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Oakland African American Chamber Hosts 14th Business Luncheon




Honorees and board members celebrate the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce 14th Annual Business Awards Luncheon at Scott’s Restaurant in Jack London Square. 

The Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce hosted their 14th Annual Business Awards Luncheon at Scott’s Restaurant in Jack London Square on Thursday, October 19. Chaired by Dr Charlie Hames, Jr., Senior Pastor of Beebe Memorial Church and Presidet of Horizon Beverage Company, Ces Butner, the event was emceed by ABC News 7 Broadcaster, Carolyn Tyler.

Salesforce Director of Global Equality Programs, Molly Q. Ford, provided the keynote address and shared the company’s vision and journey toward providing equal pay, equal education, equal rights and equal opportunity.

Venture Capitalist, Erik Moore received the Oscar J. Coffey Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Moore is founder and managing partner of Base Ventures, a venture capital and private equity fund. Moore was a seed investor in which sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion and Agencourt Biosciences which sold to Beckman Coulter for $270 million dollars.

Moore co-founded, a digital streaming platform on Facebook for feature-length movies and he created Rule LX, a special purpose investment fund. “I’m in business to make a lot of money, but along the way I’ve funded dozens of startups and most of the founders are African American and women,” said Moore.

Dr. Brandon Nicholson, founding executive director of the Hidden Genius Project received the Startup Business of the Year Award. Nicholson has conducted substantial research in the areas of education and youth development focusing on equity and access for K -12 education in underserved populations. Nicholson serves on the Board of Trustees/Directors for the San Francisco 49ers Academy in East Palo Alto, Great Oakland Public Schools, the Lorenzo Alexander ACES Foundation, the Greenlight fund and Aim High. “Given the proper tools, our youth can achieve,” said Nicholson.

Valerie Lewis, Assistant Vice President-Secretary for Albertson’s Safeway Legal division, received the Chairman’s Award. Lewis has corporate-wide responsibility for consumer protection, regulatory compliance and litigation. She recently served as vice president of the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees and serves on the board of the OAACC, Ramsell Corporation, the Executive Leadership Council and Talladega College.

“I truly value the support I’ve received along the way and thank my colleagues,” said Lewis.

OAACC President and CEO, Crystal Cole Matson was excited to announce the chamber’s growth and 50 new members.

The OAACC provides community advocacy, economic development and business partnerships.

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East Oakland Organizer Needed

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) is seeking an Oakland-based grassroots organizer for a short-term engagement to help grow and mobilize our coalition! Comprised of local businesses, workers, labor organizations, and community members, we are deeply concerned about the Oakland A’s proposal to leave the Coliseum site in East Oakland and build a new stadium at the port. An ideal candidate has on-the-ground campaign field experience, a strong awareness of Oakland and Alameda County political figures, and deep ties to East and West Oakland communities. Being a local resident of Oakland is a plus.

Employment with EOSA is a part-time role and will last for a minimum of four months with an opportunity to extend longer. Transportation and cell phone use would be reimbursed and candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Emily Penrod, For more info about EOSA, visit our website and check us out on Twitter @AllianceOakland.


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