The California Black Media Political Playback:
Five California Cities Sign Equal Pay Pledge
Tanu Henry California Black Media
Your weekly news roundup of stories you might have missed.
Five California Cities Sign First Partner’s Equal Pay Pledge
Last week, California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom announced five cities -- Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, and Fresno -- have signed the California Equal Pay Pledge.
“The pledge is a The California Equal Pay Pledge is a partnership between the Office of the First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency to turn the strongest equal pay laws in the nation into the smallest pay gap in the nation,” according to the governor’s office.
Kimberly Ellis, Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, said closing the gender gap is something California “must do.”
“From building credit to building wealth, we know that the wage gap has greatly hindered progress toward actualizing women’s equality,” says Ellis. “The City and County of San Francisco is proud to support the First Partner’s initiative and look forward to doing our part to making pay equity a reality for all women in the Golden State.”
Siebel Newsom said public and private partnerships are essential to closing the gender gap.
“Pay inequity stems from a patriarchal system that was not built with gender equity in mind, but instead built to keep money and power in the hands of few men in control,” she said.
California Black Media is following up with a report on gender and employment that focuses on data specific to Black women.
State Invests $1 Billion in New Homelessness Funding
Last week, Gov. Newsom announced $1 billion in new funding for local communities to address homelessness and take emergency action to construct new homes to move unhoused Californians off the street.
Homelessness remains one of the state’s most stubborn problems as California’s homeless population keeps mushrooming, growing to approximately 160,000 people (about half the population of homeless people in the United States). Per every 100k people, California’s homeless population ranks third after New York and Hawaii.
“In California, we are using every tool in our toolbox – including the largest-ever deployment of small homes in the state – to move people out of encampments and into housing,” said Newsom. “The crisis of homelessness will never be solved without first solving the crisis of housing –the two issues are inextricably linked. We are tackling this issue at the root of the problem by addressing the need to create more housing, faster in California.”
Under his new plan, Newsom has deployed the California National Guard to assist in the preparation and delivery of approximately 1,200 small houses free of charge to four local communities: Los Angeles (500 units); San Diego County (150 units); San Jose (200 units) and Sacramento (350 units).
Former Black Caucus Member Jim Cooper Appointed to State Commission
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CDC Recommends All Adults Get Tested for Hepatitis BBy Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The U.S. Centers for Control and Prevention have issued a new recommendation urging all adults to receive screening for hepatitis B at least once in their lifetime.
The agency describes hepatitis B (HBV) as a liver infection caused by the HBV virus. It can progress to liver cancer and other serious illnesses.
CDC officials said as many as 2.4 million people live with HBV, and most might not know they have it.
A severe infection could lead to chronic HBV, which could increase a person’s risk of getting cancer or cirrhosis.
Further, the CDC said those diagnosed with chronic or long-term HBV are up to 85% more likely to succumb to an early death.
“Chronic HBV infection can lead to substantial morbidity and mortality but is detectable before the development of severe liver disease using reliable and inexpensive screening tests,” CDC officials stated.
Even though the number of people with HBV has decreased significantly in the last 30 years, the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says it is still a problem for African Americans.
That office reported that, in 2020, non-Hispanic blacks would be 1.4 times more likely to die from viral
New Evacuations as Storm Brings
ALLENSWORTH – New evacuation orders were in place Sunday near two small central California towns where a levee was breached following recent downpours, as yet another winter storm brought the threat of major flooding.
The agricultural communities of Alpaugh and Allensworth, home to a total of about 1,400 people, were ordered evacuated because of “the possibility of residents becoming isolated due to impassible roadways,” the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
A flash flood watch was issued for parts of the San Joaquin Valley in Tulare and Fresno counties, as well as for Sierra Nevada foothill areas, said the National Weather Service in Hanford. Crews worked Saturday to repair a breached levee along Deer Creek just north of Allensworth, a historically Black town in southwestern Tulare County, Cal Fire spokesperson Jazz Shaw told the Fresno Bee. Rain began Sunday as the first of two storms expected this week moved into California. The state has been hit with 11 atmospheric rivers this winter that have sparked floods and landslides, toppled trees and power lines, and stranded mountain residents in historically deep snow.
Museum to Start
Archeological Dig on Newly Donated LandBy MIKE DETMER The Star Democrat
EASTON, Md. (AP) - The Academy Art Museum has acquired the properties at 106, 108 and 110 Talbot Lane for the creation of an annex, thanks to a generous donation by AAM trustee Elizabeth “Diz” Hormel. Land records and archeological studies have identified that the land was originally owned by Henny and James Freeman beginning in the 1780s. The Freemans were one of the earliest documented free Black landowning families in Easton.
Through the end of the month, the Ottery Group, a Maryland consulting firm that offers services in archeology, historic preservation and the environmental sciences, will conduct an archeological study that builds on three previous studies of the Freeman site led by University of Maryland Department of Anthropology researchers Mark Leone and Tracy Jenkins in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Through rigorous testing, including ground- penetrating radar, shovel testing, and test unit and feature excavation, the UMD team collected approximately 20, 000 artifacts. Based on the results of these investigations, it is likely that the site contains additional, well-preserved archeological deposits from the period of Henny and James Freeman’s ownership, from 1787 to 1828. The research will be led by Lyle Torp, who founded The Ottery Group in 1998, and Matthew Palus. On March 29, community members are invited to the site to meet the archeologists and learn about their initial findings. AAM Director Sarah Jesse will also be on site to share the museum’s future plans.
Following the archeological study, AAM plans to rehabilitate the existing structure on the 106 plot and connect it to new construction on the 108 and 110 plots, which are currently empty lots, in an annex that will provide needed administrative space, as well as commemorate the historical significance of Easton’s Hill Community. Part of the annex will be named The Henny and James Freeman Wing and showcase the objects unearthed from the excavations in outdoor displays that tell the story of the family and neighborhood. This act of philanthropy will allow AAM to play a role in both preserving the unique identity of the site and in connecting community members to their shared history. To Diz Hormel, the initiative has been gratifying, “I’m blessed and honored to be in a position to do this,” she said. “I do other things philanthropically, but this is a chance to do something very concrete, visible and tangible.”Hormel’s gift is one of the largest in the Museum’s history. “It is an honor to be a part of such a meaningful project that will enable the work of the museum and contribute to a fuller understanding of the African American experience in Maryland prior to the Civil War. This is a unique opportunity to advance scholarship on early free African American communities and to make a greater impact within our community. We are exceedingly grateful to Diz for her generosity and partnership,” Jesse said.
Local civic leaders and community members have played a strong role in shaping the museum’s project.
Historic Easton Inc. President Carlene Phoenix said, “The staff and board of AAM have taken numerous steps to reach out to neighbors and the civic organizations active on The Hill and to consider community perspectives on this complex redevelopment proposal.”
This addition will be both a transformative growth opportunity for the museum and have a lasting impact on the community, Jesse said.
hepatitis than non-Hispanic whites.
Also, non-Hispanic blacks were almost twice as likely to die from hepatitis C as white individuals.
Further, while having comparable case rates for HBV in 2020, non-Hispanic blacks were 2.5 times more likely to die from HBV than non-Hispanic whites.
Medical officials noted that HBV spreads through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids, which can occur through sex, injecting drugs, or during pregnancy or delivery.
The CDC previously issued a recommendation in 2008, when it urged testing for high-risk individuals.
In its most recent recommendation, the agency said that adults over 18 must be tested at least once.
The agency declared that pregnant individuals should also undergo screening during each pregnancy, regardless of whether they’ve received a vaccine or have been previously tested.
Additionally, incarcerated individuals, those with multiple sex partners, or people with a history of hepatitis C should test periodically, the CDC said.
The agency warned that symptoms of acute HBV could include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, dark urine, and jaundice.
Symptoms could take several months or longer to present and last for months.
The CDC’s latest report further notes the following:
It’s estimated more than half of people who have the hepatitis B virus (HBV) don’t know they’re infected. Without treatment and monitoring, HBV infection can lead to deadly health outcomes, including liver damage and liver cancer.
The report updates and expands previous guidelines for HBV screening and testing by recommending screening for all U.S. adults and expanding continual periodic riskbased testing to include more groups, activities, exposures, and conditions.
Providers should implement the new CDC hepatitis B screening and testing recommendations to ensure all adults are screened for HBV infection with the triple-panel at least once in their lifetimes and that people who are not vaccinated for hepatitis B – but are at increased risk of HBV infection – receive periodic testing.
“Although a curative treatment is not yet available, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic HBV infections reduce the risk for cirrhosis, liver cancer, and death,” CDC officials noted in the report.
“Along with vaccination strategies, universal screening of adults and appropriate testing of persons at increased risk for HBV infection will improve health outcomes, reduce the prevalence of HBV infection in the United States, and advance viral hepatitis elimination goals.”
Arizona Governor Signs Order Banning Hair Discrimination
PHOENIX (AP) - Gov. Katie Hobbs has signed an executive order banning racial discrimination based on a person’s hair in Arizona. Before officially signing the order Friday afternoon at the Executive Tower, Hobbs said the order will mean state employees and contractors won’t have to worry about losing work for simply wearing their natural hair.
The main purpose is ensure Black Arizona residents feel respected.
“More importantly is the message this sends to all Black women, men and children - that you deserve to feel comfortable wearing your natural hair at school and in the workplace without being perceived as unprofessional or suffering other negative consequences,’’ Hobbs said. The governor was surrounded by nearly two dozen members of the Black community. Several were representatives from advocacy groups like the African American Museum of Southern Arizona, Black Mother’s Forum and the Phoenix chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women. Advocates have cited instances around the country where Black people were forced to cut their dreadlocks or re-do their hairstyles to participate in work, sports or other activities.
World & Nation
At the State of the Black Press Address, Breaking News and a Global Media App Take Center Stage
At the State of the Black Press Address, Breaking News and a Global Media App Take Center Stage
PublishersBy Stacy M. Brown
NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
The State of the Black Press in America in 2023 is strong, resilient, and getting stronger day by day. Black Press Week culminated with National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., delivering the State of the Black Press. More than 30 NNPA publishers and journalists followed up the address with a special White House visit in which Shalanda Young, the director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre spoke exclusively to the group. Young, the first Black woman to lead the White House budget office, detailed the importance of the President’s fiscal plan to communities of color.
Jean-Pierre engaged the NNPA in her office, where she promised that the administration has continued to push for equity and equality for Black Americans. “I would happily argue with anyone that this administration has done more for Black people than any other administration in history,” Jean-Pierre proclaimed. Though she acknowledged there’s still more work needed legislatively, Jean-Pierre noted what the Biden-Harris administration has accomplished through executive orders and legislation like the American Rescue Plan, the Child Tax Credit, a historic more than $6 billion to HBCUs, and other measures. “The president,” she said, “ensured that our community didn’t get left
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Before the trip to the West Wing, Dr. Chavis delivered a searing message about where the Black Press stands as the institution celebrates its 196th year. The March 17 luncheon at the National Press Club included remarks from Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, who highlighted the crucial need for a thriving Black Press and broke the kind of news sure to go viral. Thompson, who deftly led the Congressional investigation into the January 6, 2021, insurrection, told the large Press Club gathering that he expects a federal special counsel to hand up indictments in the coming weeks. “As for January 6, what you saw with your eyes is the absolute truth,” Thompson remarked. “Don’t believe [Fox Host] Tucker Carlson. Who are you going to believe, him or your lying eyes.” Thompson reminisced about America’s history of settling political differences at the ballot box. “But lo and behold, that president [Donald Trump] convinced everybody that [he] would be President for life,” the congressman said. “If it weren’t for the Black Press that kept raising the issue all along about how much of a fraud that person happened to be [the outcome may have been different].” Thompson continued: “Most of you know there is a double standard in America. No person of color with [Trump’s] history could have run for dog catcher and got anything. It’s that double standard that you fight every week in your newspapers. “Our elected officials must be held accountable. Over the next few weeks, our work will be crystalized with some indictments, and we have shared a lot of our work with the special counsel that Tucker Carlson thought he had. “A lot of those individuals are being called in under subpoena now and we will see what they tell the special counsel. Nobody is above the law, not even the President of the United States. “What we saw after interviewing more than 1,000 people – the majority of whom identify with the Republican Party – we
are convinced that whatever happened, happened because of one person. So, we are clear in our recommendation.”
Dr. Chavis, master of ceremonies Rev. Mark Thompson, NNPA Chair Karen Carter Richards, and other NNPA Board members presented Thompson with the 2023 NNPA Global Newsmaker of the Year Award. “In the growing digital age, the Black Press of America today, in 2023, is advancing and making steady progress to engage in the necessary technological innovations to ensure the future viability and sustainability of the Black Press of America for the next 100 years,” Dr. Chavis declared. During his address, Dr. Chavis unveiled the new NNPA World News app, which contains global news items of interest to African Americans. “It is revival time,” Dr. Chavis exclaimed, pivoting to a sermon-like delivery. He declared that the NNPA would soon travel around the country for a series of Black Church, Black Press, and Black family revivals. “We also are going to promote nationwide voter registration and massive get-out-to-vote campaigns in preparation for the 2024 national elections,” Dr. Chavis continued. He said the NNPA would also engage in a national “James Baldwin and Fannie Lou Hamer Drop the Pen Tour” at HBCUs and other college and university campuses and some high schools to emphasize raising up a new generation of “freedom-fighting journalists, publishers, videographers, and social media influencers.” “With that foundational understanding of the evolution of the Black Press, we are much better able to explain and to understand why the Black Press in 2023 remains the trusted voice of Black America,” Dr. Chavis added. “Trust is something that you cannot buy or something that you cannot fabricate. Trust, especially for African Americans, is genuine and authentic. You cannot fake it. Trust for us is deeply rooted in the social fabric of our families and the communities we serve and represent.”
Researchers Find Obamacare has Significantly Reduced Racial Disparities in Health Care AccessBy Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent Former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation has proved the gift that’s kept on giving for Black and communities in America.
Since its passage in 2010, the Affordable Care Act – better known as Obamacare – has helped cut the U.S. uninsured rate nearly in half while significantly reducing racial and ethnic disparities in both insurance coverage and access to care – particularly in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, according to a new report issued by the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit that promotes a high-performing healthcare system.
Obamacare has reduced racial and ethnic disparities in both insurance coverage and access to care — particularly in states that expanded their Medicaid programs, the report’s authors noted.
While much of that progress occurred between 2013 and 2016, federal data show that more than 5 million people gained coverage between 2020 and early 2022, driving the uninsured rate down to a historic low of 8 percent.
Researchers found that insurance coverage rates improved for Black, Hispanic, and white adults between 2013 and 2021. The coverage gap between Black and white adults dropped from 9.9 to 5.3 percentage points, while the gap between Hispanic and white adults dropped from 25.7 to 16.3 points.
Additionally, uninsured rates for adults in all three groups improved during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, a finding that held true in states that had expanded Medicaid and those that had not. The report further noted that Black and Hispanic adults experienced larger gains in Medicaid and individual
market coverage than white adults between 2019 and 2021.
Between 2013 and 2021, states that expanded Medicaid eligibility had higher rates of insurance coverage and health care access, with smaller disparities between racial/ethnic groups and larger improvements, than states that didn’t expand Medicaid.
For example, the authors found that after Virginia expanded Medicaid in 2019, its uninsured rate for lowerincome adults dropped substantially in comparison to neighboring North Carolina, a non-expansion state, and the disparities between Black and white adults narrowed.
sponsored insurance among people with low incomes, an unregulated and unsubsidized individual insurance market, and lack of Medicaid coverage for adults except for very low income parents in most states.
Obamacare attempted to improve coverage rates in several ways, including by allowing states to expand Medicaid eligibility to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (in 2023, $20,120 for an individual and $41,400 for a family of four), funded nearly fully by the federal government; and by subsidizing and regulating coverage purchased through the individual market.
According to the report, uninsured rates for adults in each of the three racial/ethnic groups fell after the coverage expansions went into effect in 2014, and Black and Hispanic residents reported the largest gains. Uninsured rates for Hispanic adults fell by 15.7 percentage points between 2013 and 2021.
Also, the Black adult uninsured rate dropped by 10.9 points, and the white uninsured rate declined by 6.3 points.
“These gains reduced coverage disparities considerably,” the authors determined.
The gap between white and Black adults has dropped from 9.9 percentage points to 5.3 points, and the gap for Hispanic adults has declined from 25.7 to 16.3 points.
While the largest coverage gains occurred from 2013 to 2016, adult uninsured rates for these three groups, and for the nation overall, dropped again between 2019 and 2021, as new federal policies aimed at boosting coverage took effect.
“In fact,,” the researchers wrote, “they reached historic lows, despite modest declines in employer-based coverage from pandemic-related job losses.”
Compared to lower-income white adults, larger percentages of lower income Black adults and lowerincome Hispanic adults live in states that haven’t expanded Medicaid, the report revealed.
Researchers said Black and Hispanic adults had higher uninsured rates than white adults in 2013, before Obamacare took full effect.
The disparities reflected lower access to employer-
They concluded that Obamacare “has been a powerful force for racial equity in health and health care over the past decade.”
“The expansion in access to affordable coverage has served as the backbone for this progress, helping to remove financial barriers and increase access to primary care clinics and other providers where people can get the care, they need to stay healthy,” the authors wrote.
‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ Stumbles with $30.5 Million DebutBy LINDSEY BAHR AP Film Writer
" Shazam! Fury of the Gods " felt the fury of the marketplace in its theatrical debut this weekend. The New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. superhero movie opened to a disappointing $30.5 million from 4,071 theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday.
The "Shazam!" sequel fell short of its modest expectations ($35 million) as well as the first film in the series ($53.5 million in April 2019), and earned a place on the very low end of modern DC comics movie launches, between "Birds of Prey" ($33 million in February 2020) and "The Suicide Squad" ($26.2 million in August 2021), both of which were R-rated.
Directed by David F. Sandberg, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" brought back Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Adam Brody and Djimon Hounsou, and added Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler and Lucy Liu. Critics, many of whom found the first film charming, were largely underwhelmed by this outing. It currently holds a 53% Rotten Tomatoes critic score.
Audiences were more positive about the sequel, giving it a B+ CinemaScore overall. Younger crowds were even more favorable.
"This movie clearly was lighter than we thought it would be," said Jeff Goldstein, the head of domestic distribution for Warner Bros. "We know there's a rolling spring break over the next few weeks when kids are available, which is who it's targeted towards. We're hopeful that we can get a big multiple."
"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" cost a reported $125 million to produce, not factoring in marketing and promotion costs. Internationally, it grossed $35 million from 77 overseas markets including China, bringing its total earnings to $65.5 million.
The DC shop at Warner Bros. has been going through a major recalibration for the past several months, with new bosses in James Gunn and Peter Safran forging a path ahead for the DC Universe that will officially kick off with a new "Superman" in 2025. "Shazam! 2" was one of several holdovers of the old regime, which includes "The Flash" coming in June and a new "Aquaman" in December.
"Part of our company's total overhaul of DC with Peter Safran and James Gunn is to reset it for the future," Goldstein said. "It's all about the future for us. " For Paul Dergarabedian, the senior media analyst for Comscore, there's a silver lining in that Warner Bros. and DC have "another No. 1 under their belt."
"They're trying to readjust and realign the brand," Dergarabedian said. "You don't change the trajectory for a brand as big as DC without it taking some time. This is a work in progress and this is one step in that journey."
Second place went to "Scream IV" in its second weekend in theaters. The horror pic, distributed by Paramount, fell 61% from its debut and added $17.5 million, bringing its domestic total to $76 million.
In its third weekend, "Creed III" grossed an additional $15.4 million to land in the No. 3 spot. The film, directed by and starring Michael B. Jordan has now earned $127.7 million in North America. "65" and ''Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania'' rounded out the top five with $5.8 million and $4.1 million, respectively.
Following its Oscar sweep last Sunday, A24 added over
1,000 screens for an encore " Everything Everywhere All At Once " run, where it earned an additional $1.2 million. "The Whale," for which Brendan Fraser won best actor, played on 509 screens and made $145,230.
"What audiences are enjoying right now is a diversity of content," Dergarabedian said. "Overall, it's shaping up to be a strong month with ' Creed III ' and ' Scream VI ' getting franchise best debuts. We may see the same with 'John Wick 4'."
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore, with Wednesday through Sunday in parentheses. Final domestic figures will be released Monday. 1. "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," $30.5 million. 2. "Scream VI," $17.5 million.
3. "Creed III," $15.4 million. 4. "65," $5.8 million. 5. "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," $4.1 million.
6. "Cocaine Bear," $3.9 million. 7. "Jesus Revolution," $3.5 million. 8. "Champions," $3 million. 9. "Avatar: The Way of Water," $1.9 million. 10. "Puss in Boots: The Last Wish," $1.5 million.
Jury Convicts 3 of Murder in Death of Rapper XXXTentacionBy FREIDA FRISARO
Associated Press FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Three men were found guilty of first-degree murder on Monday in the 2018 killing of star rapper XXXTentacion, who was shot outside a South Florida motorcycle shop while being robbed of $50,000.
Michael Boatwright, 28, Dedrick Williams, 26, and Trayvon Newsome, 24, were also convicted of armed robbery by a jury that rendered its verdict less than an hour after beginning its eighth day of deliberations.
Their sentencing, which Circuit Judge Michael Usan set for April 6, will largely be a formality; Florida law dictates a life sentence for first-degree murder convictions.
The defendants, two dressed in suits and one in a button-down shirt, showed little emotion as they stood one by one to be handcuffed by a bailiff. There was no audible reaction from family members and other observers in the courtroom. Before the verdicts were read, Usan warned that anyone who caused any kind of disruption would be held in contempt of court.
The Broward State Attorney's Office thanked the jurors and prosecutors in a statement but said it would not comment further until the sentencing.
Williams' attorney, Mauricio Padilla, told The Associated Press that he doesn't feel his client was afforded a fair trial. He noted that a crucial defense witness was stricken and that he was prohibited from deposing a key witness. Phone messages were left with attorneys representing Boatright and Newsome.
"It is obvious from the days the jury was deliberating that they had questions and I only wish I would have been able to properly defend my client," Padilla said in an email.
During the monthlong trial, prosecutors linked Boatwright, Williams and Newsome to the June 18, 2018, shooting outside Riva Motorsports in suburban Fort Lauderdale through extensive surveillance video taken inside and outside the store, plus cellphone videos the men took showing them flashing fistfuls of $100 bills hours after the slaying.
Prosecutors also had the testimony of a fourth man, Robert Allen, a former friend of the defendants who said he participated in the robbery. He pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder. He has not been sentenced pending the conclusion of this trial. He could get anywhere between
time served, meaning he could soon be released, and life, depending partly on how much weight prosecutors give to his assistance.
Defense attorneys accused Allen of being a liar who was motivated by his desire to avoid a life sentence. They also said prosecutors and detectives did a poor investigation that didn't look at other possible suspects, including the Canadian rap star Drake; he and XXXTentacion had an online feud.
Boatwright was identified as the primary shooter. Twice last week, the jury asked to review 17 text messages that prosecutors said he sent to various people from the time he woke up about 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., about an hour before the shooting. He then stopped texting for about two hours.
About an hour after the shooting, Boatwright sent a text saying, "Tell my brother I got the money for the new phone.'' Minutes after that, he sent someone a screenshot of a news story saying XXXTentacion had been shot, prosecutors said.
XXXTentacion, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, had just left Riva Motorsports with a friend when an SUV swerved in front of him and blocked his BMW.
Surveillance video showed two masked gunmen emerging and confronting the 20-year- old singer at the driver's window, and one shot him repeatedly. They then grabbed a Louis Vuitton bag containing cash XXXTentacion had just withdrawn from the bank, got back into the SUV and sped away. The friend was not harmed.
Newsome was accused of being the other gunman. Williams was accused of being the driver of the SUV, and Allen of being inside the vehicle.
Allen testified that the men set out that day to commit robberies and went to the motorcycle shop to buy Williams a mask. There they spotted the rapper and decided to make him their target. Allen and Williams went inside the shop to confirm it was him. They then went back to the SUV they had rented, waited for XXXTentacion to emerge and ambushed him, according to testimony.
The rapper, who pronounced his name "Ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN," was a platinum- selling rising star who tackled issues including prejudice and depression in his songs. He also drew criticism over bad behavior and multiple arrests, including charges that he severely beat and abused his girlfriend. --
taken without further warning from the court. There are other legal requirements. You may want to call an attorney right away. If you do not know an attorney, you may want to call an attorney referral service. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for free legal services from a nonprofit legal services program. You can locate these nonprofit groups at the California Legal Services Web site (www.lawhelpcalifornia.org), the California Courts Online SelfHelp Center (www.courtinfo.ca.gov/ selfhelp), or by contacting your local court or county bar association.
NOTE: The court has a statutory lien for waived fees and costs on any settlement or arbitration award of $10,000 or more in a civil case. The
court’s lien must be paid before the court will dismiss the case.
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Tiene 30 DÍAS DE CALENDARIO después de que le entreguen esta citación y papeles legales para presentar una respuesta por escrito en esta corte y hacer que se entregue una copia al demandante. Una carta o una llamada telefónica no lo protegen. Su respuesta por escrito tiene que estar en formato legal correcto si desea que procesen su caso en la corte. Es posible que haya un formulario que usted pueda usar para su respuesta. Puede encontrar estos formularios de la corte y más información en el Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California (www. sucorte.ca.gov), en la biblioteca de leyes de su condado o en la corte que le quede más cerca. Si no puede pagar la cuota de presentación, pida al secretario de la corte que le dé un formulario de exención de pago de cuotas. Si no presenta su respuesta a tiempo, puede perder el caso por incumplimiento y la corte le podrá quitar su sueldo, dinero y bienes sin más advertencia. Hay otros requisitos legales. Es recomendable que llame a un abogado inmediatamente. Si no conoce a un abogado, puede llamar a un servicio de remisión a abogados. Si no puede pagar a un abogado, es posible que cumpla con los requisitos para obtener servicios legales gratuitos de un programa de servicios legales sin fines de lucro. Puede encontrar estos grupos sin fines de lucro en el sitio web de California Legal Services, (www. lawhelpcalifornia.org), en el Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California, www.sucorte.ca.gov o poniéndose en contacto con la corte o el colegio de abogados locales. AVISO: Por ley, la corte tiene derecho a reclamar las cuotas y los costos exentos por imponer un gravamen sobre cualquier recuperación de $10,000 ó más de valor recibida mediante un acuerdo o una concesión de arbitraje en un caso de derecho civil. Tiene que pagar el gravamen de la corte antes de que la corte pueda desechar el caso. The name and address of the court
is: (El nombre y dirección de la corte es): STANLEY MOSK COURTHOUSE
NOTE: The court has a statutory lien for waived fees and costs on any settlement or arbitration award of $10,000 or more in a civil case. The court’s lien must be paid before the court will dismiss the case. ¡AVISO! Lo han demandado. Si no responde dentro de 30 días, la corte puede decidir en su contra sin escuchar su versión. Lea la información a continuación. Tiene 30 DÍAS DE CALENDARIO después de que le entreguen esta citación y papeles legales para presentar una respuesta por escrito en esta corte y hacer que se entregue una copia al demandante. Una carta o una llamada telefónica no lo protegen. Su respuesta por escrito tiene que estar en formato legal correcto si desea que procesen su caso en la corte. Es posible que haya un formulario que usted pueda usar para su respuesta. Puede encontrar estos formularios de la corte y más información en el Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California www. sucorte.ca.gov), en la biblioteca de leyes de su condado o en la corte que le quede más cerca. Si no puede pagar la cuota de presentación, pida al secretario de la corte que le dé un formulario de exención de pago de cuotas. Si no presenta su respuesta a tiempo, puede perder el caso por incumplimiento y la corte le podrá quitar su sueldo, dinero y bienes sin más advertencia. Hay otros requisitos legales. Es recomendable que llame a un abogado inmediatamente. Si no conoce a un abogado, puede llamar a un servicio de remisión a abogados. Si no puede pagar a un abogado, es posible que cumpla con los requisitos para obtener servicios legales gratuitos de un programa de servicios legales sin fines de lucro.
Puede encontrar estos grupos sin fines de lucro en el sitio web de California Legal Services, www. lawhelpcalifornia.org), en el Centro de Ayuda de las Cortes de California, www.sucorte.ca.gov) o poniéndose en contacto con la corte o el colegio de abogados locales. AVISO: Por ley, la corte tiene derecho a reclamar las cuotas y los costos exentos por imponer un gravamen sobre cualquier recuperación de $10,000 ó más de valor recibida mediante un acuerdo o una concesión de arbitraje en un caso de derecho civil. Tiene que pagar el gravamen de la corte antes de que la corte pueda desechar el caso. The name and address of the court is: (El nombre y dirección de la corte es): LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT 400 Civic Center Plaza, Pomona, CA 91766
Silicon Valley Bank Collapse Concerns Founders of ColorBy KAT STAFFORD and CLAIRE SAVAGE
In the hours after some of Silicon Valley Bank’s biggest customers started pulling out their money, a WhatsApp group of startup founders who are immigrants of color ballooned to more than 1,000 members.
Questions flowed as the bank’s financial status worsened. Some desperately sought advice: Could they open an account at a larger bank without a Social Security Number? Others questioned whether they had to physically be at a bank to open an account, because they’re visiting parents overseas.
One clear theme emerged: a deep concern about the broader impact on startups led by people of color.
While Wall Street struggles to contain the banking crisis after the swift demise of SVB - the nation’s 16th largest bank and the biggest to fail since the 2008 financial meltdown - industry experts predict it could become even harder for people of color to secure funding or a financial home supporting their startups.
SVB had opened its doors to such entrepreneurs, offering opportunities to form crucial relationships in the technology and financial communities that had been out of reach within larger financial institutions. But smaller players have fewer means of surviving a collapse, reflecting the perilous journey minority entrepreneurs face while attempting to navigate industries historically rife with racism.
“All these folks that have very special circumstances based on their identity, it’s not something that they can just change about themselves and that makes them unbankable by the top four (large banks),” said Asya Bradley, a board member of numerous startups who has watched the WhatsApp group grapple with SVB’s demise.
Bradley said some investors have implored startups to switch to larger financial institutions to stymie future financial risks, but that’s not an easy transition.
“The reason why we’re going to regional and community banks is because these (large) banks don’t want our business,” Bradley said.
Banking expert Aaron Klein, a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, said SVB’s collapse could exacerbate racial disparities.
“That’s going to be more challenging for people who don’t fit the traditional credit box, including minorities,”
Klein said. ‘’A financial system that prefers the existing holders of wealth will perpetuate the legacy of past discrimination. “
Tiffany Dufu was gutted when she couldn’t access her SVB account and, in turn, could not pay her employees.
Dufu raised $5 million as CEO of The Cru, a New York-based career coaching platform and community for women. It was a rare feat for businesses founded by Black women, which get less than 1% of the billions of dollars in venture capital funding doled out yearly to startups. She
banked with SVB because it was known for its close ties to the tech community and investors.
“In order to have raised that money, I pitched nearly 200 investors over the past few years,” said Dufu, who has since regained access to her funds and moved to Bank of America. “It’s very hard to put yourself out there and time after time - you get told this isn’t a good fit. So, the money in the bank account was very precious.”
A February Crunchbase News analysis determined funding for Black-founded startups slowed by more than 50% last year after they received a record $5.1 billion in venture capital in 2021. Overall venture funding dropped from about $337 billion to roughly $214 billion, while Black founders were hit disproportionately hard, dropping to just $2.3 billion, or 1.1% of the total.
Entrepreneur Amy Hilliard, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, knows how difficult it is to secure financing. It took three years to secure a loan for her cake manufacturing company, and she had to sell her home to get it started.
Banking is based on relationships and when a bank like SVB goes under, “those relationships go away, too,” said Hilliard, who is African American.
Some conservative critics asserted SVB’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion were to blame, but banking experts say those claims were false. The bank slid into insolvency because its larger customers pulled deposits rather than borrow at higher interest rates and the bank’s balance sheets were overexposed, forcing it to sell bonds at a loss to cover the withdrawals.
“If we’re focused on climate or communities of color or racial equity, that has nothing to do with what happened with Silicon Valley Bank,” said Valerie Red- Horse Mohl, co-founder of Known Holdings, a Black, Indigenous, Asian American- founded investment banking platform focused on the sustainable growth of minority-managed funds.
Red-Horse Mohl - who has raised, structured and managed over $3 billion in capital for tribal nations - said most larger banks are led by white men and majority-white boards, and “even when they do DEI programs, it’s not a really deep sort of shifting of capital.”
Smaller financial institutions, however, have worked to build relationships with people of color. “We cannot lose our regional and community banks,’’ she said. ‘’It would be a travesty.”
Historically, smaller and minority-owned banks have addressed funding gaps that larger banks ignored or even created, following exclusionary laws and policies as they turned away customers because of the color of their skin.
But the ripple effects from SVB’s collapse are being felt among these banks as well, said Nicole Elam, president and CEO of the National Bankers Association, a 96-yearold trade association representing more than 175 minorityowned banks.
Some have seen customers withdraw funds and move to larger banks out of fear, even though most minorityowned banks have a more traditional customer base, with secured loans and minimal risky investments, she said.
“You’re seeing customer flight of folks that we’ve been serving for a long time, “ Elam said. “How many people may not come to us for a mortgage or small business loan or to do their banking business because they now have in their mind that they need to bank with a bank that is too big to fail? That’s the first impact of eroding public trust.”
Black-owned banks have been hit the hardest as the industry consolidates. Most don’t have as much capital to withstand economic downturns. At its peak, there were 134. Today, there are only 21.
But change is on the way. Within the last three years, the federal government, private sector and philanthropic community have invested heavily in minority-run depository institutions.
“In response to this national conversation around racial equity, people are really seeing minority banks are key to wealth creation and key to helping to close the wealth gap,’’ Elam said. Bradley also is an angel investor, providing seed money for a number of entrepreneurs, and is seeing new opportunities as people network in the WhatsApp group to help each other remain afloat and grow.
“I’m really so hopeful,” Bradley said. “Even in the downfall of SVB, it has managed to form this incredible community of folks that are trying to help each other to succeed. They’re saying, ‘SVB was here for us, now we’re going to be here for each other.’”
____ Stafford, based in Detroit, is a national investigative race writer for the AP’s Race and Ethnicity team. Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter. com/kat__ stafford. Savage reported from Chicago and is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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The California Black Media Political Playback:
Five California Cities Sign Equal Pay Pledge
a long fight dating back to 2019 when AB 5, the law that first reclassified contractors as employers, passed. The next year, AB 5 was challenged and overturned when voters approved Prop 22 – a ballot measure that gave rideshare companies the greenlight to hire freelancers.
San Diego Based Civil Rights Activist Shane Harris Appears on the Dr. Phil Show
The Rev. Shane Harris, a national Civil rights activist who is based in San Diego, appeared on the Dr. Phil show last week titled “How Safe Are Our Streets?”
The episode focused on victims of random violent crimes who were attacked by repeat offenders.
“The news and the media are running a lot of stories about these reoffenders and these folks who have committed violent offenses consistently, but they are not telling you about the youth who turn their lives around, people who went through diversion programs that actually work,” said Harris, who is President of the Peoples Association of Justice Advocates, speaking up for criminal justice reforms that rehabilitate criminals.
Harris was on the panel making his argument against the positions of law enforcement advocacy groups calling for a tougher penalty for crimes.
“Tough on crime didn’t works for us,” says Harris. “There is a balance we need to strike in the middle of this.”
California Turns San Quentin Prison Into “Rehabilitation and Education” Center
Last week, Gov. Newsom announced that the state is transforming California’s most notorious maximumsecurity prison San Quentin, -- known for having the largest Death Row in the United States -- into the country’s largest rehabilitation and education center.
The prison renamed “San Quentin Rehabilitation Center,” will operate under the direction of an advisory group comprised of public safety and rehabilitation experts.
“California is transforming San Quentin into the nation’s most innovative rehabilitation facility focused on building a brighter and safer future,” said Newsom, standing with legislators, civil rights leaders and victim advocates. “Today, we take the next step in our pursuit of true rehabilitation, justice, and safer communities through this evidence-backed investment, creating a new model for safety and justice -- the California Mode -- that will lead the nation.”
Pres. Biden Visits California Community Devastated by Gun Violence
Maxim Elramsisy California Black Media
On his trip to California last week, President Biden first stopped in San Diego to meet with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The heads of state have formed a strategic alliance to scale up military technology intended to protect interests in the China Sea, an important trade route.
Biden then traveled up the coast to Monterey Park approximately seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles where he met with families of the victims of the mass shooting at Star Dance Studio, where 11 people were killed and nine injured during a Lunar New Year Celebration on Jan. 21.
“I’m here on behalf of the American people, to mourn with you, to pray with you, to let you know you are loved and not alone,” Biden said in the gymnasium of a Boys & Girls Club half a mile from the site of the shooting. “I know what it’s like to get that call. I know what it’s like to lose a loved one so suddenly. It’s like losing a piece of your soul.”
Biden announced an executive order to enhance background checks on firearm buyers.
“My executive order directs my Attorney General to take every lawful action possible to move us as close as we can to universal background checks without new legislation,” President Biden said.
“The Executive Order also expands public awareness red flag laws,” Biden continued. “So, more parents, teachers, police offices, health providers and counselors know how to flag for the court that someone is exhibiting violent tendencies, threating classmates, or experiencing suicidal thoughts that make them a danger to themselves or others and temporarily remove that person’s access to firearms.”
The executive order also aims to hold the gun industry accountable by providing the public and policymakers with more information regarding federally licensed firearms dealers who are violating the law.
“The President is directing the Attorney General to publicly release, to the fullest extent permissible by law, ATF records from the inspection of firearms dealers cited for violation of federal firearm laws. This information will empower the public and policymakers to better understand the problem, and then
improve our laws to hold rogue gun dealers accountable,” the White House said in a statement.
The President has also called on the Federal Trade Commission to perform “an independent government study that analyzes and exposes how gun manufacturers aggressively market firearms to civilians, especially minors, including by using
In addition, the Executive Order addresses federal law enforcement’s reporting of ballistics data, and the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA). That law was passed in 2022 after a man with racist ideology killed 10 Black people and injured 3 at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
Soon after that incident, an 18-year-old lone gunman killed 21 and injured 17 at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
“None of this absolves Congress of the responsibility of acting to pass universal background checks, eliminate gun manufacturers immunity from liability. I am determined, once again, to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines,” Biden told the Monterey Park audience.
Congresswoman Judy Chu(D-CA-28), a former mayor of Monterey Park, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis (1st District), and Sen. Alex Padilla spoke at the event preceding the President. Several members of Monterey Park’s local government and city council attended the event.
As part of his broader strategy to tackle gun violence, the President announced an initiative to improve federal support for survivors, victims’ and survivors’ families, first responders to gun violence, and communities affected by gun violence.
“We need to provide more mental health support for grief and trauma. And more financial assistance when a family loses the sole breadwinner or when a business has to shut down for a lengthy shooting investigation,” Biden said.
The Executive Order calls for Congress to prevent the proliferation of firearms undetectable by metal detectors by making permanent the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, which is currently set to expire in December 2023.
President Biden also acknowledged Brandon Tsay, who disarmed the shooter, thwarting a second attack at his family’s dance studio in Alhambra. Tsay, who was President Biden’s guest at his State of the Union Address this year, met the president as he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport.
President Biden’s trip comes as gun violence deaths (including all causes) are trending higher in the first three months of 2023 than the recent high in 2022, according to The Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection and research group.
“I led the fight to ban them in 1994. The ten years that law was in place, mass shootings went down. My republican friends let it expire, and mass shootings tripled since then,” Biden said. “Let’s finish the job, ban assault weapons. Ban them again. Do it now. Enough. Do something. Do something big.”
L.A. Mayor Bass Marks 100 Days in Office: Housing Homeless Angelinos Is “Coming to Fruition”
W. Bowers Jr. California Black Media
On her first day in office, Dec. 12, 2022, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass declared a state of emergency on homelessness. This gave her administration expanded powers to help people gain access to permanent housing.
As she marks 100 days in office this week, Bass estimates that around 4,000 Angelinos will have been housed since she took charge of City Hall. She points out that most of the people are housed due to Proposition HHH and programs already in place when she took office, but about 1,000 of them have found housing due to her Inside Safe program.
One of the major challenges for Bass in getting people into permanent supportive housing has been navigating bureaucratic red tape. “Well, it did take a long time because of the red tape, but it’s finally coming to fruition in a big way,” she said. She expects to see a significant increase in the number of people in permanent housing over the next 100 days.
According to Bass, probably the most controversial decision of her administration was agreeing to give LAPD Chief Michel Moore a second term. This decision has potentially long-range consequences for the mayor and her record on crime.
“We have the World Cup coming up in 2026 and the Olympics coming up in 2028.” Bass said. “He (Moore) has said he has no intentions of staying five years. I have no intention of a five-year contract. But we are going to begin a community process citywide to ask Angelinos what they want and need to see in order to be safe. And that will provide a roadmap for how we select a chief, but it is important that we have a chief in place.”
Yet another issue that the city government needs to address that has Bass’ attention is its current inability to prevent homelessness “now”. Speaking to Black journalists,
Bass said, “Here’s where you guys can all help us, and we desperately need your help. I’m very worried that we’re going to have another spike in homelessness because of evictions that are kicking up now, because of the eviction moratorium going away.”
“The city council passed tenant protections, and where you could be helpful, and we could be helpful to you is we need to get the word out,” Bass continued. “And so, we’re going to be coming to you for advertising. we need you to advertise, and we need to support your advertising.”
When asked by California Black Media what best prepared her for taking on the responsibilities of the mayor, Bass said, “ I think it’s been my life’s work. I don’t think it’s been one thing. There are the 14-years at Community Coalition, but that’s always been my foundation. Of course, being in the state house and Congress is very helpful. I know that was why the government alignment happened so quickly because I was building on many, many, many years of relationships. I think what’s always driven me is my commitment to the issues and my purpose is to stop the suffering of our people on the streets.” As she has been dealing with the homelessness crisis, Bass has been building her City Hall team. Members of her senior leadership team include Chris Thompson, Chief of Staff, and Mercedes Marquez, Chief of Housing and Homelessness Solutions. Filling many of the open deputy mayor positions, she has hired Rachel Freeman, Deputy Mayor for Business and Economic Development, Karren Lane, Deputy Mayor of Community Empowerment, Brian K. Williams, Deputy Mayor of Public Safety, Randall Winston, Deputy Mayor of Public Works and Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor of Energy and Sustainability. The deputy mayors are tasked with hiring based on an assessment of the personnel needs of their department. Currently many departments are understaffed and that is affecting the city’s ability to deliver essential services.
2023 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at University of Southern CaliforniaBy Ricky Richardson Contributing Writer
(Los Angeles, CA)- USC will once again host one of the biggest literary festivals, this side of the Mississippi. Books, books and more books are the main focus.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, spring is in the air. That can mean only one thing in Los Angeles: the annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Saturday and Sunday, April 22 and 23, 2023, 10:00am-6pm, on the beautiful campus of University of Southern California, Los Angeles. On Wednesday, March 15th, organizers unveiled its lineup for the annual literary celebration.
Each year Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is a dream comes true for books lovers, foodies and music aficionados. There’s something for everyone, family, friends, fellow co-workers and even the babysitter. This year’s festival will feature more than 500 writers, musicians, and artists spread across the USC 226-acre campus. An expected crowd of 150,000 will transform the campus into a vibrant cultural festival and destination in the heart of the Downtown Arts and Education campus.
Festival of Books features author discussions, books signings, cooking demonstrations and discussions, poetry reading and lots of entertainment. Some events require tickets.
Booksellers, literary-related services and a smorgasbord of food trucks will greet the large, diverse crowd visiting the campus for the festival.
On Saturday, April 22nd, Jemele Hill, Emmy Award-winning sports journalist and author of ‘Uphill: A Memoir,’ will sit down for a conversation with Erika D. Smith. Uphill is about Jemele’s life growing up in
Detroit, and her rise from newspaper reporter to a cultural commentator.
Leslie Odom Jr., and Nicolette Robinson will discuss their book ‘I Love You More than You’ll Ever Know’ in a conversation with LZ Granderson.
Noted authors scheduled to appear at the Festival of Books will include Walter Mosley, Omar Epps, Stacey Abrams and Tamara Mowry Housley.
The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books programming is designed to ensure that attendees have ample opportunities to be engaged and entertained which consist of 8 outdoor stages and activity areas: Los Angeles Times Main Stage, L.A. Times en Español, Cooking Stage, Poetry Stage, Children’s Stage, USC Friends & Neighbors Stage and YA Stage.
The 28th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is presented in association with USC. Admission to the festival is free. Friend of the Festival packages (advance ticket packages) which include reservation for indoor conversations, weekend parking and festival merchandise, among other exclusives are available for purchase now. Individual conversation tickets will be available April 16.
Schedule, location, ticket and transportation information can be found on the festival website: https:// events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks Feel free to take your time to browse the website, it features a lot of useful information to assist you as you plan your visit for one or both days.
The latest updates and highlights are available on Festival of Books 2023 Facebook page, Twitter Instagram feeds.
Pres. Biden Appoints SoCal
“Activist Entrepreneur” Kerman Maddox to Trade Advisory Body
McKenzie Jackson California Black Media
Last summer, the White House offered Southern California small business owner Kerman Maddox a unique opportunity to serve on a national committee set up to advise President Joe Biden’s administration on educational matters.
The Los Angeles resident declined.
Maddox, who is also a communications specialist -most recently a member of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’s transition team -- felt he did not have enough expertise in the educational space.
Then, this month, the right opportunity came for Maddox to take his expertise, passion and ambition to Washington. The White House appointed Maddox, along with 14 others, to serve on the United States Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations.
“I’m an African American male. I’m a small business owner. There is nothing in my background that ever would have indicated this was even in the realm of possibilities,” he stated. “I am going to do the best to represent other African American small business owners. When you get an opportunity like this, you want to do a good job -- not embarrass folks.”
Maddox, president and majority owner of K&R Hospitality and managing partner of Dakota Communications, told the official he would be interested in serving on any commission that dealt with United States’ commerce, small business, trade, or other related fields if a position became available.
Maddox, who President Barack Obama once appointed to serve on the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee, says he is excited about his new role.
The other new advisory body appointees are Revathi Advaithi, Manish Bapna, Timothy Michael Broas, Thomas M. Conway, Erica R.H. Fuchs, Marlon E. Kimpson, Ryan LeGrand, Sean M. O’Brien, Javier Saade, Shonda Yvette Scott, Elizabeth Shuler, Nina SzlosbergLandis, and Wendell P. Weeks.
Along with the other appointees, Maddox will provide policy advice to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, who spearheads American trade policy across the globe.
The new committee members were recommended by Tai’s office and appointed by Biden. They make up one of several advisory committees established by Congress to
ensure U.S. trade policy and trade negotiating objectives adequately reflect American public and private sector interests.
In a March 10 statement announcing the appointees, Tai said she looked forward to working with the new appointees.
“Developing a worker-centered trade agenda means bringing together a range of perspectives and backgrounds to design and implement our policies,” she stated. “The Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations is an important forum to guide USTR’s work and ensure that the benefits of trade are equitably distributed across our economy and to all people. President Biden has nominated a diverse group of men and women that will help us carry out his vision for sustainable, inclusive and durable trade policy in 2023 and beyond.”
Maddox wants to align with the trade agenda set by
the Biden administration. He also has his own objectives he aims to rally for.
“Number one, I’m really going to play a space as a small business guy to see if we can get small businesspeople to export products overseas -- whether it is technology or manufacturing or retail or professional services,” he noted. “Number two, figure out a way to rein in climate change. What can we do to get people to understand that it is real and what should we be doing by the way of trade polices to combat the escalation of global warming and climate change?”
Maddox received a call from the White House late last year inquiring whether he would be interested in joining the committee. He jumped at the opportunity. In January, he learned his position on the panel was finalized. Maddox now has a lot of homework to do on trade
policy before the group meets in April. Tai’s office is introducing the new committee members to trade experts.
“I’m trying to quickly study to get up on this,” Maddox noted.
Maddox founded Dakota Communications, the marketing, public relations, and public affairs consulting firm, in 1996. In 2010, he started K&R Hospitality, a food and beverage concession business. He had a role in Obama’s historic 2008 campaign and was part of Biden’s presidential campaign 12 years later. Maddox worked as an aide and advisor to past L.A. mayors Tom Bradley and Antonio Villaraigosa and for Bass when she was in Congress. He was also an adjunct professor of Political Science at USC and a full-time Political Science professor for the L.A. Community College District. Maddox has several honors from community service organizations and radio and television awards under his belt.
Maddox described himself as an “activist entrepreneur.”
“I do a lot of community stuff,” he said. “I’m very active in my church, but I’m also a businessman. I’m interested in making money, but I’m also interested in hiring as many people that look like me as possible. I’m interested in growing my business and bringing people along at the same time.”
Due to his business experience, Maddox brings a breadth of viewpoints to the commission.
“I have a unique perspective to talk about professional service businesses and how that works and discuss retail, food, and beverage concussion-oriented businesses,” he explained. “One is people, food, merchandising, quality standards, and more. The other is professional services — you are brainstorming and creating.”
Maddox will meet with other committee members via video conference, but expects to also assemble with the group in Washington, D.C.
He said being involved with Obama’s initial presidential run was his greatest professional experience. However, having the chance to pitch Biden, who Maddox has met before, trade policy insights is a close second.
“There is nothing in my background that would indicate I would be talking to the president, let alone advising the president,” Maddox declared. “If I can make it, anyone can make it. I’m a pretty regular guy that worked his way up.”
Federal Researchers Find Sudden Unexplained Deaths Rose for Black InfantsBy Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire
Senior National Correspondent
A new study has shown a huge racial difference in infant deaths.
Researchers found that babies born to African Americans had the highest rate of sudden unexpected deaths in 2020.
The authors concluded that Black infants die nearly three times the rate of white babies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released research on Monday, March 13, that found a 15 percent increase in sudden infant deaths among babies of all races from 2019 to 2020.
In the United States, SIDS is the third leading cause of infant death after congenital abnormalities and premature birth. SIDS is also the most common cause of infant death in the United States.
The authors attributed the rise in SIDS cases to diagnostic shifting, where causes of death are reclassified.
They said the rise in deaths among Black infants happened at the same time the coronavirus pandemic started in late 2019.
The virus disproportionately affected Black communities.
“Evidence does not support direct or indirect effects of the pandemic on increased rates of sudden unexpected
The authors concluded that Black infants die nearly three times the rate of white babies.
infant death, except for non-Hispanic Black infants,” the study authors stated. They have called for more research, but also noted the many ways in which the pandemic wreaked havoc on African Americans.
The study found that SIDS death increased by 15%, from 33.3 deaths per 100,000 babies born in 2019 to 38.2 per 100,000 babies born in 2020. In data collection, both SIDS and incidents of accidental suffocation or strangulation fall under the
umbrella term SUID, or sudden unexplained infant death.
Unlike SIDS, the rates of SUIDs are categorized by race and ethnicity, and researchers found an increase in unexplained deaths in Black infants.
They didn’t find an increase among any other group.
The study’s author, Sharyn Parks Brown, told NBC News that the finding was absolutely a surprise. She is a senior epidemiologist for the CDC’s Perinatal and Infant Health Team.
“The racial and ethnic breakdowns of such deaths had been consistent for decades,” she said.
Reasons for the jump are unknown, NBC reported.
The authors said that the increase could be a statistical anomaly. They said they would check the data for several more years to see if the increase was real or not.
It could also reflect adjustments the National Association of Medical Examiners made in 2019 to how sudden infant deaths are classified on death certificates.
According to NBC News, the guidance said finding babies on or near soft bedding was not enough to say the deaths were caused by suffocation, because there was no evidence the airways had been blocked.
Those cases, according to the recommendations, should be classified as SIDS.
“If the new guidance was followed, this could have led to increased reporting of SIDS,” the study authors wrote.
Democrats Join Push to Ban TikTok from American-held DevicesBy Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
Democrats in Congress are making it clear that they want to ban the Chinese app TikTok in the U.S.
Reported national security concerns over massive amounts of data that TikTok collects on its millions of American users sit at the core of why lawmakers want the app banned.
Democrats and Republicans alike have said certain information of serious concern could be transferred to China, making it a national security issue.
However, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has repeatedly denied that it shares user data with the Chinese government.
“TikTok is a modern-day Trojan horse of the [Chinese Communist Party], used to surveil and exploit Americans’ personal information,” said Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“It’s a spy balloon in your phone,” McCaul said, alluding to a February incident in which a spy balloon from China traversed American skies.
Last month, House Foreign Affairs Committee members pushed for a bill that would give President Biden the power to ban TikTok on all mobile devices in the U.S.
However, Democrats voted against the measure.
Democrats in the U.S. Senate did offer support late last year for a bill that would ban TikTok on federal devices, and a bipartisan group of senators, led by Mark Warner (D-Va.) and John Thune (R-S.C.), also introduced a bill that would let Biden ban TikTok and other apps that come from other countries.
Five Democrats and five Republicans have signed on a co-sponsor on that legislation.
President Biden reportedly supports the measure and has indicated a willingness to ban TikTok, which has more than 1.53 billion users globally as of 2023, with 1 billion monthly active users.
In February, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado called on Apple and
“Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work,’” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who has demanded that Apple and Google remove TikTok from their app stores.
During a national television appearance, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said a TikTok ban “should be looked at.”
The economic battle between the U.S. and China has been ongoing, with escalating tensions leading to threats of a potential armed conflict.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre even alluded to the conflict in her remarks attacking a House Freedom Caucus budget plan.
“Extreme MAGA Republicans’ proposals would ship manufacturing jobs overseas, in a crushing blow to states from Ohio to Georgia to Arizona – and would provide a windfall of economic benefits to China,” Jean-Pierre stated. TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter argued that a U.S. ban on TikTok would ban the export of American culture and values to over a billion people who use the app worldwide.
“A ban would stifle American speech and would be a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide,” Oberwetter declared.
Trojans Williams, Boselli Honored by Walter CampBy Earl Heath
Contributing Sports Writer
On a brisk winter evening several members of the college football world gathered on the campus at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. They were here to recognize USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the Walter Camp “Player of the Year” and Trojan alum Tony Boselli as “Man of the Year”.
Williams had a phenomenal season throwing for 4,537 yards and a nation leading 42 touchdown passes to just five interceptions. He averaged 324 passing yards per game (5th in the country). He also rushed for 382 yards, the most by Trojan QB in 70 years. He led the country with 52 total touchdowns. Eight times he eclipsed the 300yard passing mark, that included three 400-yard games all this after transferring from Oklahoma.
The sophomore carries himself well off the field also. At a pre-dinner reception he was barraged with former players, Walter Camp Alumni and fans seeking autographs and selfies. He obliged them all.
Along with the Walter Camp Player of The Year award Williams has won The Heisman and Maxwell Trophies along with PAC-12 Player of The Year.
When asked by Emcee Kevin Nighandi- How do you follow the season after winning all the awards? Williams told the room of 700 attendees- “I do have all the physical traits but there’s still more I don’t know. I’m working towards a National Championship. I want all my teammates to be on the same level.”
Tony Boselli was named WCFF ‘Man of The Year’. Previous winners included Jerome Bettis, Matt Millen, Howie Long just to name a few.
Boselli was a 1992 Walter Camp All-American and member of the Foundation’s All-Time All-America team,
Boselli was a standout for the USC, where he was a threetime All-Pac-10 selection. Boselli was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
He was selected by the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars as the second player overall in the 1995 NFL Draft. Regarded as one of the NFL’s elite offensive left tackles, Boselli played seven ‘strong’ years and persevered
Boselli was elite in all seven seasons he played, allowing just 15.5 sacks during his career. He played his best against the league’s best and had just 11 career holding penalties. There were four seasons in which he had no accepted holding penalties against him.
He was voted to five straight Pro Bowls (1997 to 2001) and was a three-time All-Pro (1997, 1998 and 1999). He was selected to the NFL’s All-Decade Team.
In 2022, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Coach Coughlin (Tom) Coached me into having success, I am the man that I am today because of him,” Boselli said. “You have to surround your self will good people and he is one of them.”
Ironically Tom Coughlin was selected Distinguished American Award The “Distinguished American” award is presented each year to an individual who has utilized his or her talents to attain great success in business, private life or public service and who may have accomplished that which no other has done.
The 2-time Super Bowl winning head coach has helped so many people for several years He and his wife Judy created a non-profit. For over 25 years, the Jay Fund has evolved in size and scope and has helped over 5,200 families and provided over $17 million in financial assistance to families in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
“When your opportunity comes you have to be ready,” said Pyne. “My mom is my biggest fan.”
Sonny Dykes (TCU) named Coach of the Year- “The Foundation is first class. It a great organization,” said Dykes.
Victoria Arlen- Courage Award- “Never give up on yourself and never give up on life,” said Arlen.
Other supporters included Ron Twitty member of USC 1978 Baseball National Championship team 1978. Richard Blumenthal Connecticut Senator and Captain Joy Sherman Worldwide sea Captain.
through numerous injuries. He was a leader of a Jaguars’ team, under the direction of head coach Tom Coughlin, that reached the AFC Championship Game in just the franchise’s second season.
His wife Judy passed away in November of 2022. She was recognized along with the W.Camp in the Memoria played on the screen earlier in the night “I didn’t expect that in the presentation,” said Coughlin. “I am grateful you all and especially the foundation.”
Other awards given: Drew Pyne (Notre Dame -Arizona State) was named Connecticut Player of the Year-
Lady Toros Historic Season ends in Elite 8By Earl Heath
8, falling 77-70 to a Catawba team that played aggressive . Dawnyell Lair (Fairfax High) led the Toros with 16 points and 15 boards, but it wasn’t enough as turnovers plagued CSUDH in the loss. The Toros finish at 31-3
New York Knicks Great Willis Reed Dies at 80By David Close
Via CNN/AP New York Knicks hero Willis Reed has died, the National Basketball Retired Players Association said Tuesday. He was 80 years old. Reed led the Knicks to two championship titles in the 1970s, which included one of the most iconic moments in basketball history.
Although suffering from a torn thigh muscle, Reed willed his way onto the court of the winner-take-all Game 7 of the NBA Finals on May 8, 1970. After missing Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Reed played the first half of the series decider.
The Madison Square Garden crowd roared when Reed entered from the players’ tunnel and proceeded to inspire his team and the fans by hitting his first two shots. The heroic performance is often included as one of the defining moments in sports history.
The Knicks went on to win the game, led by Walt Frazier. Another Reed-led Knicks team won the 1973 title.
The Knicks captain was the first NBA player to be named league MVP, Finals MVP and All-Star Game MVP in the same season.
Reed retired from the NBA in 1974.
“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday. “My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s.
“He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports. As a league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP and member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, Willis was a decorated player who took great pride in his consistency. Following his playing career, Willis mentored the next generation as a coach, team executive and proud HBCU alumnus, Silver said.
Silver shared condolences to Reed’s wife, Gale, his family and his many friends and fans.
Reed, born on June 25, 1942, once described Hico, Louisiana, where he was born, to Pro Basketball Illustrated as a place so small that “They don’t even have a population.”
The left-hander played at Grambling State University (then called Grambling College) where he led the Tigers to the 1961 NAIA title and three Southwestern Athletic Conference championships.
overall, having made history by setting records for most wins, most wins to start the season, most consecutive wins, largest turnaround in a single season going from 13 to 31 wins (+18), highest ranking, earning the top seed in the NCAA West Region, hosting the NCAA West Region, and winning the NCAA West Region.
“We came out here and represented CSUDH and our conference really well,” said head coach John Bonner. “I think that summarizes things. Of course you want to win.”
Despite scoring the game’s first points courtesy of a Kelsey Bell deep three, Catawba outscored the Toros 11-2 over the next four minutes, putting the Toros in a hole. A Lair layup on a fast break brought CSUDH to within 11-9 at the 5:39 mark, with Nala Williams (Long Beach Poly) connecting on a 3-pointer for a 12-11 lead six seconds later. The score was tied 14 all at the 3:24 mark until the No. 6 seed ended the quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 24-18 lead. Turnovers plagued the Toros in the period as Catawba (25-7) earned 13 points off of turnovers to none for CSUDH. After the break, CSUDH’s hawking defense began to cause havoc, while its offense began to warm up. Poland hit a jumper to begin the scoring, and was followed by another Williams triple to bring their deficit to just nine at the 8:27 mark after Catawba missed on its ensuing possession. They out scored Catawba 20 -9 in the third after trailing by six at the half. Both teams went cold over the next three minutes until Poland connected on a pair of free throws to get CSUDH to within 49-42. Catawba, however, behind Sara McIntosh and Lyrik Thorne, the latter who lived up to her name and then some, began to heat up themselves with Thorne becoming a large one in CSUDH’s side. But thanks to Lair and Williams, CSUDH fought nearly all the way back, ending the third
quarter down just 56-55. Thorne began the final quarter with a triple to push Catawba’s lead to four before Poland hit a jumper and Asia Jordan (Lakewood high) connected on the back end of two free throws to again bring the Toros to one at 59-58. Thorne, however, made two of her free throws for a 3-point lead before Danyell Booker converted a layup to bring CSUDH to within 61-60. The Toros had a chance to take their first lead of the game since the first quarter after an Indian turnover, but three missed attempts intertwined around two offensive boards kept the lead with Catawba, with Thorne again coming up with a huge triple for a four-point lead.
“We are kind of similar today they just beat us at our own game,” said Lair the team leader. ”Shots we usually knock down weren’t going in.” Poland hit a jumper to bring the Toros to within 64-62, but McIntosh converted on her end and after a few misses by both teams, Throne hit two free throws for a six-point lead with 3:32 left. The Toros had one more run in them as they got to within four at 71-67 on another Bell 3-pointer, but Catawba continued to drain free throws down the stretch to punch its ticket to the Final Four. Williams finished with 15 points and Poland 14, with Bell adding nine on a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown. CSUDH turned the ball over 23 times which led to 23 points for the Indians. Thorne the East Region Most Outstanding player finished with a game-high 27 points that included 10-of-12 from the charity stripe, with Catawba earning a 12 to 9 advantage in steals, a category CSUDH has dominated this season. CSUDH returns it’s core next season, but will be looking to replace Lair, Poland, and Bell as the three seniors played in the final game of their Toro careers. They were true leaders during the record setting year.
Tim Tessalone Award Winner at Walter Camp
bureau in Hartford for the New Haven Register from 1954 through 1967. He was also a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War. Bill passed away at age 69 on September 21, 2001.
The Walter Camp Football Foundation is an allvolunteer organization based in New Haven Connecticut founded in 1967.Its mission is to to preserve and promote the tradition of selecting a collegiate All-America Football Team as started by Walter Camp, “The Father of American Football,” in 1889. Pay tribute to individuals who contribute to the great American game of football, perpetuate his ideals and support humanitarian programs and activities.By Earl Heath
Contributing Sports Writer Former USC Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone was honored by the Walter Camp Foundation receiving the Keish Award by foundation President Tony Mortali in New Haven, Connecticut.
The Walter Camp Sports Communicator award is named in memory of Bill Keish, who was a longtime Foundation member and chairman of the public relations committee. The award originated as the Foundation’s “Media Appreciation” award. It was awarded to local sports media professionals in recognition of their contributions on behalf of the WCFF. It has recently been expanded to a broader scope, recognizing contributions to sports communications.
Bill served as the public spokesman for the Connecticut State Department of Transportation, DOT, for many, many years. He retired in 1997 having served under ten DOT Commissioners and six governors, responding to thousands of crises: including bridge collapses, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, ice storms and train crashes. He was a former city reporter in New Haven and the state
Tessalone spent 43 years at USC. He began his USC career as a journalism student who was passionate about writing and sports, and that passion translated into propelling the USC athletic department to the front page of the sports section with other highly successful Los Angeles teams that intensely compete for news coverage. The other teams? They included the Lakers, Dodgers, Rams and USC’s bitter-rival UCLA.
During his time with the Trojans, the school produced 54 national championship teams, 305 Olympians, and 26 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans. For the Trojans’ football program, Tessalone helped promote 225 NFL draft picks, 40 Walter Camp All-America selections and two Walter Camp Players of Year (quarterback Matt Leinart, 2004 and running back Reggie Bush, 2005). More impressively, Tim worked 517 USC football games over 43 years. He is a member of the CoSIDA Hall of Fame.
In 2018, Tessalone was named to the USC Athletics Hall of Fame which includes many of the honorable names in college and Olympic sports. He will go down in Trojan history as one of the schools great administrators.
Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn Memorial and Reunion JamBy Ricky Richardson Contributing Writer
(Los Angeles, CA)- The blues community came out in support of and in celebration of the annual Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn Memorial and Reunion Jam, Saturday, March 18, 2023, at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center in historic Leimert Park Village.
Michael Gliona and Eric Garcia assembled a stellar line-up of local blues musicians uniting to honor the life and legacy of Laura Mae Gross, affectionately known as “Mama Laura.” This annual event showcases the rich and diverse blues community in the Greater Los Angeles area. Blues musicians and blues aficionados arrived from South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, the Valley and all points in between.
If you are a long-time resident of Los Angeles, or perhaps you heard your parents speak fondly about the glory days of Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn Blues Club from back in the day on Central Avenue. Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn was founded in 1964 by Laura Mae Gross. Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn were in business on Central Avenue for 37 years. This was a jumping blues joint to see up and coming blues stars and established stars. In 1997, Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn relocated to 4339 Leimert Park Blvd., in historic and culturally vibrant Leimert Park Village. Sadly, Laura Mae
Gross passed away in 2006. She left a lasting legacy in the local and national blues community and beyond.
It is fitting that this event was held during the month of March, Women’s History Month. March is set aside to honor women’s contribution in American history. This year’s National Women’s History Month theme is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” The theme celebrates women past and present, who have been active in all forms of media and storytelling including print, radio, TV, stage, screen, blogs, podcasts, news and social media.
Barbara Morrison and Laura Mae Gross fit into this timely theme which honors women in the community who have devoted their lives and talents to producing arts and pursuing truth and reflecting society decade after decade.
Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn Memorial and Reunion Jam got underway as people arrived to the sound of “Down Home Blues” coming from the sound system, featuring a recording by the late great Barbara Morrison.
Down Home Blues were served up generously in various hues and in different keys. Everyone gathered was in agreement that the “Blues is Alright,” and most important “The Blues is a Fact of Life.”
Mighty Balls of Fire were lit! They opened their set with “Every Day I Have the Blues” enhanced with the vocal styling of Tony Ibarra. The confirmed my opinion performing the song “The Blues is Alright” and continued
with “Darling, Don’t You Know I Love You” and closed with “Blues for Boo Boo” by acclaimed guitarist, singer and songwriter Kirk Fletcher. Mighty Balls of Fire consist of Tony Ibarra-guitar, Eric Garcia-guitar, Carlos Reveles-bass, Harrison Mannell, aka, Hatch on keyboards and Michael Gliona- drums.
The Other Mules performed next. They were awesome during their brief moment in the spotlight on the songs “Can’t Be Satisfied,” and “Ain’t Going Down.”
3rd Degree Blues Band led by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Chapman opened their tight set with “I’m a Blues Man” by Z.Z. Hill, “She’s Nineteen Years Old” by Muddy Waters, and concluded their set with “Boom, Boom, Boom” by John Lee Hooker.
Eric Garcia Blues Band wrote and performed a nice tune with funky grooves entitled “Blues for Mama” for Laura Mae Gross. They continued with “Alley Cat Shuffle” by harp player/vocalist Glen Doll and finished with “Baby What You Want Me to Do.”
Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn Memorial and Reunion Jam attracted a lot of talented blues musicians that don’t get a lot of attention and exposure around town. Various
impromptu bands were assembled by Michael Gliona. They all cranked up the throttle of the blues to the delight of the audience.
Ladies of the blues featured electrifying sets with Carol Shiada followed by Ms. Mellow and Barbara Hubbard. The show paused for several minutes so that a group photo could be taken of all of the assembled blues musicians, outside of The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center. The second half of the show moved on full steamed ahead. On deck were sensational saxophonist Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer followed by Oklahoma Ollie who thrilled the crowd playing an extensive guitar solo behind his back.
“The Nitty Gritty’s in Town” the man himself, Sir Stan was also present to entertain a captivated crowd with a couple of songs.
The remainder of the show, as they say “let the good times roll to the delight of the audience. On a related note, there is a great documentary streaming online entitled Babe’s and Ricky’s Inn. You owe it to yourself and your family and friends who love the blues to view this documentary at your leisure. To view which platform is streaming the movie visit, https://m.imdb.com/title/ tt1531628.
Check out and bookmark https://tbmpac.com to sign up for the newsletter. You can also see upcoming shows at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and the special event, 2nd Annual Barbara Morrison Jazz and Blues Music Festival, September 9th, 2023. You will be the first on your block to find out about the incredible lineup!!!
Apply Now: California College Corps Is Offering Students Much More Than $10,000 Stipends
Edward Henderson California Black Media
Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state’s #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program which has so far provided $10,000 grants to some 6,500 low-income college students as a stipend in exchange for their community service work.
Nearly a year after the paid-service program was first announced, the Governor’s office is hailing its impact on communities and the lives of the students who participate in it.
“The program has proven to be a transformative experience for both students and the organizations where they work,” said Sandy Close, director of Ethnic Media Services, who recently moderated a press briefing to inform the public about the program’s contribution and some of the challenges it has faced.
The event, co-hosted by California Black Media, featured stakeholders representing all aspects of the program talking about
“I feel like I’ve gone from being a student who once desperately needed a safe space to learn to being the trusted adult who can provide students with a natural learning environment where they each have a deep sense of belonging, knowing they are seen, heard, supported and valued,” said Emilio Ruiz, a 24-yearold student pursuing his teaching certification.
Ruiz shared his experiences as a College Corps fellow, mentioning how his upbringing as a child of divorced parents -constantly moving, experiencing financial distress, and witnessing domestic abuse – spurred his desire for a safe space to learn and grow.College Corps, Ruiz says, gave him an opportunity to receive his education without the added stress of taking on financial aid debt. Moreover, he gained practical experience while doing service-oriented work in his community.
College Corps is a state initiative that addresses “societal challenges” by creating a generation of civic-minded leaders from low-income families. Its programs focus on challenges facing California like climate resilience and economic inequality.
According to the Governor’s office, Black and Latino students have the highest rates of student loan default and owe an estimated $147 billion in college loan debt.
In Long Beach, Project Optimism, currently hosts two College Corps fellows from CSU Long Beach (CSULB). Both are first generation college students. One is undocumented.
According to Ishmael Pruitt, CEO and cofounder, Project Optimism is a non-profit that supports equitable access to nature and environmental justice education to elementary aged children within the Long Beach Unified School District. It focuses on mentorship, empowerment, and uniting community engagement (including food insecurity), and personal development.
“We are big on mentoring the mentor,” said Pruitt. “Every intern and employee gets mentored by myself, one of the other directors, or someone from our board. So, they get direct coaching and support beyond their role working with us.”
Beth Manke is a program lead at CSULB. She matches College Corps students with the non-profit organizations they are assigned to for the program. Manke currently supervises 50 undergraduate students, completing 450 hours of work for 27 different organizations.
“We envision the service they are completing as internships. These are experiences that have proven to be quite transformative for our students,” said Manke. “We honor and draw on the students’ cultural backgrounds by acknowledging their life experiences and how they shape their academic success and wellbeing.”
The briefing also focused on the challenges students are facing on college campuses post-pandemic and how College Corps can help alleviate some of those issues.
Dr. Allison Briscoe-Smith, a clinical psychologist and Diversity Lead of Student Life at the University of Washington spoke about some of the mental health challenges students are facing and avenues for healing.
“Anxiety is a leading factor for folks on college campuses,” said Dr. Briscoe-Smith. “There was an escalation for students with mental health challenges pre-pandemic. We are finding we are anticipating beating levels of worsening mental health on campus. Many clinicians are hearing challenges of hopelessness, purposelessness, and isolation. Finding purpose through service is something that can be very helpful. The skills that you’re learning and to be able to see yourself in the folks that you serve is an amazing opportunity for transformation and connection.”
Josh Fryday, California’s Chief Service Officer, introduced
Diversity Lead of Student Life at the University of Washington, as the founder and principal of Soft River Consultation and as a Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center where she focuses on developing and implementing the science of bridging (connecting across our differences).
the College Corps program a year ago and closed the event with remarks about the hope service can provide.
“When it comes to creating and fostering hope, what we know is that it’s so much more than creating a belief. It’s about action. It’s about a plan. It’s about having a real path for change. That’s what people are looking for. We are seeing the impact in the first 9 months. It gives me hope, the governor hope, and we know it’s going to bring hope to our entire state for many years to come.”
Eighty percent of students in the Corps are self-identified students of color and 70% are Pell grant recipients. Five hundred undocumented dreamers throughout the state of California participate in the program.