Connect with us

Economy

Dozens Speak Out on Fight for $15 Legislation

WASHINGTON INFORMER —  Kara Brummell works five days a week assisting adults with mental and physical disabilities to help them seek employment.

Published

on

By William J. Ford

ANNAPOLIS — Kara Brummell works five days a week assisting adults with mental and physical disabilities to help them seek employment.

Sometimes Brummell must budget at least $60 a week for gas to drive clients around to various businesses along the Eastern Shore. Personally, she receives less than $15 an hour taking care of her 3-year-old son as she resides with her brother and his family.

“I’ve been hit, I’ve been cursed at, I’ve had people run away from me,” said Brummell, 33, an employee transition specialist. “But I’ve built trust with them and their families. It’s important work me and my colleagues do.”

Brummell and dozens of direct support professionals, health care workers, advocates and others testified Friday for proposed legislation to gradually increase Maryland’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Economic Matters Chairman Dereck Davis (D-District 25) of Mitchellville said 174 people registered to speak at the hearing.

The designated slogan, “Fight for $15,” almost became a reality last year but a version in the more conservative Senate didn’t move forward. With about one-third of the Senate changed this year, it’s believed the long-awaited legislation may finally pass.

A standing-room-only crowd filled the hearing room with more outside wearing  “Fight for $15” buttons. Other sported red T-shirts that read, “Save our Tip$.”

The minimum wage in Maryland increased to $10.10 in July.

According to the draft legislation, the minimum wage would gradually increase this way:

• $11.50 per hour starting July 1, 2020.

• $13 per hour starting July 1, 2021.

• $14 per hour starting July 1, 2022.

• $15 per hour starting July 1, 2023.

Tipped wages would also gradually increase to $15 an hour for employees who receive more than $30 each month in tips.

Dissenters such as Delegate Seth Howard (R-Anne Arundel County) said small-business owners he’s spoke to are scared the legislation could force them to lay off workers.

“The conversations I am having is not about profit. It’s not about economics. It’s a genuine fear being able to offer those jobs,” said Howard, who owns Broadleaf Tobacco and Smoke Shop in Severna Park. “As an employer myself, I understand that fear. I’ve had to look at people I like very much and say, ‘I’m sorry.’ That’s a disgusting feeling.”

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, one of the first people to testify in support of the minimum wage increase, had a response.

“This is not easy,” she said while sitting beside Delegate Diana Fennell (D-District 47A), sponsor of the legislation. “We’re not saying it’s convenient. We’re saying it’s the right thing to do. It’s not that we don’t recognize that this is difficult. We’re saying in many instances this is a moral issue.”

Some support the measure, but with amendments.

Sally McMillan Guy, associate director of state affairs for John Hopkins University in Baltimore, requested $15 hourly wage be implemented one year later by 2024 to give businesses more time.

A provision in the bill prohibits an employer to take adverse actions against an employee that includes “a reduction or change in work hours.”

“Many of our workers are shift workers … who change hours all the time,” Guy said after testifying. “We are not for adverse action, but we think it’s a step too far.”

The hearing, which started just after 12:30 p.m., continued beyond 5 p.m.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

African American News & Issues

Jobs, Mental Health, Gun Violence: Cal Leaders Discuss Helping Black Men and Boys

Services include criminal record expungement for some marijuana-related crimes; job training and placement help; mental health treatment; addiction services; housing placement and more.

Published

on

Young Black Boy Reading a Book, Stock Photo courtesy of California Black Media

The California Assembly’s Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color held a meeting last month that brought legislators face-to-face with community organizers to discuss investing in African American and other youth of color in a “post-pandemic California.”

Introducing the various panelists, committee chair Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), who is a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus, spoke about the bipartisan nature of the committee’s goals.

He said people from different backgrounds and political perspectives reach agreement when talking about the plight of youth of color because their conversations are based on hard numbers.

In California, per capita, Black men and boys are incarcerated more than any other group; are unhoused more than any other group; are affected by gun violence more than any other group; and in public schools, Black children’s standardized test scores fall only above children with disabilities.

“One of the things that brings both sides of the aisle together is data. What we would like to see is either internal audits or accountability measures to show that your numbers are not only successful but you’re keeping data over a period of time showing your success rate,” Jones-Sawyer said.

Committee vice-chair Assemblymember Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale), a Republican, agreed with this assertion.

“I am looking forward to the instruction that we’re going to get today,” Lackey said. “This is a part of our population that deserves the attention and a much stronger effort than has been displayed in the past.”

The first topic discussed during this meeting was gun violence, as panelists towed the line between cracking down on gun violence and preventing the over-policing of communities of color.

“How can we do this without returning to a punitive approach that grows the prisons, the jails and the criminalization of our community without achieving the public safety we so desire,” asked the Rev. Michael McBride who is known in the Bay Area as “Pastor Mike.” McBride is a social justice advocate and the national director for Urban Strategies/LIVE FREE Campaign with the Faith in Action Network.

The meeting was an opportunity for participants representing community-based organizations to share ideas with legislators with the hope of influencing their decision-making.

As of 2019, California had the seventh-lowest firearm mortality rate in the country. But with the state’s large population of almost 40 million people – the largest in the country — that still equated to 2,945 deaths that year.

“As everyone knows, there are probably too many guns in too many people’s hands who should never probably ever have guns,” Jones-Sawyer said.

Jones-Sawyer addressed the racial element of victims of gun violence in America.

“Many of those individuals were Latino and African American so it behooves us that post-pandemic, we need to figure out what we’re doing, what we need to do if we want to protect our boys and men of color,” Jones-Sawyer said.

He also offered up part of a solution.

“This year we need to infuse the California Violence Intervention and Prevention grant program (CalVIP) with a large sum. We did put in money for a large sum to fund the work that we so desperately need to get not only guns off the street but out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

The second topic on the agenda was post-pandemic mental health care.

Le Ondra Clark Harvey, chief executive officer of the California Council of Community Behavioral Health Agencies, spoke on the intersectional nature of mental health issues in communities of color.

“Historically, Black and Indigenous people of color (BIPOC) communities’ mental health and substance abuse disorder services have been impacted by several factors including access to treatment, cultural beliefs and stigma,” she said.

Largely, Clark Harvey said mental health treatment for BIPOC people has not been preventative.

“When BIPOC individuals do seek help, it tends to be at a time of crisis; at an emergency room, a psychiatric hospital or due to some type of interaction with law enforcement,” Harvey said.

She also spoke about the increase in opioid use, suicide and calls to crisis hotlines for boys and men of color.

Two of the programs in California mentioned during the meeting that are making headway on mental health problems facing Black men and boys are COVID-19 Black, an organization dedicated to lessening the effects the pandemic has had on the Black community, and Strong Family Home Visiting Program, a Los Angeles County-based program that provides in-home family support services.

Wraparound service approaches to care were also discussed as a way to shift “focus away from a traditional service-driven, problem-based approach to care and instead follows a strengths-based, needs-driven approach,” according to the California Department of Social Services.

The last topic of discussion was on career pathways and building generational wealth for communities of color.

Tara Lynn Gray, director of the California Office of the Small Business Advocate, highlighted that most of the disparities in communities of color can be traced to economics.

“Some of the challenges facing boys and men of color stem from economic challenges in their communities and lack of investment for years prior to this administration,” Gray said.

“The pandemic induced economic hardships that we’ve experienced have exacerbated those issues with many businesses closing their doors and roughly 40% of Black and Latinx businesses closed,” Gray continued.

Gray claimed that it is not all doom and gloom, however, as she mentioned what the state has done to assuage these disparities.

“The good news about the challenges we have seen is that our leadership, both in the administration and in the Legislature, have created access to programs, resources and financial assistance for small businesses to help with economic recovery and make an impact on some of the challenges facing boys and men of color,” Gray said.

Gray also spoke about investing in business opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.

Through the California Reinvestment Grant Program CalCRG, for example, the state has been directly funding community-based organizations across California to expand job and re-entry programs for Black and other men of color who were impacted by the “War on Drugs.”

Services include criminal record expungement for some marijuana-related crimes; job training and placement help; mental health treatment; addiction services; housing placement and more.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Castlemont High Coach Launches “Books Before Balls” Project

Tamikia McCoy, an Oakland Athletic League phenomena in 1991 – 1993, dominated girls’ basketball, becoming a walk-on at Grambling to win the Southern Western Conference of 1993-1994.  

Published

on

Tamikia McCoy/Photo Courtesy of Tanya Dennis

 

Michael Franklin

Tamikia McCoy, an Oakland Athletic League phenomena in 1991 – 1993, dominated girls’ basketball, becoming a walk-on at Grambling to win the Southern Western Conference of 1993-1994.  

For two years, she played with the Running Rebels, an Oakland all-star basketball team.  After earning many degrees, McCoy returned to her beloved Castlemont as Coach in 2019, and quickly realized a responsibility to her students beyond winning games and created Books Before Balls.

Another Castlemont alumni of that same year was not as fortunate as McCoy.  Like McCoy, Michael Franklin was a basketball beast.  He was awarded first team All-City for the Oakland Athletic League 1993-1994 and was Northern California’s All American that same year. 

Franklin continues to hold the record for scoring 43 points in one quarter in a game against McClymonds. Tragically, he was killed Dec. 14, 2016, at a gas station at 98th and Edes in Oakland.

Coach McCoy’s concerns about violence inspired her to create the Books Before Balls Project to address academic and social gaps that are working against student success. 

“For violence and bullying to cease, the underlying reasons have to be addressed,” said McCoy, “Food scarcity may seem unrelated to violence, but it’s a signal that economic opportunities are lacking, which leads to trauma and desperation.”  

McCoy is also concerned that Castlemont’s library was closed and is spearheading a campaign to reopen and revitalize the library.  

She has joined with Oakland Frontline Healers and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkids movement to address issues of food scarcity, lack of economic opportunity, lack of resources and lack of support for students entering college.  

Together, they are creating a model that is duplicatable and hopefully will be adopted at other OUSD schools. Oakland Frontline Healers are a collaborative of 30 nonprofits and doctors offering services, food, and resources to mitigate the effects of COVID-19.  

Players and families will be tested weekly by Umoja Health before games, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for those that wish to take it.

With a grant from the Department of Violence Prevention, Building Opportunity for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) and Adamika Village#stopkillingourkidsmovement, are honoring Michael Franklin’s life by hosting a series of “Mike’s Knights” Basketball Tournaments at Castlemont High School beginning the last Friday in November.  

Participants will be paid stipends to participate in the league or cheer squad and will be tutored and mentored during the tournaments, which will include family forums to discuss ending violence in East Oakland.

Books Before Balls invites the community to donate to the organization to support the Lady Knights’ basketball team, the success program that funds first year college students, or join their initiative to reopen the library. 

 For more information contact:  Ladyknights2019@yahoo.com For youth interested in joining the eight-week tournament contact Adamika Village at adamikaadamika@gmail.com 

Together with school leaders and administrators, and with the support of Oakland Frontline Healers, Books Before Balls is staging a “Student’s Against Bullying” event Friday, Sept. 17 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at Youth Uprising, 8711 MacArthur Blvd. in Oakland.

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.

Continue Reading

City Government

The Next First 100 Days

Building a Healthier Future for Oakland

Published

on

Symbol of democracy this picture show a child and his mom voting for french presidential elections. Photo Courtesy of Arnaud Jaegers via Unsplash

In 2022, the voters of Oakland will have an opportunity to elect the next Mayor for our city.  The Mayor of Oakland is the head of the executive branch, in charge of implementing actions and laws that have been passed by City Council and community.

The Mayor also selects and hires the City Administrator, appoints members of key Boards and Commissions, and sets the direction for the Administrative branch of government, thus having a major impact on what actions get taken.

In recent years, the City Council has adopted numerous laws and funded positions and projects – many of which have not been implemented, such as providing gun tracing and cracking down on illegal guns, civilianizing special events, providing pro-active illegal dumping remediation, a public lands policy to prioritize affordable housing, direction to provide healthier alternative locations to respond to homelessness, and many more.

In order to ensure that we build a safer and healthier future for Oakland, is it vitally important to ensure that we elect leadership for the executive branch with the dedication and commitment to take the actions needed to fulfill the needs of our communities.

With serious struggles facing our communities, it is vital that the next mayor take immediate action in their first 100 days – and so, I am undertaking to provide proposals regarding what the next mayor can, and should, do in their first 100 days in office.

These efforts will need to include recruitment and retention for the workforce; effective relationships with County government and neighboring cities to solve common problems; working with stakeholders including to expand equitable economic development and housing for all income levels; presenting and passing proposals at Council and bringing in and properly stewarding the finances needed.

Even within the first 100 days, a mayor can accomplish a great deal – including taking action to implement vitally needed services that already have Council authorization, and thus, can be brought about more quickly.

This is the first installment, a listing of some of the first items that the next mayor can, and should, do to build a healthier Oakland, and which should be factors in our decision-making in the year ahead.

  1. Ensure implementation of the directive to prioritize stopping the flow of illegal guns and stopping gun violence, including implementing gun tracing, tracking and shutting down sources of illegal guns, and providing immediate response to shooting notifications.
  2. Remove blight and illegal dumping, implement pro-active removal of blight rather than waiting for complaints, incorporate blight removal throughout city efforts (rewards program, summer jobs program, etc), to clear up backlog and establish a new normal that it is not OK to dump in Oakland.
  3. Provide healthier alternatives for homeless solutions, including safe parking/managed RV sites, and sanitation/dump sites, to reduce public health risks, including by partnering with the County and others.
  4. Implement previously approved Council direction to switch to the use of civilians (rather than sworn police) to manage parades and special events.  Help ensure community and cultural events can go forward without excess costs undermining them, strengthen the arts and economy and equity of event permitting system, and ensure that expensive police resources are directed where they are needed, rather than wasted on watching parades.
  5. Implement previously approved public lands policy to ensure using public lands for public needs, with a priority for affordable housing.
  6. Make it easier for local residents and small businesses to grow, build, and expand by providing coherent and simplified permitting, and by implementing the Council-funded direction to provide evening and weekend hours and easy online access to allow people to do projects like adding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and make other renovations and construction projects more timely.
  7. Work with stakeholders and community to advance effective and equitable revitalization of the large public properties at and around the Oakland Coliseum, including with housing for all income levels, jobs and business development, sports and entertainment, convention and hotels and more.
  8. Work to speed up vacancies in needed city staff positions, and improve recruitment and retention, and local hiring, to help provide vitally needed services, including for cleanup, parks upkeep, gun tracing, and other community needs.
  9. Fire prevention and climate resiliency.  Our region is facing growing dangers from climate change and fire risk, and we must take action to reduce and remedy risk and protect our communities with a more resilient future, including by planning for and starting fire prevention and brush remediation activities earlier in the year, improving brush removal on public land as well as private, fully staffing the fire department, and improving public infrastructure to protect cleaner air and reduce risks.
  10. Job training and pathways.  Some industries face challenges finding enough prepared workers while many in our community also need access to quality jobs. Support and connect job training programs and quality job policies with growing sectors, and ensure that Oaklanders are prepared for vital openings in needed jobs while allowing our community to thrive.

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.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending