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In a Change from 2008, Clinton Talking Often about Race

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In this July 23, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C. In her second pass at the presidency, Clinton has made discussing “systemic racism” a hallmark of her campaign as she looks to connect with the black voters who helped propel President Barack Obama to the White House. At multiple campaign stops, she bemoaned "mass incarceration," an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools, and poisoned relationships between police and the black community. She praised South Carolina leaders, including Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, for removing the Confederate battle from statehouse grounds after a white gunman’s June massacre of nine churchgoers at a historic black congregation in Charleston. But she warned that the act is symbolic. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

In this July 23, 2015, photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a campaign event in Columbia, S.C.  (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

Bill Barrow, ASSOCIATED PRESS

 
GREENVILLE, South Carolina (AP) — In her second bid for the presidency, Hillary Rodham Clinton is discussing “systemic racism” and making the issue a hallmark of her campaign, as she looks to connect with the black voters who supported rival Barack Obama in 2008.

At multiple stops in South Carolina this week, the former secretary of state and current Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential campaign bemoaned “mass incarceration,” an uneven economy, increasingly segregated public schools and poisoned relations between law enforcement and the black community.

The former first lady praised South Carolina leaders, including Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, for removing the Confederate battle flag from statehouse grounds after a white gunman’s massacre of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, but she warned that the act is only symbolic.

“America’s long struggle with racism is far from finished,” she said before a mostly white audience at a Greenville technical college. Hours earlier, with a majority black audience at a West Columbia church, she declared, “Anybody who says we don’t have more progress to make is blind.”

The bold approach, which also includes previous addresses on voting rights and the criminal justice system, is a contrast to her 2008 campaign, when she didn’t talk so directly about race as she faced off against Obama, who would go on to become the nation’s first black president. Instead, she ran as the battle-tested, experienced counter to the first-term U.S. senator from Illinois.

Clinton doesn’t frame her unabashed commentary in a political context; aides repeatedly explain her strategy as “working to win every vote” and nothing more. Yet it’s clear that Clinton feels no constraints, as perhaps she did eight years ago. It’s also no surprise that she prominently features the strategy in South Carolina. African-Americans make up about 28 percent of the population and a majority of the Democratic primary electorate, the first of the early-voting states to feature a significant bloc of black voters.

Obama trounced Clinton here in 2008, 56 percent to 27 percent, as many black voters flocked to his candidacy once he demonstrated white support in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. That leaves Clinton to reverse a bitter primary defeat, while using South Carolina as a test run for a potential general election in which she would need strong black support to reassemble Obama’s coalition in states like Virginia, Florida and Ohio.

If Clinton’s approach is born of necessity, it also comes with potential pitfalls.

The complexities were clear within hours of her South Carolina stops, as social media users and commentators parsed her comments, including her statement that “for a lot of well-meaning, open-minded white people, the sight of a young black man in a hoodie still evokes a twinge of fear.” She made the observation that racism goes beyond public policy and into “the fabric of how people think and feel and act.”

Last month, she angered some activists by using the phrase “all lives matter” during a speech a few miles from Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown died at the hands of a white police officer. Clinton used those words as part of an anecdote about her mother, whom she said taught her that “all lives matter,” but some activists thought it demeaned the significance of the “Black Lives Matter” effort.

Her Democratic rivals Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders drew similar outrage at the recent Netroots Nation convention. O’Malley, the former Maryland governor, ended up apologizing after snapping at hecklers: “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

Clinton also faces questions about her advocacy for tougher sentencing laws that her husband signed as president. Bill Clinton recently expressed regret over the laws, but his wife stopped short of calling the laws a mistake.

“We were facing different problems in the ’80s and ’90s,” she told reporters, saying crime in cities “was causing an outcry across the nation,” including in minority neighborhoods. “I think now, 20 years on, we can say some things worked and some things didn’t work,” she continued. “One of the big problems that didn’t work is that we had too many people, particularly African-American men, who were being incarcerated for minor offenses.”

Clinton also must avoid any residue from Bill Clinton’s remarks during the 2008 campaign. After Obama won South Carolina, the former president, who remains very popular among black voters, dismissed the victory as akin to Rev. Jesse Jackson’s victory in 1988. A black South Carolina native, Jackson won the state’s caucus that year, but didn’t sustain the momentum.

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Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Community

Building Bridges Beyond Bias in Marin

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

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From left: Tahirah Dean, Jason Lau, Ph.D., Laura Eberly, Alejandro Lara

The Marin County Free Library (MCFL) and Age Forward Marin is presenting a four-part, on-line series “Building Bridges Beyond Bias” which is designed for Marin County residents from all backgrounds to gain understanding and foster awareness about each other through conversation and connection, and to confront and explore beyond our biases.

Tahirah Dean will be speaking on Wednesday, October 20, and Jason Lau, Ph.D. will be speaking on Wednesday, November 3, for the two remaining programs. The programs will be online via Zoom from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Dean is an Afro-Latina Muslim woman and a staff attorney at Legal Aid of Marin, pursuing her passion for housing justice, and has worked as an immigration attorney assisting asylum seekers and those seeking work visas. She holds a B.A. in English and Political Science from the University of North Texas, and a J.D. from Boston College Law School.

Lau traveled to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1997 to further his education. Today, he is the interim associate dean and senior business officer for the School of Extended and International Education for Sonoma State University and chairs the Marin County Child Care Commission and the Marin YMCA Volunteer Board of Managers.

The speakers for two previous programs in the series were Laura Eberly, who spoke on September 22 and Alejandro Lara, who spoke on October 6.

Eberly is the founding director of Mountaintop Coaching & Consulting, which provides diversity, equity, and inclusion services. She holds a B.A. and M.S.W. from the University of Chicago and is ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church. She is a proud alum of Catalyst Project’s Anne Braden Anti-Racist Organizing Training Program.

Lara is a first-generation Latino college graduate from UC Davis, and currently works as the communications coordinator for the Canal Alliance in San Rafael.

MCFL has supported equity measures in the county, offered enlightening educational programming, and has enthusiastically endorsed the Marin County Board of Supervisors’ prioritization of social equity and the creation of the County’s Office of Equity. County departments are working to dismantle inequities and transform systems inherited through centuries of racial, social, and political injustices.

The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spearheaded the Age Forward Marin. It is a collective effort between County departments and local government, community leaders, and residents including in Marin’s unincorporated areas.

Gloria Dunn-Violin, a resident of Novato, approached HHS Director Benita McLarin with a concept that evolved into the special speaker series. Dunn-Violin teamed with the Corte Madera Library and the Age Forward initiative to design the Beyond Bias program’s purpose and format, to assist in finding speakers, and to share the event with community partners focused on diversity and inclusion.

Registration is required. Sign-ups are available on the MCFL website. For more information and to register to this event, go to marinlibrary.org/blogs/post/building-bridges-beyond-bias/

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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Black History

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis Pioneered Diversity in Foreign Service

UC Berkeley Grad Continues to Bring International Economic Empowerment for Women

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Ambassador Ruth A. Davis (left) is meeting with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis was recently named as a distinguished alumna by the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, Berkeley. 

She also has been honored by the U.S. State Department when a conference room at the Foreign Service Institute in Virginia was named in honor of her service as director of the Institute. She was the first African American to serve in that position.

Davis, a graduate of Spelman College received a master’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1968.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, also a graduate of the School of Social Welfare, now chairs the House Appropriations Committee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. She praised Ambassador Davis as “a trailblazing leader and one of the great American diplomats of our time. Over her 40-year career, she had so many ‘firsts’ on her resume: the first Black director of the Foreign Service Institute, the first Black woman Director General of the Foreign Service, and the first Black woman to be named a Career Ambassador, to name just a few.

“She served all over the world, from Kinshasa to Tokyo to Barcelona, where she was consul general, and to Benin, where she served as ambassador,” Lee continued. “ I am so proud of her many accomplishments. She has represented the best of America around the world, and our world is a better place because of her service.”

During Davis’ 40-year career in the Foreign Service, she also served as chief of staff in the Africa Bureau, and as distinguished advisor for international affairs at Howard University. She retired in 2009 as a Career Ambassador, the highest-level rank in Foreign Service.

Since her retirement, Ambassador Davis has served as the chair (and a founding member) of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC), an organization devoted to promoting women’s economic empowerment by creating an international network of businesswomen.

She also chairs the selection committee for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Fellowship at Howard University’s Ralph Bunche International Affairs Center, where she helps to oversee the annual selection process. Finally, as vice president of the Association of Black American Ambassadors, she participates in activities involving the recruitment, preparation, hiring, retention, mentoring and promotion of minority Foreign Service employees.

Gay Plair Cobb, former Regional Administrator of the Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor in the Atlanta, and San Francisco offices, was Ambassador Davis’ roommate at UC Berkeley. Cobb said, “Ruth always exhibited outstanding leadership and a determined commitment to fairness, equal opportunity and activism, which we engaged in on a regular basis.”

Davis has received the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award, Arnold L. Raphel Memorial Award and Equal Employment Opportunity Award; the Secretary of State’s Achievement Award (including from Gen. Colin Powell); the Director General’s Foreign Service Cup; two Presidential Distinguished Service Awards; and Honorary Doctor of Laws from Middlebury and Spelman Colleges.

A native of Atlanta, Davis was recently named to the Economist’s 2015 Global Diversity List as one of the Top 50 Diversity Figures in Public Life and is the recipient of the American Foreign Service Association’s Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award.

 

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

City Must Pay Contractors, Businesses, Non-Profits Promptly

By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

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Sheng Thao

I have introduced legislation to restore the City of Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance and it will be heard at 1:30 p.m. by the City Council on October 19 because local contractors and local businesses need to be compensated in a timely manner for work they do on behalf of the City.

It’s unacceptable that the city is using the COVID-19 pandemic to delay payment to these local non-profit organizations.  By restoring the Prompt Payment Ordinance, local organizations working for Oaklanders will be compensated in a timely manner and can do more work for Oakland as a result.

In March 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, then-Interim City Administrator, Steven Falk issued an Emergency Order suspending parts of the City’s codes to give the City the flexibility to navigate the uncertain times.  Few would have guessed then that the world would still be navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic nearly 18 months later. One of the ordinances suspended by the Emergency Order was the Prompt Payment Ordinance.

Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance requires the City to compensate local businesses and contractors executing City grants or contracts within 20 days of receiving an invoice.  This allows local organizations providing services on behalf of the City of Oakland to be compensated in a timely manner and builds trust between these organizations and the city.  Local contractors and businesses provide a diverse set of services to the City, covering areas ranging from trash removal and paving to public safety.

Almost 18 months since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oakland’s Prompt Payment Ordinance is still suspended.  Even as City staff have adjusted to working remotely and the City has adjusted to operating during the pandemic, there is no requirement that the City compensate its contractors or local businesses in a timely manner.

Oaklanders can comment at the meeting by joining the Zoom meeting via this link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88527652491 or calling 1-669-900-6833 and using the Meeting ID 885 2765 2491 and raising their hand during the public comment period at the beginning of the Council meeting.

 

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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