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COMMENTARY: Is America’s Ethnic Vote a Blue Wave Rising or Falling?

One might chalk up the ethnic vote slide to turnout. But considering motivating factors like the economy, abortion, or even the fate of democracy, I think despite good turnout, some may be tired of divided government and willing to test new ideas that might work for them.

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Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. His web show is on www.amok.com
Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a webshow on www.amok.com

By Emil Guillermo

A week ago, there was no Red Wave. Was there a Blue one?

If you look at other exit polls, not as much as there could have been.

BIPOC voters were seen and heard on election night. And their unity was the key.

But from the numbers, it appears the coalition is beginning to fray a bit.

Overall, whites were 72% of the voters on November 8, according to the Associated Press Vote Cast exit polling. And they voted Red (Republican) 59% to 39% Blue (Democratic).

Those among that 39% are allies to traditional BIPOC voters. And we’d better hope that number grows.

Comprising less than 25% of voters on November 8, BIPOC voters could still use all the help they can get. While they provided surprisingly good midterm election results for Democrats, it should have been even better.

It wasn’t.

The reason? Blues are becoming ever slightly less blue.

Sure, on election night BIPOC voters were predominantly Democratic, and thanks to that, we did we see an unexpected “mini-Blue Wave.”

Blacks made up 11% of the voters and went 83% Blue, with just 14% Red.

That’s high, but it was still lower by up to seven percentage points compared to the 2018 midterms, according to network exit polling and the AP VoteCast poll, as reported by the Washington Post.

Hispanic/Latino voters were 11% of the electorate on November 8 and were 56% Blue to 40% Red.

Again, that’s a decrease of about 9 to 10 percentage points from the 2018 midterms.

Asian Americans were just 2% of the November 8 voters and were 64% Blue to 34% Red.

That’s in keeping with what the AALDEF exit poll found in its 15-state multilingual exit poll that targeted Asian American/Pacific Islander.

But in the 2018 midterms, Asian American Blue support was around 71%.

Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders were less than .5% of the voters and were 58% Blue to 38% Red. That’s lower than the AA part of the Asian Ameican Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander.

I was also surprised that American Indian voters, just 1% of the voters on November 8, were 37% Blue to 57% Red.

So, are American Indian voters already where the rest of the BIPOC voters are heading? One might chalk up the ethnic vote slide to turnout. But considering motivating factors like the economy, abortion, or even the fate of democracy, I think despite good turnout, some may be tired of divided government and willing to test new ideas that might work for them.

Could that new idea possibly be Donald Trump?

TRUMPY REDUX?

Trump, who was set to announce his candidacy for a third run for president this week, is doing so into a headwind. His election deniers have lost. For governor, for Congress, for state level election chiefs. He is no longer seen as a winner. He is a bona fide loser among losers. Even the exit polling on favorability for Trump is disastrous.

How can he possibly win? By acknowledging how America’s demographics have changed and begin courting the ethnic vote.

I don’t mean the Herschel Walkers, whom Dave Chappelle on SNL called “observably stupid.”

I mean regular folks who see themselves as independent swing voters.

I say this not in jest, though I wish I were.

Courting the ethnic vote was one of the things the GOP seemed committed to in 2016, but then Trump came in and the GOP embraced the Trump base.

That would be the irony if outreach to ethnic voters might be the one thing that could help the future of the GOP and Trump–by taking advantage of what looks to be a diminishing Blue lock on ethnic voters.

Of course, it might also lose them to the rabid and racist Trump base, the mostly white Jan. 6 folks, who saw in Trump the one person who would represent their xenophobic tendencies in a white world that is shrinking.

That might actually be a good thing to see them shamed back under a rock.

It boils down to which group could make the GOP and Trump winners again.

If you don’t want to see that, work to keep the BIPOC coalition stronger than ever in the fight for civil rights, voting rights, immigration rights, LGBTQ rights, abortion rights.

The ethnic vote may not be bluer than blue, but it’s still majority blue.

And that’s all you need in a democracy.

Emil Guillermo is a journalist and commentator. He does a show on www.amok.com

Activism

16th Annual MLK Day of Service on the Richmond Greenway

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

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“…Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The 16th annual MLK Day of Service in Richmond honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  was held Jan. 16 with a day of service to the community and activities for families on the Richmond Greenway.

The event was hosted by Urban Tilth and the City of Richmond. Event partners were Groundwork Richmond, Rich City Rides, Moving Forward, Hope Worldwide, The Watershed Project, Contra Costa Resource Conservation District, Building Blocks for Kids, City of Richmond, Cal Cameron Institute, Friends of the Richmond Greenway; and Pogo Park.

The celebration made possible with the support of the Hellman Family Foundation, City of Richmond, and hundreds of individual donors.

The day’s schedule included volunteer projects along the Richmond Greenway and a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial and community celebration at Unity Park.

Among the community service projects were opportunities to take part in projects to transform and beautify the Richmond Greenway Trail, like tending to the Greenway Gardens, trash pickup, and planting native plant and trees.

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Sheng Thao Sworn in as New Mayor of Oakland, Pledges New Direction for the City

Mayor Thao provided a few minutes on the program to introduce to the community Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, the newly appointed deputy mayor, who has served as vice president of external affairs and dean of the school of education at Holy Names University, a leader of the Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) and a member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

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Mayor Sheng Thao, sworn in as the 51st Mayor of Oakland, is flanked by her son Ben Ventura and her father “Richard” Nou My Thao at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Jan. 9, 2023. Photo courtesy of Alain McLaughlin Photography.
Mayor Sheng Thao, sworn in as the 51st Mayor of Oakland, is flanked by her son Ben Ventura and her father “Richard” Nou My Thao at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, Jan. 9, 2023. Photo courtesy of Alain McLaughlin Photography.

Mayor Thao appoints HNU’s Dr. Kimberly Mayfield as deputy mayor

By Ken Epstein

Sheng Thao, a daughter of Hmong refugees who overcame homelessness and domestic abuse to attend university and build a life for herself and her family in Oakland, received the official oath of office Monday afternoon as the new mayor of the City of Oakland.

Sworn in at the Paramount Theatre in downtown Oakland by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, she stood on stage surrounded by friends, family, and staff members. She was flanked by her son Ben Ventura, who performed a musical piece on the cello, and her father “Richard” Nou My Thao.

The mayor called on Oaklanders to join with her to create a more humane, inclusive, and just city. She spoke about her commitment as a progressive to significantly improve the quality of life for residents, making the city safer and cleaner, building 30,000 units of truly affordable housing, fostering jobs, promoting economic development, supporting small businesses and providing solutions to homelessness that recognize the dignity of the unsheltered.

“I know what we can do together, Oakland,” she said. “Our city’s’ best days are still to come. The Oakland that we all know is possible and within our reach.”

Newly appointed Deputy Mayor Kimberly Mayfield (left) with Mayor Sheng Thao. Photo courtesy of Alain McLaughlin Photography.

Newly appointed Deputy Mayor Kimberly Mayfield (left) with Mayor Sheng Thao. Photo courtesy of Alain McLaughlin Photography.

Mayor Thao provided a few minutes on the program to introduce to the community Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, the newly appointed deputy mayor, who has served as vice president of external affairs and dean of the school of education at Holy Names University, a leader of the Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) and a member of the sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc.

In her remarks, the mayor focused on the city’s long fight to become more inclusive and equitable.

“We believe everyone deserves a seat at the table, not just a few, not just the wealthy, not just the well-connected,” she said.

“Sometimes, we take our shared progressive values for granted, our advances toward justice and equality,” said Mayor Thao.

She reminded people that “a…century ago, our city was dominated by members of the Ku Klux Klan (where) Klan members burned crosses in our hills and marched through our streets. As recently as the1970s, freeways were made possible by tearing down thriving Black, Latino, and Asian communities,” she continued.

“We recognize what we have overcome together to remember what is worth fighting for every day…(and) to take stock of how far we still have to go.”

Promising a “comprehensive” approach to public safety to make all neighborhoods in the city safer, she said she would bolster anti-crime programs like Ceasefire and “we will fill (police) vacancies with home-grown police officers who know our community, who look like us.”

At the same time, she said, the city must increase opportunities for young people, reinvigorating the summer jobs program (for youth) and enhance the school-to-work pipeline so young people can gain experience and job skills.

She said she would beef up the many city departments that are currently operating on skeleton staffing, promising to fill the staffing vacancies that “plague our city.”

Mayor Thao said she herself is a renter, and that she “will fiercely protect Oakland renters. If you are a renter in Oakland, you’ve got a mayor who’s got your back.”

Speaking about the Oakland A’s proposed waterfront real estate development promoted by former Mayor Libby Schaaf, Mayor Thao said the city will continue negotiations to keep the team “rooted in Oakland.”

“Working closely with the A’s, I’m hopeful we can reach a good deal, (based) on our Oakland values,” she said.

The former mayor’s plan for building the proposed waterfront real estate development at the Port of Oakland was dealt a major setback this week when Oakland failed to secure more than $180 million in federal funds to help pay for infrastructure development for the project.

Speaking of the importance of the appointment of Mayfield as deputy mayor, the Mayor’s Office explained her role in the new administration:

“Mayor Thao was thrilled Kimberly Mayfield agreed to join her team because of her tremendous and longstanding leadership in Oakland. In recognition of her vast experience, it was decided that the best role for her would be as deputy mayor where she will be an instrumental part of the leadership of both the Office and Oakland.”

In her introduction at the Paramount Theatre, Mayfield said, “Today is not about political agendas…It’s about the power of the people…it’s a recognition of the rejection of the status quo. This new chapter begins with a mayor that understands how to build a culture that works for everyone. Thank you, Mayor Thao for the opportunity to serve.”

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California Family Whose Beachfront Properties were Seized 100 years ago, Sells Land Back to County for $20 Million

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches. The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.” The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

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Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.
Supervisors Janice Hahn and Holly Mitchell commemorate the signing of State legislation to return the land to the closest living heirs of the Charles and Willa Bruce. Credit / County of Los Angeles.

By Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire

The great-grandchildren of the African American couple Willa and Charles Bruce, whose land in Southern California was taken in 1924 and returned to the family last year, have opted to sell it back to the local government for $20 million.

In the 1920s, the beach resort was extremely popular with African American tourists. At that time, Black people were not permitted on white beaches.

The site became famously known as “Bruce’s Beach.”

The children and grandchildren of Charles and Willa Bruce fought for decades to get back the land.

Chief Duane Yellow Feather Shepard, a family historian and spokesman for the Bruce family, stated in a 2021 interview, “It was a very significant location because there was nowhere else along the California coast where African Americans could go to enjoy the water.”

The Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists often threatened the Bruce family, but they kept the resort open and took care of the land.

In 1924, the municipal council used eminent domain to take the land to build a park.

But, according to a TV show called “The Insider,” the area wasn’t used for many years.

Willa and Charles Bruce fought back in court, but their compensation was only $14,000. In recent years, local officials have estimated the property’s value to be as high as $75 million.

The area contains two coastal properties and is currently used for lifeguard training.

Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, revealed that the family would sell the property back to the local government.

Hahn stated that the price was set through an appraisal.

Hahn stated, “This is what reparations look like, and it is a model I hope governments around the country would adopt.”

The statement made by Hahn may or may not be exactly what the Bruce family desired in addition to the restitution of their land.

In 2021, Anthony Bruce, the great-great-grandson of Willa and Charles Bruce, told The New York Times, “An apology would be the least they could do.”

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