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When Gavin Newsom Showed Up for My Community

In this last month, Newsom will be blamed for everything from the fires (PG&E is a better culprit if Mother Nature isn’t good enough for you); to the coronavirus (You saw how Republicans in lock-step with Trump enabled the virus to grow in 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died needlessly); And you can throw in climate change (though Newsom has been one of the most forthright about addressing climate change. The Republicans? Climate deniers all).

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Governor Gavin Newsom at a Meeting, Photo courtesy of ca.gov website

California Gov. Gavin Newsom needs friends right now. I’m not a “friend.” But as a journalist he once invited me to coffee to talk about some columns I wrote, which included negative swipes about his policies. He reached out. We chatted. He’s still not a “friend.” But if I was on the street homeless, I know he wouldn’t be as cruel as some of his past policies might have indicated at first.

He would have at least given me some new cardboard.

Maybe made sure I had access to public services. But he’d help.

Since that meeting (he was mayor of San Francisco), he’s climbed to the highest office in the state.

Me? I’m talking to you directly.

I’ve written about him sparingly, but I did write a couple of years ago when we were both in attendance at the funeral of Alice Bulos.

Bulos was the “Godmother of Filipino American Politics.” You didn’t make political lumpia without the help of Alice Bulos. By lumpia, I mean that Filipino version of the egg roll, stuffed with anything you want. Cabbage? Tofu? Collards? You can put anything in a lumpia wrapper. Then you flash fry it crispy, add the secret dipping sauce. Have no party without them.

Lumpia. That’s how Bulos put together coalitions of different groups in politics.

You need Alice’s lumpia recipe.

At her funeral, Newsom towered over most of the Filipino Americans who were in attendance. He was like the whole string bean in the lumpia.  But he came. He went to Mass. He walked out with the casket. And then he hung out with all of us outside the church. Took selfies. It was the same old Gavin. He was only lieutenant governor back then. But he wanted to be governor. Was he “campaigning” us? No, he was being personal. And real. He had to be there for all that Alice Bulos meant.

He showed up for her. And for us.

Right now, Newsom could use Alice’s recipe. He’s up for a recall vote that’s about to turn nasty as we get to the final month before the election which will be held on Sept. 14.

In this last month, Newsom will be blamed for everything from the fires (PG&E is a better culprit if Mother Nature isn’t good enough for you); to the coronavirus (You saw how Republicans in lock-step with Trump enabled the virus to grow in 2020. Hundreds of thousands of Americans died needlessly); And you can throw in climate change (though Newsom has been one of the most forthright about addressing climate change. The Republicans? Climate deniers all).

Republicans will do worse than Newsom on any of the big issues. And they’ll ignore all the little issues real folk care about.

Republicans do have a full roster of people among the more than 45 candidates who want the job. Some are talk show hosts. Having been one myself, I know the ones running can’t be serious. Running for office is just a publicity stunt. Lord help us if they win. Look at Trump. But they suck votes away from Newsom and wreak havoc on government when it already has enough problems on its hands– like fires, climate change and the coronavirus.

Start caring about this election. This is no slam dunk. In a UC Berkeley/Los Angeles Times poll, among likely voters, 47% want the recall;  50% are for Newsom.

That’s way too close with a month away.

Newsom needs people to show up by marking up their mail-in ballots (arriving by the middle of August), sending them in, or by voting in-person on September 14.

Don’t let voter apathy and more stringent coronavirus restrictions have an impact. A Republican running for fun, or a Trump wannabe isn’t what California needs right now.

My Filipino American friends who were at Alice Bulos’ funeral know how critical this all is.

They haven’t forgotten when Newsom showed up for us.

Emil Guillermo is an award-winning journalist and commentator. He vlogs at www.amok.com and on Facebook Watch. Twitter @emilamok.

Activism

East Oakland Community Clean-up

The office of Councilmember Treva Reid invites you to…

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Oakland Clean Up Flyer

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Bay Area

Sept. 11, 2001, 20 years later: ‘Remembrance’ held aboard the USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

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U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment: Sgt. Tristan Garivay, Sgt. Michael Her, Cpl. Adrian Chavez and Cpl. Quentavious Leeks. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, Commanding Officer, 23rd Marine Regiment. Photo by Russell Moore, USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum, Community Events & Outreach

The USS Hornet Sea, Space & Air Museum, moored at the City of Alameda, hosted a “Remembrance” ceremony of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, on board the ship on the 20th anniversary, Sept. 11, 2021.

The ceremony recognized the impact and consequences of the series of airline hijackings and suicide attacks committed on 2001 by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Queda against targets in New York City and Wash., D.C. Nearly 3,000 people died that day and 6,000 were injured.  This was the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history. 

The ceremony aboard the USS Hornet began with the presentation of the colors by the U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard, 23rd Marine Regiment. (Pictured above.)

Leon Watkins, co-founder of The Walking Ghosts of Black History, was the Master of Ceremonies. He spoke about the extensive death and destruction which triggered the enormous U.S. effort to combat terrorism.

Daniel Costin, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke of the lasting impact of 9/11 terrorists attack on first responders. He recounted incidents where first responders rushed into the scenes of the attacks, many at the sacrifice of their own lives. More than 400 police officers and firefighters were killed that day: 343 members of the New York City Fire Department and 71 members of their law enforcement agencies.

Quintin Jones, Colonel, USMC, commanding officer of the 23rd Marine Regiment, spoke about the recovery efforts at the Pentagon following the terrorists’ attack where 125 people perished. He reflected on the actions of three first responders who recovered the U.S. Marine Corps flag from the commandant of the Marine Corps’ office at the Pentagon. This flag was still standing after the attack. It was a symbol of America’s resolve.

At the end of the formal presentations, the Marine Corps Wreath Bearers went to the fantail of the Hornet. After the playing of ‘Taps,’ they tossed a wreath into the San Francisco Bay to give final honors.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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Community

Many in Black Communities are Choosing Vaccination 

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists. 

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Vaccination/Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

The trail of illness and death left amid the spread of COVID-19 in Black and African American communities should come as no surprise.

Inequities in health outcomes have always been with us. COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates among African Americans rival or exceed those in heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses. Blacks sit atop most bad lists and at the bottom of most good lists.

COVID-19 vaccinations offer us an opportunity to better balance the scale.

Unfortunately, even with widely available testing, highly effective vaccines, and extraordinary efforts by health departments to educate and encourage people of color to get vaccinated, many Black Californians remain skeptical.

We can only hope that the FDA’s full regulatory approval of the Pfizer vaccine on August 23 for those 16 and up convinces more to get the vaccine.  It’s worth noting that emergency-use authorization also remains in place for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson shots, as well as Pfizer’s for 12- to 15-year-olds – and that all of these vaccines are safe and effective in protecting against COVID-19 and its highly contagious variants.

Eddie Fairchild and Steph Sanders were skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine but came to understand why vaccination benefits our entire community.

Fairchild, a Sacramento insurance agent, said he knew of research that found Black and white people are often treated differently for the same health conditions leading to poorer health outcomes.

“I was hesitant,” he said. “I was going to wait and see how it panned out with everyone else.

But when a Black friend in the health care field told him he’d opted to get vaccinated, Fairchild asked him why.

“He said, ‘Risk-reward, and the risk is death.’ At that point I didn’t have to ask him what the reward was.”

With a finance degree and a belief that numbers don’t lie, Fairchild looked at the data. He learned that until 2020 the average number of Americans who died each year was about 2.6 million, but in 2020 that figure was 3.4 million. There was only one possible explanation for the death rate surge, he said.

“COVID is absolutely real,” he said, adding that three of his cousins died from the virus. “Taking all that into consideration, I decided that it’s risky to engage in the world and not be vaccinated. It made sense for me to get it.”

Racial gaps in vaccination have thankfully narrowed in recent weeks. But as of September 1, while Black people account for 6% of the state’s population, they account for 6.6% of COVID-19 deaths, which is 11% higher than the statewide rate, according to state department of public health data. Only about 55% of Black people in California have had at least one dose of the vaccine.

Reasons for the discrepancies run the gamut, from conspiracy theories like Black people are getting a less effective vaccine than whites or that the vaccine will eventually be deadly, to challenges in health care access. 

Mostly, it’s based on a lack of trust in medical and scientific institutions, which have a long history of racism and mistreating Black people.

So even when it comes to good things like vaccines, which are scientifically proven to be good for the community, it always comes back to trust.

Sanders, a Vallejo school principal, was hesitant because of the Tuskegee syphilis studies in which Black men who had the disease were intentionally not treated with penicillin. And he was dubious that an effective vaccine could be developed so quickly. 

In fact, the science and technology enabling development of the COVID-19 vaccines was in development for a more than decade before the virus emerged in 2020. The FDA authorized three vaccines for emergency use after they underwent a rigorous process and were proven through trials to be safe and effective at preventing severe COVID-19, hospitalization, and death.

He decided to get vaccinated when his school board decided last spring to bring students back into classrooms.

Today, he’s a fervent vaccine advocate. He holds “lunch and learn” forums for educators, encouraging vaccination.

“I’m a leader and people are relying on my knowledge,” he said. “I tell them, ‘Don’t make this about you, but about the people you love and care about. It’s about protecting them.’”

There is still a long way to go before Blacks achieve true health equity, but vaccination against a virus that is taking a terrible toll on our communities is a critical step in the right direction.

 

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