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Shamann Walton Runs for SF School Board

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San Francisco native Shamann Walton wants to make a difference in the lives of San Francisco youth. As Executive Director of the Bay View’s Young Community Developers, he is already taking such steps as he helps Bay View youth get job training and jobs.

Now, he wants to impact education and is a candidate for San Francisco Unified School District’s School Board in the November election.

“I want to make sure that all of our children can be successful,” said Walton. “The vehicle to that success is SFUSD and a quality education.”

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta. Walton moved back to the Bay Area. He worked within the juvenile justice system in Vallejo before moving back to San Francisco where he worked in various positions at the Portrero Hill Family Resource Center.

In 2012, Walton ran for the School Board, coming in 6th place after getting almost 60,000 votes in a citywide grass roots campaign.

“We came in 6th place, just missing the cut,” said Walton. “You needed to be in the top 4, and we were close, without doing any real campaigning or having any political consultants.”

Building upon the momentum he had in 2012, Walton has been on a mission, and so far it looks as if he is one of the front-runners for a spot on the school board. He has endorsements from San Francisco Supervisors Malia Cohen and London Breed and San Mayor Ed Lee.

But even with that support, he is continuing the grassroots effort of his campaign, passing out leaflets, organizing rallies, conducting meetings and listening to the concerns of various community members.

“We are solid in the community and a lot of people are behind me,” said Walton. “We started this in 2012 with a grassroots campaign. We still have the same grass root supporters, but it has grown tremendously.”

The 39-year old Walton is apart of the new generation of young black leaders in San Francisco, who are returning to their old communities to try and make a difference.

“We have a lot of work to do, but I want to help rebuild black leadership in San Francisco,” continued Walton. “At YCD, for instance, we have given younger people the opportunity to grow and take leadership positions within the organizations.”

The Non-Profit Times recently ranked YCD in the top ten as one of the best nonprofits to work for in the country. It came in fourth in the country for nonprofits that have less than 50 employees.

If elected to the school board, Walton said he will have a few areas of interests but one of significant importance is working to close the achievement gap between white and minority students.

“We have a lot of African American, Latino and Pacific Islanders who are not graduating on time. The percentages are way off balance and we need to provide a second strategy for them,” he said. “How they are learning today correlates to future employment.”

He wants to bring back vocational training to schools and the need for resources throughout San Francisco schools.

“We need more equity throughout the entire district,” said Walton. “We need to make sure that all communities and neighborhoods will have quality classrooms, teachers, quality program offerings.”

Ultimately, Walton knows these changes require additional dollars to the school district, something he knows is necessary, in order to “provide all the tools need to improve student success,” he added.

Best regards,

Tasion Kwamilele

Reporter

University of California, Berkeley | Class of 2013

Graduate School of Journalism

Howard University | Class of 2011

B.A. English, cum laude

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Bay Area

Oakland Teachers Ramp Up Strike Readiness

In an escalation of labor pressure, hundreds of teachers boycotted district-organized Professional Development (PD) sessions, instead attending a mass, Oakland Education Association (OEA) rally this week at Lake Merritt to demand the Oakland Unified School District begin bargaining “in good faith” for a new union contract.

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Oakland teachers rally for new contract, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Photo courtesy of OEA.
Oakland teachers rally for new contract, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. Photo courtesy of OEA.

By Ken Epstein

 

In an escalation of labor pressure, hundreds of teachers boycotted district-organized Professional Development (PD) sessions, instead attending a mass, Oakland Education Association (OEA) rally this week at Lake Merritt to demand the Oakland Unified School District begin bargaining “in good faith” for a new union contract.

 

The rally Wednesday afternoon was held at the Lake Merritt Amphitheater, across from the Oakland Museum.

 

Chairing the rally, OEA Vice President Kampala Taiz-Rancifer said the union has been trying to negotiate for months with the school district for a new contract but has not received responses to its demands for “dignity, respect in the workplace … for a living wage (and)… for student supports and community schools.”

 

“Oakland has been bargaining with OUSD for safe and racially just community schools,” she said. “We are here today to demand that OUSD bargain with us in good faith.”

 

OEA Interim President Ismael Armendariz said, “Today, we took a step in having a labor action; we walked out on our [professional development]. That is an escalation.”

 

“OUSD has been bargaining with OEA since October,” he continued.  “We have a 51-member bargaining team that spent hours crafting [21] bargaining proposals. OUSD has come to the table with two unserious proposals and zero counter [proposals].”

 

Criticizing the district’s approach to bargaining in public, he said, “We cannot bargain on Facebook Live; we are going to bargain at the table.”

 

He accused the district of spreading “fear, uncertainty and doubt to divide us as workers,” which is a “boss tactic,” adding that the district is talking about a budget crisis, even though it has received $66 million from the state to develop community schools.

 

“There is always a budget crisis when we’re bargaining,” Armendariz said.

 

OEA is getting ready to take a vote to see if members are prepared to strike if necessary. Also, word is circulating that some union members are getting ready for a short unauthorized or wildcat strike to demonstrate teachers’ willingness to stand up to the district.

 

Even though the district is not in financial difficulties, it has passed a budget proposal that includes possible school closures or mergers, as well as layoffs and a hiring freeze.

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

Women’s History Month: Assemblywoman McKinnor Joins Panel of Legislators at Sacramento Event

Last week, Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) joined a diverse panel of women legislators at the “Women in California’s Legislature: 2023 Speaker Series on California’s Future” luncheon to discuss the essential roles they play in shaping governmental policies benefiting Californians. The event was hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

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Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) speaks at the Women in California’s Legislature event in Sacramento on March 8. The Women’s History Month event was hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) speaks at the Women in California’s Legislature event in Sacramento on March 8. The Women’s History Month event was hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio Ray Harvey
California Black Media

Last week, Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) joined a diverse panel of women legislators at the “Women in California’s Legislature: 2023 Speaker Series on California’s Future” luncheon to discuss the essential roles they play in shaping governmental policies benefiting Californians.

The event was hosted by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

This year’s class of legislators includes the largest number of women in state history — 18 senators and 32 assemblymembers. Joining McKinnor on the panel were state Senators Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro).

McKinnor said she made the decision to get into politics after seeing the video of police officers beating motorist Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1992.

Over the years, McKinnor said, a major influence on her policy decisions are the lessons gleaned from raising a family.

“I think (women) bring diversity to the table because we are about taking care of our families,” McKinnor said. “So, the legislation that you see coming out of this (panel), I believe, will be around housing, jobs, equity and public safety. The women here are going to make a tremendous difference because we take care of our families differently.”

Before McKinnor was elected to the California State Assembly in June 2022, she served as civic engagement director for the nonprofit LA Voice and previously served as operational director for the California Democratic Party and chief of staff to several members of the State Assembly. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from California State University Dominguez Hills.

Left, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, PPIC’s president and chief executive officer, was the moderator of the event. Left to right, Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood), District 61; state Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), District 36; Assemblywoman Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro), District 20; and Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) of District 9. The Women in California’s Legislature event was hosted by PPIC in Sacramento on March 8, 2023. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

Left, Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, PPIC’s president and chief executive officer, was the moderator of the event. Left to right, Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood), District 61; state Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove), District 36; Assemblywoman Liz Ortega (D-San Leandro), District 20; and Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) of District 9. The Women in California’s Legislature event was hosted by PPIC in Sacramento on March 8, 2023. CBM photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

McKinnor is currently chair of the Public Employment and Retirement Committee. She serves on other policy committees, including the Business and Professions Committee, Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee and the Governmental Organization Committee.

McKinnor’s legislative priorities include California’s continued COVID-19 recovery, increased funding for public education, expanded universal access to healthcare, the state’s housing and homelessness crisis and reforming the state’s criminal justice system.

“I never thought I’d be in politics in 1992. I thought I had better get off the sofa and pay attention to what’s going on,” McKinnor said. “After that, I didn’t sit down, and I got involved in the community.”

Black women are 7.7% of the total U.S. population and 15.3% of the total number of women in the country, according to the U.S. Census.

In the 2021 study, the State Innovation Exchange (SIE) — a group that advocates for representation in state legislatures — and the National Organization for Black Elected Legislative Women (NOBEL Women) took a deep dive into their analysis of women serving in government.

SIE and NOBEL Women reported that Black women fill just 4.82% (356) of 7,383 state Legislature seats across the United States. That same year, eight state legislatures convened without a single Black woman in their ranks: Vermont, South Dakota, Hawaii, Arizona, Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, and North Dakota — all places with Black populations falling in a range from 2% to 6%, the study revealed.

Currently, there are five Black women in the California Legislature: McKinnor and Assemblymembers Lori D. Wilson (D-Suisun City), Mia Bonta (D-Alameda), Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) and Sen. Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Ladera Heights). They are also members of the California Legislature Black Caucus.

Smallwood-Cuevas is the lone Black woman among 40 state senators.

“I am the 20th Black woman to be elected to the (California) Legislature,” McKinnor said at the event held on International Women’s Day. “Sen. Lola Smallwood became the 21st Black woman. So, we still have a lot of work to do.”

PPIC, the nonprofit that organized the event, bills itself as a nonpartisan think tank with a mission to inform and improve public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. Former California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is PPIC’s president and chief executive officer.

Ophelia Basgal, an affiliate at the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California, Berkeley, and a senior executive consultant for Inclusion INC, provided the opening remarks.

All the women legislators who participated in the event are members of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus, a political body that represents and advocates on the behalf of the diverse interests of women, children, and families.

The panelists discussed gender diversity in state politics, how personal interests play out in politics, legislation they are currently working on, setting better policy for the state, and offered advice to women who are interested in running for office.

“In addition to the vision and experience, we bring that voice into the room that is often unheard and unseen,” said Ortega, a longtime labor leader and activist from an immigrant family. “We will make sure we are seen and heard and deliver (policies) for all in the state of California and the United States.”

The Sheraton Ballroom in downtown Sacramento was filled with women and men listening to the 60-minute conversation between the women that was at times passionate, thought-provoking, reflective and lighthearted.

“We’ve been truly inspired by this distinguished panel for their questions, insight, and answers,” Cantil-Sakauye said to the audience. “Thank you for making this (speakers’ series) memorable.”

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of March 15 – 21, 2023

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of March 15 – 21, 2023

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of March 15 - 21, 2023

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