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Buffy Wicks Fights for 15th District Assemblymember Seat




With 130 house parties, nearly 1400 signatures gathered and a team of over 500 volunteers, Buffy Wicks has set her sights on becoming the next 15th District Assemblymember.

Wicks, an American political strategist, credited along with Marshall Ganz and Jeremy Bird as the architect of Barack Obama’s grassroots organizing model, previously served on the senior staff of Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns.

She also served as Deputy Director at the White House Office of Public Engagement. Beyond the White House, she’s worked in the labor movement, on women’s issues, and as a children’s rights advocate.

Like many, Wicks has many concerns for the country’s future with President Donald Trump in office.

“We are in a scary moment in our country’s history, and I feel lucky to be raising my baby daughter in a progressive community like ours that rejects President Trump’s hateful rhetoric and harmful policies,” said Wicks. “But we can’t let what’s happening in Washington define us.”

“Here in California, we have a real opportunity not just to resist, but to put forth bold, progressive public policy that reflects our shared values and builds a more just and equitable society.  California should be the leader in showing America what progressive governance can be.”

Wicks says she wants to lead the fight by organizing and building coalitions.

“I’m ready to work toward providing all of our families the best future possible.”

Wicks track record includes a host of progressive causes including organizing the Bay Area’s anti-Iraq War protests, working for Howard Dean, campaigning against Walmart, helping pass the Affordable Care Act, launching a national women’s economic policy initiative, and leading the California Kids Campaign to fight for more funding for public schools.

According to Wicks, the California State Legislature is at a 20-year low with women representation at a mere 22%.

“This shows how policies impact women and leadership starts by sending more women to Sacramento. We need to prioritize paid family leave, education funding for both K-12, early childhood and funding for childcare.”

Wicks supports a full 12-weeks paid leave for the birth of a new child, or care for an ill loved one. “Women are often the bread winners of the family and we need more policies to ensure a level playing field like universal childcare, fair pay and quality access to reproductive healthcare.”

Wicks plans to quickly build more affordable homes in walkable and transit oriented neighborhoods and protect tenants from displacement.

“I support expanding rent stabilization, Renters Tax Credit and the creation of a legal defense fund for those facing unfair evictions,” she said.

Wicks also supports California as a sanctuary state and says law enforcement is best used by catching dangerous criminals and not threatening to deport the undocumented. “We must reject the politics of hate and fear—our strength is our diversity.”

As a gun control advocate, Wicks was happy to have friends Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and husband, astronaut-author Mark Kelly kick off her campaign rally in February at her headquarters in Berkeley.

Last weekend at Salute Restaurant in Richmond, Wicks was supported by Richmond Mayor Tom Butt. Next week, she is scheduled to have another event with colleague Valerie Jarrett, who served as senior advisor to former President Obama for both of his presidential terms.

Wicks supporters include the East Bay Express, East Bay Times, The Mercury News, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, CA Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, Congressman Ro Khanna, Assemblymember Bill Quirk, State Senator Scott Wiener, Assemblymember David Chiu, Assemblymember Jose Medina, Hercules BART Board Director Lateefah Simon, and Piedmont Vice Mayor Teddy King.

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Civil Rights Before the Loving Decision

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.





Not so recently in the United States, same sex marriages were illegal. In the last century, there were laws on the books that prohibited folks from different races marrying.  

Loving v. Virginia was a landmark civil rights case in 1967 that recognized marriage as a fundamental right guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.

In 1958, Mildred Loving, a Black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, were convicted and sentenced to a year in prison for violating the state of Virginia’s laws prohibiting their marriage.

That conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 1968, ending discrimination in marriage based on race.

The Loving decision was a catalyst in 2015 to help abolish discrimination in marriage in same-sex marriages, which allowed for equality in the LGBTQ communities of all races including this author.

Before the Loving decision, Joan Steinau, a white woman, married Julius Lester, who at the time was a singer and a photographer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).  Julius later became a writer.  

Joan and Julius were divorced in 1970.

Next month, Joan’s memoir, “Loving before Loving:  A Marriage in Black and White,” will be released. In the book, she recounts her marriage to Julius Lester before the Loving decision in the midst of the civil rights era as a wife, mother, and activist. 

In an interview with the Post, she said,   “Given both the erasure and distortion of Black lives as presented in the white-led media, the existence of a robust Black press . . .has been essential to the survival and thriving of Black community.”

Quoting the Chicago Daily Defender in her memoir, she said, “When one of its reporters asked President Truman, after he said school integration might lead to intermarriage, ‘Would you want your daughter to marry a Black man if she loved him?’ The president responded with a typical segregationist attitude of the time, ‘She won’t love anybody that’s not her color.’   It was important for the Black reporter to be there, because of course he assumed the possibility that naturally she could love anyone and pointed that out with his question.”

She added,  “That’s just one example of a long history of significant advocacy and reportage by hundreds of Black newspapers over the last 150 years. The Post News Group has jumped into the gap regionally to fill this important space, and I’m grateful for it. Until we have true representation of all experiences/perspectives at major media outlets, we will continue to need media targeted to excluded groups.

“My own history with Oakland/Berkeley dates to the 1980s when I began to visit from the East Coast and plot a way to move here. In 1991, my wife and I did settle in Berkeley. We immediately joined a predominantly Black church in Oakland and began creating a friendship circle. The diverse culture here was high on our list of reasons to move from our predominantly white area in New England. And it has been everything we hoped for.”

Joan Lester dedicates this memoir to her wife, Carole.  In addition to this memoir, she is a commentator, columnist and book author.

“Loving before Loving A Marriage in Black and White” by Joan Steinau Lester is available for pre-order now and on sale on May 18 on Amazon and at local bookstores.

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Wikipedia was a source for this story.

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Bay Area

At Least 4 Bay Area Counties Pause Use Of J&J Vaccines Amid Blood Clot Concerns

Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.




     At least four Bay Area counties paused administrations Tuesday of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine after a handful of people across the country developed blood clots less than two weeks after the shot.

     Public health officials in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, and Marin counties announced that they would temporarily halt the use of the vaccine, which was developed by J&J’s pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen.
The state’s Department of Public Health also issued a statement Tuesday urging a temporary pause on the vaccine’s administration while state and federal officials determine whether the clotting incidents are significant.

    More than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine have been administered across the country.
Health officials have confirmed cases of rare and severe blood clots in just six women between the ages of 18 and 48 who received the J&J vaccine, with symptoms appearing between six and 13 days post-vaccination.

   Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have also advised states to pause administration of the Janssen vaccine to allow for an investigation of the clots and whether a causal link with the vaccine can even be established.

     In a joint statement, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Dr. Peter Marks and CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat said the two agencies will review the cases of clotting this week to determine whether they are statistically significant. “Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” Marks and Schuchat said. “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”

     State epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said the state will also follow the recommendation by the FDA and CDC and order a statewide pause of administrations of the Janssen vaccine.
“Additionally, the state will convene the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to review the information provided by the federal government on this issue,” Pan said.

     California joined the states of Nevada, Oregon, and Washington to establish the workgroup last year to conduct independent review and analysis of each vaccine as they are approved for emergency use by the FDA.
Officials in the four Bay Area counties noted that Janssen vaccines represent 4 percent or less of the doses administered in each county to date, with the majority being the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
Health officials have lauded the Janssen vaccine’s utility in reaching demographics like unhoused residents and people who are homebound, who may have difficulty returning for a second vaccine dose.

     Officials in the four counties said they did not expect the Janssen vaccine pause to force the widespread cancellation of vaccination appointments or significantly affect their ability to continue vaccinating their respective populations.

    Janssen vaccine recipients who got vaccinated more than a month ago are not deemed at risk for developing blood clots, according to local, state, and federal health officials.

   People who received the vaccine more recently are encouraged to contact a health care provider if they begin noticing symptoms like severe headaches, leg pain, and shortness of breath, which may be associated with clotting.

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