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COMTO Holiday Dinner and Scholarship Awards

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The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) of Northern California held its 16th Annual Holiday Dinner and Scholarship Awards at the Marriott City Center in downtown Oakland on December 6.

A VIP reception followed by dinner brought together individuals and organizations making outstanding contributions in transportation who seek to advance the careers of young people of color in the industry.

Senior executives from major transportation agencies representing  BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency), AC Transit (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit), VTA (Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, and MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) among others were in attendance. Organizational board members and elected officials also networked and celebrated excellence in the community.

“We are proud to award scholarships to this year’s outstanding students that will be at the forefront of our transforming transportation industry,” said COMTO president, Beverly Greene. “Solutions to the industry’s current challenges and strategies to capitalize on potential opportunities on the horizon are being developed and implemented by this year’s COMTO Industry award winners,” Greene is also the External Affairs, Marketing & Communications representative for AC Transit.

Scholarship recipients included Giovanni Smith, Sacramento State University; Aitran Doan, Stanford University and Miguel Rodriguez,  University of Pacific who received the Charter Merit Award. The Sharon Banks Scholarship was presented to Zaid Anwar, Sacramento State University and Yuritzi Zurate, UC Davis, received the Curtis Green Scholarship. The Rosa Parks Scholarship was presented to David Parsons, San Francisco State University.

According to Greene, the organization has awarded over $250,000 to deserving students of color.

“Our awardees have pursued higher education at colleges such as Stanford, Cal Berkeley, Mills College, Morehouse, Howard University, U.C. Davis and others,” said Greene. “The scholarship represents different cultural and socioeconomic experiences that will enrich the transportation industry.  A number of past scholarship awardees are now employed as professionals in both public and private sector organizations.”

COMTO Industry honorees included Chief Executive Officer Chris Iglesias of The Unity Council, who was presented the Advocacy Award for his dedication to improving the quality of life for residents in the largest Latino neighborhood in the Bay Area, Oakland’s Fruitvale District through an economic and intergenerational equity agenda.

The Minority Business Enterprise Award was presented to Laura Luster, founder president of L. Luster and Associates, for her management and outreach programs designed to enhance the utilization of minority and women-owned, disadvantaged, disabled veteran, local and small business enterprises.

The Emerging Young Leader Award went to Justin Montgomery, assistant resident engineer of  The Allen Group. The North Carolina A&T graduate served as the office engineer on a $143 million design-build project, the Long-Term Parking Garage for the San Francisco International Airport.

The Innovation Award was presented to Sahar Shirazi, a policy, and planning expert with extensive experience working with governments and planning organizations to bring about equitable outcomes for communities through transportation.

The President’s Leadership Award was presented to Dana Lang, owner of Dana Lang & Associates, for her more than 20 year of experience with government and transportation agencies. Lang initiated COMTO’s chapter scholarship program in 2004 and the chapter’s internship program, funded by the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) in 2005.

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Bay Area

BART to Require All Employees Get COVID-19 Vaccinations by December 13

All Bay Area Rapid Transit employees and contractors will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or prove their full vaccination status by mid-December under a policy the agency’s board adopted on October 14.

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COVID-19 mask requirements poster at the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station at 1365 Treat Boulevard in Walnut Creek, Calif. on March 5, 2021. (Samantha Laurey/Bay City News)

All Bay Area Rapid Transit employees and contractors will be required to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or prove their full vaccination status by mid-December under a policy the agency’s board adopted on October 14.
The policy — drafted by Board Directors Rebecca Saltzman, Lateefah Simon, Bevan Dufty and Janice Li — will require the full vaccination of BART’s employees and board members by December 13, save for those who have a valid medical or religious exemption.
The board also voted as part of the vaccination policy to direct BART General Manager Bob Powers to implement a vaccination requirement for the agency’s contractors and bargain with the agency’s labor unions to determine how employees who decline to get vaccinated will be handled.
“By adopting this policy today, nobody is getting fired tomorrow,” Li said. “No one is being forced to get the vaccine, but this policy states that being vaccinated is a condition of employment.”
Several board members framed the policy as a necessity to keep both the transit agency’s employees and its riders, particularly children under 12 who are not yet eligible for vaccination, protected against the virus.
BART officials estimated that around 20 to 25% of BART’s nearly 4,000 employees remain unvaccinated, which Board Director Mark Foley argued could lead to further outbreaks and potential service disruptions.
Foley also said that he is acutely empathetic to those hesitant to get vaccinated, noting that he opposed vaccination for “more than a decade” after his then-1-year-old daughter was diagnosed with autism.
Foley and his daughter are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, he said Thursday, and his daughter ultimately received her scheduled vaccinations when she entered high school after Foley said he “allowed science to lead” him and his wife.
“I can see where people come from,” he said. “I understand. Coming from that perspective, I had doubts, I had concerns. But I also allowed myself to be guided by experts. And I was not the expert, Google was not the expert, fake news was not the expert.”
The policy, as written and approved on October 14, does not include an option for frequent testing for those who decline to get vaccinated.
Board Director Debora Allen, the only board member to vote against adopting the policy, took issue with that and argued that the agency should not infringe on its employees’ medical decisions.
Allen added that she got fully vaccinated this summer after initially being skeptical that the vaccine’s protection would be more robust than the antibodies she acquired from contracting the virus.
“I think each person should have the right to research and make their own medical decisions as I did without threats from their employer of losing their job,” she said. “So, I come down on the side of every person making their own choice as to these medical treatments.”
Foley noted that while the policy adopted October 14 does not include a testing component, it does not prevent the addition of such a component during bargaining discussions between Powers and BART’s labor unions.
“This policy allows for labor to negotiate over how to protect their members … It puts the power in the labor leaders’ hands and the general manager to craft a document that helps us move forward,” he said. “So, I’m going to put my faith in their hands that they can come up with something that meets their needs.”
Under federal health guidelines, all BART riders and employees will still be required to wear a face covering when in a BART station or on a BART train, regardless of their vaccination status.

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Arts and Culture

Voices & Visions of Change ™ Scholarship Fundraiser Online Art Sale for AAMLO

The Friends-Stewards of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Friends-Stewards of AAMLO), a 501(c)(3) organization, is excited to host Voices & Visions of Change ™ Scholarship Fundraiser Online Art Sale from October 1–16, 2021.

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Friends-Stewards of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland/Facebook

The Friends-Stewards of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Friends-Stewards of AAMLO), a 501(c)(3) organization, is excited to host Voices & Visions of Change ™ Scholarship Fundraiser Online Art Sale from October 1–16, 2021.

East Bay award winning painter and sculptor Lawrence H. Buford will present individual Giclee (18” x 24”), Limited Edition, S/N-25, prints of the Honorable Shirley A. Chisholm, U.S. House of Representatives, rendered in graphite and the Honorable John Lewis, U.S. House of Representatives, rendered in watercolor. 

Each beautiful portrait is unframed, printed on conservation grade paper, and accompanied with a Certificate of Authenticity.

For your viewing pleasure, the portraits will be on exhibit starting October 1-16, 2021, at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO), 659 14th St., Oakland, CA 94612, during the hours of operation Mon. – Thurs. 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Fri. Noon – 5:30 p.m. and Sat. 10:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Buford’s art work was recently displayed in the exhibition titled “Men of Valor” held at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO), January 2019 through September 2019.

This Online Scholarship Fundraiser will help to protect and preserve our cultural and artistic treasures and the stories of our shared history. Your support will enable us to establish pathways to lifelong learning, to inspire, uplift, and educate our community about African American History & Culture for present and future generations.

To support our scholarship fundraiser, please visit https://www.artbylawrence.com/scholarship-fundraiser/ for more information about the portraits available for purchase.

To DONATE or to become a member of the Friends-Stewards of African American Museum and Library at Oakland (Friends-Stewards of AAMLO), please visit our website at www.friendsstewardsofaamlo.org

Please join us to make this event a success!

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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Bay Area

Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church Celebrates Centennial Oct. 24

Our speaker will be Pastor Anthony Jenkins, Sr. The worship service can be accessed by logging on Taylor’s website at www.taylorumc.org. We hope that you can join us in celebrating our 100 years of serving God and the community of Oakland.

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Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Photo courtesy of their website

On Oct. 24, 2021, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church will celebrate 100 years of Christian service in the City of Oakland, California. Our church is located at 1188 12th Street, Oakland, CA 94607.

Taylor Memorial Episcopal Church was the first African American church of its denomination in Northern California.  The Charter was granted on Oct. 29, 1921, and was the direct result of years of prayer, sacrifice, and determination by our 22 founders. In 1968, the church became a United Methodist Church by a denominational merger.

Pastor, Anthony Jenkins, Sr., Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church By Troy Belton

The church was founded by a group of Christian Warriors with a thirst for spreading the word of God and providing inspiration and love for all who wished to join their mission to serve, educate, demonstrate and promote the teachings of God.

We are unable to celebrate this momentous milestone as we have in the past. However, we will use the technology available and rely on God’s help in making our celebration a success. Our deepest sympathy to those families who lost loved ones to the COVID-19 virus. Let’s continue to pray for those families whose lives have been impacted and changed forever.

Taylor Church has been a beacon of hope, inspiration, outreach, and spiritual leadership in Oakland and the Bay Area. Over the years our membership has grown and included dedicated members from all races including a former Mayor of the City of Oakland, city council members, professional athletes, entertainers, and many other celebrities.

Founders’ Day and the 100th Anniversary Celebration will be held on Sunday, October 24, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. via YouTube. The theme is “Serving Others – Doing God’s Will.”

Our speaker will be Pastor Anthony Jenkins, Sr. The worship service can be accessed by logging on Taylor’s website at www.taylorumc.org. We hope that you can join us in celebrating our 100 years of serving God and the community of Oakland.

Our service will include Broadway songwriter Rahn Coleman on music, Beth Eden’s praise dancers, special greetings, and inspirational preaching. For further information please call 510-444-6162.

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