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Oakland Groups Urge Local Financial Institutions to Order Maya Angelou Quarter from U.S. Mint

Recognizing the significance of the American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program to the communities we serve, the collective is acting to make sure communities are aware of these significant coins and that they are readily available at local financial institutions. 

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Photo of the quarter honoring Maya Angelou.
Photo of the quarter honoring Maya Angelou.

By Post Staff

Several Oakland non-profits, businesses and organizations are calling on the community to urge local financial institutions to order the newly released Maya Angelou quarter from the United States Mint.

The request can help ensure availability, maximum exposure and record high circulation in the community and have the extraordinary and considerable ability to make a powerful statement by ensuring the visibility of these historic coins.

Recognizing the significance of the American Women Quarters (AWQ) Program to the communities we serve, the collective is acting to make sure communities are aware of these significant coins and that they are readily available at local financial institutions.

Included in the collective are the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce; the Women’s Council of Associated Real Property Brokers; the Oakland Chapter of the NAACP; Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA); the International Longshore Warehouse Union, Local 10; the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter, National Black MBA Association; 100 Black Men of the Bay Area and the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. Oakland/Bay Area Chapter.

The U.S. Mint has begun shipments of the first coins in the AWQ) Program, starting with the one honoring the late writer, Maya Angelou.

Authorized by the Circulating Collectible Coin Redesign Act of 2020, the U.S.Mint implemented the new four-year program after the law was signed into law last year. The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Congresswoman Barbara Lee along with Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH) and Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

Maya Angelou’s writing and activism inspired countless Americans and her legacy helped fuel greater fairness and understanding across our nation.

This coin will ensure generations of Americans learn about Maya Angelou’s books and poetry that spoke to the lived experience of Black women. Coin and currency document history, but to date, the contributions of many women have been disregarded. Circulating coins dedicated to celebrating American women and their contributions to American history is important and must be underscored.

The circulating quarters honoring Maya Angelou are manufactured at the mint facilities in Philadelphia and Denver. Coins featuring additional honorees will begin shipping later this year and through 2025.

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Activism

Rep. Barbara Lee, CBC Members, Raise Concerns Over Layoffs of Black Tech Workersi2s

In 2015, the CBC launched Tech 2020 to ensure that Black Americans would be better represented in the industry by 2020. However, Lee says those tech companies that pledged to be more inclusive are falling short of their promise.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Barbara Lee

By Post Staff

Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and several other Congressional Black Caucus members have written a letter to Julie Su, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, addressing the disproportionate layoffs of Black tech employees.

“We write to express our concerns with recent reports highlighting the impacts of widespread layoffs within the tech industry and its disproportionate impacts on the African American community and women,” the letter stated.

“Tech companies who previously agreed to address bias and discrimination and create greater opportunities in the workforce are now quietly defunding diversity pledges,” the letter continued.

In 2015, the CBC launched Tech 2020 to ensure that Black Americans would be better represented in the industry by 2020. However, Lee says those tech companies that pledged to be more inclusive are falling short of their promise.

Lee told the Grio, “We’ve been fighting for justice and for economic parity and security as part of the mission of the CBC,” she said, “and so when we established Tech 2020, it was about equity and inclusion.”

“Now with all the Supreme Court decisions and with all of the backsliding, especially by Republicans, it’s very important that we be very assertive in our fight for equity and justice within the private sector and public sector,” she said.

According to the letter, since the beginning of 2023, more than 240,000 tech workers have been laid off, more than 50% increase from 2022.

Lee found that minorities and women make up most of the tech layoffs that have occurred this year.

If you don’t have African Americans developing content,” Lee said, “then we’re going to have Black people, Brown people [and] women disproportionately impacted.”

“This country is supposed to be a representative democracy where you include people, and you don’t discriminate against them,” she added. “When you see the disproportionate numbers of people being laid off, then that is a red flag that it could be discrimination occurring against these workers and employees.”

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Activism

Congresswoman Lee Releases Statement on Vandalism of Lake Merritt Menorah

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Chabad of Oakland’s menorah at Lake Merritt on Dec. 10, before it was vandalized (right) and graffiti left where the menorah stood before it was pulled down. (Photos/Courtesy Chabad of Oakland)
Chabad of Oakland’s menorah at Lake Merritt on Dec. 10, before it was vandalized (right) and graffiti left where the menorah stood before it was pulled down. (Photos/Courtesy Chabad of Oakland)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the destruction of the large Menorah on display at Lake Merritt in Oakland:

“I’m deeply saddened and disheartened that the Lake Merritt Menorah was destroyed earlier this week. My heart and prayers go out to the Jewish community in Oakland, and I strongly condemn this vile act of antisemitism.”

“Oaklanders salvaged the menorah and gathered together (Wednesday evening) to celebrate its re-lighting, spreading love and support in the way only Oakland does. I’m proud of my constituents. We will not let hate win.”

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Activism

Rep. Barbara Lee Marks World AIDS Day with Critical Plea to Congressional Colleagues

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible progress we have made toward becoming an AIDS-free generation. In the past two decades we’ve saved 25 million lives, especially among the Black community globally, through transformative programs like PEPFAR,” said Lee in a statement.

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By California Black Media

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) marked Worlds AIDS Day on Dec. 1, with a critical call-to-action.

The Congressmember, who is running for U.S. Senate, urged her colleagues to pass legislation that will reauthorize the PEPFAR program, a U.S. government-supported global initiative that provides lifesaving HIV medications to people in the United States and around the world who can’t afford to buy them.

“World AIDS Day is an opportunity to celebrate the incredible progress we have made toward becoming an AIDS-free generation. In the past two decades we’ve saved 25 million lives, especially among the Black community globally, through transformative programs like PEPFAR,” said Lee in a statement.

In 2003, with bipartisan support — and after vocal and extensive advocacy by members of the Congressional Black Caucus — Congress passed the law approving the program. Former President George Bush, who famously championed the program, signed it into law.

On Nov. 30, Dr. Robyn Neblett Fanfair, acting division director in the Division of HIV Prevention at the National Center for HIV and the Centers for Disease Control, said the AIDS crisis is at a crossroads.

“Together with ongoing commitment, we can honor the hundreds of thousands of lives lost to HIV-related illness in the United States and millions worldwide by ensuring that everyone benefits equally from four decades of groundbreaking scientific advances,” Fanfair said in a letter.

The CDC estimates that 1.2 million people in America have HIV, and 1 in 8 carriers don’t know it.

Since its inception, the U.S. government has provided over $100 billion to support the PEPFAR program.

“For 20 years, PEPFAR has been one of our nation’s most profound and transformational investments globally. Five and a half million babies have been born HIV-free because of the critical work funded by the program,” Lee continued.

The PEPFAR program is credited with significantly lowering the AIDS death rates in Black communities across the United States, where there is still a disproportionate number of HIV cases and where incidents continue to increase. For example, in Los Angeles County, which includes California’s largest and most populous city, there was a 13% year-over-year increase in new HIV cases between the last two years, according to data compiled by the LA County Department of Health.

PEPFAR is also lauded for turning around the epidemic in Africa, where it was most severe when the initiative was established.

“On World AIDS Day, I call upon my colleagues in Congress to reignite the bipartisanship that has been linked to PEPFAR for so long and act swiftly to keep this lifesaving program alive,” said Lee.

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of World AIDS Day, the California State Capitol was illuminated in red light on the evening of Dec. 1.

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