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Barbara Lee

Infrastructure Bill Will Expand Internet Access, Boost Transit, Rep. Barbara Lee Says

“For decades, underinvestment in our physical and social infrastructure has widened the economic gap, put communities at risk, and exacerbated racial and economic inequality,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “And it’s not just a lack of investment. Too often, the infrastructure that we built created more inequality. This infrastructure law now advances equality, equity, and environmental justice unlike any law we have ever seen before.”

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Rep. Barbara Lee with Meg-Anne Pryor, apprenticeship coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 3. Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee’s Press office.
Rep. Barbara Lee with Meg-Anne Pryor, apprenticeship coordinator for Operating Engineers Local 3. Photo courtesy of Barbara Lee’s Press office.

By Post Staff

At a joint press conference on Wednesday, Bay Area Congresswomen Barbara Lee and Nancy Pelosi touted the impact the recently passed infrastructure bill will have on the Bay Area.

“For decades, underinvestment in our physical and social infrastructure has widened the economic gap, put communities at risk, and exacerbated racial and economic inequality,” Lee said. “And it’s not just a lack of investment. Too often, the infrastructure that we built created more inequality. This infrastructure law now advances equality, equity, and environmental justice unlike any law we have ever seen before.”

In regard to environmental justice, Lee points out that billions of dollars will be dedicated to building low-to-no emissions buses and expanding access to EV charging network. “These are critical investments for communities in my district that have suffered from higher levels of air pollution and childhood asthma rates,” she said.

The law will also provide internet access to low-income families across the state. “During the pandemic, we have seen that internet access is an equity issue for kids in East Oakland and other parts of my district, and we need to close that gap,” Lee said.

Besides their individual districts, the Congresswomen pointed out how much California as a whole will benefit from billions in investment to improve highways and bridges, public transportation, and water infrastructure.

“Also, it will help to protect communities like Oakland and Berkeley from another devastating wildfire like the one we experienced 30 years ago,” Lee said. “We are now moving full speed ahead to pass the rest of President Biden’s economic agenda through the Senate to significantly cut the costs of childcare, reduce childhood poverty, address the climate crisis, increase affordable housing, and make other meaningful investments in the quality of life of our families.”

Activism

OP-ED: On Anniversary of Jan. 6 Insurrection, Rep. Lee Calls on Senate to Pass Voting Rights Legislation 

Across the nation, over 400 bills have been introduced suppressing the right to vote — from reducing polling hours and locations to allowing lawmakers to overturn a legitimate election result. And we know that voter suppression laws are not felt universally: these restrictions are particularly harmful to people of color, young people, the low-income, the disabled, those in rural areas, and other marginalized communities. 

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released the following statement on the one-year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection:

This time last year, I was hurrying down flights of stairs in the Capitol, thinking about how fortunate it was that I wore my tennis shoes, and praying that the angry mob of armed white supremacists didn’t know where we were going.

It was a traumatic day for the country. Trump’s egregiously false claims about election fraud culminated in a shocking attempt to overthrow our democracy.

Although the rioters ultimately failed to do so, the siege on our institutions is nowhere close to being over. By refusing to accept facts and spreading corrosive lies about election sabotage, Republicans are stoking the flames of dictatorship and authoritarian rule.

Across the nation, over 400 bills have been introduced suppressing the right to vote — from reducing polling hours and locations to allowing lawmakers to overturn a legitimate election result.

And we know that voter suppression laws are not felt universally: these restrictions are particularly harmful to people of color, young people, the low-income, the disabled, those in rural areas, and other marginalized communities.

By restricting their access to the ballot, their voices and calls for change are silenced.

Make no mistake: there is a crisis in our democracy.

The Senate must move quickly to pass the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect free and fair elections in this country — even if it means abolishing the filibuster.

To quote the late Congressman Lewis, ‘the right to vote is precious, almost sacred.’ It is our constitutional and moral duty as elected officials to protect it.

This announcement is courtesy of Barbara Lee’s press office.

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Barbara Lee

IN MEMORIAM: Legendary Journalist Gail Berkley Dies at 74

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee also remembered her longtime friend. “My prayers and condolences go to the family and loved ones of Gail Berkley-Armstrong. Gail was an institution in Bay Area journalism,” Lee said. “She wrote about and lifted up the Black community for decades, including as the editor of the Oakland Post and most recently at the Sun-Reporter.”

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Gail Berkley-Armstrong with husband Ray Armstrong
Gail Berkley-Armstrong with husband Ray Armstrong

She Worked for Black Press for Over 48 Years

By Evan Carlton Ward, San Francisco Sun-Reporter

Gail Cordelia Berkley-Armstrong, legendary awarding-winning Bay Area journalist and Sun-Reporter editor, has died after a lengthy illness. She was 74.

She was born Jan. 5, 1947, in Berkeley, California. She attended Berkeley public schools and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. She passed away peacefully in Oakland on Dec. 26, 2021, surrounded by family.

The veteran journalist was committed to the mission of the Black Press of America, whose motto is – “Too long have others spoken for us…we wish to plead our own cause.”

“I truly enjoy my work at the Sun-Reporter, helping to be sure the news and information important to the African American community is available to our readers each week,” she said. “It is critical that the voices, perspectives and opinions of our community, the leaders and citizens working for change have an outlet in the Bay Area. It is equally important to highlight the milestones and contributions of those too often left unrecognized in other media.”

Sun-Reporter Publisher and friend Amelia Ashley-Ward called Berkley-Armstrong a quiet genius, a loyal and faithful community servant and an exceptional writer. “Bringing Gail aboard as editor in 2005 was one of the best things I’ve done in my life. She was my rock and trusted sister friend. She was the best of Everything. I am totally lost without her. In grateful appreciation of her remarkable life and service, I will continue the struggle.”

Prior to joining the staff at the Sun-Reporter Publishing Company, Berkley-Armstrong was the longtime executive editor and assistant to the publisher of the Post Newspaper Group in Oakland. The Post Newspaper Group was founded by her late father, Attorney Thomas L. Berkley.

She was also committed to giving her time and talent to community organizations and served as president of the African Sister City Cultural Center, Inc. As president, she led the nonprofit organization in its mission to support the City of Oakland’s Sister City relationship with the twin cities Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee also remembered her longtime friend.

“My prayers and condolences go to the family and loved ones of Gail Berkley-Armstrong. Gail was an institution in Bay Area journalism,” Lee said. “She wrote about and lifted up the Black community for decades, including as the editor of the Oakland Post and most recently at the Sun-Reporter.”

Congresswoman Lee added, “I spoke with her earlier this year on the centennial of the Tulsa massacre, and as always, her questions reflected her deep insight and her compassion for the subjects she covered. One of her many accomplishments was the sister city agreement between Oakland and Sekondi-Takoradi in Ghana, which helped to provide fresh water and sanitation to children there. My heart is with everyone who is mourning this loss. May she rest in peace and power.”

Berkley was also secretary of the Board of Directors of her church, Lakeside Temple of Practical Christianity in Oakland.

Berkley-Armstrong was co-founder of Cacao Branch Children’s Hospital, Oakland.

She served on several boards of directors of community-based organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the Bay Area Urban League, Inc., Bay Area United Fund, Dimensions Dance Theater, Inc. and Black Adoption Placement and Research Center.

She was a founding member of New California Media (now New America Media). She also was a member of the Patrons of the Arts and Humanities of the Bay Area, The African American Museum and Library Coalition, and the Oakland Museum Cultural and Ethnic Affairs Guild’s Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Committee.

The community servant also served as a public relations and marketing consultant and editor for private clients.

Berkley-Armstrong has received many awards for her community work over the years. She received the Pioneer Award from New America Media, and recognition for community service by: State of California Legislature, City and County of San Francisco, Alameda County, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Allen Temple Baptist Church, East Bay Women’s Political Action Committee, Ebony Museum of California, Today’s Women, Inc., College Bounders Committee and the East Bay Area Club of the National Council of Negro Women.

After hearing of Berkley-Armstrong’s passing, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. said “In the more than five decades of being written about in the press, nobody covered me more actively and objectively. Gail will be greatly missed.”

She loved traveling and meeting people of other cultures and nations. She toured Europe, Ghana, South America, Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba and other Caribbean nations. The journalist also visited the Ivory Coast, Malaysia, the Fiji Islands and Morocco.

As a child, she was exposed to the diversity of cultures within the Bay Area and beyond by her mother – the late Etta Jordan Hill, an educator and artist.

‘Both of my parents were trailblazers and courageous individuals who did not take ‘no’ for an answer. They were both role models for me. They taught by example how to meet challenges, and my mother made sure that my two sisters and I knew the importance of belief and faith in God,” Berkley-Armstrong stated.

She is survived by her husband, Ray Armstrong, sisters Theon C. King, Miriam Rhea Berkley, a host of other relatives, her Sun-Reporter Family and a grateful community.

A memorial service is pending.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Tests Positive for COVID-19

The announcement comes just two days after Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker tested positive for the virus. Both Warren and Booker were also fully vaccinated and boosted, and both reported their symptoms were also mild. They both called upon the public to get vaccinated.

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Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.
Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

By Post Staff

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) has tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The Congresswoman has been fully vaccinated and boosted, and said in a tweet on Tuesday, “Fortunately, I have only mild cold-like symptoms, but I know it could have been much worse had I not been vaccinated and boosted.”

She lauded the vaccines, encouraging people to get both vaccinated and boosted, and to follow health protocols to keep families and communities safe this holiday season. “Please stay masked and follow all of the CDC’s health guidelines as you gather with loved ones this holiday. I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season.”

The announcement comes just two days after Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker tested positive for the virus. Both Warren and Booker were also fully vaccinated and boosted, and both reported their symptoms were also mild. They both called upon the public to get vaccinated.

All three senators’ experiences seem to back President Biden’s argument Tuesday that vaccination and booster shots provide sufficient protection from severe illness to allow for the continuation of holiday gatherings.

The president detailed plans to distribute free at-home COVID-19 tests, expand testing sites across the country, and bolster resources for strained hospitals as the Omicron variant brings in new waves of infected patients.

Congresswoman Lee is a member of the House Appropriations Committee and Chair of the subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations. She serves as Co-Chair of the Steering & Policy Committee, former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Chair Emeritus of the Progressive Caucus, Co-Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Health Task Force, and Co-Chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus. She also serves as Chair of the Majority Leader’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity. As a member of the House Democratic Leadership, she is the highestranking Black woman in the U.S. Congress.

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