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Jahi McMath Declared Brain Dead, Family Still Fighting (UPDATED)



The family of 13-yr-old Jahi McMath sat in a courtroom Tuesday morning listening to the testimony of an independent medical expert confirm that their daughter was brain dead.

Dr. Paul Fisher, Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital and a known expert on brain death, was assigned by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo to conduct separate tests and report on the girl’s condition.

The family has been in an uphill legal battle with Children’s Hospital Oakland, fighting to keep the girl on life support.

She had begun bleeding profusely and went into cardiac arrest three days after a routi


ne tonsillectomy surgery on Dec. 9. Doctors later declared her brain dead.

Dr. David Durand, Chief of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, released a statement saying, “It would be wrong to give false hope that Jahi will ever come back to life.”

But Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, says she will not stop fighting for her daughter and still believes her daughter is alive.

“God has the final say, not the doctors,” she said. “The doctors think they know everything, but if they knew everything my daughter wouldn’t be brain dead.”

The hospital was involved in a similar conflict with a patient’s family in 2011, in the case of 1-yr-old Hiram Lawrence, shot in the head by a stray bullet and declared brain dead. The family complained about what they perceived as the hospital’s eagerness to take the infant off life support, even discussing organ donation with the family.

Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry and other clergy members  addresses the press about complaints alleging Children's Hospital insensitive to the family of Jahi McMath.

Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry (center), family of Jahi McMath, and Pastor Gerald Agee (right) addresses the press about complaints alleging Children’s Hospital of being insensitive to the family of Jahi McMath.

Rev. Dr. Harold Mayberry, senior pastor of First African Methodist Episcopal Church and Pastor Gerald Agee, senior pastor of Friendship Christian Center and president of the Pastors of Oakland, called a press conference last Sunday on behalf of Oakland’s clergy community to show their support for Jahi’s family.

Attorney John Burris and Oakland City Councilwoman Desley Brooks also attended the press conference.

Mayberry said he was concerned about the lack of sympathy given to the family.

“Anytime a hospital administrator, whether he or she is a doctor or any physician in the hospital, says: ‘she’s dead, she’s dead, she’s dead and we want the courts to say ‘no, no, no’ – (that) represents a lack of sensitivity,” Mayberry said.

“At very best, perhaps the hospital should discipline that official, at very least, that official needs sensitivity training,” he added.

“…when you are wrong, you’re wrong,” Agee said. “You don’t need a judge to tell you you’re wrong. You need to do the right thing.”

Children’s hospital denies the statement was made, and says hospital representatives have been sympathetic to the family. Rev. Mayberry tried to hand a letter to Dr. Durand, urging the hospital to take a stand in regards to the reports of improper treatment.

However, was not allowed to deliver the letter, but an assistant met him downstairs and stated she would deliver the letter to him.

A large crowd marched last Monday in the streets near Children’s Hospital Oakland for Jahi with

March for Jahi on Dec. 23rd at Children's Hospital.

March for Jahi on Dec. 23rd at Children’s Hospital. Photo by Adam Turner.

signs reading, “We love you” and “Doctors can be wrong.” Winkfield said she is thankful for the support of those rallying behind Jahi – many of them people she has never met before.

“It makes me feel better because they believe just as well as I do that God has the final say on my daughter,” Winkfield said.

Later on Monday, the Alameda County Superior Court judge extended the temporary restraining order to Dec. 30, which allowed for Dr. Fisher to conduct tests and give his report Tuesday morning.

Judge Grillo ruled against the family, no longer requiring the hospital to continue additional medical care to Jahi, but the ventilator will stay hooked up until 5 p.m. on Dec. 30. He offered words of sympathy to Winkfield, encouraging her to find comfort in her religion and in the love from her family.

The family did not say what their next move would be following the judge’s ruling but they spent Christmas by her bedside, praying for a miracle.

Thursday night the family announced that a long term care facility was willing to take Jahi but a feeding and breathing tube needs to be implemented for safe transport. Children’s Hospital is unwilling to complete the procedure because the girl has been declared brain dead and therefore legally deceased.

Children’s Hospital spokesperson has also noted that Judge Grillo’s ruling only permits the hospital to keep her on a ventilator until 5pm on December 30th.

The family attorney Christopher Dolan is expected to file for another restraining order Monday morning to give the family more time to transport Jahi to a longterm care facility.

Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee Applauds 2nd Round of Workforce Funding from COVID Community Care Act Legislation

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) applauded the announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be awarding $121 million to 127 award recipients of the Local Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Access Program.



Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) applauded the announcement that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) will be awarding $121 million to 127 award recipients of the Local Community-Based Workforce to Increase COVID-19 Vaccine Access Program.

Announced on July 27, these awards are funded with resources from provisions within the American Rescue Plan Act that Lee led through her COVID Community Care Act.  This reflects the second of two funding opportunities announced in May 2021 for community-based efforts to hire and mobilize community outreach workers, community health workers, social support specialists, and others to increase vaccine access for the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities through high-touch, on-the-ground outreach to educate and assist individuals in getting the information they need about vaccinations.

The first round of funding, which was administered in June, included an $11 million award to the Public Health Institute in Oakland and a $9.5 million award to the Association of Asian/Pacific Community Health Organizations in Berkeley. Three Oakland based organizations, the Public Health Institute, Women Organized to Respond to Life-Threatening Diseases, and Safe Passages, are recipients of this round of funding, bringing the total funding brought to organizations in CA-13 to nearly $23 million.

“We are facing another inflection point in this pandemic. We must make meaningful investments in getting everyone vaccinated—especially communities of color and medically underserved communities,” said Lee.  “I worked hard in Congress to invest in trusted messengers at the community level to build confidence in vaccines and COVID-19 prevention efforts. This is a much-needed continuation of that work, and we’ll see over a million dollars of investment on the ground in our own East Bay community.

“Our Tri-Caucus – the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Native American member Congresswoman Sharice Davids, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott and Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro deserve credit for their hard work and support in getting this across the finish line in the American Rescue Plan.  We can see that the work of House Democrats is making a real-life impact on the ground for communities.  This is an important step, but we must continue our work to dismantle systemic racism in our public health system and ensure that vaccines are equitably and adequately distributed.”

The purpose of this program is to establish, expand, and sustain a public health workforce to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.  This includes mobilizing community outreach workers, which includes community health workers, patient navigators, and social support specialists to educate and assist individuals in accessing and receiving COVID-19 vaccinations.  

This includes activities such as conducting face-to-face outreach and reaching out directly to community members to educate them about the vaccine, assisting individuals in making a vaccine appointment, providing resources to find convenient vaccine locations, assisting individuals with transportation or other needs to get to a vaccination site.

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Bay Area

Where Do Negotiations Go Now After A’s “Howard Terminal” or Bust Ultimatum?

The A’s are seeking to develop 55 acres at the Port of Oakland. The proposal includes a 35,000-seat baseball stadium, which would cost $1 billion, or 8.3% of the total project.



Oakland A's Photo Courtesy of Rick Rodriquez via Unsplash

FILE – In this Nov. 17, 2016, file photo, Oakland Athletics President David Kaval gestures during a news conference in Oakland, Calif. TheAthletics will be phased out of revenue sharing in the coming years as part of baseball’s new labor deal, and that puts even more urgency on the small-budget franchise’s plan to find the right spot soon to build a new, privately funded ballpark. Kaval, named to his new A’s leadership position last month, is committed to making quick progress but also doing this right. That means strong communication with city and civic leaders as well as the community and fan base. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)

John Fisher















Nikki Fortunato

Rebecca Kaplan








Oakland’s City Council rejected the A’s proposed non-binding term sheet, which the team had presented to the City along with an ultimatum, “Howard Terminal or Bust.”

At a packed City Council meeting last week, attended by 1,000 people on Zoom, many residents were angry at what they viewed as the A’s real estate “land grab” at the Port of Oakland and either said that the team should leave or stay at the Oakland Coliseum in East Oakland.
Rejecting the A’s term sheet, councilmembers at the July 20th meeting voted 6-1 with one abstention to make a counteroffer, approving city staff’s and Council’s amendments to the A’s term sheet.

Council’s vote was to continue negotiating with the A’s, and the A’s gained substantial concessions, $352 million, enough to return for further negotiations, in Oakland. The Council’s vote didn’t derail A’s pursuit of Las Vegas.

Now, over a week since Council’s vote, neither A’s President Dave Kaval nor owner John Fisher have spoken publically on the A’s intent to continue bargaining with Oakland for their proposed $12 billion waterfront development at Howard Terminal.

The A’s are seeking to develop 55 acres at the Port of Oakland. The proposal includes a 35,000-seat baseball stadium, which would cost $1 billion, or 8.3% of the total project.

In addition to the stadium, the development features 3,000 condominium/housing units; over a million square feet of commercial space (office and retail); a 3,500-seat performance theater, 400 hotel rooms and approximately 18 acres of parks and open space.

The most fundamental sticking point, along with all the other complications, is whether a commercial/residential development, ‘a city within a city,” in the middle of a working seaport are compatible uses for the land. Many experts are saying that the existence of upscale residences and thousands of tourists strolling around will eventually destroy the Port of Oakland, which is the economic engine of the city and the region.

According to Kaval, who had pushed for the Council to approve the ultimatum, “We’re disappointed that the city did not vote on our proposal … we’re going to take some time and really dig in and understand and ‘vet’ what they did pass and what all the amendments mean.”

Although the A’s stated a willingness to be open to the amended terms Council approved, Kaval expressed uncertainty whether the Council’s amended term sheet offers “a path forward.”

“The current [amended] term sheet as its constructed is not a business partnership that works for us,” said Kaval, saying the team would have to examine the Council’s counter-offer before deciding to resume negotiations or return to Las Vegas or focus on finding a new home someplace else.

City Council President Bas and Mayor Libby Schaaf joined city and labor leaders to discuss the Council’s vote. Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan made it clear that the amended term sheet the Council approved should be considered a “road map for future negotiations … a baseline for further discussions.”

Upon Kaval’s dismissal of the Council’s stated positions, Fife said, “I don’t know where we go from here,” abstaining from the vote on the proposed term sheet.

Many find Kaval’s statement confusing because he used words like partnership but apparently ignored and/or disregarded the City of Oakland – the A’s major stakeholder and a business partnership since 1968, more than 53 years.

Some are asking if the A’s understand that Oakland’s 53-year relationship with the team is the basis for the meme “Rooted in Oakland?” Are the A’s willing to accept, as the Council has determined, that the terms of the business “partnership” must be equitable and mutually beneficial for all of “us”?

And the question remains after a 53-year relationship, is it reasonable to terminate that relationship or negotiate further for an equitable and mutually beneficial business partnership?

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Congratulations to Michelle Mack

Nominated for Teacher of the Year



Photo courtesy Michelle Mack

Congratulations to Michelle Mack, currently a pre-K lead teacher in Atlanta, Ga., who was nominated for Teacher of the Year. A 2008 graduate of St. Elizabeth’s High School who earned a degree in child psychology from San Francisco State University in 2012, Mack received her master’s from Clark University in 2015.

Mack was recognized by the Easter Seals of North Georgia (ESNG) for “serving five consistent years teaching children and helping families with the same company” and awarded the ESNG-Guice Center Award for Individual Excellence.


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