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Black History

COMMENTARY: Four Hundred Years and We Still Ain’t Clear:

NNPA NEWSWIRE — “…there is this misguided group of Afrodescendants, who are throwing shade at those who are not ‘American descendants of slaves’ ADOS. Their shade is an odd version of the “am I Black enough for you” game that some folks ran against President Barack Obama, and are now running against Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Corey Booker. “

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By Julianne Malveaux

According to some historians, Afrodescendents first entered these united states in 1619 off the coast of Virginia. If we believe that narrative, Afrodescendents have been in this country for 400 years. If the people who were kidnapped and brought here had to tell the story, would they tell the same one? Would they say that we came before Columbus? That some of us might have been here even longer? There were captured Africans that came from the mother continent in 1619, but also, thanks to the transatlantic slave trade, Africans here who had come from Bermuda, Jamaica, and other places.

Why is this relevant? Because there is this misguided group of Afrodescendants, who are throwing shade at those who are not “American descendants of slaves” ADOS. Their shade is an odd version of the “am I Black enough for you” game that some folks ran against President Barack Obama, and are now running against Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Corey Booker. What is Black enough, when we, Afrodescendant people, all have enslavement in our background? Let’s make it plain. Europeans went to the African continents, kidnapped people (sometimes with African acquiescence), brought them to the Western Hemisphere, and sold us. Goods and people flowed between England (or New England, the Americas, and Africa), including sugar, tobacco, manufactured products, guns and humans. Understand that everyone in the triangle was affected and that enslaved people were freely traded between the United States and other parts of the Americas!

I am not sure what kinds of warped brains dreamed up the realities of enslavement and the ways that a minority in the South was able to control a majority. The laws that managed enslavement included laws that prevented literacy, ownership, and much else. The laws often detailed the terms of punishment if restrictive conditions were breached. A North Carolina law said, “teaching slaves to read and write, tends to excite dissatisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion.” Disobeying this law was punishable by thirty-nine lashes or imprisonment for a free Black person, or a fine of two hundred dollars then, or about $5000 now. People violated the laws, of course, but the warped sensibility that prohibited the dissemination of knowledge is the basis for many sick stereotypes, such as “if you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book.”

Fast-forward four hundred years, or even two. Why are teachers in Louden County, Virginia, forcing fifth and sixth-grade students to simulate enslavement with an obstacle course they called “The Underground Railroad”? Why were many of these students Afrodescendents? Why are the leaders of the school silent about the discipline that was ordered on the rogue teachers who took it upon their ignorant selves to construct such an exercise? Why has David Stewart, the principal of the Madison Trust School in Louden County, sent out a vapid apology for a “culturally insensitive” exercise, and not a more strongly worded condemnation of the racism implicit in this nonsense.

We have been here at least 400 years, and still, some folks aren’t clear about the ways enslavement has shaped our nation. In Virginia, where both the governor and the Attorney General (two of the top three elected officials in the state) have admitted to masquerading in Blackface, albeit thirty-odd years ago, teachers don’t see anything wrong with subjecting Black students to a reenactment of enslavement. Oh, they said they were teaching “teamwork.” Really.

We have been here at least 400 years, and our nation is not yet clear about its flawed foundations. There would be no house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which should not be called the White House, but the House that Enslaved People Built, were it not for the labor of kidnapped people and their descendants. There would be no banking system if enslaved people were not used as collateral for European devilment. There would be no insurance industry were it not for the enslaved. But in our collective ignorance allows us, all of us, African Americans, European Americans, and others, to live in denial, pretending that there is fairness is a racist, patriarchal, predatory, capitalist society.

We have been here at least 400 years, but we still aren’t clear about the nonsense and exploitation that affects and infuses our very foundation. Our entire nation needs to go back to school to learn some history. But there is a special place in hell for teachers in Louden County, Virginia who think that enslavement is some kind of game!

Julianne Malveaux is an author and economist. Her latest book “Are We Better Off? Race, Obama and Public Policy” is available via www.amazon.com for booking, wholesale inquiries or for more info visitwww.juliannemalveaux.com

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Bay Area

Ida Times-Green Running for State Assembly District 12

Ida Times-Green became a voice for Marin City schoolchildren over the segregation in their school. She was appointed as a Sausalito Marin City School Board Trustee in 2014 and subsequently won election as the top vote-getter in 2018.

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California State Assembly District 12 after 2020 redistricting cycle (From ballotpedia.org). Lower left of map: Ida Times-Green.
California State Assembly District 12 after 2020 redistricting cycle (From ballotpedia.org). Lower left of map: Ida Times-Green.

By Godfrey Lee

Ida Times-Green, a resident of Marin City, is running for California State Assembly District 12 of California in the upcoming June 7 election.

Times-Green promises to fight for affordable housing, single-payer healthcare, living wages and union workers, resilience to wildfires, climate justice policies, reforming law enforcement, public education and student debt relief.

“There are numerous issues facing our state that I believe are critical — single-payer healthcare, affordable housing, homelessness, wildfire resiliency — with the climate crisis being an existential threat and dealing with that must underlie everything we do.

It’s about more than just this district — it’s about the future of California,” Times-Green wrote on her Facebook page.

Times-Green is also concerned with women’s reproductive rights, wildfire resiliency, and post-COVID revitalization. Her position on these issues can be found at Idatimesgreenforassembly.com

Times-Green showed her concern for the community when she and her late husband, Edward Lee “Boone” Green. Boone Green, the founder of the Marin City Boxing Club, founded One Kid at a Time, a nonprofit dedicated to mentor at-risk children and young adults in 2013. The couple believed that with support, these young people could be steered in the right direction despite prior risky behavior. It was a belief that led them to help many young adults find homes and graduate from high school.

Times-Green became a voice for Marin City schoolchildren over the segregation in their school. She was appointed as a Sausalito Marin City School Board Trustee in 2014 and subsequently won election as the top vote-getter in 2018.

Today, Times-Green is in her eighth year as a board trustee with the Sausalito Marin City School District (SMCUSD). She is fulfilling the desegregation mandate handed down by former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in August 2019 and creating a multicultural learning environment for all children in the district. She also helps the community every day through her full-time job as a social worker for the County of Marin.

She is an active member of the faith community at the Cornerstone Community Church of God in Christ in Marin City. She was previously a member of Village Baptist Church in Petaluma. Times-Green’s heart for her community is large, with a strong desire to serve for many years to come.

Times-Green’s many endorsements include the Health Care for All (HCA), California State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond, Marin County Supervisors Susan Adams (ret.) and Kate Sears (ret.), Marin County Office of Education Deputy Superintendent Terena Mares, San Anselmo Vice Mayor Steve Burdo, Tiburon Councilmember Noah Griffin, Sausalito Marin City School District Superintendent Dr. Itoco Garcia, and SMCSD boardmembers Lisa Bennett and Bonnie Hough, Esq., California Democratic Party Senior Caucus Chair Ruth Carter and 1W Regional Director Pat Johnstone. Ida Times-Green can be reached at idaforassembly@gmail.com or call (415)231-8807.

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Black History

Erica Loewe Helping to Open Doors for Black Press, Others at White House

In Erika Loewe’s all-too-important job as director of African American media, she has ensured that the Black Press and other media of color have enjoyed unprecedented access to the White House and top administration and cabinet officials. “President Biden and Vice President Harris promised an administration that looks like America, and they have fulfilled that promise,” Loewe said during a recent visit to the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) headquarters at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest, Washington, D.C.

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(Pictured left to right): Karine Jean-Pierre, the nation’s first Black press secretary, Erica Loewe, director of African American media and outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki.
(Pictured left to right): Karine Jean-Pierre, the nation’s first Black press secretary, Erica Loewe, director of African American media and outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki.

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As Karine Jean-Pierre prepares to make history as the first Black press secretary at the White House, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have continued to ensure that African Americans – particularly Black women, helm crucial posts.

Alongside Jean-Pierre, there’s chief of staff to Kate Bedingfield, Khanya Brann, outgoing press secretary Jen Psaki’s chief of staff, Amanda Finney, and senior regional communications director, Rykia Dorsey.

Then, there’s Erica Loewe.

In Loewe’s all-too-important job as director of African American media, she has ensured that the Black Press and other media of color have enjoyed unprecedented access to the White House and top administration and cabinet officials.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris promised an administration that looks like America, and they have fulfilled that promise,” Loewe said during a recent visit to the National Newspaper Publishers Association’s (NNPA) headquarters at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Northwest, Washington, D.C.

There, Loewe sat for an interview with NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., for his PBS-TV show, “The Chavis Chronicles.”

“Since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has valued diversity, empowered Black voices, and taken a whole-of-government approach to advance racial equity,” she told Dr. Chavis during the episode scheduled to air later this year.

Loewe grew up in Miami after her mother gave birth to her in South Carolina.

She attended the University of Florida and later interned at the White House for President Barack Obama.

A prolific volunteer, Loewe has worked as press secretary and deputy communications director for U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and as deputy communications director for Congressman James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

“Jim Clyburn is one of my favorite bosses, and he’s been very clear that I need to tell people that I’m from Charleston even though I grew up in Miami,” Loewe stated.

“He’s a great man, and I’ve learned a lot from him,” she remarked.

Her early influence came from her parents, particularly her mother and grandparents.

Loewe’s father worked in the nonprofit sector and helped her to gain a focus on economic empowerment and business development.

Her mother worked for a city commissioner, allowing Loewe to spend time at City Hall.

“I have always been around people who lead and serve, to some extent,” she said.

“My parents split up, but I lived with my mom and grandparents in a house full of love and laughter,” she said.

While working in the Obama White House, Loewe lived with her family and worked under the director of African American outreach.

Now, as director of African American media, she said her life had come full circle.

“I’m back at the White House, and my mother lives with me,” she said.

Loewe said her mother battles Alzheimer’s disease, but “somewhere inside, she’s there, proud of me.”

Loewe said she has enjoyed returning to the White House and tries to stay out of the crosshairs of secret service.

“We have fun. They take their jobs very seriously and we do as well,” Loewe said.

The fulfilling part of her job is allowing access to Black media and the American public, Loewe offered.

“There’s nothing like being able to grant access to the White House for the very first time,” Loewe declared. “It’s a building people have seen on television and thought they may never get inside. But, our job is to provide access to people.”

She exclaimed that the Biden-Harris administration had provided access never before experienced by the American public.

The administration also has remained the most inclusive in American history.

“Never has there been an administration that has uplifted and supported Black women as much as President Biden and Vice President Harris,” Loewe asserted.

“It’s just a fact. Numbers don’t lie. The Honorable [Kamala] Harris is a Black woman who has lived experiences… She attended Howard University, and she’s a member of the Divine Nine, the Black Church, and an advocate for Black maternal health and accurate home appraisals for Black people.”

Loewe continued:

“There are more Black people in first time positions in the President’s cabinet. You have the war in Ukraine and Gen. Lloyd Austin, the first Black to head the Department of Defense and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Two Black people you see every day making sure that we’re providing aid to Ukraine.”

She noted the Environmental Protection Agency’s Michael Regan as the first Black person to lead there, and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, as examples of other Black appointees in the administration.

“These are not symbolic positions,” Loewe concluded.

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Black History

Running to Represent: Black Dem and GOP Candidates Vying for Cal Legislature Seats

Although African Americans are 5.8% of California residents and 7% of the voting-eligible population, Black candidates are on ballots for 10% of the Senate races and 22.5% of the Assembly races.

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L-R top. Democrat Tecoy Porter, Kamilah Moore (no ballot designation) and Republican Gregory Tatum. L-R bottom: Democrat Corey A Jackson, Democrat Lori D. Wilson and Democrat Maurice Goodman. 
L-R top. Democrat Tecoy Porter, Kamilah Moore (no ballot designation) and Republican Gregory Tatum. L-R bottom: Democrat Corey A Jackson, Democrat Lori D. Wilson and Democrat Maurice Goodman. 

By Joe W. Bowers Jr., California Black Media,

Primaries, four positions, California Board of Equalization, 80 seats, State Assembly, 20 State Senate seats, Half of the 40 State Senate seats, subject to election, every two years, 20 even-numbered districts, ballots,

California Black Media (CBM), no Black candidates, Board of Equalization, Malia Cohen, first Black woman elected to the board, passing up a re-election bid, District 2,

18 State Assembly contests, Democrats, Republicans, incumbents,

Although African Americans are 5.8% of California residents and 7% of the voting-eligible population, Black candidates are on ballots for 10% of the Senate races and 22.5% of the Assembly races.

State senators represent an average of 988,455 residents and Assemblymembers represent an average of 494,227 residents. After the redistricting done following the 2020 U.S. Census, African Americans no longer exceed 40% of the population in any district. Three Senate districts and five Assembly districts have African American populations exceeding 20%.

Black candidates running for State Senate are:

Republican Gregory Tatum is a pastor, U.S. Army veteran and avionics technician. He is running to represent Senate District 16 (Bakersfield). State Senator Melissa Hurtado who currently represents District 14 is in this race because redistricting changed her district boundaries. This district is predicted to be a tossup for the two Republican and three Democrats on the ballot.

Four Black Democratic candidates are running to represent Senate District 28 (Los Angeles). Jamaal A. Gulledge is a public servant. Kamilah Victoria Moore, chair of the California Task Force to Study and Develop Reparations proposals for African Americans, has no ballot designation. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas is an educator and community organizer. Cheryl C. Turner is a civil rights lawyer. Five candidates are on the ballot. This is a solid Democratic district.

Black candidates running for State Assembly are:

Democrat Kevin McCarty is an Assemblymember representing District 7 (Sacramento). Due to redistricting, he is running to represent District 6 (Sacramento). He has four opponents. This is a solid Democratic district.

Two Black candidates are competing to represent Assembly District 10 (Elk Grove). Democrat Tecoy Porter is a pastor, educator and nonprofit director. Republican Eric M. Rigard is a retired businessman. Five candidates are on the ballot. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Lori D. Wilson is listed on the ballot as a Democratic mayor and finance director running to represent Assembly District 11 (Vallejo). Recently, she won a special election to represent District 11, making her the incumbent. She has one opponent. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Ida Times-Green is a school board trustee. She is board president of the Sausalito-Marin City School District and is running to represent Assembly District 12 (Marin). She has three Democratic rivals. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Mia Bonta is the Assemblymember representing District 18 (Oakland). She is running for re-election unopposed. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Jennifer Esteen is a psychiatric registered nurse. She is on the ballot to represent Assembly District (20) Alameda. Her opponents are two Democrats and a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Maurice Goodman is a San Mateo County Community College District trustee. He is running to represent Assembly District 21 (San Mateo). He is running against five Democrats and a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Jon Wizard is a councilmember and housing policymaker. He is running to represent Assembly District 30 (San Luis Obispo). He is running against three Democrats and a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Marlon G. Ware is a university professor and director. He is also a retired U.S. Marine officer. He is running to represent Assembly District 36 (Imperial). He has two opponents. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D) currently representing the 56th Assembly District is on the ballot for this seat due to redistricting. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Chris Holden is an Assemblymember representing District 41 (Pasadena). He is running for re-election unopposed. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Jamie Swain is a truck driver and businesswoman. She is running to represent District 47 (Palm Springs). Her opponents are two Republicans and a Democrat. There is no incumbent on the ballot. This race is judged to be a tossup between the Republicans and Democrats.

Democrat Isaac G. Bryan is the Assemblymember representing District 55 (Los Angeles). He is the incumbent and has one opponent, a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Reggie Jones-Sawyer is the Assemblymember representing District 57 (Los Angeles). He is running for re-election unopposed. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Corey A Jackson is a Riverside County Board of Education member. He is running to represent Assembly District 60 (Moreno Valley). He has three opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Three Black candidates are running to represent Assembly District 61 (Inglewood). Democrat Tina Simone McKinnor is non-profit director and businesswoman. Democrat Robert Pullen-Miles is mayor of the City of Lawndale. Republican James Arlandus Spencer is an Environmental Consultant. Five candidates are on the ballot. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Mike Anthony Gipson is the Assemblymember for District 65 (Compton). He is running for re-election against one opponent. This is a solid Democratic district

Two Black candidates are on the ballot to represent Assembly District 69 (Long Beach). Democrat Al Austin II is a Long Beach councilmember. Democrat Janet Denise Foster is a healthcare administrator. Four Democratic candidates are running for the seat. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.

Democrat Akilah Weber is an assemblymember and doctor. She represents Assembly District 79 (La Mesa) and is running for re-election against two Republican opponents. This is a solid Democratic district.

In each contest for Senate and Assembly seats the two candidates receiving the most votes in the June 7 primary will move on to the Nov. 8 general election.

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