Inglewood’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony was Lit! with Major, Sy Smith, Mariachi Divas and J Boykin Page A9
Malcolm X Daughter Found Dead in New York
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After Guilty Verdicts, Civil Rights Leaders Exhort Black America to ‘Never Stop Running for Ahmaud’
A Glynn County, Georgia, convicted Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan of felony murder. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump exclaimed. “Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” Crump continued. By Stacy M. Brown NNPA After nearly two years of pain, suffering, and wondering if the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery would pay for their heinous crime, the 25-year-old’s family finally received justice. A Glynn County, Georgia, convicted Travis McMichael, Gregory McMichael, and William Bryan of felony murder. “Guilty. Guilty. Guilty,” civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump exclaimed. “Nothing will bring back Ahmaud, but his family will have some peace knowing the men who killed him will remain behind bars and can never inflict their brand of evil on another innocent soul,” Crump continued. NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson called the verdicts long overdue. “Ahmaud Arbery’s death was unnecessary and fueled by racist ideologies deeply engrained into the fabric of this nation,” Johnson insisted. “Generations of Black people have seen this time and time again, with the murder of Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, and many others,” he continued. “The actions and events perpetrated by the McMichaels and William Bryan leading up to Ahmaud’s death reflect a growing and deepening rift in America that will be its undoing if not addressed on a systemic level. “We must fix what is genuinely harming our nation: white supremacy.” The jury found Travis McMichael, who shot Arbery in Continued on page A2
“The violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. Yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice,” said Attorney Ben Crump.
Court Blocks COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for California Prisons By DON THOMPSON Associated Press SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ A federal appeals court on Friday temporarily blocked an order that all California prison workers must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or have a religious or medical exemption. A panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a request for a stay of September's lower court order pending an appeal. It also sped up the hearing process by setting a Dec. 13 deadline for opening briefs. The vaccination mandate was supposed to have taken effect by Jan. 12 but the appellate court stay blocks enforcement until sometime in March, when the appeal hearing will be scheduled. The judge who issued the vaccination mandate followed the recommendation of a court-appointed receiver who was chosen to manage the state prison health care
system after a federal judge in 2005 found that California failed to provide adequate medical care to prisoners. In addition to requiring COVID-19 shots for prison workers, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar required vaccinations or exemptions for inmates who want in-person visits or who work outside prisons, including inmate firefighters. The stay “puts both the prison staff and the incarcerated population at greater risk of infection,'' said Don Specter, director of the nonprofit Prison Law Office, which represents inmates in a long-running lawsuit over medical conditions in state prisons. The mandate was opposed by the state's prison agency and Gov. Gavin Newsom, even though his administration previously had ordered vaccinations or testing for all state employees, including correctional employees. The politically powerful California Correctional Peace Officers Association had argued that the mandate could
create staff shortages if employees refuse to comply. Messages to the governor's office and corrections officials seeking comment on Friday's stay weren't immediately returned. The original vaccination order was designed to head off another COVID-19 outbreak like the one that killed 28 inmates and a correctional officer at San Quentin State Prison last year. “Once the virus enters a facility, it is very difficult to contain, and the dominant route by which it enters a prison is through infected staff,'' Tigar reasoned. More than 50,000 state prisoners _ more than half of California's state inmate population _ have had a confirmed case of COVID-19, and at least 242 have died from the disease, according to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) statistics.
Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dies of Cancer at 41
FILE -Fashion designer Virgil Abloh gives a thumbs up after the presentation of Off-White Men’s Spring-Summer 2019 collection presented in Paris, Wednesday June 20, 2018. Abloh, a leading fashion executive hailed as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, has died after a private battle with cancer. He was 41. Abloh’s death was announced Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 by LVMH Louis Vuitton and the Off White label, the brand he founded. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
By Jake Coyle Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Virgil Abloh, a leading designer whose groundbreaking fusions of streetwear and high couture made him one of the most celebrated tastemakers in fashion and beyond, has died of cancer. He was 41. Abloh’s death was announced Sunday by the luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and Abloh’s own Off-White label, which he founded in 2013. Abloh was the artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear, but his ubiquitous, consumer-friendly presence in culture was wide-ranging and dynamic. Some compared him to Jeff Koons. Others hailed him as his generation’s Karl Lagerfeld. “We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,” Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, said in a statement. A statement from Abloh’s family on the designer’s Instagram account said Abloh was diagnosed two years ago with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in which a tumor occurs in the heart. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture,” the statement read. In 2018, Abloh became the first Black artistic director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton in the French design house’s storied history. A first generation Ghanaian American whose seamstress mother taught him to sew, Abloh had no formal fashion training but had a degree in engineering and a master’s in architecture. Abloh, who grew up in Rockford, Illinois, outside of Chicago, was often referred to as a Renaissance man in the fashion world. He moonlighted as a DJ. But in a short time, he emerged as one of fashion’s most heralded designers. Abloh called himself “a maker.” He was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2018. In 2009, Abloh met Kanye West — now called Ye — while he was working at a screen-printing store. After Continued on page A2
Thursday, December 2, 2021
California City Sorry for Bulldozing Blues Community HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) – A California city has apologized to Black and Latino residents and descendants of a tight-knit community that was torn down more than half a century ago. The East Bay Times reports Sunday that the apology was welcomed by many from the 12-block area known as Russell City in Hayward, which was a vibrant hub for blues musicians until it was torn down to make way for an industrial hub. “For me, as an African American woman, it’s really, really meaningful,” said Artavia Berry, a Hayward resident who chairs a city commission that drafted the apology. “It’s been a very tearful week for me.” The Hayward City Council issued the apology on Nov. 16. It’s among a number of U.S. cities that have been reckoning with past racial injustices, including the nearby city of San Jose. San Jose apologized in September for its treatment of Chinese residents in the 19th century. The city’s thriving Chinatown was burned to the ground in 1887 by arsonists. Russell City was named in the mid-19th century for a teacher who came to California during the Gold Rush. Initially, Danish immigrants lived there. By World War II, people had migrated to the community from the southern United States and Mexico. The unincorporated area near Hayward had 1,400 mostly Black and Latino residents, lacked fresh water and had mostly unpaved roads. But it had a thriving music scene, said Ronnie Stewart, the head of the West Coast Blues Society. “It wasn’t just a little unincorporated town with Blacks and Mexicans and a few others. It had a real function as far as being a contributor to West Coast Blues,” Stewart said, recalling how musicians such as Ray Charles played at venues there. “They took the whole damn city. They changed every street name. They tried to erase it.” In the 1950s, Alameda County and Hayward city officials declared Russell City a blighted area and relocated residents despite their protests. Some questioned whether the apology was enough. Tony Wynn, 67, said she used to visit her great grandfather on weekends on his farm in Russell City and her mother sang at blues clubs there . “Yeah, that looks good on paper, but what about money?” Wynn said. “Give us more money than the little bit that you gave my family when we were there. It’s not like we could not have said, `No we don’t want to move or sell.’ You guys took it over.” City Councilmember Sara Lamnin said she understood the skepticism and added the city is committed to undoing decades of racist policies. The city is planning public art installations recognizing the eviction of Russell City residents. It may also work with Russell City descendants on plans such as a first-time homebuyer assistance program, according to a city report.
Black Infant Deaths Push Up Newborn Death Rate
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An increased infant mortality rate among Black newborn children contributed to what Indiana health officials found was a slightly higher overall infant mortality rate in the state during 2020. The state health department reported this month that after Indiana recorded its lowest infant death rate during 2019, those deaths increased from 6.5 per 1,000 live births to 6.6 last year. The 2020 death rate is the second lowest that Indiana officials have recorded. Indiana’s mortality rate among white and Hispanic newborns improved last year, but deaths among Black infants jumped from 11.0 deaths per 1,000 live births during 2019 to 13.2 deaths in 2020, The Indianapolis Star reported. In recent years, Indiana has taken several steps to improve its infant mortality rate, among the highest in the nation. In 2019 Indiana had the 14th highest infant mortality rate, with 525 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said efforts to reduce Indiana’s infant deaths would focus on eliminating disparities between Black and white infants. Early prenatal care and encouraging parents to put their children to sleep alone in their cribs would also help decrease the number of children in this state who die before their first birthday, Box said.
VA County Votes to Move Confederate Monument
KING GEORGE, Va. (AP) – The Board of Supervisors in Virginia’s King George County has voted to move a monument that honors Confederate soldiers. The Free Lance-Star reported Wednesday that the monument currently sits on the lawn of the county courthouse. The supervisors are yet to decide where they monument will be moved. This week’s 3 to 2 vote by the board was applauded by the local chapter of the NAACP. Its members have been been asking the county to move the obelisk from public property for more than 18 months. “The Confederacy was a racial institution,” Robert Ashton, NAACP vice president, told the supervisors on Tuesday. “Therefore any statue or monument honoring the Confederacy endorses racism.” But other King George residents were opposed to moving the monument. “It saddens me to see the history of this country erased,” resident Steve Davis said. Davis added that modern-day residents won’t be able to teach about injustices to the Black community if removes such historical objects. “How can we find our way in the future if we don’t know where we’ve come from?” Davis said. The 3 to 2 vote reflected the divisive nature of an issue that’s been debated in communities across the nation following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody last year.
The Valley’s News Observer
World & Nation
Thursday, December 2, 2021
President Biden Sounds Warning on Omicron Variant By Stacy M. Brown The Washington Informer President Joe Biden cautioned Americans not to panic as omicron, the latest COVID-19 variant, threatens to further stall recovery from the nearly two-year-old pandemic. The President called the variant a cause for concern but panic. “We have the best vaccine in the world. The best medicines, the best scientists, and we’re learning more every single day,” President Biden asserted. “And we’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed. Not chaos and confusion.” President Biden continued: “Look, we’re going to fight and beat this new variant as well.” The White House earlier announced that the U.S. would restrict travel from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Malawi, and Mozambique. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has already declared a state of emergency, announcing that while the omicron variant hadn’t arrived, she expects it would soon. “We continue to see warning signs of spikes this upcoming winter, and while the new omicron variant has yet to be detected in New York State, it’s coming,” Hochul insisted.
Officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Omicron coronavirus variant on Monday carried a “very high risk of infection surges.” The WHO reportedly advised its 194 member nations that any infection surge could have severe consequences but said no deaths had yet been linked to the new variant. “Omicron has an unprecedented number of spike mutations, some of which are concerning for their potential impact on the trajectory of the pandemic,” the organization noted in a news release. “The overall global risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron is assessed as very high,” WHO officials stated. South African officials reportedly first detected the new variant a week ago in Botswana, with cases confirmed in Germany, Japan, Canada, and Belgium. The Biden administration remains hopeful while still embracing the likelihood of omicron in the United States. “While we have said that travel restrictions can slow the speed of omicron, it cannot prevent it,” President Biden stated. “Here’s what it does: it gives us time. It gives us time to take more action. To move quicker, to make sure people understand, you have to get the vaccine. You have to get the shot. You have to get the booster.”
The sad news comes only days after investigators and a New York judge cleared the men convicted in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam were both exonerated after serving decades in prison for the fatal shooting of Malcolm X. The state granted Aziz parole in 1983, and authorities released Islam in 1987. He later died in 2009. Mujahid Abdul Halim, who police arrested along with Aziz and Islam, confessed to the shooting, and in 2010, Halim was paroled. “I’m deeply saddened by the death of Malikah Shabazz,” Bernice King, the daughter of the late civil rights
hero Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote on Twitter. “My heart goes out to her family, the descendants of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X. Dr. Shabazz was pregnant with Malikah and her twin sister, Malaak, when Brother Malcolm was assassinated. Be at peace, Malikah.” In a conversation in New York last month with the Black Press of America, Ilyasah Shabazz, the third daughter in the family, remarked about the closeness of her family. “We talk and get together as much as we can,” Ilyasah Shabazz said. “We are close, and we love each other. We always look forward to our zoom get-togethers, and we love it when we can get together in person.”
Malcolm X Daughter Found Dead in NY By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent Malikah Shabazz, the daughter of cultural and civil rights icon Malcolm X, was found dead inside her Brooklyn home on Monday, November 22. Authorities said they found Shabazz, 56, unconscious and unresponsive inside her home on East 28th Street in the Midwood section of the borough just before 4:30 p.m. Medical officials pronounced her dead a short time later. Reportedly, officials aren’t suspecting foul play. One of five daughters to Malcolm X and the late Dr. Betty Shabazz, Malikah shares a twin sister named Maalka. The twins are the youngest of the Shabazz children. Dr. Shabazz died in 1997.
Malikah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz, was found dead in Brooklyn on Monday, November 22, 2021.
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After Guilty Verdicts, Civil Rights Leaders Exhort Black America to ‘Never Stop Running for Ahmaud’
Continued from page A1
February 2020, guilty of all nine charges, including malice murder and four counts of felony murder. The panel found his father, Gregory, not guilty of malice murder but convicted him on felony murder, unlawful imprisonment, and other charges. Bryan escaped a guilty verdict on malice murder, but the jury found him guilty of three felony murder counts, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and criminal intent to commit a felony. The men, who also face federal charges, could spend life in prison when sentenced. Judge Timothy Walmsley bound the men over and will soon set a sentencing date.
Immediately following the announcement of the first guilty verdict against Travis McMichael, Arberry’s father, Marcus Arbery, shouted, “long time coming.” Judge Walmsley asked court officials to remove the senior Arbery. “Ahmaud Arbery should be alive today. This tragedy should have never happened,” said Florida Congresswoman Val Demings, who is a Democrat. “I am keeping his family in my prayers. But we must move forward together to dispel the shadows of our past and to ensure the safety and civil rights of every American,” Demings asserted. Crump insisted that Black America must keep fighting
Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dies of Cancer at 41 Continued from page A1
he and Ye interned together at the LVMH brand Fendi, Abloh was Ye’s creative director. Abloh was art director for the 2011 Ye-Jay-Z album “Watch the Throne,” for which Abloh was nominated for a Grammy.
Abloh’s work with West served as a blueprint for future border-crossing collaborations that married high and low. With Nike, he partnered his Off-White label for a line of frenzy-inducing sneakers remixed with a variety of styles
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for civil rights and justice. “This case, by all accounts, should have been opened and closed,” Crump demanded. “The violent stalking and lynching of Ahmaud Arbery was documented on video for the world to witness. Yet, because of the deep cracks, flaws, and biases in our systems, we were left to wonder if we would ever see justice,” Crump remarked. “[The verdict] indicates progress, but we are nowhere close to the finish line. America, you raised your voices for Ahmaud. Now is not the time to let them quiet. Keep marching. Keep fighting for what is right. And never stop running for Ahmaud.”
FILE - Designer Virgil Abloh walks backstage prior to his Off-White ready to wear Fall-Winter 2019-2020 collection, that was presented in Paris, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. Abloh, a leading fashion executive hailed as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, has died after a private battle with cancer. He was 41. Abloh’s death was announced Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021 by LVMH Louis Vuitton and the Off White label, the brand he founded. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File )
and Helvetica fonts. Abloh also designed furniture for IKEA, refillable bottles for Evian and Big Mac cartons for McDonald’s. His work was exhibited at the Louvre, the Gagosian and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Abloh’s death stunned the entertainment world. Actor Riz Ahmed said on Twitter that Abloh “stretched culture and changed the game.” Fashion designer Jeff Staple wrote, “You taught us all how to dream.” Pharrell Williams called Abloh “a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius.” Abloh took what he called a “3% approach” to fashion — that a new design could be created by changing an original by 3%. Critics said Abloh was more brilliant at repackaging than creating something new. But Abloh’s style was also self-aware — quotation marks were a trademark label for him — and high-minded. “Streetwear in my mind is linked to Duchamp,” Abloh told the New Yorker in 2019. “It’s this idea of the readymade. I’m talking Lower East Side, New York. It’s like hip-hop. It’s sampling. I take James Brown, I chop it up, I make a new song.” Stars lined up to be dressed by Abloh. Beyoncé, Michael B. Jordan, Kim Kardashian West, Timothée Chalamet and Serena Williams have worn his clothes. Abloh’s Off-White label, which LVMH acquired a majority stake in earlier this year, made him an arbiter of cool. But his appointment at Louis Vuitton brought Abloh to the apex of an industry he was once a scrappy outsider in — and made Abloh one of the most powerful Black executives in a historically closed fashion world. As Abloh prepared for his debut menswear show in 2018, he told GQ, “I now have a platform to change the industry.” “We’re designers, so we can start a trend, we can highlight issues, we can make a lot of people focus on something or we can cause a lot of people to focus on ourselves,” Abloh said. “I’m not interested in (the latter). I’m interested in using my platform as one of a very small group of African-American males to design a house, to sort of show people in a poetic way.” Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh and his children, Lowe and Grey.
Thursday, December 2, 2021
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Argentine Movement Tries to Make Black Heritage More Visible By CHRISTIANA SCIAUDONE Associated Press BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) _ It wasn't until Julia Cohen Ribeiro moved to Argentina that she discovered she was Black. Her hair was curly, but her skin was light. She had never identified as anything other than Brazilian in her country of birth. Then 11, she was shocked when people on the street and in school in Buenos Aires insisted that she was Black. “I was never told I was Black growing up,” said Ribeiro, now a 25-year-old film student at the University of Buenos Aires. The daughter of a white mother and Black father, she has since embraced that identity and joined a burgeoning Afro-Argentine movement that seeks to eliminate the persistent myth that there are no Black people in the country and to combat discrimination against them. The 2010 census recorded about 150,000 people of African descent in Argentina, a nation of 45 million, but activists estimate the true figure is closer to 2 million following a surge of immigration _ and because many Argentines have forgotten or ignore African ancestry. “It's a very contested figure,” said Nicolas Fernandez Bravo, an anthropology professor at the University of Buenos Aires who is part of an Afro-Latin American studies group and a government policy adviser. “The state doesn't have the slightest idea of the number because measuring race is difficult and the state is not taking it seriously.” President Alberto Fernandez tripped over the issue in June when, speaking with the prime minister of Spain, he quoted an old local saying that offended many at home and abroad: “Mexicans emerged from Indigenous people, Brazilians emerged from the jungle but we Argentines arrived on boats. On boats from Europe.” The backlash prompted Fernandez to issue a sort-of apology on Twitter: “Our diversity is a source of pride,” he wrote. “I did not mean to offend anybody but in any case anybody does feel offended or made to feel invisible, I apologize, of course.” Argentine diversity once was obvious. In the early 1800s, as the slave trade _ if not yet slavery itself _ was being abolished, about a third of the population consisted of African slaves or their freed descendants. Even the tango _ a dance tightly identified with the nation _ has strong African influences. But the country's leaders made concerted, long-lasting efforts to Europeanize Argentina, welcoming millions white immigrants while downplaying and swamping the country's Indigenous and African heritage. Some say that many Afro-Argentines died in mid19th century wars where they were used as foot soldiers, the first casualties of battle, though other historians dispute that was the primary cause of the nation's changing racial
makeup. Ribeiro is finishing a documentary about Maria Remedios del Valle, a Black woman who fought against the British invasion of the Spanish colony and later in the wars for independence in the early 1800's. Afterwards, she was destitute until her military comrades rallied to her defense, calling her “The Mother of Argentina.” “Hopefully, this will change the thinking in Argentina, make it more diverse, culturally richer and help fight racism,” said Ribeiro, who also leads a tour focused on Afro-Argentine history. This year's November celebration of African culture in Argentina is dedicated to the memory of Maria Magdalena Lamadrid _ “La Pocha” _ an Afro-Argentine activist who died in September. In 2002, the fifth-generation AfroArgentine was kept from leaving the country by a customs officer who insisted there are no Black Argentines and asserted her passport was fake. The country's makeup has been changing again of late with a surge of newcomers from Africa and other nations. Angeles Martinelli, a white Argentine, married a Senegalese immigrant and soon faced racism head-on. She recalled people asking her, “What's a beautiful woman doing with a monkey?” Martinelli, who works as a housekeeper, later divorced her husband who returned to Senegal, but not before they had a daughter, Ammi. People would try to touch her because local lore has it that Black babies bring luck. It just made Ammi cry. Ammi is now 12 and very shy, something her mother attributes in part to taunting from a classmate who often said, “We don't want to play with you because you're Black.” In the northern province of Santiago del Estero, Emanuel Ntaka grew up as the son of an Argentine mother and South African father, hearing stories of rampant racism and violence in his father's homeland. Today Ntaka is a musician as well as director of sociocultural programs for the national Ministry of Culture. “That's where it was born in me, the need to face injustice from what happened in South Africa,” Ntaka said. But he said he became more vocal after he was beaten up by skinheads in Argentina. It wasn't so much the beating that affected him as the admonition to: “Go back to your country.” He couldn't get it out of his head. “But this is my country,” he told himself. “I am Argentine.” Ntaka helped organize this month's events to celebrate Afro culture and is optimistic about the future, if also realistic. He said his 10-year-old daughter, too, had faced racist taunts at school. Bravo said many upper-class Argentines remain ignorant about the problem of race. “It's changing,” he
It wasn’t until Julia Cohen Ribeiro moved to Argentina that she discovered she was Black.
said, “but not long ago you would hear people saying we are not racist because we do not have Black people. Well, what's the difference between the Ku Klux Klan and you?” Elesha Mavrommatis, a Black communications and development consultant from Decatur, Georgia, has been living in Buenos Aires for six years. She said she doesn't feel the same level of discrimination she has heard from other Black women, in large part because in Argentina, Mavrommatis is seen as American before she is Black. “It's a good thing for Argentina and Argentines to be looking at their history and seeing all of the diversity that makes up that history,” Mavrommatis said. Bravo, who helped create the Afro-Latin American studies group in 2010, said he sees improvement. “We went from zero to one in the past decade. It's
better to be at one. ... What's the goal? Maybe it's 1,000, I don't know,” Bravo added. “The particularity of Argentina is that we are ignorant of our ways of being racist.” Ribeiro hopes to debut her documentary on Maria Remedios del Valle in December. The government is sponsoring the work as part of “historical repair” to the Black community. “The film also sheds is also shedding light on the life of a Black woman and shedding light on all Black women, and paying homage to them,” Ribeiro said. “Making this documentary is believing a Black woman can be president of Argentina one day because we have and have always had this capacity and this story is the testimony.”
At Jussie Smollett Trial Osundairo Brothers at Center Stage By DON BABWIN Associated Press CHICAGO (AP) – Two brothers stand at the center of the case that prosecutors will lay before jurors during the trial of Jussie Smollett this week. The former “Empire” actor contends he was the victim of a racist and homophobic assault in downtown Chicago on a frigid night in January 2019. The siblings, who worked with him on the TV show, say he paid them $3,500 to pose as his attackers. Jury selection began Monday morning and six jurors had been seated in the Chicago courtroom by early afternoon. Judge James Linn, who said he expects the trial to take about one week, was asking potential jurors if they have been the victim of a hate crime, if they have watched “Empire” or TMZ, a program and website about celebrities, or if they belong to any civil rights or propolice organizations. Cameras are not allowed inside the courtroom and the proceedings are not being livestreamed, unlike in other recent high-profile trials. Smollett, who arrived at the courthouse with his mother and other family members, is accused of lying to police about the alleged attack and has been charged
with felony disorderly conduct. A class 4 felony, the crime carries a prison sentence of up to three years but experts have said it is more likely that if Smollett is convicted he would be placed on probation and perhaps ordered to perform community service. Whether Smollett, who is Black and gay, testifies remains an open question. But the siblings, Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo, will take the witness stand where they are expected to repeat what they have told police officers and prosecutors: that they carried out the attack at Smollett's behest. Jurors also may see surveillance video from more than four dozen cameras that police reviewed to trace the brothers' movements before and after the reported attack, as well as a video showing the brothers purchasing a red hat, ski masks and gloves from a beauty supply shop hours earlier. Smollett's attorneys have not spelled out how they will confront that evidence and the lead attorney, Nenye Uche, declined to comment ahead of this week's proceedings. But there are clues as to how they might during the trial. Buried in nearly 500 pages of Chicago Police Department reports is a statement from an area resident
who says she saw a white man with “reddish brown hair” who appeared to be waiting for someone that night. She told a detective that when the man turned away from her, she “could see hanging out from underneath his jacket what appeared to be a rope.” Her comments could back up Smollett's contention that his attackers draped a makeshift noose around his neck. Further, if she testified that the man was white, it would support Smollett's statements _ widely ridiculed because the brothers, who come from Nigeria, are Black _ that he saw pale or white skin around the eyes of one of his masked attackers. Given there is so much evidence, including the brothers' own statements, that they participated in the attack, it is unlikely that Smollett's attorneys will try to prove they did not take part. That could perhaps lead the defense to contend that Smollett was the victim of a very real attack at the hands of the brothers, perhaps with the help of others, who now are only implicating the actor so they won't be charged, too. The $3,500 check could be key, although Smollett says he wrote it to pay one of the brothers to work as his personal trainer.
“I would assume the defense is going to zero in on that,” said Joe Lopez, a prominent defense attorney not involved with the case. What they will almost certainly do is attack the brothers' credibility, reminding jurors that they are not facing the same criminal charges as Smollett, despite admitting they took part in the staged attack. “Everything Smollett is responsible for, they are responsible for,” said David Erickson, a former state appellate judge who teaches at Chicago Kent College of Law and is not involved in the case. Finally, Smollett's career could take center stage. Prosecutors could make the same point that then-Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson made when he announced Smollett's arrest in 2019: that Smollett thought the attack would win him more fame and a pay raise. But Lopez said the defense attorneys might ask the jury the same question he asked himself. “How would that help him with anything?” he asked. “He's already a star.”
Features The Valley’s News Observer
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Leaders Push Pardons, Payouts for “Port Chicago 50” Black Sailors U.S. Navy “Unjustly” Punished Antonio Ray Harvey California Black Media A growing chorus of Black leaders and activists in California is calling on the federal government to pardon 50 Black sailors they allege the U.S. Navy wrongfully punished nearly 80 years ago. Advocates are pushing for payments to the families of sailors who died in the 1944 explosion that was the underlying cause for the Navy taking action against the servicemen. Others say the sailors’ families deserve more than an apology or posthumous pardon. They should get monetary compensation as well. “The 50 African American sailors at Port Chicago who took a stand against discrimination should be remembered as heroes,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13). In July of 1944, Port Chicago Naval Magazine was the scene of the largest explosion on the mainland of the United States. The blast shook the San Francisco Bay Area and the disturbance was felt as far away as Nevada. About 320 sailors were killed instantly in the explosion. More than 200 of the midshipmen and commissioned officers were young African Americans. Another 390 military and civilian personnel were injured, including 226 African American enlisted men. Only Black sailors were assigned the dangerous job of loading ammunition with no prior training in weapons handling. “The Port Chicago tragedy is another painful reminder of how our nation must confront its history of systemic racism,” Lee said. The people killed or injured in the disaster were loading highly-explosive bombs, anti-submarine weapons, torpedoes, shells, and naval mines totaling 4,606 tons of ammunition onto the merchant ships SS Quinault Victory and SS E.A. Bryant. According to a 2009 California Senate Joint Resolution (SJR-21), authored by former state Sen. Roderick Wright (Image courtesy of the National Park Service) (D-Inglewood), on the night of July 17, 1944, two transport vessels loading ammunition bound for the war in the Pacific at the The exact cause of the Port Chicago explosion is still Port Chicago naval base on the Sacramento River in California unknown. were suddenly engulfed in a gigantic explosion. People familiar with the explosion say incidents leading “What I am pushing for is that everything of public record up to the disaster unfolded in a culture rife with negligence and where Black folks were wronged needs to be righted,” Rev. Amos racism. Brown, vice-chair of California’s Task Force to Study and Develop A string of injustices followed it, too. After the explosion, Reparation Proposals for African Americans, told California Black the Black sailors working at Port Chicago were ordered to Media (CBM). Brown is the pastor of Third Baptist Church in continue loading ships under the supervision of an all-White San Francisco and president of the city’s NAACP branch. crew of officers. Many of the surviving Black sailors felt that their “We must do our due diligence and get all the facts on this commanders had not addressed the safety problems that triggered explosion. It’s definitely a case where Black folks had been the blast but still asked them to continue loading ammunition. wronged and injured. There was a culture of negligence here Soon, the Black sailors, who were trained for U.S Navy and was prevalent when it came to Black folks,” Brown added.
months in incarceration. Only one member of the Port Chicago 50, Freddie Meeks, received a Presidential pardon from Bill Clinton in December 1999. Meeks, who was discharged in 1946, passed away in 2003 in Los Angeles.
combat, decided to stage a protest. Afraid their lives were at risk, they stopped working. In September 1944, the Navy charged 50 of the Port Chicago sailors with disobeying orders and initiating a mutiny. A court-martial was convened to try the men who staged what was called “the largest mutiny in the history of the Navy.” It was held for several weeks on Treasure Island outside of San Francisco. The Black sailors were found guilty and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison. Forty-seven of the 50 sailors were released in January 1946 while the remaining three served additional
“I knew we had a good president and I figured he would do the right thing, and he did the right thing with this pardon,” Meeks, 80, said in an Associated Press article published Dec. 24, 1999. “I’m not bitter because it’s something happened so long ago, you just outlive it, that’s all.” Brown, 80, says the Port Chicago disaster was the result of carelessness, disregard for humans’ safety, and racism. “All of the evidence is there,” Brown told CBM, speaking via phone from his San Francisco home. People’s World, a publication that provides news and analysis of labor and democratic movements, reported that discrimination even played out in the compensation awarded to the families of those killed. The Navy paid out $5,000 to White families but only $3,000 to Black families, the 2009 article reported. Brown made the statement about the Port Chicago incident after learning that a group of Democratic lawmakers is attempting to revive an effort to pay the families of Black service members who fought on behalf of the nation during World War II for benefits they were denied or barred from receiving. The federal legislative effort would compensate surviving spouses and all living descendants of Black WWII veterans whose families were denied the opportunity to build wealth with housing and educational benefits through the Government Issue (GI) Bill. The site of the disaster is now called the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, dedicated in 1994 to recognize the sailors that perished in the deadly blast. The memorial, managed by the National Park Service, is located at the Concord Naval Weapons Station near Concord. Last summer, in honor of the 77th anniversary of the Port Chicago Disaster, U.S. Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA13) and Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11-Walnut Creek) introduced a House Resolution, recognizing the victims of the explosion. The resolution called for the exoneration of the 50 African American sailors they say were unjustly court-martialed by the Navy. “By calling for the exoneration of the Port Chicago 50, our resolution would bring justice to these sailors and recognize their courage as well as honor the service and sacrifice of the victims of this disaster,” DeSaulnier said.
New California “Strike Force” Gives Teeth to State Housing Laws
Antonio Ray Harvey California Black Media To advance housing access, affordability, and equity, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced earlier this month the creation of a Housing Strike Force. The team, housed within the California Department of Justice (Cal DOJ) has been tasked with enforcing California housing laws that cities across the state have been evading or ignoring. The strike force will conduct a series of roundtables across the state to educate and involve tenants and homeowners as the state puts pressure on municipalities failing to follow housing rules and falling short of housing production goals set by state. “California is facing a housing shortage and affordability crisis of epic proportion,” Bonta said. “Every day, millions of Californians worry about keeping a roof over their heads, and there are too many across this state who lack housing altogether. This is a top priority and a fight we won’t back down from. As Attorney General, I am committed to using all the tools my office has available to advance Californians’ fundamental right to housing.” The Housing Strike Force will take “an innovative and intersectional approach” to addressing the housing crisis, focusing on tenant protections, housing availability and environmental sustainability, housing affordability, and equitable and fair housing opportunity for tenants and owners. Bonta also launched a Housing Portal on the Cal DOJ’s website with resources and information for California homeowners and tenants. The strike force will enlist the expertise of attorneys from the Cal DOJ’s Land Use and Conservation Section, the Consumer Protection Section, the Civil Rights Enforcement Section, and the Environment Section’s Bureau of Environmental Justice in its enforcement efforts. “California has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to address its housing crisis. Thanks to the historic $22 billion housing and homelessness investments in this year’s budget. But it’ll only work if local governments do their part to zone and permit new housing,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “The Attorney General’s emphasis on holding cities and counties accountable for fair housing, equity, and housing production is an important component to the state’s efforts to tackle the affordability crisis and create greater opportunities for all Californians to have an affordable place to call home.” According to the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the level of Black ownership nationally has decreased below levels achieved during the decades when housing discrimination was legal. The 2020 census reports that there was a 29.6 % gap between homeownership rates for African Americans and Whites. Homeowners accounted for 44.6% of the Black population as compared to 74.2% for Whites. “Blacks have made little, if any, strides at closing the homeownership gap. Systemic discriminatory regulations and policies continue to thwart any meaningful effort at increasing Black homeownership,” said Lydia Pope, NAREB’s president. In California, the DOJ reports that, over the last four decades, housing needs have outpaced housing production. It has caused a crisis that stretches from homelessness to unaffordable homes. Despite significant effort, the DOJ stated that California continues to host a disproportionate share of people experiencing homelessness in the United States, with an estimated 150,000 Californians sleeping in shelters, in their cars, or on the street. Bonta said that California’s 17 million renters spend a significant portion of their paychecks on rent, with an
estimated 700,000 Californians at risk of eviction. High home purchase costs — the median price of a single-family home in California is more than $800,000 — have led to the lowest homeownership rates since the 1940s. Due to decades of systemic racism, these challenges have continuously and disproportionately impacted communities of color. For example, Bonta said, almost half of Black households in California spend more than 30% of their income on housing, compared with only a third of White families. In addition, less than one in five Black California households could afford to purchase the $659,380 statewide median-priced home in 2020, compared to two in five White California households that could afford to purchase the same median-priced home, the California Association Realtors (CAR) said in a February 2021 statement. The percentage of Black home buyers who could afford to purchase a median-priced, existing single-family home in California in 2020 was 19 %, compared to 38 %for white households, CAR stated. “Just as the price for a single-median home reaches a new record of more than $800,000 in California, everywhere you look, we are in a housing crisis,” Bonta said during the virtual news conference on Nov. 3. “Among all households, one in four renters pays more than half of their income on rent.” The Housing Strike Force will address the shortage and affordability crisis by enforcing state housing and development laws in the Attorney General’s independent capacity and on behalf of DOJ’s client agencies. Earlier this year, Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 215, enhancing the Attorney General’s concurrent role in enforcing state housing laws. AB 215 was designed for reforms, facilitating housing development, and combating the current housing crisis. Newsom also signed Senate Bill (SB) 9 and SB 10 in September, legislation designed to help increase the supply of affordable housing and speed up the production of multi-family housing units statewide. Authored by Senate President pro Tem Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), SB 9 allows a homeowner to
subdivide an existing singlefamily residential lot to create a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. In response to SB 9, homeowner groups have formed across the state to oppose it. The groups are citing challenges they anticipate the law will bring to their communities, from garbage collection to increase risk of fires. Livable California, a San Francisco-based non-profit that focuses on housing, is one of the groups that opposes the new laws. “Senate Bill 9 ends single-family zoning to allow four homes where one now stands. It was signed by Gov. Newsom, backed by 73 of 120 legislators and praised by many media. Yet a respected pollster found 71% of California voters oppose SB 9,” the Livable California website points out. “It opens 1.12 million homes in severe fire zones to unmanaged density -- one-sixth of single-family homes in California,” the message continues. “SB 9 could reshape, in unwanted ways, hundreds of high-risk fire zones that sprawl across California’s urban and rural areas.” But Newsom says the laws are urgent and overdue. “The housing affordability crisis is undermining the California Dream for families across the state, and threatens our long-term growth and prosperity,” Newsom said in a statement Sept. 16. SB 10 was designed for jurisdictions that want to optin and up-zone urbanized areas close to transit, allowing up to 10 units per parcel without the oversight of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). “Passing strong housing laws is only the first step. To tackle our severe housing shortage, those laws must be consistently and vigorously enforced,” said California State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), chair of the Senate Housing Committee. “I applaud Attorney General Bonta’s commitment to strong enforcement of California’s housing laws.” The Housing Strike Force encourages Californians to send complaints or tips related to housing to housing@doj. ca.gov. Information on legal aid in your area is available at https://lawhelpca.org.
FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO: 2021 240739 The following person(s) is (are) doing business as: DREAMON COSMETICS at 1230 S Grevillea Ave., Inglewood, Ca. 90301 Mailing Address: 10219 S Grevillea Ave., Inglewood, Ca. 90304 REGISTERED OWNERS(S): HILDA MOCTEZUMA, 10219 S Grevillea Ave., Inglewood, Ca. 90304 The business is conducted by: an Individual SIGNED: HILDA MOCTEZUMA The date registrant started to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above: 10/2021 This statement filed with the County Clerk of Los Angeles County on: Nov 2, 2021 DEAN C. LOGAN, Los Angeles County Clerk By: L. MURGUIA, Deputy NOTICE: IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION (a) OF SECTION 17920, A FICTITIOUS NAME STATEMENT GENERALLY EXPIRES ST THE END IOF FIVE YEARS FROM THE DATE OF WHICH IT WAS FILED IN THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK EXCEPT, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION (b) OF SECTION 17920, WHERE IT EXPIRES 40 DAYS AFTER ANY CHANGE IN THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 17913 OTHER THAN A CHANGE IN THE RESIDENCE ADDRESS OF A REGISTERED OWNER. A NEW FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE FILED BEFORE THE EXPIRATION. EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014, THE FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY FORM. This statement expires on Nov 2, 2026 LOS ANGELES BAY NEWS OBSERVER (E) PUB: Nov 18, 25, Dec 2, 9, 2021
SUBDIVISION (a) OF SECTION 17920, A FICTITIOUS NAME STATEMENT GENERALLY EXPIRES ST THE END IOF FIVE YEARS FROM THE DATE OF WHICH IT WAS FILED IN THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK EXCEPT, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION (b) OF SECTION 17920, WHERE IT EXPIRES 40 DAYS AFTER ANY CHANGE IN THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 17913 OTHER THAN A CHANGE IN THE RESIDENCE ADDRESS OF A REGISTERED OWNER. A NEW FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE FILED BEFORE THE EXPIRATION. EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014, THE FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY FORM. This statement expires on Nov 2, 2026 LOS ANGELES BAY NEWS OBSERVER (E) PUB: Nov 25, Dec 2, 9, 16, 2021
FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO: 2021 240106 The following person(s) is (are) doing business as: SEASIDE PHARMACY at 599 W 7th St, Suite A, San Pedro, Ca. 90731 Mailing Same REGISTERED OWNERS(S): ST. MARY & ST. PHILOMENA, INC., 599 W 7th St, San Pedro, Ca. 90731 The business is conducted by: Corporation SIGNED: AFIFA SOLIMAN, CEO The date registrant started to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above: N/A This statement filed with the County Clerk of Los Angeles County on: Nov 2, 2021 DEAN C. LOGAN, Los Angeles County Clerk By: C MAFFITT, Deputy NOTICE: IN ACCORDANCE WITH
FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT FILE NO: 2021 250035 The following person(s) is (are) doing business as: SERENDOGGITY at 1476 S Shenandoah St Apt 306, Los Angeles, Ca. 90035 Mailing Same REGISTERED OWNERS(S): FREDERICK GRAF, 1476 S Shenandoah St Apt 306, Los Angeles, Ca. 90035 The business is conducted by: an Individual SIGNED: FREDERICK GRAF, Owner The date registrant started to transact business under the fictitious business name or names listed above: 1/2011 This statement filed with the County Clerk of Los Angeles County on: Nov 15, 2021 DEAN C. LOGAN, Los Angeles County Clerk By: M CARRASCO, Deputy NOTICE: IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBDIVISION (a) OF SECTION 17920, A FICTITIOUS NAME STATEMENT GENERALLY EXPIRES ST THE END IOF FIVE YEARS FROM THE DATE OF WHICH IT WAS FILED IN THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK EXCEPT, AS PROVIDED IN SUBDIVISION (b) OF SECTION 17920, WHERE IT EXPIRES 40 DAYS AFTER ANY CHANGE IN THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 17913 OTHER THAN A CHANGE IN THE RESIDENCE ADDRESS OF A REGISTERED OWNER. A NEW FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE FILED BEFORE THE EXPIRATION. EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 2014, THE FICTITIOUS BUSINESS NAME STATEMENT MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY THE AFFIDAVIT OF IDENTITY FORM. This statement expires on Nov 15, 2026 LOS ANGELES BAY NEWS OBSERVER (E) PUB: Nov 25, Dec 2, 9, 16, 2021
Thursday, December 2, 2021
The Valley’s News Observer A5
Facebook’s “We The Culture” Panel Discusses Black Portrayals in Mainstream News McKenzie Jackson California Black Media When Erica Cobb, co-host of the Daily Blast Live, first stepped into the world of mainstream news over two decades ago, she overheard a conversation in which an industry person considered Cobb the perfect minority for a particular role because, although she is Black, to them she “didn’t come across like a Black person” based on a stereotypes in their head. “Those convos now are few and far between because we have more seats at the table,” said Cobb, who is also a podcaster with a background in radio. She was referring to the growing numbers of Black faces appearing regularly in the news media. “The pipeline has opened for more people of color.” However, Cobb said, the news industry still needs more African Americans. Independent journalist Georgia Fort, the founder of BLCK Press, said the lack of Black professionals in newsrooms across the U.S. contributes to African Americans being portrayed in a negative way. “The media industry since its inception has capitalized on exploiting our stories and disproportionality portraying us in a negative light,” said Cobb, who identifies as biracial. “You can go back to blackface; even modern-day newscasts are saturated with Black mug shots,” she said. The current state of Black representation in the mainstream media was the subject of a recent online discussion hosted by Facebook’s “We The Culture,” a content initiative created and managed by a team of Black Facebook employees focused on amplifying content from Black creators. The social networking giant launched the platform in February with an inaugural class of over 120 creators specializing in news and social media content. Cobb and Fort were panelists on We The Culture’s video chat on how Blacks are depicted in mainstream media. The third panelist was Zyahna Bryant, a student activist, community organizer, and online content creator who is known for spearheading the movement to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in in Charlottesville, Va. The 53-minute discussion was moderated by Rushadd Hayard, a freelance web producer. The quartet’s webcast happened a year after the murder of George Floyd, an African American man who died after Derek Chauvin, a White former Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Video of Floyd’s death shined a light on the aggressive tactics law enforcement officers sometimes employ when engaging Black Americans. The horror of his violent murder sparked national conversations on racial inequity, motivating many businesses and organizations in the U.S. to support African American causes and take steps to increase diversity,
equity and inclusion in their organizations. The increase in Black representation in the news media was discussed when the topic turned to controversary surrounding Rachel Nichols, an NBA sportscaster on ESPN. In a July 2020 leaked recording, she appeared to be uncomfortable sharing hosting duties with Maria Taylor, another ESPN personality who is African American. In the recording, Nichols, who is White, suggested Taylor was promoted because she is Black. “A privileged woman like Nichols,” Fort said, “refusing to support – or even accept – the advancement of a person from a disenfranchised community like Taylor is a problem.” “You have people like Rachel, she wants something to be done as long as it doesn’t require her to make a sacrifice,” Fort continued. “In order for our nation to be more equitable, it is going to require all the Rachels to step aside and make space. Performative ally-ship is the best way I can describe her.” Cobb noted that Nichols, who has since been pulled from appearing on the sporting network but continues to be paid, put herself in the front of a perception in the industry that ESPN had a diversity issue. Bryant said media groups’ desires to increase the number of Blacks as employees are empty gestures if they don’t come with institutional change. “I noticed we needed more Black voices after the George Floyd incident,” she said. “After the entire summer of organizing and moving into the election cycle, I felt that there was a disconnect. Not just with White people talking about Black issues, but the media altogether not having their ear to the ground.” Hayard cited a 2019 Pew Research Center analysis that revealed that Black media professionals only makeup seven percent of newsroom staffers nationally. Cobb said she first realized more Black representation was needed in the media when former President Barack Obama, began his initial run for the country’s highest office and a controversy ignited around him attending the church of controversial pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “I was the only one speaking out in defense of Obama,” she said. “I remember my co-host turning off my mic and people calling in saying I was racist. I left in the middle of the show. A Black reporter from the Chicago Tribune called me and first asked if I was okay and secondly, what happened and how it went down, and if I thought it was racist.” The same realization came to Fort when she was assigned to cover the shooting of a Black man by a police officer for a news station. She was directed to pull up the criminal history of the man, but Fort also investigated the officer and found he had a litany of complaints against him, including racial-profiling ones. “This was omitted from the five o’clock news because
my White superiors didn’t feel it was relevant to the story,” she said. “I found myself being characterized in the newsroom as the angry Black woman.” Cobb said for more African Americans to be present in front of news cameras, more Blacks need to be in positions of power behind the camera, beyond just the editor and producer roles. Fort said a change in culture could also be helpful. “The industry standard is AP-style English and a certain image,” she said. “Not all Black people or people of color use AP English as their natural dialect, and we need
to stop expecting people to conform to that. Allow people to be their authentic selves. Why are we saying we want diversity, but we want people to conform? To me that’s not diversity.” When Bryant began her drive to get the confederate statue removed, a Black reporter interviewed her. She said talking with a person from the same race, from possibly a similar background, and who was empathetic helped the interview go smoother “I’m looking forward to seeing more journalists with their blackness on display,” Bryant said.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty in an airline baggage scam that resulted in more than $300,000 in fraudulent claims, federal prosecutors said. Pernell Anthony Jones, Jr., 31, of Kenner, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud, U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans said in a news release Tuesday. For each count, Jones faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan set sentencing for Feb. 24, 2022. According to court documents, beginning in 2015, Jones flew on several airlines using false identities. When he arrived at the destination airport, Jones then falsely claimed that his baggage was lost and requested reimbursement to compensate him for his loss.
Through the scheme, Jones submitted more than 180 false claims for lost luggage, requesting over $550,000 in reimbursement, Evans' office said. In total, the airlines paid over $300,000 in fraudulent claims, authorities said. On April 7, 2018, Jones was arrested at Dallas Love Airport while trying to go through screening with 36 fake driver's licenses and 47 credit cards under fictitious names, the news release said. He was arrested again in March 2020 while trying to pick up a reimbursement check at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. Law enforcement later searched his home and found 34 fraudulent driver's licenses, 21 fake work ID cards and a number of fraudulent airline employee badges with his photograph, prosecutors said.
Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty in Airline Baggage Scam
Features The Valley’s News Observer
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Ensuring Racial Equity by Expanding Internet Access Billionaire Robert F. Smith and other corporate leaders mount campaign to close the digital divide By Jose Marquez National President and CEO of TechLatino With protests having erupted in cities across the country over police violence targeting Black men and women, the civil rights and social justice movements have shot to forefront of U.S. politics in a way not seen since the 1960s. While much of the conversation rightly has centered on police brutality and the role law enforcement plays in American society, communities of color also are discriminated against in numerous other ways. Many Black Americans, Latinos and other people of color are given substandard educational opportunities, lack avenues to workforce training and advancement and, arguably most important in today’s tech-driven world, face a dearth of access to reliable, affordable broadband internet. Congress made a good first step in ameliorating this dire situation when it passed President Biden’s infrastructure bill, but the $65 billion allocation in broadband for all is hardly enough to close the digital divide. The gap in digital access is particularly wide in communities of color, where one in three families with children lack a high-speed internet connection at home — a rate of disconnection more than 50 percent higher than that of white families. The problem is exacerbated in areas across the South from Atlanta to Houston where 35 percent of Black adults lack any access to broadband at home. Lawmakers need to make sure that they include a broadband policy that guarantees no American is stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide. The private sector is already doing this with a little-known but ambitious effort like the Southern Communities Initiative. It is seeking to address the socio-economic challenges that African
Americans face throughout the region. And among the goals of this partnership is to expand broadband access across six metro areas throughout the South: Atlanta, Birmingham, Charlotte, Houston, Memphis, and New Orleans. The effort has the backing of some of the most powerful individuals in corporate America, including PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, Vista CEO Robert F. Smith
and BCG CEO Rich Lesser. We are not too late to bridge the digital divide, and the Southern Communities Initiative will almost certainly play an important role in helping accomplish that in communities like my hometown of Atlanta. But this important work cannot be left to private individuals and organizations alone. Lawmakers must do their part to
ensure that high-speed internet is available and affordable to every American, no matter where in the country they live. While policymakers in Washington have focused on getting broadband access to rural areas, we must also make sure that urban areas are not overlooked. Census data has shown that while there are approximately 5 million rural households without broadband access, this problem is three times as large in urban areas—with around 15 million urban or metro households without broadband. Affordable and ubiquitous access to high-speed internet, however, is just the starting point. We also must expand access to the hardware and software people need to take full advantage of all the internet has to offer and maintain an ecosystem of digital educators, repair workers, designers and other tech specialists who can keep improvements going long into the future. Guaranteeing that all Americans have broadband access would not only help close the digital divide but would also give the United States an edge in global competitiveness as it would bring millions of people more fully into the digital economy. One study from last year found that only about 30 percent of African Americans had access to broadband compared with about 60 percent of whites. There is a broad consensus from civil rights leaders to corporate heads to policymakers inside the Washington Beltway that broadband access is a right of every American. Lawmakers must take note and ensure that all Americans have the ability to log on. Jose Marquez is the national President and CEO of TechLatino: Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LISTA).
Lawmakers need to make sure that they include a broadband policy that guarantees no American is stranded on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Pioneering Black Golf Champ Dies at 87 By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent Lee Elder, a golfing pioneer, and the first Black player to compete in the Masters has died at 87. “It’s remarkable to look back on Lee’s life and career
and realize the hardships he endured and the sacrifices he made to reach golf ’s highest level,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. “To have the success he had while paving the way for others to dream big and achieve is a testament to the type
of man he was and how much talent he possessed. The TOUR is profoundly grateful for the career of Lee Elder, and we extend our sincere sympathies to his family.” Born in 1934 in Dallas, Texas, Elder took up golf to help his parents financially. He caddied at the all-White Tennison Park Golf Club in Dallas, but soon the golf pro began allowing Elder to play the course. In 1959, Elder joined the United Golfers Association In 1959, Elder joined the United Golfers Association and dominated the all-Black group. According to BlackPast.org, Elder won four Negro National Open Championships and an eye-opening 18 of the 22 tournaments in which he participated. Using the purses from those victories allowed Elder to participate in the 1967 qualifying school for the PGA TOUR. In 1971, Elder made history as the first Black player invited to participate in the South African PGA Tournament. “His participation in that event made this the first integrated sports event in South Africa since the establishment of the official Apartheid policy in 1948,” researchers at the Black Past wrote. However, they noted further that Elder and other Black golfers continued to face racial challenges at home. “Although the PGA Tour was officially open to African Americans, it was not friendly to them. Many tournaments would not allow Black golfers into the clubhouse and instead required that they change and eat in the parking lot,” the researchers wrote. However, in 1975, Elder made history again in Augusta, Georgia, when he was invited to compete at the Masters Open, the most prestigious tournament in golf. With his victory at the 1974 Monsanto Open, Elder
Lee Elder (Courtesy Photo)
automatically qualified for the Masters Open, but he also became the first Black player invited. Unfortunately, Elder missed the qualifying round in the tournament. Still, his entrance was an African American milestone covered by almost every major magazine and news program in the country, noted the Black Press. Elder played in five more Masters, won three PGA tournaments, and was named to the 1979 Ryder Cup Team. He had a combined 12 tournament victories on the PGA and Senior Tours, earning more than $1 million on each tour. However, his invitation to the Masters in 1975 proved that African Americans could compete at the highest levels of golf, the researchers continued. “Lee Elder was a pioneer, and in so many ways,” legendary golf champ Jack Nicklaus told Bill Fields during a PGATOUR.com interview. “Yes, he was the first Black player to compete in the Masters Tournament, but that simply underlined the hard work Lee put in to further the cause of everyone who has a dream to play on the PGA TOUR and perhaps thinks there were too many barriers before them. It was wonderful that the Masters Tournament and Augusta National paid a welldeserved tribute to Lee by inviting him to be an Honorary Starter on this last Masters. That morning, you could see the joy in Lee’s face, and Gary Player and I were honored to enjoy that moment with him. That memory will remain special for so many, including me, for many years to come. “Lee was a good player, but most importantly, a good man who countless people very well respected,” added Nicklaus. “The game of golf lost a hero in Lee Elder. Barbara and I send our heartfelt condolences to Lee’s wife Sharon and their entire family.”
Thursday, December 2, 2021
The Valley’s News Observer A7
Analysts: California Is Moving Into Next Budget Year With a $31 Billion Surplus Tanu Henry California Black Media
money on education.
California is expected to move into the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2022, with a whopping $31 billion surplus, according to estimates from the independent Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).
Salena Pryor, president of the California Black Small Business Association (BSBA) says she is encouraged by the investments the state has made to aid small businesses and to improve the overall economic outlook for Californians most impacted by the pandemic.
The LAO announced the anticipated surplus during a news briefing last week.
She hopes the state will use monies from the surplus to sustain some of its initial investments.
“Under our current law and policy approach, we estimate the general fund revenue will reach $202 billion in the budget year and result in a surplus of about $31 billion for that budget year,” said Gabriel Petek, Legislative Analyst of the State of California, referring to LAO’s projections for fiscal year 2022-23.
“There is still a lot more work to do. 41% of Black small businesses have closed permanently due to COVID-19, so further investments into start-ups and restarts would greatly benefit our community,” she said.
Petek said the large surplus reflects a number of trends. Among them are surpluses in the state current operating budget, money left in the economic reserve from the last fiscal year, higher revenues than projected for the last two years, etc. “Revenue collections have grown rapidly in recent months, coming in over $10 billion ahead of budget act expectations so far this year. Underlying this growth is a meteoric rise in several measures of economic activity,” LAO report reads. That windfall in the state reserve could mean a rebate for taxpayers or more money for education and other public spending. State spending is expected to reach a cap set by California voters through a ballot measure in 1979 called the Gann Limit. When that happens, the state is compelled to return money to taxpayers by lowering taxes, sending out rebates or spending
California has the strongest economy of any state in the country with an estimated Gross State Product of $3.0 trillion. If it were a country, California would be the 5th largest economy in the world. “California has no peers - continues to have no peers. We are world beating in terms of our economic growth,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, speaking at the California Economic Summit earlier this month. “In the last five years, no western democracy has outperformed the state of California. The United States has not ... Germany, Japan, the U.K. ... no other western democracy has outperformed this state in our economic output of 21% GDP over the last five years.”
The Valley’s News Observer
Hassan Haskins (25) of Michigan ran for 169 yards on 28 carries and was named Walter Camp Offensive player of the Week. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
Thursday, December 2, 2021
Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson (recorded seven tackles (5 solo), including three quarterback sack vs Ohio State. (Photo by Kirthman F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Michigan Players Earn Both Walter Camp Awards By Earl Heath Contributing Sports Writer It was about 8:00 am Pacific time in when former Michigan Great Charles Woodson was a special guest on FOX pre-game Noon Kick-off show. The Wolverines were about to take on Ohio State and they had not beaten the Buckeyes since 2011, that includes the past five years under current Coach Jim Harbaugh. Woodson, a Heisman winner himself, looked into the camera and told the World; “There’s something different about today’s game, I have been feeling it all week, I’ll tell you it’s something unusual I think they are going to do it today.” Not only did #6 Michigan get the win over second-ranked Buckeyes 42-27, two of it’s players swept the National Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of The Week honors. Woodson
was a W. CAMP Player of The Year in 1997. Running back HASSAN HAWKINS rushed for 169 yards (on 28 carries) and tied a school single-game record with five touchdowns for Wolverines. The senior from Eureka Senior High (St. Louis, MO.) at times overpowered and danced his way through the Buckeye defense Running his way to 16 first downs, helping the offense roll up 478 yards. “This day was amazing,” said Hawkins. “Everyone of my lineman played their hearts out.” On the defensive side AIDAN HUTCHINSON recorded seven tackles (5 solo), including three quarterback sacks, and one quarterback hurry. That type of play helped hold the Buckeyes to a season-low 64 yards rushing. He now has 13 sacks on the year
which is a team single season record. “We were so dominant,” said the senior from Plymouth, Michigan. “Offensively, defensively, the way the offense was moving the ball up and down the field. I don’t know how many yards they had but they were moving that thing. Defensively we gave up a couple of big plays which we knew we were going to do, but we got big in the Red Zone. I thought we played complimentary football.” The two earned BIG 10 honors and drew more praise from their head coach. “Hassan Haskins and Hutchinson are two guys that have carried this team on their backs all season long,” added Harbaugh. Now the Big Blue improved to (11-1, 8-1 BIG 10) and will face Iowa in the BIG 10 Championship game in Indianapolis
this week. WCFF NOTE: Hawkins and Hutchinson are the eighth and ninth Michigan players to earn Walter Camp National Offensive and Defensive Player of Week honors since 2004, and the first since former Wolverine linebacker Chase Winovich (Sept. 23, 2017). It is the second time since November 28, 2004 – former Syracuse wide receiver/ defensive back Diamond Ferri – that one school had both offensive and defensive Players of the Week. This is the 18th year that the Walter Camp Football Foundation will honor one offensive and one defensive player as its national Football Bowl Subdivision player of the week during the regular season. Recipients are selected by a panel of national media members and administered by the Foundation.
Rams Follow Bad Patterns in Loss
Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb catches a touchdown pass in front of Los Angeles Rams’ Troy Reeder (51) and Taylor Rapp (24) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
By Earl Heath Contributing Sports Writer The LA Rams are a good football team, but they have been giving in the last three games and the come up with that practice. While playing the teams latest game they spotted Green Bay an early lead on the way to a 36-28 loss. That’s the third week in a row they fell in the hole early. After trailing 10-0 the Rams (7-4) did make a move Mathew Stafford dropped back and hit Van Jefferson in stride on a post pattern as the third-year man maintained his balance then raced his way for a 79-yard score. Stafford next led the team on an 8-play 75-drive hitting Darryl Henderson with a six-yard strike. The Packers (9-3) has never lost consecutive games within the same season under Matt LaFleur’s three-year tenure. The have a bye this week and a 3½-game lead over Minnesota (5-6) in the NFC North. On the day Aaron Rodgers playing with an injured toe completed 28 of 45 passes for 307 yards. The reigning MVP threw TD Passes to Randall Cobb (7-yards) and a 5 yarder to AJ Dillion. “When I step on the field, I expect greatness,” said Rodgers, who says he fractured his pinky toe while working out during his quarantine after a positive COVID-19 test. “Anyone who’s a great competitor feels the same way. I don’t lean on excuses: not practicing, a little toe injury.”
On the first play of the fourth Stafford connected with Odell Beckum Jr, for a 54-yartd touchdown. It was his first TD in his second game as a Ram. OBJ finished the day with five catches for 81 yards. It was the ninth 50 plus yard play of the season which leads the NFL. Mathew Stafford went 21 of 38 for 302 yards with three touchdown passes. But he also lost a fumble to set up a touchdown and had an interception returned for a touchdown. Stafford has thrown a pick-6 in each of the last three games. “We’re going to continue to learn from these things, that’s the only thing that you can do,” Head Coach Sean McVay said. “But we’ve got to stop with some of these self-inflicted wounds.” In the third period JJ Kaski fumbled the ball while returning a punt, which was recovered by Bakersfield native Krys Barnes at the Rams 27. The defense tightened and held the Packers to a Mason Crosby 29-yard field goal that extended Green Bay’s lead to 3017. With 3:05 left the Packers Mason Crosby missed a 42 yarder his ninth miss of the season and that gave the Rams life. The Rams Matt Gay hit a 39-yard field goal but all hopes were lost when they failed to recover an on sides kick. The Rams will host Jacksonville this week at SoFi Stadium. RAM NOTES: Bakersfield native Krys Barnes had a 7 tackles vs the Rams tying his season high. The third-year veteran has 38 on the season.
Bruins Upend Cal in Season Finale By Earl Heath Contributing sports writer UCLA came to play it’s season finale against Cal. They jumped out to a lead, stumbled a bit before dominating the second half. At the final whistle the Bruins came away with a 4214 win in front of 36,156 at the Rose Bowl. Moments after a Nicholas Barr-Mira first quarter 41-yard field goal senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed a nine play 40-yard drive by hitting Kyle Phillips with a four-yard scoring pass to put the Bruins up 10-0. Cal quarterback Chase Garbers scored on a one yard run with 7:00 left in the second to give the Bears (4-7, 3-5 PAC-12) a 14-10 lead. From then on it was all UCLA. Kazmeir Allen who had 200 all-purpose yards last week ran it in from eight yards out to give the Bruins a 17-14 lead. The Bruins came out in the third period ready to play. After a pass interference call DTR hit senior tight end Greg Dulcich with a 29-yard touchdown pass his sixth of the season. Barr-Mira kicked a 46-yard FG his 21st of the season. With 8:53 left in the game Phillips caught a 4 yarder (team leading 10th) from DTR . The Bruins rolled up 282 yards on the ground. It marked the eighth time this season the team had 1two 100-yard rushers Zach Charbonnet (106 yards) and DTR (102) ran over 100 rushing yards in the game. The defense shut out it’s opponent in the second half for the second time this week and held the Golden Bears under 200 yards of total offense. “Our biggest concern going into the game ‘ said Head Coach Chip Kelly. “Was just, what would we get offensively? You had a new coordinator that was not in college last year. So, we spent a lot of time watching the [Denver] Broncos’ tape. I think that what we did was just play our offense and our players got a little bit more settled in the second game. And that’s what we did.”
Mitchell Ague and Paul Grattan Jr., were honored by the Agude was selected the Pac-12 Defensive Lineman of the Week. Grattan Jr. was tabbed as the Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week. (Photo: UCLA Athletics)
Thursday, December 2, 2021
The Valley’s News Observer A9
Inglewood’s Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony was Lit! with Major, Sy Smith, Mariachi Divas and J Boykin By Ricky Richardson Contributing Writer (Inglewood, CA.)- A large crowd of Inglewood residents and people from surrounding communities joined Inglewood Mayor James. T. Butts and City Councilmembers, George Dotson (District 1), Alex Padilla (District 2), Eloy Morales, Jr. (District 3), Dionne Faulk (District 4), City Clerk, Aisha Thompson and Chief of Police Mark Fonterotta for the City’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony. The festive program took place on Monday, November 29, 2021 at 6:30pm on the grounds of The Forum, 3901 W. Manchester Blvd. The Forum staff served attendees a welcomed cup of hot chocolate and seasonal cookies on this chilly evening. Adai Lamar, Radio Free 102.3FM served as host of the program to usher in the Holiday season in the City of Champions. Live entertainment was provided by a stellar line-up of performers, to spread Holiday cheer to those in attendance. Sax sensation J Boykin was the opening act. He came onstage wailing on “Walking in a Winter Wonderland. He continued with an original tune “Heaven,” and closed his crowd pleasing set with “Before I Let You Go.” FReSH Generation, of Faithful Central Bible Church delivered a set of Praise songs to remind us of The Reason for the Season. They performed “Treasured Lamb of God,” “Come Let
Major (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
Sy Smith (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
Santa Claus (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
J Boykin (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
Us Adore Him,” “He is So Wonderful,” and “He Is Worthy to be Praised.” Mariachi Divas, an outstanding all female Mariachi group, thrilled the crowd with a Latin tinged version of Rudolf The Red Nose Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Jingle Bells and capped off their set with “Feliz Navidad.” Vocalist Sy Smith was fabulous during her time in the spotlight. She performed “Snowflakes and Rockin’ Time,” “Christmas Time is Here,” a remixed and swinging version of “My Favorite Things,” and concluded with “Let’s Stay Together.” Elected officials, RAMPAGE and RAMS cheerleaders along with some local kids, flipped the switch to light the large, beautiful tree. Let it Glow! Vocalist Major spread an uplifting set of JOY and HOPE. “I’ll Play My Drums for You,” “Christmas is Better with You in It,” “He Got the Hold World in His Hands,” and closed his set with “This Is Why I Love You” that resonated so well with the attendees. Excitement was building up all evening for the special Holiday visit by Santa, who handed out a something special to the kids and posed for photos with guests. Santa reminded everyone that he is continuing to check his list twice, leading up to the Big Day!
The Valley’s News Observer
Thursday, December 2, 2021
A Vaccine Shot for Your Health on Small Business Saturday
Jan Robinson Flint, Black Women for Wellness and Dr. NanaEfua Afoh-Manin, MD, MPH, Co-Founder and CEO Shared Harvest Fund/ Medical and Innovation Officer-Shared Harvest Foundation. (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
By Ricky Richardson Contributing Writer (Los Angeles, CA.)- Shared Harvest|myCovidMD™ and Black Women for Wellness partnered together to bring Small Business Saturday block party and a vaccination pop-up and health fair to Leimert Park. This engaging event was held to promote the circulation of Black dollars as well as help community members protect themselves against COVID-19. Several hundred people came out on this beautiful, warm and sunny day in Southern California for Small Business Saturday block party and vaccination pop-up and health fair. The event was held on Saturday, November 27, 2021. The cozy popup took place on a small stretch of 11th Avenue, just north of Vernon. DJ Empanada got the program underway, spinning a soulful soundtrack of danceable tracks as attendees circulated throughout the event. Mother, daughter duo- Coach Rai and Coach HJ led the crowd in an engaging fitness class that exercised the entire body. This dynamic team also owe Fierce Period- Athletic & Leisure Apparel. A trio of talented musicians from the Inner-City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles teamed up to form a tight jazz trio. They performed a wonderful set of jazz tunes and a jazzy version of a popular tune. Their set list consisted of “Joy Spring,” “Nardis,” “Strasbourg/St. Denis,” ‘So Fresh, So Clean,” “and “Tenor Madness” to name a few. The trio featured Brian Hargrove on Keyboards, Terry Barnes on saxophone and Malachi Winston on drums. A wealth of information was available for all in attendance for today’s event. A panel of experts from the Shared Harvest|myCovidMD™ network Nicole Vick, Public Health Advocate and Christina Johnson, Non-Diet, Registered Dietitian took part in an educational and informative live fireside chat to encourage and educate the public about the COVID-19 pandemic, share information about becoming a small business owner and assist attendees to approach dieting from a different perspective. The panel was moderated by JB Manin, General Council, Shared Harvest Fund. Small Business Saturday was successful on a couple of levels. It was an opportunity to combine two aspects of health and well-being by offering a space for Black women business owners, without brick & mortar, to set up shop and invite a community of medical providers to offer physical health check-ins. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday would have passed when you read this post. On a positive note, the following Small Business Owners can be reached online, or through Social Media Platforms if you are looking to extend
the time that Black dollars circulate in the community, while shopping for something unique for that special someone in your life, even if that special someone happens to be you. Black Holiday Trivia; Fierce Period- Athletic & Leisure Apparel; DIFL- Did It For Love, Natural Handmade Skin Care; Kandi Coated Consultants; Talisa’s Treats- Homemade Organic Bath Treats; Mona Lynne LLC- Soaps & Bath Bombs and T-shirts; Resin 8 Vibes- Crystals, etc.; B.A.G.- Boss Ass Goddess, Self-care and Empowerment for Women; Summer Body Athletic Skin- Whipped Shea Butters, Scrubs and Rose Oils; Green Family Jewels LLC- Rhinestones Apparel & Accessories; Blinged Lifestyle- Jewelry; Nicole D. Vick- Pop-up Shop, T-shirts, books, hats; Hues of Africa- Coloring and Activity Book; Looks May Be Deceiving- Totes and Scarves; Fashionably Fit- A Healing Journey; Dee Things- Handmade items and ChocalatedGal Creations. The Small Business Saturday block party, COVID-19 vaccine pop-up and health fair featured holistic community medical providers- N.AM.I.- National Alliance on Mental Illness; Black Women for Wellness; A Web of Wellness, Covered Community. Finesse & Fadez offered free haircuts for kids; KBLA 1580 AM, Los Angeles County African American Employees Association were also in attendance. Shared Harvest|myCovidMD™ believes in vaccinating the entire ecosystem to support those most vulnerable in our communities. All participants were screened by qualified culturally competent health care providers. Vaccinations were administered by certified health professionals. Several hundred people received a dose of either Pediatric Pfizer (5-11 years old), Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. Shared Harvest Foundation launched the myCovidMD™ initiative as a tactical community centered emergency response to declining trust in the medical system and growing public health crisis facing disenfranchised neighborhoods nationwide. Shared Harvest Foundation help community members get access to testing, vaccines, digital health, and wrap-around social services in order to ensure that no one feels left behind. Black women for Wellness provide advocacy, community, and educational services to black women and girls since 1997. Black Women for Wellness (BWW) is a womencentered, community-based organization that offers in-person and virtual health and wellness programs to Black women and girls from across the diaspora. BWW highlight the resiliency and strengths of our culture, stand on Kadiatou Sibi- Certified Ayurveda Practitioner and a Reiki Practitioner. (Photo: Ricky Richardson)
Kick Tobacco For Mental Health Benefits By: Carol McGruder, Co-Founder and Co-Chair African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council It’s that time of the year again. During the holiday season, people will start to make their 2022 resolutions, and try to stick to them. While many might wait until New Year’s Day to start this process, there’s absolutely no harm in getting a head start. As co-founder of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council with decades of experience, I know there are many reasons why people need to stop smoking and vaping. But besides the obvious harmful physical effects, smoking is also bad for your mental health. Many people who smoke think it relieves stress. Unfortunately, nicotine in tobacco products or vapes can lead to increased stress, anxiety, irritability, and impulsivity, and quitting smoking can improve your mental health and well-being. The holidays can be especially chaotic so taking care of your mental and physical health this time of year is more important than ever. While it might be easy to reach for that cigarette, know there is a better way to manage stress and kick the habit. Kick It California, formerly the California Smokers’ Helpline, has been helping people quit using tobacco products for more than 30 years. With more than half of the people who reach out to Kick It reporting having at least one mental health issue, Kick Its comprehensive program focuses on behavior change methods that help adjust thinking and build confidence to make new, healthier habits stick. Three decades of research and results shows that people succeed when they have access to personalized programs and support like Kick It. If you are quit-curious, quit-ready or just need a little push to move forward, now is the time, and Kick it California is here to
help. They will meet you where you are in your process. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Kick It California’s new mobile friendly website, one-on-one coaching, enhanced tools, and proven methods are available to all Californians, and shown to double a tobacco user’s chance of quitting. I know it takes a village, a support system, to quit tobacco.
I also know that it will take many attempts, but the point is to keep trying. So rather than viewing relapse as a failure, people who smoke and their loved ones need to understand that it is part of the process. Or as Donnie McClurkin told us, “we fall down but we get up!” And participating in Kick it California is one big step to help you eventually get up and stay up! I encourage everyone who uses tobacco products to make it their resolution to quit tobacco and do it sooner rather than later. With lung health so important these days, if there was ever a time to quit tobacco, it’s now. The resources are free and within your grasp. Our community needs you healthy and strong. You can start your journey to a smoke free life today by visiting kickitca.org, texting “Quit Smoking” to 66819 or calling 1-800-300-8086. Happy New You!
Carol McGruder (Courtesy Photo)
Ready to Travel? Don’t Miss Out Get the REAL ID! Subscribe to the By Carrie Stanton The holidays are here and families are excited to get together and celebrate for the first time in over a year. Amid the pandemic, we’ve missed far too many Sunday and holiday dinners that have been a tradition for many families for generations. For our community, family dinner is about creating memories. For those families who will be traveling this holiday season, I encourage you to consider adding a REAL ID upgrade to your checklist when making your travel plans. The California DMV suggests changing your driver’s license or identification card to a REAL ID as federal laws will soon make it necessary to have either a passport, REAL ID, or other federally accepted forms of ID to board local flights and enter federal buildings. While getting a REAL ID isn’t required, it does make it easier to continue using your driver’s license to board a local flight or visit loved ones on military bases. To help make this change, the California DMV is offering free upgrades to people who renewed their license or ID card between March 2020 and July 2021 from now until Dec. 31, 2021. Protecting the health, safety and security of our communities is what’s important and the REAL ID provides an extra layer of protection when traveling. Applying is easy and can be started safely online at CaliforniaREALID.org. Complete your application, upload the required forms, and plan your DMV office visit to finish. Don’t forget your documents and confirmation code– they will be needed for your visit. Whether you are applying for a first-time California driver’s license or identification card or are up for renewal, a REAL ID may be the best option, especially if you plan to travel soon. Get back to creating those memories with your family. With shorter wait periods and an easy application process, now is the perfect time to start your REAL ID application so you’re ready to go when the time is right. As we continue to recover from the pandemic, many things in our lives are changing. In our community, many have started businesses, changed their lifestyles for the better and found new passions in life. Whatever is helping you get through these rough times is also playing a part in figuring out our new normal. Make the REAL ID part of that new normal.
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Carrie Stanton is Regional Administrator (Region 2, Bay Area) of the California Department of Motor Vehicles.