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RBW PH Group holds 3rd Her Life, Our Legacy Jazz Brunch

NASHVILLE PRIDE — Roberta Baines Wheeler (RBW) Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Awareness Group hosted its 3rd Annual “RBW Her Life Our Legacy Jazz Brunch” honoring mothers who are gone but not forgotten. With standing room only and a view overlooking downtown Nashville, over 150 people were in attendance on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the event held at Waller Firm. The program honored mothers who have transitioned, increased awareness of pulmonary hypertension, and recognized KYB Leadership Academy.

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By Cass Teague

Roberta Baines Wheeler (RBW) Pulmonary Hypertension (PH) Awareness Group hosted its 3rd Annual “RBW Her Life Our Legacy Jazz Brunch” honoring mothers who are gone but not forgotten. With standing room only and a view overlooking downtown Nashville, over 150 people were in attendance on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at the event held at Waller Firm. The program honored mothers who have transitioned, increased awareness of pulmonary hypertension, and recognized KYB Leadership Academy.

The program began with the Have You Heard Dance Troop (dancers Keivonte Newbell and Valencia Thompson) and Welcome by Sydney Y. K. Brown (granddaughter of the late Roberta Baines-Wheeler). Greetings followed by Metro Councilwoman at Large Erica Gilmore, whose daughter is alum of KYB Leadership Academy, the leadership development program sponsored by RBW PH Awareness Group. The event host, introduced by Scott Wallace, was Harriet Vaughn Wallace (Fox 17 news), and the Mistress of Ceremonies for the white rose ceremony was Toni Fitzgerald.

Attendees enjoyed delicious food prepared by Chef Irving Brown II of The GoodLife Personal Chef Service, including scrambled eggs with sautéed spinach & three cheeses, smoked diced new potatoes, seasoned sweet potato wedges, maple turkey sausage, bow tie pasta salad, and Romaine Arugula salad with assorted cherry tomatoes & feta cheese.

The first keynote speaker, Lueatrice Green Lovett, introduced by brunch committee chair Lillian Whitehead, gave profound words of inspiration and encouragement. Mrs. Stefanie Rome, First Lady of Fisk University, introduced the second keynote speaker, Dr. Reginald L. Robinson, a cardiologist who educated the audience on pulmonary hypertension and the importance of a healthy life.

RBW PH Awareness Group Executive Director Dr. Katherine Y. Brown thanked community partners and shared accomplishments of RBW PH Awareness Group. Irving D. Brown III (grandson of the late Ms. Wheeler) presented Mrs. Rome with the 2019 KYB Leadership Academy Outstanding Parent of the Year Award.

Dr. Brown recognized participants beginning the 10th Cohort of KYB Leadership Academy; graduating seniors, including Irving D. Brown III (who will attend Fisk University); Ms. Katelyn Starks; participants from the first school-based programs of KYB Leadership Academy at Head Middle Magnet School in Nashville TN and at J.F. Shields School in Beatrice, Alabama. Over 20 KYB Leadership Academy alumni (wearing the official KYB Blazer) served as hostesses. Dr. Tonja Williams was recognized for her commitment to KYB Leadership Academy.

The RBW Her Life, Our Legacy Jazz Brunch is held Saturday after Mother’s Day celebrating the lives of mothers who have passed and developing a healthy community of shared experiences. Brown explained,
“We not only celebrate their lives, we honor their legacy by doing great things in our community,” said Dr. Brown. “With awareness, empowerment, and hope working together we can make a difference.”

Community leaders, elected officials, dignitaries, and families filled the room, with floral arrangements by event florist George Ridley and music by Geary Moore, with a concluding video presentation by Dr. Brown. For more, email RBWPHGroup@gmail.com; phone 629-999-1909, or visit www.fightph.com.

This article originally appeared in the Nashville Pride.

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Activism

Home of Chicken and Waffles Serves Free Christmas Brunch to Over 200

“This effort comes as many Oaklanders are experiencing increased food insecurity and economic anxiety due to the pandemic,” Oakland entrepreneur Derreck Johnson said. “After a one-year hiatus, this coalition was eager to bring this annual tradition back while being mindful of COVID’s social distancing and statewide indoor-masking guidelines.”

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A child (center) holds a toy received at the Home of Chicken and Waffles as Derreck Johnson (right) looks on. Photo courtesy of Derreck Johnson.
A child (center) holds a toy received at the Home of Chicken and Waffles as Derreck Johnson (right) looks on. Photo courtesy of Derreck Johnson.

By Cindy Williams

Home of Chicken and Waffles (HCW) opened its doors on Christmas morning to serve more than 200 free meals in the restaurant and to-go meals for the food insecure community in Oakland.

Oakland entrepreneur Derreck Johnson and HCW led the effort to partner with LGBTQ Center, Impact Oakland Now (ION), City Team, and The City Eats to distribute meals to low-income families and unhoused individuals at the restaurant at 444 Embarcadero West.

Johnson told the Post that he and his partners shared a common goal to provide food for needy families with a warm and welcoming dining experience delivered with respect and dignity at no cost.

More than 30 community volunteers helped serve chicken and waffles and handed out toys to the kids while they enjoyed soulful Christmas music.

“This effort comes as many Oaklanders are experiencing increased food insecurity and economic anxiety due to the pandemic,” Johnson said. “After a one-year hiatus, this coalition was eager to bring this annual tradition back while being mindful of COVID’s social distancing and statewide indoor-masking guidelines.”

The coalition recognizes co-coordinator Kieem Baker of The City Eats, Word of Assembly Church Bishop Keith Clarke, Abyssinian Baptist Church Bishop Kevin Barnes, Center of Hope Community Church Pastors Brondon and Maria Reems, Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Mike Wallace, True Vine Ministries Pastor Zachary Carey, Pastor Randy Smith, Greater St. Paul Baptist Church Bishop Joseph Simmons, and all of the volunteers that helped to make the event a success.

Johnson cited a 2015 California Health Interview Survey’s data for West and East Oakland which revealed that 51% of low-income residents were classified as “food insecure” because they were frequently unable to afford enough food.

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Bay Area

Uncle Willie’s Barbecue Seeks Damages from Marriott Corporation

Jerome Taylor, an employee of Uncle Willie’s and a family member shared, “When Marriott showed us their plans, we indicated they were encroaching on our property, which they denied, but they are. Scaffolding and cranes loom 180 feet over our property. The property next door abandoned their business and when Marriott tore the building down, they damaged our building, did a cosmetic fix with plaster, ignoring the cracks. Thick dust and filth in our backyard forced us to shut down a million-dollar business because the health department said we could no longer cook using the backyard.

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Unable to operate their business, Uncle Willie’s has contracted with Central Kitchen and Deeply Rooted to provide meals for the homeless, seniors and Oakland Unified School District students, creating enough income to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on.
Unable to operate their business, Uncle Willie’s has contracted with Central Kitchen and Deeply Rooted to provide meals for the homeless, seniors and Oakland Unified School District students, creating enough income to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on.

By Tanya Dennis

In 2018, Marriott Residence Inn and Hotel, which is building an 18-story, 286-room project at 14th and Jefferson, approached Uncle Willie’s Barbecue restaurant to buy their establishment. After refusing to sell, Craig Jones, co-owner of Uncle Willie’s, was suspect of Marriott’s intentions when he was approached for “air rights” and tiebacks that would encroach on their property for a mere $5,000.

Thomas’ response was “no,” yet Marriott moved ahead with construction encroaching not only on air rights but land rights after installing a narrow barrier of netting.

While large cranes loomed over their yard where cooking was done, Marriott did nothing further to mitigate dust or prevent dangerous objects from falling onto Thomas’ property.

They could neither cook nor offer outdoor dining. It was too dangerous, because of truck fumes, dust, and noise. One tenant moved out of their apartment over the restaurant, and the apartment has remained vacant for two years. Marriott didn’t take into consideration that erecting an 18-story building would create a wind tunnel making the Thomas’ premises perpetually cold.

The Thomas family approached Marriott about how this construction was impacting their business to no avail.

Beverly Thomas says, “We complained to the City, but the City said there was nothing they could do, and that we should hire a lawyer, which, thus far, has been ineffective, leaving us unable to operate our successful, 15-year business.”

Edward Lai, attorney for the Thomas family, said he had never seen tactics like Marriott’s. “I’ve seen a lot of commercial construction in my career, but I have never seen practices like this. I’ve seen this type of construction in San Francisco and seen the care. I’ve never seen a business shut down for fear of debris falling on people’s heads.

“There are practices here that could be cleaner and different to allow my client to continue operating, but it’s not happening,” Lai said. “A boxcutter with the blade extended and a 10 to 15-pound metal piece fell in the backyard of my client. It could have been deadly.”

Uncle Willie’s, which closed for 18 months, is demanding compensation for mental anguish, loss of tenants and two years of being unable to operate their business. The Thomas family estimates their losses at several million dollars.

In response, Marriott is offering $58,00 to rent out their backyard for the next two or three months, but if accepted the Thomas’ can’t go after Marriott for past damages.

Marriott, on the other hand says there are acting in good faith.

“We’re working to be good neighbors,” said Marriott attorney Josh Byrd. “We’ve offered solutions and safety measures but haven’t heard from them yet. We want to engage with them and help them but it’s a work in progress. We’re doing our best. An offer is pending but has not been accepted.”

Unable to operate their business, Uncle Willie’s has contracted with Central Kitchen and Deeply Rooted to provide meals for the homeless, seniors and Oakland Unified School District students, creating enough income to pay the mortgage and keep the lights on.

“They feel it is OK to infringe on us with no recourse,” Jones said. “…They have a figure of an African American on their building yet stick their finger up at an African American business, not caring how we have been negatively impacted.”

Jerome Taylor, an employee of Uncle Willie’s and a family member shared, “When Marriott showed us their plans, we indicated they were encroaching on our property, which they denied, but they are. Scaffolding and cranes loom 180 feet over our property. The property next door abandoned their business and when Marriott tore the building down, they damaged our building, did a cosmetic fix with plaster, ignoring the cracks. Thick dust and filth in our backyard forced us to shut down a million-dollar business because the health department said we could no longer cook using the backyard.

“We’re known for our barbecue in the community, Taylor said. “Marriott shut us down. We’ve been damaged.”

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Activism

African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) helps support 25th annual turkey drive in East Oakland

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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The African American Sports & Entertainment Group came out to support the 25th annual Community Giving Foundation Turkey drive at Verdese Carter Park in East Oakland.

Hosted by founder and organizer Marlon McWilson, the turkey drive that started in 1997 has now donated over 35,000 Turkey’s through McWilson’s foundation. In attendance were Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong, Oakland PAL, California Assembly Member Mia Bonta (AD-18) along with husband and Attorney General for the State of California Rob Bonta. Assembly Member Bonta also congratulated the AASEG on their recent unanimous 8-0 approval to enter negotiations with the City of Oakland on an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) to purchase the city’s half interest of the coliseum land, and looks forward to working with the team.

Assembymember Mia Bonta said,”I am excited and fully in support of the City Council’s decision to prioritize an African American-led, Oakland rooted, development group to negotiate how we can reimagine the Coliseum site. This represents a promise of development without displacement, and amenities and entertainment that East Oakland once had and deserves again. This is also the kind of community-led, wealth building opportunity l will fight for at the state level, and I will continue to support initiatives like these here in the 18th Assembly District.”

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