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Port of Oakland Hosts Congressional Meeting to Address Supply Chain Issues

“We are working to enhance our supply chain security by investing in our infrastructure and making products in America,” said Representative Jim Costa (D-Merced). “Today’s roundtable emphasized the work in progress to confront the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”

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Congressional forum on supply chain - Representatives left to right - Jim Costa (D-Merced), Mike Thompson (D-Napa), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), and Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei.
Congressional forum on supply chain - Representatives left to right - Jim Costa (D-Merced), Mike Thompson (D-Napa), Barbara Lee (D-Oakland), John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), and Federal Maritime Commission Chair Daniel Maffei.

By Port of Oakland Communications Office

The Port of Oakland hosted a congressional supply chain stakeholder meeting this week in Jack London Square. The event was designed to address constituent business and trade industry stakeholder concerns about congestion and supply chain issues at the Port.

The meeting was led by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Napa) and included Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) and Rep. John Garamendi (D-Fairfield).

In addition to the Congressmembers, the forum featured federal and state government officials including Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei, and representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CA Department of Food and Agriculture, CA State Transportation Agency and the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development.

Additional attendees included a wide range of supply chain stakeholders, with an emphasis on representation from the agricultural export community.

Congressional representatives and government panelists discussed challenges faced by port congestion and ways to improve local and national supply chain issues.

“During the pandemic, international trade on the California coast was disrupted in an unprecedented way. We know how much these delays have harmed California’s critical agricultural industry and those who rely on these producers,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland).

“We can’t stop here,” she continued. “We’re going to continue this discussion to improve maritime backlog in the future with a conservation approach. I’m thankful to my colleagues in Congress, community leaders, agricultural producers, and the Port for their contributions to this effort, and look forward to lending federal support for a more efficient and resilient supply chain.”

Federal Maritime Commission Chairman Daniel Maffei said getting empty containers into the interior of the country to service exporters is still a problem, but the situation is improving.

“Congestion is down substantially here on the West Coast,” said Maffei. “We’ve expanded our audit program to promote exporters and many of the major carriers have adopted comprehensive export strategies,” he said. “Certainly, willingness to meet agricultural exporters halfway is much more prevalent in the industry now than it was two years ago.”

Representative Jim Costa (D-Fresno) stated we’re all in this together.

“We are working to enhance our supply chain security by investing in our infrastructure and making products in America,” said Costa. “Today’s roundtable emphasized the work in progress to confront the supply chain crisis and improve our economy.”

“We are intensely focused on restoring key ocean carrier services that our trade community relies on to ship their goods into and out of Northern California,” said Danny Wan, Port of Oakland executive director.

Barbara Leslie, president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners said this is a group effort.

“We have built a strong foundation between the Port and our state and federal partners,” said Leslie. “We will need to continue to expand these partnerships to meet the needs of our trade community and to deliver benefits to our local residents and community members who rely upon on us and are impacted by our work,” she said.

Costa concluded that the day’s forum was important because food is a national security issue.

“Collectively we have a focus in terms of how we want to move forward. Clearly, we need to invest in our infrastructure, and there were a number of areas that were pointed out where we can make those investments, not only for the Port of Oakland but for California and therefore for our nation, to ensure that we maintain our competitive edge,” said Costa.

Prior to the meeting, the Port of Oakland hosted a tour of the Oakland Seaport, where leaders learned about Port operations. They viewed the Outer Harbor to highlight the location of the recently announced Port Infrastructure Development Program grant for $36 million to rehabilitate and restore a portion of that site for a green container support yard.

About the Port of Oakland

The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland Seaport, Oakland International Airport, and nearly 20 miles of waterfront including Jack London Square. The Port’s five-year strategic plan – Growth with Care – pairs business expansion with community benefits, envisioning more jobs and economic stimulus as the Port grows.

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Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Issues Statement on Deaths of Humanitarian Aid Volunteers in Gaza 

On April 2, a day after an Israeli airstrike erroneously killed seven employees of World Central Kitchen (WCK), a humanitarian organization delivering aid in the Gaza Strip, a statement was release by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12). “This is a devastating and avoidable tragedy. My prayers go to the families and loved ones of the selfless members of the World Central Kitchen team whose lives were lost,” said Lee.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congresswoman Barbara Lee

By California Black Media

On April 2, a day after an Israeli airstrike erroneously killed seven employees of World Central Kitchen (WCK), a humanitarian organization delivering aid in the Gaza Strip, a statement was release by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12).

“This is a devastating and avoidable tragedy. My prayers go to the families and loved ones of the selfless members of the World Central Kitchen team whose lives were lost,” said Lee.

The same day, it was confirmed by the organization that the humanitarian aid volunteers were killed in a strike carried out by Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Prior to the incident, members of the team had been travelling in two armored vehicles marked with the WCF logo and they had been coordinating their movements with the IDF. The group had successfully delivered 10 tons of humanitarian food in a deconflicted zone when its convoy was struck.

“This is not only an attack against WCK. This is an attack on humanitarian organizations showing up in the direst situations where food is being used as a weapon of war. This is unforgivable,” said Erin Gore, chief executive officer of World Central Kitchen.

The seven victims included a U.S. citizen as well as others from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Palestine.

Lee has been a vocal advocate for a ceasefire in Gaza and has supported actions by President Joe Biden to airdrop humanitarian aid in the area.

“Far too many civilians have lost their lives as a result of Benjamin Netanyahu’s reprehensible military offensive. The U.S. must join with our allies and demand an immediate, permanent ceasefire – it’s long overdue,” Lee said.

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Activism

Rep. Barbara Lee, CBC Members, Raise Concerns Over Layoffs of Black Tech Workersi2s

In 2015, the CBC launched Tech 2020 to ensure that Black Americans would be better represented in the industry by 2020. However, Lee says those tech companies that pledged to be more inclusive are falling short of their promise.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Barbara Lee

By Post Staff

Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee and several other Congressional Black Caucus members have written a letter to Julie Su, the acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, addressing the disproportionate layoffs of Black tech employees.

“We write to express our concerns with recent reports highlighting the impacts of widespread layoffs within the tech industry and its disproportionate impacts on the African American community and women,” the letter stated.

“Tech companies who previously agreed to address bias and discrimination and create greater opportunities in the workforce are now quietly defunding diversity pledges,” the letter continued.

In 2015, the CBC launched Tech 2020 to ensure that Black Americans would be better represented in the industry by 2020. However, Lee says those tech companies that pledged to be more inclusive are falling short of their promise.

Lee told the Grio, “We’ve been fighting for justice and for economic parity and security as part of the mission of the CBC,” she said, “and so when we established Tech 2020, it was about equity and inclusion.”

“Now with all the Supreme Court decisions and with all of the backsliding, especially by Republicans, it’s very important that we be very assertive in our fight for equity and justice within the private sector and public sector,” she said.

According to the letter, since the beginning of 2023, more than 240,000 tech workers have been laid off, more than 50% increase from 2022.

Lee found that minorities and women make up most of the tech layoffs that have occurred this year.

If you don’t have African Americans developing content,” Lee said, “then we’re going to have Black people, Brown people [and] women disproportionately impacted.”

“This country is supposed to be a representative democracy where you include people, and you don’t discriminate against them,” she added. “When you see the disproportionate numbers of people being laid off, then that is a red flag that it could be discrimination occurring against these workers and employees.”

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Activism

Congresswoman Lee Releases Statement on Vandalism of Lake Merritt Menorah

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Chabad of Oakland’s menorah at Lake Merritt on Dec. 10, before it was vandalized (right) and graffiti left where the menorah stood before it was pulled down. (Photos/Courtesy Chabad of Oakland)
Chabad of Oakland’s menorah at Lake Merritt on Dec. 10, before it was vandalized (right) and graffiti left where the menorah stood before it was pulled down. (Photos/Courtesy Chabad of Oakland)

Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-12) released the following statement on the destruction of the large Menorah on display at Lake Merritt in Oakland:

“I’m deeply saddened and disheartened that the Lake Merritt Menorah was destroyed earlier this week. My heart and prayers go out to the Jewish community in Oakland, and I strongly condemn this vile act of antisemitism.”

“Oaklanders salvaged the menorah and gathered together (Wednesday evening) to celebrate its re-lighting, spreading love and support in the way only Oakland does. I’m proud of my constituents. We will not let hate win.”

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