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Oakland’s COVID Data Show Racial Disparities in 2021 Deaths

Of the 314 total Oakland residents the coroner’s bureau recorded as dying of COVID-19 in 2021, they listed 106 of them, or about 33.8%, as Black. This is a disproportionately high rate of deaths when compared to data from the 2020 census, which counted Black people as representing 23.8% of Oakland’s population.

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The coroner’s data show Black people of all ages, along with Latinx people under 65, died at a rate disproportionately high when compared to their percentage of the population.
The coroner’s data show Black people of all ages, along with Latinx people under 65, died at a rate disproportionately high when compared to their percentage of the population.

By Zack Haber

Data from a recent records request show that the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau attributed 314 deaths in Oakland to the COVID-19 virus in 2021.

Some studies and reporting have suggested that available information on total COVID-19 deaths, especially when it relies on coroners, tend to be undercounts. Still, unlike data listed by the Alameda County Public Health Department, the coroner’s bureau recorded the race, gender, and age of Oaklanders who died of the virus, as well as the dates on which these deaths occurred.

The coroner’s data show Black people of all ages, along with Latinx people under 65, died at a rate disproportionately high when compared to their percentage of the population.

Of the 314 total Oakland residents the coroner’s bureau recorded as dying of COVID-19 in 2021, they listed 106 of them, or about 33.8%, as Black. This is a disproportionately high rate of deaths when compared to data from the 2020 census, which counted Black people as representing 23.8% of Oakland’s population.

Using the same two data sets, Latinx people accounted for 88, or about 28% of these deaths, while representing 27% of the population. White people accounted for 57, or about 18.2% of these deaths, while white people not also listed as Latinx represented about 28.3% of the population.

Asian people made up 42, or about 13.3% of these deaths while representing 15.5% of the population. One Native American, along with three Pacific Islanders were listed as having died of COVID-19. Two people were listed as mixed race, while about 6.5% of the deaths had no race listed.

Like elsewhere in the country and around the world, older people died of COVID-19 in Oakland at a higher rate than younger people in 2021. Oakland residents younger than 40 made up eight, or about 2.5% of the total deaths recorded. Residents older than 90 made up 36, or about 11.5% of the total deaths. People 65 and older made up 213, or about 67.8% of the total deaths.

People under 65 represented a total of 101, or about 32.2%, of COVID deaths last year in Oakland. Latinx people accounted for about 45 of these deaths, a figure that is disproportionately high compared to their share of the population. Black people accounted for about 31 of these deaths, which is also disproportionately high. White people accounted for about eight of these deaths. Asian people accounted for about five of these deaths.

By the middle of April, everyone in California who was 16 and older was eligible to book an appointment to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

After this point, COVID deaths in Oakland declined dramatically. From May through December 2021, the coroner recorded 125 COVID deaths in Oakland. In comparison, January and February alone saw 157 deaths.

While deaths of all races declined, the proportion of COVID deaths of Black people compared to the rest of the population rose. Black people made up 57, or about 45.2% of the COVID deaths in 2021 from May through December. Latinx people made up 24, or 19.2% of these deaths. White people made up 20, or 16% of these deaths. Asian people made up 12, or 9.6% of these deaths.

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Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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ICAC Invites Community to Benefit from Safe Car Park Program

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland. The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

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Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."
Chambers said, "ICAC's goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe."

by Post Staff

The Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) will hold a meeting to announce a faith-based expansion of overnight safe car parking for unhoused families on Thursday, June 13, 2024, from 1-2 p.m. at Williams Chapel Baptist Church located at 1410 10th Avenue in Oakland.

The ICAC President, Rev. Ken Chambers, announced that Williams Chapel, pastored by Rev. Kenneth Anderson, and members of ICAC, has also planned to open an overnight safe car parking program and day center to provide unhoused neighbors and families with wrap-around services.

Rev. Chambers said additional support for the program will also come from Bishop Bob Jackson, Pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church and Pastor Phyllis Scott, head of the Oakland Police Chaplaincy Program.

Chambers said, “ICAC’s goal is to just serve Oakland by helping to make the community surrounding 10th Avenue and International Boulevard both welcoming and safe.”

David Longhurst, a member of Oakland Temple LDS Church and an ICAC board member, said

“We can make the city of Oakland safer, one block at a time, by connecting our community and neighbors.”

Chambers said ICAC has a $450,000 grant commitment from the City of Oakland and a $2.5M grant request has been presented to Nate Miley, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Nate Miley to cover and expand ICAC’s Safe Car Park Program located at West Side Missionary Baptist Church to additional locations including Center Street Baptist Church, Taylor Memorial United Methodist Church, Corinthians Baptist Church, Allen Temple Baptist Church, Acts Full Gospel Church, and other congregations.

Dr. Ken Chambers said he and ICAC are assisting congregations on how to receive a one-time $5,000 grant. “ICAC has plans for several tiny homes with kitchens, living space and bathrooms that we hope will become available this fall in partnership with the State, County and City of Oakland.”

Chambers is appealing to the public to help with transitioning the unhoused populations into tiny homes or affordable housing. “If you or anyone you know is living out of a car and needs a safe place to park overnight, visit interfaithAC.org, call 510-239-6681, or stop by the ICAC hub at 732 Willow Street, Oakland, CA 94607 between the hours of 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.”

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Calif. Leaders Discuss Foster Care Reform Strategies for Black and Brown Youth

Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

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Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)
Shane Harris, PAJA President and member of the California Mandated Reporting Taskforce (center) with Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor on Homelessness to Governor Gavin Newsom and Dr. Janet Kelly, Founder & Director of Sanctuary of Hope LA (far right) (Lila Brown CBM)

By Lila Brown, California Black Media  

 Before becoming a nationally recognized social justice leader and a member of California’s Mandated Reporting Taskforce, Shane Harris spent 13 years as a foster care youth after he lost both of his parents. As President of the national civil rights organization, People’s Association of Justice Advocates (PAJA), he’s aiming to solve some of the toughest challenges Black and Brown children in the foster care system face.

During National Foster Care Month in May, Harris visited the Sanctuary of Hope in Los Angeles to host a roundtable meeting with current and former foster youth, many of whom, like Harris, have beat the odds and become successful professionals.

According to the federal government’s Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there are nearly 370,000 American children and youth in foster care.

Nationally, Black children are overrepresented in foster care. According to datacenter.kidscount.org, Black children represented 14% of the total child population in the United States. However, they represented 23% of all children in foster care. Harris pointed out that one out of every four foster youth go homeless upon exiting foster care in California. Across the state, there are nearly 65,000 children in foster care, he added. Of the 65,000 children in foster care across California, 14,000 of them are Black American.

Harris also announced a new effort already underway to push for the removal of the term “case” in L.A. County when referring to foster youth during the roundtable which featured Hafsa Kaka, Senior Advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom and Janet Kelly, the Founder and Director of Sanctuary of Hope. The session focused on solving problems foster youth face.

Sharing personal stories, insights, and various visions for policy changes, the participants discussed numerous solutions and addressed specific concerns about ongoing challenges with the foster care system.

One top priority was how to close the foster care to homelessness pipeline for the disproportionate number of Black and Brown children in LA County’s and the state’s foster care system.

“When you see the direct connection between the disproportionate rates of Black children in foster care and the disproportionate rates of Black people in the general homeless population, there is a very clear connection there in which our foster youth are coming out of care,” stated Harris during opening remarks.

Kaka said the governor has been intentional about making sure that foster children are homeless prioritized as the state addresses homelessness.

“This is a critical moment for foster care,” said Kaka. “The systems that are working together are looking at leveraging federal, state and local funds.”

Harris said he has already begun efforts in San Diego County to drop the word “case” when referring to homeless youth.

“We are asking for a 90-day public input period, in which the county CEO and leadership can facilitate discussions with the community on replacement terminology. There’s plenty of ideas,” Harris elaborated.

Kelly said a majority of the youth who go through the Sanctuary of Hope program are young people who have experienced some form of housing instability or housing crisis.

“The goal of the work that we do is really centered around helping young people leave here with leadership skills and other forms of what we call protective factors in order for them to continue on with their stabilization journey and become loving, caring and active citizens in this world,” Kelly said.

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