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OP-ED: Will City Preserve Oakland Auditorium for the People of Oakland?

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By James Moore Jr.

 

As a second-generation Oakland native, I have fond memories from my youth of the Oakland Auditorium, now called the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, attending Big Time Wrestling, Bay Bombers Roller Derby, Oakland High School Tournament of Champions (TOC) Basketball games, Black Panther Party Rallies and of course James Brown and Motown concerts.

 

 

 

 

The Auditorium has played host to Martin Luther King, Jr., Elvis, the Grateful Dead and all varieties of civic, sports and community events since 1915.

 

And now there is a recommendation by the city that would turn the Auditorium arena into office space, destroying one of the only venues of its kind and unraveling a major swath of Oakland’s historic fabric.

 

The proposal by Orton Development, aside from re-purposing the arena, provides very little detail on the programming or how Oakland residents will benefit.

 

However, city staff has forwarded their proposal for review by the council’s Community and Economic Development Committee.

 

Fortunately there’s also a competing proposal that would restore and rejuvenate this Oakland landmark, including the arena, in a manner that engages the greatest number of Oakland residents, provides an incredible amount of economic impact and creates opportunities to positively impact small local businesses.

 

Creative Development Partners, an Oakland-based development firm with deep roots in local community development, has raised $66 million for a proposal that includes an embedded training and employment program in partnership with Oakland Unified Schools, Laney and Merritt Colleges, to provide career pathways for high school and community college students in a range of accessible and upwardly mobile fields. CDP’s proposal creates added value to the Auditorium through the addition of a new arts-integrated hotel built next to the building, allowing Oakland to attract meetings, conventions, concerts, sporting activities and all sorts of special events.

 

The plan also includes a cultural and performing arts center, building upon Oakland’s incredible arts scene and supported by a broad range of local and regional arts organizations.

 

While opposed by a small group of historic preservation activists, CDP has designed a “deep-green” and sustainable hotel that integrates into its surroundings and complements the Auditorium and Oakland Museum.

 

As they said, “we want to respect the past, while participating in the future.” Oakland desperately needs hotel rooms and the Auditorium provides an opportunity to create a headquarter hotel, which captures convention and special event business.

 

With the mind blowing amount of new development and money flowing into Oakland from private and institutional sources, it’s important to be mindful that all money isn’t good money, and the same rules that apply to new immigrants to Oakland and the unintended negative impacts of gentrification, it’s imperative that Oakland pursues an equitable development strategy that benefits the most citizens, instead of catering to only the more affluent among us.

 

We also need to fulfill a promise to young people and other long-time residents, that if you do right, opportunity will come your way.

 

Anyone who has roots in the city understands the significance of this historic building and the need to restore and reopen it. Creative Development Partners’ project needs to happen and needs for your voice needs to be heard.

 

The two projects will be heard at the next city Community and Economic Development (CED) Committee meeting on June 9, 1:30pm at City Hall. The details of the project can be found at www.1lmoakland.com. It’s the responsible choice and will set Oakland apart as a national model for equitable economic development.

 

James Moore, Jr. is the director of the African American Business Exchange and producer of multi-ethnic cultural events.

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#NNPA BlackPress

IN MEMORIAM: Cheryl Hickmon: National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dies

NNPA NEWSWIRE — THE BURTON WIRE — Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows, in part: “It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

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Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority.

By Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D, NNPA Newswire Culture and Entertainment Editor

The nation is mourning the passing of Cheryl Hickmon, national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, the nation’s largest African-American sorority. Hickmon was elected president of the organization dedicated to sisterhood, scholarship and service  November 21, 2021 at the 55th national convention held in Atlanta, GA.

Hickmon, a beloved and celebrated member, served the organization for 39 years. The Connecticut native was initiated into the Alpha Xi Chapter at South Carolina State University in 1982 and was an active member of the Hartford (Conn.) Alumnae Chapter. The national office of the sorority released a statement announcing Hickmon’s  death which reads as follows:

“It is with great sorrow that Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. shares the passing of our beloved National President and Chair of the National Board of Directors, Cheryl A. Hickmon. President Hickmon transitioned peacefully on January 20, 2022 after a recent illness.

President Hickmon was a devoted member of Delta Sigma Theta since 1982 and served in various capacities at the chapter, region, and national level before being elected National President. She is remembered not only for her role as a leader but for being a colleague, friend, and most of all, sister.

The entire sisterhood of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated mourns the loss of President Hickmon. During this difficult time, we ask that you respect her family’s privacy and keep them in your prayers.”

In addition to serving as the national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Cheryl was employed at Montefiore’s Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health in Hartsdale, NY where she supervised the In Vitro Fertilization Laboratories for Andrology and Endocrinology. A licensed Clinical Laboratory Technologist, Hickmon worked in the Reproductive Medical Laboratory for more than 30 years.
Members and supporters have been offering remembrances and calling for prayers in response to Hickmon’s death. Florida representative Val Demings,  who is a member of the sorority, shared her thoughts via Twitter:
Organizations including the NAACP and fellow Black Greek Letter Organizations like Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma and Alpha Kappa Alpha have issued statements about Hickmon’s passing.

Cheryl Hickmon is the daughter of the late Dr. Ned Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Bishopville, South Carolina and the late Consuella Anderson Hickmon of Hartford, CT and Cincinnati, Ohio. She is survived by her two older brothers Ned and David Hickmon.

Hickmon’s bio reads, “Cheryl lives her life by the motto … ‘Don’t measure life by the number of breaths you take but by the number of moments that take your breath away.’” She was 60.

This obituary was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow Nsenga on Twitter @Ntellectual.

Follow The Burton Wire on Instagram or Twitter @TheBurtonWire. 

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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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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: Kituria Littlejohn McConnell, 71

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973. The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

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Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell
Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell

July 16, 1950 – Jan. 16, 2022

Kituria (Kit) Littlejohn McConnell passed away peacefully at her home in Danville, California, surrounded by her family, on Jan. 16, 2022 at the age of 71, following a two-year battle with cancer.

Kit was born July 16, 1950, in Salisbury, North Carolina, to Horace and Esther Littlejohn. She was raised in Washington, D.C., where she married Attorney Gregory (Greg) R. McConnell in 1973.

The couple first met at Backus Junior High School in 1963. They attended Coolidge High School and Howard University where Kit graduated in 1972 with a degree in English.

It was during their time together at Howard University that they dated, and Kit honored Greg by agreeing to be his lifelong partner. Their marriage extended for 48 years until Kit’s passing.

After graduation from Howard, Kit excelled as a teacher at Eastern High School. Due to her exceptional teaching and interpersonal skills, she was tapped to teach a range of students with various achievement levels.

Kit and Greg lived in the Washington, D.C., area until they moved to Hercules, California, in 1985. Her hobbies included reading, decorating, and traveling. Kit is regarded as a loving and kind woman who was thoroughly devoted to her family and friends. She was truly a good person that no one ever said an unkind word about. She was the spiritual leader of her family, firmly grounded in decency, compassion and sharing her goodwill toward all.

Kit is survived by her husband, Gregory R. McConnell; her three devoted children, Kalela Washington and husband Spencer of Olney, MD; Gregory (JR) McConnell Jr. of Oakland, CA, and Kimberley Riberdy and husband Jason of Dublin, CA; grandchildren Aliya G. Washington and Kituria J. Riberdy; sisters Phyllis Palm and Montressa Fisher; brother Horace G. Littlejohn, III; a host of loving in-laws, nieces, and nephews; and a score of lifelong devoted friends.

Kit is now reunited with her parents, Horace and Esther Littlejohn, and her sister, Millicent Littlejohn Wheeler who preceded her in death.

The family will convene a memorial service in the Washington, D.C., area this spring that will also be available for remote viewing. In lieu of flowers or other sentiments, the family requests that you go to your loved ones, hug them, and tell them you love them.

Thank you, Kit, for a love supreme.

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