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Kaplan, Bas, Thao, and Fife Release Plan to Save Head Start Child Care Centers 

Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao, and Council Member Carroll Fife, in coordination with extensive community support, are working to demand an equitable reopening of Head Start child care centers in Oakland’s most underserved communities at the September 1, 2021, Special City Council Meeting.

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Oakland Head Start LOGO/City of Oakland

Oakland, CA – Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan, Council President Nikki Fortunato Bas, President Pro Tempore Sheng Thao, and Council Member Carroll Fife, in coordination with extensive community support, are working to demand an equitable reopening of Head Start child care centers in Oakland’s most underserved communities at the September 1, 2021, Special City Council Meeting. Oakland community members put out an urgent statement demanding the protection of vitally needed services provided by the Head Start Centers.  The Council members have released an action plan to stop the planned closures of the Head Start programs, which if allowed to close, will disproportionately impact our hardest-hit communities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, working mothers have been the most impacted by cuts to the workforce resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The closures of schools and childcare centers created a scarcity in childcare providers causing childcare costs to reach an all-time high in 2020.  As California is reopening, mothers are finding it harder to rejoin the workforce due to the lack of affordable childcare. This group of Oakland leadership are deeply concerned with the lack of equity in the City Administration’s plan to close childcare centers, as it is inequitable, and plans to close the Arroyo Viejo, Franklin, and Tassafaronga centers, all located in Oakland’s most underserved communities.  The planned closures disproportionately aim cuts at Black people, and worsen suffering in Oakland’s hardest-hit communities, low-income families, and people of color.  The planned cuts also involve inequitable layoffs of the workers and undermine our community’s economic recovery at a precarious time.

The Council members have submitted their proposal, to amend the budget to save the Head Start centers, with urgency for the Special Council meeting of September 1, 2021. The loss of these Head Start centers is causing an urgent crisis in service, violates our equity principles and has prioritized in this struggling economy, as struggling workers can’t go to jobs if their childcare is taken away and children lose the stability of early learning centers. If the City Council does not take action, these Head Start Centers would close in September 2021.

Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan states, “We must prioritize equity in our City’s COVID-19 recovery plan and allowing our most impacted communities to have vitally needed services is a high priority. Head Start is an important program which helps children, with lifelong positive impacts on their future, and ensures access to economic recovery for struggling working parents. The Administration’s plan to close these needed centers and layoff these essential workers, while hiding the information from the Council and the public for months, is inappropriate.  We need to provide equity and transparency and protect vital services for our communities. I am calling on everyone involved to help pass this plan to save Head Start, to support providing these services for all of Oakland’s communities.”

“Our most vulnerable children and families in Oakland must be supported. The Franklin Head Start Center serves a diverse community in District 2, from the Chinatown to Eastlake to San Antonio neighborhoods, and I am fighting to protect the services for these families and the jobs for the workers caring for our children.” Nikki Fortunato Bas, Council President and District 2 Representative.

“Robust investment in Head Start is investment in our future; it is long-term public safety planning; it is the right thing to do. Our local government cannot allow Head Start to fail. To do so would be to continue the practice of State-sanctioned discrimination that creates new racialized disparities and perpetuates existing ones. It is our responsibility to intervene to ensure that every single frontline worker caring for families and young people in our Head Start centers be able to keep their jobs. I am disheartened to find out that this urgent matter has been brewing for months and has only now come to the attention of the city’s elected leaders as a crisis to fix. As a working-class Black woman, like many of our Head Start providers, I have lived experience in needing access to affordable childcare. And as an elected official, I am committed to doing what it takes to keep our centers open, funded and accessible to the families who need them most.” Carroll Fife, Council Member District 3.

 

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.

Community

Oakland Officer, Suspect Wounded in Shootout

A suspect was shot by an Oakland police officer early Wednesday and a police officer was also wounded before the suspect discarded his gun, barricaded himself inside a building and eventually surrendered, according to officials.

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Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong

A suspect was shot by an Oakland police officer early Wednesday and a police officer was also wounded before the suspect discarded his gun, barricaded himself inside a building and eventually surrendered, according to officials.

Police had received a report of a man armed and brandishing a firearm, who was determined to be on the 2200 block of Telegraph Avenue.

During a Wednesday morning news conference, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said that another officer returned fire after the male suspect opened fire on arriving officers.  

“The suspect immediately began to fire shots at the officer,” said Armstrong. “The officer was struck with that gunfire and through our investigation, we know now that our officer, (an) additional officer, did fire back – so we do have an officer-involved shooting that we’re also investigating, striking the suspect with non-life-threatening injuries.”

The suspect, who had a knife, barricaded himself inside the lobby of a multi-residential building. Patrol officers established a safety perimeter and advised residents to shelter in place.

OPD patrol officers, negotiators and the Mental Health Crisis Team established communication with the suspect, who was still armed with the knife and had begun stabbing and cutting himself.

Police said the suspect is 50 years old but did not identify him immediately. They also did not disclose what type of gun he had.

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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Commentary

First in a Series on Jobs in Oakland. City Government; Please Do No (More) Harm

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

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High Quality stock aerial photos of downtown Oakland with Lake Merritt in the foreground.

Oakland city government declares war on the unemployed. An overstatement? Not really.

City administration professes concern for its residents who need help with access to jobs and training, while at the same time failing to issue contracts to the community organizations that stand ready to provide needed services.

The city council approved these contracts in June. As of late September, they have not been issued by the city administration.

Q: What does this mean? A: Non-profit organizations, operating on shoestring budgets in the best of times, have been required to advance their own funds in July, August, and September to serve the unemployed, with no reimbursement by the city because as the administration says, “Your contract has not been signed yet.”

Another impact: the workers who provide front line job services may not receive their paychecks on time…. creating unnecessary instability in their own households.

And who is responsible for issuing these contracts? Yup…it’s the city…. painfully tone deaf to the needs of the community, particularly those on the economic margins. Most of those served with job help are Black and Latinx residents who consistently suffer double digit unemployment. Many are returning home after incarceration.

And for this level of harmful disregard, the city receives  28 percent of scarce job training funds. Astonishing, since the city provides no direct services to job seekers.

As Oakland struggles with its horrific crime wave, it seems that attention would be paid to root causes, joblessness being paramount among them. Instead, the city administration seems intent on hobbling the very groups who stand ready to help. This happens year after year…. with no apparent consequences to an impenetrable bureaucracy.

Oakland, we can do  better than this.

We must.

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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Bay Area

Rosie the Riveter Trust to Celebrate History, ‘We Can Do It!’ Spirit

Tribute to storyteller and park ranger Betty Reid Soskin marking her 100th birthday

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Betty Reid Soskin/Wikimedia Commons

The Rosie the Riveter Trust is celebrating the history of the World War II home front at a September 26 gala, Making History Together. The fundraiser will highlight programs supported by the trust in collaboration with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park: Every Kid Outdoors, Rosie’s Service Corps, and a documentary about the park’s Rosie Ambassadors, currently in production.

“We have a gem of a national park located right here in Richmond, California, where visitors can come learn about the home front and hear stories told in first person. This includes women and men who worked in the Kaiser shipyards, as well as those who spent years in the internment camps during the war,” said Sarah Pritchard, executive director of Rosie the Riveter Trust. “The history of the home front and societal changes that transpired during World War II are important lessons to preserve and share.”

The gala will also include a special tribute to Betty Reid Soskin, who turns 100 in September. Soskin helped establish the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, later joining the National Park Service and becoming the oldest ranger in the national park system at 85. 

Soskin’s programs at the park’s visitor center have captivated audiences since the center opened in May 2012. During her presentations, she shares her own experiences as a young woman of color during a time when segregation and discrimination were common, adding dimension to the stories of the home front too often left out of the history books. “What gets remembered is determined by who is in the room doing the remembering,” says Soskin in her 2019 film, “No Time to Waste.”

The gala will be held at the historic Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South (next to the park’s visitor center on the Richmond waterfront). The Craneway, which boasts a fabulous view of San Francisco, is the former Ford Assembly Plant where some 49,000 tanks and jeeps were assembled during the home front era. 

While individual tickets to the in-person event sold out on August 1, tickets to view the live-streamed event are still available. The event begins at 5:00 p.m., followed by a tribute to Soskin, highlights of the trust’s programs, a live auction, a Zoom afterparty, and entertainment.

Major event sponsors include the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Kaiser Permanente, The Marguerite Fund, Chevron Richmond Refinery, Accenture, Bank of Labor, California State Pipe Trades Council, Microsoft Corp., The Honorable Barry Goode, Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, IBEW Local 302, IBEW Local Union 595, and Marathon Petroleum. Event sponsorships are available beginning at $1,000.

Rosie the Riveter Trust is the official partner of the Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historical Park, founded in 2000 in Richmond, California. The Park chronicles the explosive growth of wartime industry, the innovations fostered by visionaries like Henry J. Kaiser, and the extraordinary history of people who were challenged as never before and came together to overcome wartime odds with the “We Can Do It!” spirit.

Event proceeds support expansion of educational programs for all ages and preservation of historical resources for the Bay Area and the nation.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the trust’s web site at www.rosietheriveter.org. For sponsorships, contact Executive Director Sarah Pritchard, at 510-507-2276, or by email at sarah@rosietheriveter.org.

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