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Senator Nancy Skinner Recognizes Red Bay Coffee as Small Business of the Year  

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Senator Nancy Skinner Recognizes Red Bay Coffee as Small Business of the Year

State Senator Nancy Skinner honored Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee as small business of the year at the California Small Business Day Awards luncheon, Monday in in Sacramento.

The award and event are sponsored by the California Small Business Association, in recognition of the important contributions small businesses make throughout the state.

Red Bay Coffee was founded in 2014 by Keba Konte, a well-known local artist and successful food entrepreneur, who also co-founded North Berkeley’s Guerilla Café.

Among Red Bay’s values is “envisioning a world in which coffee is a vehicle for inclusion, social and economic empowerment, entrepreneurship, innovation, and environmental sustainability.”

Utilizing a profit-sharing model, Red Bay Coffee’s 21 employees all own part of the company.

“Red Bay Coffee pays a living wage, empowers its employees and practices community service– as well as serving phenomenal coffee,” said Senator Skinner. “But most of all Keba deserves this honor for being steadfast in hiring those with disabilities and our formerly incarcerated who are so often turned away,” she said.

Red Bay Coffee has multiple locations in Oakland, including their roasting facility in East Oakland and their “coffee box” in Uptown, which is constructed from a former shipping container.

Red Bay Coffee sells 11 varietals of coffee beans at 50 coffee shops throughout the Bay Area. Their coffee can also be found at the Sunday Jack London Square and Saturday Berkeley farmer’s markets.

“My philosophy is more than a great cup of coffee,” said Keba Konte. “We seek to have an even greater impact on our economy. It’s about using coffee to uplift our people.”

 

For more information about Red Bay Coffee, visit: redbaycoffee.com or contact hello@RedBaycoffee.com

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Activism

In Crowded Race, Jovanka Beckles Wins Spot in November Runoff for State Senate

AC Transit Board Director Jovanka Beckles came in second place in the six-way primary race for state Senate District 7 seat to represent Oakland and Berkeley, placing her in the runoff race in November against Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín to replace Sen. Nancy Skinner, who termed out. Beckles, writing on social media, emphasized that she had won with community support though the leading candidate was way ahead in campaign spending.

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Jovanka Beckles will face Jesse Arreguín in November in State Senate District 7 runoff election. File photo of Arreguin, Beckles photo by Ken Epstein.
Jovanka Beckles will face Jesse Arreguín in November in State Senate District 7 runoff election. File photo of Arreguin, Beckles photo by Ken Epstein.

By Ken Epstein

AC Transit Board Director Jovanka Beckles came in second place in the six-way primary race for state Senate District 7 seat to represent Oakland and Berkeley, placing her in the runoff race in November against Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín to replace Sen. Nancy Skinner, who termed out.

Beckles, writing on social media, emphasized that she had won with community support though the leading candidate was way ahead in campaign spending.

“Despite being vastly under-fundraised, we have emerged victorious in the State Senate primary! This victory is not just about me. It’s a victory for our working class, our poor, our disenfranchised Black and Brown communities, our Palestinian siblings fighting for liberation.”

In the March 5 primary, Arreguín came in first with 32.81% of the vote, while Beckles received 17.48%. Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb was third with 14.89%, while Kathryn Lybarger followed with14.46%. Sandré Swanson received13.36%, and Jeanne Solnordal captured 7%.

Born in Panama, Beckles immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was 9. She attended Florida A&M University on a full-ride basketball scholarship, majoring in psychology as an undergraduate and later earned an MBA.

She worked for decades in public health as a mental health clinician, serving impoverished and marginalized children and families in Contra Costa County.

In a speech at a recent victory celebration, she emphasized her progressive record of working for her East Bay constituents.

“I’m here today because of you, your belief in me, a Black, Latinx, immigrant, gay woman,” she said. “We did something historic. Grassroots candidates don’t (often) beat millions of dollars.”

“When I get to Sacramento, I will continue delivering results for you,” she said, pledging to continue working on tenant protections such as supporting the ballot measure to remove a ban on rent control in California.

Beckles plans to propose expanded legal protections for seniors and disabled tenants; create educational opportunities to make public school and university education fair and available for all students; provide transfers for AC Transit and make public transportation affordable for seniors and people with disabilities; and enhance environmental protections.

She also supports a Gaza cease-fire.

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Bay Area

Rich Lyons, Longtime Campus Business, Innovation Leader, Will Be UC Berkeley’s Next Chancellor

Rich Lyons, an established economist, former dean of the Haas School of Business and the campus’s current leader for innovation and entrepreneurship, will become the next chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, the UC Board of Regents announced on April 10.

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Rich Lyons is the first UC Berkeley undergraduate alumnus since 1930 to become the campus's top leader. Photo by Keegan Houser/UC Berkeley.
Rich Lyons is the first UC Berkeley undergraduate alumnus since 1930 to become the campus's top leader. Photo by Keegan Houser/UC Berkeley.

By Jason Pohl

Rich Lyons, an established economist, former dean of the Haas School of Business and the campus’s current leader for innovation and entrepreneurship, will become the next chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, the UC Board of Regents announced on April 10.

The board’s unanimous confirmation makes Lyons, 63, the first UC Berkeley undergraduate alumnus since 1930 to become the campus’s top leader. In an interview this week, Lyons said he credits his Berkeley roots and his campus mentors with encouraging him to ask big questions, advance institutional culture and enhance public education — all priorities of his for the years to come.

Lyons, who will be Berkeley’s 12th chancellor, will succeed Chancellor Carol Christ, who announced last year that she’d step down as chancellor on July 1.

“I am both thrilled and reassured by this excellent choice. In so many ways, Rich embodies Berkeley’s very best attributes, and his dedication to the university’s public mission and values could not be stronger,” Christ said. “I am confident he will bring to the office visionary aspirations for Berkeley’s future that are informed by, and deeply respectful of, our past.”

Rising through the Berkeley ranks

Born in 1961, Lyons grew up in Los Altos in the early days of the Silicon Valley start-up boom.

He attended Berkeley, where he graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business and finance. Lyons went on to earn his Ph.D. in 1987 in economics from MIT. After six years teaching at Columbia Business School, Lyons returned west, where in 1993 he joined the Berkeley faculty as a professor of economics and finance, specializing in the study of international finance and global exchange rates.

He’s remained on campus since, with one notable exception.

Starting in 2006, Lyons spent two years working at Goldman Sachs as the chief learning officer. It was a period that instilled in him an appreciation for leadership and the importance of organizational culture.

He carried those lessons with him when he returned to campus in 2008 and became the dean of the Haas School of Business.

While dean, Lyons oversaw the construction of Connie & Kevin Chou Hall, a state-of-the-art academic building that opened in 2017 and is celebrated for its sustainability. He also helped establish two new degree programs, linking the business school with both the College of Engineering and the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.

But it was his creation of four distinct defining leadership principles that spurred a sweeping culture initiative at the school that stands out in the minds of many. Those values — question the status quo, confidence without attitude, students always, and beyond yourself — became a creed of sorts for new students and alumni alike.

Those values are important, Lyons said, because they shape and support the cohesive structure of a strong, connected community — spanning science and technology to the arts and humanities. They also convey the story about what it means to be at Berkeley and to believe in the university’s public mission.

“When we are great as educators, it’s identity-making,” Lyons said. “We’re helping students and others see identities in themselves that they couldn’t see.”

Lyons in January 2020 became Berkeley’s first-ever chief officer of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Building on his research exploring how leaders drive innovation and set behavioral norms and culture, Lyons worked to expand and champion Berkeley’s rich portfolio of innovation and entrepreneurship activities for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, startups and external partners.

It was a major commitment to thinking outside the box, he said. One need only look to the Berkeley Changemaker program that he helped launch in 2020 to see innovation and entrepreneurship in action.

The campuswide program with some 30 courses tells the story of what Berkeley is — the story that members of the Berkeley community can tell long into the future. Berkeley Changemaker started as an idea and its courses quickly became among the most popular academic offerings on campus.

“Over 500 students showed up,” he said. “Why? Because it’s a narrative. It’s not just a name. It’s not just a curriculum. It’s not just a course. It’s a way of living, and it’s a way of living that Berkeley has occupied forever. This idea that there’s got to be a better way to do this, question the status quo.”

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Activism

Oakland’s ‘Green the Church,’ Others, Host a Climate Revival

On April 20, Oakland’s Green The Church California (GTC) and the Center For Food, Faith and Justice will celebrate Earth Day and present a Climate Revival event titled “Growing Healthy Communities From Soil To The Soul” at McGee Avenue Baptist Church at 1640 Stuart St, Berkeley, CA. The day will include inspiring talks, interactive workshops, networking opportunities, and a special panel on Food Sovereignty and Global Food Resilience.

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The revival will take place at McGee Avenue Baptist Church in Berkeley on April 20. Courtesy image.
The revival will take place at McGee Avenue Baptist Church in Berkeley on April 20. Courtesy image.

Growing Healthy Communities from Soil to the Soul in Berkeley

By Y’Anad Burrell

On April 20, Oakland’s Green The Church California (GTC) and the Center For Food, Faith and Justice will celebrate Earth Day and present a Climate Revival event titled “Growing Healthy Communities From Soil To The Soul” at McGee Avenue Baptist Church at 1640 Stuart St, Berkeley, CA,

The day will include inspiring talks, interactive workshops, networking opportunities, and a special panel on Food Sovereignty and Global Food Resilience.

The keynote speaker is Rev. Danté R. Quick, PhD, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, N.J. Quick is well known in the Bay Area, having served for more than 10 years as pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in Vallejo, CA.

Green The Church, founded in 2010 by Rev. Dr. Ambrose Carroll, Sr., and headquartered in Oakland, helps galvanize Black churches and their local communities and leaders to address issues critical to populations historically disengaged from conversations around pollution and health, climate change, and sustainability and energy efficiency.

The organization collaborates with major environmental, sustainability, food security, faith, and community-based non-profit organizations, and is committed to “creation justice”—care and justice for God’s people and the planet—and building the Beloved Community.

Environmental justice has long been a pressing concern for communities of color who bear the brunt of pollution and ecological degradation. Climate change exacerbates these issues, disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities. Recognizing this urgency, Black churches across the country are taking action.

With deep roots in the African American community and its commitment to social justice, the Black Church has become an essential advocate for sustainable practices and policies.

Over the past 14 years, in a powerful collaboration with significant environmental, sustainability, food security, faith, and community-based non-profit organizations, GTC has created a cadre of Black churches engaging in the environmental justice, climate, and sustainability movement.

GTC presently works with more than 1,000 pastors and congregations across the U.S., and groups in the Bahamas, Ghana, Nigeria, and the UK, showing that we can make a difference together.

The partnership between environmental justice advocates and the Black Church extends beyond individual congregations. Green The Church provides resources and support for faith communities seeking to address climate change and promote environmental justice.

Through collaboration, initiatives such as energy efficiency programs, solar installations, and environmental education have been implemented in Black churches nationwide. These efforts reduce the carbon footprint and save money on energy bills, benefiting the congregations and their communities.

The involvement of the Black Church in the fight against climate change is not just a participation, it’s a powerful message that galvanizes action across communities.

By integrating environmental justice into their ministry, Black churches are demonstrating that addressing climate change is not only a matter of science but also of social and moral responsibility, inspiring change at a grassroots level.

For more information, go to: www.greenthechurch.org.

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