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Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee, 4 More Black Congresswomen

Lee and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Gwen Moore (WI-04 simultaneously released a letter sent to Vice President Kamala Harris urging her to use her platform as the first Black woman to hold that office to help ensure the bill reaches the President’s desk this Congress. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker also announced reintroduction of the CROWN Act in the Senate. 

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Rep. Barbara Lee

 Congressmembers Barbara Lee led four other Black congresswomen in announcing on Monday the reintroduction of The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN Act) in the House of Representatives

Lee and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) and Gwen Moore (WI-04 simultaneously released a letter sent to Vice President Kamala Harris urging her to use her platform as the first Black woman to hold that office to help ensure the bill reaches the President’s desk this Congress. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker also announced reintroduction of the CROWN Act in the Senate. 

“As a woman of color, we know that you understand personally the ways in which bias – overt discrimination and its equally harmful unintentional and systemic counterparts – shapes so much of the world,” the letter to Vice President Harris from the five bill co-leads reads. “We know that you are deeply committed to ending these biases and using your office to ensure equitable access and opportunity for everyone. We ask that, among your priorities, you advocate for the passage of the CROWN Act.”

The CROWN Act, which has become law in a number of states and cities nationwide and passed in the House of Representatives in 2019, would help bring an end to race-based hair discrimination and remove a massive and entirely illogical educational and employment barrier facing African Americans. 

    In the school setting, Black students are disciplined at a rate four times higher than any other racial or ethnic group, and research has found that 70% of all suspension disciplines are discretionary, many stemming from dress code violations, including “unapproved” hairstyles. Meanwhile, in the workplace, bias against ethnic and natural hairstyles contributes to reduced opportunities for job advancement, particularly for women. 

These concerns and others drew support from the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls, which today released a letter to House and Senate leadership urging quick work in both chambers to get the bill to President Biden.

The CROWN Act would:

  • Provide research, statistics, and precedent to support a sense of Congress that there is a need to define and prohibit hair discrimination in the workplace, schools, and housing to enforce the protection of civil rights.
  • Prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s style or texture of hair by including an individual’s style of hair that is tightly coiled or tightly-curled, locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, Afros and any other style of hair commonly associated with a race or national origin in the definition of racial discrimination.
  • Provide clear definitions that describe the enforcement mechanisms of the bill.

Sean Ryan works in Rep. Barbara Lee’s communications department.

Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Lee Comments on Bipartisan Senate Framework for Gun Reform Legislation

“The bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation is a crucial first step. This legislation will make critical investments in mental health resources, school safety, and increased vetting for weapons purchases. But while this is a start, much more must be done to address the gun violence epidemic,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

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Rep. Barbara Lee. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Congress.
Barbara Lee.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee released a statement on the bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation that was announced on June 12:

“The bipartisan Senate framework on gun reform legislation is a crucial first step. This legislation will make critical investments in mental health resources, school safety, and increased vetting for weapons purchases. But while this is a start, much more must be done to address the gun violence epidemic.

“I’ve recently met with gun violence prevention groups in my district who are doing the work on the ground in our community to end the cycle of violence and trauma. Their message to me was clear: they want Congress to take bold action.

“Our next steps should include banning assault weapons, taking ghost guns off the streets, incentivizing more comprehensive background checks, promoting gun buy backs and much more. Gun violence is a uniquely American problem. We cannot stop until our schools, grocery stores, churches, hospitals, and all of our communities are safe.”

Congresswoman Lee is the highestranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Black Women Win State Primaries, Secure Spots on November Ballot

“The June 7 primary election was another demonstration of the consistency of Black Women in the political process,” said Kellie Todd, founding convener of the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), an organization of Black women leaders and advocates working in politics, business, entertainment, health care and other professions across the state.

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Antonio Ray Harvey, California Black Media, Black women, political office, every level, state of California, June 7 primary election, won the minds and the hearts, diverse groups of Californians, November general election ballot, political organizers, Black women, fully engaged in California’s political process, succeed against stiff competition, demonstration of the consistency of Black Women, political process, Kellie Todd, Black Women’s Collective (BWC), organization of Black women leaders, advocates, politics, business, entertainment, health care, cast our votes, on the ballot at every level, diverse communities, Black Californians, 26.9% of all candidates, June 7 primary ballots, U.S. House seats, 2.6 million African Americans, state population of 39.5 million, Bay Area, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13), comfortable lead, reelection bid, Republican challenger Stephen Slauson, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, declared victory, county’s chief law enforcement officer, Mary Knox, District Attorney, first woman, first African American, County’s 167-year history, only African American district attorney in California, make all Californians safer, decimated entire communities, separated families, relegated generations of Black and Brown communities as second-class citizens, reduce racial disparities, real safety, mail-in ballots, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37), better-funded, billionaire opponent, Rick Caruso, Los Angeles mayor’s race, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, ballots postmarked by Election Day, statewide races, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber, Republican Rob Bernosky, Malia Cohen, State Board of Equalization, State Controller, Lanhee Chen, only Republican, California Controller Betty Yee, 37th Congressional District seat, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry, State Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Secretary of State’s office, Republican Ronda Kennedy, 30th Congressional District (Burbank), Democrat G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo, Adam Schiff (D-San Diego), 43rd Congressional District, incumbent Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Republican Omar Navarro, Black Republican Tamika Hamilton, incumbent Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove), District 6 congressional seat, Sacramento, Yolo counties, special election for the 11th District Assembly seat, Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City), Jenny Lailani Callison, large financial backing, special interests, State Assembly races, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego), 79th District, Assembly District in Oakland, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, State Senate race for the 28th District, Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D), Cheryl C. Turner (D)
Black women running for political office on every level across the state of California.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

Black women running for political office on every level across the state of California showed up strong during the state’s June 7 primary election. They won the minds and the hearts of diverse groups of Californians and drew the numbers they needed to secure spots on the November general election ballot.

The results, some political organizers say, signal that Black women are fully engaged in California’s political process, and they are primed to succeed against stiff competition ahead.

“The June 7 primary election was another demonstration of the consistency of Black Women in the political process,” said Kellie Todd, founding convener of the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), an organization of Black women leaders and advocates working in politics, business, entertainment, health care and other professions across the state.

“And this time we didn’t just show up to cast our votes, we were on the ballot at every level, in diverse communities throughout that state,” Griffin pointed out.

Black Californians represented 26.9% of all candidates on the June 7 primary ballots running for U.S. House seats, a significant showing in a state where there are 2.6 million African Americans out of a total state population of 39.5 million.

In the Bay Area, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has secured a comfortable lead in her reelection bid. She is ahead with 73,038 votes (86.3%) to Republican challenger Stephen Slauson’s 5,272 (6.2%). Lee and Slauson are likely to move on to the general election.

In another state race involving a Black woman, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton declared victory in the race for the county’s chief law enforcement officer.

Becton is currently winning her reelection campaign with a substantial lead of 56.2% (93, 909 votes) to her challenger Mary Knox’s 43.7% (73,100 votes). Knox is a prosecutor who works in her office.

Becton took office as District Attorney in 2017, the first woman and first African American to hold the position in the County’s 167-year history. Becton is currently the only African American district attorney in California.

Becton thanked Knox for her years of service and emphasized the need to keep fighting for smart reforms that make all Californians safer.

“The status quo has decimated entire communities, separated families, and relegated generations of Black and Brown communities as second-class citizens,” Becton said in a June 8 statement. “That is why we will continue working to reduce racial disparities in our systems. We also must continue to hold anyone who harms our communities accountable – even if they are in elected office or wear a badge – because that is what real safety demands.”

After 168,338 mail-in ballots were counted after June 7, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) closed the gap against her better-funded, billionaire opponent Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to results released June 10 by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Caruso leads with 155,929 votes (40.5%) to Bass’s 149,104 (38.8%), according to the Clerk’s office. More than 500,000 votes remain uncounted, and ballots postmarked by Election Day will be accepted through June 14.

In statewide races, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has 2,631,686 votes (59.2%) so far. She will face Republican Rob Bernosky in the general election in November. As of June 12, Bernosky is currently in a distant second place behind Weber with 848,373 votes (19.1%).

Malia Cohen, a current member of the State Board of Equalization, has won 21.3% of votes (973,549) in the race for State Controller, enough to land her in second place and secure a place on the ballot in November.

Cohen will face Lanhee Chen, the only Republican in a six-person race to replace California Controller Betty Yee. Chen leads the race in the primary election with 38.8% of counted votes (1,534,620).

For the 37th Congressional District seat, currently held by Bass, former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry came in second place with 10,520 votes (18.6%). State Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) led the field of seven candidates with 24,354 (43.0%), according to election results released by the Secretary of State’s office on June 11.

Republican Ronda Kennedy, a civil rights attorney running to represent the 30th Congressional District (Burbank), is currently in third place (9,290) behind Democrat G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo (10,153). Either Kennedy or Pudlo will face leader Adam Schiff (D-San Diego) in November, Schiff has a commanding lead with 60,658 votes, according to the SOS office.

In the race to represent the 43rd Congressional District, longtime incumbent Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) leads Republican Omar Navarro by a wide margin of 33,801 votes to 5,949.

Black Republican Tamika Hamilton could face incumbent Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for the District 6 congressional seat in Sacramento and Yolo counties.

Two months after winning the special election for the 11th District Assembly seat, Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) came out ahead in the primary with 64.9% (48,657 votes). She leads Independent challenger Jenny Lailani Callison, who has 35.1% of votes counted so far (26,349).

“We proved that Black women candidates can be competitive and can also win even without large financial backing from special interests,” Todd said. “This is just the beginning as we continue to build our political power and ensure we have a strong cohort of elected officials ready to serve.”

In State Assembly races, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) is positioned to retain her seat representing the 79th District with 63.9% (30,005 votes). In the 18th Assembly District in Oakland, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, the only candidate on the ballot, won 100 % of the vote (36,226).

In the State Senate race for the 28th District, two Black women are leading in the primary to succeed Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles).  With 40.9% of the vote (33,687 votes), Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is ahead of Cheryl C. Turner (D), who is in second place with 31.0% (25,508 Votes).

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Barbara Lee

IN MEMORIAM: Dr. Ruth Love, 90

Love’s interest in becoming a teacher began at an early age. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andrew A. Williams, who was a runaway slave at age twelve, and a teacher who founded the first school for African Americans in Lawton, Oklahoma. 

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Dr. Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland.
Dr. Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland.

By Dr. Martha C. Taylor

Ruth Burnet Love was born, on April 22, 1932, in Lawton, Okla., and passed away on June 2, 2022, in Oakland. As I reflect on the life and legacy of Dr. Ruth Love, her achievements, aptitude, and character, she cast a wide shadow that not only touched the lives of young people, she helped to shape them into achievers of excellency.

Dr. Love, the widely admired educator, lived a long life filled with quality for self and others. Love says life is a gift. “We all have an awesome responsibility not to waste time.”

She gave the highest and best we can give to life; the gift of self.

Dr. Love was the second of five children born to Alvin E. and Burnett C. Love, who migrated to Bakersfield, California during the 1940s. Love graduated from Bakersfield High School in 1950.

Love attended San Jose State University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in education in1954.In 1959 she received her Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from San Francisco State University. In 1970, Love received her Ph.D. in Human Behavior and Psychology from the United States International University, San Diego.

Love’s interest in becoming a teacher began at an early age. She wanted to follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, Andrew A. Williams, who was a runaway slave at age twelve, and a teacher who founded the first school for African Americans in Lawton, Oklahoma.

In 1960 Dr. Love began her career in education as an adult education teacher with the Oakland Unified School District. Love became an exchange teacher sent to England in 1961. She also was a professor of education at San Francisco State University. Love was a counselor and consultant for a Ford Foundation project. She became a Fulbright Exchange Educator; participating in educational experiences in Ghana and England.

Dr. Love was a fierce advocate for underprivileged children during her career with Oakland Unified Schools District. She was appointed to several different positions as a consultant to the Bureau of Pupil Personnel Services and as Director of the Bureau of Compensatory Education from 1963 to 1965.

Love also served on the United States President’s Mental Health Commission and Board of Directors for the National Urban League from December 1962 until 1970. In August 1971, Love was chosen as Director of The Right to Read program with the U.S. Office of Health and Education in Washington, D.C. Following the assassination of Dr. Marcus Foster, the first African American Superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District, Dr. Love was appointed Superintendent from November 1975 until February 1981. Two of Love’s programs “Scholars and Artists” and “Face the Students” brought renowned achievers such as Alex Haley, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, as well as Coretta Scott King to motivate and inform students.

Dr. Allie Whitehurst, an academic scholar worked with Dr. Love. She said Dr. Love provided the resources for teachers to continue their professional development to improve their teaching skills.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee honored Dr. Love, on April 23, 2015, in the House of Representatives. Lee saluted Dr. Love for a lifetime of service, “I will always remember the love, kindness, and caregiving Dr. Love provided her mother in spite of her busy schedule. She was an inspiration to me as I had the honor to care for my late mother in her golden years.”

Dr. Love continued her journey in higher academics and was appointed the first African American to serve as Superintendent for the Chicago Public Schools District from March 1981 until March 1985. In 1984 Dr. Love received an honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Atlanta University.

Love created and implemented the “Chicago Mastery Learning Program” during the 1981–82 school year. The program made it mandatory that all elementary school students’ reading and math courses be taught in more than one area, with students given an unlimited time to learn one area of the subject, and achieving eighty-five percent to be promoted to the next grade. Her proudest accomplishment was when the students reached the national norms on standardized tests.

In 1983, Love received the Horatio Alger Award and a Candace Award for Education from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. She was named as one of 100 of the best school managers in North America by Educator Magazine in 1984.

The memory of the just is blessed…their works do follow them. Dr. Love left a memory that cannot be erased.

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