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Faith & Clergy

Castlemont High School Holds 2021 Hall of Fame Awards

Castlemont High School inducted a new cohort into its Hall of Fame during an outdoor celebration last Saturday on the school grounds at 8601 Macarthur Blvd.

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Rev. Vickia Brinkley with Claytoven Richardson (in blue baseball cap). Photo courtesy of Castlemont High School.

Rev. Vickia Brinkley with Larry Batiste (in black fedora). Photo courtesy of Castlemont High School

Castlemont High School inducted a new cohort into its Hall of Fame during an outdoor celebration last Saturday on the school grounds at 8601 Macarthur Blvd.

The inductees included:

  • Paul Brekke-Miesner (class of 1962) Community Service Award;
  • Jennifer Early (class of 2017) Gold Key Award;
  • William Carleton (class of ’57) and Harris Flowers (1915-1981) received Sports Hall of Fame Award;
  • Larry Batiste (class of ’74), Rev. Vickia Brinkley (class of ’79), James Coffee (class of ’74) and Claytoven Richardson (class of ’74) each received the Phil Reeder Award;
  • Chuck Mack (class of ’59) and Hattie Tate (class of ’71) received the Distinguished Knight in Shining Armor Award.
  • The 2021 scholarship recipients are Stephanie Avita, Franklin Daniels and Jairilyn Encarnacion.

Rev. Vickia Brinkley, senior pastor at True Faith Community Baptist, said of this honor, “It represents a very significant achievement to receive the Phil Reeder Award.  This recognition speaks volumes about what is possible for a little Black girl from the ’hood when surrounded by people that believe.”  

The late Phillip Reeder was choir director for the school’s famed Castleers. The performing arts auditorium is named in his honor.

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Bay Area

Bishop Bob Jackson Celebrates 38 Years at Acts Full

On May 5, Rev. W.R., “Smokie” Norful Jr. preached the sermon. Norful is an American gospel singer and pianist, best known for his 2002 album, “I Need You Now” and “Nothing Without You,” which won a Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2004.

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Bishop Bob Jackson, First Lady Barbara Jackson, Rev. Smokie Norful, Gospel recording artist, and Cathy D. Adams, president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.
Bishop Bob Jackson, First Lady Barbara Jackson, Rev. Smokie Norful, Gospel recording artist, and Cathy D. Adams, president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce.

From May 4-6, 2022, hundreds of well-wishers came to celebrate with the senior pastor of Acts-Full Gospel Church of God in Christ, Bishop Robert (Bob) L. Jackson, as he marked 38 years of service. On May 5, Rev. W.R., “Smokie” Norful Jr. preached the sermon. Norful is an American gospel singer and pianist, best known for his 2002 album, “I Need You Now” and “Nothing Without You,” which won a Grammy at the 47th Annual Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album in 2004. Norful received his second Grammy in 2015 at the 57th Annual Grammy awards for his song “No Greater Love,” 10 years after winning his first.

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Activism

OCCUR & the San Francisco Foundation FAITHS Program Present: A Model Built on Faith 2022 Leadership Series

Presenter, Karl Mill, Esq., is founder of Mill Law Center, a firm providing legal support to the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. A long-time champion of underserved communities, Mill is dedicated to promoting justice under the law. “Our firm is in the nonprofit sector because we want to devote our lives to activities that relieve suffering and promote justice” says Mill.

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Workshop 3: Building Your Legal Guardrails

May 26, 2022

As organizations and communities emerge from years of changes and transformations due to the Covid pandemic, the broader landscapes in which they function have also changed. What current and possible new legal guardrails must be in place to move forward into the new normal? OCCUR and the San Francisco Foundation FAITHS program present Building Your Legal Guardrails. This capacity training will provide nonprofit and faith-based leaders with an overview of legal topics key to understanding and exploring the rapidly changing legal landscape.

Presenter, Karl Mill, Esq., is founder of Mill Law Center, a firm providing legal support to the nonprofit and social enterprise sectors. A long-time champion of underserved communities, Mill is dedicated to promoting justice under the law. “Our firm is in the nonprofit sector because we want to devote our lives to activities that relieve suffering and promote justice” says Mill. “We focus on priority areas such as racial justice, combatting economic and educational inequality, supporting immigrants’ rights, and dismantling mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Understanding key elements of the law is critical to advancing the work of all those who work in the nonprofit arena.”

Please join us for this informative workshop!

Date/Time:
May 26, 2022, 9 a.m.-11a.m.
Location: Zoom
How to Attend: Please RSVP on our website, amodelbuiltonfaith.org
Questions: Email info@occurnow.org, or call (510) 839-2440

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Black History

COMMENTARY: A Reflection on Motherhood

mothers are brave, courageous, and will stand by their children through thick and thin, regardless of whether they are successful, or even those who have fallen by the wayside. Christian mothers have a strong belief in God – somehow, God will make a way out of no way. Even when going through trials and tribulations Christian mothers will be singing – “Troubles don’t last always.”

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Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor

Mother’s Day is a very special day in all communities.

It’s that time of year when the sale of Hallmark cards quadruples, teleflorists spike the price of flowers and See’s Candies hires extra workers. Even with a reservation, restaurants make you wait in long lines.

Mother’s Day is a time set aside to show the one you call ‘mother’ special appreciation with gestures of love.

African Americans embrace motherhood in unique ways. There are biological mothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, and guardians. We have enduring terms for ‘mother’ such as Madea and Mama. The strength of mothers comes in all sizes. Big Mama can be short, 4’5” and is still be called Big Mama. Lil’ Mama can be 5’9”, and still be called Little Mama. It is not unusual, for grandmothers to be first responders and caregivers for their grandchildren.

For the most part, mothers are brave, courageous, and will stand by their children through thick and thin, regardless of whether they are successful, or even those who have fallen by the wayside. Christian mothers have a strong belief in God – somehow, God will make a way out of no way. Even when going through trials and tribulations Christian mothers will be singing – “Troubles don’t last always.”

Mother’s Day also brings a mixture of happy and hurt feelings. For many, Mother’s Day is a reminder that mother is no longer here. In some cases, a mother’s only child has died. One mother told me this would be the first year without her son who passed away last year from COVID-19. The death of a child does not mean you are not a mother anymore.

Some mothers are doing double duty raising their grandchildren. Some men, as single parents, have assumed the role of both father and mother. All mothers are not “mothers of the church” wearing white dresses, big hats with special reserved seats.

Still others have assumed the role of mother through adoption or by extended family.

The population of homeless mothers has significantly increased. Some are living with children in broken down automobiles trying to make ends meet for their family while the system professes to be doing a study of their plight. Some mothers are in convalescent homes, many tucked away out of eyesight of the family. Still others are blessed to have family visits.

Our hearts grieve especially for mothers who are imprisoned; they decorate their prison walls with pictures of their children.

Songwriter-rapper Tupac Shakur wrote musical lyrics about his mother who struggled to raise him through poverty. Shirley Caesar, a famous gospel singer, wrote the song “No Charge” in response to the little boy who was going to charge his mother for doing chores around the house.

The lyrics to the song “I’ll Always Love My Mama,” by the R&B group The Intruders, is a Black man’s testimony on the love of Mother.

“She’s my favorite girl, (You only get one, you only get one, yeah)

She brought me in this world.

She taught me little things like ‘Say hello’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ while scrubbing those floors on her bended knees.”

A walk back in history is a reminder of the horrific experiences Black mothers endured that started in the Middle Passage during the Transatlantic Slave Trade era and continues in many ways.

The auction block, a place where enslaved African people were treated as material where families were torn apart and sold to the highest bidder. Black women were forced to be slave breeders to keep the slave industry alive. Children grew up motherless while being forced to toil and labor under the yoke of slavery.

But through it all, there is a strong belief within most Black mothers that God has not abandoned them. The hand of God elevated Black mothers from slave pits to the White House when Michelle Obama, became First Lady of America.

The bond and love between Michelle and her mother was so strong that Marian Shields Robinson retired early to live in the White House to be close to her grandchildren. Michelle and Mother Robinson wanted the sense of normalcy a genuine Black grandma could bring to the everyday life of her grandchildren.

One thing we do know, the only earthly DNA connected to Jesus came from an unwed teenager, whom God chose to be the mother of Jesus. Thirty-three years later, Mary stood at the foot of the Cross and watched the crucifixion of her son, Jesus.

And lastly, Mary is not the only one to see the light go out of her child’s eyes. Thousands of Black mothers have endured the crucifixion of their young sons and daughters through police brutality. Every Mother is special in some way.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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