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.

'Head of the State' by Baracka Flacka - Music Monday

"Head of the State" by Baracka Flacka

Laney College receives bomb threat

Laney College has received a bomb threat from an anonymous caller, according to an email sent out to students on Thurs October 21.

"There has been a suspicious phone call from an anonymous individual declaring a bomb threat at Laney College," wrote Laney College President Elnora Webb.

Many students were notified by text message or email, but some did not find out until Friday morning when told about the bomb threat by other students.

"They must not have the right email or phone number for me," said Laney BSU member Tim Killings. "As the economy gets worse, domestic terrorism will get worse," he added, referring to this past summers Oakland shootout on the 580 freeway.

A few students were worried, but most didn't take it too serious.

"Who would want to blow up Laney College?" asked one international student. "It's such a nice, diverse place." She added that although she received the email last night, she disregarded the threat.

Peralta Police Services conducted a walk through of the campus, according to Webb, and may do a canine sweep if anything suspicious is found. Webb encouraged students to report anything suspicious.

"While we have no evidence to validate the credibility of this threat, we ask you to be very aware of your surroundings, which includes being vigilant in reporting any suspicious package," Webb wrote. "In the meantime, remain calm and go about your normal business."

Peralta Police Services phone number is (510) 466–7236.

Oakland Mayoral Candidates Forum at Holy Names

The Bay Area Black Journalists Association will host the final Oakland mayoral candidates forum tonight at Holy Names University.

The program will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. Holy Names is located at 3500 Mountain Blvd. The program is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters in Oakland.

Urban Releaf to Break Ground in Tree Poor West Oakland Neighborhood

The Ground Breaking for Urban Releaf's 31st Green Street Demonstration Project takes place Thursday, October 21 from 11-1 p.m. The event will take place on the corner of 31st and Market Street in West Oakland.

Following the success of Urban Releaf's Ettie Street watershed research and evaluation projects funded by the statewide CALFED Watershed Program, the only Black run urban forestry organization in the county is launching a cutting-edge research and demonstration project with Dr. Qingfu Xiao, a water scientist with UC Davis Department of Land and Water.

The 31st Street Green Street Demonstration Project is located in the tree-scarce Hoover neighborhood in West Oakland, along two blocks between Market Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way where tree canopy is currently non-existent.

Dr. Xiao will develop innovative tree wells using special rocks and soil that save water in two ways, according to Urban Releaf. According to the Center for Urban Forest Research, trees in urban areas mitigate air pollution, beautify the neighborhood by adding greenery and shade, save on heating and cooling costs, build a sense of community, and provide opportunities for green job training -- all in addition to saving water.

"We are looking to spread the word and demonstrate the myriad water benefits of our city's trees," says Kemba Shakur, executive director of Urban Releaf, the Oakland nonprofit leading the project. "Cities all over the world are facing water crises and are seeking water-sensitive tree well design and approach to urban forestry like this."

For more information, visit or call (510) 601-9062.

Labor to rally for Oscar Grant in Oakland

The International Longshoremans Worker's Union (ILWU) has will shut down the Port of Oakland and host a rally at Oakland City Hall on Saturday, October 23 for Justice for Oscar Grant.

The noontime rally, two weeks before former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is to be sentenced for the 2009 New Year's murder of Oscar Grant, is sponsored by dozens of labor and community organizations.

"Mehserle will be sentenced on November 5th and we need to get out on the 23rd to show the sentencing judge that we mean business," reads one flyer. "It took video evidence AND a massive outpouring in downtown Oakland to even get the District Attorney to charge Mehserle. It will take people in the streets to get the killer cop jailed."

Reginald James awarded Chauncey Bailey Scholarship

BABJA Scholarship Gala

By Tracey Tate
Special to

Reginald James receives Chauncey Bailey Scholarship AwardThe Bay Area Black Journalists Association (BABJA) awarded Laney College student Reginald James the Chauncey Wendell Bailey Jr. Scholarship on Oct. 2. At the Seventh Annual Young Journalists Scholarship Gala, held at Scott's Seafood Restaurant in Jack London Square, James received a check for $2,500 for his work as a student journalist.

James, a former editor-in-chief of the Laney Tower, received his associates arts degree in Journalism from Laney this year and has been accepted to the University of California at Berkeley for the spring 2011 semester. He plans to study political science at Cal while continuing his personal journalistic endeavors.

In 2004 James, an Alameda resident, decided to pursue journalism when he realized that "the press didn't represent my community's voice."

Gentrification in West Alameda uprooted his family and hundreds of others. The controversial incident spurred James to pursue his educational path in journalism. It was then that James noticed that "they [the press] did not speak to me or for me."

While studying journalism at Laney, James has honed his news writing, newspaper design and photography skills. Excerpts from his body of work at the Tower, along with an essay answering the question "What will you do to impact your community as a journalist?" earned James the Bailey Scholarship.

Present at the awards ceremony which honored KCBS Radio Broadcaster Bob Butler, were legends in local media, including Belva Davis, Barbara Rogers and current KRON anchor Pam Moore. On being in the presence of such journalistic icons, James said, "As a young journalist, is was humbling to be honored by a group of black media professionals."

James' other media endeavors include his radio show--"The Black Hour," an educational blog, The Peralta Report and his role as a contributing editor to Oakland Local. He hopes to contribute to the Daily Californian when he continues his studies at Cal, as well as to the Black Student magazine, "Onyx Express."

A major milestone for James was writing for the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, and getting paid as a professional journalist. His future goals include building a hyper-local website for his community in west Alameda, called the "West End Times".

Photos: Top, Bay Area Black Journalists Association President Michelle Fitzburg-Craig, James receiving check from Belva Davis, James' mother and former California Voice Arts Editor Deborah James, BABJA Scholarship Chair Ellison Horne and Membership Chair Marcus Osbourne. Right, James gives acceptance speech. Photos by Z'ma Wyatt of Shades Magazine.

Tracey Tate has been the editor-in-chief of the Laney Tower newspaper since Fall 2009. She almost maintains the online magazine, This article originally appeared in the Laney Tower newspaper.

Black Cartoonists Showcase at Laney College

Black Cartoonists participate in a panel discussion on October 13 at the Laney College as a part of the Library's current exhibit, "Coloring Outside the Lines: Black Cartoonists as Social Commentators."

The exhibit, curated by Kheven LaGrone, is about breaking outside those lines."

LaGrone told "In particular, as an African American … I feel like I'm being given a coloring book and told to stay in my proper place," he said.

A few featured cartoonists will participate in the panel.

The panel discussion will take place Wednesday, October 15 at 11 a.m. in the Laney College Library, located at 900 Fallon Street.

The Black Cartoonists as Social Commentators exhibit, which runs through October 23 at the Laney College Library.

Read complete story on

Photo Credit:

Bay Area Black Journalists Honored

Former BABJA President Bob Butler

By Niema Jordan

Media professionals, students, and community members gathered in Jack London Oct. 2 for the 7th Annual Young Journalists Scholarship Gala.

One of the many projects coordinated by the Bay Area Association of Black Journalists (BABJA), the event honored broadcast journalist and industry mentor Bob Butler for his contributions both past and present.

During the Gala program slides and special video were shown honoring Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Bob Butler. A number of people who have worked with and been impacted by Butler, spoke at the Gala and sent video messages. Butler shared stories about how he became the journalist he is today, including his move from DJing parties to reading the news just to get on air.

BABJA also awarded scholarships to students pursing careers in journalism highlighting the work they are doing and the work they will do years from now.

Reginald James was one of two scholarship recipients. A student at Peralta Colleges who will start full-time at UC Berkeley for spring semester. He received the Chauncey Bailey Scholarship. When James accepted his award he explained how being disappointed in local media coverage led him to dedicate himself to journalism.

His mission in the field became extremely clear when he ended his speech reciting and encouraging others to repeat the “Credo for the Negro Press”:

"I Shall Be A Crusader...
I Shall Be An Advocate...
I Shall Be A Herald...
I Shall Be A Mirror And A Record...
I Shall Have Integrity...
I Shall be a crusader and an advocate, a mirror and a record, a herald and a spotlight, and I Shall not falter.
So help me God."

Photo Credit: Z'ma Wyatt via Flickr

For more information on the Bay Area Association of Black Journalists visit

This article originally appeared on Visit the writer's website at

Students wanted for volunteer reading program at Laney College

A student-run literacy project at the Peralta College is seeking volunteers at the Children’s Centers of Laney College and Merritt Colleges in Oakland, and College of Alameda.

Orientations will be held this Tuesday and Thursday for Laney College students interested in being Volunteer Readers with Peralta Reads. Students will read to the pre-schoolers at the Laney College Children’s Center each week.

Tuesday, October 12
Noon to 1 PM
(Orientation #2 – RSVP Here)
4th Floor, Laney College Student Center

Thursday, October 14
Noon to 1 PM
(Orientation #3 – RVSP Here)
4th Floor, Laney College Student Center
Besides a fun, rewarding experience working with dynamic children, organizers said, volunteering is a great way to improve your transfer application or resume.

">Peralta Reads is a reading program connecting student volunteers at College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College with the children at the campuses’ childcare centers. The program promotes literacy, community service, and family and community engagement in the literacy of children.

Visit for more information, or call 510-473-READ (7323).

Photo Credit: Former Laney College student Charles Perkins reads to child at Oakland Freedom School. Photo by Reginald James/Oakland Freedom School

Reconsider Columbus Day

Christopher Columbus was a rapist, murderer and a thief. And there's a holiday named after him.

Celebrate Indigenous People's Day instead. Respect those who were here first.

Reconsider Columbus Day.

Laney College students occupy Peralta Colleges Chancellor's Office

Following a rally at Laney College on October 7, a group of students stormed the Peralta Colleges District headquarters and briefly occupied the Chancellor's office.

The rally abruptly ended as about 30 students marched from Laney’s quad, down 8th Street towards the district’s headquarters chanting, “No cuts! No fees! Education should be free!”

The group burst into the the Peralta District’s headquarters, interrupting a Benefits Fair for employees. Corporate representatives from CostCo and 24 Hour Fitness appeared stunned as students marched past before doubling back and entering the offices of Chancellor’s staff.

Students were looking for Chancellor Dr. Wise Allen or district trustees. None were present at the time.

Staff quickly called Peralta Police Services – a contract of the Alameda County Sheriffs Office – whose offices are housed in the same building. Students continued chanting, demanding to see trustees.

“We should stay here until the Chancellor agrees to meet with us,” Laney College student Jevon Cochran said.

Deputy Glen Pace, entering the offices at that same time responded, “Here’s the agreement, you have thirty seconds to leave.” The scene greatly resembled the April 22 board meeting that was shutdown by student’s protesting the closure of the College of Alameda Children’s Center. The group left the building a minute later, while sheriff’s locked and blocking the entrance.

Students marched back to Laney, with many taking public transportation to join the demonstrations taking place at UC Berkeley.

West Oakland Community Theater presents August Wilson's 'Gem of the Ocean'

The Lower Bottom Playaz Present August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean" from October 8 through October 17 in West Oakland.

Gem of the Ocean is the first installment of his decade-by-decade, ten-play chronicle, The Pittsburgh Cycle, dramatizing the African-American experience in the twentieth century.

The play is set in 1904 at 1839 Wylie Avenue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Hill District. Aunt Ester, the drama's 285-year-old fiery matriarch, welcomes into her home Solly Two Kings, who was born into slavery and scouted for the Union Army, and Citizen Barlow, a young man from Alabama searching for a new life. Citizen Barlow is in search of redemption. Aunt Ester is not too old to practice healing; she guides him on a soaring, lyrical journey of spiritual awakening to the City of Bones.

The play runs October 8-17, Fridays-Sundays. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays. The Sister Thea Bowman Memorial Theater is located at 920 Peralta Street, and is accessible by AC Transit lines 31, 26 and West Oakland BART.

Laney College students occupy Peralta Colleges Chancellor's Office

Demanding no more budget cuts, staff layoffs, or fee increases, Laney College students held a noontime rally on the main campus quad on October 7. Some later marched to the Peralta Colleges district and briefly occupied the Chancellor’s office.

Coinciding with a National Day of Action in Defense of Education, the “Speak Out” let any student share how education budget cuts affected them. At the bottom of the event’s stage was a banner that read, “Free Speech Zone,” mocking a policy proposed last spring that critics said would limit free speech on the campus.

While most talked about budget cuts have affected them, their families and classmates, the overall emphasis of speakers was the press need for organization.

“This is exactly what we need to do to let our voices be heard and to show the powers that be that we are organized and we are one,” said Jurena Storm, a student member of the Peralta Colleges Board of Trustees. Storm left the rally early to attend a program at College of Alameda that featured a mass graveyard for education.

Laney College Black Student Union member Timothy Killings told students to take charge of their education’s by being actively engaged in the colleges’ governance, and retaking control of the school.

“First thing we need to do is clear up the misconception that our school is run by the Board of Trustees,” Killings said. “This is our school.” Killings criticized a new fee policy that dropping students from their classes if they do not pay their fees promptly.

In between speakers, the rally’s emcee, former Laney BSU President Jabari Shaw, rapped the song, “Chop from the Top.” The song – based on a popular chant at Peralta board meetings last fall – became a budget cuts anthem of sorts last spring.

“People have called the cuts a tragedy,” said Peter Brown, an instructor in the machine technology department. “A tragedy is when someone is hurt and no one benefits. But when someone benefits, that’s not a tragedy, that’s a crime.” Brown’s comment was a reference to Senator Diane Feinstein’s husband, Richard C. Plum, a UC Regent who has profited while the tuition has skyrocketed, along with others who benefit while people suffer.

Shaw then introduced the next speaker, a challenger for the Peralta board facing a two-term incumbent in the November 2 election, adding, “We’re trying to get rid of the incompetents.”

Monica Tell, a former Laney College student running in Trustee Area 3, introduced herself as a person who grew up in Oakland that is “going to fight the good fight to represent you.”

Student Adon Ortega, an intern with Californians for Justice, encouraged students to sign a petition about financial aid issues and the district’s new policy. “People are supposed to pay fees, and use financial aid, but financial aid doesn’t come until weeks after,” Ortega said.

Student Jevon Cochran, a member of Laney’s Student Unity and Power (SUP), called for repealing Peralta’s new fee policy and for cuts from administrators.

“When these cuts started to come down, they gave administrators raises,” Cochran said. Last year, the Bay Area News Group revealed that former Chancellor Elihu Harris gave raises to administrators against board policy. When trustees found out, instead of repeal the raises, trustees ratified the decision. “They didn’t think it was fair that (Peralta) administrators didn’t make as much as other (districts) administrators. But it’s fair for students to get kicked out of school and it’s fair that workers lose their jobs?”

Administrators need to fight against the cuts, also, Cochan said, calling on students to go picket the district’s headquarters. “We’ve got to take it to the state and to the administrators too. Let’s march!”

A group of 30 students then marched over to Peralta's district headquarters.

Read complete story on The Peralta Report.

Dance performances tells unknown stories of early Blacks in San Francisco

Of all urban cities in the U.S., the percentage of San Francisco's African American population is the smallest. Yet, much of early Black history in California is set in the city, and remains largely untold.

Sailing Away, a site-specific dance performance on Market Street from October 7 to October 10 will explore the history of African Americans' early contributions to the development of San Francisco.

Created by Joanna Haigood, the artistic director of Zaccho Dance Theatre, Sailing Away tells the story of eight prominent African Americans who lived and worked near Market Street during the mid-nineteenth century and of the events leading up to the mass exodus of African Americans from San Francisco in 1858.

Market Street will provide the backdrop as performers enact historical narratives through a series of gestures and activities incorporating sites and monuments located between Powell and First streets. Through character interactions, audience members will get a feel for 19th-century commercial life on the city's most important thoroughfare, which was once home to myriad African American-owned enterprises.

"African Americans and their histories are disappearing from San Francisco. The average San Franciscan would not recognize the names of Mifflin Gibbs or James Whitfield and yet they were national figures, working on behalf of all African Americans. This piece hopes to illuminate obscured histories and initiate meaningful dialogue around their subsequent legacies.”
Joanna Haidgood
Some of the figures explored in the work include: Mary Ellen Pleasant, an entrepreneur who used her fortune to further the abolitionist movement; Mifflin Wistar Gibbs, a devoted abolitionist, participant in the Underground Railroad and friend of Frederick Douglass, who made a fortune in the clothing and dry goods trade, real estate speculation, and transportation industries; Archy Lee, a slave who was the focus of several court cases involving slavery laws and a civil rights movement in 1858. During the performance, newspapers containing historical information is referenced in the work will be distributed.

Sailing Away also includes a contemporary character referencing African Americans living in San Francisco today and the current trend in relocation to East Bay communities.

“African Americans and their histories are disappearing from San Francisco,” Haigood said. “The average San Franciscan would not recognize the names of Mifflin Gibbs or James Whitfield and yet they were national figures, working on behalf of all African Americans. This piece hopes to illuminate obscured histories and initiate meaningful dialogue around their subsequent legacies.”

At the top of each half hour all the characters will appear at the North East corner of Market and Battery streets near Shoreline Plaque, the brass plaque that marks the early San Francisco shoreline.

“While creating this work, it was important for me to include a moment to reflect on the invisibility and loss of African American history and to comment on the current out-migration of African Americans,” Haigood said.

Sailing Way begins Thursday, October 7 and runs through Sunday, October 10. Performances will take place at the top of each half hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Photo Credits: San Francisco Arts Commission

Film: Gerrymandering at Laney College

Laney College is hosting a free screening of the film, "Gerrymandering," on Friday, October 8 in the Theater building.

What is "gerrymandering"? Named for the Massachusetts governor who conveniently redrew a few erratic lines in 1812, gerrymandering is the redistricting of electoral boundaries to effect voting outcome in favor of a particular candidate, political party, et cetera.

Director Jeff Reichert gathers an impressive bevy of experts to smartly present a well-rounded exposé. This accessible and informative documentary encourages us to put on our bifocals and more closely inspect the warp and woof of America's democratic system.

A reception begins at 5 p.m., followed by a 5:30 p.m. lecture, and the movie from 6-8 p.m.

This event is open to the public and is free of charge. However, donations will be accepted to help send the Fusion Theater (Laney College Theater Company) theater student to Scotland for the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Black Cartoonists Exhibit at Laney College

By Tracey Brown
Special to

In 1965 there was "Wee Pals," a friendly comic strip advocating racial integration. Now there is "Boondocks," a comic strip morphed into an animated TV series whose primary characters are two inner-city kids who have moved to the suburbs--Huey, an angry revolutionary, and Riley, a wannabe gangsta. The evolution of this social commentary by black cartoonists--"Coloring Outside the Lines: Black Cartoonists as Social Commentator's," is on display at the Laney College Library through Oct. 23.

Created and curated by Kheven LaGrone, "Coloring," which premiered at the San Francisco Main Public Library, features black cartoonists whose comic strips appear in newspapers across the nation.

Born from a retrospective exhibit of Berkeley native Morrie Turner's "Wee Pals" comic strip at the San Francisco Library last September, "Coloring" focuses on contemporary cartoons strips with characters from today.


"Coloring" even shows new millennium "Wee Pals" characters that are tech savvy.

A strip from June 2009, features Randy, the athletic black kid with the backward baseball cap, and Oliver, the chubby white nerd modeled on a boy Turner went to school with in Oakland during the Depression:

Randy: "I'll text-message you on my African American Berry when I get home."

Oliver: "You mean BlackBerry, dontcha Randy?"

Randy: "Not at my house!"

LaGrone's intent with the Turner exhibit was to focus on social commentary from a black perspective. While many did not view "Wee Pals" as social commentary, LaGrone said that "Lots of his [Turner] work had been seen, but most people didn't know it was his political perspective that was being made in his cartoon."

A desire to inspire his nephew, a black youth, to think of success as a path in life, positioned LaGrone for his foray into showcasing art as a motivating medium for young people. In 2006, LaGrone created the art show "Black Artists' Expressions of Father," an exhibit which premiered in San Francisco and Richmond, and was later expanded in 2007 to become "BABA: Black Artists' Expressions of Father," a featured exhibit at the International Fatherhood Conference in Atlanta.

Photo Credit:

The show was eventually brought to New York City the following year. In 2007, along with his 19-year old nephew Jarrel Phillips, LaGrone curated the art show "ASPIRE! Black Teen Artists Interpretations of Success" which was exhibited in San Francisco and Richmond. LaGrone served as the curator of the visual arts program for 2008 AfroSolo Arts Festival in San Francisco.

After the Turner exhibit in San Francisco, other black cartoonists approached LaGrone to present their work as well. "Coloring" was born.

In addition to Turner, other cartoonists participating in the exhibit are:

Darrin Bell, creator of "Candorville."

"Candorville" is about a brilliant, but under-achieving blogger, a gangsta rapper with a heart of fool's gold and a Latina advertising executive. The two have been friends since childhood and they struggle to stay close even though life's taken them in vastly different directions.

They battle backstabbing coworkers, discrimination, crooked politicians, evil vampires, a lazy mainstream media and a hilariously amoral corporate America to get their piece of the American Pie that might've been left out of the fridge a little too long.

Cory Thomas, creator of "Watch Your Head."

"Watch Your Head" chronicles the lives of six students attending Oliver Otis University, a traditionally black college. The strip is told largely through the eyes of Thomas, who's academically brilliant and socially awkward, especially with girls.

Jerry Craft, creator of "Mama's Boyz."

"Mama's Boyz" follows the lives of Pauline Porter and her two teenage sons, Tyrell and Yusuf. The strip has been syndicated weekly since 1995 by King Features Syndicate and is sent to more than 1,500 newspapers and magazines around the world. In 2009, "Mama's Boyz" was named "Best Comic Strip" by the African American Literary Awards Show.

Keith Knight, creator of "K Chronicles," "(th)ink," and "The KnightLife."

In addition to being a regular contributor to MAD Magazine, his comic strips appear in more than 100 publications worldwide. "K Chronicles" is the winner of the Glyph Award for Best Comic Strip in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. "The Knight Life," also was nominated in 2010. Knight is currently producing a graphic novel about being a Michael Jackson in high school.

Morrie Turner, creator of "Wee Pals."

"Wee Pals" was the first nationally syndicated racially integrated comic strip. Created in 1965, initially, few newspapers were interested in a racially-integrated cartoon. After the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., there was a surge of interest in racial integration and as a result, 100 newspapers published "Wee Pals."

Through the comic, Turner portrays a world without prejudice. It is a world where people's differences--racial, religion, gender, as well as physical and mental abilities--are cherished and not scorned. Turner served as a forum member of the White House Conference on Children in 1970.

Nate Creekmore, creator of "Maintaining."

"Maintaining" is about life's absurdities and the ways in which a bi-racial high school student named Marcus tries to make sense of them. At its peak, "Maintaining" appeared in about 40 newspapers nationwide, including the Detroit Free Press, the Portland Oregonian, The Trentonian and Honolulu Star Bulletin. In addition, the strip appeared in New Delhi, India and London.

Brumsic Brandon, Jr. author of "Luther."

"Luther" was first syndicated by Newsday Specials and then The Los Angeles Times Syndicate. Based on his social criticism, Brandon was invited to serve (and served) as a forum member of the White House Conference on Children in 1970. Brandon also wrote and illustrated several Luther segments for the children's television show "Vegetable Soup" and "Bebop Fables" (which was narrated by Dizzy Gillespie).

Barbara Brandon-Croft, creator of "Where I'm Coming From."

"Where I'm Coming From" was internationally distributed from 1991 to 2004 by Universal Press Syndicate. It appeared in more than 60 newspapers and voiced social and political commentary through the voices of "the girls"--fictional characters based on Brandon-Croft and her friends. The strip included about a dozen women, ranging from the issues-conscious Lekesia to the self-absorbed, man-obsessed Nicole.

Black cartoons often disappear from the pages of newspapers without warning. LaGrone said that the public needs to take action when this happens. "When newspapers take away our black cartoons, we must call them, write letters. We have to demand that they bring them back. Otherwise they don't know that we care," he said.

LaGrone, a Bay Area native, is a licensed civil engineer holding a BS degree in Civil Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and an MA in mass communication from Emerson College in Boston.

Tracey Brown is the Editor-in-Chief of the Laney Tower newspaper. This article originally appeared in the Laney Tower.

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