Archive for the ‘People’ Category

After 32 years Tri Delta Transit has new CEO, Rashidi Barnes, Jeanne Krieg to retire in February

Saturday, October 22nd, 2022

Former Tri Delta Transit CEO Jeanne Krieg and new CEO Rashidi Barnes. Photos: Tri Delta Transit

By Leeann Loroño, Manager of Customer Service and Marketing, Tri Delta Transit

(Note: Apologies for the delay in posting this information. The Herald publisher was sick during the week this press release was issued)

After an extensive nationwide search, the Board of Directors of the Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, aka Tri Delta Transit, unanimously selected Rashidi Barnes as Tri Delta Transit’s new CEO. He assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer on September 7, 2022, replacing long-time CEO Jeanne Krieg who is retiring in February after 32 years at the agency.

Barnes started his transit career twenty years ago as the Western Sales Manager for Transit Marketing Group, a leader in marketing and sales for transit product manufacturers. From there he became the Director of Procurement for Foothill Transit where he was responsible for insuring contract compliance and procurement of materials/supplies and professional, architectural and engineering services. He also served as Foothill Transit’s Disadvantaged Enterprise Liaison Officer during his tenure.  His next five and a half years was spent with Central Contra Costa Transit Authority (County Connection) where he served as Senior Manager of Transportation, Senior Manager of Innovation and Shared Mobility, and then Director of Innovation and Shared Mobility. Projects that he helped to deliver included the initial Clipper System implementation for CCCTA, introducing on-demand transportation service, shepherding bus on shoulder legislation and congestion mitigation options, working with the regions local utility provider to help launch the agency’s first electric bus. During his other roles at CCCTA, Mr. Barnes oversaw the daily operations of 160+ bus operators, 12 supervisors and 1 transit manager. Daily as an operations team, their focus was on providing efficient service. This was accomplished through a dedication to strong customer service, innovative approaches in planning, traffic mitigation, and performance management of employees.

Most recently, Mr. Barnes has been working for First Transit as the Director of Mobility as a Service, a national position where he worked with various transit agencies, TNC’s, payment solution companies and micro mobility providers to deliver innovative mobility solutions. Through the introduction of MaaS mobile applications, data analytics and focus on improving the customers journeys Mr. Barnes believes that transit agencies will be able re-solidify its place in the daily transportation decisions that people make.

Mr. Barnes brings a variety of experience in roles that are part of Tri Delta Transit’s service.  In addition, he brings proven leadership, innovative thought, decision making skills, contract administration, as well as, in-depth industry knowledge.  In 2015, Mr. Barnes was listed by Mass Transit Magazine as one of the Top 40 Under 40 to watch and follow.

“We are greatly saddened by the retirement of Jeanne Krieg, who has been a strong leader for the last 32 years,” Board Chair Anissa Williams stated. “We are extremely fortunate to be bringing Rashidi Barnes onboard, who will no doubt continue Jeanne Krieg’s strong leadership and direction, while forging his own legacy.”

Krieg assumed the title of CEO Transitional Officer, serving in the position until she retires officially in February after a long and distinguished career.

Krieg Honored on Industry’s Wall of Excellence

In April, this year Krieg was honored by the California Association for Coordinated Transportation (CalACT) in Newport Beach at the CalACT spring conference. She was awarded a spot on the CalACT Wall of Excellence which recognizes individuals who have had a long and distinguished career in public transportation and have made outstanding contributions to CalACT and the transportation industry.

“Under the leadership of CEO Jeanne Krieg, Tri Delta Transit is a very forward thinking and innovative agency,” said then Board Chair Ken Gray. “Tri Delta Transit has been first adaptors of electric and hydrogen technology, use of various app technology, and in the forefront of employee practices to retain employees and create an optimal work environment.”

CalACT is a statewide, non-profit organization that represents the interests of small, rural and specialized transportation providers. CalACT, who have been in existence since 1984, promotes: striving for professional excellence in the field of transportation; that mobility is essential to the freedom and quality of life for everyone; and that agencies can create solutions by working together. CalACT acts as advocates for the industry, provides resources, sponsors conferences that promote idea and knowledge sharing, and implements programs such as bus procurement cooperative.

“I was surprised and humbled by this recognition from my industry,” Krieg said. “All of the employees and board members at Tri Delta Transit are a part of this award: their support, dedication, and hard work are what makes our agency successful.”

ABOUT TRI DELTA TRANSIT

Tri Delta Transit provides over two million trips each year to a population of over 315,000 residents in the 225 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County. They currently operate 15 local bus routes Monday – Friday, five local bus routes on weekends, door-to-door bus service for senior citizens and people with disabilities, and on-demand rideshare services. To learn more, visit TriDeltaTransit.com.

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Hometown Antioch filmmaker brings The Dark Fest Film Festival to El Campanil Theatre Sept. 17

Monday, August 22nd, 2022

Film submissions from other, local filmmakers still accepted until Sept. 5th

Jason D. Morris

Award winning filmmaker, Jason D. Morris is bringing his love for films to his hometown of Antioch with The Dark Fest on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. Co-founder of the short film festival featuring genres of film noir, mystery, science fiction, horror, dark comedy and more, Morris grew up in Antioch, and as so many others who grew up here in the 80’s and 90’s, one of his best memories is watching films in the historically beautiful Stamm and El Campanil theaters. Those very experiences are ultimately what pushed him into filmmaking.

A graduate of Antioch High School and attendee of the Academy of Art University in San Francisco led to his career in film. After having produced and directed several feature films, including some in Antioch, he co-founded Resurrection Films with several other likeminded filmmakers which eventually led to the creation of The Dark Fest, after their experiences of taking their first film out on the festival circuit.

The first major production from Resurrection Films was a documentary based on Chris Carter’s (of The X-Files) television show Millennium, titled Millennium after the Millennium. Millennium starred film actor Lance Henriksen (The Right Stuff, Aliens) in one of his most enduring roles as Frank Black, an FBI profiler. Millennium paved the way for shows like Criminal Minds, Mindhunter and many others. The documentary screened in eight countries and garnered 21 awards during its festival run, including screenings at the LA Comic-Con, Monsterpalooza in Burbank and Horror Hound’s Horror Convention in Indianapolis. But festivals are expensive and far away for the average filmmaker, this can make getting your film seen expensively prohibitive.

Since Morris had already shot four films in Antioch, bringing Hollywood talent such as Academy nominated actor Eric Roberts, Ricco Ross and Henriksen to his productions, he thought “why not set up an event for other local filmmakers to have easier access to getting their films screened?” With such a creative hub of activity in Antioch and the surrounding areas many film productions go unnoticed and have little options for an audience. The Dark Fest aims to alleviate this issue for local filmmakers looking for a way to screen their films without the hefty expense of renting a theater or having to travel to far away locations. The members of Resurrection Films have hopes to continue the festival and expand it into a bigger event with more community involvement and celebration of local filmmakers.

Film Submissions

If you’re a filmmaker, submissions are still open until September 5th by visiting filmfreeway.com/thedarkfest  and email info@thedarkfest.com. If you are interested in sponsoring the event, please reach out at info@thedarkfest.com. As for the rest of you we hope to see you in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown on September 17 at El Campanil Theatre for a night of dark cinema.

About The Dark Fest:

Resurrection Films presents The Dark Fest, showcasing short films from the dark side of cinema with genres of film noir, mystery, science fiction, horror, dark comedy and more, as we celebrate local filmmakers from the bay area, and around the world. Join us at 5:30pm Sept. 17 at the El Campanil Theatre for musical pre-show entertainment by local musicians Matthew Gatsos on piano and Evan Morris on saxophone while enjoying concessions provided for purchase by the venue. Screening begins at 6pm and ends at 10pm.

Tickets

Tickets are $10 for Adults and $8 for Seniors & Youth.

THIS EVENT IS RATED R. NO ONE UNDER 17 WILL BE ADMITTED UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY AN ADULT. To purchase tickets, visit elcampaniltheatre.com or click here.

El Campanil Theatre is located at 602 W. 2nd Street.

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Antioch native opens Hawai’i’s first flagship location for line of all-electric two-wheel vehicles

Monday, August 1st, 2022

Nathan Bingham inside his NIU Honolulu store. Photos Poi Planet.

NIU Honolulu offers mopeds, kick scooters, motor scooters and e-bikes

2004 Antioch High grad Nathan Bingham inspiring others to “Make Life Electric”

NIU Honolulu owner Nathan Bingham.

Honolulu, HI — NIU (pronounced “NEW”) Technologies, the world’s leading provider of smart and eco-friendly two-wheelers, officially opened its first flagship store in Kaimuki in Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu in Hawai’i. With gas prices soaring at an average of $5.40 per gallon in the Hawaiʻi islands, Nathan Bingham, owner of Hawaiian Style Rentals & Sales (see related article), proudly partners with NIU Technologies to bring Hawaiʻi a more cost-effective, alternative mode of transportation. Featuring all-new electric mopeds, kick scooters, motor scooters, and e-bikes, NIU provides riders a stylish, more convenient, and economical way to travel in Hawaiʻi.

Initially founded in 2014, NIU currently has retail stores in over 38 countries. With their goal to create a modern mode of transportation that is environmentally friendly, NIU built two-wheeler vehicles designed to perform, backed with an innovative electric system. Bingham partnered with NIU in 2021, as he was fully aware of the need for a dependable, affordable, and eco-friendly alternative to Hawaiʻi’s traditional, gas-operated transportation.

He opened the NIU Honolulu store in February, this year.

“Providing Hawaiʻi customers a modern mode of transportation is our goal. NIU provides a safe, comfortable, efficient, and fun way to get around town,” Bingham said. “The all-electric mopeds, kick scooters, motor scooters, and e-bikes aren’t just beautiful in design, but are very easy to maneuver. They are better for the environment in so many ways, including a significant reduction in noise pollution as NIU products make no sound.”

“We think NIU may inspire many to ‘make life electric,’ leave their cars in the garage, and give the electric lifestyle a go,” he added.

About his Hawaiian Style Rentals business Bingham said, “we expanded into a second location right before the pandemic, but we had to shut it down two months later. Then we reopened in Dec. 2020. Then from the middle of March to the middle of August, because of a rental car shortage, business was unimaginable. We had lines out the door. We then opened our third location in May 2022. We’ve staffed up from nine employees before the pandemic to 25, today.”

“Our rental shops are all in Waikiki for tourism,” he explained. “The NIU store is a few miles away in Honolulu to serve the locals. It’s the flagship store for all the Hawiai’ian islands and the third in the U.S.”

Bingham graduated from Antioch High in 2004. His mom went to Pittsburg High, his wife, Martina (maiden name Cacciaroni) is also from Antioch. Her mother graduated from Antioch High, and her father graduated from Pittsburg High and owned Cacci’s Deli in Pittsburg. Nathan’s grandfather ran the train station in Pittsburg, he shared. They’ve been in East County and Northern California this past weekend and this week with their one-year-old baby boy celebrating his birthday with family.

Nathan’s love for mopeds started at age 18, when he and his family experienced scooter rides around O’ahu while on vacation.

After high school, Bingham went to BYU in Utah for a semester, then transferred to BYU Hawai’i on the North Shore. With the help of his brothers while visiting him during Spring Break, he rented scooters and decided to go into the business and didn’t return to school. Bingham ran the business out of the back of his truck for a few years, delivering and picking up scooters.

“It took me a while to get the business going,” Bingham shared.

About the NIU product line he said, “because it’s such a new product, the electric mopeds, there’s a lot of legislation being pushed. It’s just the way things are going. China went fully electric a few years ago. NIU is selling about a million units a year, internationally. They have a big presence in Asia and Europe.”

NIU products have state-of-the-art features that put them at the forefront of the electric mobility industry. The NIU Energy Lithium Battery is light and dependable, built with an aluminum casing to prevent overheating and a handle to carry on the go. Because they are removable, they make an intelligent security feature. All NIU vehicles are linked to the “NIU Cloud” app, allowing customers to be connected to their electric vehicle 24/7 through their smartphone devices. Customers can check their battery status, view riding history, locate their vehicle, and be alerted of any unauthorized movement of their scooter. Every NIU vehicle has movement sensors that alert the rider if there are unauthorized vibrations detected. This feature is proven to prevent theft, and the GPS tracking system can pinpoint where each vehicle is according to your location. There are “easy” settings on ECO mode for beginning riders, limiting the speed and automatically adjusting the brakes’ sensitivity. For quick journeys, sport mode can be activated while keeping the ride smooth and seamless. According to the user’s preferences, these two modes can be interchanged. All motorbikes, scooters, and mopeds also come with a digital LED display, with lights that output greater luminosity while reducing energy, and an intuitive dashboard.

With the 100% electric design, users of NIU products will be saving money on transportation. For less than two cents per mile, NIU riders pay as low as 47 cents per charge, giving them ranges from 28 miles up to 87 miles depending on the vehicle and battery size. Also, with any electric two-wheel rides, regular maintenance usually performed on gas-powered models is not needed, such as oil changes, air filters, or fuel filters.

Asked about future plans, in what he referred to as ‘the micro-mobility market’, Bingham said, “what’s great about NIU is they’re always coming out with new products, including an electric motorcycle. So, we will continue to build the brand. The goal is to get a presence in all the islands.”

So, the next time you’re in Honolulu, stop by the NIU Honolulu store or one of Bingham’s Hawaiian Style Rentals and say “hello” and be sure to rent one of their electric, two-wheel vehicles.

To learn more please visit niuhonolulu.com, or follow NIU Honolulu on Instagram (@niuhonolulu) and Facebook (NIU Honolulu).

About NIU Honolulu

NIU (pronounced “NEW”) Technologies, the world’s leading provider of smart and eco-friendly two-wheelers, officially opened its first flagship store in Kaimuki, Oʻahu. Begun in 2021 by owner, Nathan Bingham, NIU Honolulu is Hawaiʻi’s first store that sells electric mopeds, kick scooters, motor scooters, and e-bikes. The modern two-wheeler vehicles are 100% electric and have the option to remove the battery as needed, keeping the NIU scooters safe from theft. Interested guests can book a test ride at the shop, and servicing for all two-wheeled vehicles is completed within the store.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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KlaasKids Foundation asks for help in search for missing Oakley woman Alexis Gabe next two weekends

Friday, March 25th, 2022

Last seen in Antioch

Organizers of the Alexis Gabe search effort and the KlaasKids Foundation are asking farmers, ranchers, real estate agents and other citizens with access to unoccupied out buildings, unoccupied residences, structures, or fields to check those locations for signs of missing Alexis Gabe this coming weekend, March 26-27. (See related articles here and here)

The search for a missing loved one is a long, arduous task that requires the help and assistance of countless people. Law Enforcement and our volunteers have done an incredible job at searching public locations and lands, but we need your help to cover accessible privately owned property. For this reason, we are asking individuals with access to out buildings, unoccupied residences, and other structures to please search for any signs of missing Alexis Gabe. This effort will go far toward eliminating possible locations where she may be kept against her will, or other evidence of her current whereabouts.

If any suspicious items are located or if you have any information related to the disappearance of Alexis Gabe, please contact the Oakley Police Department at (925) 625-8855

We want to take this opportunity to thank the Oakley Police Department, Contra Costa Sheriff’s Search & Rescue and the selfless volunteers who have searched for Alexis, or otherwise supported the search effort. Another volunteer search will be scheduled and conducted on Saturday, April 2, 2022

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Bob Butler and Betty Smith are the 2021 Antioch Citizens of the Year for Most Impact, Lifetime Achievement

Saturday, March 5th, 2022

2021 Antioch Citizens of the Year Bob Butler and Betty Smith. Source; Facebook

Antioch Chamber also announces other awards

Choose Emerald HPC owned by Keith and Iris Archuleta, strategic planning consultants as Small Business of the Year, CoCo Farms cannabis dispensary as Large Business of the Year

By Allen D. Payton

Antioch resident Bob Butler was selected as the 2021 Antioch Citizen of the Year for Most Impact, the Antioch Chamber of Commerce announced, this week. Betty Smith, also an Antioch resident and president of the Rivertown Jamboree, was chosen Citizen of the Year for Lifetime Achievement.

The Chamber also announced the winners of the 2021 Antioch Business, Non-Profit, Student and Veteran of the Year Awards. The winners will be honored at the 2022 Inaugural Gala and Recognition Dinner on March 25.

Bob Butler

Butler, a KCBS Radio news reporter, was honored by the Kiwanis Club of the Delta-Antioch with their Community Service Award, last year, for his volunteer work helping people during COVID. (See related article)

Butler has decades of experience in radio and television news reporting, writing and production.  For over 40 years you may have heard his news reports on KCBS radio networks.

He has taught broadcast journalism at UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University and served as President of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Butler, has been helping neighbors during the pandemic by shopping for them. When the pandemic started most of us were worried about going out and exposing ourselves to COVID-19. Going to the store and finding necessary items was getting harder, and the idea of having to bring young children and the elderly was even more worrisome.

At that time Bob stepped up to help. He shopped and delivered items to seniors, people with compromised health issues and parents with small children or children with disabilities and many people who were just too concerned to go out for fear of exposure.

Thinking of others before himself and for his effort we have named Butler the Citizen of the Year with the Most Impact.

Betty Smith

Smith has been a long-time volunteer in the community, leading the Rivertown Jamboree non-profit organization, which previously organized the annual music festival in the city’s historic downtown and more recently, the Delta Thunder speed boat races in memory of the late Councilman Gary Agopian.

Smith hit the community running, as soon as she, her husband, and three children arrived at their new home in Antioch in March of 1984. She commuted to Auburn with the telephone company for three more years, before concentrating on Vancat Enterprises and her family. She wanted her three children taught how to live in a neighborhood. She started by joining Soroptimist International of Antioch, she served on the boards of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, the Delta Learning Center, Metro-One Credit, which is now Travis Credit Union, The Rivertown Jamboree, Delta Memorial Hospital Foundation and Save a Life Sister.

She is still setting an example for her grandchildren by continuing her service in Soroptimist International of Antioch, the Rivertown Jamboree, Delta 2000/Rivertown Resource Center, Luncheon for the Antioch Police Department with the help of Chuck’s Wagon Catering, Saint Anna’s Episcopal Church Bishop Committee and Episcopal Church Women.

Betty said of her service to the Antioch Community, “With tears in my eyes I need to thank all of my family and friends for helping me along the way. I wouldn’t be here without the grace of God and your help. This is to all that have touched my life and my children’s lives. I love Antioch and I tried to plow the fields to make a better place for all.”

The winners of the other awards are:

2021 Small Business of the Year is Emerald HPC and owners Keith and Iris Archuleta, strategic planning consultants.

2021 Large Business of the Year is CoCo Farms cannabis dispensary.

2021 Non-Profit of the Year is the Rotary Club of the Delta (Antioch).

2021 Student of the Year is Gio Terrones of Antioch High School.

2021 Lifetime Veteran of the Year is Tom Menasco.

2021 Veteran of the Year is Gerald “J.R.” Wilson.

The Chamber will also be celebrating posthumously the lives of Antioch music teacher and musician Romano Marchetti and Tom Guarino of PG&E, who did so much for our community through their dedication and service to Antioch. 

This premier event will be held on Friday March 25 at the Lone Tree Golf Course and Event Center. If you would like to join in and celebrate with the winners, you can purchase tickets at www.antiochchamber.com.

A request was sent to the Chamber asking for more details about each of the winners, but a response was not received as of publication time. Please check back later for any updates.

Dr. Sean Wright, CEO of the Chamber and Ana Cosovic contributed to this report.

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Antioch residents crowned Ms. Golden State All World Beauties Elite, Man of Distinction

Monday, February 14th, 2022

Antioch resident Luella Hill-Dudley is crowned Ms. All World Beauties Elite as Man of Distinction winner and fellow Antioch resident, Paul Wright (back left) watches on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Photo: Danae Forrest-Braggs

Second year in a row an Antioch lady has won in the pageant

Paul Wright Man of Distinction winner. Photo courtesy of Paul Wright

By Allen D. Payton

Antioch resident, Luella Hill-Dudley, was crowned Ms. Golden State All World Beauties Elite at the Inaugural California All World Beauties pageant held Saturday, January 22, 2022, in Newark. In addition, Paul Wright, also of Antioch, won the Man of Distinction competition.

“All World Beauties and Man of Distinction want you to know, if anyone ever told you that you couldn’t win I’m living proof we all were made to win,” Hill-Dudley shared on her Facebook page following her coronation. “It may wear you out, but don’t give up you(‘re) going to win.”

“My reasoning for being a part of the pageant is to inspire other men and women to see their own inner beauty and beauty is not based on your looks but your character as a person,” she later shared. “Also, my desire to help others to believe in themselves no matter what and to show them if I can do it, they can, too.”

In another Facebook post Hill-Dudley wrote, “My first title was Ms. Antioch Elite but on January 22, 2022 I became Ms. Golden State Elite isn’t God good. This is a very proud moment in my life. I give all glory to God.”

Samantha Richardson, the National All World Beauties Royal Ambassador, which is an overall title, is executive director of the California pageant, which she took on after being crowned a national queen.

“Luella also won the Spirit of Pageantry award. She did really well. She was really great,” Richardson stated. “Luella also had the highest interview score of 10 from all three judges, a perfect score.”

When reached for comment about his experience with the pageant, Wright said, “Absolutely amazing, motivational. It takes your self-confidence to the next level.”

“Never in my wildest dreams would I thought of doing something like this,” he shared.

Hill-Dudley with her Ms. Antioch Elite sash.

Asked if his wife, Maggie had encouraged him to enter the contest, Wright said, “my wife assisted in the event. But we are going to take it to the next level, representing the city of Antioch and the state of California.”

This is the second year in a row an Antioch woman has won in a category of the All World Beauties pageant.

“We had a queen last year from Antioch who we celebrated, Janice Lipnisky, who passed away in September,” Richardson shared. “She was crowned Ms. California AWB Elite. We all went to Texas for the national competition, last year, as at large entries, since there wasn’t a state-level competition at that time.”

According to the national organization’s Facebook page, “at the inaugural California All World Beauties and Man of Distinction Pageant the Staff, Delegation, and Nationals staff in attendance honored our beloved Queen Janice Lipnisky, who passed suddenly after the 20th Anniversary pageant. Janice, you were a pillar of strength, beauty, and determination! We love you and will miss you.”

The late Janice Lipnisky was honored at the Inaugural California pageant on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. Photo: National All World Beauties Pageant

Wright posing in his bright-colored suit during the January pageant.

This year’s inaugural California competition had different categories, including the Elite division for women ages 45 and up, Mrs. Queen for married ladies ages 21 and up, a Ms. category for ladies ages 30 to 44, and Ms. Plus for plus size 12 and up ladies ages 30 to 44.

“Plus, our Men of Distinction category for ages 21 and up,” Richardson added. “We didn’t have a teen category for ages 15 to 17, Miss for ages 18 to 29, or Miss Plus for sizes 12 and up for ladies ages 18 to 29.”

Each of the winners were crowned and received prizes and gifts.

“They received their regalia, which includes the crown and sash, or stole for the men, plus their national entry fee paid,” said Richardson. “In addition, the winners also receive prizes and gifts from sponsors.

The winners of the California pageant will compete at the national pageant on June 25, 2022. For more information visit the national organization’s Facebook page.

Those interested in competing in next year’s California pageant can visit the national website at AllWorldBeauties.com and let the organizers know. They will put you in touch with Richardson.

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Antioch woman is 2022 Contra Costa Humanitarian of the Year, to be honored at MLK event Jan. 18

Wednesday, January 5th, 2022

Adult Humanitarian of the Year, Gigi Crowder of Antioch

Student Humanitarian of the Year, Ygnacio Valley High senior Kaia Morgan of Pittsburg

2022 MLK Humanitarian of the Year Gigi Crowder.

Contra Costa County will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the 44th Annual Ceremony in 2022.  The Board of Supervisors invites the public to the ceremony on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, at 11 am. This year’s theme is “One People, One Nation, One Dream.”

“Together, we will commemorate Dr. King and commit to improving the lives and future of our children and community members,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “We look forward to having you join us at the event to come together and work toward a common vision and goals of acceptance, tolerance, and respect.”

Countywide recognition will be given at the ceremony to the Adult Humanitarian of the Year, Gigi Crowder, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Contra Costa and a 19-year Antioch resident, and the Student Humanitarian of the Year, Pittsburg resident Kaia Morgan, a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School in Concord. Honorees will be recognized for their leadership, advocacy, and service to Contra Costa County, its residents and communities in the spirit of Dr. King’s work and achievements.

About Gigi Crowder

Gigi R. Crowder, L.E. a native of Oakland, CA. is the mother of two biological children; 30-year-old twin sons and has served as a foster mom and mentor to many more through divine interventions. Gigi served for over nine years as the Ethnic Services Manager for Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and has worked in the Behavioral Health Care field for more than 32 years after completing her studies at the University of California, Berkeley. As a family member of several loved ones who have received private and public mental health services, she is a strong advocate for promoting culturally responsive behavioral health services for all peers and family members. She is unapologetic about focusing efforts to address the needs of African Americans who she deems as the most harmed and neglected due to systemic racism. She created, Black Minds Matter 2! which has given her opportunities to speak across the nation.

Gigi is the Executive Director for NAMI Contra Costa, having accepted this position in January 2018, after serving in a consultant role as their Fund Developer. She is also the FaithNet Coordinator and has advanced efforts statewide to reduce mental health stigma by training Faith Leaders using the Mental Health Friendly Communities training curriculum she co-designed. Gigi promotes utilizing natural resources such as those found in faith/spiritual communities and works hard to advocate for the use of community defined strategies for all, with particular focus on better addressing the needs of unserved, underserved and inappropriately served ethnic and cultural communities. Her current focus is addressing the needs of those living with mental illness who are often criminalized for living with a medical condition.

Highlights of her career are being inducted in the Alameda County Women Hall of Fame for her work in developing programs to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with psychiatric challenges, receiving the 2013 MHAAC Mental Health Achievement Award. She also received the 2016 Multi-Cultural Outreach Award from NAMI California, the 2020 “Making a Difference Award,” from the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County. Gigi is also credited for positioning NAMI CC to beat out 600 other NAMI Affiliates and win the NAMI 2021 Multicultural Outreach Award.

2022 MLK Student Humanitarian of the Year Kaia Morgan.

About Kaia Morgan

According to a tweet by the Contra Costa County Office of Education, Morgan is being honored, “for her commitment and hard work in leading the charge to change the mascot for Ygnacio Valley High” from the Warriors to something else. Following the lead of a teacher at the school, Morgan started an online petition which gathered 750 supporters.

Kaia is a senior at Ygnacio Valley High School. She is an International Baccalaureate student and a cheerleader at her high school, as well as a dancer. She became interested in confronting social issues after gaining awareness of them online and quickly became passionate about addressing injustices against minorities. In February of 2020, she was inspired by a class lesson on the harm of Native mascots to use her voice to speak out against racism on a more local level, starting with the Native mascot at her own high school. She started the Change the Mascot Committee at Ygnacio Valley High School that month, and as of December 2021, their mascot is now the wolves. Kaia currently lives in Pittsburg, CA with her loving parents and two siblings. She plans to attend college in the fall and study psychology.

This is the third year in a row a woman from Antioch has been named the county’s Humanitarian of the Year, with Velma Wilson honored, last year, and current District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker was honored the year before. See the entire list of past honorees.

To learn more about the Dr. King Ceremony, visit www.contracosta.ca.gov/5307 on the Contra Costa County website.

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Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis announces passing of husband Richard Clayton

Saturday, December 11th, 2021

Supervisor Diane Burgis and her late husband Richard Clayton in photo posted on her Facebook page on June 19, 2021.

OAKLEY, CALIF., December 11, 2021 – Supervisor Diane Burgis lost her husband Richard Clayton this morning to suicide. He is survived by his wife, his parents, John and Carol Clayton of England, his brother Barry, (Deb) and sister, Nina (Rob), daughter Kianna and son-in-law Andrew Lee, his stepsons, Jacob, Sam, and Dusty Burgis, grandsons, Arlo, Brody and Huxley, and many beloved nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.

“Like many of us, Richard’s mental health was severely impacted by the pandemic. I would ask anyone who is suffering from a mental health crisis to reach out for help, and I’m respectfully requesting that you respect my privacy and the privacy of Richard’s family at this difficult time,” said Supervisor Burgis.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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