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Delta Sigma Theta Prepares Young Women to Be “Pearls of Perfection”

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One by one, nearly a dozen 16- and 17-year-old girls stood at the podium to declare how wonderful their mothers are and to express how their Moms have helped them blossom into smart, powerful young ladies.

 

 

“I simply love my Mom’s courage,” said Klarc Abrams, a 16-year-old junior at St. Mary’s High School in Berkeley before she introduced her mother Gina. “I know with this courage that she’s instilled that I can do anything.”

As the young ladies spoke, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

“It is important that you look at your mothers’ strength,” said Darrylyn Z. Swift, president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.’s Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter told the teens during a Mother-Daughter Tea event on May 4. “Your mothers have lived the lives that you’re trying to live. Learn from their pearls of wisdom.”

Swift’s reference to pearls was intentional because the 12 girls are being polished, poised and prepared to become “Pearls of Perfection” through their participation in the sorority’s debutante program.

Nearly 100 women and young ladies in floral attire with hats, and some sporting pastel gloves, attended the Mother-Daughter Tea at the Crowne Plaza in Concord.

It was the first public speaking event for the young ladies as part of their multi-faceted training program on the road to becoming refined young ladies. The girls represent a cross-section of the Bay Area.

They are all high school juniors. Some are athletic, some are shy, others are the life of the party. Some travel from as far as Stockton and Vacaville to participate in the monthly workshops and events.

“We realize that these young ladies are the future – future leaders, doctors, lawyers and presidents. And we’re living up to our mission as members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to both give back to the community and to support the growth and development of these young ladies,” said Swift.

“We also get to touch the lives of young men because we include the 12 debutantes’ escorts in various workshops and events. This is a beautiful learning experience for both our young women and young men. “

The Pearls of Perfection program began in with the goal of giving a chance to young ladies to engage in etiquette and social graces workshops with an additional emphasis on college readiness, Swift said. The program is not all work, the young ladies travel together, they have fun together and they are already forming lifetime bonds.

The yearlong program includes workshops on etiquette, life skills enhancement, college preparation and community involvement. The debutantes have also toured several University of California campuses. They will also participate in a talent and fashion show in September, a Father-Daughter social, and a community service project in December.

The program culminates with a huge Debutante Cotillion in January 2015. Then the program begins again for the 2015-16 season with a new set of debutantes – three of whom are already participating this year as “Ladies in Waiting.”

“We want to continue the program every year so that we can reach as many young people as possible,” Swift said.

For more information about the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter’s Debutante and Program and Cotillion and how to apply and participate please “like” the Facebook page – Contra Costa Alumnae Chapter Debutante Program or check the website at www.ccacdebutante.com.

Commentary

City Government: Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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First in a Series on Jobs in Oakland

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.

The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.

Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”

Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.

And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.

And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.

As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.

Oakland, we can do  better than this.

We must.

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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Community

‘A Way Out of No Way:’ EP Honors Black Shipyard Workers

Youth from Marin City created a musical tribute to Black workers from the Marinship Shipyard called “The Marinovators – A Way Out of No Way.”

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Top left to right: Jaliyah Cook, Sarah Williams, Dominiq Austin, Camron McDonald, Raymone Reed, and Tayana Bland. Bottom left to right: Brenda Lara, Bella Lucky, Mykolas Vilatis, Jahi, Mason Le, and Briana Zuniga. Rohan Ayyar is not shown.

Youth from Marin City created a musical tribute to Black workers from the Marinship Shipyard called “The Marinovators – A Way Out of No Way.”

The Marinovators are a group of young people from Marin City and other parts of the Bay Area who came together to lift up the lost stories of Black workers at the Marinship shipyard in Sausalito during World War II, according to their press release.  They created a six-song extended play record (EP) titled “The Marinovators /A Way Out of No Way,” which also featured songs like “Wonder Women Workers” and “Equality” in a “Hamilton-ish” hip-hop style. 

The songs from the EP highlighted Ms. Annie Small, Ms. Rodessa Battle, Rev. Leon Samuels, and Joseph James. Joseph James was instrumental in changing the laws of the union at the Marinship shipyard by going to the Supreme Court with the help of Thurgood Marshall in 1944.

The project will also feature a Virtual Reality experience to be released in October 2021. Oakland-based artist Jahi co-wrote and arranged the EP.  Chris Jeffries engineered, recorded and mixed it at The Marinovation Center in Novato. It was produced by Configa for Configaration Records.

Collaborators include XR LostStories, Performing Stars of Marin, California State Library’s CREi Initiative, The Marin County Free Library, Marin Office of Education, Microphone Mechanics, John MacLeod, Felecia Gaston of  Marin Performing Stars, Anita Gail Jones, Leslie Pelle, and Tim Bartolf.

The sponsors include the Milagro Foundation, the TomKat Foundation, and the Marin County Office of Education.

The EP was released on Sept. 4, 2021 and is available now for streaming on Spotify and iTunes. To listen to the “A Way Out of No Way” video, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyQdXEpRQuA

 

The Marin County Post’s coverage of local news in Marin 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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Art

Healing Through Art at West Oakland’s Alena Museum

The Alena Museum is a Black-led, 501(c) 3 non-profit that provides services in health and wellness through experience installations, Black sanctuary gardens, community space access, and an Art Residency (mentorship).

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The Alena Museum/Photo Courtesy of Alena Museum Facebook

Development has come at the cost of Black health, land ownership and belonging.

The Alena Museum in Oakland gives African American residents a way to heal through the medium of art “by providing critical, safe spaces for the African diaspora the Black community can express and cultivate their cultural identity in the face of gentrification. 

The Alena Museum is a Black-led, 501(c) 3 non-profit that provides services in health and wellness through experience installations, Black sanctuary gardens, community space access, and an Art Residency (mentorship).

Through the group’s public art activism, they teach cultural preservation and cultivation with an Afrofuturism ownership model to promote cultural equity with the goal to reclaim urban landscape and gain creative control in real estate development. Through restorative justice art, the Alena Museum educates the community on urban planning; how it works and how to become involved. 

The Alena Museum’s most recent project, “Magnolia Street” began in March of 2020. According to the website, “Magnolia Street is an experiential installation following Alena Museum’s land libration journey. From holding space for African Diaspora creatives, to confronting gentrification in practice, the story of Magnolia Street channels the spirit of Oakland’s Black Resistance movement into the present through Alena Museum’s eyes. Our story roots Black Power into any land we activate, including this one.”

The Alena Museum was evicted from their 8th Street site in West Oakland and is now located at 2725 Magnolia St, Oakland, CA 94607. 

If you would like to reach out to the Alena Museum you can email them at info@alenamuseum.org. To check out the latest, visit them on Instagram and Facebook. If you would like to support their vision, visit the support page.

Information in this article was sourced from the Alena Museum website. 

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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