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Kings Rally Back For Win, Pay Tribute To Bryant



Sacramento, CA – The Kobe Bryant farewell tour stopped through Sleep Train Arena for one last time. The vintage Bryant was as good as we’ve seen him in the past but it came in spurts. His send off from a team that was once his biggest rival blew a twenty-point-seven lead before the Kings beat the Lakers 118-115.


“In the second half we got outfought and outhustled,” said Sacramento’s coach George Karl said. “I think we mentally shut down. Maybe we celebrate too much when we are playing really well. I think it’s pretty clear what we have to work on.”


It was probably one of the greatest comebacks of the season and it all went down in the fourth quarter with Bryant on the bench. Rookie D’Angelo Russell scored 11 of his 27 points in the fourth before injuring his ankle in the final minutes of regulation. DeMarcus Cousins who finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds an seven assists sat much of the fourth with 5 fouls.


The Lakers took over and outscored the Kings, 67-49 in the second half. They cut the lead to 9 points after trailing most of the game by 20. Jordan Clarkson had 12 of 15 in the fourth while Lou Williams added 20 points. The lead went back and forth under 3 minutes and the work Sacramento put in early made a difference. Four starters for the Kings where in double-digits.


Photo by Antonio Harvey

Photo by Antonio Harvey


“We just got aggressive defensively in the second half,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “That was what I talked about at halftime. Just coming out and being more aggressive, being more physical. Picking them up full court like they were picking us up and let’s see what happens and that’s what our guys did. Obviously, it enabled us to get back into the game.”


Rudy Gay scored 18 points, Quincy Acy had a season-high 18 and Ben McLemore had 16 points. But it was Rajan Rondo who made a shot with 21.7 seconds left, giving Sacramento a 116-115 lead. Clarkson then lost the ball driving in the lane fouling Cousins, who made two free throws for a three-point lead with 6.8 seconds left. Rondo had 9 points and 12 assists.


“Kobe was amazing; I tip my hat to him. He had a great game and gave the crowd what they wanted,” said McLemore, who guarded Bryant. “Defending him in his final game in Sacramento was an honor. It’s something I will remember forever.”


But the man of the night laid the foundation early. Bryant who missed the last three games with a sore right shoulder, scored 18 points in the first half. He scored seven points in the first quarter then sat to nurse his ailing shoulder. After that we saw more of the “vintage” Bryant from year’s past adding 11 more points in the second. A driving layup in traffic and an alley-oop dunk brought the sellout crowd to their feet.


Bryant finished with 28 points and sat the entire fourth while the young guys took over after the Kings were outscored 29-16. The tribute Sacramento made to Bryant was moving in his finale game at Sleep Train Arena. During the announcements, the Kings acknowledged all of his accomplishments throughout his career and recalled his first game in the “cow bell” city on December 10, 1996 as a rookie.



“I think he is the best player to come out of high school, “ Karl said before the game. Bryant responded by saying, “I mean it’s tough for me to agree, but I’ll just take the compliment. It would be impolite not to accept the compliment, so I’ll accept it.”


Vlade Divac, president of basketball operations and general manager was traded for Bryant back in 1996 from the Charlotte Hornets. Last night he gave Bryant a Hornets jersey with the No. 8 on it. While Bryant addressed the media after the game, he wasn’t sure which number he would retire as a Laker, No. 8 or No. 24. Playing in his 20th season, Bryant remembered the good times at Arco.


“He gave me a Charlotte Hornets jersey. No. 8,” said Bryant. “It’s awesome. He has a great sense of humor and is a real practical joker. The fans showed a sign of respect, even though we have been enemies for so many years. This has always been a special place, not just for me, but for the city itself. It’s sad to see this place go (for a new arena next year).”

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Janice Mirikitani

A memorial fund in Mirikitani’s name has been established to support women’s and children’s programs so near and dear to her heart




Janice Mirikitani, photo courtesy Wikipedia Janice Mirikitani, 80

Janice Mirikitani was born on February 4, 1941, in Stockton and died suddenly on July 29, 2021.  Her cause of death is unknown.  

She was an activist, poet, writer and author who received a number of honors, including the Japanese Foreign Ministry Commendation Award for her community work in 2019.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted: “[w]e lost a legend today, the First Lady of the Tenderloin, a poet, someone who loved people, all people, and had endless compassion, grace, and vision.”

Mirikitani was born to Shigemi and Ted Mirikitani and they were all interned from her infancy for three years during World War II at a War Relocation Center in Arkansas.  After their internment the family moved to Chicago.  

Her parents divorced and she and her mother relocated to a chicken farm in Petaluma in the North Bay near other family.

Mirikitani earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She then taught in the Contra Costa School District before joining Glide Memorial Church as an administrative assistant.

In 1969, Mirikitani became the program director at Glide.  In 1982, she married Cecil Williams, who was then the pastor. She was also the president of the Glide Foundation and was responsible for fundraising and budget oversight.

She co-founded and edited Aion, the first Asian American literary magazine. She was named the second poet laureate for the city of San Francisco in 2000, and she served in that role for two years, according to Wikipedia.

“Janice was a breathtaking personification of God’s grace.  Her life was spent loving and holding up brothers and sisters that the world had given up on.  Janice’s time on earth teaches us that a life solely focused on serving the people is a blessed lifeLateefah Simon, a director of the BART Board, told The Post.

Karen Hanrahan, CEO and president of Glide told the Post: “[l]ike thousands of others, I am grieving the loss of this city’s greatest treasure.  Janice was a fearless voice for truth and justice.  Her love for those struggling the most was a powerful force for healing that transformed thousands of lives. At GLIDE we will build on Jan’s legacy, including her boundless capacity for unconditional love, to ensure no one is left behind.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee said in a statement on July 29: “I am sending my prayers and deepest condolences to Janice Mirikitani’s husband, Rev. Cecil Williams, and her family.  I am heartbroken to hear of Janice’s passing and I am grieving alongside the Glide community today.  Janice was a beautiful force of nature, a warrior for justice, and a talented poet whose spirit soared.  She inspired us all.  I will miss her tremendously.”

In Japantown’s Peace Plaza, where one of her poems is etched into a stone obelisk, shocked members of the National Japanese American Historical Society thoughtfully lay a colorful string of traditional origami around the monument.

A memorial fund in Mirikitani’s name has been established to support women’s and children’s programs so near and dear to her heart. She was executive director of the Janice Mirikitani Glide Family Youth and Child Care Center.

Mirikitani is survived by her husband, Cecil Williams, and her child from her first marriage, Tianne Miller.

Wikipedia, The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, KTVU- Fox 2 and The Houston Chronicle were sources for this story.

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On Ishmael Reed’s Inclusion and Van Jones’ Amazon Prime

Complain about the media representation of Oakland all you want. Last week, in the national media, Oakland was portrayed as a great place to live, work, and dine, with restaurants where people come up to your table and greet you like a long-lost neighbor. 



Ishmael Reed/Photo by Emil Guillermo

Complain about the media representation of Oakland all you want. Last week, in the national media, Oakland was portrayed as a great place to live, work, and dine, with restaurants where people come up to your table and greet you like a long-lost neighbor.

That Oakland. You know it? It’s the backdrop of a profile in the New Yorker magazine on Ishmael Reed, novelist, playwright, poet, and resident of Oakland. Hills? Oh no, the flats. Reed is a jazz guy; He B-flat. 

Hopefully, the joker in Reed laughs at that pun. It’s because of Reed that I am a writer. But let me not forget Flossie Lewis, my high school English teacher, and current Oakland resident. Lewis set me up. Reed delivered the punch.  

I first met Reed in St. Louis, Mo., where he was the “artist in residence” for Washington University’s first Writer’s Program. Intended to become a better Iowa Writers Workshop, it had all white writers like William Gass and Stanley Elkin. Reed was the token-in-resident. I was the token minority grad student. When one writer told me to stop writing about my Filipino family, Reed was there to tell me to put them back in. 

That’s what Ishmael did for me. 

The New Yorker profile published on July 19 compelled me to pull out Reed’s work again. “Mumbo Jumbo” (1972) re-read during the pandemic jumps off the page and is funnier than ever. People coming down with a virus that makes people dance the boogie?  It was a finalist for the National Book Award and considered for the Pulitzer Prize. 

The New Yorker also details Reed’s life with his wife, the dancer/choreographer/director Carla Blank, and their daughter, the poet Tennessee Reed. And you’ll learn how the writing all started–as a jazz columnist in the Black press for the Buffalo Empire Star.

That’s the enduring value of the ethnic media, the Black press, and newspapers like the Oakland Post. It’s still a place where diverse voices can let it all out.  

Asked about his legacy, Reed was simple and humble. “I made American literature more democratic for writers from different backgrounds,” he said. “I was part of that movement to be heard.”

I heard that. 

Van Jones’ $100 Millon Speech

Ishmael Reed is one of the only MacArthur Genius grant winners I know.

But Van Jones is the first winner of the Courage and Civility Award, which he received on July 20. Yes, that Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center. Way before CNN. I hope he remembers how he was a guest on my old New California Media roundtable talk TV show on the ethnic media more than 20 years ago on KCSM-TV. 

Because the Courage and Civility Award is $100 million unattached–from Jeff Bezos.

I wasn’t crazy about Richard Branson’s flight, so you know I’m not out-of-this-world over Bezos’s 63-mile jaunt, which I call the Neo-Space Age’s white flight. You can go beyond the suburbs.
Bezos has been hammered over not paying his taxes, and how spending billions of dollars into space travel during a time of real humanitarian need on Earth is on its face one word–obscene.

To his credit, he did what all rich people of money do when they stretch the limits of tasteful behavior.

They use their money by giving it away. It’s how the Rockefellers, the Fords, the Sacklers, the Mellons, etc., etc., can live with themselves. Albeit, far away from everyone else. Hence, the Courage and Civility Award. 

Jones was gracious about the hun mill gift. 

“I haven’t always been courageous,” said Jones.  “But I know people who are. They get up every day on the frontlines of grassroots communities. They don’t have much. But they’re good people and they fight hard. And they don’t have enough support.”
All true. And then he delivered the penance for Bezos sins.

“Can you imagine,” said Jones. “Grassroots folks from Appalachia, from the Native American reservation, having enough money to be able to connect with the geniuses that disrupted the space industry, disrupted taxis, hotels, and bookstores. Let’s start disrupting poverty. Let’s start disrupting pollution. 

“Start disrupting the $90 billion prison industry together. You take people on the frontlines and their wisdom and their genius and creativity, and you give them a shot. They’re not gonna turn around neighborhoods, they’re gonna turnaround this nation. That’s what’s going to happen.”

Then Jones had this for Bezos. “I appreciate you lifting the ceiling off of people’s dreams,” Jones said, then turned back to us. “Don’t be mad about it when you see somebody reaching for the heavens, be glad to know there’s a lot more heaven to reach for. And we can do that together.”

Bezos’ $100 million doesn’t buy a lot in the space biz. But handing it to Jones? Let’s see the disruptive good it can do on Earth.

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Black History

Freedom’s Journal: The First Voice of Black America

The four-column weekly publication was printed every Friday. Stories covered foreign and domestic news, editorials, births and deaths in the local black community, weddings, advertisements, and notices for retailers and companies that did not discriminate. Featured were articles on countries such as Haiti and Sierra Leone.



Freedom’s Journal, Vol. 1 No. 1, March 16, 1827. Courtesy Library of Congress (sn83030455).

It was 1827, a time when white publishers didn’t run obituaries of African Americans. Politics, sports, money and social issues were reported from the perspectives of whites only.

That same year, John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish founded Freedom’s Journal in New York City. It was the first black-owned and -operated newspaper in the United States. The days of major papers snuffing out the voices of Black America were ending.

The four-column weekly publication was printed every Friday. Stories covered foreign and domestic news, editorials, births and deaths in the local black community, weddings, advertisements, and notices for retailers and companies that did not discriminate. Featured were articles on countries such as Haiti and Sierra Leone.

To encourage Black achievement, it printed biographies of renowned Black figures such as Paul Cuffee, Touissant L’Ouverture and Phyllis Wheatley.

Also included were editorials expressing contempt of slavery, racism and other injustices suffered by Blacks. At the same time, many white papers openly supported slavery and racially biased acts. Boston writer David Walker, an agent for the paper, penned “David Walker’s Appeal,” dubbed the most radical of all anti-slavery documents. In it, he called for slaves to rebel against their masters.

According to Nieman Reports, “Russwurm and Cornish placed great value on the need for reading and writing as keys to empowerment for the Black population and they hoped a Black newspaper would encourage literacy and intellectual development among African Americans.”

The publishers sought to broaden readers’ awareness of world events while acting as a beacon to strengthen ties among Black communities across the U.S. During the paper’s heyday, subscriptions were $3 per year and circulated in 11 states, the District of Columbia, Haiti, Europe and Canada.

In 1827, Cornish resigned from the publication, leaving Russwurm as the sole editor. Cited were differences regarding African-American colonization of Africa. According to Nieman Reports, “Russwurm had begun to promote the colonization movement led by the American Colonization Society, which wanted to free African-American slaves and offer them the opportunity of transport back to Africa.”

The newspaper’s position was unpopular with its readership. Subscriptions quickly declined. By March of 1829, the loss of circulation forced the paper to cease publication.

After the paper shut down, Russwurm emigrated to Liberia. It was the area established on Africa’s western coast to receive those recruited by the American Colonization Society. There, Russwurm became governor of Liberia’s Maryland Colony.

In 1829, Cornish re-entered the newspaper world with a goal to revive Freedom’s Journal, renaming it The Rights of All. But in less than a year, the paper failed. Freedom’s Journal had boasted a lifespan of two years. In spite of this short-lived history, its enormous impact on antebellum Black communities would live on as progress of the Black press continued.

Despite its troubles, Freedom’s Journal was instrumental in spawning other papers. Three decades later, more than 40 Black-owned newspapers were operating throughout the U.S. All 103 issues of Freedom’s Journal are available on the Wisconsin Historical Society website.

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