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“It Is Critical That We All Become Our Brother’s Keeper,” Say Speakers at Covenant Worship Center

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On the day set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., nearly 400 people packed into the sanctuary of Covenant Worship Center in Berkeley to both celebrate the day and to talk about securing the future for young Black men.

 

 

Among those who attended were actor Delroy Lindo, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks and Berkeley Councilmember Darryl Moore, listening to powerful spoken word artists, dancers and panelists who discussed some of the steps necessary to “Save Our Sons.”

 

The audience was comprised of young Black men, teenagers, parents, church members and representatives from sororities and fraternities including: Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Kappa Alpha Psi.

 

Bishop K.R. Woods

Bishop K.R. Woods

“One of the greatest tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy and holiday is to continue relevant forums such as the Save Our Sons event held today,” said Bishop K.R. Woods, pastor of Covenant Worship Center Church.

 

“Historically and currently a groundswell of change happens when people of color teach people of color their rights under the law,” he said.

 

A trio of attorneys and the uncle of Oscar Grant were the featured panelists for the event.

 

Paul Henderson, chief deputy chief of staff and public safety director for Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco, civil rights attorneys John Burris and Adante Pointer, and Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson talked about the current protests and tactics, and tips on dealing with the police.

 

When asked about the current movement and protests following the shooting deaths of young, Black men like Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner, Johnson said that he’s been asked to speak at events at Los Altos High School and churches in Marin County.

 

Spoken word artist Prentice Powell presented three poems that got the crowd clapping.

Spoken word artist Prentice Powell presented three poems that got the crowd clapping.

“This is not a moment in time. This is a movement,” he said. “We see everyone speaking to the issue of Black Lives Matter.”

 

Henderson agreed. “This has been going on for years and years and years, and people are realizing what the injustice is and are fed up,” he said.

 

When asked whether the protests across the country are making a difference, the panelists agreed – they are. Pointer said that when he presents to juries, he can tell they have seen the protests and videos like Eric Garner’s death.

 

“Now, when I have to communicate with jurors (about police brutality) it’s not like I’m starting from a blank slate,” he said.

Burris, who has represented a number of high-profile cases against various police agencies on behalf of clients like Oscar Grant, Rodney King and the late Tupac Shakur, said that since Michael Brown’s death, he has become part of seven new cases.

 

“What is happening now is a national consciousness about the movement and policy brutality,” Burris said.

 

Pointer, who works with Burris, said that African American young men are 21 times more likely than any other race to be gunned down.

 

“The question is how do we change this story,” he said.

 

Burris urged the young men present to be wise if they are stopped by police.

 

“You might be right – but you could be dead right,” he said. “I’d rather you live (through the incident) and come see me.”

 

Johnson urged the crowd to join with him and others in the struggle for justice.

 

“It is critical that we all become our brother’s keeper,” he said. “The change starts with us.”

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Activism

Rent Relief in California: Understanding the State’s Program and How You Can Apply

Based on income level, qualified applicants can receive assistance with unpaid rent and utilities and with future payments.

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Due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, paying rent has become a real struggle for millions of Californians. But help is available to renters and landlords through the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program. 

Based on income level, qualified applicants can receive assistance with unpaid rent and utilities and with future payments.

Funding comes from the $2.6 billion in federal emergency rental assistance provided to support both state and local rent relief programs in California. The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program isn’t the sole resource for rent relief for California renters and landlords; many cities and counties are either currently administering their own rent relief programs – or launching one soon.

Cities and counties with populations greater than 200,000 are employing one of three rent relief options: option A) the state-administered CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program; option B) a local city- or county-administered program using the same eligibility criteria as option A; and option C) a local city-or county-administered program using different eligibility criteria, in some cases, in combination with a portion administered by the state.

While the programs vary, the goals are the same: Keep people housed and provide quick assistance to those at the highest risk of eviction.

To simplify access to rent relief programs in California, the state launched HousingIsKey.com. The website directs renters and landlords to the programs that they may qualify for based on where they live. After applicants provide the address of their rental property (landlords) or their residents (renters), they are sent to a website where they can review eligibility criteria and complete an application. Applicants can also call the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center (833-430-2122) to find out which program to apply for and get help in a variety of languages.

Who’s eligible for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program

Renters who have suffered a financial hardship because of COVID-19 and are behind on rent or utilities (or need help paying upcoming bills) are eligible to apply. They must have an Area Median Income (AMI) below 80% for the county they live in (this amount is calculated for the applicant during the application process). Either a renter or a landlord can initiate an application, online or through the call center, and both are encouraged to participate to maximize the amount of assistance received. The state’s program is prioritizing applications from households at the highest risk of eviction – those under 50% of the Area Median Income.

Landlords participating in the program receive 80% of an eligible tenant’s unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, if they agree to waive the remaining 20% of unpaid rent. Renters whose landlords choose not to participate in the program can apply directly, and receive 25% of unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, which can help protect them from eviction under SB 91 if they pay that 25% directly to their landlords. Renters can also apply to receive financial assistance with future rent. They may also qualify for assistance with unpaid or future utility payments.

Applicant information is kept private. Renter’s information will not be shared with the landlord, and vice versa. Applicants may be eligible to participate in the program regardless of immigration status and proof of citizenship is not required. Rent relief assistance does not count as earned income and will not interfere with eligibility for any other state benefit assistance programs such as CalFresh.

The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program is supported through a $3 million public education and outreach campaign, which includes radio, digital media, out-of-home, and print advertising. Thousands of statewide community-based organizations, trade and industry groups and businesses have been enlisted to assist with outreach to communities most in need. The state has also allocated $24 million to support on-the-ground organizations to work directly with applicants in communities throughout the state. To make an appointment with a local organization, applicants are encouraged to call 833-687-0967.

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Bay Area

CupCakin Bakeshop in Berkeley

The menu features multiple tasty flavors of cupcakes daily, and the shop also offers catering services and online orders.

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CupCakin Bakeshop is a Back-owned bakery at 2391 Telegraph Ave. in  Berkeley, open from Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m.-7 p.m. for deliveries and takeout orders. 


The menu features multiple tasty flavors of cupcakes daily, and the shop also offers catering services and online orders. CupCakin Bakeshop  gives donations to different organizations and hospitals all over the Bay Area. Follow the shop on social media to learn more about the donations or take a glimpse of their yummy treats @CupCakinBakeShop Instagram page. Placeorders online at https://cupcakinbakeshop.com/

 

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Bay Area

TownConnect Initiative Wish Program Downpayment Assistance

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