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Paul Robeson’s Songs and Struggles Live at Allen Temple

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Lawrence Beamen

By Lee
Hubbard

Lawrence Beamen was 20 when he learned about legendary singer and political activist Paul Robeson, captivated by stories of the historic struggles Robeson went through and how he used his artistic talents to help fight for Black civil rights and equal opportunity.
“I began to immerse myself in the study of his life,” said Beamen. “Robeson believed that fate had drawn him to the path of drama and stressed the only ‘original’ (American) culture was African American culture.”
Beamen has appeared and sung at events and venues all over the country.  He will bring his talent to Oakland with his interpretation of Robeson in his show, “From Renaissance to the Struggle of Paul Robeson,” on Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m. at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland.
The event will feature a concert and re-enactment of the 1956 House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) testimony with actors Paul Abbott and Michael Walraven, The dramatization of the hearing will help tell the story of Robeson’s life and tribulations.
“(The show) opened up the door for people to know who I am,” said Beamen.  “It has taught me to be more humble and to be patient, to keep moving on with what I do best.”
Beamen, a native of Mississippi, grew up in Oakland and began singing at a young age. He developed his deep baritone voice while singing in the church. He performed locally before getting his national break as a top-five performer on the television show NBC’s “America’s Got Talent. “
“Every attempt was made to silence and discredit Paul Robeson,” said Beamen.  “I’ve performed the single most popular Robeson song ‘Ole Man River’ so many times that it has become a powerful mantra and metaphor for me, with a deeper meaning that depicts the inevitable continuum of life.”
Robeson was a Renaissance man. He was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and political activist, and he was revered by some and hated by others for his beliefs and activism.
“The ‘Paul Robeson’ show has been an evolving vision of mine for many years, and facets of the ‘Show’ have taken shape in venues throughout my career,” said Beamen.
Tickets for the for the Feb.  22 show at Allen Temple Church, 8501 International Blvd. in Oakland, can purchased at the door or www.allen-temple.org.

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Legislative Summary from State Senator Nancy Skinner

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @NancySkinnerCA and Facebook and to visit my Senate website for regular updates on the status of my legislation and information on the state budget. It is a pleasure serving you in the state Senate.

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Sen. Nancy Skinner. Photo courtesy of Nancy Skinner.

Here’s a brief summary of the bills I introduced this year that are still moving through the legislative process. All so far were passed by the state Senate and are now on their way to the Assembly:

  • SB 8 Extends Housing Crisis Act of 2019: The Housing Crisis Act helped expedite housing that meets local rules by asking local governments to process permits faster and not change the rules midstream. SB 8 extends the sunset on the Housing Crisis Act until 2030.
  • SB 16 Coming Clean on Police Records: Thanks to my 2018 bill, SB 1421, Californians now have access to a limited set of police misconduct records. SB 16 expands access to records on officers who have engaged in biased or discriminatory behavior, unlawful arrests and searches, and excessive force.
  • SB 65 California Momnibus Act: California’s infant and maternal death rates, especially for families of color, persist at high rates. SB 65 expands pre- and postpartum services, such as doula care and financial support, to reduce death rates and ensures data is collected to understand what’s causing these disparities.
  • SB 65 California Momnibus Act: California’s infant and maternal death rates, especially for families of color, persist at high rates. SB 65 expands pre- and postpartum services, such as doula care and financial support, to reduce death rates and ensures data is collected to understand what’s causing these disparities.
  • SB 81 Judicial Guidelines for Sentencing Enhancements: California has over 160 enhancements that add time to a prison sentence over and above the time required for the crime committed. SB 81 establishes parameters for judges to determine whether a sentence enhancement is needed to help ensure that sentences are the length the judge believes is necessary to protect public safety.
  • SB 262 Bail Reform: I’m a joint author of SB 262 to reform CA’s bail system so no one is kept in jail simply because they can’t afford bail.
  • SB 290 Clarifying CA’s Density Bonus Law: Allows low-income student housing and for-sale low- and moderate-income housing to benefit from California’s Density Bonus law.
  • SB 354 Relative Placement: Reduces barriers that prevent children in foster care from being placed with relatives and extended family.

And great news, the funding to support my bill, SB 364, Free School Meals for All, was included in the Legislature’s budget proposal, which means millions of our K-12 students will get a free meal at school.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter @NancySkinnerCA and Facebook and to visit my Senate website for regular updates on the status of my legislation and information on the state budget. It is a pleasure serving you in the state Senate.

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Holy Names University Celebrates New Teachers Completing Credentials

“I know very deeply what it means to be a teacher at any time but especially this past year. We wanted to do something special, and maybe this is starting a trend, to acknowledge all of  our credential program completers.”

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Holy Names University Website

Holy Names University’s School of Education held a Zoom celebration at the end of the school year on May 28 to recognize eight new teachers who completed their teaching credentials, successfully finishing their rigorous training in the midst of an extremely challenging pandemic year.

The credential completers were honored by Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, dean of the School of Education, who emphasized the humanistic and nurturing approach to teaching that is the hallmark of Holy Names.

Reflecting on the principles that motivate the HNU staff, she said, “We train our candidates to be effective no matter what the setting is. Although this (year’s conditions) were unique, our candidates were expertly prepared for it.”

“I know very deeply what it means to be a teacher at any time but especially this past year. We wanted to do something special, and maybe this is starting a trend, to acknowledge all of  our credential program completers.”

Mayfield explained that education and Oakland schools are a profound part of who she is. She is herself a former Oakland teacher; her mother was an Oakland teacher for many years; and her husband is currently an Oakland teacher.

“My hope and my charge for our candidates is not only to deliver the kind of education you’ve been trained to do but to really be sure that your classrooms are safe places for all students at your school,” Mayfield continued.

“When there are students who seem to be outliers and maybe don’t fit the picture of the school at large, that student fits the picture of success for you as a HNU graduate. Your classrooms become the safe places for all students, not just the students that are in your class or on your (rolls). That is the ethic of care that we’ve imparted.

“We are coming together in love and we want to recognize the good work that our HNU candidates have done.

She said that the Holy Names teachers are exceptional people. “When we do recruitment events, we always say we aren’t just training teachers to be teachers, we’re training teachers to be effective with our own children. When we look at who we want in the program, we are looking for candidates through those eyes. It’s a higher standard. Our relationship with you is forever.”

The eight Holy Names credential completers are:

  • Todd Brewer, who is completing a special education credential. He teaches 8th grade at Impact Academy;

    Todd Brewer

  • Mason Brown, who is completing his single subject in science. He teaches physics for 10th, 11th and 12th graders at East Bay Innovation Academy;

    Mason Brown

  • Angela Calderon, who is completing her special education credential. She has been teaching special education at Richmond High School;

    Angela Calderon

  • Jaron Epstein, who is completing a special education credential. He has been teaching 6th-8th grade in a special day class at West Oakland Middle School;

    Jaron Epstein

  • Alexander Niuatoa, who is earning a single subject physical education credential. He teaches 7th and 8th graders at Winton Middle School and 10th grade at Hayward High School.

    Alexander Niuatoa

  • Erica Nurse, who is receiving her multiple subjects credential. She has been teaching second grade at Tolenas Elementary School in Fairfield and gives private music instruction in Vallejo.

    Erica Nurse

  • Shazmine Randle, who is earning a special education credential. She teaches 6th through 8th graders at Creekside Middle School.

    Shazmine Randle

  • Mariya Snazina is earning a world languages credential. She teaches French at Castro Valley High School.

    Mariya Snazina

Each of the credential completers who attended the celebration will receive a $200 gift card, courtesy of a donation by the Teel Family Foundation, to help them buy supplies for their classrooms for the new school year.

Mayfield ended the ceremony by remembering the legacy of “really great educators who have gone before you: Dr. Fred Ellis, Margie Mayfield and Sylvester Hodges.”

“I want you to know that their energy is with you and supporting you as you go out and do really great work,” she said.

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Closing the Reading Gap: Reading Determines Your Success in Life.

Right Path to Learning promotes early literacy in these first crucial years while there’s still a chance to make a difference between success or failure in life.

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Books by Christy Price
Photo Credit: Christy Price

Can you imagine your life without reading?

What if you could not read well enough to understand street signs, follow directions, conduct your business, or even fit in with your friends at school? What if you could not get a job because you could not read?

Reading is the foundation of a good education and fundamental to success in life.

Success starts early. Until 3rd grade, children are learning to read. After the 3rd grade, they’re reading to learn.

Students who don’t achieve literacy by 3rd grade fall behind and become bored, frustrated, and unlikely to graduate high school, much less go on to higher education.

There is a new reading program called Right Path to Learning that will be coming soon for a few select 3rd-grade Oakland students.

Right Path to Learning promotes early literacy in these first crucial years while there’s still a chance to make a difference between success or failure in life.

Working with educators in the Oakland Unified School District, the program will launch a summer school pilot program for 15 students reading below grade level and bring them to proficiency by 4th grade.

Working with Sylvan Learning, Right Path to Learning will offer highly focused, individualized study. Sylvan Learning has a proven system that combines the best of computerized learning with in-person coaching …fantastic, but expensive.

In 10 years, these 3rd graders will be 18-year-old adult members of our community. Let’s get them on the Right Path to productive lives and life-long learning.

Visit www.RightPathtoLearning.org to learn more about this program and it potential.

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