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41st Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration

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The Dream Starts With Me Celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  began with opening remarks by Supervisor and Board Chair, John M. Gioia. Entertainment was provided by the Contra Costa School of Performing Arts and the Los Medanos College Gospel Choir.

The keynote address was provided by Sheryl Lane, the director of Building Block for Kids.

Sheryl Lane, a native of Richmond, is the daughter of parents who were born and raised in the segregated South and moved to California in pursuit of greater opportunity.

Lane holds a Master’s of Science in Urban Policy and Management from the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy at the New School in New York City. She holds two BA’s, one in sociology and another in psychology and social behavior, both from UC Irvine.  In 2017, Sheryl completed eight years of service as a member of the Richmond Planning Commission.

Contra Costa County is pleased to have Sheryl Lane share her thoughts in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,  Day.

Rev.  Donnell R. Jones is the recipient of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors’ 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award. He was chosen for his leadership and service to the community spanning 27 years.

In his work in Contra Costa County and beyond, Jones cares deeply about advocating for peace, justice and violence prevention. He is the pastor of New Direction Ministries and the owner of New Soul Cafe, both in Richmond.

He has served as a community organizer and interim director of Contra Costa Interfaith Supporting Community Organization. He is currently working as a contractor with the Richmond Police Dept., collaborating with such entities as Crime Prevention, Immigration, Education, Economic Development, NAACP and Pastoral Alliances. Contra Costa County was pleased to present him with the 2019 Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Yassna Ahmadi, a senior at Pinole Valley High School, is the recipient of the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors 2019 Student Humanitarian Award. She was chosen for her passionate leadership and the impact she has already made durning her high school career. Ahmadi is an honors student and president of the student body. As the lead writer for the school newspaper, “Spartan Ink,” she has written over a dozen articles on topics addressing real world concerns from immigration to LGBTQ issues to women’s rights. She oranized and spoke at the school’s memorial ceremony after last year’s masssacre at the Parkland School in Florida. She is an activist who “has a great sense of respect toward her peers and adults,” notes her school principal. She is proud of her Muslim heritage, while including the African American Student Union among her many activities.

Art

Alameda County Arts Commission Public Art Call for Artists – One more week to apply!

The application deadline is Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (10:59pm Pacific Time). For more information about the Call for Artists, please visit the Alameda County Arts Commission’s website at http://www.acgov.org/arts.

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ACAC-Public Art Call for Artists

The Alameda County Arts Commission invites visual artists to submit an application to the new Alameda County Artist Registry, a prequalified list of artists that will be used for upcoming public art opportunities managed by the Alameda County Arts Commission. Public art opportunities will include outdoor and indoor projects with a range of budgets and will be appropriate for artists working in a variety of materials and styles.

The Artist Registry will be primarily used to commission visual artists to create new artwork, however, there may be opportunities to purchase or license existing artwork. Artists interested in being considered for public art opportunities with the Alameda County Arts Commission during the next three to four years should apply.

View the complete Call for Artists for details and additional eligibility requirements at https://bit.ly/ArtistRegistryCall. Applications for the Artist Registry must be submitted online through the CaFÉ™ website at https://bit.ly/ACCAFElink.

The application deadline is Wednesday, September 15, 2021 (10:59pm Pacific Time). For more information about the Call for Artists, please visit the Alameda County Arts Commission’s website at http://www.acgov.org/arts.

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City Government

A New Mayor in 2022 Must Take Major Steps in Their First 100 Days

In 2022, the voters of Oakland will have an opportunity to elect the next mayor for our city.  The Mayor of Oakland is the head of the executive branch, in charge of implementing actions and laws that have been passed by Council and community.

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Hands place ballot envelope into a ballot box/ Arnaud Jaegars via Unsplash

In 2022, the voters of Oakland will have an opportunity to elect the next mayor for our city.  The Mayor of Oakland is the head of the executive branch, in charge of implementing actions and laws that have been passed by Council and community.

The mayor also selects and hires the city administrator, appoints members of key boards and commissions and sets the direction for the administrative branch of government, thus having a major impact on what action gets taken.

In recent years, the City Council has adopted numerous laws and funded positions and projects – many of which have not been implemented, such as providing gun tracing and cracking down on illegal guns, civilianizing special events, providing pro-active illegal dumping remediation, a public lands policy to prioritize affordable housing, direction to provide healthier alternative locations to respond to homelessness, and many more.

In order to ensure that we build a safer and healthier future for Oakland, it is vitally important to ensure that we elect leadership for the executive branch with the dedication and commitment to take the actions needed to fulfill the needs of our communities.  

With serious struggles facing our communities, it is vital that the next mayor take immediate action in their first hundred days – and so, I am undertaking to provide proposals regarding what the next mayor can, and should, do in their first 100 days in office.  

These efforts will need to include recruitment and retention for the workforce, effective relationships with county government and neighboring cities to solve common problems, working with stakeholders including to expand equitable economic development and housing for all income levels, presenting and passing proposals at Council and bringing in and properly stewarding the finances needed.  

Even within the first 100 days, a mayor can accomplish a great deal, including taking action to implement vitally needed services that already have Council authorization and thus can be brought about more quickly.

This is the first installment, listing of some of the first items that the next mayor can and should do to build a healthier Oakland, and which should be factors in our decision-making in the year ahead.

 

1.     Ensure implementation of the directive to prioritize stopping the flow of illegal guns and stopping gun violence, including implementing gun tracing, tracking and shutting down sources of illegal guns, and providing immediate response to shooting notifications.

2.     Remove blight and illegal dumping, implement pro-active removal of blight rather than waiting for complaints, incorporate blight removal throughout city efforts (rewards program, summer jobs program, etc).  Clear up backlog and establish a new normal that it is not okay to dump on Oakland.

3.     Provide healthier alternatives for homeless solutions, including safe parking/managed RV sites and sanitation/dump sites, to reduce public health risks. Partner with the County and others.

4.     Implement previously approved Council direction to switch to the use of civilians (rather than sworn police) to manage parades and special events.  Help ensure community and cultural events can go forward without excess costs undermining them. Strengthen the arts and economy and equity of event permitting system and ensure that expensive police resources are directed where they are needed, rather than wasted on watching parades.

5.     Implement previously approved public lands policy to ensure using public lands for public needs, with a priority for affordable housing.

6.     Make it easier for local residents and small businesses to grow, build and expand by providing coherent and simplified permitting and by implementing the Council-funded direction to provide evening and weekend hours and easy online access, to allow people to do projects like adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and make other renovations and construction projects more timely.

7.     Work with stakeholders and community to advance effective and equitable revitalization of the large public properties at and around the Oakland Coliseum, including with housing for all income levels, jobs and business development, sports and entertainment, conventions and hotels.

8.     Work to speed the filling of vacancies in needed city staff positions and improve recruitment, retention and local hiring, to help provide vitally needed services, including for cleanup, parks upkeep, gun tracing, and other needs.

9.     Fire prevention and climate resiliency.  Our region is facing growing dangers from climate change and fire risk, and we must take action to reduce and remedy risk and protect our communities with a more resilient future, including by planning for and starting fire prevention and brush remediation activities earlier in the year, improving brush removal on public land as well as private, fully staffing the fire department and improving public infrastructure to protect cleaner air and reduce risks.

10.  Job training and pathways.  Some industries face challenges finding enough prepared workers while many in our community also need access to quality jobs.  Support and connect job training programs and quality job policies with growing sectors and ensure Oaklanders are prepared for vital openings in needed jobs while allowing our community to thrive.

 

 

 

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Art

My Park Moment Photo show opens in San Francisco Presidio

While a lot of establishments such as restaurants, movies, amusement parks and places where people gather were closed for the past 18 months because of COVID-19, one of the few places people were able to enjoy themselves was at parks.

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Courtesy of Lee Hubbard

While a lot of establishments such as restaurants, movies, amusement parks and places where people gather were closed for the past 18 months because of COVID-19, one of the few places people were able to enjoy themselves was at parks.

The New York based non-profit Photoville wanted to highlight this. With a partnership with the San Francisco Presidio Trust, Photoville presented the My Park Moment photo show, which celebrates people loving parks.  

The photo show features pictures of people at parks throughout the United States. The exhibit at the Presidio is spread out over 14 acres of new parkland with trails over tunnel tops creating scenic overlooks and picnic sites in a dramatic display of public art. It will be up from now until August of 2022.

“This exhibit is a celebration of community,” said Michael Boland, chief Park Development and Visitor Engagement officer at Presidio Trust. “It shows how we as Americans can enjoy open spaces. How people can have fun, get fit, fall in love and do a lot of things outside at parks.”

There were 7,000 photo submissions from professional photographers to people with cell phones, of which 400 were selected for the exhibit. The photos were picked by a committee of artists, photographers, and cultural critics from throughout the Bay Area. 

Outside of the 400 pictures used in the show, four photographers who submitted multiple works were given stipends and highlighted for their work as Visual Story Award winners.

One of the Visual Story Award winners was Sheilby Macena, an Oakland photographer, who has 12 pictures in the My Park Moment exhibit. Her work focuses on the citizens of Oakland and specifically, the merchants at Lake Merritt during the pandemic.

“My work comes from the exhibit Black Joy at Lake Merritt, which shows Black people at the Lake, during the pandemic, particularly along sellers’ row,” said Macena.

Sellers Row was a group of 20 to 50 vendors who set up along Grand Avenue and Lake Shore Drive in Oakland by Lake Merritt. This scene would often conflict with many of the new residents in the area.

“My pictures showed Black life and it was a great way to document folks. It was a fun time, but you knew it wasn’t going to last,” continued Macena.

It didn’t. Nearby residents complained and media attention was brought to the Lake. Today, vendors at the Lake are required to have permits and there is a heavier police presence then what was taking place during the pandemic.

“The pandemic was hard on people and parks,” continued Boland. “Parks for some were the only outlet for people.”

Marissa Leshnov also had her work featured in the Presidio exhibit one Visual Story Award winners. Her work profiled the Oakland OMies, which showed a group of Black women practicing restorative yoga in the Presidio.

“These women came together as Black women, supporting each other and promoting wellness,” said Leshnov. “It’s important that people see themselves reflected in the art and I hope this brings people out to the Presidio to see the exhibit.”

The San Francisco Post’s coverage of local news in San Francisco County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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