Micah Lubensky has worked at SF AIDS Foundation since 2004. “We have proud history, from as far back as an Egyptian pharaoh and the mythical Amazon namesake of California, to winners of prestigious awards and those who recently were the first Black LGBT persons to be elected to a political office.”
Celebrating one’s historic roots is an opportunity to honor forbearers and connect to our rich legacy.
However, usually missing from Black history are highlights of the Black, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender or Questioning (LGBTQ) community.
Highlighting the history of being Black and LGBTQ, a free event, “Generations 2013,” will use expressions of art, films and entertainment to honor historic LGBTQ people of the past and present on Friday, Feb. 15 at the African American Arts and Culture Complex in San Francisco.
The idea of having a Black LGBTQ history celebration started in 2010 when Micah Lubensky, Community Development Manager of SF AIDS Foundations and co-facilitator of the group, “Black Brothers Esteem,” wanted to make up for the lack of Black LGBTQ history.
Group members desired to host a separate celebration within Black History Month, and right away the community flocked to the event, walking away with pride from education and fellowship. The event has grown each year, and this, the third year, promises to be the largest.
In San Francisco, Black gay men face a shrinking African American population, and “It (creates) pressure from seeing less people who look like you,” says Lubensky. “Participants who come to our groups come from African American neighborhoods that are usually low-income, which coupl ed with other factors such as crime and drugs, puts people at high risk for HIV.”
In San Francisco, Black gay men are more likely to develop AIDS, with a shorter life span, Lubensky says.
“Having more sense of our own history will impact the community,” he says. “When people have community pride, they will be more responsible about risky behaviors.”
Black LGBTQ has always played an important in history. With the belief that learning your history raises your collective pride and self-esteem, the event is vital in reducing HIV transmissions within this group.
When our community’s collective pride and self-esteem remains high, we invest in maintaining and improving our collective health.
Free HIV/STD testing will be provided at the event while guests can enjoy free food, listen to poetry from June Jordan or watch a film by Marlon Riggs. Guests can also enjoy a performance tribute to RuPaul or Alvin Ailey and view Baynard Rustin’s biography, a Black gay man who was a major contributor to the historic March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr.
The event will take place at San Francisco’s African American Art and Culture Complex located at 762 Fulton St., from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Feb. 15. For more information, contact Micah at (415) 487-8022 or email@example.com.
National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day falls during Black history month to remind the public of the devastating toll HIV has taken and continues to take on Black communities.
Feb. 7 marks the 13th year the commemoration will be held as a a day to promote HIV testing, treatment and community mobilization, targeting Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora.
Annually over 20,000 Blacks in the United States test positive for HIV, an alarming number –. that’s 200,000 over the past 10 years who are now living with HIV and may have died from disease-related complications.
There are four specific focal points to the commemorative activities: education, testing, involvement, and treatment. Educationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities.
Testing is at the core of this initiative. It is hoped that African Americans will mark the month of February as an annual or bi-annual time to get tested for HIV.
When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus.
And for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount.
The virus plagues every segment of the African American community. In 2005, Black women accounted for two-thirds of newly diagnosed HIV/AIDS cases among U.S. women, and Black men accounted for half of new diagnoses among U.S. men.
A recent study in five large U.S. cities found that 46 percent of Black men who have sex with men were infected with HIV. Only dramatic action will reverse this calamity.
This year’s theme is: “I Am My Brother’s/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS,” emphasizing that all African Americans regardless of sexual orientation, economic class, or educational level, can be an important part of the solution to the HIV epidemic in African American communities.
Now is the time for treatment to become real for many. Let today be the day to decide to get tested. For those who test positive for HIV, start treatment.
The Joyce Gordon Galley in Oakland will host “When Struggle Gave Improvisation the Blues,” a poetry performance theater play by poet and playwright Charles Curtis Blackwell, 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 23 at 406 14th St. in Oakland.
This original play captures the jazz era of the 1950s and the 1960s and social and cultural episodes of that time. Students from the East Oakland Youth Development Center will participate.
Youth readers include Johnny Brooks, Lakeisha Harris, Mija Mason and Isis Walls with musician Mali Williams on bass and readers Taylor Blanche and Tafari Flenoy.
For information call (510) 465-8928 or go to JoyceGordonGallery.com
February is a good time to jumpstart a savings plan for the year as Feb. 25 kicks off America Saves week, a national campaign sponsored by more than 1,000 non-profit, government and corporate organizations.
Their goal is to encourage people from all income levels to take savings to heart and build personal wealth.
Like a healthy relationship, saving money takes commitment. Here are just a few reasons to fall in love with saving.
Security: accidents and emergencies can happen. Cars break down. Pipes burst. We may face unexpected medical bills. Having an emergency fund saved for situations like these can help make getting through them a little easier. Most financial experts recommend having six to nine months’ income saved for emergencies, but even $500 (or roughly $10 saved each week for a year) could help you during an unexpected financial emergency.
Freedom: when you are not burdened by debt, you have financial freedom – freedom to choose a home, to travel and even where or how many hours to work. To achieve financial freedom, you must save more than you spend. As you pay down your debt you have more available cash to put toward savings and other goals.
Opportunities: having money in the bank can be advantageous when opportunity knocks. There may be times when a sound investment or similar opportunity comes your way, or perhaps the home of your dreams is listed on the market. Often these opportunities arise quickly, and those who have money saved are in a financial situation to seriously consider these options.
Put Your Savings to Work: by putting your savings into an interest-bearing account, you tap into the power of compound interest — interest earned not only on your original investment, but also on its accrued earnings.
Peace of Mind: Eliminating financial burdens often helps to reduce stress and can offer peace of mind for many. Money problems can be a major source of tension in relationships, and financial advisors agree that having a sound budget and savings plan can help ease fights over money.
For more information about America Saves and to check out their free financial tools, savings services, tips, and other resources, visit www.americasavesweek.org.
Curtis Flannigan is an Assistant Vice President and Branch Manager of Union Bank.
Celebrating 14 years in the Bay Area, Rhythm Tap Hall of Fame is offering traditional tap dance classes starting in February.
The nonprofit organization promotes the lost art form, providing educational programs for youth, adults, and seniors teaching the history of tap dancing through audiovisual and tap instruction.
The Hall of Fame has offered after school programs including various dance art forms, instructors’ workshops, and a performing arts newsletter. Master tap dancer “Skip Cunningham” has worked as a Tap Dance Instructor in workshops with the organization.
The group has also awarded renowned dancers with Hall of Fame Induction Awards. Winners include Fayard Nicholas of the Nicholas Brothers tap-dance duo, who received the Legendary Artist Award (2001); Skip Cunningham, who received the Master Tapper Award (2001); David Kennedy, Jr., winner of the Humanitarian Award (2001); as well as Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr.
The organization has a collection of books, periodicals, audiovisuals, and tap dance shoes that were donated to the Hall of Fame.
Register for Rhythm Tap Dance classes at14895 E. 14th St., Suite 320 in San Leandro. For more information, call (510) 531-1654 or visit www.rhythmtaphalloffame.org.
From left to right, back row – Rev. David Moore, Darryl Rice, Larry Teague, Darla Robbins, Rev. Ruffus Robbins, Richard Curtis, Dannetta Robinson, Carol Sanders, Jamal Churchill, Iman Calip; middle row-Joel Dill, Deborah Martin, Regina Alexander, Marilyn Martin, Geneva Bennett, Artis Dawson, Kenneth Breedlove, Cynthia Rowden, Linda Sandiser, Betty Majors, Roy Deale, Susie Patrick; front row-Linda August, Kay Moore, Johnnie Nicks, Georgetta Edwards-Breedlove, First Lady Kathi Pinkard, Christopher Thomas, Rene Hunter-Phillips, Tonya Sellers-Daniels, Brenda Deale, Delores Johnson, Bret Phillips; front kneeling-Maria Bershell, A. Renee Daniels, and Jamilah Jefferson. Photo by Ashley Chambers.
Honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., members of the Care Ministry at Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church gave away food, blankets, and hot chocolate to the homeless on Jan. 20.
Led by First Lady Kathi Pinkard and coordinators Georgetta Edwards-Breedlove and Christopher Thomas, members accompanied by Officer Kittrell Carter gave out 100 bags of food and 75 blankets.
Several years ago, the Women’s Ministry started the “Blankets and Blessings” drive under the leadership of Lady Pinkard to help those who suffer in the cold.
On Sunday, Feb. 24, the CARE Ministry will be going back out in the community with blankets, socks, beanie caps, food bags, and hot chocolate. Anyone who would like to assist in this effort, please send contributions to Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church Care Ministry, 408 West MacArthur Blvd, Oakland, 94609.
From left to right – Back row: Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan, OPD Sergeant Holli Joshi, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Charles Smiley III, Alameda County Social Services Agency Director Lori Cox; Front row: Chris Martinez, Kyla Wheatfall, Elisa Saavedra, Shah Turner, Bay Area Urban Debate League Program Director Jenna Dookun. Photo coutesy of Bay Area Urban Debate League.
Kyla Wheatfall’s father was killed by a police officer when she was 10 years old, but the 20-year-old Oakland resident has found a way to forgive and moved on.
“They were the first people I called when my grandmother passed away,” said Wheatfall, a psychology student at College of Alameda, during a lively debate about the complex relationships between law enforcement and the community. “It was a police officer who held me and consoled me and told me everything would be okay.”
Kyla’s remarks were part of a first-of-its-kind community forum that took place on Wednesday, Jan. 30 in the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Chambers. Supervisor Keith Carson and the Bay Area Urban Debate League (BAUDL) hosted the event.
“You have a real wealth of Oakland and Bay Area history in this room,” Carson told the youth as he welcomed the more than 65 community members, family members, county officials and clergy who attended the event.
“You also have individuals who play a significant role in our community who have come to hear what you have to say about improving the health and safety of our neighborhoods.”
The youth debaters, all younger than 21, were challenged to put together proposals to address the disconnect between law enforcement and urban communities.
Wheatfall and her debating partner Elisa Saavedra, a senior at Skyline High School in Oakland, presented a policy proposal advocating for government reform – for school districts to build and fund youth centers that would serve as hubs for mentoring and safe activities before, during and after school.
The centers would provide incentives for participation, such as stipends for employment at the center and loan forgiveness for college-bound students.
Their opponents, Shah Turner, a junior, and Chris Martinez, a senior at Skyline High School, presented a contrasting proposal focused on grassroots community organizing to educate residents about the law and civil rights through teach-ins and community-based learning opportunities.
“Community responsibility is essential to address the roots” of the problem of violence on our streets, argued Martinez.
Superior Court Judge Charles Smiley III moderated the discussion, weaving in questions from the audience with feedback from expert panelists from law enforcement, social services, education, and community organizations.
For more information, visit www.baudl.org.
Local seniors and activists are holding a Town Hall Meeting to say: No Cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, Monday, Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. to 4 pm. at the Humanist Hall, 390 27th St. in Oakland.
Norman Solomon, author, activist, and co-founder of the 210,000-member RootsAction.org, will speak at the meeting. Other speakers will include a representative from the California Nurses Association; Jodi Reid, Northern CA CARA Director; and Rebecca Griffin of the Peace Action West.
The California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) is hosting the town hall to head off the possibility of cuts. Many seniors are worried that, despite President Obama’s inaugural call to protect these programs, proposals to make various cuts continue to circulate widely in the lead-up to the congressional battle over the national budget.
“The next few months may be the most dangerous political period for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid since those programs became law,” said Solomon. “During previous decades, millions of people worked to create and protect those programs; we now have a responsibility to keep faith with them and future generations.”
The town hall will present information about a variety of ways to strengthen Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and discuss other sources of revenue for deficit reduction.
For information contact Susan Chacin at firstname.lastname@example.org
Former East Bay resident Dayna Stephens is, at age 34, one of the most gifted jazz tenor saxophonists of his generation.
Now living in Patterson, New Jersey, he says he “caught the bug” two decades ago from seeing a local performance by tenor titan Joshua Redman. Because Redman and other jazz greats were alumni of Berkeley High School’s celebrated jazz program, Stephens decided to transfer there from Alameda High for his senior year.
“I wanted to be in an environment my last year where there were kids as dedicated to the music as I was,” he explains. He went on to graduate from the Berklee College of Music in Boston and study at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz at the University of Southern California with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and others.
Stephens, who has performed in New York City with such jazz heavyweights as Kenny Barron, Tom Harrell and John Scofield, returns to Northern California at least twice a year. He’s taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop every summer for the past nine years, as well as at the University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute in Stockton for three.
“His sound is beautiful,” says Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet tenor saxophonist Tom Kelley, who studied with Stephens two years ago. “He’s an amazing player because he knows exactly what to play and what not to play at any given moment. He never traps his own playing within himself. He always plays what’s best for the music and for the group.”
Stephens was diagnosed two and a half years ago with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis, a rare kidney disease that affects 20 out of every million people. He currently undergoes dialysis four and a half hours a day three times a week.
“If I’m not watching a TV, I’m on my computer doing e-mails and trying to get some business work done,” he says of his time spent hooked up to a dialysis machine..
The saxophonist is in need of a kidney transplant. “Luckily,” he says, “the waiting list in New Jersey is one of the shortest. It’ll be about three to seven years.”
Stephens will take part in a benefit to help cover his medical expenses on Sunday, Feb. 17, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland.
He will be playing with a world-class trio comprising pianist Taylor Eigsti, bassist Harish Raghavan, and drummer Eric Harland. Known for his work with Charles Lloyd, the SFJazz Collective and others, Harland is considered by many to be one of the most creative drummers performing today.
Also on the bill is the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet, which helped organize the benefit. More information can be found at www.helpdaynastephens.org.
The saxophonist will be back in the area less than two weeks later to perform with bassist Jeff Denson and pianist Joshua White at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 1, at the Jazzschool, 2087 Addison St. in Berkeley.
Last year the Los Lupeños de San José, presented dances from the Veracruz, Michoacan and Jalisco regions of Mexico..
A free public performance of the Rotunda Dance Series will be held at noon, Friday, March 1 at San Francisco City Hall.
The performance is hosted by a partnership between Dancers’ Group and World Arts West with San Francisco’s Grants for the Arts and San Francisco City Hall.
The first performance of the 2013 season will be ODC/Dance in “Transit,” choreographed by ODC Co-Artistic Director KT Nelson. This full company work celebrates the chaotic pulse of our urban centers – where high and low technology exist side-by-side – walking, biking, and high-speed transit.
Dancing with three custom built bicycles by mechanical engineer and artist Max Chen and a restless score by Nico Muhly, “Transit” rides through the shape of a day: a coffee fix, the commute, lunch, and the evening return home.
The high profile Rotunda Dance Series brings many of the Bay Area’s most acclaimed dance companies to San Francisco City Hall’s rotunda space for free noon-time performances taking place the first Friday of each month. Events primarily involve dance, but often also include live music, theater or other performing art disciplines.
The 2013 Rotunda Dance Series will continue on Friday, April 5 with the San Francisco Ballet School Trainee Program, a pre-professional program comprised of students chosen from the School’s most advanced level.
Arlene C. Ackerman, who served as superintendent of Washington, D.C. public schools from 1998 to 2000 and later led the school systems in San Francisco and Philadelphia, died Feb. 2 in Albuquerque, where she had lived for the past year. She was 66.
She had pancreatic cancer.
Dr. Ackerman came to Washington in 1997 as an assistant to schools chief executive Julius W. Becton Jr., at a time when much of the district’s government and finances were overseen by the federally mandated D.C. Financial Control Board.
Dr. Ackerman was credited with increasing student test scores and reducing administrative costs from 15 percent of the budget to 6 percent. She also instituted a new set of standards for teachers and administrators.
She resigned in 2000 to take over the top schools job in San Francisco.
Dr. Ackerman served six years in San Francisco until 2006 as the city’s first African American and first female superintendent.
“I think her tenure was enormously important to San Francisco,” said Jill Wynns, who was president of the city’s Board of Education when Dr. Ackerman was hired. “The truth is that Arlene was treated badly by many people.”
Dr. Ackerman was credited with strengthening district finances after uncovering widespread corruption in the district’s facilities department under previous Superintendent Bill Rojas.
She recouped more than $50 million for the district after calling in the FBI and city attorney’s office to investigate companies and individuals involved in the fraud.
Dr. Ackerman also tried to address racial disparities in test scores by creating initiatives to give more money and resources to the lowest-performing schools. But teachers’ union President Dennis Kelly said, “She wasn’t as inclusive as she could have been and ran into more difficulty because of that.
“Her dedication to children was admirable,” Kelly said. “When she first came we welcomed her with open arms, but by the time she left we knew it was time for her to go.”
Arlene Randle was born Jan. 10, 1947, in St. Louis. She was part of the first integrated class at a St. Louis high school.
She graduated from Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis and received a masters degree in educational administration from Washington University in St. Louis. She also had masters and doctoral degrees in education from Harvard University.
Dr. Ackerman was a fifth-grade teacher early in her career before becoming a principal outside St. Louis. She was an assistant superintendent in Seattle before coming to Washington.
Her two marriages ended in divorce. Survivors include two sons and several grandchildren.
Tadd Scott is a teacher who sparks up his high school classroom with new activities.
One day last fall, he held a Parent Participation Day. It was not a regular “open house” that families expect as a matter of course. Parents came to participate in the school-day learning activities of their children.
Families sat in a big circle with the students and the teacher. The students had been reading a play by noted author, Langston Hughes, and had written complex essays based on the play.
Mr. Scott asked the students to express their feelings about both the play and their writing. Parents listened intently, as the young people shared their ideas and analysis.
Every student spoke, most with confidence, and then the parents spoke. One gentleman from North Africa had come with several members of his family and explained how important it was to him for his son to do well.
A parent from the Philippines was bursting with pride and said that this was one of the best experiences her son has had at the school.
The parent of another student commented, “I want to commend you on your teaching approach and getting the students to participate and think about things. It’s good to see students learn empathy toward struggles that others have had to endure. I’m sure all your students feel fortunate to have you as their instructor. You are excellent! I am very impressed with the class!”
Mr. Scott tries different strategies every day. He has used “concentric circles,” for example, a process by which students talk for a few minutes with several different partners as they move around discussing questions based on that day’s lesson.
Some might describe it as the academic version of “speed dating.” Mr. Scott has adapted this idea from an education book by Patricia Richard Amato, which details strategies recommended for English learners as well as other students. This strategy is especially important because abundant research indicates the importance of students using the “target language” (English) orally and frequently.
Next Week: More on Mr. Scott
Keeping with the tradition of celebrating with music, creative costumes, food and colorful beads, The Village Project, The Fillmore Center and the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development are presenting the seventh annual Mardi Gras San Francisco Style – Fat Tuesday in the Fillmore on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
This year’s festival will feature a masquerade ball, street artists and performers. The celebration will commence with a free kick-off blues concert from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Fillmore Plaza, 1475 Fillmore.
The concert lineup leads with Bobbie “Spider” Webb and the Smooth Blues Band, followed by a New Orleans processional down the Fillmore Corridor led by Henry Clement & the Gumbo Band, culminating at the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball. Comedian Donald Lacy will emcee the event.
Guests will be able to enjoy food, drink and other specials at numerous Fillmore restaurants, clubs and businesses. Food will include chicken and waffles at Gussie’s; the Southern-inspired cuisine of 1300 on Fillmore restaurant; homemade cookies and ice cream at Bumzy’s Cookies and Miyako Ice Cream; Yoshi’s Japanese; or Ethiopian dining and live jazz at Rasselas and Sheba Lounge.
“We are excited about this year’s celebration as we are expecting visitors from the Fillmore District and beyond,” Adrian Williams, executive director of The Village Project, said. “Not only does our annual Mardi Gras include what people look for in the traditional New Orleans celebrations, it continues to embrace the history of this neighborhood – where music has been intertwined into the fabric of everyday life for more than 100 years.”
Following the outdoor festivities, the Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball will take place at the West Bay Conference Center, 1290 Fillmore.
Advance purchase tickets for the Masquerade Ball are $35 per person or $60 for couples. At the door, tickets are $45 per individual and $70 for couples. Ticket price includes admission to the ball, dinner and a beverage.
The purchase of a $10 wristband will allow those not attending the ball to enjoy specials offered by numerous Fillmore restaurants and clubs along the Fillmore Corridor. Tickets and wristbands can be purchased @ The Village Project, 2097 Turk St. and at http://thevillageprojectsf.eventbrite.com/#.
Award honorees are from left to right: Brazell Carter, M.D., Vice Mayor Corky Booze, Mark Robinson, Pastor Henry Washington and Desmond Carson, M.D. Photo by Dedan Ji Jaga.
The Richmond Branch of the NAACP held its Annual Freedom Fund Membership Awards and Recognition Banquet this past Saturday night.
This year, the branch recognized individuals who are making a difference in the community in the areas of religion, health and business. Two $1,000 scholarships were awarded to students from Kennedy High School in Richmond.
The organization also recognized the Easter Hills United Methodist Church for leading the way in helping to increase NAACP membership.
The theme of the event, “Embracing and Enhancing our Community,” was accentuated by keynote speaker, Dr. Denise F. Noldon, president of the local community college. Also in attendance were immediate past President McKinley Williams and Chancellor of the college district Dr. Helen Benjamin.
Supporting the event was NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference Regional Area – West Director Mrs. Freddye Davis, who performed the public swearing-in of newly elected officers and executive committee members.
Among officials who attended the event were Supervisor John Gioia; newly appointed Vice Mayor Cortland “Corky” Booze; and Councilmember Nathaniel Bates; Fire Chief Michael Banks; Lt. Bisa French of the police department; Superintendent of West Contra Costa Unified School District Dr. Bruce Harter, along with School Board Members Elaine R. Merriweather and Charles Ramsey.
Sponsors included Chevron, Mechanics Bank, Sims Metal Management and PCC Logistics. Other businesses were Gaye Williams of Nika’s Catering, Chimes Printing, SGI, Inc., Dr. Terence Elliott’s Quartet and WJR, Inc.
Submitted by Willie Robinson, President, Richmond NAACP
Actress Nathalie Bennett as Bessie Coleman. Photo by Adam L. Turner.
“A Shadow In the Clouds -The Bessie Coleman Story,’’ written by Victor Lawhorn, is a play about an extraordinary woman pilot, which will be performed Feb. 8 through March 3 at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley.
The one-woman show stars actress Nathalie Bennett and will feature a stage and mixed media presentation with historical footage of the first African American female pilot.
Playwright Lawhorn said he was inspired to write the play about a decade ago after directing, “A Soldiers Play.”
“To find a strong female character who competed with men during the time of racial and gender segregation was my goal, and I found it with Bessie, who took an unconventional approach in achieving her goal to be somebody.”
“Bessie Coleman is part of America’s rich Black heritage, and a Black woman against all odds achieving the unachievable during her time, which shows what we can achieve in this era,” said Sean Vaughn Scott, BRT Managing Director.
As a child Coleman walked 4 miles a day to school to get an education in Texas and attended one semester at Oklahoma Colored Agriculture and Normal University until her savings ran out.
Still determined, she moved to Chicago where she worked as a manicurist at a barbershop that attracted many pilots who shared stories of aviation life, fueling her interest.
When no American aviation school would accept her, she learned French and trained in Paris, returning to the U.S. as a stunt pilot in airs shows. She became a media sensation and refused to perform in events that excluded Black audiences.
A plane crash due to faulty equipment cut her life short, yet her spirit was kept alive as over 10,000 mourned her death in 1926. In 1995, the US Postal Service issued a stamp to commemorate her accomplishments.
For more information visit www.blackrepertorygroup.com or purchase tickets at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/301885
Rev. Edwin Sanders II (Senior Servant MICTAN); Rev. Terry Terrell, M. Div. (MICTAN Director); Pastor Lawrence VanHook (Community Christian Church).
Rev. Dr. Elouise D. Oliver, Senior Minister (East Bay Church of Religious Science, Oakland) gave the Benediction, seen here with Rev. Terry Terrell, M. Div. (MICTAN Director).
Rev. Dr. James Alexander Forbes, Jr (Ebony Magazine designated him as one of America’s greatest black preachers) and lecturer Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD.
A national clergy-led capacity building faith initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), collaborating with the Alameda County office of AIDS, recently hosted a regional symposium entitled “ We’ve Come Too Far To Turn Back Now” to equip clergy and faith leaders to tackle the HIV/AIDS crisis among African-Americans.
The symposium took place Jan. 25 at the African American Museum and library at Oakland (AAMLO), sponsored by the Metropolitan Interdenominational Church Technical Assistance Network (MICTAN).
The one-day event provided an opportunity for faith leaders to learn the most up-to-date local and national HIV/AIDS health statistics and to understand the social determinants that increase vulnerability of transmissions among African-Americans.
Rev. Dr. James a. Forbes, senior Minister Emeritus of Riverside Church, New York, delivered the call to action, and Dr. Mindy Fullilove of Columbia University in New York spoke on the social determinants of HIV/AIDS among African Americans.
In a panel discussion, an African American mother of four told of how she recently learned of her HIV Positive diagnosis. She has not even her children yet. “African American females who have this disease suffer in silence,” she said. “Do not forget about us.”
She said she has considered suicide but hopes to live a normal life. “I still want to date,” she said. “I still want to fall in love.”
There will be a series of four monthly follow-up seminars facilitated by renowned experts, providing a forum where leaders can study public health principles and engage in open discussion and reflection to develop and implement a community mobilization plan targeting HIV/AIDS in their local areas.
MICTAN, established in 2004, goes throughout the country giving assistance to faith leaders. To register for the free upcoming seminars call toll-free 1-888-761-3876 or email email@example.com
To attend the next event, go to the Eventbrite link for on-line registration, www.eventbrite.com/org/3108973534
Local contacts are Rev. Donna Allen (510) 593-5602; Carla Dillard Smith (510) 379-4016; and Fred Smith (925)339-6986.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is accepting applications from students to receive PG&E Bright Minds scholarships, as well as scholarships from the utility’s Employee Resource Groups.
Through its Bright Minds Scholarship program, PG&E will award up to $1 million in scholarships to enable high school, community college and “non-traditional” students to complete their higher education paths.
Bright Minds scholarship winners will receive full-ride scholarships of up to $30,000 per year; program finalists will receive $2,500 towards their studies. In addition to the scholarship opportunities available through the PG&E Bright Minds program, the PG&E Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are also accepting applications for a wide variety of scholarships.
“PG&E believes that advancing educational opportunities is one of the most important ways we can give back to the communities where we deliver gas and electricity,” said Ezra Garrett, vice president of community relations and chief sustainability officer for PG&E.
The scholarships will be awarded based on a combined demonstration of community leadership, personal triumph, financial need and academic achievement. Eligible students will be enrolled in a full-time undergraduate program at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational-technical school for the duration of the 2013-2014 academic year.
The deadline to apply for the ERG scholarships is Feb. 1. Go to the “Scholarship” link at www.pge.com/community.
The deadline for applying for the PG&E Bright Minds Scholarship is Feb. 28. For information visit www.pge.com/brightminds
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has announced the arrest of three suspects who have been charged in a mortgage fraud scheme targeting struggling Northern California homeowners.
Six websites allegedly used by the suspects to advertise their scheme have been intercepted and redirected to a resource page on the California Attorney General’s website.
The felony complaint alleges that Ronald Vernon Cupp, 58, of Santa Rosa, deceived homeowners by falsely advertising a way to “kill” their mortgage debt on six websites including www.wekillyourmortgage.com.
Cupp was assisted by Randall Gilbert Heyden, 69, of San Rafael, and Angelle Wertz, 38, of Santa Rosa, a public notary who allegedly certified phony legal documents. Cupp allegedly recorded fraudulent documents, which would only delay a foreclosure, not actually satisfy the preexisting mortgage debt.
“Vulnerable California homeowners thought they were working to save their homes but were actually the victims of a fraudulent scheme,” Harris said. “Today, it’s not enough to dismantle the brick-and-mortar aspect of a criminal operation; we need to shut down criminal operations in cyberspace as well.”
Cupp, Heyden and Wertz are charged in a 57-count complaint alleging theft, forgery, notary fraud and recording of false documents. They were booked at the Sonoma County Jail on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
Through Cupp’s business, North Bay Trust Services, homeowners would often allegedly pay upfront fees of between $1,000 and $10,000 and sign a promissory note or new mortgage for a phony offer to eliminate their mortgage debt.
Requiring up-front fees is illegal in California.
For free, trustworthy advice, on mortgage related matters call a HUD approved counselor, call (888) 995-4673.
Foreclosed homes are shown as yellow dots in map of central East Oakland from 2007-2011.
A recent report released by the Urban Strategies Council shows that 42 percent of the 10,508 homes that went into foreclosure in Oakland between January 2007 and October 2011 were sold to investors who frequently turn around and rent the home at a rate higher than what a homeowner would pay if he or she had purchased the home.
Private equity firms are buying low-priced properties in Oakland to buy and rent out. “Very few people are aware of the investor activity that taking place under our feet,” said Steve King, Economic Development Coordinator at Urban Strategies.
Private equity firms such as the Waypoint Real Estate Group LLC, Community Fund LLC and REO Homes 2 LLC, have bought nearly half of Oakland’s foreclosed homes. It is a trend that is occurring across the nation.
Community Fund LLC thus far has purchased three hundred and seven foreclosed homes and apartment buildings, paying an average of $111,000 per foreclosed home. The problem is that “all-cash” investors are squeezing out homeowners who attempt to buy a home with conventional financing, according to housing activists.
Anyone interested in completing a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree is invited to attend Holy Name University’s Information Night, 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31 or Feb. 28, to learn about master’s degree and adult bachelor’s degree completion programs.
Holy Names, which has a 145 year history, offers master’s programs in business, culture and spirituality, education, English, music, nursing and psychology. The bachelor’s program is for adults who have at least 30 college credits and are looking to complete undergraduate degrees.
Holy Names University offers small class sizes, weekend and evening courses, and individualized attention. The university is a diverse community in the Oakland Hills, accessible from Highways 13 and 580.
For more information, visit www.hnu.edu.
Writing coaches with their students at El Cerrito High School recently.
WriterCoach Connection (WCC) volunteers this semester are beginning to coach ninth graders at Oakland School for the Arts, pairing trained community volunteers to students to coach one-on-one through English writing assignments.
Volunteers began coaching at Berkeley High School 12 years ago, and the program rapidly caught on, expanding to Fremont High School in Oakland’s Fruitvale district five years ago.
A pilot program at Oakland School for the Arts last spring was so successful that the school asked the coaches to return.
The teaching of writing has long been one the weakest areas of instruction nationally. Last fall, the National Assessment of Educational Progress reported that only about a quarter of American 8th and 12th graders are proficient in writing, according to NAEP’s inaugural computer-based writing assessment test.
When students cannot write well, they lose the ability to communicate in the classroom and complete college applications, and they also lose a valuable form of self-expression.
Volunteers from WriterCoach Connection seek to help both middle school and high school students and teachers by supplementing regular classroom teaching with extra support from a caring adult through all stages of the writing process.
“The regular appearance of writer coaches helped my classes complete more than twice as many large writing assignments compared to last year,” said teacher Eric Jepson.
WCC’s expansion to Oakland School for the Arts comes on the heels of the expansion last fall to Richmond High School and Portola Middle School in El Cerrito.
The program cannot operate, however, without dedicated volunteers, and more are needed to help coach in Oakland and at the program’s many other locations. All coaches complete a training, after which they help in a classroom four to six weeks in a semester for one to two hours each coaching session.
The time commitment is not demanding, but the connections forged with students are deep, and the dividends for students, teachers, and coaches are immense.
Those who are interested in volunteering with WriterCoach Connection or know someone who might be, visit www.writercoachconnection.org] to learn more or to register of an upcoming spring training.
Those interested in coaching in Oakland can contact Camille Graves, Oakland Volunteer Coordinator, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (510) 306-1792.
AC Transit has received the highest environmental award in the state, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, for the bus agency’s use of hydrogen fuel cell and solar initiatives.
Gov. Jerry Brown honored AC Transit as one of 17 organizations that have adopted clean-air business principles and policies that conserve energy, reduce costs and help to improve the environmental health of their surrounding neighborhoods.
“Projects like these take a lot of courage and intensity to do, and we are really glad the governor chose to recognize us,” said AC Transit Board President Greg Harper. “We are very proud of what we are doing to enhance the air quality of our local communities and for being able to contribute to the development of these cutting-edge technologies.”
Specifically, AC Transit was honored for building the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell demonstration program in the country. Its zero-emission fuel cell cars and buses emit only water vapor from their tailpipes and have saved more than 68,000 gallons of diesel fuel.
The agency also will install 400 kilowatt hours of solid fuel cells to provide stationary power to its largest operating division and has already installed 2,500 solar panels on its buildings, delivering a significant portion of the power needed for the agency’s daily operations.
Ever since he began touring the Midwest at age 5 as “Little Rance Allen, the Boy Preacher,” the Monroe, Michigan-born vocalist has kept quite busy.
Today, at age 64 and no longer “little,” the hefty musician is more active than ever – recording and performing with his brothers Steve and Tom in the Rance Allen Group, serving as pastor of the 200-member New Bethel Church of God in Christ in Toledo, Ohio, and, for the past 14 months, presiding as the bishop of 15 churches in Michigan and Ohio.
The Allen brothers and their six-piece band will headline a concert, billed as the second annual Charles Reid Gospel Festival, on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Richmond Memorial Auditorium, 403 Civic Center Plaza in Richmond. Also appearing on the 6 p.m. program will be the Mighty Clouds of Joy, African-American gospel music’s preeminent quartet. Tickets are available at Reid’s Records in Berkeley.
The Rance Allen Group’s portion of the concert will be recorded by Tyscot Records. Produced by Chris Byrd — the group’s longtime keyboardist and musical director and a gospel recording artist in his own right – it will be the group’s third live CD for the Indianapolis company.
Bishop Allen will fly back to Toledo immediately after the concert in order to make it to Sunday service. He may not, however, preach the sermon himself.
“I will probably have my assistant ready to go for Sunday morning in case I’m tired,” Bishop Allen says by phone from Toledo. “I have a very capable staff. First of all, my wife is an evangelist. She’s very capable of bringing the message. And I have an assistant pastor who’s also very capable. Between the two of them, I won’t have to worry.”
Along with Andrae Crouch and Edwin Hawkins, Bishop Allen was a pioneer of the progressive gospel movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. While recording for the Gospel Truth label, a division of Stax Records in Memphis, he and his brothers revamped secular hits such as the Temptations’ “Just My Imagination” and Archie Bell and the Drells’ “There’s Gonna Be a Showdown” by changing the lyrics to reflect their Christian beliefs. Their current Tyscot CD, “Amazing Grace,” includes a version of the Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” but there was no need to alter Curtis Mayfield’s gospel-inspired song.
Bishop Allen played guitar on that track and keyboards on other selections from the disc, but he doesn’t play either instrument at concerts. And Steve and Tom also no longer play bass and drums, respectively, as they once did, but instead supply backup vocals and choreographed steps for their remarkably limber brother.
“These young musicians today are playing like never before,” Bishop Allen says. “It was such a relief to be able to sing a song and not have to worry about playing at the same time.”
“I do what I do,” he adds, “because I feel like I’ve been called upon by God to do it.”
Academy Award-nominated actress Cicely Tyson will return to Broadway for the first time in 30 years to star in a revival of Horton Foote’s 1953 drama “The Trip to Bountiful.”
The 14-week run is to begin previews on March 31 at the Stephen Sondheim Theater, with opening night scheduled for April 23.
Tyson, 78, will play Carrie Watts, an elderly woman who dreams of returning to her hometown of Bountiful, Tex., before she dies. First produced as a teleplay on NBC in 1953, starring Lillian Gish as Carrie Watts, the play had its Broadway premiere later that year with the same cast.
Foote adapted his play into a 1985 film starring Geraldine Page, who won an Academy Award.
Tyson’s last stage appearance was in the Broadway revival of “The Corn is Green” in 1983. Her other stage credits include “The Blacks” (1961) by Jean Genet, and “Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright” (1962), with Alvin Ailey. She was nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her performance in the 1972 film “Sounder,” and in 1974 won two Emmy Awards for “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”
Creativity Explored is celebrating its 30th anniversary year with a solo exhibition of artist Vincent Jackson, one of the studio’s most prolific and longest-practicing artists who is well known for his bold and beautiful contemporary portraits and designs.
The exhibition will run through Wednesday, Feb. 27 at the Creativity Explored Gallery, 3245 Sixteenth St. in San Francisco. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
When Jackson joined Creativity Explored at age 22, he was already exploring the iconography that is now famously his own. He uses a variety of media – from oil and acrylic paints and crayon pastels to India ink, collage, papier maché and wood – to create large-scale, brightly colored, intense and soulful portraits that break the human form into geometric shapes.
The resulting mask-like works can be viewed as a contemporary renewal of traditional African and Oceanic folk art imagery, which has entranced art collectors around the world. A great example of this is “Fabulous Man,” (oil pastel on paper) a regal portrait of a golden figure wearing a plum-and-green hat, and two people or objects – either earrings, or perhaps fans of Fabulous Man dancing in the background.
Creativity Explored assists artists with developmental disabilities to pursue both their artistic passion and their quest to become working artists. Through a supportive studio environment, including individualized instruction from mentoring artists, quality supplies, and professional opportunities to exhibit and sell their art, the organization establishes these artists’ work as an emerging and increasingly important contribution to the contemporary art world.
Founded by Florence and Elias Katz in 1983, Creativity Explored has expanded to two locations: the main gallery and studio on 16th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District, and a second studio in nearby Potrero Hill. Gallery programming now includes six exhibitions per year, with more than 15,000 people visiting the gallery and studio annually.
For more information go to www.creativityexplored.org/
Dr. Clayborne Carson will talk about his recently-published book, “Martin’s Dream: My Journey and the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” a memoir about his transition from being a teenage participant in the March on Washington to becoming the editor of King’s papers, part of a free celebration of Black History Month, Sunday, Feb. 10 at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD).
Dr. Carson’s talk will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at MoAD, 685 Mission St. in San Francisco.
The founding director of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford, Carson is the author or editor of more than a dozen books about King and the movements he inspired.
The free day at MoAD also will include “Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance,” a new book about contemporary dance music in Cuba by Dr. Umi Vaughan and DJ Walt Digz, The presentation will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information call (415) 358-7200 or go to www.moadsf.org/
Jerri Lange (left) will present a photo exhibit of her several trips to Kyoto, Japan at the San Francisco Library, African American Center, Saturday, Feb. 2 through May 2.
The exhibit will open at 10 a.m.
The exhibit will be on the fifth floor of the library, 100 Larkin St. in San Francisco.
Point Richmond’s resident singer Claudia Russell will bring her eclectic blend of folk, blues and pop to Point Richmond Acoustic, Friday, Feb. 8, at 8 p.m.
Russell will perform with her band, the Folk Unlimited Orchestra, with husband Bruce Kaplan on guitar Tom Tally on viola and violin. The concert is at the First Methodist Church at 201 Martina Ave. in Point Richmond.
Special guest songwriter Monica Pasqual of the popular group Blame Sally opens the show. Tickets are $15. More information is available at www.pointacoustic.org.
Russell is an award-winning singer/songwriter and was named Best Musician in the 2006 East Bay Express Reader’s Poll, Best New Artist by Boston Radio station WUMB and was nominated for Best Song by the Texas Music Awards.
She and her band play an eclectic blend of folk woven from a patchwork of genres to form a unique, compelling sound. With an expressive voice that is as much at home on a whispery ballad as a full-tilt Buddy Holly-styled romp, she sings songs that deal with classic themes in her distinctive, unique way.
Russell has just finished recording a new CD for a spring release, and will be previewing songs from it. But to many fans, it’s her live show where Russell shines the most. Sing Out magazine said, “Claudia Russell is a great performer…She can really sing. And her band – let’s just say they’re hot. Connect them to the power grid and they’d light up a medium-sized town.”
Point Richmond Acoustic is co-sponsored by Point Richmond Music, Folk Unlimited and the First Methodist Church. Visit www.pointcacoustic.org for more information or contact Pt. Richmond Acoustic at email@example.com.
Jim Foley, president of Wells Fargo’s Greater Bay Area region.
Santiago Ruiz, executive director of Mission Neighborhood Centers in San Francisco.
Jose Corona, CEO of Inner City Advisors in Oakland.
Wells Fargo & Company is donating $300,000 to six non-profit organizations in the Bay Area as part of a $1.5 million in grants awarded across the West Coast to nonprofits and programs that support workforce development and job creation.
Award recipients were selected in both urban and rural locations within each state based on their support for individual job seekers, the self-employed, small business owners and military veterans.
Recipients included Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. in San Francisco, which received $60,000; Bay Area Video Coalition, San Francisco, $40,000; Youth Uprising, Oakland, $50,000; Inner City Advisors, Oakland , $50,000; San Jose Conservation Corps, San Jose, $50,000; Center for Training and Careers, San Jose, $50,000
“These grants are focused on supporting job creation,” said Jim Foley, president of Wells Fargo’s Greater Bay Area region. “We are committed to help even more efforts led by nonprofits to revitalize communities that have been deeply affected by the challenging economy and unemployment.”
Qualifying organizations and programs selected for grants include those that support goals around workforce development and job creation.
“Mission Neighborhood Centers acknowledges and appreciates Wells Fargo’s commitment to our southeast low-income families who desire to improve their financial well being. Wells Fargo’s contribution will allow 30 low-income San Francisco residents to take part in a workforce development training program that will prepare them with a career path in the gardening and landscaping green industry,” said Santiago Ruiz, executive director of Mission Neighborhood Centers in San Francisco.
“The grant given by Wells Fargo to Inner City Advisors will enable us to increase our impact on the creation of good jobs by providing entrepreneurship education and access to smart capital to more Bay Area small businesses,” said Jose Corona, CEO of Inner City Advisors in Oakland.
Former TV anchorwoman Belva Davis will speak and singers Janice Maxie-Reid and Jeanie Tracy will perform at Downs Memorial United Methodist Church Scholarship Ministry’s annual Black History Concert, 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10, at Downs Memorial, 6026 Idaho St. in Oakland.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children under 10, and under 6, free. Tickets may be purchased at: Marcus Book Store, 3900 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Oakland. All proceeds are designated for the scholarship fund.
As the nation commemorated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Barack Obama was also sworn in for his second term as President of the United States. For those of us who have dedicated our lives to realizing Dr. King’s vision of not just racial equality, but social justice, these events mark the culmination of decades of struggle.
But with each success, we are reminded that our nation’s march toward equality is never complete. It is a constant evolution of hearts and minds, policy and tradition. Thanks to the work of Dr. King and so many others, our nation’s made incredible progress, but substantial work remains.
The fight against HIV/AIDS has always been about more than the search for medicine or a cure. It has been a battle for human dignity, to demonstrate that each life, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, nation of origin, or religion, has inherent value.
From the beginning, this epidemic has taken the largest toll on our most marginalized communities. From gay men and transgender women, to injection drug users and people of color, those who are most often shut out of our nation’s halls of affluence and power are also the most vulnerable to a whole host of health challenges, including HIV.
Over the last four years, we’ve made huge strides in leveling the playing field. The nation is rightly directing much needed resources to addressing persistent and devastating health disparities.
But expanding access to health coverage alone is not enough. On its own, an insurance card is little more than a piece of paper. Communities that have historically been locked out of the health care system must have the supportive services necessary to navigate that system.
In that vein, the National Minority AIDS Council is releasing a list ofpriorities for 2013, to ensure that those communities that have historically suffered the greatest health disparities are able to get the most out of these reforms.
This means continued funding for traditional wrap-around/health completion services under Ryan White, but it also means tackling immigration reform and repealing HIV-specific criminal statutes.
It means ensuring that every American has access to employment security, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression. And it means ensuring that every young person has access to confidential, evidence-based and culturally appropriate sexual health education.
Dr. King once said that “human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable…Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
As our nation celebrates the legacy of Dr. King and the second inauguration of President Obama, (we must) stand ready to fight for the vision of equality and justice that both of these men embody.
Paul Kawata is executive director of the National Minority AIDS Council. For information visit http://nmac.org/
Jamie Foxx (left) in “Django Unchained” and Denzel Washington in “Flight.”
“The 44th NAACP Image Awards,” a live, two-hour special on Friday, Feb. 1 (8 p.m.-10 p.m. ET), will showcase the best achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, featuring a star-studded lineup of performers, winners and presenters.
Nominations were announced in December and included contributions in television, film, music and literature.
In the motion picture categories, Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed slavery era “Django Unchained” was pitted against Robert Zemeckis’ pilot drama “Flight”.
“Flight” led the pack with a total of five nominations, while “Django” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” trailed with four. The two highly-praised movies were also set to compete with critics’ darling “Beasts,” Tuskegee film “Red Tails” and Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds.”
“Django” and “Flight” would also face off against each other in Best Actor category where their lead actors, Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington respectively, got nominated. They were racing for the coveted gong alongside Morgan Freeman, Tyler Perry, and newcomer Indian star Suraj Sharma.
In Best Actress category, meanwhile, “Cloud Atlas” leading lady Halle Berry was set to compete with the star of “Beast,” much-talked-about young actress Quvenzhane Wallis. Also up for the prize were Viola Davis, Loretta Devine and Emayatzy Corinealdi.
Founded on Feb. 12, 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its one-half million adult and youth members throughout the country and the world are advocates for civil rights in their communities, and monitor equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
For more information on the NAACP Image Awards, please visit www.naacpimageawards.net.
The awards event is a production of Vicangelo Films.
The City of Chicago will pay pay $10.2 million to a wrongfully convicted man who spent 26 years prison for a murder he did not commit.
He was convicted despite the fact that some attorneys familiar with the crime knew almost from the very beginning that he was innocent.
Cook County, IL, prosecutors convicted Alton Logan, 55, for the Jan. 11, 1982, murder of Lloyd Wickliffe, a security guard working at a McDonald’s on Chicago’s far South Side. Police arrested Logan, then 28, and Edgar Hope a month after the killing, based on identifications made by a second security guard, who was wounded in the shooting.
A few days after their arrest, police also arrested Andrew Wilson for shooting to death two Chicago police officers. Hope told his lawyer that he and Wilson, not Logan, committed the murder at McDonald’s.
Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz, Wilson’s public defenders, confronted Wilson, who admitted that he shot and killed one security guard and wounded the other guard, according to the Northwestern University Center for Wrongful Convictions.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission High School Summer Internship Program is accepting student applications online for about 38 internships that will be available throughout the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.
The pay rate is $10.55 per hour. Each internship will last up to a maximum of 250 hours. Students may work full-time or part-time, for up to 10 weeks, between June 19 and Aug. 30.
The program is designed to promote interest in transportation as a potential career; help students understand the role of transportation agencies; provide skill-building and enrichment opportunities; and provide assistance to MTA’s partner transportation agencies.
Interested tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade students are invited to apply. The deadline for applications is Feb. 28.
To apply, students must complete an online application, with a page that describes in the applicant’s own words a transportation problem in the community and what could be done to resolve the matter. Also attach one letter of recommendation from a teacher, principal, counselor, religious leader or employer (two letters are required if GPA is below 2.8).
For program requirements and information, go to www.mtc.ca.gov/jobs/high_school/ A listing of internship opportunities and the application form are available at http://jobs.mtc.ca.gov/InternshipOpportunities/jobinternship.html
Pablo Paredes of 67 Sueños migrant youth worker advocate organization testifies at ICE hearing on Jan. 10. County Supervisor Richard Valle listens at far left.
By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
With members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors saying they have no power to prevent the county sheriff from continuing federal immigration violation holds at the county jail, a packed meeting room of immigrant families and advocates told supervisors recently that the practice causing widespread economic and psychological uncertainty in county immigrant communities.
At the request of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the sheriff’s office puts two-day detainers on more than 80 Santa Rita Jail inmates a month on suspicion of immigration law violations, with more than 75 percent of them ending up being turned over to immigration authorities.
Students of immigrant parents, people identifying themselves as undocumented workers, and immigration rights advocates told members of the two-person Public Protection Committee of the board of supervisors this month that the ICE Secure-Communities (S-Com) holds and arrests were particularly hard on families that lose their breadwinners.
“Oakland lost 131 lives to violence last year,” Pablo Paredes of 67 Sueños migrant youth worker advocate organization testified to the two-member Public Protection Committee hearing this month.
“What I’m here to tell you is that [Alameda County’s] investment in S-Com is your investment in killing the next baby in Oakland. Violence is not born in a vacuum,” he said. “Violence is born in situation where alternatives disappear, where frustration increases, where my Daddy’s not home tonight. Where my Mom is not home tonight.
“When a breadwinner is deported, [the remaining single parent has to] balance the low wages that they throw at them because they are undocumented, [and so they have to] neglect their children. That leads to ‘who is raising our kids?’ The streets are raising our kids. The dealers on the corner are raising our kids. That’s why so many of our sisters are turning into prostitutes. That’s why so many of our children are coming to school high.”
Paredes said that instead of investing in families, cooperation with federal immigration authorities is “investing in kidnapping parents in the middle of the night.”
One teenage Latina girl identifying herself only as Diana said the S-Com holds and deportations are “breaking up families just like they did to mine. My aunt and uncle got deported, and that affected me as well as their children. It ruined their family, their childhood, their lives, and their dreams. The [Alameda County sheriff’s deputies] should do their own job and let ICE do theirs.”
Several of the speakers said that while the forced deportations do not make Alameda County safer-since the majority of those deported from the county are either non-violent offenders or have not committed any state or local crimes at all-with some adding that the deportees themselves can face danger in returning to their home countries.
Sylvia Brandon Perez, a volunteer with the East Bay Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a naturalized American citizen from Cuba and a retired immigration attorney, told the story of one Alameda County man from Guatemala who had applied for asylum “because he was afraid if he was returned to his country, he would be killed.
He was arrested because he was parked at a yellow line, waiting for his wife who was at a PTA meeting at a school in Hayward. He was deported to Guatemala. Within three months he had been shot and killed, leaving two U.S.-born children and a wife.”
And Maria Kelly, a Berkeley-area immigration rights worker and a Syrian-American, said she had several family members who are in the country on tourist visas. “If they overstay their visas and they get pulled over for something like a broken tail light or whatever and they’re sent back to Syria, what are they being sent back to?
A Better Chance, a national nonprofit that recruits academically talented and motivated students of color and helps them reach a variety of educational opportunities, has announced that Cynthia Housel will join its team as major gifts officer for the Western United States.
In this newly created position, Housel will serve as a member of the development team. She will work with volunteers, alumni and donors in the western states. Her objective will be to keep A Better Chance’s supporters and advocates informed, engaged and connected to the work the organization does.
She will be based in Oakland.
“I hold the mission of A Better Chance close to my heart,” said Housel. “I firmly believe that it is critical to increase substantially the number of well-educated young people of color who are capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society.”
For over 16 years, Housel has supported or led individual and major gifts campaigns, capital campaigns, institutional giving, volunteer and board management, and events for large and small organizations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Her past experience includes tenures at Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles, Boy Scouts of America – Los Angeles Area Council and the California Academy of Sciences. She was most recently the Financial Development Director at the YMCA of San Francisco – Chinatown Branch.
A Better Chance, at www.abetterchance.org, is one of the oldest national organizations of its kind supporting academically talented youth of color via access to prestigious educational opportunities for students in grades 6-12.
A Better Chance operates the College Preparatory Schools Program, which recruits, refers and supports about 500 scholars at more than 300-member schools nationwide annually.
The Organization has been helping students since1963. Since its inception, more than 13,000 alumni have been given an A Better Chance opportunity. The group is headquartered in New York and has five regional offices.
The Alameda County Arts Commission is promoting an opportunity for county high school students involved in the arts to participate in the State Summer School for the Arts, a four-week, intensive pre-college program for talented and motivated high school students in the arts, held on the campus of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia.
The program has an annual student body of over 500 young artists from all over California and beyond, offering students the opportunity to spend one month immersed in a creative laboratory, experiencing the inspiring and rigorous daily life of a professional artist.
As a bridge from high school to college, the program awards top students the Herb Alpert Foundation’s Emerging Young Artist Scholarships for collegiate study or pre-professional training programs, as well as three units of California State University course credit and names them “California Arts Scholars,” distinguishing CSSSA graduates from their peers as they proceed to college and career.
Applications are now being accepted for the 2013 summer session. Requirements, forms, and instructions can be found on the CSSSA website under each artistic discipline in the admissions section.
No student is denied admission due to financial circumstances. Each year, approximately 40 percent of students receive financial aid. All application materials must be postmarked by Feb. 28. For information go to www.csssa.ca.gov
The City of Oakland and the consulting firm Sand Dollar Group, LLC have teamed up to help local small businesses grow and increase their revenue.
They are offering free technical assistance to Oakland entrepreneurs who are certified as small businesses with the city. Qualified small businesses will receive monthly consulting services through June 2014 at no cost and will learn a variety of business growth and management strategies with hands on assistance from small business experts.
Additionally, all Oakland certified small business owners will have the opportunity to participate in seminars that will teach a variety of topics from local experts.
“Topics will range from financial management to sales and marketing and venture capital opportunities,” said Sand Dollar Group CEO Paul C. Wright.
Most seminars will take place in downtown Oakland at the Department of Housing and Community Development.
Visit www.sanddollargroup.com to obtain an application for this free program. Visit the Sand Dollar Group website for more information on the upcoming seminars.
“I get paid to belt and shout, but I actually can sing,” Sista Monica Parker quips in the living room of her Mountain House home prior to a Wednesday night rehearsal with her new Acoustic Honey band.
Since the Gary, Indiana, native became a professional singer 20 year ago, she’s been knocking out audiences at festivals, clubs and blues cruises throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Turkey with her electric band and big, brassy, church-hewn contralto pipes.
She has recorded 11 CDs for her own Mo Muscle label, most of them focused on blues. Two are devoted to gospel music, the most recent of which is 2010’s “Singin’ in the Spirit” featuring guests Linda Tillery, Deanna Bogart and Bishop Yvette Flunder.
With Acoustic Honey, comprising pianist Danny Beconcini, tenor saxophonist Danny Sandoval, drummer Leon Joyce Jr. and onetime Charles Brown side person Ruth Davies on upright bass, Parker plans to present a softer sound and a broader repertoire.
The group will make its debut, beginning at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2, at Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave. in Oakland. Two shows are booked for the following Saturday at Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz.
“It’s gonna be a mix of roots music, blues, gospel and jazz,” Parker says before breaking into the opening line of “What a Diffr’rence a Day Makes.” “”We’ll be doing some standards and we’ll be doing some popular songs, and then we’ll be doing some Sista Monica.
“The band will not be able to overpower me, which sometimes bands do when they can plug in and turn up. Although my band rarely does that because we talk a lot about dynamics, the truth is when we’re on the festival scene, sometimes it just gets that way.”
Parker recently left her day job as a freelance corporate headhunter in order to devote more time to her music. She served as a Marine Corps recruiter during her three-years of service in the late ‘70s, then worked for more than three decades for such companies as Hewlett Packard, Apple, Yahoo, Sun Microsystems and Dolby Laboratories.
“I meditate and I write songs,” Parker says of her new-found free time. “I’m studying my craft a lot more. I’m going into the history of Etta James and Koko Taylor and Ruth Brown and Katie Webster — the older girls who preceded me – so I can learn how they developed their craft and got to where they are.”
Parker began singing in a Baptist church in Gary when she was 7 and later developed an affinity for blues after attending the Chicago Blues Festival. “Blues has some of the same rhythms and chord changes that gospel does,” he vocalist plans to travel to Memphis in May to attend the Blues Foundation’s 34th Blues Music Awards ceremony. She, along with Barbara Carr, Denise LaSalle, Dorothy Moore and Irma Thomas, are nominated for this year’s award in the organization’s Soul Blues Female Artist category.
The Picklewater Clown Cabaret will host a fundraiser for Prescott Circus Theatre, featuring some of the Bay Area’s finest circus and variety stars and local and international professional circus artists, comedians, and Clown Conservatory alumni, 8 p.m., Monday, Feb. 4 at NEW Stage Werx Theatre location, 446 Valencia St. in San Francisco.
In an original variety arts show, award winning physical comedians of the Picklewater Clown Cabaret will celebrate their good friends at the Prescott Circus Theatre.
Prescott Circus Theatre is an innovative, youth circus/youth development program for Oakland children and youth. Currently in its 29th year, Prescott is one of the country’s largest and longest running social circus programs dedicated to serving underserved children and their communities.
Each year, over 170 children work with professional artists to develop physical circus skills such as juggling, acrobatics, improvisation, balancing, unicycling, stilting, hip hop dance, hambone body percussion, and clowning.
Training programs are offered free of charge and almost exclusively to low income children. This program is supported by grants, donations, and performance fees. The Oakland Unified School District provides in-kind support.
Tickets are $15, $10 in advance online at http://picklewaterclowncabaret.bpt.me/
Brenda Wright, Wells Fargo senior vice president of Community Relations.
Grace C. Stanislaus, executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora.
To honor the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Wells Fargo is joining with the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco and other of the nation’s leading African American museums to host a year-long tour of “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect.”
The exhibit contains a world-class collection of art and artifacts chronicling African American history and culture dating back to the 1600s, including an early copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
The tour officially launches during Black History Month making its first stop in San Francisco on Friday, Feb. 8 at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) at 685 Mission St. in San Francisco.
The opening reception of the exhibit will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 8.
The Kinsey Collection brings to life many important and untold stories involving the rich history of African Americans, their achievements and contributions, as well as their struggles for equality and civil rights that remains relevant today.
“Wells Fargo embraces the arts as a voice for history and culture,” said Brenda Wright, Wells Fargo senior vice president of Community Relations. “We are excited to present ‘The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect’ as a way to share an important story involving the rich history of African Americans, a history of identity and struggle for equality that is both unique and shared by others.”
“We are greatly honored to be the first venue in the national tour of the Kinsey Collection, a collection that is incomparable for the historical significance and quality of the objects but also for the extraordinary stories they tell about the indomitable spirit, creativity and resiliency of African Americans,” said Grace C. Stanislaus, executive director of the Museum of the African Diaspora.
“The Kinsey Collection strives to give our ancestors a voice, name and personality, enabling the viewer to understand the challenges, obstacles, triumphs and extraordinary sacrifice of African Americans who’ve greatly contributed to the success of this country,” said Bernard Kinsey.
For information go to www.moadsf.org<http://www.moadsf.org/ or call (415) 358-7200.
Nearly 500 volunteers worked on community gardens Monday, beautifying Richmond Greenway at the 6th Annual Martin Luther King National Day of Service, a project of Urban Tilth.
The event was in partnership with Friends of the Richmond Greenway, City of Richmond and over 20 organizations including East Bay Center for Performing Arts, which performed during the community event.
Other activities included work on a community mural, which stretches from Harbour Way to 8th Street, health and wellness projects, a petting zoo, garbage pickup, and planting edible gardens. Among the funders were Kaiser Permanente, City of Richmond, HandsOn Bay Area and Marin Clean Energy. Photo by Gabino Arredondo.
Highway to Work (H2W), Alameda County’s summer and year-round youth employment program, has provided approximately 500 young people with employment opportunities over the past year.
A highlight of H2W is that youth can keep their jobs by working after-school, providing them fully subsidized employment through June.
The program began with the support of the Alameda County Social Services Agency, which awarded Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) a youth employment contract. PIC partnered with 10 organizations throughout the county to administer the contract and put youth to work.
So far, worksites include Rubicon, City of Oakland, Dig Deep Farms, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, Cal State University Eastbay, Joyce Gordon Gallery and Silliman Aquatic Center.
“All of our partnering agencies have their own unique gifts, and they continue to utilize those gifts to the maximum benefit of our youth,” said Rayna Lett-Bell, programs coordinator at PIC, who has spearheaded the H2W program from its inception, and has been one of the driving forces keeping the program on track.
One participant is Ramon Gonzales. Since he started with Soulciety in Hayward, he has become extremely active in school and the Culinary Regional Occupational Program.
Because of his interest in cooking, the program placed him at a restaurant for work experience. The restaurant, Buddy’s, speaks very highly of Gonzales and sees the potential for him to move up within the company.
“Soulciety taught me a variety of things such as managing money, how to keep a job, punctuality and so much more,” said Gonzales. “They showed me how to communicate with others in a positive way and to not be afraid to ask questions or ask for help.”
Another H2W participant is Dominic Gates, who found a job through Berkeley Youth Alternatives.
He is now working at Rubicon and Farm Fresh Choice. He says that working at Rubicon has made him more confident around professional adults, while his job at Farm Fresh Choice makes him feel like he’s making a difference in people’s lives.
“Highway to Work really changes lives,” Gates said. “It is helping me become more successful in my life.”
First Lady of Allen Temple Baptist Church Elaine Smith with Pastor J. Alfred Smith and Congresswoman Barbara Lee at African American Church Inaugural Ball on Sunday at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC.
As leaders from across the country and world came together in Washington D.C. to celebrate the commencement of the second term of President Barack Obama, African American churches held an inaugural ball Sunday at the Grand Hyatt commemorating the historic moment and celebrating the future.
The Balm in Gilead organization, along with leaders of African American churches, held the event to honor President Obama and the countless history makers who dedicated their energies and lives to freedom and justice.
The re-election of the president is “the ultimate manifestation of the long struggle of Black people in this country,” according to Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, III, chair of the Conference of National Black Churches.
“I am forever grateful and honor our leaders of the past and present,” said event producer and Balm In Gilead founder and CEO Pernesssa Seele, who added that she and others will stand by the president in prayer and action for the 1,460 days of his second term
Actor Morris Chestnut highlighted Keepers of the Flame for social justice through music, screen, sports and medicine, art, activism and faith.
“It’s historic for America and African Americans. We will enjoy this moment and ensure our issues and concerns are spoken and addressed during this term. African Americans should expect a return on the investment of 96 percent of our vote,” he said.
A special tribute to President Nelson Mandela and his legacy was presented by Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
“As we celebrate President Barack Obama, we thank President Nelson Mandela for lighting the torch and the flame President Obama continues to carry,” she said in attendance with her family and members of Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland.
“As we now celebrate the second term of President Barack Obama, I recall President Mandela said, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done. ‘”
In honor of the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks, Rev. Teresa Snorton of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church offered a musical tribute of “My God is Awesome” by saxophonist Ski Johnson and “The Presence of the Lord is Here” by Gospel Recording Artist Byron Cage.
Honorees for social justice through music included musician Hugh Masekela and opera singer Jessye Norman. Actress Cicely Tyson and Ruby Dee were honored for social justice through stage and screen. Sports Icon Muhammad Ali and Dr.Joycelyn Elders were honored for social justice through sports and medicine.
Those pictured clockwise from top right are: Beyonce, Malcolm X, Sasha and Malia Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe and Jill Biden, John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy,Ted Kennedy, Alex Haley, Harry Belfonte, Martin Luther King,Jr., Russell Means, Delores Huerta, Gay Plair Cobb, Wilma Mankiller,Fred Korematsu, Jesse Jackson, Cesar Chavez, Colin Powell, Jesse Owens, Oprah Winfrey,Rosa Parks, Dorothy Height, A. Phillip Randolph, Joseph Lowery, Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Lee, Myrlie Evers-Williams, Ella Baker, Daisy Bates, Fannie Lou Hamer, Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., Julian Bond, Dr. W. Hazaiah Williams, Jackie Robinson,Joe Louis, Paul Robeson, Marlon Brando, James Baldwin, John Lewis, Ralph Abernathy, Roy Wilkins, Floyd McKissick, Walter White, Coretta Scott-King. Photos by AP, Reuters, Getty Images and Adam L. Turner.