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Black Women in Politics Kick off Oakland East Bay Democratic Club’s Black History Month Event

Congresswoman Barbara Lee kicked off the Club’s celebration by sharing her memories and reflections about Hon. Shirley Chisholm who died in January of 2005. Since Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress, there have only been 20 Black women elected to Congress in the history of this country. According to Lee, Chisholm had deep ties to the Bay Area and had also attended Lee’s victory party when she won her election in 1996.

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U.S. Representative Barbara Lee. Facebook photo.
U.S. Representative Barbara Lee. Facebook photo.

By Post Staff

On Feb. 5, 2022, the Oakland East Bay Democratic Club kicked off Black History Month with presentations by a trio of Black women.

The meeting started with greetings from Congresswoman Barbara Lee, followed by Assemblywoman Mia Bonta and ended with a report from civil rights attorney Pamela Price on the upcoming Alameda County District Attorney election.

Lee kicked off the Club’s celebration by sharing her memories and reflections about Hon. Shirley Chisholm who died in January of 2005.

Since Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress, there have only been 20 Black women elected to Congress in the history of this country. According to Lee, Chisholm had deep ties to the Bay Area and had also attended Lee’s victory party when she won her election in 1996.

Lee also shared information about a video project she has been working on to celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. Ralph Bunche who was the first Black person to earn a PhD in political science from an American university in 1934. He became an internationally recognized diplomat who served at the United Nations for decades, successfully handling difficult diplomatic assignments around the world. Bunche was the first Black person or person of African descent to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950.

A committed sponsor of House Resolution 40 (H.R.40), Lee talked about the bill to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the effects of slavery and subsequent racial and economic discrimination against African‑Americans, the impact of these forces on living African‑Americans and make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies.

District 19 State Assemblywoman Mia Bonta. Facebook photo.

District 19 State Assemblywoman Mia Bonta. Facebook photo.

California Assemblywoman Mia Bonta followed Lee with a report on the crisis facing the Oakland Unified School District and her efforts to help resolve it. She shared her efforts to pass legislation for re-entry services to help reduce the numbers of people returning to prison. She is also working on legislation to change the California Penal Code to allow public access to police records in civilian review boards.

Alameda County D.A. candidate Pamela Price. Facebook photo.

Alameda County D.A. candidate Pamela Price. Facebook photo.

Civil rights attorney Pamela Price updated the Club on the Alameda County District Attorney election coming up in June 2022. Price noted that the Alameda County Santa Rita Jail is the fifth-largest county jail in the United States, and that a Black person here is 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person. She shared the racial statistics and the explosive increase in the number of Black women incarcerated in California. She also shared statistical data from the Alameda County D.A.’s 2019-2020 budget report.

Price shared the colorful history of civil rights attorney Bob Treuhaft, who ran for District Attorney against J. Francis Coakley in 1966. That race for was the last time prior to Price’s run in 2018 that voters had more than one choice for D.A. In Price’ recounting, she described the close relationships Treuhaft had with the late Supervisor John George and Dr. Maya Angelou.

In fact, his law partner, Doris Brin Walker, worked on the defense team to free Angela Davis in 1972.

As a candidate for D.A. in the June 7 primary, Price also shared some of her proposed solutions to address the racial, gender and economic disparities in the Alameda County criminal justice system, the corruption in the D.A.’s office, and her vision to increase accountability and public safety.

The Oakland East Bay Democratic Club (OEBDC) was founded in the 1940s to establish Black political self‑determination by organizing grassroots coalitions of African Americans.

Today’s Club leaders remain committed to the original vision while maintaining a vibrant multi‑cultural identity and advocating for political engagement of every resident of East Oakland. The Club is one of several legacy clubs chartered by the Alameda County Democratic Party.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Inquiring About Barriers to Capital for Minority Cannabis Businesses 

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

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Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)
Rep. Barbara Lee and Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer. (Congress.gov photos)

By Sean Ryan

Representatives Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) sent a letter on Wednesday to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) requesting recent data on the financial services offered to minority cannabis businesses in an effort to better understand the barriers faced by minority cannabis businesses owners.

Minority cannabis entrepreneurs often cite a lack of access to capital and financial services as a major barrier to entering the legal cannabis industry. A 2021 Brookings Institution report revealed that Black-owned businesses faced more disparities in access to banking services and deposits, mortgage credit, and small business loans than their white counterparts.

These alarming findings were further substantiated by a 2021 Federal Reserve report that found that Black and Latino-owned businesses were less than half as likely as their white counterparts to be fully approved for loan applications.

“As momentum for marijuana decriminalization continues, FinCEN data could help shed light on the state of minority-owned and small cannabis businesses (which constitute businesses with revenues under $40 million) seeking financial services,” the lawmakers wrote. “Existing disparities in access to capital and financial services for individuals and businesses increase financial barriers and exacerbate the racial wealth gap, further harming those most harmed by the failed War on Drugs.

They continued, “Given the increasing momentum of cannabis legalization and much-needed clarity from the federal government, Congress must devise a federal solution to equitably end the cannabis prohibition and encourage industry growth.

As we work to invest in the communities disproportionately harmed in the failed War on Drugs, FinCEN data on access to financial services could help promote equitable access to financial services for small and minority-owned cannabis businesses.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with FinCEN to ensure Congress is equipped with the critical data needed to effectively address equity concerns when crafting solutions to end the federal cannabis prohibition.”

Representatives Lee and Blumenauer serve as the Democratic co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Sean Ryan is the communications director in the media relations office of Rep. Barbara Lee.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Releases Statement on Nancy Pelosi’s Retirement from House Leadership

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

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Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr
Congresswomen Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Lee pay tribute to the life, legacy, and leadership of Shirley Chisholm – the first African American women elected to Congress - at the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s Shirley Chisholm Forever stamp and discussed the House Democrats’ women’s economic agenda: “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds” at Mills College in Oakland. / Nancy Pelosi/Flickr

As the U.S. House of Representatives prepares to shift to Republican leadership in the next session of Congress, longtime Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, announced on Thursday that she would step down from the leadership although she would continue to serve.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), Speaker Pelosi’s longtime friend and colleague, released the following statement on Thursday after learning of Pelosi’s decision to retire from House leadership:

“As the first woman Speaker to lead Congress, Speaker Pelosi’s career was one of transformational leadership. From passing the Affordable Care Act and presiding over some of the most consequential legislation in modern history to leading the charge to protect our democracy after January 6th, Nancy Pelosi is truly the greatest speaker to ever serve.

“I consider Speaker Pelosi a dear friend, a congressional neighbor, and a fierce leader. I congratulate her on an incredible career in House leadership and look forward to continuing to serve the Bay Area alongside her in Congress. I wish her beloved husband, Paul, a speedy and full recovery and wish Speaker Pelosi and her family the best of luck in this next chapter. Her legacy will live on forever.”

From Sean Ryan, communications director of Rep. Barbara Lee’s media relations office.

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Barbara Lee

California ’22 Mid-Term: Historic Wave of Black Candidates Set to Win Election

A wave of Black candidates in California are expected to win after Tuesday’s general election. Among them are three candidates leading in their races to be elected to statewide constitutional offices.

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State Rep. Mia Bonta (left) is the projected winner in California’s 18th District and Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared victory in the 12th U.S. District. Twitter photo from Sept. 2021.
State Rep. Mia Bonta (left) is the projected winner in California’s 18th District and Congresswoman Barbara Lee declared victory in the 12th U.S. District. Twitter photo from Sept. 2021.

By Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

A wave of Black candidates in California are expected to win after Tuesday’s general election. Among them are three candidates leading in their races to be elected to statewide constitutional offices.

Two African American candidates running for seats in the State Legislature are expected to win and become the two newest members of the California Legislative Black Caucus.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, Barbara Lee is projected to win a 12th term to Congress, and in the state Assembly, incumbent Mis Bonta is expected to keep her seat in the 18th District.

In Los Angeles, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-13), who is running for mayor of California’s largest city, is still in a too-close-to-call, dead-heat race with billionaire developer Rick Caruso as the ballot count continues.

Three candidates — Dr. Shirley Weber for Secretary of State, Tony Thurmond for State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) and Malia Cohen for State Controller – are running for statewide office.

Weber and Thurmond have already been projected to win their races.

For the first time in California history, there is a chance that three Black state constitutional officers will be elected to serve in office at the same time.

In the legislative races, Assembly District 60 (Moreno Valley), Corey A Jackson is leading Republican small business owner Hector Diaz-Nava. And in the Senate race for Senate District 28 (Los Angeles) to replace Sydney Kamlager, two Black candidates are running for the same seat. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is in the lead over Cheryl C. Turner (D).

There are 40 State Senate seats. Twenty are being contested in this election.

While regular updates are being provided for the 165 California elections held to fill state and federal offices, as with every statewide election, no final ballot counts are available on election night. Election results are updated at 5:00 p.m. each day throughout the canvass as counties count the remaining ballots.

Vote-by-mail ballots postmarked by the U.S. Postal Service on or before Nov. 8 and received no later than Nov. 15 have to be counted.

The official certified results of the election will be posted by Dec. 16, 2022, at sos.ca.gov/elections.

The candidates on the general election ballot were the top two finishers from the June primary.

For some races, winners have been projected by the Associated Press (AP), which conducts a survey of the numbers posted by local election officials. AP projects winners using vote returns and other data.

California Black Media (CBM) is reporting that 27 African American candidates are running in 24 of the state or federal races on the general election ballot. That’s 14.5% of the races. Blacks make up 5.8% of California’s population.

Four Black candidates are running statewide. Three are Democrats and one is a Republican. The following are results available for statewide races.

Incumbent Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is projected to defeat state Sen. Brian Dahle (R). Incumbent Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) is the projected winner over Black Republican candidate Angela Underwood Jacobs.

Incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over her Republican opponent Rob Bernosky.

Incumbent State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond is the projected winner over Lance Ray Christensen. This is a non-partisan race.

For Controller, Democrat Malia Cohen leads Republican Lanhee Chen. Incumbent Treasurer Fiona Ma (D) leads Jack Guerrero (R).

Incumbent Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), a Newsom appointee, leads Nathan Hochman (R).

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) leads Robert Howell (R).

For U.S. Senate (both full and partial term): incumbent Sen. Alex Padilla (D), a Newsom appointee, is the projected winner over Mark Meuser (D).

California has 52 Congressional seats. Nine African American candidates are running for eight House seats.

To represent the 12th Congressional District that includes Oakland, Berkeley and part of San Leandro, incumbent Democrat Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) is projected to defeat Republican electrical engineer Stephen Slauson.

To represent the Third Congressional District, which covers the Eastern Sierra from Death Valley National Park to parts of Sacramento and Placer counties, Democratic candidate Kermit Jones is trailing Republican Kevin Kiley. This district leans Republican.

To represent the 25th Congressional District that covers Imperial County and parts of San Bernadino and Riverside counties including Calexico, Banning and the Salton Sea incumbent Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is leading Black Republican pastor and San Jacinto City Council member Brian E. Hawkins.

To represent the 36th Congressional District that spans Beverly Hills and Santa Monica through coastal areas down to Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County, incumbent Rep. Ted Lieu (D) is projected to defeat Black Republican Navy Veteran and business owner Joe E. Collins III.

To represent the 37th Congressional District located in Los Angeles County including Culver City, Leimert Park, Crenshaw and South LA, Democratic California State Senator Sydney Kamlager is leading Black Democrat former L.A. City Councilmember Jan C. Perry. Rep. Karen Bass (D) currently represents this district.

To represent 39th Congressional District located in Riverside County including Moreno Valley and Perris, incumbent Rep. Mark Takano (D) is leading Black Republican Aja Smith, a civilian information technology specialist at March Air Reserve Base.

To represent the 43rd Congressional District that includes Compton, Inglewood, Gardena, parts of Torrance and Los Angeles International Airport, Democratic incumbent Rep. Maxine Waters is projected to defeat Republican business owner Omar Navarro.

There are 80 state Assembly seats on the ballot. Twelve Black candidates are running for 11 State Assembly seats. All of the Black candidates are Democrats and 10 are incumbents.

In addition to Jackson (mentioned earlier), the other Black candidates running for Assembly seats are:

Assembly District 18 (Oakland) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mia Bonta is leading Republican Mindy Pechenuk.

Assembly District 6 (Sacramento) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Kevin McCarty is the vote leader over Republican retired airline pilot Cathy Cook.

Assembly District 11 (Vallejo) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Lori D. Wilson is the vote leader over Veterans Affairs consultant Jenny Leilani Callison.

Assembly District 41 (Pasadena) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Chris Holden is leading Republican Michael McMahon.

Assembly District 55 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Isaac G. Bryan is in the leading Republican software developer Keith Girolamo Cascio.

Assembly District 57 (Los Angeles) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer ran unopposed for re-election.

Assembly District 61 (Inglewood) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Tina Simone McKinnor is leading Democratic Mayor of Lawndale Robert Pullen-Miles, who is also Black.

Assembly District 65 (Compton) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Mike Anthony Gipson is leading Democratic public-school teacher Fatima Iqbal-Zubair, who is also Black.

Assembly District 69 (Long Beach) – Democratic Councilmember Al Austin II is running behind Democratic small business owner Josh Lowenthal. No incumbent was on the ballot.

Assembly District 79 (La Mesa) – incumbent Democratic Assemblymember Akilah Weber is leading Republican project manager Corbin Sabol.

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