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Christian Help Center “Have a heart for the homeless” Local Food Distribution

The center is located at 2166 Sacramento St. in Vallejo. For information call 707-533-8192.

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Photo by Aaron Doucett 

A small bible study group in Vallejo in 1983 was witnessing the poverty and struggles within the community and how in need others were and decided to give back to the community and help shelter and feed homeless people. 

The group’s mission is to provide food, shelter and clothing to those who are in need of care, compassion, dignity and respect. The Christian Help Center (C.H.C) envisions a community where everyone has the needed resources, affordable housing and food they need. The center is located at 2166 Sacramento St. in Vallejo. For information call 707-533-8192.

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Activism

OPINION: Juneteenth is a Chance for Faith Leaders to Address Modern Slavery

the prohibition of slavery in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the 1st Amendment of the California Constitution have exceptions with regards to people duly convicted of crimes. People continue to be subjected to involuntary servitude in California and are as invisible as the enslaved people met by Union General Gordon Granger in 1865. I question the moral implications of the state and federal governments’ ongoing practice of slavery; it is one thing to punish and another to be entitled to enslave.

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Dorsey Nunn dons his “All of Us or None” cap with a smile.
Dorsey Nunn dons his “All of Us or None” cap with a smile.

By Dorsey Nunn

I hope this letter finds you in the loving embrace and grace of the God of your understanding. I am writing you as a former slave of the State of California. As Juneteenth approaches, I thought I would reach out to you in hopes of influencing and inspiring faith leaders to speak to their congregations about the issue of current day slavery on the week of June 12. Juneteenth has been adopted as a federal holiday—one that has been celebrated in the African American community since 1865. On June 19, 1865, in Galveston, Texas, the Union soldiers arrived, led by General Gordon Granger. They freed enslaved people that had been held in bondage almost two years after the Jan. 1, 1863 signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Despite this alleged freedom, the prohibition of slavery in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the 1st Amendment of the California Constitution have exceptions with regards to people duly convicted of crimes. People continue to be subjected to involuntary servitude in California and are as invisible as the enslaved people met by Union General Gordon Granger in 1865. I question the moral implications of the state and federal governments’ ongoing practice of slavery; it is one thing to punish and another to be entitled to enslave.

A couple of weeks ago while sitting in a church listening to a minister preach about Moses, I wondered why current enslavement was invisible. Why can’t people see current day slavery? Why can’t they see people being forced to work on the side of freeways as current day slaves? Why can’t they see people being forced to work in parks, shoring up levees in the valley, fighting forest fires and countless other jobs extracted through threats and punishment by the state as current day slaves? Moreover, why can’t they see people being rented out to corporations by the state and traded on the stock exchange as current day slaves? I do not believe people can volunteer at gunpoint or while imprisoned. I wonder if Moses showed up today if we could really see him or his enslaved parents.

The narrative associated with right and wrong is so potent that it renders people indifferent. People assume because it is legal, it must be just and it must be right. History has more than enough examples where laws were proven to be unjust over the course of time. Chattel slavery is just one of those examples.

If Assembly Constitution Amendment 3 passes in the California Senate, the issue of whether prisoners should be enslaved will be put on the California ballot for a vote. If it is put on the ballot for a vote, it will be the first time in multiple generations that the California electorate will have the opportunity to vote on anything regarding slavery. I believe faith leaders will get a chance to ask themselves and their congregations, “What would Moses do if given an opportunity to vote on the issue of slavery?”

Ultimately, if the historic ACA3 winds up on the ballot, I want to offer my formerly incarcerated staff and All of Us or None members to speak or lead discussions on this most important political and moral issue. People could see my incarceration, but they still have not caught up with the notion of my enslavement.

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Activism

COMMENTARY: The Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back Org ‘Just Serve’ on Mother’s and Father’s Days

The Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back organization (FIGB) sought to extend to the mothers what they had to offer with the blessings from the Most High. Members of the newly formed (FIGB) were pleased to have the opportunity to repay their debt to the community for their past indiscretions. We felt like it’s time for us to own up and do all that’s within our power to make amends to the community.

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Richard Johnson and some members of the Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back organization give Mother’s Day cash gifts and food. They have distinguished themselves by their efforts to “Just Serve” communities of need and to help rectify the damages they have participated in in the past. Photo by Jonathan Fitness Jones
Richard Johnson and some members of the Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back organization give Mother’s Day cash gifts and food. They have distinguished themselves by their efforts to “Just Serve” communities of need and to help rectify the damages they have participated in in the past. Photo by Jonathan Fitness Jones

The organization gears up for another event June 18 at CAL-PEP in West Oakland

By Richard Johnson

During my years in prison, nearly every inmate looked forward to celebrating Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, especially if they knew who their father was. And for those of us who were fathers, these holidays had special family meaning. Now, as members of the formerly incarcerated population, we continue to derive special meaning for these holidays. In our minds, both days should be combined into a family day.

Mending the Broken Connections with Mother

May 7, 2022 was a very eventful day for some of the mothers who elected to participate in the pre-Mother’s Day event held at DeFremery Park in West Oakland. A number of mothers took the time to come out and be blessed with an inscribed journal and a small amount of cash as a thank you for being exceptional mothers, especially in these very complicated times.

The Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back (FIGB) organization sought to extend to the mothers what they had to offer with blessings from the Most High. Members of the newly formed FIGB were pleased to have the opportunity to repay their debt to the community for their past indiscretions. We felt like it’s time for us to own up and do all that’s within our power to make amends to the community.

We hope this is only the start of a new beginning that will help to mend the broken connection that in the past created a lot of adversity toward productivity in our community. May the light of the Savior continue to be that beacon necessary to move ahead in the right direction.

Also, it was very personal for me because May 7 was my survival date on this earth. What a remarkable gift to spend it doing good. One recipient expressed her special thanks for the cash gift because she needed the gas money for work. Another recipient received gifts for an entire group home full of mothers in recovery. Gifts were also delivered to mothers who lack transportation.

Recognizing Our Fathers

Just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day should be a symbolized day set aside for those fathers who have shown by their actions that they deserve acknowledgment of not only being a parent, but a shining light to fatherhood. Anybody can plant a seed, but not everyone is capable of nourishing that seed with the genuine guidance, patience and understanding, necessary to raise that child as they evolve.

We, the Formerly Incarcerated Giving Back, are partnering with other organizations, groups and individuals to show our appreciation to the fathers who have stepped up to the fatherhood plate.

Fatherhood is everlasting. It doesn’t end when the child turns 18. Being that father year in and year out requires one’s full devotion and attention at all times, without pause. There are too many fathers lacking what it takes to be counted among those in the class of true fatherhood. No one comes into this world equipped with the knowledge of fatherhood. It’s a learned behavior that requires our full concentration.

We will be participating in an event June 18 at CAL-PEP (2811 Adeline St. on 28th St.) in West Oakland from 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

The collaborating sponsoring groups are Grassroots Resource Connection, African American Sports and Entertainment Group, BOSS, Pennies for Peace, California Prison Focus, KAGE Universal, The Oakland Post and Formally Incarcerated Giving Back. Other co-sponsors include George Turner and Bill Haney.

For more information, contact Victoria Layton at fiani@tarfoundation.org.

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Activism

Peace in the Streets Banner Campaign Grows in East Oakland

VisionQuilt.org and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkidsmovement’s, ‘Peace in the Streets’ initiative began the banner and yard sign project last year with the installation of 101 banners from 74th to 86th Avenue. 

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Caption:  Workers installed 54 additional ‘Peace’ banners along International Boulevard on May 27, 2022, thanks to a generous donation from the Clorox Foundation and individual donors. Photo by Cathy DeForest.
Caption:  Workers installed 54 additional ‘Peace’ banners along International Boulevard on May 27, 2022, thanks to a generous donation from the Clorox Foundation and individual donors. Photo by Cathy DeForest.

VisionQuilt.org and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkidsmovement’s, ‘Peace in the Streets’ initiative began the banner and yard sign project last year with the installation of 101 banners from 74th to 86th Avenue. The additional banners will extend the project to 102nd Avenue.  Advocates hope, when the project is completed, that the banners on International Boulevard will extend from Second Avenue to the San Leandro border. The banners were made by violence survivors, OUSD students, community activists and teachers. Currently, the banners cover 1.6 miles of the boulevard.

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