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Community Steps Forward to Protect Holy Names University

The university has served the Oakland community for over 150 years. The student population is 37% Latino or Hispanic, 18% African American, 13% Asian and 21% white. One website summarized the university’s diversity, “The school has very high racial diversity – 79% of students are minorities or people of color (BIPOC).

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In an open letter in support of Holy Names, community and local political leaders pledged to support efforts to protect the school
In an open letter in support of Holy Names, community and local political leaders pledged to support efforts to protect the school

“It is vital to our community that Holy Names continue to be an independent university”

By Ken Epstein

The Faculty Senate of Holy Names University in Oakland voted unanimously this week to work collaboratively with community, civic and business leaders in the wake of simmering budget difficulties.

Already many community leaders and local politicians have come forward to volunteer to work with Holy Names to stabilize and protect the university’s long-term work as a major educational institution in Oakland for undergraduate students and training of teachers, nurses and administrators.  And community leaders have proposed a number of solutions to the financial problems.

The university has served the Oakland community for over 150 years. The student population is 37% Latino or Hispanic, 18% African American, 13% Asian and 21% white. One website summarized the university’s diversity, “The school has very high racial diversity – 79% of students are minorities or people of color (BIPOC).

Post Publisher Paul Cobb, who has been involved in several cooperative projects with the college said, “I’m concerned that Holy Names should not enter into a partnership like the one between Northeastern University and Mills, which destroyed existing Mills College programs and culture.”

In comments to the Post, a faculty member said the school has had decades of significant accomplishments but now needs new top leadership, because the current leadership has not done fund development or worked well with diverse communities.

Councilmembers Carroll Fife and Rebecca Kaplan are drafting a City Council resolution encouraging support and cooperation with Holy Names University.

Post Publisher Paul Cobb, who received an honorary doctorate degree from HNU has also been involved with several cooperative projects to raise funds for HNU said, “I’m concerned that Holy Names should not enter into a partnership like the one between Northeastern University and Mills, which destroyed existing Mills College programs and culture. The City of Oakland and Alameda County can’t afford to lose a vital part of our health and education infrastructure because closing HNU negatively impacts nursing, health workers and teacher graduation rates. The Mayor and city administrators were asleep at the wheel while chasing down and offering money to sports teams while Mills and HNU are being lost, due to our neglect,. We need the county supervisors, Senator Nancy Skinner and Assemblymember to join with the city council and community and save these Universities.”

In an open letter in support of Holy Names, community and local political leaders pledged to support efforts to protect the school:

“We are concerned with the future of Holy Names University,” the letter said. “This 154-year-old local Oakland institution is one of the most diverse four-year colleges in the country and it has educated thousands of Oakland young people.

“Its program for educating teachers is the best in the area; its nursing program is legendary; its sports program is robust; and its graduates include city council members, education leaders, entrepreneurs, and non-profit leaders.

“It is vital to our community that Holy Names continue to be an independent university, responsive to the needs of Oakland and surrounding communities, serving both graduates and undergraduates and expanding its service to more students.

“Toward that end we seek the participation of the government bodies, community-based organizations and individuals that represent Oakland, along with the students, faculty and administration of Holy Names.”

The open letter was signed by:

  • Rebecca Kaplan, Vice Mayor of the City of Oakland, At-large member of the City Council
  • Carroll Fife, Oakland City Council, District 3, and Holy Names 2022 Alumnus of the Year
  • Janani Ramachandran, Oakland City Council Member-Elect, District 4
  • Gay Plair Cobb, Alameda County Board of Education (ret)
  • Paul Cobb, publisher of the Oakland Post; Holy Names University Honorary Doctorate
  • Kitty Kelly Epstein, Ph.D., professor, Host of Education Today, KPFA 94.1 FM
  • Victor Littles, EdD, Merritt College program leader, and HNU Adjunct Faculty
  • Walter Riley, John George Democratic Club
  • Sheryl Walton, MPH, Community Organizer, Activist

 

Activism

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

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Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas
Lend A Hand Foundation Celebrates 25th Anniversary at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. On stage: KTVU Fox 2 Broadcasters Roberta Gonzales and Dave ClarkDance-A-Vision Founder, Carla Service, Vice Mayor Kimberly Mayfield-Lynch, California State Assemlbymember Mia Bonta and Lend A Hand Foundation Executive Director Dee Johnson with the Dance-A-Vision Dancers. Photo By Carla Thomas

By Carla Thomas

The Lend A Hand Foundation (LAHF) celebrated the 25th anniversary of the organization’s Stay In School Program on May 9 at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland.

Themed “Together We Can Empower Our Youth to Stay in School,” the event featured a pre-event reception featuring Oakland’s Kev Choice Ensemble.

The ensemble featured Oakland School for the Arts student, Ayo Brame, a 16-year-old, up-and-coming tenor saxophone jazz musician. The master and mistress of ceremonies were local broadcasters Dave Clark and Roberta Gonzales of KTVU Fox 2. Clark’s wife, Lucretia also supported the program.

A special appearance featured Dwayne Wiggins of Tony! Toni! Toné! on guitar, performing the group’s hit song “Anniversary” as guests dined on salmon, chicken, beef and vegetarian entrees prepared by the Food Network “Chopped” Champion, Chef Rashad Armstead of Oakland. California State Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Oakland) provided the keynote address and the Carla Service Dance-A-Vision youth dancers energetically performed a hip hop routine throughout the audience in white leotards as attendees clapped along. An auction led by Auctioneer Franco Finn assisted in raising funds for the organization with prizes that included a luxury resort vacation and other items.

LAHF presented District 5 Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and District 4 Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley with Lifetime Supporter Awards. LAHF presented the Trailblazer Award to Guy Richardson of Ernst and Young; Dante Green of Kaiser Permanente; Antioch Attorney Gordon Greenwood of the Kazan McClain Partner’s Foundation; and Sarah Yoell of PG&E.

Oakland Unified School District Superintendent, Dr. Kyla Trammel Johnson acknowledged LAHF’s impact.

“Each year, LAHF gives backpacks and school supplies to thousands of students across Oakland,” said Johnson. “In 2022 the effort topped 25,000 students. No matter the need, big or small, involving lots of students or just one, Lend A Hand is always there ready to make a difference in the lives of our young people.”

Founder and executive director of LAHF Dee Johnson took the stage as the DJ played the Sledge Sisters’ “We Are Family.”

Guests gave Johnson a standing ovation as she thanked supporters and presented many of them with gifts.

“It’s heartbreaking to know some children don’t have clothes or supplies for school,” said Johnson. “The babies really need our support and when we deliver supplies to them, it makes them really happy.”

Since the LAHF Annual Stay in School Program began in 1999, it has provided over 150,000 educational school supply kits to students throughout Alameda County, including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, and San Leandro, among other cities.

“This past August, we provided for over 12,000 students with supplies, with the help and support of our very generous donors,” said Johnson. “This year, we aim to do all we can to match that amount or provide even more.”

For more information visit: www.LendaHandFoundation.org

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Activism

Chef Cleaz and Mistah F.A.B. Host “You Still Have A Son” Mother’s Day Dinner

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland. The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

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Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.
Chef Cleaz, owner of Pierre Pierre Restaurant, and rapper and author Mistah F.A.B. announce special event "You Still Have Son" Mother's Day dinner. Photo Courtesy KTVU Channel 2.

By Carla Thomas

Oakland Chef Cleaz and Bay Area rapper, author Stanley Cox, aka Mistah F.A.B., hosted a Mother’s Day dinner on Monday, May 13, at Pierre Pierre, a restaurant in the Tribune building in downtown Oakland.

The restaurant was decorated with balloons and flowers for the event, and each mother received a bouquet of red roses.

Organized for mothers who have lost their children, for mothers in need of extra love on Mother’s Day, the event gave the hosts an opportunity to remember their own mothers while doing something special for over 100 mothers in the community.

Both men recounted the deep sense of grief they faced in the loss of their mothers and recognized the many mothers who have outlived their children.

“We were in my restaurant, and F.A.B. was having dinner and said he wanted to do something special but wasn’t sure what it would look like,” said Chef Cleaz. “We continued to brainstorm, and at first F.A.B. wanted to come up with ways to bring more business to my new restaurant and serve the community. But days later, F.A.B. came up with the idea for mothers.”

“In these tough times. we know life can get you down'” explained F.A.B. “And expect to lose a parent, but a parent should not lose their child, and with Mother’s Day around the corner, we decided to show moms in need of something special and extra love.”

F.A.B. also knew that Chef Cleaz had recently lost his mother, which made the idea even more appropriate to them.

So, the day after Mother’s Day, F.A.B. and Cleaz hosted “You Still Have A Son, Momma” at Pierre Pierre.

“We wanted moms to still feel appreciated under the covenant of family and love,” said F.A.B.

“I remember my mother being my rock,” said Cleaz. “My mom played a very important part in my life, and not having her anymore gave me the impetus to do something in her honor. She gave me a lot in her lifetime. F.A.B. offered to pay for the entire event, but I said, let’s collaborate.”

“My mom was my best friend, and on Mother’s Day I cry and listen to music so I can get the tears out. But I’m happy because I’m living my purpose, continuing to evolve as a man and father to Liberty and Legacy and continue making my mom proud.”

Initially, Cleaz and F.A.B. planned for 50 to 75 guests, but after they advertised the event via social media posts, the RSVP’s kept rolling in. At last count,120 mothers responded.

F.A.B. said he did not plan on turning anybody away if there were more guests. “If they’re coming, there is a void of love that they are coming for,” he said. Chef Cleaz’s staff donated their time, and entertainer Dyson the Voice brought his band and sang all night.

“We wanted to see all the beautiful women out there,” said F.A.B. “We wanted to see lots of beautiful smiles, faces, and we want the mothers to feel appreciated.”

F.A.B. said his sister Theresa lost her son and that he knows at a very personal level how deep the loss of a child is through her. “You never really get over the loss, you deal with it. You try to make life better for those around you.”

Pierre Pierre is located at 401 13th St. Owner Chef Cleaz is a renowned celebrity chef from the vibrant culinary scene of San Francisco. Born from humble beginnings, he has forged an extraordinary path to culinary stardom, exemplifying Black excellence with each delectable dish he creates.

A dedicated father and loving husband, his commitment to family values extends far beyond his home, as he tirelessly helps anyone he sees in need.

Chef Cleaz has built an empire rooted in his passion for food and a deep respect for cultural heritage. His vision is to establish a sanctuary of culinary artistry, where creole and soul food recipes take center stage. He aims to create a space that the community can proudly call its own, a place where shared meals become moments of togetherness and cultural celebration.

Through his culinary creations, he invites visitors to savor not just his delectable dishes but also the history, traditions, and stories that infuse every plate.

F.A.B. is an American songwriter, entrepreneur, community organizer, and activist whose music career began in the late 1990s when he was discovered by Jazzy Jim and Gary Archer. He was featured on a number of Mac Dre’s Thizz Nation mixtape compilations and quickly gained prominence in the San Francisco Bay Area Hyphy Movement.

F.A.B. is the owner of D.O.P.E. clothing store and other businesses. He is known for hosting community block parties, school supply giveaways, and holiday parties for the underserved. He also created Thug Therapy, a movement for men to receive mental health support, which inspired the work of another community organizer, the late Shantell Herndon, creator of FLY Girl Therapy and Healing Circles.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of May 15 – 21, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of May May 15 – 21, 2024

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