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IN MEMORIAM: Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa Dies at 90

Tutu was born into a poor family in Northwest South Africa, saying of his upbringing that they were not affluent, but “we were not destitute either.” He excelled in high school and gained admission to medical school but couldn’t afford to attend. He became a teacher for several years and had become a server in the church, eventually seeking ordination into the clergy in 1960.

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Desmond Tutu. Facebook photo.
Desmond Tutu. Facebook photo.

By Post Staff

Often called the ‘conscience of South Africa,’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu died of complications from prostate cancer in Cape Town on Sunday morning. He was 90.

His body will lie in state at St George’s Anglican Cathedral and the church bells will ring for 10 minutes for five days at midday in his honor. Tutu’s funeral Mass will be held on Jan. 1, 2022.

The first Black archbishop of South Africa was a prominent leader in the anti-apartheid movement, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and named the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the late Nelson Mandela in 1994. He also lent his voice to other human rights issues, supporting LGBTQ rights and independence for Palestine.

He was also known for supporting women and ordained many to serve in the church.

Tutu was born into a poor family in Northwest South Africa, saying of his upbringing that they were not affluent, but “we were not destitute either.” He excelled in high school and gained admission to medical school but couldn’t afford to attend. He became a teacher for several years and had become a server in the church, eventually seeking ordination into the clergy in 1960.

He studied theology in the United Kingdom for a few years, returning to South Africa to teach at a seminary and the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. As the anti-apartheid movement gained steam in the 1970s and 1980s, Tutu emerged as a gentle but strong voice stressing non-violent protest, and gaining status rivaled only by Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned president of the African National Congress.

While on a three-month sabbatical in New York City in 1984, Tutu spoke against apartheid at the United Nations. It was during that time that he learned he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the award ceremony in Oslo, Sweden, his acceptance speech was typically humble: “This award is for mothers, who sit at railway stations to try to eke out an existence, selling potatoes, selling mealies, selling produce. This award is for you, fathers, sitting in a single-sex hostel, separated from your children for 11 months a year…This award is for you, mothers in the KTC squatter camp, whose shelters are destroyed callously every day, and who sit on soaking mattresses in the winter rain, holding whimpering babies…This award is for you, the 3.5 million of our people who have been uprooted and dumped as if you were rubbish. This award is for you,” he said.

In 1985, Tutu became the Bishop of Johannesburg, rising to Archbishop of Cape Town the following year.

After Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and began negotiating the dismantling of apartheid, Tutu mediated the rival Black factions.

Mandela, who had met Tutu only once decades before at a debating event, appointed Tutu to head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look into human rights abuses in 1996.

Tutu’s political positions did not always meet with public approval. Anti-apartheid organizations opposed Tutu’s intent to investigate their actions as well as the apartheid apparatus.

Tutu saw parallels between South Africa’s apartheid and Israel’s treatment of Palestine: his support for Palestinian rights drew criticism from some Jewish groups who accused him of anti-Semitism.

Tutu also supported equality for women, demonstrating it by ordaining a number of women into the Anglican clergy. He also was a proponent of LGBTQ rights and spoke out on combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

He retired as archbishop in 1996 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, which he battled off and on for the rest of his life. He traveled widely in Africa, Europe and the United States, speaking in a variety of venues and even teaching briefly at a college in the early 2000s.

Returning to South Africa, he withdrew from public life in 2010.

Tutu is survived by his wife of 66 years Nomalizo Leah Shenxane; son Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu and daughters Mpho Andrea Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Theresa Thandeka Tutu.

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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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ICAC Invites Community to Benefit from Safe Car Park Program

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland. The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

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Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."
Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."

by Post Staff

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland.

The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

Rev. Chambers said additional support for the program will also come from Bishop Bob Jackson, Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church and Pastor Phyllis Scott, head of the Oakland Police Chaplaincy Program.

Chambers said, “ICAC’s goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe.”

David Longhurst, a member of Oakland Temple LDS Church and an ICAC board member, said

“We can make the city of Oakland safer, one block at a time, by connecting our community and neighbors.”

Chambers said ICAC has a $450,000 grant commitment from the City of Oakland and a $2.5M grant request has been presented to Nate Miley, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley to cover and expand ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program located at West Side Missionary Baptist Church to additional locations including Center Street Baptist Church, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Acts Full Gospel Church, and other congregations.

Dr. Ken Chambers said he and ICAC are assisting congregations on how to receive a one-time $5,000 grant. “ICAC has plans for several tiny homes with kitchens, living space and bathrooms that we hope will become available this fall in partnership with the State, County and City of Oakland.”

Chambers is appealing to the public to help with transitioning the unhoused populations into tiny homes or affordable housing. “If you or anyone you know is living out of a car and needs a safe place to park overnight, visit interfaithAC.org, call 510-239-6681, or stop by the ICAC hub at 732 Willow Street, Oakland, CA 94607 between the hours of 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.”

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Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

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Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

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