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‘African American Churches Transforming Society’ holds SOS conference to “save our souls”

NASHVILLE PRIDE — Churches, pastors, ministers and those who speak for the evangelistic community are being called out to “do something” about the plight of the community.

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By Pride Newsdesk

Churches, pastors, ministers and those who speak for the evangelistic community are being called out to “do something” about the plight of the community, especially for young people. This is a calling that we hear from almost every community throughout the world, and especially the African American community. The media sometimes carries this direct call to the Black Church, as reported in newspapers, radio, and television, that the church is not doing enough.

“It was the 2014 dreadful shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri that moved me to take matters in-hand and to realize that I had to do something. “If not me, who? And if not now, when?” Rev. Jasper Williams, Jr., pastor emeritus of Salem Bible Church, asked himself. “Enough is enough.” Williams has heeded the call. With the founding of the African American Churches Transforming Society (AACTS) in 2014 by Rev. Williams, he continues to lead the way. “This is not a ‘me’ this is a ‘we’ and a ‘thee’” he said.

The African American Churches Transforming Society (AACTS) will hold their 2019 annual Conference at the Salem Bible Church, East Campus, located at 5460 Hillandale Drive, Lithonia, Ga. 30058; 404-792-5664. Conference activities begin on Wednesday, March 13, with registration at noon; Thursday, March 14, registration and breakfast at 8 am; and Friday, March 15, breakfast at 8 am.

As an organization of churches, the African American Churches Transforming Society is working together with its membership to develop and expand initiatives, services, processes, programs, and resources to help African American people thrive and prosper. AACTS is a team of dedicated individuals who are at the forefront of identifying and overcoming obstacles in the African American community. By seeking solutions to the problems plaguing our communities, AACTS’s will fulfill its mission to provide social, economic and spiritual progress toward re-establishing our position in society and advance the lives of many.

Many religious leaders in African American churches, political leaders, and community and education trailblazers have committed to participate on panels and to make presentations at the AACTS Conference. Morehouse School of Medicine has played an instrumental part in the conference planning.

“It was Rev. Jasper Williams who requested that I provide him with an analysis of the data he collected while researching what was causing the demise of the Black family and how can we fix this from a scientific prospective,” said Dr. Mary Langley (Ph.D., MPH, RN, ICPS), professor, Morehouse School of Medicine. “The analysis of data from interviews conducted by Rev Williams, with the heads of county governments, law enforcement agencies and school systems, as well as the mayors of two small cities in six of the major counties in the Metropolitan Atlanta, generated six strategic priorities linked to the greatest needs in the African American community. The top three priorities were centered on the home and school. Many of the problems impacting the African American community begin in the home, spread to the schools and end in negative life outcomes for a disproportionate number of African American youth and young adults. To initiate the process of addressing disparities in the African American community, according to the data, it must start in the home with better parenting and more parental involvement in the lives of their children.”

This innovative conference, often referred to as the ‘Generation Movement,’ is designed for pastors, ministers, and lay-leaders, in order to equip those who attend and participate to restore their community. This ‘Movement,’ is an initiative to reverse the downward trend in many African American communities.

Michael Thurmond, DeKalb County CEO, will appear on the AACTS Conference program as a speaker. Georgia state Rep. Hank Johnson, has endorsed the project. Many leaders in this state have endorsed Rev. Williams’ initiatives to identify and overcome obstacles in the African American community in Atlanta and Georgia.

The conference will offer two tracks: The Pastor’s Workshop, where pastors will discuss how the word of God can change hearts, strengthen families, and revitalize communities; and the Team Member’s Workshop, where participants will receive tools in building successful community collaborations that bring key stakeholders around the table to find solutions.

Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., the host of the conference, writes: “I’m calling all African American church and community leaders to join forces to help turn our communities around.”

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.

Community

Oakland Officer, Suspect Wounded in Shootout

A suspect was shot by an Oakland police officer early Wednesday and a police officer was also wounded before the suspect discarded his gun, barricaded himself inside a building and eventually surrendered, according to officials.

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Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong

A suspect was shot by an Oakland police officer early Wednesday and a police officer was also wounded before the suspect discarded his gun, barricaded himself inside a building and eventually surrendered, according to officials.

Police had received a report of a man armed and brandishing a firearm, who was determined to be on the 2200 block of Telegraph Avenue.

During a Wednesday morning news conference, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said that another officer returned fire after the male suspect opened fire on arriving officers.  

“The suspect immediately began to fire shots at the officer,” said Armstrong. “The officer was struck with that gunfire and through our investigation, we know now that our officer, (an) additional officer, did fire back – so we do have an officer-involved shooting that we’re also investigating, striking the suspect with non-life-threatening injuries.”

The suspect, who had a knife, barricaded himself inside the lobby of a multi-residential building. Patrol officers established a safety perimeter and advised residents to shelter in place.

OPD patrol officers, negotiators and the Mental Health Crisis Team established communication with the suspect, who was still armed with the knife and had begun stabbing and cutting himself.

Police said the suspect is 50 years old but did not identify him immediately. They also did not disclose what type of gun he had.

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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Commentary

First in a Series on Jobs in Oakland. City Government; Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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High Quality stock aerial photos of downtown Oakland with Lake Merritt in the foreground.

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.

The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.

Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”

Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.

And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.

And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.

As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.

Oakland, we can do  better than this.

We must.

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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Bay Area

Rosie the Riveter Trust to Celebrate History, ‘We Can Do It!’ Spirit

Tribute to storyteller and park ranger Betty Reid Soskin marking her 100th birthday

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Betty Reid Soskin/Wikimedia Commons

The Rosie the Riveter Trust is celebrating the history of the World War II home front at a September 26 gala, Making History Together. The fundraiser will highlight programs supported by the trust in collaboration with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park: Every Kid Outdoors, Rosie’s Service Corps, and a documentary about the park’s Rosie Ambassadors, currently in production.

“We have a gem of a national park located right here in Richmond, California, where visitors can come learn about the home front and hear stories told in first person. This includes women and men who worked in the Kaiser shipyards, as well as those who spent years in the internment camps during the war,” said Sarah Pritchard, executive director of Rosie the Riveter Trust. “The history of the home front and societal changes that transpired during World War II are important lessons to preserve and share.”

The gala will also include a special tribute to Betty Reid Soskin, who turns 100 in September. Soskin helped establish the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, later joining the National Park Service and becoming the oldest ranger in the national park system at 85. 

Soskin’s programs at the park’s visitor center have captivated audiences since the center opened in May 2012. During her presentations, she shares her own experiences as a young woman of color during a time when segregation and discrimination were common, adding dimension to the stories of the home front too often left out of the history books. “What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering,” says Soskin in her 2019 film, “No Time to Waste.”

The gala will be held at the historic Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South (next to the park’s visitor center on the Richmond waterfront). The Craneway, which boasts a fabulous view of San Francisco, is the former Ford Assembly Plant where some 49,000 tanks and jeeps were assembled during the home front era. 

While individual tickets to the in-person event sold out on August 1, tickets to view the live-streamed event are still available. The event begins at 5:00 p.m., followed by a tribute to Soskin, highlights of the trust’s programs, a live auction, a Zoom afterparty, and entertainment.

Major event sponsors include the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Kaiser Permanente, The Marguerite Fund, Chevron Richmond Refinery, Accenture, Bank of Labor, California State Pipe Trades Council, Microsoft Corp., The Honorable Barry Goode, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, IBEW Local 302, IBEW Local Union 595, and Marathon Petroleum. Event sponsorships are available beginning at $1,000.

Rosie the Riveter Trust is the official partner of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, founded in 2000 in Richmond, California. The Park chronicles the explosive growth of wartime industry, the innovations fostered by visionaries like Henry J. Kaiser, and the extraordinary history of people who were challenged as never before and came together to overcome wartime odds with the “We Can Do It!” spirit.

Event proceeds support expansion of educational programs for all ages and preservation of historical resources for the Bay Area and the nation.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the trust’s web site at www.rosietheriveter.org. For sponsorships, contact Executive Director Sarah Pritchard, at 510-507-2276, or by email at sarah@rosietheriveter.org.

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