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Alleging Anti-Black Comments and Actions, Black Woman Resigns From Business Group for Women

 In her resignation letter, Carter recounted incidents during her onboarding and work as president-elect when NAWBO showed reluctance to support Black women business owners.

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Facebook post from the NAWBO virtual conference.

A California-based member of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) resigned last month, accusing the group’s leadership of racist actions and statements.

 She was an elected official of the organization, based in Wash., D.C., that advocates on behalf of more than 10 million women-owned businesses around the United States.

 Charlotta Carter, president-CEO of GRI Technology Solutions and president-elect of the NAWBO-San Francisco Chapter, resigned her position in a letter to the NAWBO membership last month.

Carter’s resignation was soon followed by that of another Black woman, Vikita Poindexter, stepping down from a NAWBO leadership role. Poindexter is CEO of Poindexter Consulting Group and president of NAWBO-California.

 In her resignation letter, Carter recounted incidents during her onboarding and work as president-elect when NAWBO showed reluctance to support Black women business owners.

 Carter wrote, “I’m humbled to be asked to join, but find that there is a true disconnect with the overall NAWBO set of mission and goals and what I believe and need as a Black business owner to be part of the organization. NAWBO’s strategy and vision IMHO (in my honest opinion) does not value diversity and cannot see the uniqueness of Black-owned businesses — challenges that are far beyond other demographics.”

The women’s resignations — and Carter’s condemning allegations — come nearly a year after the George Floyd protests last summer, a time when corporations and non-profits took symbolic and substantive steps to promote diversity, promote racial equity and support Black individuals and institutions.

 Carter shared details of a racist incident she said happened April 30.

 “In bringing that draft legislation to NAWBO National and the incoming president, she was very offended that we included language in that draft bill to help address African American women-owned small businesses earning $50,000 or less. She was very offended, and said, ‘If we’re going to just focus on African American women, we can’t support this. Besides members of NAWBO, we’re tired of focusing on African American women’s issues. So, needless to say, the meeting went downhill from there,” Carter told California Black Media (CBM).

 Carter also alleged that, at an onboarding meeting, she spoke with another Black woman who was president of a different NAWBO chapter, who said she was “afraid” to reach out to the NAWBO national board for a statement about George Floyd’s death.

 Carter said, “My take to that is why — in an organization that’s supposed to be supportive of you and your community and your issues — would you be afraid to call the headquarters and ask them to make a statement on something so critical in our history? Why would you be afraid? You’re gonna get blackballed or something? And if that’s the case, why would you want to be a part of an organization like that?”

 In an email to NAWBO members obtained by CBM, NAWBO National leadership said that they were taking Carter’s allegations seriously, and that they had convened a special task force to investigate her claims. The letter reads, “As a national organization with local footprints, we must in principle and in practice, be inclusive, diverse, respectful and equitable to all members.”

 Carter also told CBM that she is still confident in her decision to leave the organization, and that she was skeptical of the organization’s future regarding their diversity and inclusion initiatives.

 “The incoming president Susan Dawson’s first statement that ‘members of NAWBO are tired of supporting African American women’s issues,’ was her truth. And anything that came after that was total BS. So, any apology would ring hollow to me because she really wouldn’t have meant it So, I’m happy if they do something about it and they do some soul searching and realize that they’re more of a racist organization than they think they are, that would be great. And if they don’t do anything then I know I made the right decision by distancing myself from them,” Carter said.

 NAWBO ’s leadership said in a statement to CBM that they have appointed a special task force to investigate the accusations, and that they cannot publicly comment on the matter until the investigation, which is currently underway, is complete. They also said that four BIPOC women currently serve on NAWBO’s national board.

 “In principle and in practice, NAWBO values and seeks a diverse and inclusive membership. We seek full participation in the organization by all business owners who support our mission to empower women entrepreneurs, regardless of race, religion, age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability. Our goal is to effectively represent the full diversity of the women business owner community and to expand access to leadership opportunities across the full spectrum of our membership,” the statement reads.

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Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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ICAC Invites Community to Benefit from Safe Car Park Program

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland. The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

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Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."
Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."

by Post Staff

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland.

The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

Rev. Chambers said additional support for the program will also come from Bishop Bob Jackson, Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church and Pastor Phyllis Scott, head of the Oakland Police Chaplaincy Program.

Chambers said, “ICAC’s goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe.”

David Longhurst, a member of Oakland Temple LDS Church and an ICAC board member, said

“We can make the city of Oakland safer, one block at a time, by connecting our community and neighbors.”

Chambers said ICAC has a $450,000 grant commitment from the City of Oakland and a $2.5M grant request has been presented to Nate Miley, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley to cover and expand ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program located at West Side Missionary Baptist Church to additional locations including Center Street Baptist Church, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Acts Full Gospel Church, and other congregations.

Dr. Ken Chambers said he and ICAC are assisting congregations on how to receive a one-time $5,000 grant. “ICAC has plans for several tiny homes with kitchens, living space and bathrooms that we hope will become available this fall in partnership with the State, County and City of Oakland.”

Chambers is appealing to the public to help with transitioning the unhoused populations into tiny homes or affordable housing. “If you or anyone you know is living out of a car and needs a safe place to park overnight, visit interfaithAC.org, call 510-239-6681, or stop by the ICAC hub at 732 Willow Street, Oakland, CA 94607 between the hours of 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.”

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Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

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Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

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