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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Issues Statement on Biden High-Speed Internet Deal

“Here in the East Bay, access to high-speed internet is a matter of racial justice and equity,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). “This became especially clear during the pandemic, when many Oakland kids were not able to participate in remote learning simply because they did not have internet access at home.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) (Photo: Barbara Lee speaking at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco, California. / George Skidmore / Wikipedia Commons)
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) (Photo: Barbara Lee speaking at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention in San Francisco, California. / George Skidmore / Wikipedia Commons)

By Alex Katz

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) issued the following statement on May 10 celebrating the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), the Biden Administration’s effort to make high-speed internet cheaper, faster, and more widely available.

“Here in the East Bay, access to high-speed internet is a matter of racial justice and equity,” Lee said. “This became especially clear during the pandemic, when many Oakland kids were not able to participate in remote learning simply because they did not have internet access at home.

“The Oakland Unified School District connected 98% of its students to high-speed internet during the pandemic, giving out 36,000 laptops and 11,500 hotspots. That effort is commendable, and it needs to be repeated across our country. It is critical that we help close the economic and educational gap created by lack of affordable internet service. The ACP is a step in the right direction towards equitable internet access for all.”

On Monday, President Biden and Vice President Harris announced that they have secured private sector commitments that will lower high-speed internet costs for millions of families.

As part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Congress and the White House worked to create the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which allows tens of millions of American households to reduce their internet service costs by up to $30/month (or $75/month on Tribal lands).

To ensure the most efficient use of those public dollars and to deliver maximum cost savings to families, the Biden-Harris Administration has secured commitments from 20 leading internet providers — covering more than 80% of the U.S. population across urban, suburban, and rural areas — to either increase speeds or cut prices, making sure they all offer ACP-eligible households high-speed, high-quality internet plans for no more than $30/month.

From large providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon serving dozens of states, to smaller providers serving rural areas like Jackson Energy Authority in Tennessee and Comporium in North Carolina, the commitments will allow tens of millions of ACP-eligible households to receive high-speed internet at no cost.

For details on how you can sign up for ACP and find participating internet providers in their area, go to: GetInternet.gov

Alex Katz works in Rep. Barbara Lee’s communications office.

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Barbara Lee

California ’22 Primary Election: Black Candidates Running for U.S. House of Representatives

California’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representative will have 52 members in the next Congress. While it is the still the largest delegation, one seat was lost due to a decline in population count from the 2020 U.S. census. Congressional district population following the 2020 census is about 761,169 people.

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Top left to right: Barbara Lee, Sydney Kamlager, Maxine Waters; Bottom: Jan C. Perry, William Moses Summerville, Tamika Hamilton
Top left to right: Barbara Lee, Sydney Kamlager, Maxine Waters; Bottom: Jan C. Perry, William Moses Summerville, Tamika Hamilton

By Joe W. Bowers Jr., California Black Media

Election offices have begun sending out vote-by-mail ballots for the June 7, 2022, primary elections in California. Statewide, voters will discover that Black candidates for United States House of Representative seats are over-represented on their ballots.

California Black Media (CBM) is reporting that 18 Black candidates are running for 14 U.S. House seats. Eleven are registered as Democrats and seven are running as Republicans. Nine are women and nine are men.

Although African Americans are 5.8% of California residents, Black candidates are on ballots for 26.9% of the U.S. House seats.

California’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representative will have 52 members in the next Congress. While it is the still the largest delegation, one seat was lost due to a decline in population count from the 2020 U.S. census. Congressional district population following the 2020 census is about 761,169 people.

A consequence of losing a U.S. House seat is that district boundaries have been redrawn by the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission (CCRC) and many district numbers have been reassigned.

For example, Rep. Barbara Lee, one of the three Black members of the California delegation, currently represents House District 13 and is running to represent District 12. However, the district numbers for the other Black representatives, Maxine Waters (District 43), who is running for re-election, and Karen Bass (District 37), who has decided to run for mayor of Los Angeles have not changed.

The Black candidates running for Congress are:

Democrat Kermit Jones is a Navy veteran and an internal medicine doctor who has a law degree. He is running to represent District 3 (Yuba). He is running against three opponents in a district that leans Republican. No current member of Congress is on the ballot for this race.

Republican Jimih L. Jones is a parts advisor for a car dealership. He is running to represent District 4 (Napa). He has five opponents in a solidly Democratic district. Rep. Mike Thompson (D) is running in this race.

Republican Tamika Hamilton, a former Air Force sergeant, is running to represent District 6 (Fair Oaks).  She has six opponents in a solidly Democratic district. Rep. Ami Bera (D) is running in this race.

Two Black candidates are in the competition to represent District 12 (Oakland). Democrat Barbara Lee is a current member of Congress representing District 13 (Oakland). Democrat Eric Wilson is a nonprofit organization Employee. Five candidates are on the ballot. This is a solidly Democratic district.

Republican Brian E. Hawkins is a councilmember and pastor. He is running to represent District 25 (Riverside). He has four opponents in a solidly Democratic district. Rep. Raul Ruiz (D) is running in this race.

Democrat Quaye Quartey is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, veteran, and entrepreneur. He is running to represent District 27 (Santa Clarita). He has five opponents. This district is predicted to be a toss-up for Democrats and Republicans. Rep. Mike Garcia (R) is running in this race.

Republican Ronda Kennedy is a Civil Rights attorney. She is running to represent District 30 (Burbank). She has eight opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Adam Schiff (D) is running in this race.

Democrat Aarika Samone Rhodes is a teacher. She is running to represent District 32 (Sherman Oaks). She has six opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Brad Sherman (D) is running in this race.

Republican Joe E. Collins III is a retired Navy sailor. He is running to represent District 36 (Torrance). He has seven opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D) is running in this race.

Three Black candidates are running to represent District 37 (Los Angeles). Democrat Jan C. Perry is a community investment executive and former Los Angeles city councilmember. Democrat Sydney Kamlager is a California State senator. Democrat Daniel W. Lee is mayor of Culver City.  Seven candidates are on the ballot. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Karen Bass (D) currently represents this district.

Republican Aja Smith is a small business owner. She is running to represent District 39 (Moreno Valley). She has six opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Mark Takano (D) is running in this race.

Democrat William Moses Summerville is a pastor and hospice chaplain. He is running to represent District 42 (Long Beach). He has seven opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. No current member of Congress is on the ballot for this race.

Two Black candidates are on the ballot to represent District 43 (Los Angeles). Democrat Maxine Waters is a member of Congress representing this district. Republican Allison Pratt is a youth advocate and mother. Four candidates are running for the seat. This is a solid Democratic district.

Democrat Morris Falls Griffin is a maintenance technician. He is running to represent District 44 (San Pedro). He has two opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D), a current member of Congress, is running in this race.

In the June 7 primary election, the two candidates receiving the most votes — regardless of party preference — move on to the Nov. 8 general election. If a candidate receives a majority of the vote (at least 50% plus 1) a general election still must be held.

The Black candidates winning the general election will serve in the 118th Congress and be sworn in next January.

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Barbara Lee

IN MEMORIAM: Tribute to the Late Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James’ patience and foresight helped individuals to discern their calling to the ministry. Some became pastors because they were properly trained, tutored and mentored in the meaning of godly service to others.

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Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church

By Rev. Dr. Martha C. Taylor

Maya Angelou’s iconic poem “When Great Trees Fall” is a reminder of the impact that a person has on the lives of others during their lifetime.

Rev. Dr. Gillette O. James, pastor emeritus, Beth Eden Baptist Church was called from labor to reward on April 20, 2022, leaving a huge void in the Bay Area after serving for 46 years as senior pastor. He was an honored senior statesman and distinguished iconic figure.

Pastor James joined the Beth Eden community in 1970 as an assistant pastor. A year later, he accepted the call to lead the congregation after the retirement of Pastor A.C. Dones. Dr. James became the 12th pastor of Beth Eden, also known as the “Mother Church” because it was the first Black Baptist church in Oakland and also a historic flagship church in Alameda County.

Dr. James was born in Dominica, West Indies. He immigrated to the United States in 1955, and later met his beautiful wife, the late Dr. Rosa V. Ferguson, in Ohio. She was a renowned educator in the Bay Area and formerly with the Progressive National Baptist Convention as noted by Dr. Vinchael Booth.

They remained married for 55 years until her death in 2017. They have one daughter, Jennifer Muhammad. Dr. James was a great soul. He was not only a pastor, he was an educator, author, community leader, justice warrior, humanitarian champion, voice for the voiceless, and a moving force for civil rights in the Bay Area.

Pastor James was a strong advocate for the role of women in church leadership positions. At one point, he was ousted from the California State Baptist Convention for his strong stance on women’s involvement in the ministry. He was later restored and continued to license and ordain numerous women in the clergy ministry.

Bay Area pastors looked up to Dr. James as a ‘pastor’s pastor’ and mentor. For him, life had endless possibilities. Dr. James had a reputation for keeping churches united. Under his leadership, Beth Eden maintained strong relationships with other churches and denominations including Taylor United Methodist, Bethlehem Lutheran and Antioch Missionary Baptist churches during the Thanksgiving season.

Dr. James was one of the rare persons who reached the summit of life because he believed in God’s word: “Thou Will be Done on Earth.” Doing God’s will on earth was about helping others along the way.

With the help of able-bodied members, Beth Eden built 54 senior housing units, purchased single-family housing and a triplex near the church for low-income families, fed the hungry, distributed groceries in the community.

Under his visionary leadership, a new family life center, with gymnasium and a daycare facility started construction and has been completed under the leadership of Dr. Dwight Webster, current pastor.

Dr. James showed a great appreciation for Black History, both from a religious as well as a cultural perspective. Beth Eden provided free office space to the first Black Adoption Agency in the Bay Area in its early days.

At one point, Beth Eden was named Oakland’s Teaching Church of the Year by the Berkeley School of Theology, formerly known as American Baptist Seminary of the West. Dr. James served on the seminary’s trustee board, was an adjunct professor at the seminary, bringing new ways of bridging theological training to the everyday lives of people.

Dr. James’ patience and foresight helped individuals to discern their calling to the ministry. Some became pastors because they were properly trained, tutored and mentored in the meaning of godly service to others. Dr. James authored “Through Toils and Snares-A Preacher Testifies.”

In this book, we get a glimpse of Dr. James’ life prior to his call to ministry at Beth Eden. Dr. James served two years in the military as Chaplain Assistant with numerous military attire photos. He was ordained in San Francisco at the Greater New St. John Missionary Baptist Church; one month later he and his wife were the key organizers of Grace Baptist Church, San Francisco. Drs. Gillette and Rosa James purchased a beautiful home on Havenscourt Boulevard, a tree-lined street in East Oakland where they loved entertaining the deacon and deaconess boards, often having them over for dinner and fellowship.

On March 13, 2017, Congresswoman Barbara Lee honored Dr. James in the House of Representatives on the occasion of his retirement as Pastor of Beth Eden. Dr. James legacy will never die. The current pastor, Rev. Dwight Webster, PhD, is a former son of Beth Eden, who was mentored by Dr. James.

The Homegoing celebration for Dr. James will be held Monday, May 16, 2022, at Beth Eden Baptist Church at 1183 Tenth St. in Oakland at 11 a.m.

COVID protocols will be observed and everyone must wear a mask.

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Barbara Lee

Rep. Barbara Lee Disappointed as Senate Fails to Pass Women’s Health Protection Act

“There has never been a more important time for Congress to step up and protect the right to an abortion,” said U.S. Rep. Lee, co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “Recent efforts by the Supreme Court to abandon 50 years of precedent and deny the American public their constitutional right to reproductive autonomy is alarming.

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U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Pro- Choice Caucus.
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Pro- Choice Caucus.

By Sean Ryan

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Pro- Choice Caucus, released a statement on the failure of the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) — legislation that protects the right to access abortion nationwide — in the Senate on May 11.

This legislation safeguards abortion rights against the barrage of state-based attacks and provides a bulwark against the anticipated Supreme Court action to strike down or erode the protections established in Roe v. Wade and failed by a vote of 49-51 in the Senate.

“There has never been a more important time for Congress to step up and protect the right to an abortion,” said U.S. Rep. Lee, co-chair of the House Pro-Choice Caucus. “Recent efforts by the Supreme Court to abandon 50 years of precedent and deny the American public their constitutional right to reproductive autonomy is alarming.

“Wealthy Americans will always have access to abortion, and the impacts of a decision overturning Roe v. Wade will fall hardest on individuals who already face barriers to accessing care, specifically people with low incomes, and Black and brown women. The Senate’s failed passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act has made it clear that anti-abortion politicians will not stop at Roe v. Wade. They are committed to controlling people’s personal healthcare decisions.

“We cannot go back to the days before Roe v. Wade. We must fight with everything we have to protect our reproductive freedoms. As the Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus, I’m going to continue working with my colleagues to find a pathway toward safeguarding our decades old constitutional right to reproductive choice. The public is on our side, we just need to muster up the political will to get it done. This fight is not over.”

Sean Ryan is a member of the media relations office in Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s office.

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