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Chaosarn S. Chao, 67

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Chaosarn S. Chao, co-founder, president and CEO of Lao Family Community Development (LFCD), a social service agency with offices in the East Bay and Sacramento, died on April 5 at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto. He was 67.

Chaosarn Chao was a proud Iu-Mien born in Laos. He immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 28 in 1978. In 1980, he started LFCD in his three-bedroom apartment in Richmond.

The purpose of the agency was simply to aid his fellow Laotian refugees from Indo-China to rebuild their lives in the Bay Area aft they had escaped political and social upheaval that ravaged their homeland.

Today, LFCD is a premier social service and community development non-profit agency headquartered in Oakland. LFCD has seven satellite offices in San Pablo, Oakland and Sacramento.

The agency has a staff of 62 employees who provide services in 25 languages to more than 15,000 clients annually.

The organization also has expanded to meet the needs of the broader community, reaching out to 40 diverse nationalities.

Chaosarn Chao was always proud of the achievements of the Iu-Mien, Lao, Hmong, Cambodian, other refugee, immigrant and minority groups in America and encouraged members of the community to strive to achieve self-sufficiency, reach their highest potential and to give back to society.

Growing up, he was no stranger to tenuous times. He lived with his parents in the rural mountains of Laos during the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s “Secret War” against the occupational forces of the French and the Vietnamese Communist forces (under Ho Chi Minh).

In his youth, Chaosarn Chao witnessed first-hand his father Chao Mai being thrust into multiple leadership roles, becoming the chief of his mountain village at age 18, then the figurehead of his village district at age 25 (controlling 15 villages) and ultimately becoming a member of the city council of a major municipality in Laos by his early 30s.

His father also served as a Commander in the French army of Laos, which was loosely affiliated with the Central Intelligence Agency. His father groomed his son for a future of bold community leadership in the face of adversity, teaching him to have complete devotion to his countrymen.

In 1967, immediately after the death of his father, Chaosarn Chao continued the leadership legacy of the previous 12 generations of his family, graduating from the Royal Lao Army Staff School, achieving the rank of lieutenant, becoming chief of staff for his uncle, Major Chao La (the Lao Mien Ethnic Army Commander), and ultimately being appointed financial officer for the Golden Triangle of Laos, Burma, China and Thailand.

Chaosarn Chao also became involved with the Special Guerilla Unit of the Central Intelligence Agency, fighting against the communist forces of Ho Chi Minh from 1968-1975.

In the wake of the devastating Vietnam War, he escaped to Thailand and later — with the aid of the CIA and other agencies – moved with his family to the United States.

Once in the U.S., he devoted himself to the betterment of the quality of life of refugees and those less fortunate, especially his fellow Iu-Mien and Laotian American people.

This led to founding LFCD. He was a founding committee member of the National Coalition for the Asian Pacific American Community Development in Washington, D.C.

He was the founder of the Iu- Mien American National Coalition; served on the Board of Directors for the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation; served as a commission member for the City of Oakland Health and Human Services; was president of the Lao-Mien Veterans Association; and served for more than a decade on the State Advisory Council of the State of California Department of Social Services.

He is survived by his spouse, eight children, six grandchildren, seven siblings and many relatives, friends and colleagues.

A Celebration of Life Funeral Service will be held Sunday, April 16, 10 a.m. Richmond Civic Auditorium at 403 Civic Center Drive, Richmond.

The Final Viewing will be held 10 a.m., Monday, April 17 at Wilson Ktratzer Funeral Home in Richmond, and the burial will be at Sunset View Cemetery in El Cerrito.

Donations may be made in his honor to LFCD, 1551 23rd. Ave., Oakland, CA 94606, dedicated for the CARE Community Center Project in Oakland.

Information on the CARE Community Center, which breaks ground in June, is available on the www.lfcd.org website. A private foundation will match donations dollar for dollar up to $500,000.

 

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Community

Marvin Norman, 55

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

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Marvin Norman

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

He transitioned on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Santa Clara, CA.  

Marvin Gay Norman was born on Jan.19, 1966, in Houma, Louisiana, the son of Dennis Norman Sr. and Cora Mae Prevost.  He was the youngest of eight children.  

After moving to California in 1991, he met and married Terri (Gray) on April 20, 1996. Married for more than 25 years, they built a loving family.  

In 2000, he was hired as a longshoreman, becoming a crane operator at the Port of Oakland.  Together with his ILWU 10 brothers and sisters, he worked on the docks, moving products through the Port terminals. 

Marvin Norman was a religious man.  Most important to him was having a family, being a husband and providing for his family. He enjoyed his life and those around him, always ready with a smile and southern hospitality.

He enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, cooking and was an avid fan of all sports, especially football.  He was a dedicated fan of the New Orleans Saints and the Morehouse College football team. 

He would make a yearly trip to support his youngest son’s game.  When his children were younger, he would often cheer and coach from the sidelines at their soccer, football and basketball games. 

 Additionally, he was a great cook, pouring love and a smile into the meals he prepared.

His happiest moments were being able to spend time with his family and friends, which included his four dogs.  

He was preceded in death by his parents and the family members Darrell “Flick” Norman, Evette Norman and Angela Norman.

He is survived by his wife Terri Norman; daughter Marshante Roberts and three sons Marvin “Smurf” Jones, Joshua James Norman and Daniel Isiah Norman; seven grandchildren, ages, 13, 7, 6, 5 and 3; as well as siblings: Ralph Hayes, Inez Williams, Bettie Jean Norman, Carnell Norman, Connie Berry, Dennis Norman, Jr., Bernadette Norman, and Mary Butler; by his in-laws Sam Brownstone and Virginia Brownstone; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

 Condolences may be sent to 4735 Crestone Needle Way, Antioch, CA  94531.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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In Memoriam

In Loving Memory

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Nisayah Yahudah

January 29, 2020

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Black History

Lucille Times, Who Inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies at 100

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery.

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Lucille Times, Photo courtesy of Troy University

Lucille Times, whose encounter with a bus driver in Montgomery, Ala., in June 1955 led her to begin a one-woman boycott of the city’s public transportation, an act of defiance that inspired a mass boycott six months later after another Black woman, Rosa Parks, was charged with defying the same bus driver, died on Aug. 16 at the home of her nephew Daniel Nichols. She was 100.

Mr. Nichols, with whom she had been living for several years, said the cause was complications of Covid-19.

Mrs. Times was driving to the dry cleaners on June 15, 1955, when she got into an altercation with James Blake, the bus driver, who tried to push her car off the road three times. She continued on her errand, but he followed her.

Parking his bus across the street, he ran over to her and yelled, “You Black son of a bitch!” she recalled in a 2017 interview.

She immediately replied, “You white son of a bitch!” and the two started fighting. At one point she bit him on the arm.

Suddenly she felt a blow to her neck. She looked down and saw the high boots of a motorcycle police officer, who had hit her with his flashlight.

The officer took Mr. Blake aside, then turned to her.

“‘Do you know that was a white man you called a white son of a bitch?’” she recalled him saying. “I said, ‘Do you know I’m a Black woman that he called a Black son of a bitch?’”

The officer let her off with a warning, telling her that if she had been a man, he would have “beat my head to jelly,” she said.

Mrs. Times drove away, furious. “My blood was almost boiling,” she said. “I didn’t even take my clothes into the dry cleaners.”

At home her husband, Charlie, had already heard about the incident. Together they called E.D. Nixon, the head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and asked what they could do. He came over that night.

As a child, she had taken part in a boycott of a butcher shop in Detroit, where she was visiting relatives, and she suggested to Mr. Nixon that the city’s Black community could do the same. He agreed, but said the time wasn’t right — they would need money, cars and other supplies to make it happen. He asked her to have patience.

She called the city bus company to complain, but no one responded. She sent letters to The Montgomery Advertiser and The Atlanta Journal, but they refused to print them. She decided not to wait.

Over the next six months, she operated her own boycott, driving to bus stops and offering free rides to Black passengers waiting to board. Charlie, with whom she ran a cafe across from their house, collected money for gas, and they used the cafe as a planning hub — people could call Charlie to arrange a ride, and he would assemble a schedule for his wife.

“Lucille was loaded for bear, and she wouldn’t back down from nothing,” Mr. Nichols said. “She was full steam ahead.”

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and activist in the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P., boarded Mr. Blake’s bus and sat in the front section, which was reserved for white riders. When he ordered her to move to the back, she refused, and was arrested. Four days later, the Montgomery Improvement Association, formed in coordination with the N.A.A.C.P. and led by a 26-year-old preacher, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced a citywide boycott.

The Timeses participated in the boycott, which lasted over a year and helped lead to the end of segregation on the city’s public transportation.

“You’ve got to fight,” Mrs. Times said in 2017.  “You don’t get nothing for free. I’ve been a fighter all of my days.”

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery. Her mother, Jamie (Woodley) Sharpe, died when she was young, and Lucille and her five siblings were raised by her father, Walter Sharpe. They later moved to Montgomery, though she lived for stretches of time with relatives in Chicago and Detroit.

She married Charlie Times in 1939 and later received a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Mr. Times served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and when he returned, they opened the Times Cafe. It became a social hub for the city’s Black community.

It was also a center for civil rights activism. The Timeses joined the N.A.A.C.P. in the 1940s, and after Alabama outlawed the organization in 1956, they let Mr. Nixon use their home for secret meetings.

The Timeses remained active in the movement, participating in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and hosting 18 other marchers, Black and white, at their home. Mr. Times died in 1978.

Despite her signature role in the origins of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mrs. Times was for decades unrecognized for her contribution. Troy King, a former attorney general of Alabama who became friends with her in the 2010s, speculated that it was because her outspokenness ran against the image of civil rights protesters as quiet and reserved.

“She was like an iron fist in a velvet glove,” Mr. King, now in private practice, said in an interview. “She didn’t get pushed around.”

At one point he invited her to speak to his daughter’s fourth-grade class, which was studying Alabama history. Though Mrs. Times had trouble speaking because a stroke had left her vocal cords partially paralyzed, she managed to narrate her tale, peppering it with profanity and racial epithets, shocking students and teachers.

“It was exceptionally jarring, but it left an impression that they will never forget,” Mr. King said.

Mrs. Times did eventually receive some local recognition. In 2007, her house was placed on the Alabama Registry of Landmarks and Heritage, and the state placed historic markers in front of her home and the building that once housed the Times Cafe.

Her neighbors also created a community garden in her honor and named it for her and Mr. Nixon. In April they held a 100th birthday party for her, but she was unable to attend because of the pandemic.

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