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Poll Reveals What Black Families Really Want: Politicians Need to Listen

We developed the poll as a way to truly understand what Black voters view as the most critical issues they are facing right now.

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Photo Credit: Trust "Tru" Katsande/ Unsplash

Fortune School of Education in conjunction with the National Action Network (NAN) Sacramento, Freedom Coalition for Charter Schools, Sacramento Alumnae Chapter Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. and the Alpha Community Education Initiative has released a poll called “What Black Voters Think” during the NAN Sacramento Rise Up! Virtual Conference.

We developed the poll as a way to truly understand what Black voters view as the most critical issues they are facing right now. More than half of Black parents said education was most important, eclipsing their concerns about health care, housing and climate change — the issues that tend to dominate the conversation in “progressive” circles. Only the economy ranked higher than education on the list of what Black parents who are registered to vote said affected them most on a daily basis. COVID-19 relief came in a close third.

The survey, conducted in February 2021 by Applecart Research on behalf of Fortune School of Education, includes responses from 1,290 Black registered voters in California and key 2020 presidential swing states including Michigan, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

The majority of respondents surveyed have spent a significant amount of money on education-related expenses during the pandemic — 71% of parents polled said they or someone they know has spent money out-of-pocket to cover educational expenses due to COVID-19 school closures. 

The American Rescue Plan includes $129 billion for K-12 education. While that windfall is headed to schools, the next human infrastructure spending plan out of Washington may go equally big for families.

When asked about their support for public charter schools, 71% of California Black registered voters surveyed said they supported charters.  According to a CalMatters report, public school enrollment in California has hit a 20-year low while enrollment jumped by 15,000 students in public charter schools during the coronavirus pandemic.  Despite facing political headwinds among some Democratic politicians, there is no denying public charter schools are as popular among parents now as when President Barack Obama championed them.

Charter schools are public schools, tuition-free to parents with open enrollment to students.  In California, where more than 690,000 students are enrolled in charter schools, charters are authorized by locally elected school boards or the state, operated exclusively by non-profit organizations or school districts and are held accountable for academic results. 

Charter schools are held accountable to the same transparency laws for governance and finance that apply to school districts — with one big exception.  If charter schools fail to follow the rules, they are closed, not so with school districts.

Nearly all of California’s top majority Black public schools are actually charter schools led or founded by Black people who have used chartering to specifically create schools that are open to all and aimed at educating Black children to a level of excellence. 

Poll results show Black voters support this work. In California, 85% of poll respondents agreed that we need more Black educators and community members to lead publicly funded schools that provide equity, empowerment, and high quality education for all students.  Black registered voters in swing states agreed at higher rates with 88% saying more Blacks should be in school leadership.

This poll reveals that, in spite of everything we have faced over the last year, Black families will do anything they can to make sure their children have educational opportunities.  Blacks are more informed and empowered to seek an understanding of what a high quality education should look like and why it’s important for their children.  Elected officials must take heed and create and pass policies that are also in support of the issues Blacks care about most — the economy and high quality education.

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Community

West Oakland Food Giveaway Event a Success Through ‘Comm-Unity’

Common Unity is more than a slogan. It is the actual showing of what it means to be as one with the promise and actual example of itself. As one volunteer known as” Mr. Fab” said, “Community is nothing but common unity.”

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Photo Courtesy of Calle Macarone from Unsplash

First and foremost, I thank the Most High for making the June 5 “A Day of Giving,” a food and necessity giveaway a success. It was quite amazing to see all the sectors of our Oakland communities come together to make this event a fruitful and worthwhile effort at Ralph Bunche School and de Fremery Park in West Oakland from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

It was a volunteer-inspired effort that I describe as ‘Comm-Unity,’ which simply means common unity because it matters not what part of town you’re from. Whether a volunteer identified as a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Catholic and or as a non-believer, it only mattered that they all had one reason and one common goal, which was to just serve others in need.

What was remarkable was the participation of those who were formerly incarcerated. Some members of this segment of the community showed up with their families and children and showed out by volunteering along with businesspersons and clergymen to help feed needy families.

The lines of vehicles stretched for more than one-and-a-half miles. More than 900 vehicles that had presented the Post newspaper coupon or had registered at the website address were presented with boxes of food and supplies. More than 200 volunteers loaded each vehicle after giving each driver a choice of a selection of the 52 different food items and household cleaning supplies on various pallets. Deliveries were also made to some elderly residents who did not have vehicles. The remaining food and supplies were distributed to non-profits that serve the needy.

A special shout out to the Oakland Post Newspaper Group, Trybe, Deeply Rooted, Ronald Muhammad, Ear Hustle, John Ya Ya Johnson, Missy Percy, Jamil Wilson, Attorney Anne Wells, ROC’S Richard Corral, Lee Oliveres, Jesus P. Peguero, Ricky “Styles” Ricardo, Paul Redd, Savior Charles, OG riders Arnold Torres, Gabe Zuniga, Rudy Yanez, Rolando Coffman; Janelle Marie Charles of Epsilon Phi Zeta, Mrs. Marsha Woodfork of Zeta Amicae of the Epsilon Phi Zeta, the Black Firefighters Association, Felicia Bryant, Mr. Fab’s Dope Era Clothing Store, Cesar Cruz’s Homie’s Empowerment, The Oakland Gumbo Cultural Group, Amina Nicole, Queen Johnson, Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, Walter Culp and the entire staff of West Side Missionary Baptist Church, who helped with organizing, rental/warehouse space,  equipment rentals, insurance expenses, obtaining  permits, food donations, refrigeration vans and donation of funds, and purchases such as walkie-talkies, pallet jacks, forklifts, portable toilets, laborers, social media posts and recruitment of volunteers.

Several elected Officials, including the District 3 Councilmember Carroll Fife, clergymen, community leaders, community investors and local entertainers lent their support by volunteering to serve our community families in need.

We will continue to work with the Oakland Post Newspaper Group, to make June 5 “A Day of Giving” event a model for future giveaways of necessities that included boxes of oatmeal, fruits and vegetables including corn, green beans, pinto beans, chili beans, peas, pears, mixed peas & carrots, potato chips, gold fish and animal crackers, zoo crackers, Cheez-Its, cups of mixed fruits, granola bars, mac and cheese, Welch’s fruit snacks, canned pears, canned peaches, gallons of olive oil, whole chickens, varieties of luncheon meats (roast beef, turkey, sliced cheese), mixed nuts, Belvita breakfast cookies, Ritz crackers, canned chicken, spaghetti, whole wheat and white pasta, dry pinto beans, cases of bottled water, canned tuna, impossible burgers, masks, gallons of bleach, laundry detergent, surface cleaners, large rolls of toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap, toothbrushes, baby wipes, dishwashing liquid, body wash, dental floss and boxes of peanut butter.

I was moved by the tears and shouts of joy from some families and children when they were showered with boxes of food and cleaning supplies that literally loaded down their vehicles. One mother said she was accustomed to receiving one bag or a box of food that could last for a day or a week, but she never dreamed that she would be given enough food and cleaning supplies to last for months.

I pray that this approach of providing a sustainable amount of food that was inspired by the leadership of Mrs. Egypt Ina Marie King will shine as the beacon of hope, pride and promise before our God Almighty. Nothing is greater than the powers of God and when our hearts are focused on freely serving others, we then are giving praises to God.

I thank Rev. Ken Chambers and the Interfaith Council of Alameda County (ICAC) for coordinating a pop-up, drop-in clinic in a tent to provide COVID-19 vaccination shots during our food give-away.

Common Unity is more than a slogan. It is the actual showing of what it means to be as one with the promise and actual example of itself. As one volunteer known as” Mr. Fab” said, “Community is nothing but common unity.”

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Business

Go Fund Geoffrey’s

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle.

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Geoffrey's Inner Circle

For more than 30 years Geoffrey Pete ‘s business, Geoffrey’s Inner Circle, has been a cultural hub because of its full-service restaurant, live entertainment, nightclub parties, jazz music and community special occasion events. Faith-based organizations have also rented the spacious facilities for services and concerts. Their full-service restaurant, bar and live entertainment business along with their tenants and multilevel event rental spaces have been severely interrupted and devastated by the COVID 19 lockdowns and restrictions.

Whether it was Paul Mooney, Faye Carroll, Sugar Pie or Jay-Z performing or whether it was Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Mayor Elihu Harris, or Kamala Harris along with many of the Bay area’s elected officials they too have come to bask in the limelight of Geoffrey’s Inner Circle. Now those lights are dimmed due to the economic conditions that have descended on high intensity people-contact businesses.

Thanks to a group of customers and supporters a Go Fund Me page has been opened for the public to contribute to support Geoffrey’s Inner Circle https://gofund.me/b2541419.

The Post newspaper has notified the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce that regular articles concerning the needs of Geoffrey’s and other Black-owned Businesses will be published weekly.

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Bay Area

Juneteenth Freedom Celebration, Hayward

Saturday, June 19, 2021 10 A.M. – 2 P.M. at Hayward City Hall Plaza, 777 B Street, Hayward, Calif.

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Juneteenth Flyer
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