African arts showcase at UC Berkeley

The spirit of Africa was alive at the African Arts Society's "Showcase" on November 20 at UC Berkeley.

Ready to Learn Fun Fair

Children enjoyed face painting, legos and storytelling at the Ready to Learn Fun Fair at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland.

Occupy Oakland calls for West Coast Port Shutdown

Organizers say Port owners are "1%." Port begs to keep the Ports Open for 99% workers.

Oakland Labor Day BBQ hosts good time for 'fam bam'

The "I am Oakland" collective hosted the Labor Day Fam Bam BBQ at Mosswood Park on September 6.

Protest against censorship of Palestinian Children's Art

In response to censorship of Palestinian children's art by an Oakland art museum, dozens came out to protest in Oakland.

RIP Peabo Wellington

College of Alameda student Jepeabo Wellington was murdered days before the school year began.

Students gain college acceptance at Black College Fair

Hundreds of young people attended the third annual Black College Fair at Laney College, the second year the Oakland community college has hosted the event.

Public Employees Salaries

This database lists salaries of all public employees of the Peralta Community College District. Consultant and contractor pay was not included.

Click here to load this Caspio Bridge DataPage.
You can search the database by an employee's first or last name, by department or job title, or based upon salary.

This data represents pay received in the 2009 calendar year. The data was obtained by The Black Hour through a California Public Records Act request.

If you have any concerns about this data, email us at theblackhour(at)gmail(dot)com.

Former Laney College President appointed Chancellor in Central Valley

Former Laney College President Dr. Deborah Blue was appointed Chancellor of the State Center Community College District. The Central Valley district includes Fresno City College and Reedley College.

"Dr. Blue possesses the leadership skills and qualities that will serve the District well as we move forward in these challenging times for California community colleges," said Board President Patrick Patterson.

Blue was selected after a nationwide search conducted by the American Association of Community College Trustees, according to the district. After a series of public forums with two other finalists, trustees selected her after a site visit to the Contra Costa Community College District. Blue is currently vice-chancellor of district wide planning and educational Services.

Prior to her appointment with the Contra Costa Community College District, she served as Vice President for Policy and Research for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and President of Laney College in Oakland, California.

Blue was said to have left Laney College on less than stellar terms. Trustees criticized some ACCJC members, including Blue, for having a "vendetta" against Peralta, according to the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Blue's husband is former West Valley-Mission Chancellor Stan Arterberry.

Photo courtesy of the Contra Costa.

Arizona sets dangerous precedent for racial profiling in border states

By Bradford J. Howard
Special to

In the mid-19th century, when slavery was still overtly present in the U.S., African-Americans who were granted freedom prior to the aftermath of the Civil War were often given “freedom papers.” Freedom papers served as written documents that proved certain African-Americans were not slaves and symbolized a former slave’s transition into a new phase of life. But as more and more slaves began to run away from their plantations and, consequently, Fugitive Slave Acts were implemented and enforced, freedom papers gained even more significance — in many cases, they became a sole determinant of how an African-American might be treated and often served as a literal decider of life and death.

On Friday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer officially signed into state law Senate Bill 1070, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Neighborhoods Act,” which requires immigrants to carry their alien registration documents on their person at all times. Additionally, it allows state law enforcement to question individuals “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

The most staunch supporters of the law insist that the state of Arizona is merely picking up where the federal government has slacked off in terms of addressing illegal immigrant and border control problems. Brewer herself contends that the law is ultimately looking out for the safety of Arizonans and that the law is neither concerned with nor guided by racial profiling.

It’s hard to believe this stance, however, when a great amount of effort is being put into explaining what the law is not, but substantially less is being put into explaining what it is. The very fact that Brewer felt a need to clarify in her official statement Friday that she would not tolerate racial discrimination in Arizona — coupled with the need to issue an executive order “to develop training” so Arizona law enforcement officers can appropriately implement the law — suggests her understanding that this law has the potential to be a discriminatory practice.

Furthermore, it goes without saying that the law enforcement officers, regardless of how much training they’re given, will almost certainly always be looking for Latino-identifying individuals under this law.

It gives Arizona police the right to make traffic stops, not-so-random stops on the sidewalk and even to pull aside in a grocery store anyone who looks “illegal enough.” What constitutes that? Does this mean that the Latino individual sitting on a curb will be asked to show his green card while a non-Latino who is professionally dressed won’t be?

Arizona’s governance is setting a dangerous precedent. First, Arizona passing this law gives other states a chance to pass similar laws, and more than likely, it will be the states closest to the Mexican border (Texas, Nevada and California).

Second, it creates a legal justification to rely on stereotypes. When someone says “illegal immigrant” or “undocumented worker” in the U.S., the image that comes to mind is of someone Latino or someone who looks Latino. This will no doubt play into how Arizona law enforcement will determine whom to “stop to determine their immigration status.”

Finally, it puts the immigration debate in a complicated place because assessment of citizenship via race trumps an actual conversation about immigration laws.

There is no equal protection under the law when there is an unequal enforcement of the law. It is undeniable that Arizona’s new law is racially biased and presents a modern-day manifestation of having to show one’s freedom papers. Only now, the burden is on those who look like immigrants, because you can bet anyone who doesn’t look the part won’t be asked anything.

As citizens of this country, we should aspire to have a serious conversation about the need for effective immigration reform. A “compelling interest in cooperative enforcement of federal immigration laws,” to borrow the words Brewer used in her statement on Friday, in Arizona and elsewhere should not come at the cost of the dignity and rights of someone who doesn’t look American enough.

Tim Wise: What if the Tea Party was Black?

Tim Wise at Laney College in Oakland, CA

Tim Wise spoke at Laney College in February 2010. Read the article or watch the video.
By Tim Wise
Special to

Let’s play a game, shall we? The name of the game is called “Imagine.” The way it’s played is simple: we’ll envision recent happenings in the news, but then change them up a bit. Instead of envisioning white people as the main actors in the scenes we’ll conjure - the ones who are driving the action - we’ll envision black folks or other people of color instead. The object of the game is to imagine the public reaction to the events or incidents, if the main actors were of color, rather than white. Whoever gains the most insight into the workings of race in America, at the end of the game, wins.

So let’s begin.

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans? Because, after all, that’s what happened recently when white gun enthusiasts descended upon the nation’s capital, arms in hand, and verbally announced their readiness to make war on the country’s political leaders if the need arose.

Photo: O Read Daily

Imagine that white members of Congress, while walking to work, were surrounded by thousands of angry black people, one of whom proceeded to spit on one of those congressmen for not voting the way the black demonstrators desired. Would the protesters be seen as merely patriotic Americans voicing their opinions, or as an angry, potentially violent, and even insurrectionary mob? After all, this is what white Tea Party protesters did recently in Washington.

Imagine that a rap artist were to say, in reference to a white president: “He’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun.” Because that’s what rocker Ted Nugent said recently about President Obama.

Imagine that a prominent mainstream black political commentator had long employed an overt bigot as Executive Director of his organization, and that this bigot regularly participated in black separatist conferences, and once assaulted a white person while calling them by a racial slur. When that prominent black commentator and his sister — who also works for the organization — defended the bigot as a good guy who was misunderstood and “going through a tough time in his life” would anyone accept their excuse-making? Would that commentator still have a place on a mainstream network? Because that’s what happened in the real world, when Pat Buchanan employed as Executive Director of his group, America’s Cause, a blatant racist who did all these things, or at least their white equivalents: attending white separatist conferences and attacking a black woman while calling her the n-word.

Imagine that a black radio host were to suggest that the only way to get promoted in the administration of a white president is by “hating black people,” or that a prominent white person had only endorsed a white presidential candidate as an act of racial bonding, or blamed a white president for a fight on a school bus in which a black kid was jumped by two white kids, or said that he wouldn’t want to kill all conservatives, but rather, would like to leave just enough—“living fossils” as he called them—“so we will never forget what these people stood for.” After all, these are things that Rush Limbaugh has said, about Barack Obama’s administration, Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, a fight on a school bus in Belleville, Illinois in which two black kids beat up a white kid, and about liberals, generally.

Imagine that a black pastor, formerly a member of the U.S. military, were to declare, as part of his opposition to a white president’s policies, that he was ready to “suit up, get my gun, go to Washington, and do what they trained me to do.” This is, after all, what Pastor Stan Craig said recently at a Tea Party rally in Greenville, South Carolina.

Imagine a black radio talk show host gleefully predicting a revolution by people of color if the government continues to be dominated by the rich white men who have been “destroying” the country, or if said radio personality were to call Christians or Jews non-humans, or say that when it came to conservatives, the best solution would be to “hang ‘em high.” And what would happen to any congressional representative who praised that commentator for “speaking common sense” and likened his hate talk to “American values?” After all, those are among the things said by radio host and best-selling author Michael Savage, predicting white revolution in the face of multiculturalism, or said by Savage about Muslims and liberals, respectively. And it was Congressman Culbertson, from Texas, who praised Savage in that way, despite his hateful rhetoric.

Imagine a black political commentator suggesting that the only thing the guy who flew his plane into the Austin, Texas IRS building did wrong was not blowing up Fox News instead. This is, after all, what Anne Coulter said about Tim McVeigh, when she noted that his only mistake was not blowing up the New York Times.

Imagine that a popular black liberal website posted comments about the daughter of a white president, calling her “typical redneck trash,” or a “whore” whose mother entertains her by “making monkey sounds.” After all that’s comparable to what conservatives posted about Malia Obama on last year, when they referred to her as “ghetto trash.”

Imagine that black protesters at a large political rally were walking around with signs calling for the lynching of their congressional enemies. Because that’s what white conservatives did last year, in reference to Democratic party leaders in Congress.

In other words, imagine that even one-third of the anger and vitriol currently being hurled at President Obama, by folks who are almost exclusively white, were being aimed, instead, at a white president, by people of color. How many whites viewing the anger, the hatred, the contempt for that white president would then wax eloquent about free speech, and the glories of democracy? And how many would be calling for further crackdowns on thuggish behavior, and investigations into the radical agendas of those same people of color?

To ask any of these questions is to answer them. Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about. The ability to threaten others, to engage in violent and incendiary rhetoric without consequence, to be viewed as patriotic and normal no matter what you do, and never to be feared and despised as people of color would be, if they tried to get away with half the shit we do, on a daily basis.

Game over.

This article appeared on originally. Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. Wise has spoken in 48 states, on over 400 college campuses, and to community groups around the nation. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and has trained physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. His latest book is called Between Barack and a Hard Place. Wise spoke at Laney College in February 2010. Read the article or watch the video.

East Oakland Earth Day celebration for Yo Mama

Marching for Environmental Justice at Love Yo Mama Earth Day in East Oakland
Weaving health and environmental justice, Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) held the second annual ‘Love Yo Mama’ Earth Day in East Oakland on April 24.

“Green is Good for the Hood,” was this years theme. The unique, distinctly Black and Brown celebration pushes young people and their families to organize to address environmental issues and make healthier food choices.

Photo: Reginald James/

Myrtle Washington wants "Green Jobs for the Hood" at Love Yo Mama Earth Day on April 24.
The program began at Tassafaronga Recreation Center with a rally focusing on the environmental conditions of East Oakland, especially the Hegenberger Corridor. Two years ago, CBE, along with Merritt College students, studied the corridor and found high levels of airborne toxins due to a high level of diesel truck factories and heavy-industry sites. About 125 people gathered in a large circle in front of the park’s playground.

At high noon, a parade through the streets of Deep East Oakland began. Led by African drummers on the back of a flatbed truck and elementary students from Acorn Woodland on foot, followed students from Castlemont High School and Youth Uprising, the people marched through the streets chanting, “Green is Good for the Hood.” As part of the Black and Brown solidarity, people also chanted, "Salud primero/No importante el dinero," which means, "Health first, Money is not important."

A few people from the neighborhood joined in the parade, including one woman who heard the drums and came outside with her own tambourine. The Scraper Bikes held up the rear of the parade, with Michael Jackson’s, “Earth Song,” blasting out of the speaker box of Tyrone “Baby Champ” Stevenson’s three-wheeler.

The parade ended at Acorn Woodland elementary a half-mile away. After a group photo, there were youth performances and a health fair with a variety of vendors and organizations shared information about different environmental programs.

Vendors included, Kijiji Grows, Aquaponics; Transform, Communities for a Better Environment, Rising Sun Energy Center, Assembly Member Sandre Swanson’s Office and East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC).

The performances at the amphitheater began with Xiuhcoati (Fire Serpent), a group of Aztec dancers payinghomage to the ancestors and this land’s original inhabitants. Other performances included a drill team from EmCompasse Academy, Praise Dancers from Master Seals Baptist Church, the Scraper Bike King and Guaribo, a Puerto Rican Bomba dance group. All of the performances encouraged crowd participation, through singing, clapping and dance.

DJ Premier Salute to Keith "Guru" Elam - Music Monday

In a salute to legendary Hip Hop artist Guru (Keith Elam), this Music Monday is from DJ Premier. Guru and Primo founded Gangstarr in 1987. Rest in Peace, Guru.

Black organizations, residents to convene at Merritt College

Amidst state budget cuts, soaring unemployment rates and the barrage of doom and gloom news coming out of East Bay communities, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and several local groups have organized “African American Organizations Making Connections” taking place Saturday, May 1.

Supervisor Keith Carson

African American Organizations Making Connections
Saturday, May 1
Merritt College
8 am. to 2 p.m.

RSVP- Facebook
More info
The community forum will take place at Oakland’s Merritt College. The program includes members from various organizations who will share best practices and challenges, initiate strategic partnerships and take advantage of the opportunity to network and identify points of collaboration to leverage scarce resources.

“Over the past year with budget cuts, we continue to look to strategic partnerships with like-minded organizations, in efforts to streamline our program delivery and maintain high standards of service to our clients,” said Pastor Raymond E. Lankford, co-founder of Healthy Communities. “This is not only important to the success of these organizations, but it is crucial to the survival of our residents.

Several hundred attendees from community, youth and faith-based organizations, county agencies, businesses and more will take part in the forum.

Organizations and agencies currently taking part in the planning for the event include the Office of Supervisor Keith Carson; Alameda County Probation Department; MPCAH Faith Partners Collaborative; Alameda County Public Health Department, Maternal, Paternal Child & Adolescent Health Programs; 100 Black Men of the Bay Area; National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc., Oakland Bay Area Chapter; Healthy Oakland; Berkeley Organizing Congregations for Action; African American Studies, Merritt College; Black Women Organizing for Political Action; Berkeley Youth Alternatives; Youth Radio; African American Business Exchange; Good News in Oakland; Black Hour Radio; The Mentoring Center; and Charles Houston Bar Association.

Scheduled to speak to participants are Congresswoman Barbara Lee; Assemblymember SandrĂ© Swanson; and Youth Movement Records Executive Director Ryan Nicole Peters, who will facilitate a youth panel discussion. A keynote presentation will be delivered by Dr. Julia Hare, who will discuss “The Art of Building Strategic Partnerships.”

“African American Organizations Making Connections” is a free event open to youth and adults. Light refreshments will be served and there will be free childcare on site. Merritt College is located at 12500 Campus Drive in Oakland.

To register visit Making Connections. For more information or to volunteer at the event, call (510) 272-6695. Parking details - $1 for the day – can be downloaded.

East Oakland hosts second annual 'Love Yo Mama' Earth Day

Second Annual Love Yo Mama Earth Day will be held April 24 in East Oakland

Youth lead environmental justice march in East Oakland during 'Love Yo Mama' Earth Day
Youth lead 2009 environmental justice march in East Oakland
Come celebrate Mother Earth on Saturday, April 24 with Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), in partnership with ACORN Woodland Elementary and Tassafaronga Recreation Center, at the second annual "Love Yo Mama" Earth Day event in East Oakland.

The theme for 2010 is "Green is Good for the Hood."

Love Yo Mama begins at 11 a.m. with a rally highlighing environmental justice and health issues in East Oakland at the Tassafaronga Recreation Center. There will be a parade from noon to 1 p.m. with Scraper Bikers, drummers and youth dancing. After the march, there will be a health fair, vendors, youth performances, speakers and more at ACORN Woodland Elementary until 6 p.m..

Guests include the Rev. Daniel Buford from Allen Temple Baptist Church, the Rev. Larry Ashley from Cosmopolitan Baptist Church, Encompass Academy, Danza Azteca Cuauhtonal, Los Bomberos and more.

Tassa(faronga) is located at 975 85th Ave. ACORN Woodland is located at 1025 81st Ave., Oakland.

For more info, call (510) 302-0430, ext. 21, or visit

Laney College to host sustainability conference

Laney College will host the fourth annual Sustainable Peralta conference on Friday, April 23.

If you like this, you will love East Oakland's Second Annual "Love Yo Mama" Earth Day on Saturday, April 24.
“Ideas for Action” is a day-long conference for students and faculty, local organizations and activists, focusing on sustainable programs at Laney College.

Visit for more information, registration. The conference is free and will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Laney College in Oakland.

BART fires second officer involved with shooting of Grant

Protester calls for criminal charges against BART officer Tony Pirone during April 8 demonstration at Embarcadero BART Station
Photo: Flickr User

Protester calls for criminal charges against BART officer Tony Pirone during an April 8 demonstration at Embarcadero BART Station. Pirone was fired Thursday.
By Reginald James Editor

The BART police officer accused of punching Oscar Grant in the face and calling him a racial epithet moments before his death on New Year's Day 2009 was fired Thursday.

Officer Tony Pirone, who called Grant a "Bitch Ass Nigger," was also seen in a video attacking Grant. Pirone was the officer kneeling on Grant's back when then-BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle shot Grant in the back. Grant later died.

Mehserle was charged with murder and had his trial moved to Los Angeles. The trial is scheduled to begin in June.

Daschel Butler, interim BART police chief, made the decision to fire Pirone Thursday. Last week, Butler announced a temporary ban on the BART police force's use of Tasers.

Pirone is the second BART police officer to be fired in connection with the shooting of Grant. Last month, Pirone's partner Marysol Domenici was also fired. They were the first to arrive on the scene at the Fruitvale BART Station on New Year's Day 2009 when Grant was killed.

On April 8, 200 protesters disrupted the evening commute at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco to demand the firing of Pirone, along with the disbanding of BART police.

Marysol Domenici and Tony Pirone
Photo Credit: KTVU

Marysol Domenici and Tony Pirone, accomplices to the 2009 New Year's Day shooting of Oscar Grant, have both been fired by BART in the last month.
Former BART officer Johannes Mehserle has been charged with murder.
With the firing of Pirone, three of the officers involved with the death of Grant are no longer on the force.

BART police officer Emery Knudtson, who was present at the April 8 demonstration -- but was taunted until he left the platform -- is still on the force. Pirone, and Domenici were placed on paid administrative leave since last year's shooting. Some estimate the expense of keeping those officers on the payroll for 14 or more months to be upwards of $200,000.

BART reached a settlement with Grant's daughter for $1.5 million in January. Due to accrued interest, it is estimated to equal more.

Neither Butler or BART spokesman Linton Johnson could be reached for comment. But BART announced earlier today a new police bike patrol service in honor of Earth Day.

It is also expected that BART will name a permanent chief this week. Embattled former chief Gary Gee was allowed to retire without incident last year.

In an email, BART Chief Spokesperson Linton Johnson wrote, "I can simply say that Mr. Pirone is no longer an employee with the District effective immediately."

On, a statement from Butler said, "I have announced to my staff that Officer Tony Pirone is no longer employed by the District. Mr. Pirone’s last day of employment was today."

Original KTVU report implicating other officers:

Oakland gang injunction encourages racial profiling, gentrification

By Reginald James Editor
In a bold cape-crusading, crime-fighting move, Oakland is seeking a legal injunction to restrict the activities of alleged gang members within a 100-block area of North Oakland.

Gang injunctions are court orders that attempt to reduce crime by prohibiting gang members from certain activities.

If approved by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, it will lead to increased racial profiling in Oakland.

Members of the North Side Oakland (NSO) alleged gang "terrorize our community, intimidated witnesses and recruited children into their criminal enterprise," Oakland City Attorney John Russo contends. He adds, "They are part of a malevolent force that has crippled our city for decades, and continues to hold Oakland back today."

Oakland has never been known for Black gangs. But that changed in June 2008.

Over 400 police officers from 15 agencies took part in, "Operation Nutcracker." The massive, military-style raid of the Acorn Housing projects in West Oakland, which targeted the alleged Acorn gang, created uproar. The flames were fumed when California Attorney General Jerry Brown supported the heavy-handed raid, calling the alleged gang members "urban terrorists."

Last fall, Discovery Channel continued the gang witch hunt with its sensational series, "Gang Wars: Oakland." The show claimed Oakland had 10,000 gang members. Based on U.S. Census data, that means one in 40 Oakland residents, or one person in each of my classes at Laney College is a gangster.

Oakland police will gain sweeping powers to label anyone as a gang member, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Since gang injunctions go through civil court, not criminal, people will not be provided an attorney. This will make it difficult to challenge being labeled a gang-banger.

Gang injunctions are used in San Francisco where, coincidentally, tens of thousands of Black residents have been displaced in past decades. Numerous Black residents in southeast San Francisco were labeled as gang members, preventing them from everyday activities such as talking to people they grew up with. While other factors such as employment and educational opportunities played a part in the, "Black Exodus," policies like gang injunctions work hand-in-hand to promote gentrification, or to remove "undesirable" residents.

And in a city not known for gangs, one must wonder: Does Oakland want to label people as gang members for "gang enhancement" charges to feed the prison industrial complex? Or, are there additional federal and state monies available if Oakland creates a gang problem to combat?

Violence is a serious concern in Oakland, but studies show that gang injunctions are not effective at reducing violent crime. However, they are effective at increasing racial profiling and violating people's Constitutional rights.

One of the Slave Codes (laws that prohibited enslaved Africans from certain activities) prevented three or more Africans from gathering together. Those named in the injunction will also be subject to curfews, and not be able to associate with other alleged gang members.

If this experiment works, it will be expanded and used in other parts of Oakland, Russo has said.

Oakland Police's Strategic Framework (Page 5) even lists the East Bay Dragons, an East Oakland Motorcycle Club, as a gang.

It's young Black folks being criminalized now, but you might be next to be labeled a gang member.

Peralta Student Election Guide

After careful deliberation, The Black Hour is sharing our 2010-2011 Election Guide.

There are a number of candidates for Student Trustee, ASLC President and there is a very important (and confusing) ballot measure. Here are our suggestions:

Election Guide
Proposition A
No. "two one year terms"

Student Trustee
No endorsement

ASLC President
Dawna Williams

Publicity Commissioner
Brandy Smith

Leonard Hutton
District Wide Elections
Proposition A: Extending Term Limits for Student Trustees
No. Do not extend term limits for Student Trustees. This proposition is undemocratic, and emerged in an undemocratic fashion. Not only that, it appears very ambiguously on the ballot.

The Black Hour urges you to vote in favor of keeping terms at a "maximum of two one-year terms."

Student Trustee - No endorsement.
Not only did all of the candidates fail to achieve the required signatures to qualify for the ballot, but we believe Black students will have to push all these students into action.
Although we were thoroughly impressed by Jurena Storm's responses to our questionnaire; we were concerned by her lack of a response to concerns about a major issue among African American students. We appreciate her willingness to represent all students; however, we realize that Black students will have to push her as they would any other student to get our agenda realized.
Our committee does not support extending term limits for Student Trustees. For an incumbent, we did not feel she adequately answered our questions. So, although we appreciated incumbent Yvonne Thompson's response to our last question, we believe it is time for her to pass the torch and allow another student the opportunity.
Rita Mouton-Patterson and Darnice Davis did not respond to our questionnaire.

Laney College
ASLC President - Dawna Williams
Vote for Dawna Williams. Williams was the only candidate that responded to our survey; and from what we can tell, she is the only one actively campaigining. Although other students have numerous signs throughout the campus, she is actively speaking to students. In fact, she has done so throughout the semester, not only in her campus job as a counselor, but through her role in the Alpha Lambda organization and her "News you can Use" (tri-weekly campus announcements).

Publicity Commissioner - Brandy Smith
We are confident that Smith will creatively, actively work to share information with the student body.
Disclosure: Smith is a photographer for The Black Hour

Senator - Leonard Hutton

(Click on the names above to read their responses to our survey)

Hal Linton "I'd Rather Have Mind Control" - Music Monday

Barbadian artist Hal Linton is a name you may want to remember. Following in the footsteps of Rhianna by signing to Motown two years ago, check out his song, "Mind Control." (Can't wait for the video)

I'd Rather Have Mind Control, by Hal Linton

ASLC Publicity Commissioner Brandy Smith

Brandy Smith

Position: Publicity Commissioner
Major: Social Science
GPA: 3.44

Why are you running for ASLC?
The reason i am running for Publicity commissioner is to tighten up my communication skills while actively advocating for the students issues and rights. By ensuring that the transparency is adhered to between Faculty, and the Peralta district and anyone for that matter that would like to know what it is that the students are in need of and also what the students stand for. I will serve as the formal voice for the diversity of Laney College.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position?
I don't think that you need much experience for my position you just need to be able to empathize with the students and relay their message with the same passion. I can definitely sympathize with them because i am going thru it with them.

What are your top three (3) priorities if elected?
  1. Effective communication between the faculty and the students
  2. The Needs of the students highly publicized and adhered to;
  3. More gained recognition for the achievements of the Underpaid staff and students.

What does leadership mean to you?Leadership to me means having the ability to critically assess a situation prior to making a judgement that affects many. Standing by all decisions rendered and remaining open to constructive elements to constantly improving situations and self.

Laney College is considered to be a very diverse campus. Is diversity at an educational institution important? Why?I think that diversity in college institutions are detrimental to your college experience, it allows ones views, thoughts, and behaviors to be altered, shared, and a compassion is developed for change. it both encourages and motivates, because diversity affords a individuals the ability to function on higher levels in society and contributes to successful career transitions.

Many students at Laney College, particularly Black students, claim to have difficulties with financial aid. Do you have any ideas/plans to increase students' access to financial aid opportunities?
My idea is to incorporate more communication with financial aid specialists having them hold bi-weekly Q & A sessions. building relationships with them so that the students are better equipped to troubleshoot their individual situations.
-Also more financial aid workshops extending beyond just applying going more into detail about what exactly they are filling out so that they are conscience of what the consequences and benefits are to certain things that need to be done to ensure your success with funding.
-opening up more positions for financial aid work-study options to the studies would also motivate more students to stay beyond just getting the check.

ASLC Senator Candidate Leonard Hutton

Leonard Hutton

Position: Senator
Major: Computer Science
GPA: 3.87

Why are you running for ASLC?
I find it an interesting way for me to stay out of trouble, and at the same time be helping others, by advocating and being someone who can be a go between for students to the administration.

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position?
I am currently an ASLC senator, so being in the position gives me a heads up on the experiences I'll be encountering in the next year, as well as I being a part of several different groups and coalitions that have been advocating for the students so far this year...this gives me the unique position of being in touch with those people that are in the center of making things happen for the students here at Laney College.
What are your top three (3) priorities if elected?
  1. Informing the students how to deal with the budget cuts.
  2. Getting students involved with their shared governance process, allowing them to be a part of the decisions that affect them.
  3. Finding out what the students feel they need, and finding ways for these needs to be met.

What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership means setting an example for others to follow, while being accountable for your actions, while at the same time taking the risks that empower your constituents in reaching goals that help them better themselves.

Laney College is considered to be a very diverse campus. Is diversity at an educational institution important? Why?
Diversity is important in everything...everywhere! The world is a very diverse place, and anywhere you go you must be prepared to encounter differences in everything you do. Despite people being different colors, speaking different languages, or having different preferences, you must be prepared to accept people for who and what the are, while being able to be yourself at the same time.

Many students at Laney College, particularly Black students, claim to have difficulties with financial aid. Do you have any ideas/plans to increase students' access to financial aid opportunities?
I think that bringing the FA process to the students is a major goal that needs to be met. If we as students, promote workshops which help students understand the process, I think it will help our students very much.
Also, if we create a way for the fees to be removed from our FA checks beforehand I believe this is another way that we can streamline the process. Some people just aren't able to hold on to money when they have other bills hanging over their heads, and needing to come up with $30-$40 just to get your check can be a problem which we could avoid by having the fees removed beforehand.

Student Trustee Candidate Jurena Storm

Jurena Storm
Major: Political Science
G.P.A.: 3.508
Slogan: “United by Storm”

What is the role of a Student Trustee? What does a Student Trustee do?
The role of a Student Trustee is to be the official voice of the students in shared governance.
The Student Trustee is the voice of the students in deliberations of the governing board. In my opinion in order for the Student Trustee to be that voice they must work closely with the students to be able to say that you are the student voice.

Why are you running for Student Trustee?
Students deserve strong representation at the District Level. Someone that is knowledgeable of the issues and can articulate the needs and wants of the students to the Board; while also having the ability to articulate the wants and needs of the Board and the District as a whole to the students without using intimidation or fear. I want to work with the students in partnership to empower students to tap into the power that we posses within the District to make change for ourselves and the future students to come.

What experience do you have that qualifies you to serve as a Student Trustee?
My life experience, my work history in corporate America, the classes that I take, the clubs I participate in, skills that I have obtained at various workshops and trainings qualifies me on paper to serve as a Student Trustee. What qualifies me the most is that I am a struggling student that can relate to the student population; I am affected by the policies and issues just as my fellow students. Because I am also in the fight I have the passion and empathy to represent the students with my all and my best.

What are your top three (3) priorities if elected?
  1. To improve communication and dissemination of accurate information to the students.
  2. To improve student participation in shared governance on all levels especially the District.
  3. Unifying the four sister colleges and fostering a spirit of family, care, responsibility to our fellow students and our schools.
The Peralta Colleges are considered to be very diverse campuses. How will you go about representing students of so many different backgrounds?
The only way to represent the many diverse students within the Peralta District is to work with the Associated Students and Inter-Club Councils closely on all four campuses. I understand that the Student Trustee position is a partnership position with all the other student leaders on the four campuses. I further understand that there are student leaders on campuses that are not recognized officially. Therefore, I plan on developing a special team of students on each campus to help me represent the 30,000 students in the Peralta District.

Are there any particular issues or policies that you intend to address that affect Black or African students?
The operative word in this question is students; although I understand and I am sensitive to the struggles of the African American student because I am African American. I intend to be a Student Trustee for all students. In regards to the particular issues or policies; my focus will be on the new Student Health Fee to ensure that we receive services that are needed.

Should Student Trustee term limits be extended? Why or why not?
In my opinion the Term Limits for a Student Trustee should not be extended. Like all the other student shared governance positions, this position is a learning opportunity. This opportunity should be made available to as many qualified students as possible. We are all at Community College to gain experience and training to transition to the next stage in life. Because the time at the Community College level may exceed two years it is imperative to have term limits so there will be someone with knowledge and experience to guide the new people in the position. I further believe that sometimes the longer you hold a position your passion and sense of urgency fades. You can become comfortable and lose touch with your constituency.

Student Trustee Candidate Yvonne Thompson

Yvonne Thompson

Major:Culinary Arts/Liberal Arts Studies
G.P.A.: 3.124
Slogan: Stay Connected

What is the role of a Student Trustee? What does a Student Trustee do?
I am currently embarking on the goal of re-election to a third term to finish what we started two years ago when I was first given custody of the office of Student Trustee for the PCCD. The first two years were quite a challenge and I believe that I have the ability, and have honed my skills to help and improve the direction of the district to better serve the needs of students. I want to bring "community” and “connectedness” back to the district, create a "healthy place, infuse our campuses with a new sense of pride and excitement.

Why are you running for Student Trustee?
I believe the role of the student trustee is two-fold; first, as a voice for the students an advocate ready to step and move issues beyond the campuses to the district. As a member of the governing board, providing a student perspective to the issues, which affect the lives and ability for students to succeed in their vision and goals, with commitment, transparency, and ethical behavior. I have worked for and believed in an open transparent representation, allowing students to know and understand what is occurring and to hold accountable the people who seek to serve. STAY CONNECTED!

What experience do you have that qualifies you to serve as a Student Trustee?
I have exceptional organizational skills and the ability to move agendas abandoned by previous leaders. I recognize the issues and know how to navigate the system to create or change policy.

I organized the monumental project of taking 18 students to the Legislative Black Caucus in Washington DC in 2009. This project required planning, organizing, fundraising, and lobbying of representatives to make this event successful. Even with the infrastructure afforded Administration, no one has ever managed to accomplish what I did to make this project the success that it was.

Students are always first and I never forget this. I have set the bar very high with attendance/ participation at every level. I have served on the District Policy Review committee, Audit and Finance, Standards and Management committee and Student Services and Equity. I have mentored student leadership at all four of the campuses during my two years in office.

What are your top three (3) priorities if elected?
  1. To institutionalize the policy to recall and replace a Student Trustees.
  2. To successfully see the completion of the District Wide Student Coalition to ensure a more open line of communication and stronger advocacy component for students throughout the district.
  3. To establish student leadership training as a regular component in student government and a mentoring program.

The Peralta Colleges are considered to be very diverse campuses. How will you go about representing students of so many different backgrounds?
I have always been very involved, and reached out to the students of the district. I attend activities, have been members of clubs and other organizations throughout the district. When we plan trips or conferences, I make sure that the district is well represented by culture of our campuses.

Are there any particular issues or policies that you intend to address that affect Black or African students?
The dropout rate in higher education for African Americans, specifically with males is an issue that is very important to me. We need to address it, I believe our student leaders on our campuses should become involved.

The staggering healthcare issues in the African American community such as
The prevalence of diabetes among African Americans is about 70% higher
Infant mortality rates are twice as high for African Americans.

The 5-year survival rate for cancer among African Americans diagnosed for 1986-1992 was about 44%, my husband passed within two years after he was diagnosed, education and intervention is necessary.

Should Student Trustee term limits be extended? Why or why not?
Yes, I do believe student trustee term limits should be extended. I believe that the first year is a learning experience, there is a distinct difference in the responsibilities of student government versus the board. Next, the second year is when you really find your niche, however when by the time the "flow" starts it is time to go. A third year will give you the ability to finish the projects that were started and give you the quality time and opportunity to mentor and train someone else.

Students protest trustees meeting

Laney College president Elnora Webb attempts to speak with
The April 13 Peralta Board of Trustees meeting was temporarily shut down by students protesting budget cuts and mothers fighting the closure of the COA Children’s Center.
After dozens spoke out, students demanded an immediate response from trustees.

The Board quickly adjourned the meeting and retreated to the Chancellor’s Office Conference room. Students chanted, "No cuts, No fees/Education should be free" and "Elihu Harris - what's your problem?/They're just children, don't you rob 'em?/".

Students later formed a circle with the chairs in the audience and began discussing future steps. Peralta Police, who had called for back up, demanded protesters leave the building by 9 p.m., under the impression that the meeting was over. By 9 p.m., the Board room was nearly empty. Minutes later, the board emerged and reconvened.

At the same meeting, trustees appointed veteran educator Dr. Wise Allen as interim chancellor.

ASLC candidates speak, few listen

ASLC presidential candidate Harry Jiang

By Reginald James Editor
Candidates for the 2010 ASLC elections introduced themselves to the student body on the Laney College quad on April 13.

The noontime forum started 15 minutes late due to an unexpected Obama for America press conference convened by campus administration. A plethora of candidates stated their platforms and why they believe they should be elected.

Related ASLC Stories:
Later, three of the four ASLC presidential candidates were seated at a table on the quad and answered prepared questions from the ASLC Election Committee.

Harry Jiang, currently vice-president of ASLC discussed his goals of increased student activity and budget reform.

“I will strive my best to represent students,” Jiang said. Jiang, also active in the campus’ Social Media Club, said he “will use our (ASLC) limited budget to make unlimited opportunities for students.”

Anton Bosneaga, currently a senate alternate, said he wants to ensure that Laney College serves the community.

“It is important that Laney College does what it has to do, and save the community,” Bosneaga said.

Dawna Williams, current Vice-President of the Alpha Lambda Co-Ed Sorority and the Inter-Club Council (ICC) Representative on ASLC, said her work to date speaks for itself.

“I’m not just going to talk to you about what I’m going to do,” Williams said. “I’m going to talk to you about what I’m doing.”

ASLC candidate Elizabeth King was absent.

Brandy Smith
ASLC Publicity Publicity Commissioner Candidate Brandy Smith asks panel a question at April 13 forum on the Laney College quad.
Students in the quad appeared to tuned out the event. Many students socialized with each other, ate their lunches or played dominos outside the central quad.

A microphone was placed at the center of the quad for students to ask questions. Candidates for other offices asked most questions, or students associated with those running.

ASLC elections will be held April 20 and April 21 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Student Center. A valid student ID is required to vote.

BART police turn in Tasers

BART temporarily stripped its police force of Tasers April 15. The decision was a result two recent federal rulings, BART said.

Interim Police Chief Daschel Butler issued a memo (PDF) to staff Thursday suspending use of Tasers for two weeks. Officers will be retrained and will be able understand the revise Taser policy, Butler said, which will comply with the rulings.

By Reginald James Editor
"The rulings essentially say that an officer can now only use a Taser to defend his or herself or someone else's life," BART said in a press statement. "Previously, an officer, under certain circumstances, could also use a Taser to get a suspect to comply with a direct order."

The memo comes just days after a BART police sergeant in a moving patrol car shot a taser at a 13 year old on a bicycle leaving the Richmond BART, the SF Chronicle reports. BART claims the chief made the decision to retrain officers on the policy prior to the incident. Butler would not discuss the case because it is under investigation, but said that the darts did not hit the boy.

Interim police chief Daschel Butler confronts a protester from Brass Liberation Orchestra (BLO) at recent 'Justice for Oscar Grant' protest at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco.
Photo: Flickr user

"This will help officers avoid any confusion as to whether they are reaching for their Taser or their weapon."
Daschel Butler
Interim BART Police Chief
"The incident did somewhat accelerate the implementation of my decision to retrain officers under the newly revised Taser policy," Butler said. He added that the Taser policy will also limit how officers position tasers on their body, limited to the "weak arm, weak side draw position."

"That means if an officer is left handed, the Taser must be positioned on the right side of their belt or leg and if they are right handed, then the Taser must be positioned on their left side of their belt or leg," Chief Butler said. "This will help officers avoid any confusion as to whether they are reaching for their Taser or their weapon."

The decision also has implications relating to the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. The attorney for Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police triggerman who shot and killed the unarmed Grant on New Year's Day, claims his client thought he was firing his Taser and not his service pistol. Merserle's murder trial will begin in June.

Dawna Williams for ASLC President

Dawna Williams

Running for: ASLC President
Major: Education Administration
G.P.A. 3.53

Why are you running for ASLC?
The job requires someone who can perform a delicate balancing act of working with and for a diverse body of people. Someone who has and will dialogue and work diligently with faculty and staff to overcome systemic problems that have plagued the student faculty/administration relationship for years. In addition, someone who can focus on solutions to difficult problems, not just someone who focuses on the problems without a plan to fix them. I'd like to be a President who focuses on some of the wonderful things about Laney and share them with the community and prospective students. I want to [EXCEEDED WORD LIMIT]

What experience do you have that qualifies you for the position?
My professional career which began as a Property Supervisor for a property management firm specializing in housing chronically homeless adults and consumers with HIV, managing over 100 employees and 15 properties. I honed my networking and public relations skills here having to meet regularly with city officials, conducting tours of our controversial programs. I’ve worked as a Public Relations Specialist for the Northeast Vocational District in (Columbus, OH) and served as Student Body President of my high school. I’m a confident, seasoned and active student at Laney and serve as Vice President and Co-founder of Alpha Lambda Co-ed Service Fraternity,

What are your top three (3) priorities if elected?
  • Communication: Increasing transparency to improve communication between the Administration and the Students. Using all media outlets at our disposal to communicate vital information to the entire Peralta family.
  • Financial aid workshops to increase student’s knowledge of the process and improve the working relationship between the financial aid department and students.
  • Working with programs such as EOPS, ESL, DSPS, Veterans, International Students to ensure that these students have the essential services and support despite budget cuts.
What does leadership mean to you?
A willingness to take responsibility even if that means your decision will not be the most popular one as no one can lead without being criticized or without facing discouragement. A potential leader needs mental toughness and who sees things as they are and is willing to pay the price.

Laney College is considered to be a very diverse campus. Is diversity at an educational instutition important? Why?
Laney has a wonderful diverse student population and manages to foster genuine interaction across race and ethnicity which provides opportunity for many students to learn from their peers of different cultures, values and experiences. This perspective is extremely helpful to students and allows students to gain an appreciation of different view points and how to interact with people from diverse cultures.

Many students at Laney College, particularly Black students, claim to have difficulties with financial aid. Do you have any ideas/plans to increase students' access to financial aid opportunities?
I've been working with Bob Fleming and the staff at the financial aid department to put on a student coordinated workshop, to aid the students in getting through the financial aid process with greater ease and efficiency. The workshops will be designed to answer the students questions about timelines, document requirements, student responsibility, deadlines and payment allocations. I believe that easing the burden on the financial aid office by increasing and improving our educational workshops will also relieve the anxiety students feel about this process and improve the relationship between the students and the department.[EXCEEDED WORD LIMIT]

Peralta makes 'Wise' decision for interim Chancellor

By Reginald James Editor

Trustees at the Peralta Colleges voted Tuesday to appoint Dr. Wise Allen as interim Chancellor. Allen, currently Peralta’s Interim Vice Chancellor of Education Services will replace Chancellor Elihu Harris whose contract expires July 1.

"Vice Chancellor Allen brings the unique combination of being a respected academic and a veteran administrator who can shepherd the District through these difficult budget times," Board President Abel Guillen said. "He has integrity and is respected throughout the State.

Allen, who retired from the district in 2001, has the unique distinction of having been an administrator at each of the four Peralta Colleges.

In 2007, he was the Interim President at Berkeley City College after serving as the interim vice president of instruction that spring. In 2005-06, Allen filled in for Dr. Jeanette Jackson as Vice-President of Instruction during her deployment to Iraq.

The former Merritt College President even once served as both the college president and district vice chancellor simultaneously.

Dr. Wise Allen

Ph.D. Social and clinical psychology Wright Institute
M.S.W. Howard University
BA Psychology San Francisco State

Interim Chancellor
Effective July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011, or until position filled
$240,000 annual salary

Previous Experience
Interim Vice-Chancellor of Education Services
Interim Berkeley City College (BCC) President
Interim COA Vice-President of Instruction
Merritt College President

Allen was appointed as district Vice Chancellor in the late ‘80s when Peralta was under state receivership. It is expected that he will use his relationships and credibility with members of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) to prevent a state takeover of Peralta and maintain the colleges' accreditation.

"I am confident he will be able to lead us through our reaccredidation and make sure we continue to be a beacon of hope and opportunity for the thousands of students we serve," Guillen said.

Replacing outgoing Chancellor
The Board voted 6-1 during closed session to appoint Allen. Trustee Linda Handy (Area 3 – San Antonio) was the lone dissenting vote against the decision. Handy could not be reached for comment.

When Harris was appointed as the district’s permanent chancellor, Handy – who along with Trustee Bill Riley were the only trustees that are still on the board – initially did not plan to vote for Harris as Chancellor, according to the Oakland Tribune. Harris eventually got her vote.

In January, trustees opted not to renew Harris' contract as Chancellor.

Interim Chancellor's compensation
"Vice Chancellor Allen brings the unique combination of being a respected academic and a veteran administrator who can shepherd the District through these difficult budget times. He has integrity and is respected throughout the state."
Abel Guillen
Peralta Board President
Allen’s annual salary is $240,000, likely much higher than his starting salary as a sociology professor at COA nearly forty years ago. It is unclear how much compensation Allen still receives as a retiree. Until 2004, Peralta officials received lifetime health benefits upon retirement.

Allen’s contract ends June 30, 2011, or until the position is filled. Trustees received presentations from three Executive Search firms April 13, but after three separate motions, the Board failed to select one to advance the process of selecting a permanent chancellor. Board members were instructed by President Abel Guillen to rank their top choices and submit them to the Board clerk. Guillen announced on his Facebook fan page that the Board selected Commnity College Search Services to assist the district in the search for a permanent chancellor.

Lake Merritt Station Area Plan meeting near Laney College tonight

Student input is drastically needed at an upcoming community meeting on Wednesday, April 14 about the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan.

The City of Oakland, BART and the Peralta Community College District, through a grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, have come together to prepare a Station Area Plan for the area around the Lake Merritt BART Station, according to the City's website.

Lake Merritt Station Plan
Wednesday, April 14
6:00-8:00 pm
MTC Headquarters
101 8th Street (at Oak St)
The Plan will consider land use, buildings, design, circulation, BART improvements, streetscape improvements, parks and public spaces. It will identify actions the City and the other public agencies should take to improve the area, and it will establish regulations for development projects on private property. The project also involves the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report for the Station Area Plan.

The planning area is a one-half mile radius around the Lake Merritt BART Station, which encompasses Chinatown, Laney College, civic buildings of Alameda County and Oakland and the channel connecting Lake Merritt to the estuary. Many diverse residents, businesses and students make up the community of this area, and Chinatown functions as a citywide center for the Asian community.

The Station Area Plan must address the needs of the community, as well as the needs of BART related to ridership, and the needs of the College District related to education and maximizing the use of their land. BART has stated that it envisions the area transitioning from its current status as an “Urban Neighborhood Station” to a “Regional Center” station type.

Some of the key objectives of the Lake Merritt Station Area Plan, which will continue to be developed and refined throughout the planning process, include:
  • Increase use of non-automobile modes of transportation, including walking, bicycling, bus, BART, carpooling, ridesharing and other options; and reduce auto use.
  • Increase the housing supply, especially affordable housing for low-income residents. Specifically increase the amount of housing around the BART station.
  • Increase jobs and improve access to jobs along the transit corridor.
  • Provide services and retail options in the station area.
  • Identify additional recreation and open space opportunities

The Lake Merritt Station Area Plan will be developed over approximately a two-year period from November 2009 to the end of 2011. A major part of the planning process is to engage the community in discussions about the future of the area.

There will be opportunities to get involved at all stages of the process, from the initial visioning and exploration of plan alternatives to the selection of the preferred plan and review of its accompanying Environmental Impact Report. We encourage you to take this opportunity to make your voice heard.

The Landmarks Advisory Board, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission, and the Oakland Planning Commission will review the Draft Station Area Plan, as well as the boards of the Peralta Community College District and BART. The Oakland City Council is the body responsible for final review and approval of the Plan as well as the EIR.

Although Peralta district officials have been meeting with officials to discuss the plan, no students have been included to date.

Protest the Peralta Board of Trustees

Peralta College students fed up with budget cuts plan to demonstrate at the April 13 Board of Trustees meeting in Oakland.
Among other things, students are upset with the plan to shutdown the College of Alameda Children's Center and lay off workers at the Laney College Children's Center.

Additionally, students are concerned about the recent announcement that Peralta expects $8 million in additional cuts.

The Peralta Board of Trustees meetings at 7:00 p.m. at the District Boardroom, 333 East 8th Street, across the street from Laney College. Peralta Colleges Board meetings are also streamed live on Peralta TV and via Granicus, Peralta's government media streaming service.

ASLC hosts candidates forum

The Associated Students of Laney College (ASLC) will hold a candidates forum in the main quad Tuesday, April 13 for the 2010 spring elections.

ASLC candidates meeting
Election committee explains rules, one candidate disqualified
Candidates will have an opportunity to briefly introduce themselves and their platform to students.

Many candidates are running unopposed but there is a competition for Publicity Commissioner, Treasurer and President.

Presidential candidates Anton Bosneaga, Harry Jiang, Elizabeth King and Dawna Williams will each speak to students sharing their experience and top three priorities.

The student body will have 15 minutes at the end of the forum to ask the candidates questions.

The forum will take place from noon to 1 p.m. in the main quad of the Laney College campus.

Update on Congolese War

Kambale Musavulli, the spokesman for Friends of the Congo, will be at the Black Dot Cafe in Oakland on April 18 to give an update on the Congolese War in Africa. The conflict hasalready claimed the lives of 6 million people.

Come find out how this genocide taking place is directly related to your cell phones, laptops, PS3's, and Ipads.

The event, sponsored by Block Report Radio takes place at 6:30 p.m. at the Black Dot Cafe in West Oakland. 1195 Pine St. Donation requested.

Janelle Monae - "Tight Rope" featuring Big Boi (Outkat) Music Monday

Inspired by a recent Laney Tower article, Janelle Monae: Queen of Cyber Soul, this week's Music Monday is dedicated to Janelle Monae.

Her new video, "Tight Rope" features Big Boi from Outkast. The song is off the forthcoming album, "The ArchAndroid."

Career Expo at Laney College

Laney College will host its 33rd Annual Career Expo on Wednesday, April 14. The event is free open to the public.

Futures Expo at Laney College

The Career Expo will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Laney College Main Quad. More information is available through the Student Employment Services offices of Laney College.

Merritt College hosts roundtable on African American Women in Higher Education

At the March 25 Peralta Colleges Staff Professional Development Day, a group of Merritt College educators gathered for a special discussion. Black women came together to discuss, "African American Women in Higher Education."

The educators shared their various experiences, as captured in the videos below.

"African American Women in Higher Education." Part 1

"African American Women in Higher Education" Part 2

Videos by P-Span, Peralta TV.

West Oakland hosts Lil Bobby Hutton Day

The 12th annual Lil Bobby Hutton Day will be held Saturday, April 10 at the West Oakland Library.

The event will feature former Black Panther member and leader of the Oakland Community School Ericka Huggins as the keynote speaker. Speakers and performers include Phavia Kujichaulia, Minister Keith Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, Kiilu Nyasha, Minister of Information JR Valrey of Block Report Radio, Ras Ceylon, Jack Bryson, Paid Poets Society and the I-Go! family.

The event takes place from 2-5 p.m. at the West Oakland Library, located at 1805 Adeline (corner of 18th St).

Hip Hop for Change at Mills College

Mills College hosts the Third Annual "Hip Hop for Change" conference April 17. Themed, "The Fight for Hip Hop in the Obama Era" will chronicle the journey of hip hop, diving into the questions of ownership, identity, and our role in shaping it's future direction.

Speakers incldue Bakari Kitwana: journalist, activist and political analyst and author of The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture; Dr. Susie Lundy: Graffiti Historian, b-girl, deejay, educator, and muralist; Netta Brielle: Bay Area R & B and Hip Hop artist; BRWN BFLO: BayArea Hip Hop Group and Activists; Colored Ink: Hip Hop Theater Company and By Any Dreams Necessary.

The day also includes interactive workshops focusing on the four elements, opportunities to organize, explorations of questions such as how can Hip Hop be a tool for mobilizing community, used as an alternative to violence, free lunch, and a closing cypher (sign up if you want to participate in registration).

The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Rothwell Student Union and Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business at Mills College in Oakland. Register now.

UC Berkeley African American Studies celebration at African American Library and Museum of Oakland

To pay homage to 40 years of African American Studies at UC Berkeley, an evening celebration will be held at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) on April 9. The celebration takes place from 7-9 p.m. at 659 14th Street in downtown Oakland.

The night is a celebration of the experiences and expressions of the past forty years. The band “Theory & Soul” – complete with vocalists, dancers, and spoken word artists – will interpret this history through musical and artistic performance.

The event is a part of the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley's 40th anniversary celebration.

Boondocks Season 3 Trailer

BART protest disrupts San Francisco evening commute

BART protesters pack Embarcadero BART station

By Reginald James Editor
A flurry of protesters demanding justice for Oscar Grant packed the Embarcadero BART station in San Francisco during the Thursday evening commute.

Playing drums, brass instruments and chanting, over 200 demonstrators gathered for two hours at Embarcadero BART station to protest BART’s poor handling of the 2009 New Year’s Day shooting.

Over 30 BART police and two dozen other BART employees in bright neon green vests were on the Embarcadero BART platform to prevent service disruptions. There were a few minor delays, and one man was arrested for allegedly blocking a train door.

Protesters shouted, “No Justice! No Peace! Disband the BART Police!” and called for the firing of BART police officer Tony Pirone – currently on paid administrative leave, who Grant’s family said escalating the situation moments before the shooting.
Officer Johannes Mehserle, who shot and killed Grant while he laid face down with his hands behind his back, has been charged with the murder of Grant. Mehserle’s trial begins in June.

BART protester holds up sign for passengers
During the demonstration, protesters distributed fliers to passengers on trains while others would simply held up signs that were visible to passengers through the train windows.

As trains were briefly delayed, most commuters were confused about what was taking place. Some commuters were visibly upset while other passengers chanting along with demonstrators, and a few even left the trains to join the protest.

Protesters later swarmed onto trains, followed by police, BART employees and press shortly behind. The demonstrations continued at Montgomery, Powell St and Civic Center stations before returning back to Embarcadero station. Tensions then began to rise.

Police blocked off an escalator, while protesters began delaying trains longer.
Protesters tried to board a train when police suddenly moved in to stop them. Police pushed and pulled protesters away from the train door and BART police arrested a man for allegedly blocking a door. He was escorted to the police sub-station upstairs.

"We’re not going to give up until Tony Pirone is fired. BART is not qualified to run a police force. They are accountable to no one. BART police must be disbanded. Actions will be escalated. We will continue to be peaceful and non-violent. We won’t stop fighting until justice is truly served."
Hannibal Shakur
Oakland for Justice
Protesters followed chanting, “Let him go!” Let him go!” Protesters beat on the walls of the sub-station until a police line was formed. Some protesters then held a “sit-in” to wait until the man was released.

An hour after the sole arrest, BART police escorted the man up to Market Street where he was taken to County Jail.

Protester and Oakland for Justice co-organizer Hannibal Shakur said demonstrations will continue until BART is held accountable for its mishandling of the shooting.

“We’re not going to give up until Tony Pirone is fired,” Shakur said. “BART is not qualified to run a police force. They are accountable to no one. BART police must be disbanded.”

A few weeks ago, Pirone’s partner Marysol Domenici was fired by Interim BART police Chief Dash Butler. Following the protest, he said Pirone’s case is currently being investigated.

“Actions will continue to escalate,” Shakur said. “We will continue to be peaceful and non-violent. We won’t stop fighting until justice is truly served.”

The protester who was arrested was cited and released shortly after 11 p.m.

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