Payton Perspective: Name new regional park in Concord for Federal Glover or Bay Miwok Chupcan tribe who lived there

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Contra Costa County Supervisor Federal Glover and map of new regional park in Concord.

Antioch Mayor Thorpe adds his support to effort for naming it Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50 to honor “contributions made by Contra Costa’s African American community”; district staff recommends it without any general public outreach

Naming it for Supervisor Glover would better fulfill that goal

Or choose the historical name of Bay Miwok Chupcan Regional Park

District Board Executive Committee will discuss matter during Tuesday, May 11 meeting

Also name Antioch’s new park Roddy Ranch Regional Park

By Allen Payton, Publisher

Justice Thurgood Marshall. Official portrait 1976

An effort, launched last fall, is underway asking the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) Board of Directors to name their newest park, in Concord, after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall rather than for the Chupcan tribe of the Bay Miwok, who inhabited the area in the 1700’s, as had been planned. This past week, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe announced his support for the effort.

Now, district staff is recommending that name without any general public outreach to seek input on possible names, other than comments made during board meetings. The board’s Executive Committee will consider the matter during their meeting this next Tuesday, May 11. (See agenda item #3 and process for public comment at the end of this editorial)

The 2,540-acre, temporarily named Concord Hills Regional Park, located on the south side of Highway 4 and encompassing most of the former Concord Naval Weapons Station land, was slated to be named Chupcan Territories Regional Park. But last year, during a Sept. 3 EBRPD Board meeting public comment, Lewis Thrower, a spokesman for Citizens for Historical Equity proposed naming it for Justice Marshall because there are no regional parks in Contra Costa County named after African Americans. Marshall’s local connection is, as an attorney, he unsuccessfully represented the Port Chicago 50, the name given to the 50 Black sailors, during their mutiny trial, for defying orders of their Navy commanders to return to work after the disaster that took the lives of 320 sailors and civilians and injuring 390 others on July 17, 1944 during World  War II. That occurred while the stevedors were loading 5,000 tons of ammunition onto ships. The 50 sailors refused to return to work until safety measures had been put in place. They were each convicted on the charge of mutiny and given a sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment and dishonorable discharge from the Navy.

Port Chicago stevedores. Source: NPS

According to a NY Times report, almost all the sailors were released at the end of the war, including “47 who were paroled to active duty aboard Navy vessels in the Pacific Theater. Two of the 50 prisoners remained in the prison’s hospital for additional months recuperating from injuries, and one was not released because of a bad conduct record. Those of the 50 who had not committed later offenses were given a general discharge from the Navy ‘under honorable conditions’.”

According to the EBRPD Board meeting minutes, several other members of the public spoke in support of the naming proposal including Royle Roberts of Black Democrats, Willie Mims of the Black Political Association and Mable Minney of the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center. A white paper and an addendum on Thurgood Marshall, and a petition with over 700 signatures were cited, as well.

Port Chicago disaster damage. Source: NPS

Thorpe wrote on his mayor’s Facebook page on Thursday, May 6, “he has endorsed naming Contra Costa’s newest regional park– Thurgood Marshall Regional Park-Home of the Port Chicago 50.” The reason he gave is because, “the proposed name would be a major step towards expanding a county narrative that includes the contributions made by Contra Costa’s African American community.” He claimed that there were now 880 signatures of people in support of the effort.

Thrower and Citizens for Historical Equity recommended one or more neighboring parks be named Chupcan Territories Regional Park, instead. Thorpe reiterated that in a comment below his Facebook post, which has since been deleted.

During the meeting, Diana McDaniel from the Friends of the Port Chicago National Memorial suggested the name be Port Chicago Memorial Regional Park so people don’t forget.

Port Chicago National Memorial. Source: National Parks Service

However, as the name of her organization demonstrates, there already is recognition with the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial which was established in 1994 at the site and on the 50th anniversary of the disaster to honor those who lost their lives. Then, in 2019, on the 75th anniversary of the tragedy, Representatives Mark DeSaulnier and Barbara Lee reintroduced a resolution, HR 49, which states its purpose in the first paragraph as, “Recognizing the victims of the Port Chicago explosion of July 17, 1944, the 75th anniversary of the greatest homeland loss of life of World War II, and exonerating the 50 African-American sailors unjustly court-martialed by the Navy.” It passed the House in December 2019 as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (S.1790) listed in Sec. 540N as “Sense of Congress on the Port Chicago 50”. But the exoneration of the sailors was removed by the Senate before it was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 20.

According to the memorial’s Wikipedia page, “the Port Chicago Committee is working to expand the current memorial to encompass 250 acres of the former Port Chicago waterfront.” Recognition of the Port Chicago 50 and Justice Marshall could be included there.

Bay Miwok tribes map and SF Bay Area tribe maps. Source: EBRPD

Bay Miwok Chupcan Tribe

According to ConcordHistory.com, “a small tribelet of Chupcan (Bay Miwok) Indians composed the first inhabitants of our valley. Dominated by a great mountain to their south, the Chupcan lived along the valley’s streams which flowed north to the wide tule marshes on the edge of the Bay.”

According to the Bay Miwok Content by Beverly R. Ortiz, Ph.D. on the EBRPD website, there were about 1,800 to 2,000 Bay Miwoks living in the area in six different tribes before 1770. According to the Museum of the San Ramon Valley, “One of those tribes, or tribelets as scholars call them, were the Chupcan of Diablo Valley.”

While Marshall was the first Black U.S. Supreme Court Justice and represented the Port Chicago 50 while an attorney, he wasn’t from Contra Costa County and to honor him by naming a regional park for justice does not expand “a county narrative that includes the contributions made by Contra Costa’s African American community.”

A more appropriate place to honor the Port Chicago 50 would be at the national memorial by adding each of the sailors’ names, now that they’ve been exonerated. Justice Marshall’s name could be added to it, as well for his efforts in defending them at trial. Their names should be listed on the National Parks Service website for the memorial, as well.

Federal Glover or Bay Miwok Chupcan Regional Park

Concord Hills Regional Park. Photo by Stephen Joseph Fine Art Photography. Courtesy of EBRPD.

If the goal is to honor contributions made by Contra Costa’s African American community, then I think a more appropriate name would be the Federal Glover Regional Park, for the first African American to serve our county on the Board of Supervisors and who has done so for over 20 years. In addition, he served the City of Pittsburg, East County and the county on transportation boards while a council member, prior to that. I would say Federal is the African American who has contributed more to our county than any other and should be recognized instead of the former justice who had a fleeting connection.

If not, then it should be named for the historic tribe that inhabited that part of our county. Since it’s doubtful that even those familiar with the history of the native peoples of Contra Costa would recognize the tribal name of Chupcan – it was news to me – Bay Miwok should be included in the name. If that’s the direction, then the new park should be named the Bay Miwok Chupcan Regional Park.

Roddy Ranch Regional Park

Also, while the Board is considering names for the district’s regional parks, instead of Deer Valley Regional Park, the newest one planned for East County, on the land owned and sold to the district by long-time rancher Jack Roddy, it should instead be named the Roddy Ranch Regional Park to keep the historical significance.

Public Comments

Members of the public can listen to and view the EBRPD Board Executive Committee meeting on Tuesday, May 11 in the following way: Via the Park District’s live video stream, on the Park District’s YouTube channel, which can be found at https://youtu.be/pvK6M5XWBPI (The YouTube link may not function properly when using Internet Explorer. The optimal browser for viewing the live stream of the meeting is Chrome.)

Public comments may be submitted:

  1. Live via Zoom. If you would like to make a live public comment during the meeting this option is available through the virtual meeting platform: https://ebparks.zoom.us/j/94499652339. Note that this virtual meeting platform link will let you into the virtual meeting for the purpose of providing a public comment. If you do not intend to make a public comment please use the Youtube link above to observe the meeting. It is preferred that those requesting to speak during the meeting contact Becky Pheng at bpheng@ebparks.org by 5:00 pm on Monday, May 10, 2021 via email or voicemail at 510-544-2005 to provide their name and subject of the public comment or item to be addressed.
  2. Via Email to Becky Pheng at bpheng@ebparks.org by 5:00 pm on Monday, May 10, 2021. Email must contain in the subject line “Public Comments – not on the agenda” or “Public Comments – agenda item #”.
  3. Via Voicemail at 510-544-2005. The caller must start the message by stating “Public Comments – not on the agenda” or “Public Comments – agenda item #” followed by their name and place of residence, followed by their comments.
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Publisher @ May 8, 2021

CHP investigating shooting of two people on Hwy 4 in Pittsburg Thursday night

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, CHP | Comments (0)

A shooting occurred on westbound SR-4, west of Railroad Avenue at around 10:00 PM Thursday night, May 6, 2021. A driver and his passenger were shot at in what appears to be an attempted road rage incident. The driver and passenger sustained non-life-threatening injuries as a result of this shooting and were transported to a local hospital for treatment. The unknown suspect fled the scene in an unknown vehicle subsequent to the shooting.

Detectives assigned to CHP – Golden Gate Division Special Investigations Unit (SIU) are actively investigating this shooting. Our detectives are requesting assistance from the public in gathering the details surrounding this incident. If you or anyone you know have any information that might be helpful, please call the CHP Investigative Tipline at 707.917.4491.

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Publisher @ May 8, 2021

Amtrak San Joaquins Reinstates Cash Payments Onboard and at Staffed Stations

Posted in: News, Transportation | Comments (0)

While cash sales were initially suspended in March 2020, Amtrak San Joaquins has resumed cash payments onboard and at all staffed stations. Reintroducing cash payments was the result of coordination among the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, LOSSAN JPA, the State of California, and Amtrak.

Historically, approximately 15% of San Joaquins ticket revenue has been generated by cash payments. Reintroducing cash payments provides improved rail and Thruway bus access to the unbanked and underbanked passengers that have been disproportionately impacted by this policy.

Onboard ticket sales are in place to accommodate passenger boarding at unstaffed stations. Passengers boarding at unstaffed station, including Antioch, Richmond, Lodi, Turlock, Madera, Wasco, and Corcoran can purchase their ticket directly from the conductor. Passengers boarding at staffed stations will pay a $10 surcharge in addition to the price of the ticket. The surcharge is a resumption of previous policy.

“We are pleased to begin accepting cash once again throughout our service,” said Stacey Mortensen, Executive Director of the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. “In response to the immediate COVID-19 crisis, we took all the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of our travelers and staff; this included requiring contactless ticketing. In coordination with state officials and Amtrak, we have determined that cash exchange is not only safe, but also improves transportation access to cash dependent riders. The resumption of cash represents a positive step towards normalcy.”

As the state begins to reopen from COVID-19 restrictions, Amtrak San Joaquins is encouraging riders to also review the Visit California “Responsible Travel Code” for additional tips on how to plan thoughtful, safe, and respectful travel.

Customers are strongly encouraged to plan ahead and book early to guarantee available tickets. Amtrak’s new standard of travel includes:

  • Face coverings: Federal law and Amtrak policy require all customers and employees to wear a mask or covering that fully covers the entire mouth and nose, fits snugly against the side of the face, and secures under the chin at all times while onboard trains and in stations, even if state or local policies are different.
  • Station arrival: Customers are encouraged to arrive 30 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if in need of ticketing and/or baggage assistance.
  • Capacity indicator: When searching for travel, the percentage of seats sold displays next to each trip and adjusts as customers make reservations. This gives customers the opportunity to book a train that is less crowded. If capacity exceeds comfort levels, customers can change their ticket without incurring a fee (a fare difference may apply).
  • Amtrak app: Customers can book, board, check train status and access information from the convenience and safety of a mobile device. Amtrak continues to encourage boarding with eTickets, which conductors scan from the Amtrak app.
  • Air quality: All Amtrak trains are equipped with onboard filtration systems with a fresh air exchange rate every 4-5 minutes.
  • Physical distancing: Signage has been displayed at our stations to indicate safe distances in high traffic areas. In addition, protective plastic barriers have been installed at customer counters at our stations.

Passengers are encouraged to purchase tickets prior to boarding at stations, online at AmtrakSanJoaquins.com, on the Amtrak app, or at a station kiosk.

About the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority (SJJPA)

Since July 2015, SJJPA has been responsible for the management and administration of Amtrak San Joaquins. SJJPA is governed by Board Members representing each of the ten (10) Member Agencies along the 365-mile San Joaquins Corridor. For more information on SJJPA see www.sjjpa.com.

Amtrak San Joaquins is Amtrak’s 6th busiest route with 1.1 million annual riders and 18 stations providing a safe, comfortable and reliable way to travel throughout California. Prior to service modifications due to the COVID-19 crisis, Amtrak San Joaquins ran 7 daily train round-trips and its Thruway buses provided connecting service to 135 destinations in California and Nevada including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Napa Valley, Las Vegas and Reno. To book your next trip, visit www.AmtrakSanJoaquins.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL.

 

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Publisher @ May 8, 2021

Teen girl shot, killed in Antioch Friday night

Posted in: News, Police & Crime | Comments (0)

By Lieutenant John Fortner, Antioch Police Department Investigations Bureau

On Friday,  May 7, 2021, at approximately 6:02 PM, Antioch police officers responded to the 3300 block of Sunset Lane for a female that was shot.

Numerous officers responded to the scene. When officers arrived, they located a female victim face down in a residential front yard suffering from one gunshot wound to the chest. Evidence at the scene indicated the shooting occurred outdoors. Officers immediately began administering first aid and called for emergency fire department and AMR paramedics.

Unfortunately, the female victim succumbed to her injuries and she was pronounced deceased at the scene. The suspect(s) fled the scene and have not been contacted. Currently, there are no suspect leads.

Antioch Police Department’s Crime Scene Investigators and detectives with the Violent Crimes and Special Operations Units responded to the scene and took over the investigation.

Currently, detectives are contacting witnesses and working to identify any suspects or persons-of-interest. The investigation is still active, and evidence is being collected and evaluated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Antioch Police Department non-emergency line at (925) 778-2441, or Detective Thomas Smith at (925) 779-6876. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

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Publisher @ May 8, 2021

Struggle at LMC: Black professor from Antioch questions her Black studies class being taught by non-Black professor

Posted in: News, Opinion, Education | Comments (0)

Addresses other matter of Black students being told which colleges they should and shouldn’t apply to

Important issues of concern for the Black community

Iris Archuleta interacts with a student in her class at LMC.

By Iris Archuleta, J.D.

Following are the extended remarks of a statement I made during the Los Medanos College Academic Senate meeting on March 22, 2021. (Publisher’s note: This was received for publication in the publisher’s personal email, that day and was not seen until, today. However, the issue is ongoing and still timely).

First, I want to thank Willie Mims and NAACP President Victoria Adams for attending LMC Academic and Curriculum Committee meetings and making powerful statements about this madness.

At a time when the fight for equity and social justice should be embraced, and even as the new Contra Costa Community College District (CCCCD) Chancellor, Dr. Bryan Reece, is promoting and instituting serious strategies for equity and inclusion and is a strong advocate for anti-racist policies and behaviors throughout the district, a disturbing attack is underway by a non-Black faculty member and her so-called “Ethnic Studies Council” to take over a highly successful class I have been teaching since 2015, and have a non-Black professor, herself, teach it this fall.

I am an Adjunct Professor in Social Science at Los Medanos College. Since 2014, I have taught several courses, including American Government, Social Justice, and Issues Facing African Americans. In fact, in 2015, because of my background and experience, I was asked to teach, Issues Facing African Americans (SOCSC 045), when the professor teaching it unexpectedly did not show up for class on the first day.

I developed the curriculum and study materials and have been teaching the course every semester since then. In my classes, I have a no-cost textbook policy to save students money, and instead, my students are able to access the study materials that I have developed through research and that I provide through PowerPoints and links to free material. In addition, my students are taught to do their own research and provide presentations to the entire class to enhance student learning.

My students are empowered, and as a Black professor, I infuse in them a sense and level of pride and teach them about the resilience and power of Black people in this society. I have stayed in contact with many students over the years and helped them attain goals they never believed they could. I get a message almost every day from former students who thank me for awakening their thirst for knowledge and for the truths they learned about the struggles and successes of Black people in America.

I also make it a point to bring in guest speakers with expertise and experiences in a range of struggles and concerns facing African Americans. For example, my husband, Keith Archuleta, who is Black and Chicano, is a community leader in his own right, with several degrees, including African and African American studies with honors from Stanford University, is a guest lecturer on several subjects during each semester.

Not only that, but my husband and I have encouraged Black students to apply for their colleges of choice and not to shy away even from schools such as Stanford. In our class, Keith is able to share with them that as a student at Stanford, not only was he “accepted,” but he started the Black Media Institute and the Black Community Services Center. He and thousands of other Black students over the years have made Stanford a better place.

We are attempting to counteract what many Black students are being told, by this professor and others who are attacking me, that Stanford is a “white” school where they would not be accepted, so don’t even try to apply.

I recently sent out a link to faculty celebrating the graduation of over 60 Black Harvard Law School students this year, and I did not even get a comment from this professor to indicate anything had changed about her low expectations of Black students going to some of the best universities in the country.

I have received excellent performance reviews in all the courses I teach, and have earned preference, a designation meaning first choice when scheduling classes among adjuncts.

I work continually to improve my teaching methods and bring in new research, data, and issues to keep the course fresh, relevant, contextual, and interdisciplinary.

So, last year, when the new full-time professor in Social Justice, who is not a Black professor, asked to meet with me to discuss updating the curriculum for the Issues Facing African Americans course, I was happy to meet with her. We worked together to do a few updates, with the bulk of the curriculum that I created over time remaining intact.

She said she wanted to change the name of the course to Introduction to Black Studies. I saw no problem with that. However, she failed to mention at the time that not only did she plan to change the name, but that she was planning to take over teaching the course and discontinue my teaching of the course.

So, until fairly recently, I believed that in the fall semester I would be teaching the same course I am teaching this semester, Issues Facing African Americans, just updated and retitled Introduction to Black Studies, with the curriculum that I created.

However, just a few weeks ago, that professor approached me and asked if I would teach an additional class, Race and Ethnicity (SOCSC 150). Since I and other Black faculty and others had written the curriculum for Race and Ethnicity, that made sense. So, then I thought if I accepted the Race and Ethnicity class, that in the fall I would be teaching that course and Introduction to Black Studies.

However, later she informed me that she would be teaching Intro to Black Studies because the course now requires someone with a degree in Ethnic Studies to teach it. She feels she is more qualified because of her full-time status and her Doctorate in Chicana Studies. She is not, nor does she claim to be African American or Black.

It is ironic that in the name of Ethnic Studies, a class taught by a Black woman would be eliminated and the same course, now under a different title, would be set up to be taught by someone who is not Black.

When I think of racism it reminds me of our history of dealing with people who feel they are superior to others and have the inherent right to take from those they designate as inferior, which in this case happens to be me.

This is not acceptable. It is not acceptable to me; it is not acceptable to Black students; and in fact, it is not acceptable to any students of all backgrounds who have taken this course or plan to take it in the future. It should not be acceptable to the college.

Furthermore, her claim that only someone with a degree in Ethnic Studies is qualified to teach Intro to Black Studies makes no sense and in fact makes a mockery of the CCCCD Anti-Racism Pledge, which says, in part:

“Resolved, that the Academic Senates of the CCCCD encourage all CCCCD employees to commit to professional development, hiring practices, and/or curricular changes that work to dismantle structural racism.”

By excluding a Black professor from teaching a course she has been qualified to teach for over five years and allowing a non-Black professor to take over a course called Intro to Black Studies, would actually be strengthening structural racism.

Black in the context of Black Studies is a socio-political term defined as: “the collective struggle/experience of people of African descent to gain power and influence in the processes and institutions of government as a way of securing and protecting a diverse array of issues as American citizens.” Black Studies is typically associated with politics and law in the fight against racism.

Just as my background, training, and life experiences have more than qualified me to teach Issues Facing African Americans, my Political Science degree with honors and my Juris Doctorate (Law) degree with honors more than qualify me to teach Intro to Black Studies.

It has been courageous Black leaders such as Charles Houston, Thurgood Marshall, and other world-changing Black lawyers, such as Bryan Stevenson – the attorney responsible for getting more than 100 wrongly convicted African American and other prisoners off death row – that continue to inspire my life’s work and drove me to earn a degree in Political Science and an advanced degree in Law in the first place.

To rub salt into the wound, as this affront has been allowed to continue, this professor and her committee have doubled down on personal attacks and insults toward me and others at the college who support my position; and are now adding more false justifications for taking the course from me.

One of the things that they are promoting is what they refer to as “engagement in the African American community” as a prerequisite along with an Ethnic Studies degree for teaching Intro to Black Studies, implying that this is another requirement that would bar me from teaching this course.

Not many others at LMC have had anywhere near my experience in Black community engagement. First of all, my very life is rooted in the Black community and the solid relationships I have built in Eastern Contra Costa County and the Bay Area. I’ve really been blessed to grow up in San Francisco where I lived in a home that welcomed SNCC organizers and Black Panthers.

My husband and I are the founders of Emerald HPC International, LLC, a consulting company active, locally and globally, in community and economic development consulting, specializing in the design and implementation of systems change strategies and outcomes-based collaborative efforts through our trademarked, High Performing Communities Framework (HPC).

We invested our own funds and organized the Youth Intervention Network that served Antioch youth and families, with a 92% reduction in police calls for service, an 83% reduction in truancy, and an improvement in student GPA by an average of two grade points. Ninety-six percent of the students participating in YIN graduated from high school. Of these, 99% went on to postsecondary education. YIN was featured as one of three global best practices and a model urban anti-violence and peace building initiative at the 2012 opening celebration of the United Nations Peace University at The Hague and recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder during the Barack Obama administration with the U.S. Justice Department’s National Best Community Involvement Award.

We have also worked with Hispanic leaders on important projects such as Brentwood’s One Day at a Time (ODAT) and sponsored youth, including LMC students, to attend the international Corrymeela Peace and Reconciliation Center in Northern Ireland, to study racial and ethnic struggles worldwide.

We are currently working with Dr. Clay Carson, the Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research & Education Institute, who has been entrusted with the original writings, letters and speeches of Martin and Coretta King, to continue the study of the unfinished work of the Civil Rights Movement and the on-going racist backlash to the anti-racist movement and the successes of the Black struggle for freedom.

We brought Rev. Jesse Jackson to Antioch for a talk with officials and citizens about social and economic justice. We have worked with Keith’s fellow Stanford BSU leader, Steve Phillips to launch PowerPac and Vote Hope that supported Barack Obama’s 2008 Presidential campaign, and we brought California and Bay Area Black clergy to Antioch to organize their support for that campaign and Black voter registration.

We don’t have space enough here to talk about most of our work locally and the myriad of local leaders, artists, and activists who are engaged in making life better not only for Black residents and young people, but all people here in Eastern Contra Costa County, especially those most impacted by racism and inequity. Students in my classes have access to these and other local, national, and international Black community leaders, who have been and still are on the frontline of the struggles facing Black people.

Before I close, let me show you how absurd this situation is by giving you the following scenario:

What if I, a Black woman, had majored in Ethnic Studies, and was recently hired at a community college as the new full-time professor to head up the Ethnic Studies department, that has no other full-time professors. I find out that a Chicana has been teaching a course in that department called Issues Facing Mexican Americans for five years as a part-time adjunct professor.

What if I, with all of my power as a full-time professor who is the nominal head of the department, then decided to change the name of the course to Intro to Latinx Studies, and because I have an Ethnic Studies degree, I am now automatically more qualified than a professor who is Chicana and has both a J.D. and a Political Science degree? What if I made this unilateral decision with no accountability either to that college or that community?

Still, I need to make sure you know this:

Even if I do not teach this class, it is important that someone else be hired who has the appropriate qualifications to teach Intro to Black Studies. It is my hope that LMC will recognize other brilliant brothers and sisters, especially the younger ones, with doctorates in African American studies and who are Black. If I am not to teach this class, I want LMC to respectfully hold off on posting this course until someone qualified is hired.

Finally, I appreciate all those who are willing to speak up, speak out, and distribute this information. I also appreciate all those who are making sure this information gets out to the community, including Laurie Huffman, my colleague and ally, who has also spoken out against this issue.

Please feel free to voice your concerns to:

  • Nikki Moultrie, LMC Dean of Career Education & Social Sciences: NMoultrie@losmedanos.edu
  • James Noel, Chair of LMC Academic Senate: JNoel@losmedanos.edu

Academic Senate meeting dates: https://www.losmedanos.edu/intra-out/as/

  • Name, Chair Curriculum Committee: mlynn@losmedanos.edu

Curriculum Committee meeting dates: https://www.losmedanos.edu/intra-out/cur/meetings.aspx

Thank you all for your support and your time and attention.

Iris Archuleta is Vice President of Community Engagement for Emerald HPC International, LLC and Adjunct Professor in Social Science at LMC.

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Publisher @ May 7, 2021

Mayor, councilwoman, parks commission chair propose programs for Antioch youth, reducing gun violence, ammunition storage ordinance

Posted in: News, Police & Crime, Jobs, Recreation, Youth | Comments (0)

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe speaks at a press conference about youth programs and violence prevention, in front of the Antioch Community Center at Prewett Family Park, on Thursday, May 6, 2021.

By Allen Payton

During a press conference Thursday morning, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe, along with District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Marie Arce, introduced several proposals for youth programs, including summer and after school jobs and internships, as well as more school safety staff and an ordinance on keeping ammunition separate from guns in the home. (See complete video of press conference it begins at the 1:55 mark)

Thorpe first introduced the city’s new Parks and Recreation Department director, Brad Helfenberger.

“I worked for the City of Emeryville creating new programs for youth,” he said. “I look forward to working with the city council in investing in our youth.”

Thorpe then spoke about youth in the community.

“Antioch is the second largest city in our county and growing because of youth,” he said. “Kids under age 18 make up a third of Antioch’s population.”

He then introduced, “my new homegirls from (Diablo Valley) Mom’s Demand Action.” Seven members attended the press conference, including some from East County, but none of the 99 members they claim live in Antioch were in attendance.

Thorpe then shared some statistics saying, “Roughly 72% of Antioch’s students are on free and reduced lunch. 30% of them are English learners. Currently, only 49% of students are meeting the state reading standards and in mathematics 60% of our children don’t meet state standards. When our seniors graduate high school, only 23% of students are prepared to go to a four-year college or university.”

“Please don’t take this as an indictment on our school system,” he continued. “My hats off to our local teachers for the many instances of beating the odds by taking a kid living in absolute chaos and producing the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first round NFL draft pick, Najee Harris; producing an undrafted free agent like Isaiah Dunn and taking him all the way to the New York JETS; taking a kid living on the streets of Antioch with his family, like Sage Bennett, providing him a little stability during the day and preparing him to become a full ride scholarship recipient at UC Berkeley.”

“Right now, at Antioch High School, there is a 16-year-old little girl, who immigrated here from Asia, who literally just learned English a few years ago, getting ready to graduate and enter a pre-dental program at the University of the Pacific,” Thorpe shared.

“By no means is this an indictment on our school system,” he reiterated. “However, it is an indictment on all of us and what our values reflect.”

“In Antioch, we’ve placed a high premium on criminalizing kids than we have on investing in their development,” Thorpe continued. “Don’t take my word for it, look at the city’s budget, its plain as day. And yet, we only seem to talk about our youth when something bad has happened, to point out what they’re not doing right and with absolute contempt.”

“That’s not right,” he stated. “But as mayor, I want our young people to know that I hear you. I hear you when it comes to after-school programs, summer job opportunities, a space for you to express yourselves, equity and safety in our community and much, much more.”

Six Summer Youth Programs

“This summer, we are going to be launching six youth-centererd, pilot programs from May to August, as a way to offer youth alternatives to the streets,” Thorpe stated. “One of these programs is called the Middle School Pop Up Park Program. This will be the city’s first program that specially targets middle school students as our summer recreational programs do not tailor to middle school aged students.”

“These pilot programs will help us gather data and determine scalability,” he continued. “In addition, I’ll be advancing four measures at the May 25th council meeting to aid in this effort.”

Those four proposals include the following:

  1. Develop Midnight Basketball initiative that targets middle and high school students:
  2. Acquire property for youth to legally and safely use off-road vehicles such as ATV’s, dirt bikes, etc.
  3. Continue the Summer Bus Pass initiative
  4. Develop a Parks and Recreation rate structure for AUSD students who qualify for the Free or Reduced Lunch Program to increase access to summer recreational programming

Thorpe also mentioned expanding the Council of Teens.

“We’ll be launching a COVID-19 workforce program…and build an Antioch internship program focusing on ages 18-24 or 15-24,” he shared.

Thorpe mentioned few more proposed initiatives, including a Youth Art Expression program.

Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Arce then spoke, saying that the Youth Services Advisory Committee gave input in the development of the programs. She focused on the issue of access and affordability.

“We created a mock enrollment to enroll two adults and two children” but “the enrollment fee would consume 42% of income” of those or those on the free school lunch program “and 30% of income” for those who qualify for the reduced lunch program.

The plan is to offer the programs for free to those who qualify.

Gun Violence Prevention

Thorpe then spoke about long-term strategies for community-led violence prevention and intervention strategies.

“Obviously, violence continues to be a challenge for many Bay Area cities including Antioch,” he stated. “We all know, gun violence is a national problem and Antioch is not immune from it. In some parts of Antioch gun violence is a normal occurrence.”

Thorpe spoke of the resolution that the city council recently approved in support of federal legislation on gun violence.

Torres-Walker then spoke on the issue saying, “I have lived in this community for six years. My first experience was gun violence. There were many efforts but nothing sustainable because the city lacked the will and the resources.”

“On March 29th I was informed by the police chief that the Antioch Police Department and Oakland Police Department were working together,” she shared. “The press release of April 15 was no surprise to me.”

“Now my son can walk to the store, safely,” Torres-Walker stated. “I informed the chief that we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem. The chief agreed. Those on the Gang Violence Task Force also agreed.”

“We need to curb gun violence in Antioch to make our city safe,” she continued. “But not just gun violence, all violence is up during the pandemic.”

She then spoke of “establishing a task force that will be led by the community and supported by experts…and our police department who show up after violence has occurred but not curb violence.”

Proposed Safe Ammunition Storage Ordinance

Thorpe then shared that he will “be advancing three items for the (May) 25th (council meeting)” including “a Community Led Violence Task Force and an ordinance for safe storage of ammunition.”

Michelle Sinnott, an Alamo resident and Co-Lead of Diablo Valley Moms Demand Action, spoke about gun ownership in America and the impact of gun violence against Black Americans.

“There are more than 393 million civilian-owned firearms in the United States, or enough for every man, woman and child to own one and still have 67 million guns left over,” she stated. “From March through May 2020, an estimated 5.9 million guns were sold, an 80% increase over the same time period (the previous) year.”

“Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by gun violence,” Sinnott continued. “They experience nearly 10 times the gun homicides, 15 times the gun assaults and three times the fatal police shootings of white Americans.”

“Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens,” she shared. “More than 1,800 children and teens die by gun homicide every year. For children under the age of 13, these gun homicides most frequently occur in the home and are often connected to domestic or family violence. Black children and teens are 14 times more likely than white children and teens of the same age to die by gun homicide. Black Americans are nearly two times as likely to die from COVID 19 as white Americans and four times as likely to die from gun suicide.”

“Street outreach programs like the ones being proposed by the mayor and Council Member Walker are associated with up to 37% reductions of gun injuries,” said Sinnott. “Violence intervention programs provide evidence and community informed comprehensive support to individuals who are at the greatest risk of gunshot victimization.”

She then spoke of safe storage of guns and ammunition saying, “secure storage prevents shootings by disrupting unauthorized access to firearms.  Make our homes and communities safer by storing guns securely.  Store them locked and unloaded, separate from ammunition.”

“That is what the ordinance would require,” Sinnott explained.

“An estimated 54% of gun owners do not lock their guns securely,” she continued. “Every year 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else; 4.6 million children live in homes with at least one unsecured gun; and 80% of gunfire on school grounds occurred because shooters under the age of 18 got their gun from their home or a home of friends and relatives.”

“Suicide is impulsive, and with COVID and increasing isolation the number of suicides is growing,” Sinnott shared. “Assume children and teens can find guns and keep those weapons locked and unloaded to save lives. We saw a 30% increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children in March through May of 2020 versus March through May average over the past three years.”

“The idea that these devices defeat the purpose of owning a gun for self-defense is simply not true,” she stated. “There are many affordable options for firearms that provide owners with quick access to their guns.

“Moms Demand Action support these measures. Let’s make Antioch safer for everyone,” Sinnott concluded.

Long-Term Recreation Programming

“The last item is long term recreation programming,” Thorpe shared. “We’ve got to invest in our children.”

Arce spoke again saying, “we also reached out to community-based organizations. Our programs should be
equitable, sustainable programs for our youth. We have several great community organizations that want to partner with us.”

She then spoke of food access through farmers markets.

“Downtown residents lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” Arce said and proposed a youth-run farmers market to learn directly from farmers and learn sustainable farming. “It reduces carbon emissions and increases biodiversity.”

“We can add some after school and summer programs and possibly create Antioch’s own farm,” she continued. Arce spoke of the desire “to create an inclusive environment for youth with all abilities. There is a lack of space, accessibility and parental knowledge. Many spend their days in our parks because it’s free. But during winter months this is a health risk.”

“We are proposing our rec department offer access to programs, and include wrap-around services,” she added.

She then proposed “an All-Abilities Day at the Antioch Water Park” and “after school and summer programs.”

“The youth focus group does not represent all the youth of Antioch,” Arce pointed out.

She then mentioned a “music development program and workshop partnering with LMC and use of their recording studio.”

“We can also partner with CBO’s (community-based organizations)” Arce said, mentioning a basketball program and community garden. “A dedicated space for them to feel safe and welcome.”

She then spoke of “opportunities to connect with employers. Possibly a job fair.”

“The youth would like to see our trails and traffic safety improved so they can travel to school,” Arce continued. “We can create a safe and enjoyable space for our youth in Antioch.”

Thorpe then spoke of “five additional measures to proactively deal with traffic and school safety issues, including private schools” including possible traffic calming devices and a “bicycle garden that will provide hands-on bicycle, pedestrian, and driver safety education designed for both programmed and independent learning in a comfortable, fun, permanent, car-free facility.”

“One of the difficult things as an elected official is to hear the cries of a grieving mother no matter what the circumstances…as they express what they want changed,” he said, then spoke of the mother of Jonathan Parker, the Deer Valley High Student shot and killed following a basketball game, last year.

“Only one simple goal, that we prevent from happening to others what happened to her son,” Thorpe stated. “What she’s asked for is extra security at major AUSD events.”

He then spoke of authorizing police officer overtime for major after school events and suggested Neighborhood Watch members to volunteer at basketball and football games.

“We just need people…watching our children to ensure these events are more safe for our young people,” the mayor added.

Torres-Walker then spoke about “increased campus safety at our local schools.”

“For many years I’ve had the opportunity to work on school safety and environment as a parent and advocate,” she said.

“We operate in a deficit love for our young people,” Torres-Walker said, quoting a pastor.

She spoke of the student, last year who tried to become a student trustee on the Antioch School Board, but was not appointed. That was because the student hadn’t followed the required rules.

“Our school district is not the only perpetrator of this deficit love,” Torres-Walker said. “I’m sure our students feel this deficit love when they don’t feel safe going to and coming from school.”

She then spoke of “school climate and school site safety plans to hire school safety professionals to make our schools safe. We also need people prepared to address safety on our campuses.”

“I’m also recommending we review the REACH program,” Torres-Walker said. “I have heard this program has had much success, but I have not received reports.” She spoke of making changes “or get rid of it if it’s not working for our young folks.”

Thorpe then wrapped up the press conference with some concluding remarks.

“As we enter these summer months all I can say to our young people, plead with you, not to resort to guns,” he said. “Torres-Walker and I are the only council members with children in our schools. We will be criticized. But I don’t care.”

“Be safe this summer. To cease fire. We want to help. But we can’t do it with violence,” the mayor continued. “We want to meet you 99% of the way there but you need to meet us 1% of the way.”

“They’re not always listening in Washington, even though it’s common sense,” Thorpe then said, directing his comments to the Moms Demand Action members. “But dammit, we’re listening, here.”

“I call on family members…I beg you when you see a family member pick up a weapon, call the police…and keep our people alive,” he concluded.

Questions on School Safety Staff

When asked what does she mean by school campus safety professionals, Torres-Walker responded, “every school district has school safety folks…to decrease violence to counsel young folk. What we need to do is make sure they’re trained and equipped.”

She and Thorpe were asked about their votes to cancel the $750,000 federal grant for placing six police officers known as School Resource Officers or SRO’s, on Antioch middle and high school campuses.

“Yes, absolutely I voted against the federal grant just like when there was an opportunity to vote for Cal VIP funds to reduce gun violence in 2019 and the council and chief passed it up,” Torres-Walker responded.

Asked if the Cal VIP funds are still available, she said, “Cal VIP funds are always available for intervention and prevention of gun violence. Antioch has the opportunity to get this funding.”

“We are petitioning the governor right now to increase it to $114 million,” added Sitton.

 

 

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Applicants sought for Contra Costa Advisory Council on Equal Employment Opportunity

Posted in: News, Contra Costa County, Government | Comments (0)

The Contra Costa County Advisory Council on Equal Employment Opportunity (ACEEO) has one (1) vacant Community seat open to applicants. The successful candidate must reside within Contra Costa County and have an interest in equal employment matters. The ACEEO meets the fourth Friday of each month from 9:30 a.m. -11:30 a.m. except for holidays.

The ACEEO assists with the implementation of the County’s Equal Employment Opportunity and Contracting Programs and serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Supervisors. The Council reviews the Equal Employment Opportunities Program and recommends actions to facilitate the attainment of the County’s goals for equal employment opportunities regardless of gender, and race/ethnicity.

The Board of Supervisors established the ACEEO on July 9, 1991. The Council has thirteen (13) seats representing the following groups:  4 Community seats; 2 Labor seats; 2 Management seats; 1 Educational seat; 1 Disability seat; 1 Business seat; 1 Veteran seat; and 1 Labor/Trade seat.

Application forms can be obtained from the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors by calling (925) 655-2000 or visiting the County webpage at www.contracosta.ca.gov/3418.  Applications should be returned to the Clerk of the Board of Supervisors, 1025 Escobar St., 1st Floor, Martinez, CA 94553 no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, May 31, 2021. Applications can also be emailed to ClerkoftheBoard@cob.cccounty.us.

Applicants should plan to be available for public interviews on June 7, 2021. Due to COVID-19, interviews will be conducted via Zoom.  For further information about the ACEEO, please contact Antoine Wilson at antoine.wilson@riskm.cccounty.us or (925) 335-1455. You can also visit the web page at www.contracosta.ca.gov/4503/Advisory-Council-on-Equal-Employment-Opp.

 

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Middle, high school students in Antioch return to campus at Learning Centers

Posted in: News, Education, Youth | Comments (0)

A substitute teacher gives instructions to students in one of the Learning Center classrooms at Antioch High School.

“it’s been great having them, here” – Park Middle School Principal John Jimno

By Allen Payton

As of Tuesday, April 27 Learning Centers have opened at the middle and high schools in the Antioch Unified School District giving students the opportunity to return to the classroom and receive help with their online classes. The school board voted in March to open the Learning Centers instead of reopening Antioch schools fully or using a hybrid model in response to over 60% of parents surveyed not wanting their students to return to class. (See related article)

Antioch School Board Vice President Dr. Clyde Lewis and this reporter were provided tours of the Learning Centers at both Antioch High School and Park Middle School. The other middle and high schools in the district have opened one, as well. Learning Centers at the district’s elementary schools opened the previous week. (See related article)

The students participate in regular classes with their teachers, like their classmates who are distance learning from home. But they’re in a classroom with support from on-site substitute teachers and aids.

Antioch High School Tour

Antioch School Board VP Dr. Clyde Lewis (left) and AHS Site Safety Coordinator Lynn Bailey speak with Principal Louie Rocha (right) during the campus tour.

At Antioch High School there are six classrooms, four regular ed and two special ed for a total of 160 students, Principal Louie Rocha shared during the tour of his campus.

“Here they can use the WiFi and have support. Some are having trouble at home without private space,” he explained. “We have a Tuesday and Wednesday A group and students on Thursday and Friday in the B group. Special ed students are able to attend Tuesday through Friday.”

Like the elementary schools, the middle and high schools also have a process for students to enter the campus which includes having their temperature checked by a thermographic scanner.

“It can scan five people at a time,” Rocha stated. “This is something we’re going to do when we open in the fall.”

If a student has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or more, they aren’t allowed to stay for the day.

Dr. Lewis gets his temperature checked by the thermal scanner inside the Beede Auditorium at Antioch High School. His was 98.6 – just right.

Lynn Bailey, Site Safety Coordinator continued as the tour guide, explaining that “the day starts at 7:45 for those with Zero Period. Otherwise, they start at 8:30 and stay until 1:30. All students attend all six of their classes. One day they’re in classes 0-3 and the second day they’re in classes 0-6. The kids get meals for the day and breakfast for the following morning.”

“Each student is assigned a classroom and no talking in the classes,” she continued. “There are substitute teachers in each.”

“I think it’s running really well. The kids seem to like it,” Bailey shared. “We have a lot of freshman who had never been on campus, yet. All of our aids are back, and we’ve put them in the classrooms with the substitutes.”

The classrooms are located in the 400 Wing which was recently renovated using Measure B funds.

“If we have more students we will probably open another hallway. We have the capacity,” she added.

Students get help from the substitute teacher in one of the Learning Center classrooms at Park Middle School.

Park Middle School Tour

Park Middle School Principal John Jimno (left) speaks with Dr. Lewis during the tour.

Principal John Jimno led the tour of the Learning Center at Park Middle School.

“We have five rooms, total going right now and a waiting list for another room which we are trying to get open in the next week,” he said. “Two days on and two days off. We have one full day room four days a week for the special needs students. There are 20 students per classroom. We’re getting more coming each day.”

The students are divided alphabetically by last name and then by grade.

“I wanted to have some normalcy for the students, so it’s been great having them, here,” Jimno continued.
A student named Malachi said he was happy to be back in school to see some of his friends.

“I’m getting so many emails from parents saying their student came home like a different kid,” Jimno stated. “It’s been a fun week being with the kids. Hopefully we will get a few more students so we can fill it up.

“For P.E., the kids walk the track and play basketball. I’m the PE teacher this week,” he added.

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