the permanent collection at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center .
James has received the City of Oakland ’s Individual Artist Grant in 2005 and 2007, and was recently commissioned by the Alameda County Art Commission and the City of Richmond to create a series of paintings. He also won a public art commission from the City of Oakland Craft and Cultural Arts Department, to do a series of 4 tile murals for the Bushrod Recreation Center .
His studio is located at the Swarm Gallery, 560 2nd Street , Oakland . For further information contract James Gayles at jgayles66@hotmail.com or visit his website at www.jamesgayles.com
- Photo and text by Conway Jones.

Rev. Dr. George W. Davis, 68

Rev. Dr. George W. Davis

Dr. George W. Davis, known as the friend of seniors in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point suffered from diabetes before he died of cancer at age 68.
He was born in Oakland and graduated from McClymonds High School. He served in the United States Navy and became an associate pastor at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church
Before he achieved his PhD degree he graduated from Oakland’s pool halls with the moniker “Oakland Slim”. During the 60’s he used his street experiences to encourage youth to attend and achieve rather than getting involved in criminal activity.
Shaped by a philosophy of showing respect to the elders in the community, he graduated with a focus on gerontology and served the Hunters Point Multiservice Senior Center than 30 years.
He pioneered services to formerly incarcerated seniors in 1999.
At the time of his death he had been working on a plan for seniors known as the “Aging Campus” to provide housing and services throughout the neighborhood.  He is the founder of the National Black Aging Network and served as an associate faculty member at Stanford’s Geriatric Education center.
Affectionately called “Doc”, his dual leadership credentials of Reverend and Doctor caused him to be sought to remedy difficulties in the community.
The Rev. Dr. Davis is survived by his wife, Catherine Davis; daughters Teri Jordan of Madera and LolaGerine Allen, Kristy and Tonya, all of Oakland; sons Matthew of Oakland and William George, II of Sacramento; Grandchildren:  Cassadine Davis, Jalani Davis, Jalen Davis, Jaliyah Davis, Marcus Davis; Jordan Green and Jonique Green.
Donations may be made to the Dr. George W. Davis Legacy Fund, c/o Bayview Hunters Point Multipurpose Senior Services  (BHPMSS), 1706 Yosemite, S.F., CA  94124.

Project Touchdown’s All-Stars

High Achievers Score Rewards

BART Board Director, Carol Ward-Allen (center, in orange sweater), along with Shonda Scott, CEO of 360 Total Concept present a $5,000 check to Antoine Golden who founded Project Touhdown. Scott and Ward-Allen raised the funds to encourage the BART Engineers and volunteers to continue keeping bay area children on the right rail. Photos by Gene Hazzard and collage by Alapi Bhatt.

BART Board Director, Carol Ward-Allen along with Shonda Scott, CEO of 360 Total Concept, a locally based woman-owned, public relations consulting firm gave a donation to Project Touchdown to help develop youth in the East Bay.
Ms. Scott knows that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.  Ms. Scott states, “It takes a village to raise a child to overcome the obstacles in life.”
Carol Ward-Allen engaged the students and parents with a presentation on Black History at the donation ceremony.
Project Touchdown was created by a group of Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) Engineers who volunteered their time to help local youth develop to their full potential and prepare them for college and careers.
BART Engineer Antoine Golden spearheaded the volunteerism of his colleagues. His passion for giving back to his community has inspired youth to believe they can succeed. He named the program “Project Touchdown” because he wanted the youth to envision themselves as halfbacks running to score without being tackled. The program teaches kids to obtain their goals and objectives in life despite any obstacles that may be put in their path.
“Young people need positive role models. There are many role models in our community that we never hear about.  These are ordinary folk doing extraordinary things.” said Carol Ward-Allen.
Project Touchdown helps youth realize that they can achieve in many ways beyond Sports and Entertainment.   The volunteers tell how their dreams were fulfilled with the help of time and sacrifice of many people.
Project Touchdown now has Junior High School students doing High School Math and preparing the students to improve scores on the High School Exit Exams, PSAT, SAT and ACT exams.
Ward-Allen said the entire community benefits because Project Touchdown provides “a safe, fun environment and tracks the student’s progress through partnerships with their schools, homes and community.”
For information contact Mr. Golden at project.touchdown@comcast.net or 510-734-9361.

All Women’s Crew Rehabilitates Contra Costa Home For New Family

[caption id="attachment_5456" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Miriam Padilla and Alex Rubalcabci hang a door."]


Miriam Padilla and Alex Rubalcabci hang a door.

[caption id="attachment_5457" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Above: The two-bedroom home at 2742 Bonifacio Street in Concord renovated by Habitat for Humanity East Bay (HEB). Photos by Monica Mack."][/caption]

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The Green-Street

Urban Recycling Solutions, Inc

On March 15 Urban Recycling Solutions, Inc. will unveil Green-Street.
Green Street takes discarded, used materials, often former road concrete, and creates new; curbs, gutters, sidewalks roadways, parking lots, and play grounds from recycled materials.
This concept intercepts glass, plastic bags and building materials from landfills.
A demonstration will be presented to the public in the latest Concrete and Asphalt Reusability for public agencies and private development and construction firms. Green-Street also produces innovations in the area of Disaster & Emergency Preparedness Stock-piling.
Urban Recycling Solutions says their technology will assist local government agencies in meeting and exceeding its stated regulated AB 939 Landfill Diversion Requirement and Zero Waste Policies while maintaining a safe industry for workers.
Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid announced that the meeting and demonstrations are scheduled to be held in front of Oakland City Hall from 10:00am to 2:00pm. A lunch will be served from in Hearing Room one.

Mandela Market Place’s Diet and Disease Prevention Workshop on Saturdays

Leroy Musgraves

Concerned about your health? Learn to make food choices that can improve the overall quality of your health. According to the Alameda County Public Health Department, heart disease was the leading cause of death in West Oakland from 2000-2003.
Fight against heart disease so that it’s no longer a major cause of premature death.
Eat your way into a healthier life by joining Mandela MarketPlace and Mandela Foods Cooperative as they host a free ongoing Diet and Disease Prevention workshop every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This workshop takes place at Mandela Foods Cooperative, a full service grocery store located at 1430 Seventh St. in West Oakland. Read more

“Mother of Civil Rights” – Mary Ellen Pleasant Celebrated Again

Bibbs Film On Pleasant Wins Hawaiian Festival Honors

Susheel Bibbs

Touring artist and filmmaker, Susheel Bibbs has won yet another festival award for her PBS film MEET MARY PLEASANT (Mother of Civil Rights), a documentary that chronicles the life and legacy of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the San Francisco activist-entrepreneur now called the Mother of Civil Rights in California.  Just announced was the Gold Kahuna Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the 2010 Honolulu International Film Festival.
The Festival will take place April 24th and 25th, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa, and the award will be given  at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony to be held April 25th. In the announcement, the festival informed wrote,
“Our judges felt that your film demonstrated superior and standout filmmaking and is deserving of our most esteemed award.  Your film was among the very best of the several hundreds of films submitted from over 30 countries around the world.  Only a select group of projects in each competitive category are selected to be honored with this prestigious award.”

Peralta and Lincoln Elementary Win Academic Awards

Peralta Principal Rosette Costello.

Peralta Elementary and Lincoln Elementary captured California’s coveted Title I Academic Achievement award. The two schools led a list of six Oakland Public School honorees that includes American Indian Public Charter, Berkeley Maynard Academy, Lionel Wilson College Preparatory Academy, and Oakland Charter Academy.
The schools were recognized schools for producing sterling academic results while serving a socio-economically disadvantaged population. Title I schools educate high concentrations of students from low-income families and often have large English Language Learner (ELL) populations. California is home to more than 6,000 Title I schools and just 238 of them, or roughly three percent, received this week’s Title I Award.
Lincoln has won every year since 2004.
Peralta Principal Rosette Costello’s leadership, along with active and engaged parents, helped turn Peralta into one of the most sought after schools. Peralta’s API score of 892 (API is California’s primary metric for measuring student achievement), is one of just 57 schools in California where the average API score for African-Americans tops 800. Grass Valley Elementary also joins Peralta on this list.
All of the winning schools have student bodies where at least 40 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch, yet, in every case, they more than doubled the State’s academic growth targets. Lincoln Elementary, where nearly 80 percent of the children qualify for free or reduced lunch and many students speak languages other than English at home, proves that socioeconomic or linguistic challenges need not stand in the way of excellence.
Lincoln’s Principal John Melvin reported that the school’s API score now stands at 933. This year, Lincoln is one of just 35 in the state of California, to be nominated for a National Blue Ribbon School Award.

Authentic Diversity

By Tanya

Dancers from all ethnic groups, all ages and gender are led by Zakariya and Naomi Diouf (right). Photos by Gene Hazzard.

America is a country that is defined by its diversity.  However, most people wonder what real diversity looks like. We usually define it as a culture that embraces all races and genders.  Saturday this reporter saw authentic diversity at the Malonga Casquelourd Center in Zakariya & Naomi Diouf’s West African Dance class.
Zakariya, who is from the Congo, and his wife, Naomi, who hails from Liberia, have dominated the African Dance scene in the Bay Area for over forty years.  Zakariya teaches three classes at Laney College and Naomi is a dance teacher at Berkeley High School.
However, it is in their dance classes, open to the public, that you see the true fabric of America: little children go across the floor first with their designated teacher Antoinette Holland, then comes the master teacher, Ibrahima Diouf who is Naomi’s son, leading America personified; Male and female, young and old, French, Chinese, Filipinos, Latinos, African-Americans, Anglos and Africans, plus-sized women and the athletic follow him in rhythm with the drum, united.
Plus-sized women have mastered the art of West African dance in a culture where they are often marginalized as symbols of beauty.  Here, they shine above the other dancers as their graceful bodies seem to embrace the movement more soulfully and deeper than the rest.  They are magnificent to watch! Read more

Marcus Books A Child Shall Read Them

Saidah Kinerman and daughter, Marcilee Kinerman purchase books to support Marcus Book Stores
Kinerman, teacher in Fitness Boot Camps at Live Oaks Park in Berkeley and the Lake Merritt Sail Boat House in Oakland, says, “I have been a customer of Marcus for 6 years and now I can bring my daughter with me. Her daughter Marcilee is three years old and attends preschool.  Marcilee eagerly clasps her just purchased book and says , “I like books.  They’re my favorite things!”  Her book selection: “Girls Hold Up This World”. Photo by Barbara Fluhrer.

Clergy: Baptist Seminary Discriminates



A group of students (bottom, center) from the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union watch Tuesday’s press conference. Left to right are Saundra Andrews (bottom left) from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, Rev. Bea Morris, Rev. Chris Long, Min. Cheryl Dawson, Rev. Damon Powell, Rev. Ann Jefferson, Rev. Benjamin Hollins, Rev. Ada Renée Williams, Rev. Amos Brown, Rev. Cecil Williams, Rev. Francine Brookins, Rev. Charley Hames, Jr.,  Rev. Ramona Tascoe, Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Rev. Jay Johnson, Rev. Allen L. Williams, Min. Rhonda White Warner,  Rev. Harold R. Mayberry. Photo Gene Hazzard and graphic by Alapi Bhatt.

A group of students (bottom, center) from the Berkeley Graduate Theological Union watch Tuesday’s press conference. Left to right are Saundra Andrews (bottom left) from Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, Rev. Bea Morris, Rev. Chris Long, Min. Cheryl Dawson, Rev. Damon Powell, Rev. Ann Jefferson, Rev. Benjamin Hollins, Rev. Ada Renée Williams, Rev. Amos Brown, Rev. Cecil Williams, Rev. Francine Brookins, Rev. Charley Hames, Jr., Rev. Ramona Tascoe, Rev. Jeffrey Kuan, Rev. Jay Johnson, Rev. Allen L. Williams, Min. Rhonda White Warner, Rev. Harold R. Mayberry. Photo Gene Hazzard and graphic by Alapi Bhatt.



By Tasion 



The American Baptist Seminary of the West (ABSW), located in Berkeley, has a rich history in theology dating as far back as its founding in 1871. However, lately, the institution is receiving attention in the community due to charges of racism that are being raised by students.

Students are charging that ABSW, one of nine charter institutions of the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, has been driving out highly qualified and well-respected racial-ethnic professors. Further, students say that when they asked to meet with the administration to discuss their concerns, their requests were denied.

At a press conference held Tuesday at First A.M.E. Church in Oakland, speakers called for the resignation of  Rev. Dr. Paul Martin, president of the seminary.

“The color line is in the place where prophets and priests are to be tutored and taught  – we have some reckoning to do as American Baptists,” said Rev. Amos Brown, pastor of the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and president of the San Francisco Chapter of the NAACP.  Officers of the Berkeley NAACP chapter and Oakland chapter also attended the press conference

Reached by the Post on Tuesday, Martin said, “We are aware of the controversy, and we are working from this angle (the school) to work it out. We have invited those with special concerns (students and leaders) to meet with us. I am not at liberty to say when the meeting is, but I will note that it is happening soon.”

Student concerns reached a crisis point when professor Rev. Dr. Dante Quick resigned. He had taught courses on Constructive Theology and Ethics and is senior pastor of New Liberation Presbyterian Church in San Francisco.  

According to students, when they respectfully requested to speak with the President and Board of Trustees, their request was denied. 

Normally when the Board of Trustees holds meetings, students are allowed to enter the school. But after the current situation arose, students were locked out of the school during the board meeting. 

ABSW students, along with students in other parts of the Theological Union, then gathered outside the school and began chanting and praying. 

“Christians should never lock the door on communication – it makes reconciliation impossible,” said Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Pastor Emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland

 “The lockout of the students on Friday, May 15, is an embarrassment to the institution, the community and especially the faith community, ” said Dr. Harold R. Mayberry, Pastor of First A.M.E. Church in Oakland.

According to Ada Renee Williams, co-director of the Graduate Theological Union of Black Seminarians and a first-year graduate student, “We’re paying major money to go to school and yet you cannot explain to me why we do not have ethnic faculty.”

Reverend Cecil Williams, a rising senior who is set to graduate in 2010 with a Masters of Divinity, added, “It’s curious and worthy of conversation, that over the last several years African American professor have either been asked to leave or have been too uncomfortable to stay.”

While rumors fly, the exact reasons for Professor Quick’s departure is being kept private. 

“Rev. Quick does not want this to be about him (but) about the broader issue. This is about institutional change,” said McGruder, president of Berkeley’s NAACP chapter, and a member of Rev. Quick’s church.

Dr. J. Alfred Smith at Center



Dr J. Alfred Smith, sr

Dr J. Alfred Smith, sr

Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Senior, pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church, will deliver the keynote message on Father’s Day Sunday, June 21, during the 8 a.m. service at the Center of Hope Community Church, 8411 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland. 


Reverends Brondon and Maria Reems are co-pastors of Center of Hope. Bishop Ernestine Reems-Dickerson is the founder and senior pastor.  For information call (510) 633-5133.

Beth Eden Church Took Children’s Day Seriously


By Barbara Fluhrer



Gary Scoggins

Gary Scoggins

When Pastor, Dr. Gillette O. James asked if there were anyone present between the age of 10 and 15 who felt God has been nudging him to be a preacher, no one moved.   


A few minutes later, a young man, Gary Scoggins, emerged from the children’s choir and followed Dr. James’ instruction to come and stand by his side.  It was the 11 a.m. church service, and it was time for Dr. James’ sermon.  

It was clearly Children’s Sunday at Beth Eden; the Children’s Choirs had performed all of the music including solo parts.  The children had read scripture and recognized guests and even led the congregation in prayer, but no one expected them to preach the sermon.

Dr. James gave two scriptures to the young man and asked him to go with two church members and prepare to read from Genesis and Luke. Scoggins returned soon and proceeded to read the short scriptures. 

Scoggins had already sung a solo part causing Dr. James to comment, “He has a preacher’s voice.” He remained at Dr. James side through the better part of the sermon and responded to questions throughout the sermon, taking a seat only as Dr. James moved into his closing. 

This was a Children’s Day the congregation and many children will long remember. The sermon title: “Something To Remember”