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 Military Service Runs in the Family of Woman Heading California’s Advocate for Black Veterans




Carole Stanford is a veteran as is her father and many other relatives.  Even though she “grew up Navy” she and her relatives, like many Black veterans, were unaware of benefits they were entitled to receive after leaving the military.

National Association for Black Veterans  (NABVETS) is filling that void.

Stanford was born in a Navy hospital as were her seven siblings. Their father served 30 years in the Navy.

A Vallejo High School graduate and mother to three adult children — 32, 28, and 25 – Stanford currently lives in San Jose.  She has worked in the medical profession for 30 years, and is employed full-time. That experience helps her understand the system and the psychology of services for veterans.

Stanford joined the Navy after attending college and just six months after her first child was born.

Pre-military her career choice was to be a psychologist, but mainly she wanted her son to be proud of her.

There is lots of military in her background. In addition to her father, two of her brothers joined the Navy, all six of her uncles and one of her aunts served in all branches of the military.

At one point her father and three of his brothers served in Vietnam at the same time. Generations ago, a family member was drafted by the Union to fight in the Civil War, and one of her three sons has enlisted in the Navy.

It took her father 10 years to receive the benefits he was due from the Navy.  This is all too common for veterans of color.  They aren’t denied benefits, they simply are not given.

Stanford describes her father as a hero, her mother as a warrior.  She considers herself a combination of her parents and has taken up the mantle of ensuring that Black veterans receive their benefits.

She says:  “I do not want that to happen to any other veteran. I am committed to serving those who have served us. A veteran’s group that is underserved is women, particularly Black women. As a female veteran I am very aware how little information is given to us.  This is the way we are represented in every aspect of society. Just as women are often overlooked in the civilian workforce, the same happens in the Military. I am a person who believes that change can only happen when people make it happen. I have done it for years and I will continue to do so.”

Stanford is indeed a changemaker.

During the pandemic, she was appointed California State Commander, NABVETS, INC.

NABVETS was established in 1969 and the tag line is “creating positive lifestyles for veterans, their families and the community.”

The mission of NABVETS is “ . . . to honor the bravery and the strength of the people who were ready to save the mother land.”

NABVETS’ vision is “ . . . [to] ensure that these veterans receive the respect they deserve from the society and lead a peaceful life.”

The philosophy:  “ . . . to make sure that the community understands the value of working and helping these veterans gain peace.”

In addition to serving in her statewide post, Stanford volunteers with NABVETS through their Richmond chapter.

“The Cost of Courage Foundation,” based in San Jose, awarded her the Veteran of the Month Award for the month of November 2020.

“Growing Up Navy” is a book, available on Amazon (and in Kindle) that Stanford wrote in honor of her father who was the inspiration for her joining the Navy.

Thank you Carole, for your service and beyond and thank you NABVETS for assisting our Black veterans.

For more information about NABVETS, log onto

Bay Area


Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 476 34th Street Oakland, California is excited to announce that Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, senior pastor was awarded the auspicious Jarena Lee Award.




Historic rendition of Jarena Lee, the first female preacher in the A.M.E. church

  Dr. Rosalyn Brookins. Courtesy of Parks Chapel A.M.E. Church.

Parks Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 476 34th Street Oakland, California is excited to announce that Rev. Dr. Rosalynn Brookins, senior pastor was awarded the auspicious Jarena Lee Award.

Jarena Lee (February 11, 1783 – February 3, 1864) was the first female authorized to preach in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. History shows she was born into a free, Black family. Lee saw the immorality of slavery.  At a time period of segregation and inequity, A.M.E. Church founder Richard Allen gave her the opportunity for her voice to be heard despite the fact that there were no provisions for a female to preach. Rev. Lee showed determination to let her voice be heard and to share the holy word, despite racial and gender issues.  Further, Lee was the first African American woman to have an autobiography published in the United States.

During the 5th Episcopal District A.M.E. Founder’s Day Service, the Award was presented to Brookins by Rev. Carieta Grizzell, president of Women in Ministry and pastor of Murph-Emmanuel Church in Sacramento, Ca.  This esteemed award is the highest commendation that a female minister can receive in the A.M.E. Church.

There are many parallels between  Lee and  Brookins.  They both blazed a path forward through adverse circumstances and applied the lessons they learned to their spirituality.  Their similar experiences as female ministers reinforce their relationship with God.  They maintained a steadfast hope in and a strong love for his divine majesty.  

Brookins is the only Episcopal supervisor of the Women’s Mission Society for the A.M.E. Church to be given a pastoral appointment as senior pastor.

Brookins earned her doctoral degree from Payne Theological Seminary in 2018, making her the first inaugurated female to be conferred with the noted degree.  She was the commencement speaker during the graduation.  Her dissertation was entitled “The Rebirth of the Woman’s Prophetic Voice: Using Liberation Theology to Impact the Local Congregation.” 

In 2018, Brookins presented a pilot program in South Africa and subsequently launched the Global School of the Prophets.  While there are many prophetic schools, this is the only type of school that ministers to both clergy and lay women. Brookins exudes great enthusiasm and passion about teaching and she graciously shares her expertise regarding prophecy.  Her courses provide an overview and structure that encourage individuals to develop, explore and expand their prophetic knowledge and understanding.   

The highly organized and comprehensive curriculum includes coverage of the Introduction and  Origin of the Prophetic; Prophetic Call;  Prophetic Ministry;  Prophetic Terminology; Nine Prophetic Traits, and Prophetic Training and the Church.   Students currently participating in the second cohort of the Global School are from the United States, India, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, Belize and Trinidad. 

Just as Lee showed a drive and commitment to serve,  Brookins has the same qualities.  She is an honorable, steadfast pastor who is obedient to all that God has called her to do.  She is a strong leader, and a visionary who genuinely loves preaching the word of God.  Rev. Brookins’ unconditional love and genuine personality has touched the hearts of many.  Her prophetic ministry, powerful sermons and prayers consistently instill hope and inspiration. 

Lee traveled extensively preaching the word of God.  Rev. Brookins has preached the gospel in multiple pulpits across the country, including Canada, Zambia, India and South Africa. 

Regarding his mother’s receipt of this prestigious award, Sir Wellington Hartford Brookins said “I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of my mother.  She is an example of perseverance and daring determination.  She inspires me to move forward every single day and that’s why this award means so much to her and to me.”

Brookins said she is “humbled that the men and women of God felt I deserved such an award. I am moved that God saw it fitting for me to receive such an honorable award.”

The Jerena Lee Award is an amazing recognition of the contributions of Rev. Brookins to the theological foundations of the church as a whole.

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Bay Area

Rush bowls

The perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers.




Rush bowls are the perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers. Packed with nutrients and fully customizable, Rush bowls offer healthy, delicious alternatives to standard fast-casual fare. Rush bowls is open Mondays-Fridays from 10am-6pm at 350 17th Street, Oakland,CA 94619. Available for indoor dining, and delivery through GRUBHUB

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City of Oakland Announces Appointment of New Fire Chief

Prior to the City of Hartford, Freeman served as the fire chief for Lockheed Martin and served as a civilian fire chief in Iraq for the U.S. Department of Defense from 2004-2008.




City Administrator Ed Reiskin announced on Wednesday the selection of Reginald D. Freeman to serve as the next fire chief for the City of Oakland, effective May 17.   

    Freeman most recently has served as the fire chief for the City of Hartford, Conn., since 2016. He will take over for Deputy Fire Chief Melinda Drayton who has held the position in an interim role since April 2020.   

    “Mayor Schaaf and I are excited that Chief Freeman has accepted our offer to become the next fire chief for the Oakland Fire Department at a very dynamic time for both the fire service and the city of Oakland,” said Reiskin. “Recognizing the importance of this position, we undertook an exhaustive recruitment process and we’re extremely confident that Mr. Freeman is the right choice for this moment.

    “He brings a tremendous level of professional experience leading fire departments and emergency management functions, has demonstrated a strong commitment to professional development, and built a successful track record of achieving strategic goals and objectives at every step of his career,” Reiskin said.  

   Prior to the City of Hartford, Freeman served as the fire chief for Lockheed Martin and served as a civilian fire chief in Iraq for the U.S. Department of Defense from 2004-2008. He has worked in several fire service capacities in his career including firefighter/emergency medical technician (EMT), fire captain, fire service instructor, assistant fire chief, and fire chief.  

    “I am sincerely humbled and honored to have the confidence of Mayor Schaaf and Mr. Reiskin to serve the great City of Oakland and the men and women of the Oakland Fire Department as fire chief,” Chief Freeman said. “OFD is a proud organization comprised of consummate professionals.” 

    Freeman has a Bachelor’s degree in leadership, a Master’s degree in executive fire service leadership, and is a Harvard Fellow. He is also a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers USA Branch and a chief fire officer designee and serves on the Board of Directors for National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He is married to his wife of 17 years and is a proud father to two daughters.  

L. Autumn King is a public information officer in the office of the City Administrator of Oakland.

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