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Spoken Word Offers Aid to Black Men Facing Hardships

Their mission statement highlights that through sharing their lived experiences, members of Black Men Speaks and Men of Color “promote self and communal wellness, recovery, and freedom”.

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Image provided by Black Men Speak website

According to a National Health Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2019 for the African American community, 6.5 million African Americans had a mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder.

These numbers don’t compare to the more in depth statistics on those who receive treatment and who do not and how, specifically, Black men are affected. For a lot of Black men and men of color, access to resources that may aid in mental health or substance abuse treatment are slim because of the influence within their own communities and outside of it to turn their backs on things that are perceived as anything less than the strength they should possess as a man, especially a Black man.

Black Men Speak, INC.(BMS), an international speakers bureau, was founded in 2009 through the Alameda Pool of Consumer Champions with this very notion in mind, that the best way to connect to other Black men who were struggling with mental health and substance abuse was through storytelling of their own struggles.

Three years following Black Men Speaks’ foundation, Men of Color(MOC) speaker’s bureau was established, which allowed them to expand their reach in the community.

Their mission statement highlights that through sharing their lived experiences, members of Black Men Speaks and Men of Color “promote self and communal wellness, recovery, and freedom”.

The stories that are told are set in the present day and feature unique challenges of loss, trauma, social and family issues and community violence and the importance of faith on the road to overall wellness & recovery.

Besides aiding their fellow men through connection in storytelling, BMS offers resources that help with employment, housing, homeless prevention, mentoring and peer support and training for presentation and public speaking.

Alongside these resources and mentoring, they make sure to do their part in advocating and assertively addressing other issues within their communities that have a direct impact on the African American community.

Black Men Speak is located in Oakland at 303 Hegenberger Road in Suite 210. Hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 510-969-5086 or email 1blackmenspeak@gmail.com.

 

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Bay Area

Gov. Newsom Requests Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Counties Impacted By Storms

Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a request Tuesday for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for nine California counties, including Monterey County. If approved, the move will pave the way for federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be provided to local governments and individuals impacted by storms in February and March.

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Monterey County Sheriff, Tina Nieto, provides California Governor Gavin Newsom an update on the Pajaro River levee repair near the township of Pajaro, Calif., in Monterey County on March 15, 2023. Floodwaters breached the levee around midnight on March 10, 2023. (Ken James/California Department of Water Resources via Bay City News)
Monterey County Sheriff, Tina Nieto, provides California Governor Gavin Newsom an update on the Pajaro River levee repair near the township of Pajaro, Calif., in Monterey County on March 15, 2023. Floodwaters breached the levee around midnight on March 10, 2023. (Ken James/California Department of Water Resources via Bay City News)

By Thomas Hughes
Bay City News
Gov. Gavin Newsom sent a request Tuesday for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for nine California counties, including Monterey County.
If approved, the move will pave the way for federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to be provided to local governments and individuals impacted by storms in February and March.
In addition to Monterey County, the request included Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, along with Calaveras, Kern, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Tulare and Tuolumne counties.
Four other counties were added to a previous emergency declaration from the governor, including Alameda, Marin, Modoc and Shasta counties.
“Over these past months, state, local and federal partners have worked around the clock to protect our communities from devastating storms that have ravaged every part of our state. We will continue to deploy every tool we have to help Californians rebuild and recover from these storms,” Newsom said.
If approved, aid from FEMA can be used for individual housing assistance, food aid, counseling, medical and legal services. It will also cover some storm-related costs like debris removal.
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors has requested additional state aid to help undocumented residents receive direct assistance that they aren’t eligible for from FEMA.
The governor said in a press release that funding from the state’s Rapid Response Fund would be made available to those residents and will ensure that families with mixed immigration status can access federal aid.
A local resources center opened Wednesday at the Watsonville Veterans Memorial Building at 215 E. Beach St. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through April 7. The center is staffed with personnel from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and Monterey County emergency staff who will help guide Monterey County residents through the recovery process.
An eviction moratorium was passed by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will provide limited eviction protection for residents who lost income because of the storms. If the Presidential Disaster Declaration is approved, FEMA assistance could help some eligible residents receive money to help pay rent, which will not be forgiven during the moratorium.

Copyright © 2023 Bay City News, Inc.  All rights reserved.  Republication, rebroadcast or redistribution without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited. Bay City News is a 24/7 news service covering the greater Bay Area.

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Activism

20 Years Later, Breast Cancer Emergency Fund a Testament to Faith Fancher’s Enduring Legacy

When a woman is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, chemotherapy and radiation often make her too weak to work. If she is working a low-paying job or unemployed, the mounting bills can become overwhelming. For 20 years, the Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) has provided a lifeline. The Berkeley-based non-profit organization administers the Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which gives cash grants of up to $595 to low-income women in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties who are battling breast cancer.

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Faith Fancher, a KTVU reporter, died of breast cancer in 2003.
Faith Fancher, a KTVU reporter, died of breast cancer in 2003

By Tammerlin Drummond

When a woman is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, chemotherapy and radiation often make her too weak to work. If she is working a low-paying job or unemployed, the mounting bills can become overwhelming.

For 20 years, the Women’s Cancer Resource Center (WCRC) has provided a lifeline. The Berkeley-based non-profit organization administers the Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Emergency Fund, which gives cash grants of up to $595 to low-income women in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties who are battling breast cancer.

Grant recipients have used the money to help pay for food, utilities, rent, car insurance, medical co-pays and other necessities. One woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer said she used her $595 grant to buy an oxygen concentrator.

“You could say the air I breathe is because of your generosity,” she said. “I am so incredibly grateful to you and am feeling better every day.

The fund is named in honor of Faith Fancher, a popular television reporter at KTVU who died in 2003 after a valiant battle against breast disease, the web site says. Fancher saw her own cancer as an opportunity to use her public profile to raise awareness and educate others about the importance of early detection.

Fancher founded an organization called Friends of Faith that was dedicated to raising funds for low-income women with breast cancer.

It was 20 years ago this March that Fancher first approached the Women’s Cancer Resource Center about setting up an emergency grant program for women going through breast cancer treatment.

One of the earliest recipients was a 50-year-old homeless woman who used her $595 grant to pay for moving costs into housing she could afford.

“Faith understood the financial burden that low-income individuals faced when diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Dolores Moorehead, who oversees the fund at the WCRC. “This was the first fund dedicated to financial support being offered in the East Bay.”

Over the past two decades, the Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Emergency Fund has given out $992,000 in one-time cash grants. There have been 2,500 beneficiaries, including women and some men with breast cancer.

Ricki Stevenson, a founding member of Friends of Faith, reflected on Fancher’s legacy and the enduring impact of the emergency fund that she created.

“It says that Faith continues to be a presence and it wasn’t just about her,” Stevenson said. “It was so all of the other sisters who come behind us they now have help even though they don’t have the same resources.”

Rosie Allen, another founding member of Friends of Faith, said Fancher left a lasting impact. “Twenty years later Faith is no longer with us, but the breast cancer emergency fund lives on and the need is even greater than ever.”

The Friends of Faith used to host an annual 5K walk/run at Lake Merritt to honor Fancher after she died. It raised funds for the emergency fund and other Bay Area non-profits that provide services to breast cancer survivors.

After Friends of Faith disbanded in 2017, the To Celebrate Life Foundation, former Friends of Faith board members and community members have continued to support the breast cancer emergency fund.

Shyanne Reese used her grant to help pay her rent while she was going through breast cancer treatment.

“I often reflect on how I wish I could share with Faith the impact her life and friends made on me in a non-judgement environment, relieving the financial stress of simply paying the rent so that I could focus on healing,” Reese said.

“With your support, we are able to continue this fund and support our community members when they need us most, said WCRC Executive Director Amy Alanes.

To donate to the Faith Fancher Breast Cancer Emergency fund, visit https://tinyurl.com/FaithFancher.

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of March 29 – April 4, 2023

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of March 29 – April 4, 2023

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of March 29 - April 4, 2023

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