Sunday, October 25, 2020

Election 2020



November 3 is less than two weeks ago.

I don't need to tell you how many people gave their lives so that you could have the right to vote.  

I don't need to tell you that this is probably one of the most important, if not the most important elections of our lifetime.

While you may not agree with everything Joe Biden has done or said, the other guy is really not an option for us.

Kamala Harris would be the first Black woman Vice-President in this country's history.

If you've already voted, that's great.  Grab a friend or a neighbor, an elderly relative and make sure they get to exercise their rights too.

Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your community, do it for our country.

Vote this year like your life depends on it, because it does.


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Rest in Power, Chadwick Boseman - Wakanda Forever!





I hardly know what to say about the untimely passing of Chad Boseman.  

While he is most famously remembered for playing T'Challa in "Black Panther," I fell in love with the actor when I saw him in "42."  

His range was amazing.  He played Jackie Robinson in a way that made me feel like I had met the real Jackie Robinson when I left the theater, he brought James Brown to life in "Get On Up" and gave us another award winning performance as Thurgood Marshall in "Marshall."

I don't need to reiterate the things we've all read and heard since we received the sad news of his passing.  It's very hard to say goodbye to someone we all felt like we knew personally.   Although, we really didn't.  He felt like family.

It's  even harder thinking of how much he was going through these past four years and yet he did it all in silence and grace.

Wakanda Forever.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Support Black Business (And Drink GREAT Coffee While You're At It) - Red Bay Coffee Roasters



If it's not good, I don't post about it.  But, when it's GOOD and it's Black-Owned, I shout it from the Rooftops.

If you haven't tried, "Red Bay Coffee Roasters," what are you waiting for?

Visit the shop if you're in Oakland, order online if you're not!

"Beautiful Coffee to the People" (their words, not mine, but I completely concur!)

That's it.  That's all.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Book Review: "It's Not All Downhill from Here" by Terry McMillan



With so much going on in the past few months, weeks, days and all of 2020, there's nothing like getting lost in a good book.

I recently finished reading Terry McMillan's newest, "It's Not All Downhill From Here."

I enjoyed it so much that I hated for it to end.  In fact, I read it in "bites" so that I could savor every word on the page.  It's about growing old, coming of age, love, loss, self-empowerment and everything in between.  And it encouraged me that it's not all downhill from here.

If you're looking for a good book escape, it's well-worth the time.

"Loretha Curry’s life is full. A little crowded sometimes, but full indeed. On the eve of her sixty-eighth birthday, she has a booming beauty-supply empire, a gaggle of lifelong friends, and a husband whose moves still surprise. True, she’s carrying a few more pounds than she should be, but Loretha is not one of those women who think her best days are behind her—and she’s determined to prove wrong her mother, her twin sister, and everyone else with that outdated view of aging wrong. It’s not all downhill from here.But when an unexpected loss turns her world upside down, Loretha will have to summon all her strength, resourcefulness, and determination to keep on thriving, pursue joy, heal old wounds, and chart new paths. With a little help from her friends, of course." (from Penguin Books)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

OAKLAND AFRICAN AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ESTABLISHES RESILIENCY RELIEF PROGRAM FOR MEMBERS IMPACTED BY COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT:
SANDRA VARNER, VARNER PR
510-910-5652
varnerpr@sbcglobal.net


May 22, 2020, Oakland, CA – Leadership of the Oakland African American Chamber of  Commerce (OAACC), has established a resiliency relief program to assist its members affected by the COVID-19 health pandemic, announced Chairwoman Shonda Scott and President Cathy Adams. The OAACC Resiliency Relief Program will be funded by contributions from supporters committed to the solvency and survival of local African American businesses that are members of the organization (www.oaacc.org).

OAACC conducted an internal survey within its membership to assess the impact of COVID-19; results varied from severe need to no impact, according to Lynell Bevels, OAACC’s Community Engagement Partner. “Many of our businesses said they were happy that we reached out to them to see how things were going.  Further, they let us know that the outreach is a source of encouragement along with offsetting any financial shortfalls we could assist with.  It underscores what we know about the African American community, overall, that one size does not fit all despite skewed perceptions.  Some of our members have great need others do not.”

Based on expressed need and the level of support received, the Resiliency Relief Program will serve as a temporary stop gap.  Cynthia Jones, an advisor to OAACC’s Resiliency Relief Program Task Force describes the application process as such, “In an effort to support local small businesses disrupted by COVID-19, that are required to Shelter In Place (SIP)    in compliance with Federal orders, OAACC’s Resiliency Relief Program is designed to provide funding and support to members with an expressed need. This relief program is a direct response to the immediate crisis, currently in place.”

Synopsis of the OAACC Resiliency Relief Program--

Thus, and in response, Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC) developed a Call to Action Advisory Council from its’ African American business community of entrepreneurs and small business owners to develop a relief program that will heed the call and respond accordingly. 

The OAACC Leadership Team will perform robust fund development to amass a war chest of resources that will be GRANTED to our small, African American and/or minority businesses, which will assist -- financially and emotionally, during these unprecedented times -- with ongoing business expenses to include: payroll, office rent, goods, services and related expenditures. 

The grants are subject to eligibility requirements.

While we recognize that these grants will in no way make up for all of the financial losses experienced by many of our African American business and community membership, the intent is to provide relevant short term relief.  

Grants will be made on a first come first serve basis to businesses whose application meets the eligibility criteria. There is a limited allocation of money subject to funds raised.

Grant applications for the Resiliency Relief Program are now being accepted through June 20, 2020.  Go to www.oaacc.org and click the Resiliency Fund tab.



“The Chamber has been relentless in addressing the needs of our membership.  We are doing all we can to assist them during this critical time. Although some of our businesses were able to receive SBA Payroll Protection Program (PPP) funding, some did not meet all of the requirements.  This program will help us support members that fall into that gap we aim to fill.  We are striving to make our entire community whole, states Chairwoman Shonda Scott.



Federal funds made available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and/or the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), “somehow didn’t make it onto the financial statements of our African American businesses most in need,” explains President Cathy Adams.



Adams concludes, “The African American business community will survive this health crisis but the degree of our recovery will be determined by the financial resources and healthcare services made available.  Before we were staring COVID-19 in the face, the Black community was swimming upstream against a current of inequities and insufficient services to balance the quality of life across racial demographics.  Nonetheless, we have pushed forward.  The goal now is to recover, equally, during and on the other side of this debilitating economic and health crisis.”


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Quarantine Hobbies- Cookin' with Coolio


I'll be honest.  I've been so preoccupied with Covid, that I have been unable to write.  

What is there to say that hasn't been said?  Be safe.  Wash your hands.  Stay inside.  Social distance.  Pray.

This morning, I had such cabin fever that I went into the garage to sort through some old books.  Since I can't leave the house, I figured there might be a few favorites worth reading again.

I stumbled upon "Cookin' with Coolio," a cookbook that Coolio (yes, that Coolio) put out years ago. Like ten years ago.

As I flipped through the pages, I thought, 'well when life gives you lemons, make "Kung Fu Chicken."