Tagged San Francisco

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.

“Gospel In The Afternoon”

Malcolm D. John, MD, MPH.

“Gospel In The Afternoon,”  a benefit Gospel concert that will be held from 12 noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2010, in the Manzanita Gym, located at 630 Drake Ave.
Malcolm D. John, MD, MPH. will be the guest speaker. Two gospel groups, Emmit Powell and the Gospel Elites, and Florence Williams and the Gospel Jubilees, will be performing.
The admission is free; donations are welcomed.
Malcolm D. John, MD, MPH. is an expert in infectious diseases. He is the director of the 360, The Positive Care Center at UCSF, one of the most comprehensive HIV and AIDS treatment programs in the country. He also serves as Director of the Men of Color Program at 360.
In addition to his work at UCSF, Dr. John, MD, MPH. is an HIV consultant at the Larkin Street Youth Center and a consultant to the HIV Management Program of the Brown & Toland Medical Group, both in San Francisco. Read more

Lee Supports New Nutrition

By Tasion
Kwamilele

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

Prince Charming Bows to “Mudbone”

Matthew Jones, Follows Dad David Jones’ Footsteps

From left to right: Jim D. Lockett as Duke, Davon Smith, Matthew Jones as The Prince, Patricia Zannini-Koch (mother of Matthew Jones), and Khamara Pettus as Cinderella.

Marin’s David Jones, who thrilled crowds for years when he played “Mudbone”, a character made famous from through the comedy skits of the late Richard Pryor, would have surely wanted a front row seat at his son’s debut performance role in Cinderella.
The Jones family and many friends attended the Buriel Clay Theatre in San Francisco to support Mathew Jones’ performance as Prince Charming in “Cinderella”. Matthew Jones is the only child of the late David Jones and Patricia Zannini-Jones of San Rafael.
Matthew grew up in San Rafael and graduated from St.Ignatius High School in San Francisco in 2006. Although he was a stellar athlete at Brown University, Matthew discovered that his passion for acting was greater. He transferred to UCLA and graduated this year.
Matthew says he is following the footsteps of his father David Jones, who also had a passion for the performing arts.
Matthew wants to rekindle the same the sparks of life his late father brought to the Marin community. In the San Rafael play “Intimate Apparel,” his first professional job, he recently dedicated his opening performance to his father.
“Cinderella”, a play for family audiences, will be showing every weekend in December. For information, visit: www.africanamericanshakes.org

San Francisco’s Local Construction Hiring Law Passes

By Lee Hubbard

Supervisor John Avalos

The City of San Francisco’s board of Supervisors passed a local hiring that will require 20 percent of the workers on construction sites be San Francisco residents.   An additional 5 percent increase will take place each year until a 50 percent mark is met on all city-financed construction projects.
“Local hiring is a long-term solution to a long-term problem; too many San Francisco tax dollars are leaving the city when they are needed to support the local economy and help address multiple challenges such as high unemployment, poverty and crime,” said Supervisor John Avalos, who spearheaded the legislation.
The legislation passed with an 8-3 vote, with Supervisors Carmen Chu, Sean Elsbernd and Michela Alioto-Pier voting against the legislation. The bill now goes to Mayor Gavin Newsom to sign into law. If Newsom veto’s the legislation, a member of the board of supervisors says there are enough votes to override his veto.
“This is a historic piece of legislation that will help level the playing field for people in communities such as Bayview Hunters Point,” said Ed Donaldson, a community activist in Bayview Hunters Point area.   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

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.

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

Report: Jobs Keep People from Returning to Prison

Andrea Russi

Job prospects are bleak for anyone with a criminal record in California, and the current economic downturn makes it even tougher. Nearly eight million residents have criminal records, and the numbers are growing.
The need to find gainful employment for this disadvantaged group is urgent: the state could release up to 40,000 prisoners over the next two years, by court order. If trends are any indication, 60 percent to 80 percent of them will be unemployed one year after release.
But a new report from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law recommends ways the state can reverse that trend.
The law school’s Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice has released “Reaching a Higher Ground: Increasing Employment Opportunities for People with Prior Convictions.” The report is a compilation of the best ideas from police officers, unions, government officials, employers and academics.
“Increasing employment opportunities for people with criminal records isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said center Executive Director Andrea Russi. “Communities are stronger when their residents have jobs; recidivism rates drop and costs decrease across the board for police, courts, and prisons.” Read more

Kamala Harris: “This is Our House”

By Conway Jones

From left to right: Belva Davis, newscaster emeritus; California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris and CEO and President of Delancey Street Foundation, Mimi Halper Silbert. Photos by Gene Hazzard, Carla Thomas and Conway Jones.

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris greeted several hundred supporters at the Town Hall, Delancey Street, for a special announcement Tuesday evening.
“This is our house,” said Harris, referring to Delancey Street and pointing to Dr. Mimi Silbert, co-founder of Delancey Street. She was also referring to the office of the Attorney General in California.
She made it very clear that she was taking office to give voice to people who had no voice. “You don’t have to run away from your values to run for office,” she said, “and my election proves that.”
She reflected pride when she reflected on her first job as assistant district attorney in Oakland. “Oakland is where I learned the power of the office,” she said.
Harris made it very clear that she understood the power of the attorney general’s office as well. She referred to former California Attorney General Earl Warren, and the fact that he filed the Brown vs. the Board of Education action. Read more

Californian Will Be Michelle Obama’s Communications Chief

Kristina Schake, a co-founder and board member of the group that filed the successful federal challenge to California’s ban on gay marriage, will be first lady Michelle Obama’s new communications director, the White House announced Monday.
Schake, 40, a strategist for California first lady Maria Shriver, fills a spot that has been vacant since the end of August, when Mrs. Obama’s first communications chief, Camille Johnston, left for a corporate position.
Schake is a co-founder of Griffin Schake, a Los Angeles public affairs and strategic communications firm. Schake has worked in California on obesity issues, Mrs. Obama’s signature policy initiative.
“Kristina has done extensive work throughout her career on child nutrition and community health issues, and that paired with her experience as part of a military family will bring invaluable insight to our work on childhood obesity and our efforts to support military families,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Kristina on these efforts and more in the months and years ahead.” Read more

Tuskegee Airman, 87, Earns Pilot Wings

By Conway
Jones

Lt. Colonel James Warren, USAF (Retired)

Lt. Colonel James Warren, USAF (Retired), is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the Black aviators who were trained as flight officers in the Army Air Corps in World War II.
At age 87, he has just earned his private pilot’s certificate.
Colonel Warren has always been one of the firsts. He was awarded his navigator wings at Hondo Army Air Field, Texas in 1944. He was a part of the 162 Army Air Corp Negro officers who were arrested for demanding lawful entry into the white officer’s club at Freeman Field, Indiana.
He was also on the first C-141 sent to Gia Lam Viet Nam on Feb. 12, 1973, to bring home prisoners of war.  Colonel Warren escorted Colonel Fred Cheery, USAF, a Black fighter pilot who had been held prisoner in Viet Nam for 7 years, five months.
Warren is also the author of  “Tuskegee Airmen Mutiny at Freeman Field,” which details the battle to end segregation and discrimination in the 477th Bombardment Group at Freeman Field, Indiana. Nine years before Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks refused to obey the busing laws in Montgomery, Alabama, the 477th BG was the first group to challenge a major department of the U.S. government on civil rights. Read more

The Chinese and all that Jazz 中國的節奏 zhōng guó de jié zòu

By Gregory
Taylor

The nightclubs in China rivaled any I had seen in the States only on a larger scale–I mean gymnasium size.
The music was contemporary and rhythmic summoning the crowds to the dance floor.
I heard R&B tunes from the O’Jays to Michael Jackson.  In more quaint settings, I heard a young man accompanying himself on the keyboard while singing the tunes of Nat King Cole.  The Mainland Chinese have discovered Black America, or should I say its musical art form.  Dare I say their interest seems to be more pervasive and intense than that of the American Born Chinese (ABCs).   It appears that Chinese love the rhythms of R&B and the free-flowing expression of Jazz.  Indeed, the latter might explain the Mainlander’s embracing of Jazz for its unfettered self-expression.
While I was studying Chinese I had a classmate named Victor Siu.  Victor was both a Music and Chinese major.  One day I heard him play the piano.  What he played astounded me.  Here was a Chinese person playing Jazz piano.  I was so surprised at what I was hearing that it encouraged me to start playing the piano again.  There was a bit of irony here, in between Chinese classes Victor would show me some jazz licks and I would show him what Chinese characters were what.
I recently interviewed Victor, who is now the music teacher at Lincoln Elementary School.  He teaches primarily Chinese music and its varying instruments from the erhu to the moon guitar.  His first love, however, is still Jazz.  When I asked Victor what attracted him to Jazz music he stated it was when he first heard Dee Spencer, a music teacher at SFSU, play the piano.  Victor stated, “I couldn’t believe it was the same instrument that I played; I couldn’t believe it was the same instrument, but with completely different sounds.”  Prior to that Victor had been trained to play classically.  His mother is a well-known music teacher in the Chinese community and his father and grand-father were also musicians.  So, it seems it was inevitable that he would be involved with music.
Victor stated that he took jazz theory classes and a lot of African American Studies courses.  He jokingly stated, “I like February, because of Black history month and Chinese New Year.”  His favorite piano player of all-time was Nat King Cole, everybody that performed on the Motown label, and he loves anything by Sam Cooke.  One day Victor will figure out a way to meld Chinese instruments with Jazz music .
Send comments to: gregoryktaylor@yahoo.com

The Haves, the Have Nots and the Have Yachts

“And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” Luke 12:18

As we continue to see soaring unemployment among the rank and file of America’s working class, it is quite clear that corporate America is content with increasing profit margins at the expense of not hiring people who need to work.
In spite of the government’s efforts to create capital pipelines to help stimulate job growth, like a recent $600 billion dollar bond auction to help boost employment, October’s jobless rate remained at 9.6 percent. The wealth chasm has become gigantic and almost uncrossable.
Data released Nov. 18 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that while layoffs and firings have slowed, hiring hasn’t picked up. Job gains from new or expanding businesses were 6.1 million in the first quarter, the lowest quarterly increase since the recession ended. Read more

Post, El Mundo, Growing

By Barbara Fluhrer
and Maxine Ussery

Post publisher Paul Cobb, center, observes the sixth ownership anniversary during a photo session for an article that will appear in a Chinese newspaper featuring the Post’s Chinese page. Godfrey Lee, left, who edits the Marin County Post, Gregory Taylor, right, is a Post columnist that teaches Chinese and Ronnie Williams, rear, is a writer and Chinese Instructor with the Post. Photo by Gene Hazzard.

When the Post News Group celebrates its sixth anniversary on December 6 and 7,it will be especially memorable for Publisher Paul Cobb.
“Ironically, just one week after the purchase we were hit with a pearl harbor-type Bombshell when Kamala Harris filed criminal charges with a possible fine of $18  million dollars against us for some illegal dumping that occurred under the previous owner, Velda , nearly 2 years before our purchase,” said Cobb as he reflected on the investors that requested their money back. “We lost more than $350,000 in investment capital and incurred more than $250,000 in legal fees.
The national publicity caused many advertising agencies to write us off. Some even predicted that we wouldn’t last 3 months.”
Cobb prevailed over Harris in court and after three years she finally dropped the charges. Cobb then sued Berkley and their law firm for fraud and negligence and misrepresentation. The jury, with no Blacks, agreed with Cobb and awarded him substantial damages from Berkley and her law firm. Read more

Kamala Harris: “This is Our House”

By Conway Jones

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris. Photos by Gene Hazzard and Carla Thomas.

California Attorney General-elect Kamala Harris greeted several hundred supporters at the Town Hall, Delancey Street, for a special announcement Tuesday evening.
“This is our house,” said Harris, referring to Delancey Street and pointing to Dr. Mimi Silbert, co-founder of Delancey Street. She was also referring to the office of the Attorney General in California.
She made it very clear that she was taking office to give voice to people who had no voice. “You don’t have to run away from your values to run for office,” she said, “and my election proves that.”
She reflected pride when she reflected on her first job as assistant district attorney in Oakland. “Oakland is where I learned the power of the office,” she said.
Harris made it very clear that she understood the power of the attorney general’s office as well. She referred to former California Attorney General Earl Warren, and the fact that he filed the Brown vs. the Board of Education action. Read more

Church Leaders Urge End to Cuba Travel Restrictions

Religious leaders in the United States and Cuba are hopeful that U.S.-imposed restrictions on religious travel and financial transfers soon will be eased by the Obama administration.
In a Nov. 15-16 visit, a delegation of Cuban Protestant church leaders from the Cuban Council of Churches pressed their concerns about the inhibiting effects of the travel restrictions and financial transfers in meetings with officials of the U.S. Department of State and the National Security Council.
They also spoke at a briefing for members of Congress and their staff aides, hosted by Representatives Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jim McGovern (D-MA).
One objective of their meetings was to convince the Obama administration to remove severe U.S. restrictions on religious and other `people-to-people` travel, to Cuba. The tightened restrictions, in place since 2005, are an outgrowth of the Bush administration’s new interpretation and application of the U.S. Code governing travel. Read more