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First Tennessee Operation Hope success story: Atina Labs

NASHVILLE PRIDE — Charles D. Hill was encouraged by his wife to launch a business after he retired from Memphis Light Gas & Water after 20 years. Initially inspired by his mother, Irene Holt, who was an entrepreneur and owned a restaurant, sports bar and a fish market, Hill remembers the key lessons he learned from her: how to read and count money.

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By Pride Newsdesk

Charles D. Hill was encouraged by his wife to launch a business after he retired from Memphis Light Gas & Water after 20 years. Initially inspired by his mother, Irene Holt, who was an entrepreneur and owned a restaurant, sports bar and a fish market, Hill remembers the key lessons he learned from her: how to read and count money.

As he began researching small businesses, he located the Operation HOPE Entrepreneurial Training Program, a partnership between Operation HOPE, COGIC Urban Initiatives, and First Tennessee Bank.

“We are very excited about the early success and solid impact of our Entrepreneur Training Program through our partnership with Operation HOPE,” said Steve Swain, manager of Operation HOPE programs for First Tennessee. “We will continue our commitment to meeting the small business entrepreneur training, credit and financial needs by expanding economic empowerment in underserved communities, enhancing dignity through financial education.”

Meeting Operation Hope Financial Counselor, Trudy Morrison, on the first day of class, Hill knew he was in for an exciting and fun challenge. “I learned how to do an elevator pitch, understand my sales strategy, and identify my target market,” he said.

“Drug usage in the U.S. had been on the rise. There is a demand for drug screening and collection businesses,” said Hill, who is a certified Breath Alcohol Technician, Urine Drug Screen Collector and Hair Drug Screener.

“The training program helped me to shape my vision, write a business plan, conduct market research, understand credit and accessing capital,” stated Hill. “The new skills in advertising, accounting, and networking will allow my business to flourish and grow.”

Hill’s goal is for Atina Labs to be a highly visible and reputable firm known as the leader in the substance abuse screening industry in the Mid-South area. He challenges aspiring entrepreneurs to “move past the fear of failure” and encourages them to not let their dreams go without trying. After graduation from the 12-week program in May of 2018, Hill opened the doors to his physical location, Atina Labs in February 2019.

First Tennessee Bank holds free credit score workshops for Financial Literacy Month

In conjunction with its Operation Hope initiatives, First Tennessee Bank will be hosting a free workshop to help Nashvillians improve their credit scores. The workshop will take place Saturday, April 13 from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Metro Center branch at 2110 Rosa L. Park Blvd.

Interested participants can contact Michael D. Morrow at 615-268-9053 or by email at <michael.morrow@operationhope.org>. Online registration is open at <www.eventbrite.com/o/michael-morrow-15902057619>.

Workshop participants will learn about establishing or improving a credit score, budget techniques to get the most out of a limited income, and strategies for paying off debt and using credit wisely. The free sessions are open to everyone.

First Tennessee’s partnership with Operation HOPE invests in financial education programs that allow individuals and small businesses to create solid foundations, achieve economic dignity and secure their financial futures. 2018 financial literacy impacts included: over 8,000 new clients served across 21 HOPE Inside locations, 1,360 clients still actively enrolled in services, and 84 new small businesses created.

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride

Business

A Store for ‘The People’ in East Oakland

The People’s Store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; Sundays and Mondays 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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The People's Storefront, Photo courtesy of realtor.com

The People’s Store, located in East Oakland, is a boutique that sells small batch African clothing, jewelry, crystals, and sage along with natural personal care products.

Customers rave about the natural shea butter, black soap and oils that are found in the store. The owner sells products wholesale and retail.

Located at 2366 High St, Oakland, CA 94601, they can be reached at  (510) 698-4371. The owner supports the local community, supporting small, local entrepreneurs by stocking the shelves of The People’s Store with their products. Check out their IG for giveaways, events and discounts.

The People’s Store is open Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; Sundays and Mondays 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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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Business

Balance Your People and Profits: Cal Bill Pushes Amazon, Walmart, and Other Big E-Retailers

Gonzales said she authored AB 701 to help decrease worker injury, encourage more transparency, and end the use of production quotas at corporations and government agencies, which critics say contribute to low job satisfaction and harmful working conditions.

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Amazon Warehouse Worker, Photo Courtesy of California Black Media

Last week, warehouse workers, labor leaders, elected officials, and community groups came together on the steps of the California state Capitol. Their goal was to generate public support for California’s pro-worker “Warehouse Workers Protection Act,” – also called Assembly Bill (AB) 701– and to encourage the state Senate to pass it.

“Working in warehouses for corporations like Amazon has quickly become one of the most dangerous jobs in the private sector,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) asserted, placing giant e-retailers square in the scope of her target.

In the United States, e-commerce is skyrocketing, growing from a $441.51 billion industry in 2017 into a market valued at $759.47 billion in 2020. Amazon.com has the largest market share (about 40%) among leading e-retailers, followed by Walmart (about 7%) and eBay (about 4%).

Gonzales said she authored AB 701 to help decrease worker injury, encourage more transparency, and end the use of production quotas at corporations and government agencies, which critics say contribute to low job satisfaction and harmful working conditions.

“Workers are risking their bodies to guarantee same-day delivery and being pushed to the point that many can’t even break long enough to use the bathroom. There is no excuse for a company to prioritize customers’ convenience and their own profits over the safety of their workers,” said Gonzales.

In March 2020, Irene Tung and Deborah Berkowitz released a National Employment Law Project (NELP) report titled “Amazon’s Disposable Workers: High Injury and Turnover Rates at Fulfillment Centers in California.”

According to the study, “Workers who can’t keep up extreme productivity goals are fired or encouraged to quit.”

“Amazon workers around the country have reported being subject to unsustainably fast productivity requirements resulting in injury and exhaustion. Workers describe pushing their bodies to the brink to avoid automatic termination for missing quotas,” the NELP report stated. “Data from the company’s own records have confirmed their accounts showing that Amazon warehouses have stunningly high injury rates.”

Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose), chairperson of Assembly Labor Committee; state Senator Dave Cortese (D-San Jose), chair of Senate Labor Committee; state Senator Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles); and chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles) all attended the rally.

Jones-Sawyer said his 19-year-old son worked at Amazon this past summer before heading off to college in Colorado. He got sick and had to take time off work. When he returned to work, after three weeks he was fired.

“Unfortunately, he saw all the bad things about working in a factory,” Jones-Sawyer said.

Jones-Sawyer said he attended the rally for his son.

“So that’s why I am here, not only for my son but all the other sons who don’t have fathers who could speak up for them,” he said. When it comes back to the Assembly for concurrence, I will stand up, speak up and vote for it again.

The language in AB 701 directs the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to establish new standards by Jan. 1, 2023, that are “designed to minimize the risk of injuries and disorders among warehouse employees who are subject to production quotas.

The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) labeled AB 701 “job killer legislation” in April and criticized it as one of “23 legislative bills that would place California employers and the state’s economy in harm’s way” should it become law.

“(AB 701) threatens warehouse employers with duplicative costly litigation by creating a new, independent private right of action, and a representative action under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), for failing to comply with vague standards,” CalChamber said in a statement. The organization is the largest business advocate in California.

In California, Amazon warehouses are in counties whose populations are “overwhelmingly people of color,” according to the NELP study. Combined, nearly 75% of warehouse workers are minorities. Of that number about 55% are Latinos and about 9% are Black.

If passed by the Senate and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, AB 701 would require employers to inform employees about quotas that corporations and organizations set to measure their performance.

The legislation requires employers to quantify work employees are expected to do.  They must explain specific tasks and how meeting those goals may affect their job standing.

“AB 701 also directs the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) to establish new standards by Jan. 1, 2023, that are “designed to minimize the risk of injuries and disorders among warehouse employees who are subject to production quotas.”

The bill also prohibits an employer from taking disciplinary action (including firing) against employees for failure to meet quotas that have not been disclosed to them. In addition, the legislation prohibits quotas that do not allow a worker to comply with meal or rest periods or occupational health and safety laws.

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Business

African American Bay Area Woman Launches Natural Hair Care Collection

After blending numerous concoctions and conducting focus groups with friends transitioning from straightening their hair, Truth landed on the perfect ingredients that resulted in healthy, moisturized, shiny curls and coils. Currently the collection consists of three core hair care products and a heat activated deep conditioning cap.

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I LUV CURLS PRODUCTS

In June, founder Joy Truth debuted her new hair care collection, “I Luv Curls.” The hair care system is designed to inspire women to embrace their curls and “luv” their natural hair.

In the midst of the pandemic and on the heels of the passing of the CROWN Act, (a California law that prevents race-based hair discrimination and is currently on the ballot in seven states), Joy Truth saw this as the perfect time to launch her new products targeting women of color who are transitioning back to their natural hair.

“Launching and innovating during a pandemic was divine order; it provided the time and focus that I needed. When everything shut down, the frolicking stopped, and I transferred that energy to my heart’s joy: ‘I Luv Curls.’” Joy Truth said. “I made a commitment to move forward despite what was going on around me.”

After blending numerous concoctions and conducting focus groups with friends transitioning from straightening their hair, Truth landed on the perfect ingredients that resulted in healthy, moisturized, shiny curls and coils. Currently the collection consists of three core hair care products and a heat activated deep conditioning cap.

The “add + clarity” clarifying cleanser is a gentle, botanical, clarifying, sulfate-free deep cleanser containing peppermint oil and rosemary oil. The “Add+ Moisture” ™ hydrating masque is a botanical, nutrient-rich, luxurious, deep treatment with moisture-locking humectants. The “Add + Strength” ™ is a luxurious, botanical, protein-rich ayurvedic deep strengthening treatment. And finally, the “Add + Heat” microwavable deep conditioning heat cap enhances the masque treatments by slowly diffusing heat to infuse moisture and/or strength deep within your hair follicles.

Joy Truth has plans for further product development of the collection with styling products and other hair treatments focused on curly hair health.

This is not the first launch for this entrepreneur; A creative and visionary entrepreneurial leader whose passion for beauty and wellness led her to leave corporate America and launch twin companies, Harmony Beauty Boutique and Harmony Yoga Pilates – a unique brand of personal care products and wellness services.

Born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Joy Truth holds a BS in Information Systems Management from the University of San Francisco, serves as the vice-chair of the Advisory Board of her alma mater, is a Christian ministry leader and contributes to social impact causes that benefit women of color.

She resides in Berkeley, with her husband Neil, stepson Jordan and their dog (Malshi) Zoe.

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