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Environmental Activist Rhea Suh Named New President, CEO of Marin Community Foundation

Suh spoke at the 2017 Women’s March on Wash., D.C., and has also appeared as a media commentator for the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, and other news outlets.

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Rhea Suh rallies the crowd at the Women March on Washington, D.C.; Photo Courtesy of NRDC

Rhea Suh, who was the past president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) from 2015 to 2019, has been hired as the president and CEO of the Marin Community Foundation (MCF).  Dr. Thomas Peters, MCF’s longstanding president, announced his retirement in June 2020. Suh was selected in June of 2021 and will assume the position on Sept.  7, 2021.

According to the MCF’s press releases, Suh was born and raised in Boulder, Colo., by Korean immigrants who left the country after the Korean War. Suh’s father, Chung Ha Suh, worked as automotive engineering specialist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and her mother, Young Ja Suh, was a homemaker. She also has two sisters, Betty and Maggie.

Suh graduated with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Barnard College of Columbia University in 1992. While a student at Barnard, Suh taught earth science at Stuyvesant High School. After receiving a Fulbright fellowship to South Korea where she studied environmental movements, she attended Harvard Kennedy School and earned a master’s degree in education, administration, planning, and social policy. Her graduate school project focused on helping the U.S. National Park Service by establishing a formal education program at schools around the country.

Suh served as the assistant secretary for policy, management, and budget at the U.S. Department of the Interior from 2009 to 2014. She was nominated for this position by former President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009.

She successfully developed a diversity program for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and guided the Administration’s successful effort to have the Native Hawaiian community become a federally recognized tribe. This allows them to have a government-to-government relationship with the United States, with the responsibilities, powers, limitations, and obligations attached to that designation, and is eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Suh also worked at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation where she developed a $200 million program dedicated to environmental conservation and clean energy in the West and helped to establish the first-ever collaboration among nonprofit organizations to coordinate conservation efforts across the Colorado River Basin.

Rhea was the president of the NRDC from 2015 to 2019. The organization grew to more than $50 million and increased its membership by more than 40%. She led nearly 500 scientists, attorneys, and policy experts and made NRDC one of the country’s most effective environmental action organizations. She led the creation of a 10-year strategic plan, reorganized the NRDC, helped steer the discussions that led to the historic global climate agreement in Paris.

Suh championed the settlement for the residents of Flint, Mich., regarding the drinking water crisis.

Suh spoke at the 2017 Women’s March on Wash., D.C., and has also appeared as a media commentator for the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, NPR, and other news outlets.

The Marin 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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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

More Segregated Than Deep South: ACLU Releases Report on Calif. Public Schools

The 2024 State of Black Education: Report Card was recently published by the American Civil Liberties Union California Action (ACLU California Action). It states that California is the third most segregated state for Black students.  Co-author of the report, policy counsel Amir Whitaker from ACLU Southern California explained the criteria the ACLU use to rank California during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education held at the State Capitol the day after the Memorial Day holiday.

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Asm. Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) was a guest speaker at the State of Black Education report card briefing at the State Capitol on May 29. CBM Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Asm. Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) was a guest speaker at the State of Black Education report card briefing at the State Capitol on May 29. CBM Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

The 2024 State of Black Education: Report Card was recently published by the American Civil Liberties Union California Action (ACLU California Action). 

It states that California is the third most segregated state for Black students.

Co-author of the report, policy counsel Amir Whitaker from ACLU Southern California explained the criteria the ACLU use to rank California during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education held at the State Capitol the day after the Memorial Day holiday.

“For every state in the Deep South, California (schools) are more segregated,” Whittaker said. “People often think that California is not segregated or unequal as Deep South states and others. The inequalities here (in California) are actually wider.”

New York and Illinois are ahead of California regarding the racial diversity of their student bodies. According to a report May 2022 report by Stanford Graduate School of Education, the Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City school districts are in the top 10 most racially segregated districts for White-Black, White-Hispanic, and White-Asian segregation based on the average levels from 1991-2020.

In bigger school districts, segregation between low-income (students who are eligible for free lunch) and non-low-income students increased by 47% since 1991, according to the Stanford Graduate School’s report.

“That’s why it’s important to look at this data,” Whitaker said. “When you have millions of people living in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, the urban areas are a lot more segregated than the south. That’s a big part of it.

A number of factors contribute to the segregation of schools in California such as parents sending their children to private schools, others optioning for homeschooling, and other reasons, Whitaker said.

The Brown v. Board of Education case declared that separating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional. However, Whitaker pointed to cases after the landmark decision that circumvented that federal law.

According to a 2014 report by the Civil Rights Project, in the 1990s, decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court decision ended federal desegregation orders in San Francisco and San Jose. In addition, court decisions in the state that ordered desegregation in the 1970s were overturned by the 1990s. Legally, California has no school integration policy to adhere to.

“This is why we did this report. There needs to be a report just on this issue (of school segregation),” Whitaker told California Black Media. “Right now, there’s no task force or anything addressing it. I have never seen the California Department of Education talk about it. This is a pandemic (and) a crisis.”

ACLU Northern California hosted an overview of the report and panel discussion at the State Capitol on May 29. California Black Legislative Caucus member Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) and Sen. Steven Bradford were the guest speakers. Parents, students, educators, and Black education advocates from all over the state attended the 90-minute presentation at the State Capitol.

School segregation is the No. 1 issue listed in among the report’s “24 areas of documented inequality,along with problematic trends of racial harassment, a continuous decline of Black student enrollment, school closures, connection with school staff, chronic absenteeism, low Black teacher representation, and parent participation.

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Art

Mayor Breed, Actor Morris Chestnut Attend S.F.’s Indie Night Film Festival

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco. San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry. The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

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(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell
(Left to Right) Dave Brown, CEO, Indie Night Festival, San Francisco Mayor London Breed, and actor Morris Chestnut. Photo by Y’Anad Burrell

By Y’Anad Burrell

On June 1, the acclaimed Los Angeles-based Indie Night Film Festival arrived at the Kabuki Theater in San Francisco.

San Francisco native Dave Brown, Founder and CEO of the Indie Night Film Festival, has a vision for the film industry that is squarely focused on promoting the many talented producers, actors, and designers contributing to this billion-dollar industry.  The festival has been running for 12 years and it’s only up from here, he says.

A weekly celebration of cinematic artistry designed to elevate emerging talent while providing a platform for networking and collaboration, entrepreneur Dave Brown created Indie Night to bridge gaps within the filmmaking community by fostering connections between like-minded individuals worldwide. The Indie Film Festival currently has over 450 film submissions worldwide, and its cinematic vault only continues to grow.

The festival showcased over 10 short films and trailers, and featured Faces of the “City: Fighting for the Soul of America,” produced by veteran actor Tisha Campbell.  This film is about the vibrancy and legacy of San Francisco. The festival also previewed “When It Reigns,” a trailer by Oakland’s burgeoning filmmaker Jamaica René.

Indie films have not just challenged traditional cinematic norms; they’ve shattered them. These films offer unique storytelling perspectives and push creative boundaries in truly inspiring ways. With their smaller budgets and independent spirit, they often tackle unconventional subjects and portray diverse characters, providing a refreshing alternative to mainstream cinema. As a result, indie films have resonated with audiences seeking an escape from formulaic blockbusters and are increasingly celebrated for their authenticity and originality.

Organizers say the mission of Indie Night is to elevate the craft of independent artists and creators. It also provides a venue for them to showcase their work, network, and exchange information with new and established creatives. It creates a community that values and supports independent art.

For more about the Indie Night Film Festival, visit www.indienightfilmfestival.com.

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