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Lecrae, Rapper with San Diego Ties, Shares Wealth-Building Ideas

Before knowing that his passion for financial education would grow into what he calls a “new-age Teen Summit” (referring to the early 1990s BET weekly show that dealt with issues facing young African Americans), Lecrae says he was working to expose those around him to the benefits of good money habits.

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Lecrae provides guidance on healthy spending habits in a series called “Protect the Bag.”
Lecrae provides guidance on healthy spending habits in a series called “Protect the Bag.”

By Kassidy Henson | California Black Media

Lecrae, a Grammy Award-winning Christian hip-hop artist, is on a mission to increase financial literacy among African Americans.

Growing up in a “marginalized” community in San Diego, Lecrae says he was exposed to incredible wealth and opportunity when he visited communities along the Pacific coastline or neighborhoods nestled in the hills overlooking the city.

But life was different in his predominantly Black neighborhood. Less possibility. Much more poverty.

“You begin to wonder ‘how do I acquire that?’ How do you change the narrative?” Lecrae told California Black Media.

“Returning to a community that faced marginalization, brutality and the effects of poverty was a reflection — excluded from the gleaming SoCal Hills.”

Recalling those childhood experiences, Lecrae — who now lives in Atlanta — said he decided to launch an effort to create opportunities for African Americans that would help to close the wealth gap between Blacks and whites.

Using his own production company, 3 Strands Films, Lecrae developed a short-form financial education show called “Protect the Bag.”

The six-part web series provides viewers with a “blueprint” for financial wellness by delving into topics like saving, retirement, investment, budgeting, and identity protection, according to the rapper who released a new album with fellow artist 1K Phew titled “No Church in a While” on December 3.

Lecrae, who won a Grammy for Best Gospel Album in 2012, says he hopes the show helps to restore stability and hope in a new generation of young Black people.

The concept for “Protect the Bag” was developed during the COVID-19 lockdown last year. During that time, Lacrae says he partnered with the credit scoring company Experian to come to the aid of 21 families facing foreclosure due to financial hardship.

“Protect the Bag” is a series of short, roundtable conversations. During each one, Lecrae explains the basics of building a financial legacy. In discussions with financial professionals, community members and guests like Denver Nuggets forward Michal Porter Jr., the panelists address obstacles to building wealth that large numbers of African Americans face.

By the end of each episode, Lecrae says his goal is to equip viewers with the knowledge, exposure and confidence to create better financial habits.

Before knowing that his passion for financial education would grow into what he calls a “new-age Teen Summit” (referring to the early 1990s BET weekly show that dealt with issues facing young African Americans), Lecrae says he was working to expose those around him to the benefits of good money habits.

A self-described “doer,” Lecrae explained that at his label he met with artists and hosted financial literacy classes exploring buying power, disparities in the stock market, and the value of the Black dollar.

“Those are all important pillars of good financial stewardship,” says the artist who joined other lecturers to teach a six week “pop-out course” at Stanford University.

“One of the struggles that we had in academia is that academics often speak through a backwards megaphone. They speak through the wide end. To them, the information is easy to grasp when it comes out the smaller side,” he said.

“How do we turn that megaphone around? How do we take these narrow concepts and make them more broad and applicable for everybody listening? How do we speak the language of the community and allow it to be less complicated than everyone makes it sound?”

Lecrae also talked about the many benefits that can be reaped when African Americans decide to invest in their communities.

“It creates a network. Like that old game, Barrel of Monkeys: when someone reaches down to give you a hand the next step is to reach your hand down to help the next person up,” he says. “This practice puts funds and resources back into the community, which is an essential part of a financially stable economy.”

Lecrae said young people should ditch the mindset that you only live once.

“You can really lose a movement over a moment. I think we chase pleasure over happiness. Think about what you want long-term because your decisions today can work to ensure that your 60-year-old self is living in a way that is liberated and free.”

New episodes of “Protect the Bag” are released each week on Lecrae’s YouTube channel.

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Activism

Moms 4 Housing Hold Sit-in Demanding County Supervisors Extend Eviction Protections

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms. Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

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Participants in the sit-in, which began Tuesday afternoon, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.
The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

By Post Staff

Moms 4 Housing held a sit-in in the nonviolent civil disobedience tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., to demand that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors uphold their original vote to pass permanent Just Cause eviction protections for the 60,000 tenants living in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms.

Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), ACCE and EBHO, along with other local activists, are mobilizing outside of the Alameda County Administration Building to stand in solidarity with Moms 4 Housing, an organization focused on uniting mothers, neighbors, and friends to reclaim housing for the Oakland community from the big banks and real estate speculators.

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Activism

Following More Mass Shootings Democrats Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9. The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns. President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

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The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans
The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire

Two proposals aimed at curbing the spread of assault rifles were submitted today by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The Assault Weapons Ban seeks to prohibit the commercialization, distribution, production, and importation of assault rifles and other firearms designed for use in military operations, as well as high-capacity magazines and similar devices.

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9.

The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns.

President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

Biden said that the number of mass shootings declined during the decade that the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect.

“In the 10 years that the Assault Weapons Ban was on the books, mass shootings went down,” Biden remarked.

“After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” he declared.

Both houses of Congress were urged to take quick action by the president.

According to Biden, “the majority of American people agree with this rational measure.”

“There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation,” he insisted.

In the House of Representatives, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline said he plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s Assault Weapons Ban.

Feinstein said assault rifles “seem to be the unifying denominator in the seemingly endless number of horrific shootings.”

“Because these firearms were created for maximum efficiency in mass murder,” the senator noted.

“They have no place in our society or educational institutions. It’s time to take a stand against the gun lobby and do something about getting these lethal weapons off the streets, or at the absolute least, out of the hands of our youth.”

Blumenthal added, as the gunman at the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park demonstrated just days ago, assault weapons are designed for one and one purpose only: to murder or hurt human beings.

“These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings,” Blumenthal said.

“Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this commonsense action.”

Rep. Ciciline argued that it is long past due to reinstate an assault weapon ban and remove these “weapons of war” from civilian areas.

The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans,” Ciciline noted.

“We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”

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Activism

With a 97.3% Strike Vote, More Than 500 Richmond Educators Rally Before School Board Meeting

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

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Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day
Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day

By Post Staff

United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) held a rally urging West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) officials to reach a “fair settlement” and avoid a strike.

Teachers, school psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, program specialists, librarians, and speech-language pathologists are calling for a settlement that includes community schools, shared decisions, and competitive compensation that keeps outstanding educators in the community — and brings the next generation of educators to the district.

The rally was held at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

In mid-November last year, the Legislative Analyst Office of California announced additional guaranteed, ongoing funding for the 2023-24 school year. The district intends to only provide less than half of the percentage of ongoing permanent funding it receives from the state for educator compensation, according to a statement released by the UTR.

Despite that projection of continued funding by the state, the school district declared an impasse in negotiations with UTR. Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day.

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