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State Launches COVID-19 Vaccine Outreach Campaign Targets African American Communities

State public health officials also plan to engage with Black communities across the state via small business and community leaders that primarily serve Black and African American residents.

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Lucinda Bazile, deputy director of Lifelong Medical Care, gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at a Lifelong clinic on February 25, 2021. Photo courtesy of Lifelong Medical Care.

 The state’s Department of Public Health has launched an advertising campaign intended to encourage the Black and African American communities to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
    The campaign is part of the state’s “Let’s Get to ImmUnity” public education effort to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
      The state is spending some $40 million in public outreach to preach the vaccines’ virtue via radio, print, social media, television, and billboard ads.
    One ad targeting Black communities includes Darius, an East Palo Alto photographer, expressing concern about the vaccines’ safety.
     California Surgeon General Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who is Black, responds to Darius by noting that she got vaccinated and ensured her parents also received shots after examining the data showing that the vaccines were found safe in clinical trials.
      “I think people respond more to what we do than what we say,” Burke Harris said in the ad.
State public health officials also plan to engage with Black communities across the state via small business and community leaders that primarily serve Black and African American residents.
     The community engagement effort will begin in Oakland, according to the California Department of Public Health.
     “Data shows that COVID-19 disproportionately impacts Black and African American communities in terms of severity, mortality, and economics. These communities are also being vaccinated at disproportionately low rates,” CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said. “We designed this campaign to speak to the understandable, culturally-specific concerns and questions surrounding the vaccine of Black and African American communities.”
    The state is expected to open vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and over on April 15.  
     The CDPH’s ad with Darius and Burke Harris can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HIGHn29MJr4.

 

Alameda County

Niagara Movement Democratic Club Celebrates 50th Anniversary

The Niagara Movement Democratic Club (NMDC) celebrated their 50th Anniversary at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle on Saturday, March 18. The event raised funds for the newly created non-bipartisan Niagara Movement Foundation co-founded by lobbyist-author Virtual T. Murrell the Honorable Elihu Harris, former Oakland mayor, and founding members Sandra Simpson Fontaine, the Honorable Leo Bazile, Anita Williams, Geoffrey Pete and Robert L. Harris.

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Lobbyist/Author Virtual T. Murrell, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, Black Panther Party legend, Bobby Seale, and Post News Group publisher Paul Cobb. Photo by Carla Thomas.
Lobbyist/Author Virtual T. Murrell, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price, Black Panther Party legend, Bobby Seale, and Post News Group publisher Paul Cobb. Photo by Carla Thomas.

By Carla Thomas

The Niagara Movement Democratic Club (NMDC) celebrated their 50th Anniversary at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle on Saturday, March 18. The event raised funds for the newly created non-bipartisan Niagara Movement Foundation co-founded by lobbyist-author Virtual T. Murrell the Honorable Elihu Harris, former Oakland mayor, and founding members Sandra Simpson Fontaine, the Honorable Leo Bazile, Anita Williams, Geoffrey Pete and Robert L. Harris.

Bishop Grady L. Harris provided the invocation and the Honorable Donald R. White served as master of ceremonies. The Honorable Dezie Woods-Jones provided a posthumous tribute to Anita Williams, a founding member of the NMDC, whose memorial was held earlier in that day. Founding member of the NMDC Attorney Sandra Simpson-Fontaine also spoke of Anita Williams’ dedication and commitment. “She worked tirelessly to move our agenda forward,” said Simpson-Fontaine.

The event also celebrated the Honorable Willie L. Brown’s 89th birthday. Brown was unable to attend due to covid, but his daughter Susan Brown accepted an award for him. Brown’s daughter also led the audience in singing the Stevie Wonder version of “Happy Birthday.”

Celebrity guests included the legendary Black Panther Party leader, Bobby Seale and actor Richard Gant.

Virtual Murrell, founder and founding president of the NMDC, provided the organization’s rich history of advocacy, comradery and being a training ground for over a dozen elected officials. Murrell explained how he, in 1973, along with his friends Leo Bazile, AC Taylor and Johnnie S. Harrison formed the organization in honor of W.E.B. DuBois and William Monroe Trotter’s “Niagara Movement” that began in 1905 to end racial discrimination, segregation and establish voting rights, and equal economic and educational opportunities for African Americans.

“You’re standing on the shoulders of those that came before you,” said Murrell, founder and founding president of the Niagara Movement Democratic Club. Murrell went on to explain that Black people were one-third of Oakland’s population, yet not one elected official of Oakland or Alameda County was Black. Murrell’s club made it their mission to encourage, support, and produce Black candidates to run for office. Their movement transformed the landscape of the city and county’s politics, resulting in the elected official representation of Black people in the region’s politics for the next 50 years. Out of the NMDC came political legends like Congresswoman Barbara Lee and the Honorable Elihu Harris, former mayor of Oakland. Harris joked that he trumped the Honorable Willie Brown by becoming a mayor first.

Historically, the NMDC was created at a time when political power and influence were wielded by conservative Republican William F. Knowland, publisher of the Oakland Tribune, and the former Senate Majority Leader. With the NMDC declaring political warfare on the status quo, the organization produced Oakland City Councilmembers; Wilson Riles Jr., Leo Bazile, and Dezie Woods-Jones, Elihu Harris, Mayor of Oakland and State Legislature, Alameda County Board of Supervisors; Mary King and Keith Carson, Alameda County Treasurer Don White, Oakland School Board representatives Sylvester Hodges, Alfreda Abbott, and Carol Tolbert, California Assemblymember Sandre Swanson, Judge Magistrate Geoffrey Carter, BART Board member, Margaret Pryor, and Peralta Community College Trustee William “Bill” Riley.

In addition to the founder and co-founders, founding members of the NMDC included Shirley Douglass, Edmund Atkins, Art Scott, Irene Scott-Murrell, Anita Wiliams, Al Roger’s, Wilson Riles Jr., Edna Tidwell, Esther Tidwell, Walter Edwards, Sandra Simpson Fontaine, Beverly Brown Spelman, Joyce Wilkerson, Barbara Lee, Michael Penn, William “Bill” Riley, Geoffrey Carter, and Elihu Harris.

Alameda County Board of Supervisors Chairman Nate Miley commended the NMDC with a resolution from the Board of Supervisors, and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao presented a “Niagara Day” Resolution.

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Arts and Culture

Fremont Restaurant Week Kicks Off

Today marks the beginning of our inaugural Fremont Restaurant Week, a celebration of Fremont’s diverse culinary offerings and local small businesses. From March 17-26, enjoy 10 days of exclusive menu offerings from 40+ restaurants all over the city.

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Prix Fixe Seafood Dinner (Market Broiler); Chaplee Burger and Afghan Potatoes (De Afghanan Kabob House); Mutton Momos (Momo & Kebab); Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (SOJO Ramen); Restaurant Week exclusive brew, Top of the World Brut Blonde Ale (Das Brew)
Prix Fixe Seafood Dinner (Market Broiler); Chaplee Burger and Afghan Potatoes (De Afghanan Kabob House); Mutton Momos (Momo & Kebab); Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (SOJO Ramen); Restaurant Week exclusive brew, Top of the World Brut Blonde Ale (Das Brew)

Today marks the beginning of our inaugural Fremont Restaurant Week, a celebration of Fremont’s diverse culinary offerings and local small businesses. From March 17-26, enjoy 10 days of exclusive menu offerings from 40+ restaurants all over the city. Here’s a preview of the special offers you can enjoy in the coming week:

Pictured above from left to right: Prix Fixe Seafood Dinner (Market Broiler); Chaplee Burger and Afghan Potatoes (De Afghanan Kabob House); Mutton Momos (Momo & Kebab); Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen (SOJO Ramen); Restaurant Week exclusive brew, Top of the World Brut Blonde Ale (Das Brew)

Visit the official webpage for the full list of participating restaurants and specials. Be sure to submit a photo of your receipt dated March 17-26 and upload a photo of your meal to Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #FremontRW2023 for a chance to win a daily giveaway or grand prize! Fremont Restaurant Week is brought to you in partnership with the Fremont Chamber of Commerce, Yelp Bay Area, and Papé.

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Bay Area

Florence Agnes Blackburn September 29, 1936 – February 28, 2023

Ms. Florence Agnes Blackburn was born Sept. 29, 1936 in Houston Texas. She went on to be with the Lord God on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. She was the youngest of four children born to Mr. Percy H. Amos Sr. and Mrs. Brunella Mullone Amos. Florence A. Blackburn a.k.a. “Florencia” was a woman of faith and many talents. She was baptized at St. Nicholas Catholic Church and School, the first Black parish located in Houston Texas.

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Florence Agnes Blackburn
Florence Agnes Blackburn

Ms. Florence Agnes Blackburn was born Sept. 29, 1936 in Houston, Texas. She went on to be with the Lord God on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023. She was the youngest of four children born to Mr. Percy H. Amos Sr. and Mrs. Brunella Mullone Amos.

Florence A. Blackburn a.k.a. “Florencia” was a woman of faith and many talents. She was baptized at St. Nicholas Catholic Church and School, the first Black parish located in Houston Texas.

While her family’s roots are firmly in the Cane River Creole community of Louisiana, she knew California to be home since 1942. Her parents owned and operated the first African American service station in Berkeley, California. It was there where she learned about automobiles, learning to drive by 14 years old.

When her parents moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1952; Florence stayed in California with her siblings, Percy Amos Jr., Yvonne A. Miller and Lucille R. Amos. She attended Lafayette Elementary School, Hoover Jr. High, Holy Names High School and San Francisco State University where she majored in Biological Science.

Upon graduation she enjoyed a long career as a histologist at Highland Hospital, Oakland, California from 1959 to 1980. Florence continued her education earning additional degrees from the College of Alameda and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of California in Berkeley 1999.

Everyone has dreams, and for Florence that dream involved fashion. She opened her boutique on Grand Avenue in Oakland. It was there she was able to pursue one of her many passions bringing her garments to life and “Florencia” was born!!

Later in life she went on to hold several positions for the City of Oakland including Litter Enforcement Officer, where she enjoyed working to discover who had dumped their property illegally. When Oakland closed that department, she worked as a library assistant at the MLK Branch before transferring to West Oakland Public Library and retiring in 2018. The library had been her second home among all those books.

Lady Blackburn was initiated into the Knights of St. Peter Claver in 2005, originally part of Court #121 St. Andrews-St. Joseph Catholic Church before transferring to St. Columba Court #127.

Making St. Columba her home, she served as a eucharistic minister, member of the Hope for Haiti Ministry, as well as on the scholarship committee. Ever the social butterfly, Florence enjoyed Wednesday morning church service and the Haiti White Party where she got to show off her amazing fashions. She was also a member of the Creole Heritage Center at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, which is celebrating its Silver Jubilee.

A few of her other passions included cultivating her backyard garden where she grew a large variety of vegetables, plants, flowers and herbs. Here she also hosted her friends on Thursday nights, enjoying her homemade wine and famous gumbo. She loved traveling to the islands and especially to Texas, spending time with her four great-grandchildren, telling them scary stories while they would laugh, act scared, run and hide.

She was preceded in death by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Percy H. Amos Sr.; older brother Percy

  1. Amos Jr. and her nephew Kendrick “Jerry” Miller. She is survived by her sisters Yvonne A. Miller and Lucille R. Cole; her two children, Sheila R. Payne and Dino G. Blackburn, grandchildren Pamela P. Palmer, Stephen F. Payne, Mikaela D. Blackburn, and great-grandchildren Kyra R. Payne, Kruze Z. Payne, Olivia S. Palmer and Grant W. Palmer and the many nieces and nephews who loved her.

She will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Florencia (GG), Forever our Guardian Angel!!

Memorial Service

Saturday, March 25, 2023

11:30 a.m.

St. Columba Catholic Church 6401 San Pablo Ave.

Oakland, California 94608 Celebrant Father Aidan McAleenan

Final resting place St. Augustine Catholic Church Cemetery, Natchez, Louisiana

To be determined!!

Zoom link Funeral Mass for Ms. Florence Blackburn:

Time: Mar. 25, 2023, 12 p.m. Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join the Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84373171098?pwd=NU9Qa2dtSDV0T2dTVXRlOVdvWlA5dz09 Meeting ID: 843 7317 1098

Passcode: 1898

Dial by your location

+1 669 444 9171 US

Meeting ID: 843 7317 1098

Passcode: 1898

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