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Oakland Actor, Director Michael Lange, 65

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By Rasheed Shabazz

 

Oakland actor, director, playwright and filmmaker Michael Lange died on May 20. He was 65.

 

Lange is best known for his fiery portrayal of Malcolm X. He performed speeches like “Message to the Grassroots” and “The Ballot of the Bullet” since 1990. He also performed in Jeff Stetson’s award-winning play “The Meeting,” portraying a fictitious meeting between Malcolm and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

 

 

In 2014, Lange portrayed the role of Elijah Muhammad in Larry Americ Allen’s “The Expulsion of Malcolm X.”

 

As a director, Lange directed “Ceremonies in Dark Old Men”, “The Old Settler” and “Firing Blanks at Moving Targets” and, this past January, “Lord Why Can’t I Do Right.” As a playwright, he wrote a musical drama on the life of Nat Turner called “Prophet Nat,” focused on the historical revolt in 1831.

 

Born January 2, 1949 in Oakland, California to Ted and Geraldine (Jerri) L. Lange, he attended Santa Fe Elementary School, Golden Gate Junior High School and Oakland Technical High School.

He received his Bachelors in Political Science from UC Berkeley in 1973. He later attended California State University, Hayward for his Master’s in Public Administration.

Lange proudly served Oakland residents through the Office of Parks and Recreation for 37 years. He began in 1968 as a part-time day camp counselor at Redwood Day Camp, teaching art to children.

From 1971 to 1981, he was director of the Senior Citizens Program at Mosswood Park.

From 1974 to 1988, he was Children’s Camp Director at Feather River Arts Camp. He was Feather River Camp Manager from 1988 to 1991 and Camp Supervisor from 1991 through 2003.

Lange later managed the Alice Arts Center (now Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts) and the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. He retired as a program analyst for the Cultural Arts Division at the city.

Since 1998, Lange was a lecturer at San Jose State University.

Lange is survived by his mother, pioneering radio and TV personality Geraldine Lange; his brothers Ted Lange and James Cowan; and his sister Jana Lange.

“Michael was loved by everyone whose lives he touched,”said Jerri Lange.

Lange’s likeness was included on a 2014 mural at Alice and 14th streets – across from the Malonga Center, in recognition of his contributions to Black arts in Oakland.

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Activism

Zoom Town Hall Meeting to Stop State Takeover of Oakland Schools

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

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Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.
Students, parents and teachers protested in January 2019 against the closure of Roots International Academy in East Oakland as the school board voted to permanently close the school - under the guidance of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team(FCMAT) and Karen Monroe of Alameda County Office of Education. Photo courtesy of ABC7.

By Post Staff

There will be a Zoom town hall meeting to learn about and take action to stop the takeover of the Oakland Unified School District by superintendent L. K. Monroe of the Alameda County Office of Education and the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT) on behalf of the State of California.

The Zoom Town Hall, sponsored by the Oakland Post Salon & Oakland Education Association (OEA), will take place Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (U.S. and Canada)

Join the discussion as we seek answers to the following questions:

  • How did this happen?
  • Why is L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County office of Education, doing this?
  • What is the role of the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT)?
  • Why are they trying to force us to close more schools?
  • Why do they demand massive budget cuts when schools are awash in billions of dollars of state and federal funding?
  • What can we do to stop this?

Register in advance for this meeting:

https://bit.ly/saveOUSD

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

A short video that explains the issue can be viewed at https://bit.ly/noFCMAT

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Activism

City’s Environmental Report on Oakland A’s Project Fails to Protect Health and Safety of Local Residents, Says Community Coalition

“The City has rushed the Final EIR in order to meet the arbitrary end of the year deadline set by the Oakland A’s,” according to a factsheet released by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA). “The City Council and Planning Commission should not be bullied by the Oakland A’s into certifying an EIR that fails to adequately consider the project’s full impact on the neighboring community and Port operations.” The public can attend and participate in the Final EIR vote at the City of Oakland Planning Commission Zoom meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m. at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82519936593

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The public can attend and participate in the Final EIR vote at the City of Oakland Planning Commission Zoom meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m. at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82519936593
The public can attend and participate in the Final EIR vote at the City of Oakland Planning Commission Zoom meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m. at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82519936593

Oakland Port Commission Zoom hearing on Final EIR set for Jan. 19 at 3 p.m.

By Ken Epstein

The real estate development at Howard Terminal proposed by billionaire developer John Fisher, the owner of the Oakland A’s, and backed by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf “will result in numerous significant and unavoidable impacts in critical areas of concern such as toxics, traffic, air quality, and public safety,” according to a factsheet released by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA).

An examination of the 3,500-page Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) produced by city staff found that the Final EIR did not adopt any of the recommendations from the over 400 comments that were submitted by community members who pointed out numerous deficiencies with the Draft EIR, according to the factsheet released by EOSA.

“By refusing to substantively improve the Draft EIR in response to these hundreds of comments, and instead simply defending the previous analysis, the City and the A’s (in the Final EIR) are ignoring the majority of community stakeholders,” the factsheet said.

The EOSA is a coalition of local businesses, workers, labor organizations, and Oakland community members who are concerned about the Oakland A’s’ proposal to leave behind their current Coliseum location in East Oakland and build a new stadium in the middle of Oakland’s thriving working waterfront. Coalition partners include the ILWU, California Trucking Association, Acts Full Gospel Church, Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, SSA Marine, Schnitzer Steel and the Oakland East Bay Democratic Club.

“The City has rushed the Final EIR in order to meet the arbitrary end of the year deadline set by the Oakland A’s,” the fact sheet said. “The City Council and Planning Commission should not be bullied by the Oakland A’s into certifying an EIR that fails to adequately consider the project’s full impact on the neighboring community and Port operations.”

Below are some of the “significant and unavoidable impacts of the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal project that the Final EIR fails to mitigate and address”:

Rail Safety – The EIR found that the project “would expose roadway users (e.g., motorists, pedestrians, bus riders, bicyclists) to a permanent or substantial transportation hazard.”

According to the factsheet, the EIR fails to provide any scenario where the project has adequate rail crossings for cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

“The A’s and City should not expose more people to potentially fatal safety hazards while traveling across these at-grade railroad crossings,” said the factsheet.

Air Quality – “Demolition and construction associated with the Howard Terminal development would result in daily emissions that exceed the City’s thresholds,” said the factsheet. “Significant and unavoidable air pollution impacts of the A’s Howard Terminal project also include contributing to cumulative regional air quality impacts and to cumulative health risk impacts on sensitive receptors.”

Truck Displacement -The EIR does not analyze the impacts resulting from the displaced trucks using the Howard Terminal site. This is a major impact of using Howard Terminal, but the EIR calls this analysis too “speculative” to analyze. “The project will likely result in more idling, more miles traveled, and more congestion on local roads for trucks trying to get to and from the Port,” said the factsheet

Toxic Remediation – “The EIR provides few details on the project’s required Remedial Action Plan because it still has not been drafted. This means that the City Council is being asked to approve the project before it knows the actual level of toxic remediation and the remaining toxic hazards,” according to the factsheet.

What information is in the EIR makes it clear that “the A’s don’t intend to clean up most of the site, but just to pave over and pile on the existing toxic pollution,” the factsheet said.

Maritime Compatibility – “The Draft EIR provided few comprehensive Seaport Compatibility Measures despite receiving dozens of suggestions from the maritime industry and waterfront labor that would minimize impacts on the Port,” the factsheet said.

To find out more about the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, go to www.eastoaklandstadiumalliance.com

The public can attend and participate in the Final EIR vote at the City of Oakland Planning Commission Zoom meeting, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 3 p.m. at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/82519936593

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Bay Area

Oakland Healthcare Unions Denounce CDC and California’s New Guidelines

While federal and California state guidelines now allow healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work without quarantining as long as they are asymptomatic until at least February 1, it’s unclear what this will mean for several Oakland healthcare facilities.

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Oakland Highland Hospital screening tent at the emergency entrance on July 5, 2021. Photo by Zack Haber.
Oakland Highland Hospital screening tent at the emergency entrance on July 5, 2021. Photo by Zack Haber.

By Zack Haber

Two unions representing healthcare professionals have denounced recent moves by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and The California Department of Public Health that have eased, or in some cases temporarily eliminated, quarantining guidelines for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or been directly exposed to the virus.

“Part of why there’s this rise in transmission is that people aren’t quite well and they’re able to come out and mingle with the public,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez in an interview. Triunfo-Cortez has worked as a registered nurse for 42 years, and she’s the president of National Nurses United (NNU), a registered nurses’ union with over 175,000 members.

On December 22 of last year, as news that the CDC was considering shortening their COVID-19 quarantine duration guidelines from 10 days to five days was spreading, the NNU published an open letter to the director of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, that urged her to maintain the 10-day quarantine period.

“Weakening COVID-19 guidance now, in the face of what could be the most devastating COVID-19 surge yet,” the letter reads, “will only result in further transmission, illness and death.”

On December 23, the CDC changed their guidelines for healthcare workers. To address staffing shortages, the new guidelines stated that medical facilities could have both vaccinated and unvaccinated healthcare workers who test positive for the virus return to their jobs immediately without quarantining in certain crisis situations as long as they were either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

On December 27, the CDC changed their guidelines for the rest of the population, shortening the quarantining period from 10 to five days. The new guidelines stated that as long as a COVID-positive person has no symptoms or their symptoms are resolving and they don’t have a fever, they can end their quarantine on the sixth day.

“The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of [COVID-19] transmission occurs early in the course of the illness,” reads a statement from the CDC about the reduced quarantine guideline, “generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and 2-3 days after.”

In their letter, the NNU pointed to the extremely contagious Omicron variant, and warned “Now is not the time to relax protections.” They mentioned pressure from businesses to maintain profits “without regard for science or the health of employees or the public” as the primary motivation for shortening the quarantine time. The letter included a link to a story about Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian asking the CDC to consider such a change.

Data from Alameda County, and California show that after the Omicron variant of COVID-19 began to become widespread in mid-December, local and statewide cases surged. By late December, average daily case rates were higher than they ever had been before.

Hospitalizations also rose sharply. Then cases and hospitalizations continued to rise through early January and have continued to rise. At the time of publication, information on recent COVID-19 deaths is unclear as the county and the state are updating that data.

“It’s stressful because some of our co-workers might be coming into work sick,” said Sonya Allen-Smith in an interview on January 7 about working under the new guidelines. She’s been an X-ray technologist at a Kaiser Permanente facility in Oakland for 13 years and is a member of the SEIU UHW union for healthcare workers.

“We think about if we’re going to take it home to our families,” she said. “My husband’s immune system is compromised. If I bring it home to him, he definitely will not make it.”

The Oakland Post obtained a flow chart Kaiser e-mailed to their employees on January 7 that guided them through the quarantine process the company required them to enter into if they tested positive for COVID-19.

It showed Kaiser employees had to quarantine for five days and could return on the sixth day if they tested negative for the virus with an antigen test. Allen-Smith said she felt the quarantine period was too short.

“We’re not giving people enough time to heal or recover,” Allen-Smith said. “Weakening the guidelines is not going to stop the staff shortage. It may increase it because people will spread it.”

In an e-mail, Kaiser Permanente’s media team wrote that they’re “implementing CDC and CDHP guidance and isolation with considerations to vaccination status and staffing levels.” It also stated that “all employees coming back or continuing to work, wear the appropriate PPE and follow all infection prevention measures.”

On January 8, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) decided to temporarily adopt the guidance for healthcare workers the CDC had released on December 23 to address staffing shortages at healthcare facilities.

“From January 8, 2022 until February 1, 2022, healthcare professionals who test positive for [COVID-19] and are asymptomatic,” reads their statement announcing the new guidelines, ”may return to work immediately without isolation and without testing.”

The statement also said such returning employees would have to wear N95 masks while working and that these new guidelines could again change as information becomes available.

Both the NNU and the SEIU-UHW unions immediately denounced CDHP’s decision.

“For healthcare workers on the frontline it is very disappointing to see the State of California bypass common sense safety measures,” said Gabe Montoya, an emergency room technician, in a statement SEIU-UHW released. “No patient wants to be cared for by someone who has COVID-19 or was just exposed to it.”

While federal and California state guidelines now allow healthcare workers who test positive for COVID-19 to return to work without quarantining as long as they are asymptomatic until at least February 1, it’s unclear what this will mean for several Oakland healthcare facilities.

When asked for a statement about their Bay Area healthcare facilities, Sutter Health’s media team wrote an email stating: “Consistent with CDC contingency tiered guidelines released in late December, and in response to critical staffing conditions, we have revised our process for how employees who work at patient care sites return after they have been sick with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. It’s important to note that symptomatic employees are not returning to work until their symptoms improve.”

When asked directly if asymptomatic COVID positive employees were currently returning to work, Sutter Health’s media team did not respond.

When asked about their current COVID-19 quarantine policies, Alameda Health System’s media and communications manager Eleanor Ajala wrote “Alameda Health System is reviewing guidance” and that they planned to attend a meeting with the state to discuss the issue.

On January 11, Allen-Smith said she hadn’t heard of any change to Kaiser Permanente’s quarantine policy, but that she knows three co-workers sick with COVID-19 who had just returned after five-day quarantines.

In an e-mail, Kaiser Permanente’s media team wrote that to address staffing shortages they were “employing traveling nurses, adjusting elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures as needed, and offering our industry-leading telehealth capabilities in addition to in-person care.”

The media team did not directly answer when asked if Kaiser was allowing asymptomatic COVID positive employees to return to the job at Bay Area healthcare facilities.

Allen-Smith is unhappy about the guidelines changing and is unsure if Kaiser’s policy will further change in the near future due to CDHP’s recent announcement.

“A lot of us are confused and sad and just don’t feel safe in the workplace,” she said.

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