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CA Reparations Task Force LA Meeting’s Public Comments Get Heated

“Reparations are designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years who [suffered] through Jim Crow [laws],” California Secretary of State Shirley Weber who authored the task force legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 in 2020 while serving in the Assembly, said last January. “Reparations are for those who are descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌ ‌|‌ ‌California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

LOS ANGELES – The nine member California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations Proposals for African Americans convened in Los Angeles at the California Science Center for its tenth meeting on Sept. 23 and Sept. 24.

The meeting opened with comments from the public with speakers passionately delivering their views on what reparations should look like.

Many focused their comments and opinions on who should and should not receive reparations. The opposing views created tension among those in the audience on an issue that the task force resolved months ago.

“I think it’s a good thing. We have a lot of passion in our community and reparations speak to the core of what makes Black Americans. I wouldn’t expect any less,” said Chad Brown, a member of the National Assembly of American Slavery Descendants (NAASDLA) and Coalition of a Just and Equitable California (CJEC).

“This is the process. I expect a lot of passion. It’s passion directed at finding solutions,” Brown told California Black Media.

The temperature in the room rose when Kevin Cosney, associate director of the California Black Power Network (CBPN), addressed the task force members and said that a majority of the members made a “problematic” decision in excluding people such as Africans enslaved in the Caribbean, Native Americans, and persons from the continent of Africa.

“We encourage this task force to be transparent, bold, gracious, expansive, and unified in its work of diverse opinions,” Cosney told the task force. “The fact that you prematurely rushed on eligibility is problematic and disrespects the community’s voice. We would like you to reconsider and take this into account.”

Cosney’s CBPN and Brown’s CJEC are two of seven “anchor organizations,” selected across the state to host “community listening sessions” in conjunction with the task force.

The nonprofit California Black Power Network describes itself as a “growing, united ecosystem of Black empowering grassroots organizations” collaboration to change the lived conditions of Black Californians “by dismantling systemic and anti-Black racism.”

CJEC is a state-wide coalition of organizations, associations, and community members united for reparations for the descendants of enslaved Black American men and women.

California Secretary of State Shirley Weber who authored the task force legislation, Assembly Bill (AB) 3121 in 2020 while serving in the Assembly, has taken the position that compensation should be limited to African Americans who are descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States.

“Reparations are designed to repair and heal the damages done to Africans for 400 years who [suffered] through Jim Crow [laws],” Weber said last January. “Reparations are for those who are descendants of slavery. Their ties are permanently severed from their homeland and their ability to return to Africa is almost impossible. We are truly Americans.”

Last March the task force voted 5-4 that lineage will determine who will be eligible for reparations over race.

Task Force chairperson Kamilah Moore, vice-chair Amos Brown, pastor of Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, and president of his local NAACP branch; University of California-Berkeley professor Jovan Scott Lewis; San Diego City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery-Steppe, and Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) voted in approval of lineage.

Eligibility is determined by an individual being African American, “the descendant of a [person enslaved as chattel] or the descendant of a free-Black person living in the United States prior to the end of the 19th century,” Moore said.

Attorney Don Tamaki, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), Los Angeles-based attorney Lisa Holder, and Loyola-Marymount professor Cheryl Grills, voted in favor of race.

AB 3121 established the task force with a “special consideration” of those who are descendants of persons enslaved in the United States. Starting with the Atlantic Slave Trade, chattel slavery was sanctioned in the U.S. from 1619 to 1865.

“We agree that there should be special consideration for those that trace their lineage back to Slavery,” Cosney said. “But we also know and understand that the system of white supremacy affects everyone who is Black on this planet and in this country.”

Members from CJEC and CBPN moved their heated discussion outside of the facility after making their comments. But, the conversations cooled off with smiles and gestures of mutual respect for opinions.

Brown said the eligibility issue is settled but he is not at odds with debating the merits of the decision of the task force. He “stands on” the fact that Black families were impacted by slavery and “those families, descendants, are owed reparations.”

“Reparations are not something that is a cure. It is not something meant to change the minds of people,” Brown said. “Reparations are meant to repair a special community that has been impacted by slavery, Jim Crow, convict leasing, mass incarcerations, and the throughline of slave ships and chains.”

The next Task Force in-person meeting is scheduled for Oakland in December 2022 followed by San Diego in January 2023 and Sacramento in February 2023.

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Moms 4 Housing Hold Sit-in Demanding County Supervisors Extend Eviction Protections

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms. Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

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Participants in the sit-in, which began Tuesday afternoon, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.
The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

By Post Staff

Moms 4 Housing held a sit-in in the nonviolent civil disobedience tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., to demand that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors uphold their original vote to pass permanent Just Cause eviction protections for the 60,000 tenants living in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms.

Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), ACCE and EBHO, along with other local activists, are mobilizing outside of the Alameda County Administration Building to stand in solidarity with Moms 4 Housing, an organization focused on uniting mothers, neighbors, and friends to reclaim housing for the Oakland community from the big banks and real estate speculators.

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Following More Mass Shootings Democrats Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9. The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns. President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

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The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans
The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire

Two proposals aimed at curbing the spread of assault rifles were submitted today by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The Assault Weapons Ban seeks to prohibit the commercialization, distribution, production, and importation of assault rifles and other firearms designed for use in military operations, as well as high-capacity magazines and similar devices.

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9.

The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns.

President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

Biden said that the number of mass shootings declined during the decade that the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect.

“In the 10 years that the Assault Weapons Ban was on the books, mass shootings went down,” Biden remarked.

“After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” he declared.

Both houses of Congress were urged to take quick action by the president.

According to Biden, “the majority of American people agree with this rational measure.”

“There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation,” he insisted.

In the House of Representatives, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline said he plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s Assault Weapons Ban.

Feinstein said assault rifles “seem to be the unifying denominator in the seemingly endless number of horrific shootings.”

“Because these firearms were created for maximum efficiency in mass murder,” the senator noted.

“They have no place in our society or educational institutions. It’s time to take a stand against the gun lobby and do something about getting these lethal weapons off the streets, or at the absolute least, out of the hands of our youth.”

Blumenthal added, as the gunman at the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park demonstrated just days ago, assault weapons are designed for one and one purpose only: to murder or hurt human beings.

“These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings,” Blumenthal said.

“Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this commonsense action.”

Rep. Ciciline argued that it is long past due to reinstate an assault weapon ban and remove these “weapons of war” from civilian areas.

The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans,” Ciciline noted.

“We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”

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With a 97.3% Strike Vote, More Than 500 Richmond Educators Rally Before School Board Meeting

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

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Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day
Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day

By Post Staff

United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) held a rally urging West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) officials to reach a “fair settlement” and avoid a strike.

Teachers, school psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, program specialists, librarians, and speech-language pathologists are calling for a settlement that includes community schools, shared decisions, and competitive compensation that keeps outstanding educators in the community — and brings the next generation of educators to the district.

The rally was held at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

In mid-November last year, the Legislative Analyst Office of California announced additional guaranteed, ongoing funding for the 2023-24 school year. The district intends to only provide less than half of the percentage of ongoing permanent funding it receives from the state for educator compensation, according to a statement released by the UTR.

Despite that projection of continued funding by the state, the school district declared an impasse in negotiations with UTR. Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day.

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