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“Speak What You Expect,” Says Author Tawana Williams




Born without arms and impaired use of her legs, motivational speaker and “UNarmed But Dangerous” author Tawana Williams has persevered through adversity. After doctors told her mother she wouldn’t walk or live past two weeks old, Williams not only overcame those obstacles but she surpassed them and now travels around the country sharing her story of struggle and triumph.

Since 1996, Williams has spoken at multiple churches, schools, prisons, daycares, and organizations motivating millions. She has authored five books, including “UNarmed But Dangerous,” “Mind Interrupted,” “Motivation for the Soul,” “Da-Bomb!” and “I’m Different but I Can.”

Her hope is to help others learn how to live a “no excuse” lifestyle.

As a wife, mother, author, mentor, artist, advocate, TV personality and CEO of Tawana Williams Outreach, Inc., she recently came to Oakland to give her inspiring testimony and show others that anything is possible.

From learning to tie her shoelaces, to changing her daughter’s diaper and braiding her hair, to drawing remarkable portraits all using her feet, when Williams wanted to do something she didn’t let anything stop her.

“I don’t care how hard it is, I kept trying it,” she said speaking at the Herbert Guice Academy in Oakland.

Refusing to view her physical condition as a disability, Williams has become self-sufficient and has never looked for a handout.

“I seldom think about my limitations because I’m focused on my possibilities,” she says in a statement on her website.

Using her experiences as a motivator, Williams empowered and challenged her audience to “speak what you expect” and never give up on your dreams. Her words of wisdom related to all generations and encouraged people to “make it happen for yourself.”

Having battled with a drug addiction and a stroke in which she suffered some memory loss, Williams’ motivational words resonated with those people dealing with health issues. She encouraged them saying, “Whose report are you going to believe about yourself? What do you believe about yourself?”

“Remove the word ‘try’ and say ‘do,” Williams said.

“I know that this will make lives better. It’s about being able to help people,” said Martha Brown, a member of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Oakland, who organized the speaking event.

For anyone that has not experienced Williams telling her inspiring story, her words of advice are something to live by. Reprogram your mind and tell yourself yes, she said. Be confident; stay focused with no distractions; get a mentor; and make no more excuses.

“Speak what God tells you about yourself,” Williams said. “Move in your greatness.”

For more information about Tawana Williams, visit

Arts and Culture


The Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will offer grants of at least $10,000 to every eligible entertainment venue in San Francisco, which have been struggling to remain in business as a result of COVID-19




San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced the City’s Music and Entertainment Venue Recovery Fund will begin accepting applications for grants on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. The fund was established to provide financial support to San Francisco-based live music and entertainment venues in order to prevent their permanent closure due to the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Venue Fund advances the Economic Recovery Task Force’s recommendations to support the arts, culture, hospitality, and entertainment sector. The fund is also aligned with San Francisco’s other efforts to support entertainment venues, including Mayor Breed’s $2.5 million in fee and tax relief for entertainment venues and the proposals to support arts and culture in the Mayor’s Small Business Recovery Act legislation.
“These music and entertainment venues are part of what makes San Francisco such a special place to live and visit,” said Mayor Breed. “This past year has been devastating for the entertainment sector, and these local funds will help these businesses hang on until they can start operating again.”
In March 2021, Mayor Breed and Supervisor Matt Haney agreed to allocate $3 million to the fund as part of $24.8 million for small business loans and grants in the current year surplus spending plan. The first round of grants will expend all $3 million in equal amounts to every venue eligible to receive funding. Grants will be at least $10,000 for each venue, although that amount will vary based on how many venues qualify for the program.
“Our independent music and nightlife venues have been hit hard over the last year, and desperately need the support that this fund will provide,” said Supervisor Matt Haney. “Nightlife and entertainment are cornerstones of our city’s economy and culture. As we reopen and recover, we need our city’s venues to not only survive, but to be even stronger.”
The fund is administered by San Francisco’s Office of Small Business, and was developed in consultation with stakeholders from the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Entertainment Commission, the Small Business Commission, the San Francisco Venue Coalition, and the Independent Venue Alliance.
The fund is also available to receive donations from the public. Any private donations received before the first round of grants is issued will be distributed as part of that round. If additional money is added to the fund by the City or through donations after the first round of grants is issued, that money will be awarded in subsequent rounds of grants. Members of the public interested in donating may find out more information at
“San Francisco’s storied live music venues bring more than just economic activity to our City; they are the beating heart of our shared culture, diversity, and sense of identity,” said Ben Bleiman, President of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. “But due to the pandemic, many of them are teetering on the edge of permanent closure. We applaud Mayor Breed, Supervisor Haney, and our San Francisco leaders for swift, decisive action to establish the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund. These grants will play a crucial role in saving our live music venues before it’s too late.”
“Live music venues have not been able to be open for even a single day, at any capacity, for over a year. They have been among the hardest hit businesses in San Francisco, and as a result are hanging on by a thread,” said Sharky Laguana, President of the San Francisco Small Business Commission. “Many have been forced to permanently close. Music is a central part of San Francisco’s identity and history, and speaking as a musician, I don’t want to even think about our City without our beloved venues. This aid will make a big difference, and help keep music alive in San Francisco. Thank you Mayor Breed and Supervisor Haney for creating the Music & Entertainment Venue Fund.”
Applications open on April 21 and the deadline is May 5, 2021. Venues eligible to receive funding must have held a Place of Entertainment permit from the Entertainment Commission prior to the start of the pandemic and must be able to demonstrate a track record of substantial live entertainment programming, among other eligibility criteria.
Venues interested in applying and members of the public interested in donating to the fund can learn more at

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Bay Area

Low-Income Youth in Marin City Roll for Free at Skate Giveaway

Melinda Speer, a professional ice skater who also enjoys roller skating, helped several of the children learn to skate.




Melinda Speer showing a boy how to balance on his skates. Group photo of “Just Give Love Skate” event. Photo by Godfrey Lee

Sharika Gregory, president of Just Armour, hosted the “Just Give Love Skate” event at The Golden Gate Skate Park on the corner of Drake and Donahue in Marin City on Saturday, March 27. About 30 people came to the event, and mostly enjoyed the weather eating ice cream, tried on new skates, and skated in the park.

Twenty-four pairs of brand new, highend, Moxi-Jackson-Chaya roller skates were given to youth who could not afford to buy skates on their own.

Oshalla Diane Marcus and the MC Art and Culture Art Galleryhelped to customize several pairs of skates.  

Many of the people were new at roller skating and were assisted by the other skaters, including an older man who was learning how to skate again and other children. Melinda Speer, a professional ice skater who also enjoys roller skating, helped several of the children learn to skate.

Concerning the skating event, Gregory said, “We skate to demonstrate that love is innate and that we should not hate, which the world has taught us to perpetrate. We hold each other up so we won’t fall, and guide each other, as we courageously explore new terrain, before us all.”

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San Francisco FAITHS to Offer Classes on Disaster Preparedness for Community Groups

“Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that faith and community-based organizations are not immune to experiencing disasters,” says Carmen Bogan, the program’s coordinator. “We all talk about being prepared, but how many faith-based and CBO leaders set aside the time to do it? Now is the right time to prepare for what’s next. Just two hours of preparation could make the difference. That’s what this series is all about.” 




The San Francisco Foundation FAITHS Program announces THRIVE! The Master Class Series, 2021.  This series of training draws on the knowledge of experts in their fields with decades of experience. Sessions will prepare nonprofit and faith-based leaders to navigate five key areas critical to more than surviving the season of COVID-19, by preparing for whatever comes next.  It’s time to THRIVE!

“Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that faith and community-based organizations are not immune to experiencing disasters,” says Carmen Bogan, the program’s coordinator. “We all talk about being prepared, but how many faith-based and CBO leaders set aside the time to do it? Now is the right time to prepare for what’s next. Just two hours of preparation could make the difference. That’s what this series is all about.” 


The first of the five interactive zoom sessions is scheduled for April 9, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Master Class instructors, Heather Lee, program manager for San Francisco Community Agencies Responding to Disaster (CARD) and Michelle Beasley, Federal Disaster Recovery officer for FEMA Region IX, will teach leaders how to create a preparedness plan designed to save property, finances, the organization’s future and even lives in the community. 


 Future topics include – “Rolling Out Your Reopening; Pivot into Tomorrow:” “Tech Savvy;” “Building a Strong Health Ministry or Department;” and “Where to Find COVID-19 Recovery Resources.”


Session 1
Date: 4/09/2021
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Prepared for Next? From the Experts: 
Steps to Developing an Organization Disaster Preparedness Recovery and Plan & FEMA Resources

Participants will learn about:  

Planning – Creating preparedness and recovery plans 
Operations – What things need to keep happening 
Equipment – What you need
Training – What you need to learn 
Exercise – How you practice

Accessing FEMA resources 

You must register in advance for this meeting:–qrzIiEtBXgJ4EL6T1c3T2Fmc9sY_K

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 For more information contact:

Michelle Myles Chambers at T – (415) 733-8539

Sayron Stokes at  T – (415) 635-3319

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