Connect with us

COVID-19

Opinion:  Martin Luther King Day is Much More Than a Day Off

King advocated for diversity, for an end to discrimination. His “dream” has not come to fruition. Some might argue that we are in a nightmare with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. A lot of people simply “talk the talk” rather than “walk the walk” around the diversity King dreamed of. Many of us spend the majority of our time with people who look like us rather than those who may reflect the diversity of which we speak.

Published

on

I often wonder what those who didn’t experience the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. think of the man and the holiday. I don’t have that problem.

I am a 63-year-old Black lesbian who grew up in Huntsville, Ala. My parents strategized and marched with King. I learned about civil disobedience and protests from them when I was 4 years old. I heard them talk of engaging in sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

And they explained to me that we would not be buying new clothes from the segregated stores in town on Easter because King, in conjunction with the local churches, had organized a boycott. If we couldn’t shop at these stores by entering the front door, then we wouldn’t patronize them.
Easter clothes and accouterments were a very big deal among a lot of Blacks in the South. It was the time when we put on our finest clothes. We all got entirely new outfits, the whole regalia, from underwear to shoes, purses, hats and gloves.

So it was a very big deal to forgo this. In fact, the organizing strategy was to wear blue jeans that Easter Sunday in 1962.

Now, little Black girls did not wear pants to church anywhere in the 1960s, much less jeans. But it was a visible way to demonstrate our outrage with stores that discriminated against us based on race. King knew that this would be a hard sell in the Black community, but he also understood that it was essential.

I never met King, but my father so vividly described the meetings and organizing sessions around the boycott that in my young mind I had met the great man. Plus, in a lot of Black homes in the 1960s there were three pictures hanging on the walls: Jesus Christ, John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

My father, just three years younger than King, spoke of him both as a good friend and as a genius. His oratory skills were legendary and I’m not simply speaking of his oft-quoted “I Have a Dream” speech. If there was an opportunity to hear King preach, you took that opportunity. His down-home preaching was so good that it made you want to holler and fan yourself at the same time.

I wonder what King, who would have been 92 this year, would make of the country in a pandemic in 2021? He would notice the national holiday and all of the streets named after him, but I imagine he would not be impressed. King was a man of substance. Stamps, holidays and streets named in his honor were not in his master plan.

King advocated for diversity, for an end to discrimination. His “dream” has not come to fruition. Some might argue that we are in a nightmare with the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism. A lot of people simply “talk the talk” rather than “walk the walk” around the diversity King dreamed of. Many of us spend the majority of our time with people who look like us rather than those who may reflect the diversity of which we speak.

So, I will honor the anniversary of King’s birth as I did even in the years before it became a federal holiday. I will shed tears over the loss of a great man and a philosopher. I will rue the lack of knowledge that most have of his life and legacy and of anyone different from ourselves. And I will offer a not-so-silent prayer that the best way to honor King is by listening or reading some of his speeches and by “walking the walk” of diversity.

Actions do speak louder than words.

Activism

Alameda County Awards $4 Million in Grants for Licensed Early Care & Education Providers 

“Childcare keeps Alameda County working, and these awards are one step to supporting equity and social justice in a field where the workforce is held predominantly by women of color,” said Ford. Since March 2020, the Alameda County Emergency Child Care Response Team (ECCRT), a cross-sector collaborative of eight county-wide stakeholder agencies, has convened and concentrated its efforts to plan and align its immediate County COVID-19 response to support the ECE field.

Published

on

Women of color dominate the workforce providing childcare. iStock photo image.
Women of color dominate the workforce providing childcare. iStock photo image.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved the distribution of $4 million in one-time federal relief grants to support local Early Care and Education (ECE) system needs and infrastructure made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

“The COVID pandemic has highlighted the critical role of childcare in the United States and especially in Alameda County. Childcare is a key economic driver for families, employers, and communities to thrive,” said Supervisor Keith Carson, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.

To apply for grants, licensed childcare providers will be required to complete a general County online application to verify they are currently active, licensed and providing care. Applications are available in the County’s threshold languages and can be found at this link.

The application portal for federal relief funds will be promoted by local resource and referral agencies like BANANAS, 4Cs and Hively, First 5 Alameda County, Emergency Child Care Response Team and the ECE Planning Council.

Large Family Child Care (FCC) and center-based licensed programs will qualify for a minimum award of $3,350 and small licensed FCC’s will qualify for a minimum award of $2,350.

“While the ECE field has shown tremendous creativity and resilience to keep their doors open to support children and families, they have also been severely impacted by the challenges of COVID-19 and struggle to keep their doors open,” said Andrea Ford, interim agency director for the Alameda County Social Services Agency.

“Childcare keeps Alameda County working, and these awards are one step to supporting equity and social justice in a field where the workforce is held predominantly by women of color,” said Ford.

Since March 2020, the Alameda County Emergency Child Care Response Team (ECCRT), a cross-sector collaborative of eight county-wide stakeholder agencies, has convened and concentrated its efforts to plan and align its immediate County COVID-19 response to support the ECE field.

Led by the Alameda County Social Services Agency, partner agencies include Alameda County Early Care & Education Planning Council, Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda County Public Health, BANANAS, Community Child Care Council (4Cs) of Alameda County, First 5 Alameda County (F5AC) and Hively. The goal is to ensure the grants funding reaches most if not all licensed ECE providers throughout the County.

The pandemic continues its impact on the ECE system. Nationally, nearly half of childcare providers closed at the beginning of the pandemic, and while many have reopened, data shows that, “86% are serving significantly fewer children than they were prior to the pandemic; on average, enrollment is down by 67%. Two out of five childcare providers are certain that they will close permanently without additional public assistance.”1

Alameda County tremendously values the local ECE field and is honored to provide some relief as we collectively work towards the long road to recovery,” said Ford.

For more information, ssachildcaregrant@acgov.org.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Board Bars Evictions Related to COVID-19

Several times during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Board has passed resolutions barring evictions for nonpayment of rent arising directly from the coronavirus. Preventing evictions for nonpayment due to financial hardship related to COVID-19 allows the County and its partners to continue making funds available for tenants who have struggled to pay rent. Since spring 2020, nearly 1,260 local households have received County-sponsored COVID-19 rental assistance.

Published

on

The County budget is balanced and structurally sound, although national economic indicators are showing signs that the recovery is slowing down.
The County budget is balanced and structurally sound, although national economic indicators are showing signs that the recovery is slowing down.

Protections intended for those experiencing hardship because of pandemic

Courtesy of Marin County

Determined to prevent housing displacement for residents financially hampered by the ongoing pandemic, the Marin County Board of Supervisors took another action June 21 to prohibit residential renter evictions in unincorporated Marin effective July 1 through Sept. 30, 2022. The State of California’s eviction protections are scheduled to expire June 30.

Several times during the COVID-19 public health emergency, the Board has passed resolutions barring evictions for nonpayment of rent arising directly from the coronavirus. Preventing evictions for nonpayment due to financial hardship related to COVID-19 allows the County and its partners to continue making funds available for tenants who have struggled to pay rent. Since spring 2020, nearly 1,260 local households have received County-sponsored COVID-19 rental assistance.

The County is continuing to assist tenants who have applied for rental assistance and working with community partners to assure an equitable distribution of federal funds earmarked for eviction prevention. All renters have been protected by state or local laws, regardless of a person’s citizenship status, during the public health emergency. The County continues to process rental assistance applications as quickly as possible with added staff over the past year to accommodate assistance applications.

Rental assistance priority has been given to households that are considered extremely low income, which in Marin would be a family of three with an income of no more than $43,550. Nationally, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and are often at the highest risk of housing displacement. The County recognizes that those most in need of eviction protection experience barriers to access such a program. While more than two-thirds of non-Hispanic white residents are homeowners in Marin, roughly three-quarters of both Black/African American and Hispanic/Latinx communities in Marin are renters.

Between state and federal funds, the County’s pandemic rental assistance program was awarded $36,414,871 of which $23,970,885 has been distributed to 1,260 local households in need. There is a remaining balance of $8,579,705, which will serve the remaining applicants and waiting list and is anticipated to be spent by September 30, 2022.

Clearing accumulated debt is designed to provide a lifeline to the hardest-hit families and provide income stability for landlords. Several local agencies, such as Canal Alliance, Community Action Marin, and North Marin Community Services, are assisting applicants with the process.

Property owners may call the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit at (415) 473-6450 for assistance on rights and responsibilities. Renters are encouraged to contact Legal Aid of Marin at (415) 492-0230, extension 102, for inquiries on eviction protections.

Anyone needing help with the online application may call (415) 473-2223 or email staff to learn more about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. More information about the County’s eviction moratorium is on the County’s COVID-19 Renter Protections webpage.

Continue Reading

Bay Area

Marin Prepares to Vaccinate Young Children

Parents and guardians should contact their pediatrician to discuss appropriate timing to have their child vaccinated for COVID-19, especially if due for another routine pediatric vaccination. Children in their first 5 years are regularly visiting their pediatrician and vaccines are a routine part of these visits. The COVID-19 vaccine can be given in the same visit as the other important vaccines needed. MCPH will support pediatricians to ensure access to the vaccine over the coming weeks.

Published

on

Parents and guardians in Marin County will be able to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for kids 6 months to 4 years starting this week. (Copyright-free photo from Unsplash).
Parents and guardians in Marin County will be able to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments for kids 6 months to 4 years starting this week. (Copyright-free photo from Unsplash).

New COVID-19 vaccine reduces risk in childcare and youth settings

Courtesy of Marin County

Now that federal and state regulators have approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 4 years old, local pediatricians, health centers and Marin County Public Health (MCPH) are preparing to vaccinate the nearly 8,000 children in that age group who call Marin County home. Appointments are opening this week.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County’s Public Health Officer. “Until now, 8,000 of our residents – everyone under 5 years – has been excluded from the protection of vaccines because they were too young. Vaccinations will make every setting where kids gather safer, for kids and adults. We’ll all be able to worry a lot less about childcare centers, playdates, parties, and summer camps.”

Community transmission rates in Marin and across the Bay Area remain high. Since the beginning of June, Marin children up to 4 years old have the highest rates of COVID-19 of any age group. Nationally, over 500 children aged 5 or younger have died from COVID-19, making the virus among the top 10 causes of death in children.

The two authorized vaccines are Moderna and Pfizer, offered in lower doses than for adults and older children. Moderna will be for children aged 6 months to 5 years, as two shots spaced one month apart. The Pfizer vaccine will be for children 6 months through 4 years, as three shots over 11 weeks, two within three weeks and a third eight weeks later. The three-dose Pfizer regimen was found to be 80% effective at preventing infection, roughly twice as effective as the Moderna vaccine.

One of the settings that will benefit most from pediatric COVID-19 vaccination is childcare. In Marin, over 80% of school-aged children 5-18 are fully vaccinated, after a dedicated countywide campaign to make schools safer through vaccinations.

“Our childcare providers have been heroes, taking care of our kids since the very beginning of the pandemic while knowing none of the children were vaccinated,” said Michelle Fadelli, Manager of Public Policy and Communications at First 5 Marin. “Now very young children will be safer in childcare, and their providers will be, too.”

ACCESSING THE VACCINE

Parents and guardians should contact their pediatrician to discuss appropriate timing to have their child vaccinated for COVID-19, especially if due for another routine pediatric vaccination. Children in their first 5 years are regularly visiting their pediatrician and vaccines are a routine part of these visits. The COVID-19 vaccine can be given in the same visit as the other important vaccines needed. MCPH will support pediatricians to ensure access to the vaccine over the coming weeks.

Kaiser Permanente, which is the primary medical provider for more than half of Marin households, will welcome children 6 months to 5 years old for COVID-19 vaccination starting Friday, June 24. Parents and guardians can book a vaccination appointment via Kaiser’s call center at (415) 444-4460. Walk-ins or drop-ins are not immediately available.

In addition, parents and guardians will be able to find appointments in a variety of settings – including pharmacies, pediatricians, and public health clinics – online via MyTurn.ca.gov. Select MCPH clinics will offer vaccines to infants and young children without a primary care physician beginning Thursday, June 23. Appointments can be made online via MyTurn and the ongoing schedule will be published at GetVaccinatedMarin.org.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to receive news and updates from the Oakland Post

* indicates required

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

As the first-ranked and highest respected Black sportsman, Bill Russell used his status to lead the nation’s leading Black athletes which included Jim Brown, Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) and many others to support Muhammad Ali’s stance against the Vietnam War.
Activism16 hours ago

IN MEMORIAM: Oakland’s Own Bill Russell, 88, Greatest Athlete/Civil Rights Activist Ever (Part 1)

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
Activism6 days ago

Over 500 Attend Police-Free Event to Reimagine Safety in Oakland

Digital Issues6 days ago

Oakland Post: Week of August 3 – August 9, 2022

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

The City Council established a task force to discuss the racial issues involved in construction and the possibility of a Project Labor Agreement. The task force included some community members, including the publisher of the Oakland Post, and was mandated to address racial discrimination first.
Activism6 days ago

OPINION: Are We About to See the Permanent Exclusion of Most Black People from Construction Jobs in Oakland?

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Report: Human Rights Violations in Prisons Throughout Southern United States Cause Disparate and Lasting Harm in Black Communities  

#NNPA BlackPress6 days ago

Celebrate your birthday with 10 free items

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Vice President Harris Addresses NAACP Convention; Urges Black Voter Participation

#NNPA BlackPress7 days ago

Biden Administration Announces Steps to Lower Electricity Bills for Residents in HUD Programs

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

Police Force and Top Officials Resign in Kenly, North Carolina After City Council Hires Black Women as Town Manager

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

Biden-Harris Administration Announce New Actions to Address Mental Health in Schools

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

Will Smith Issues Apology to Chris Rock and Family for Oscars Slap

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

Emory University Announces the first African American Studies Ph.D. Program in the U.S. Southeast

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

PRESS ROOM: Autism influencer Jeremiah Josey releases a new book about his experience as a Black man with autism

#NNPA BlackPress1 week ago

IN MEMORIAM: Basketball Legend Bill Russell Dies at 88

Trending