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African American Bay Area Woman Launches Natural Hair Care Collection

After blending numerous concoctions and conducting focus groups with friends transitioning from straightening their hair, Truth landed on the perfect ingredients that resulted in healthy, moisturized, shiny curls and coils. Currently the collection consists of three core hair care products and a heat activated deep conditioning cap.

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I LUV CURLS PRODUCTS

In June, founder Joy Truth debuted her new hair care collection, “I Luv Curls.” The hair care system is designed to inspire women to embrace their curls and “luv” their natural hair.

In the midst of the pandemic and on the heels of the passing of the CROWN Act, (a California law that prevents race-based hair discrimination and is currently on the ballot in seven states), Joy Truth saw this as the perfect time to launch her new products targeting women of color who are transitioning back to their natural hair.

“Launching and innovating during a pandemic was divine order; it provided the time and focus that I needed. When everything shut down, the frolicking stopped, and I transferred that energy to my heart’s joy: ‘I Luv Curls.’” Joy Truth said. “I made a commitment to move forward despite what was going on around me.”

After blending numerous concoctions and conducting focus groups with friends transitioning from straightening their hair, Truth landed on the perfect ingredients that resulted in healthy, moisturized, shiny curls and coils. Currently the collection consists of three core hair care products and a heat activated deep conditioning cap.

The “add + clarity” clarifying cleanser is a gentle, botanical, clarifying, sulfate-free deep cleanser containing peppermint oil and rosemary oil. The “Add+ Moisture” ™ hydrating masque is a botanical, nutrient-rich, luxurious, deep treatment with moisture-locking humectants. The “Add + Strength” ™ is a luxurious, botanical, protein-rich ayurvedic deep strengthening treatment. And finally, the “Add + Heat” microwavable deep conditioning heat cap enhances the masque treatments by slowly diffusing heat to infuse moisture and/or strength deep within your hair follicles.

Joy Truth has plans for further product development of the collection with styling products and other hair treatments focused on curly hair health.

This is not the first launch for this entrepreneur; A creative and visionary entrepreneurial leader whose passion for beauty and wellness led her to leave corporate America and launch twin companies, Harmony Beauty Boutique and Harmony Yoga Pilates – a unique brand of personal care products and wellness services.

Born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Joy Truth holds a BS in Information Systems Management from the University of San Francisco, serves as the vice-chair of the Advisory Board of her alma mater, is a Christian ministry leader and contributes to social impact causes that benefit women of color.

She resides in Berkeley, with her husband Neil, stepson Jordan and their dog (Malshi) Zoe.

#NNPA BlackPress

U.S. Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

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Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr./ NNPA Newswire

Even as the pandemic has laid bare societal inequities that have long eroded the foundation of our democracy, political leaders in Washington and in state capitols are mired in a level of rancor and partisanship not seen since the ideological struggles over the Vietnam War. 

This toxic atmosphere has left them incapable of addressing pressing, yet ingrained issues like the racial wealth gap, the digital divide, and vast inequalities in everything from health care to home ownership.

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities – particularly communities of color throughout the South – are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic.

From impediments to wealth creation opportunities and a dearth of education and workforce development to a lack of access to reliable broadband, substandard housing, and inadequate political representation, communities of color have suffered an outsized toll during the ongoing public health crisis.

Yet political leaders can’t even agree on basic facts that would allow the nation to implement a coherent national strategy for combatting a pandemic that appears to be entering a new wave amid the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant that is currently ravaging parts of the South.

Against that disillusioning backdrop, there is at least some reason for hope. Moving to fill the vacuum created by the inaction of our political class, a group of business leaders in the technology and investment sectors have embarked on a far-reaching – and perhaps unprecedented – campaign to address the social inequities and systemic racism that has historically plagued our country’s southern communities.

Known as the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI), the campaign was founded by financial technology company PayPal, the investment firm Vista Equity Partners (Vista), and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

SCI was formed to work with local elected officials and advocacy groups to tackle the ubiquitous problems of structural racism and inequalities facing communities of color in six communities throughout the South. SCI notes that these areas – Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Charlotte, N.C., Houston, Texas, Memphis, Tenn., and New Orleans, La., – were chosen in part because they are home to around 50% of the country’s Black population and are where some of the greatest disparities exist.

SCI is aiming to drive long-term change, as outlined by PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith and BCG CEO Rich Lesser. 

In Atlanta, for example, SCI is working to bridge the wealth gap that exists among the region’s African-American residents. While there is a strong Black business community in the city, and high levels of Black educational achievement thanks to the regional presence of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and the voice of the Black press, there is still an extremely low level of Black entrepreneurship and business ownership with only 6% of employer firms being Black-owned.

To remedy this disparity, SCI is working with the Southern Economic Advancement Project to create entrepreneurship hubs and accelerator programs to increase the number of minority-owned businesses. The corporations behind SCI are also using their networks to help other companies work with minority-owned supply companies.

In Alabama, SCI is seeking to bridge the massive digital divide in an urban area where 450,000 households are without connection to the internet. In order to tackle the crisis, SCI is leveraging relationships with local schools and libraries to distribute laptops and service vouchers. Another tact SCI is taking is to partner with the owners of multi-unit buildings in low-income neighborhoods to install free public Wi-Fi for residents.

The lack of access to capital is another reason Black communities throughout the South have been traditionally underbanked. In Memphis, where 47% of Black households are underbanked, SCI is partnering with Grameen America to cover the $2 million per year per branch start-up cost to build brick-and-mortar banks in minority communities.

This alone will provide 20,000 women access to more than $250 million per year in financing.

Beyond these initiatives, SCI is partnering with groups like the Greater Houston Partnership and the Urban League of Louisiana to provide in-kind support to improve job outcomes for minority college students, expand access to home financing through partnerships with community development financial institutions, and harness the power of technology to expand health care access in underserved urban and rural neighborhoods.

The issues facing these communities throughout the South are not new nor will they be fixed overnight.

Fortunately, SCI is taking a long-term approach that is focused on getting to the root of structural racism in the United States and creating a more just and equitable country for every American.

A once-in-a-century pandemic and a social justice movement not seen since the 1960s were not enough to break the malaise and rancorous partisanship in Washington. Fortunately, corporate leaders are stepping up and partnering with local advocates and non-profit groups to fix the problem of systemic injustice in the U.S.

We, therefore, salute and welcome the transformative commitments of the Southern Communities Initiative (SCI). There is no time to delay, because as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. so accurately said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

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New, Black-Owned Food Truck Rolls Out

Oakland A’s Support Launch of West Oakland-Based Business

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Soul on a Roll Food Truck chefs (l-r):Sarah Germany, Keshia Evans, Howard Harrison, GaQuayla LeGrone

On Friday, September 17, hundreds showed up for the nonprofit, West-Oakland-based organization Oakland & the World Enterprises (OAW) as they launched its Soul on a Roll food truck business, operated and soon to be cooperatively owned by chefs Sarah Germany, Keshia Evans, Howard Harrison and GaQuayla LeGrone. The latter three are formerly incarcerated.

This is another step in the Mission of OAW, to launch and sustain for-profit businesses for ownership by formerly incarcerated and other socioeconomically marginalized people.  The Oakland A’s made a significant contribution to the start-up of the food truck in their efforts to support economic development in West Oakland.

The event was held at OAW’s base at 7th and Campbell Streets. Along with free food from Soul on a Roll, entertainment was provided by the West Coast Blues Society, with founder Ronnie Stewart and performances by blues legends featured on the historic Seventh Street Walk of Fame, including Terrible Tom, Lee Ashford and Minor Williams. The Seventh Street Walk of Fame runs along the front of OAW’s base.

Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval was presented with a commendation from both OAW and the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC).  Accepting for Dave was Stephanie Gaywood of the Oakland A’s.

OAACC President and CEO Cathy Adams presented the  Oakland African American Chamber’s award at the press conference and community event.  Adams said, “Dave has made it clear that the Oakland A’s commitment to the community is steadfast.”  And, Elaine Brown, CEO of OAW said, “OAW is grateful to the A’s for providing real support to a business venture based in the community. We intend for Soul on a Roll to be a model for a thousand businesses to bloom.”

Certificates of recognition to OAW’s four chefs were provided by the offices of Mayor Libby Schaff, Supervisor Keith Carson, State Senator Nancy Skinner, and U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office, represented by Tatyana Kalinga.

Another OAW business, its first, West Oakland Farms, also operated by formerly incarcerated people and in business since 2016, presently sits on the site at 7th and Campbell.  In late November 2021, OAW will break ground on its 100% affordable housing complex there, which is co-owned by OAW and its development partner McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS).

MBS Senior VP Adhi Nagraj will be on hand for questions.  West Oakland Farms will be temporarily dismantled and reincorporated into the new housing complex. For more information, please log on to the website www.oaklandandtheworld.org

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda 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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Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee Celebrates Local Entrepreneurs, Vows to Continue Fighting for Recovery during National Small Business Week

In addition, Congresswoman Lee is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3807, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, which will provide an additional $60 billion to support restaurants and other food and beverage businesses.

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small business open sign photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement on September 23 celebrating East Bay entrepreneurs during National Small Business Week, and vowing to continue fighting for resources to help local businesses to recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis.

“During this year’s Small Business Week, we celebrate the local business owners, entrepreneurs, and workers who drive our economy and give the East Bay so much of its diverse, resilient, and unique character,” Lee said. “Our small businesses have struggled to survive during the pandemic, and many have closed their doors permanently. Our work to get help for small businesses through the American Rescue Plan and other measures resulted in major investment in this community and allowed many businesses to weather the storm. But the pandemic is not over yet, and we still have more work to do in this recovery.”

East Bay small businesses have received significant help from funds authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the $1.7 trillion recovery bill passed by Congressional Democrats and signed by President Biden in March. The bill included a Restaurant Revitalization Fund and Shuttered Venue Operating Grants administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA).

A total of 668 East Bay restaurants, other food and beverage businesses, and venues received close to $300 million through these two programs. A city-by-city breakdown showing the number of businesses helped and the amounts of money awarded is below. More information about the individual businesses that received assistance can be found here.

Lee and House Democrats are now working to pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act, which includes a “generational” investment in American small businesses. The bill will help small businesses get through the ongoing pandemic and thrive by increasing access to capital, funding entrepreneurial development programs, supporting underserved businesses, and driving innovation.

In addition, Congresswoman Lee is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3807, the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, which will provide an additional $60 billion to support restaurants and other food and beverage businesses.

For more information about help available to small businesses, please see this comprehensive guide to SBA resources.

Recovery Funds Awarded to Small Businesses in California’s 13th Congressional District

Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Total Awardees: 590

Total Amount: $212,676,228.49

By City:

  • Oakland

Total awardees: 297

Total amount: $99,965,410.64

  • San Leandro

Total awardees: 44

Total amount: $12,909,939.13

  • Berkeley

Total awardees: 146

Total amount: $63,817,616.60

  • Alameda

Total awardees: 61

Total amount: $20,031,428.71

  • Albany

Total awardees: 12

Total amount: $2,686,934.95

  • Emeryville

Total awardees: 29

Total amount: $13,163,744.46

  • Piedmont

Total awardees: 1

Total amount: $101,154

Shuttered Venues Operating Grants (As of September 13, 2021)

Total Awardees: 78

Total Amount: $87,142,607

By City:

  • Oakland

Total awardees: 36

Total amount: $19,917,509

  • San Leandro

Total awardees: 3

Total amount: $234,970

  • Berkeley

Total awardees: 29

Total amount: $59,197,077

  • Alameda

Total awardees: 7

Total amount: $5,098,536

  • Albany

Total awardees: 1

Total amount: $311,674

  • Emeryville

Total awardees: 2

Total amount: $2,382,841

  • Piedmont: None

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda 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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