Author: lafocus

Amazon Air Delivery Could Be Moneymaker for Black Drone Pilots in California

Edward Henderson | California Black Media

For Black drone pilots, e-commerce package delivery going aerial could present new earning or business opportunities for them.

Last week, Amazon announced that its customers in Lockeford, a town of about 3500 people in San Joaquin County, will become among the first to receive Prime Air deliveries via drone.

The tech company, the world’s largest e-retailer, chose Lockeford because of its historic links to the aviation industry.

“Lockeford residents will soon have access to one of the world’s leading delivery innovations,” said Assemblymember Heath Flora (R-Ripon), whose district includes the town. “It’s exciting that Amazon will be listening to the feedback of the San Joaquin County community to inform the future development of this technology.”

Amazon’s drones fly up to 50 miles per hour and can carry packages of up to 5 pounds as high as 400 feet in the air.

Blacks and the Drone Industry

Technology and aviation industry watchers say drone pilots are in high demand right now and they predict their demand will keep increasing.

The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) estimates that by the year 2025, at least 100,000 jobs will be created for drone pilots. Multiple companies are set to spend over $16 billion on drones over the next eight years, with advertising agencies, construction, and security firms being among the first.

According to the Economic Research Institute, the average pay for a drone pilot is $71,669 a year and $34 an hour in California. The average salary range for a drone pilot is between $50,891 and $88,659. Entrepreneurship related to drone piloting creates opportunities, experts say, for generating new streams of income and establishing new businesses that support the industry.

Jeffery Howell, a Navy officer currently stationed in San Diego, began his journey with drones when his wife gifted him one for his birthday last year.

“At first I was nervous,” said Howell. “I’ve never really flown a drone before, so I started watching YouTube videos back-to-back, learning about the qualifications to fly drones legally and weight classes. As I delved deeper into it, there is a whole different world and community out there.”

Over time, Howell became more comfortable piloting his drone and was interested in connecting with other pilots who looked like him. Eventually, he stumbled upon the Facebook group, ‘Black Drone Pilots,’ and connected with a community of over 300 pilots nationwide who not only shared his budding passion but were making a living with it.

On the weekend of June 11, Black drone pilots held inaugural meet-and-greets in five different cities nationwide. Howell attended the event in Newport Beach and had the opportunity to network and fellowship with local pilots.

“I was amazed at the brothers and sisters getting together just having a good time flying,” he said. “You could tell that the ones who weren’t as knowledgeable were getting pointers from the more experienced pilots. It was a beautiful thing to see.”

Inspired by his new network of professionals, Howell decided to start his own drone photography and video company ‘Air Speed Aerial Productions.’ To start his business, Howell needed to attain his Park 107 certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). All drone pilots must take and pass this test to receive their commercial licenses. The test costs $175 to register and there are several online guides to help study for it.

Licensed drone pilots and entrepreneurs like Howell are a welcomed sight within an industry that still has room to grow in terms of diversity. There are 250,000 drone pilots certified with the FAA. Ten percent are Black and only 3% are Black women.

Ashlee Cooper is a certified drone pilot who founded ‘Droneversity,’ a Delaware-based organization that teaches teenaged youth about the fundamentals, opportunities and innovations within drone piloting and aviation, more broadly.

“Aviation careers have always been a white male dominated field,” said Cooper. “Unless you were in the military or related to a pilot, it was unlikely you were going to tap into those positions within the aviation industry. Most of them do not require a high school or college degree.”

Youth are eligible to take the Park 107 exam at the age of 16. Cooper’s company provides courses to help them take and pass the exam as well.

“Most of these young girls and boys are gamers. They take naturally to flight. The skillset is marketable. Like gaming, it takes hand-eye coordination and knowing how to operate under pressure and solve problems quickly.”

Cooper, who also is a member of Black Drone Pilots, transitioned from her background in Molecular Biology to drone piloting during the pandemic. Her experience with secondary education created inroads for her organization to reach teenagers and help inspire them to pursue drone piloting as well.

“I still feel like I’m late, however I know my timing was divine especially because of who’ve I’ve been able to help. Being a Black woman in this industry has led to some incredible partnerships and networking. There is an opportunity as long as we provide equitable access. By making it more accessible, you have more innovators.”

You can connect with Black Drone Pilots’ Facebook page here to follow their updates, get a listing of future events or learn how you can begin your own journey to drone piloting.

Inflation Worries Grow as Cal Legislature Approves State Budget


Aldon Thomas Stiles and Edward Henderson | California Black Media

Diane Lanette Barkum is an in-home care provider and mom of three. She commutes about 40 minutes every workday between the Riverside County cities of Lake Elsinore, where she lives, and Moreno Valley, where her job is.

Over the last few months, Barkum says she has been stressed and scraping by, struggling to balance sharp increases in the cost of gas and food with making enough money to pay for other expenses.

“What worries me most about rising prices is that they’ll continue to rise, making it more difficult for low-income working parents to be able to support their families,” she said.

Terence Henry, who lives in Patterson in the Central Valley, used to drive 77 miles to the Bay Area to make deliveries as an independent contractor. He says the high cost of gas forced him to give up the job late last year and opt for only making local runs.

“It used to cost me about $50 each way to fill up the tank to get to Oakland, San Francisco and other cities,” he said. “It just was not worth it anymore. I was losing money.

Barkum says she hopes there is relief around the corner for people like her who are working hard, raising children and still unable to make ends meet.

Barkum and Henry are not alone. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, a majority of Californians (27 %) say jobs, the economy and inflation are their top concern over housing costs and availability (12%) and homelessness (11%).

Across the United States, the inflation rate is 8.6% — up from 4.7% last year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. And the American Automobile Association reports that the average price per gallon of regular gas in California has risen above $6. Several economists agree that the effects of inflation hit poor and working-class families the hardest.

In Southern California, the inflation rate in Riverside and San Bernardino counties in the Inland Empire has risen to 9.4%, according to the UCLA Anderson School of Management. That number is among the highest increases in the country.

Last week, the California Legislature approved a record $300 billion-plus budget for the next fiscal year, the largest annual spending plan in the state’s history. The package includes a surplus of close to $100 billion dollars, half of which must be used to fund schools by law.

Included in the budget are plans to spend the other half. So far, legislators have allotted $8 billion in rebates to taxpayers. Another $1.3 billion has been designated for grants to small business and non-profit organizations. Another $600 million has been specified for tax credits to the lowest-income Californians.

While lawmakers – both Democrats and Republicans – and the governor’s office agree that addressing spiraling inflation is urgent, they have not reached agreement on how to provide relief to struggling families.

Anthony York, Newsom’s senior advisor for communications said in a statement that the Governor still wants “more immediate, direct relief to help millions more families with rising gas, groceries and rent prices.”

At the federal level, US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell approved a three- quarter (0.75) percentage point rate hike — the highest single percentage rate increase since 2008.

“African American owned businesses and families are experiencing the damaging effects of inflation including the current interest rate increase instituted by the Federal Reserve Board. It is important for financial institutions to work with Black-owned businesses and their families to help navigate the rising cost of capital needed to operate and sustain all businesses,” said Timothy Alan Simon, Board Chair of the California African American Chamber of Commerce.

By statute, Gov. Newsom has until June 30 to veto the Legislators’ budget bill or sign it into law.

If the governor approves the budget, it will take effect July 1, the beginning of the 2022-23 fiscal year.  However, negotiations are expected to continue through the end of August as lawmakers hammer out final details.

During the public comment section of the Assembly Budget Committee hearing on June 13, Adrian Mohammed, an African American representative of the Bay Area Health Initiative spoke about the exclusion of a $500 million proposal to address Black housing and anti-displacement in the Bay Area in the budget the Legislature passed.

“We believe that this is an incredibly timely and incredibly necessary ask and we ask that you continue to work with us to get this to come to fruition,” Mohammed told lawmakers.

Two days later, Republican leaders held a rally last week at the State Capitol blasting their Democratic colleagues for their inaction on addressing the high cost of gas.

“Legislative Republicans are gathered here to remind Californians that it has been 100 days since the governor and the Democrats here in Sacramento promised California consumers relief on gas prices. 100 days is far too long,” said Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City). After 100 days, we are still waiting with no relief in sight. We need action now. We’ve been calling since January to suspend the gas tax.”

Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego said the state’s wealth needs to work for hardworking Californians. She pointed to a provision in the budget that provides $200 rebates to working families earning up to $250,000 a year and $125,000 for single filers.

“We are focused on providing struggling families the relief they need to weather rising costs of fuel and groceries, investing ongoing funding in core programs and services, funding one-time infrastructure projects that will keep California moving for years to come,” she said.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) echoed Atkin’s optimism.

“We share a firm belief that our state is strongest when it cares for the weakest among us,” said Rendon. “Our budget proposal continues to lay the groundwork with infrastructure and other investments for future prosperity.”

Groups Are Uniting to Oppose Landmark California Mental Health Legislation


Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media

Senate Bill (SB) 1338, also known as the CARE Court Program, is attracting growing resistance as it makes its way through the legislative process. Some legal advocacy and civil rights groups say the law would negatively Blacks and other minorities.

The proposal, introduced in February by Senators Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) and Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), would create a supportive alternative to the criminal justice system in California for people who are mentally ill or suffering from Substance Abuse Disorder.

Focused on the state’s unhoused population, SB 1338, would mandate treatment for people diagnosed with mental illnesses. About 40% of homeless adults and children in California’s are Black, a number nearly seven times higher than the total percentage of Blacks (5.6%) in a state with about 40 million people.

Opponents of the legislation say, SB 1338 dangerously expands judicial power and empowers the criminal justice system to commit people to mental health treatment that is sub-par – and often against their will. There is also the potential for misdiagnosis, they warn.

“CARE Court promotes a system of involuntary, coerced treatment, enforced by an expanded judicial infrastructure, that will, in practice, simply remove unhoused people with perceived mental health conditions from the public eye without effectively addressing those mental health conditions and without meeting the urgent need for housing,” read the Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) opposition letter.

“We urge you to reject this bill and instead to take a more holistic, rights-respecting approach to address the lack of resources for autonomy-affirming treatment options and affordable housing.”

SB 1338 unanimously passed in three Senate committees before the full State Senate approved it in May.

The legislation is currently making its way through the Assembly, where the Committee on Judiciary is reviewing it.

“Given the racial demographics of California’s homeless population, and the historic over-diagnosing of Black and Latino people with schizophrenia, this plan is likely to place many, disproportionately Black and brown, people under state control,” HRW’s letter continued.

Some members of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations share HRW’s opinion, claiming that the program would “disproportionately affect people of color by imposing another unnecessary court process on an already overloaded and biased system.”

SB 1338 does, however, have support from various California-based organizations.

“With broad support from California’s state Senate, CARE Court is one step closer to becoming a reality in California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom, “I am also grateful to have the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Downtown Association, and 21 local chambers of commerce join our ever-expanding CARE Court coalition, which includes a diverse group of supporters focused on tackling the challenge of severe mental illness that too often leaves individuals on our streets without hope.”

Jennifer Barrera, President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce, expressed her support for the bill.

“The California Chamber of Commerce and our colleagues from throughout the state are pleased to support Governor Newsom and his vision to provide support for those suffering from severe mental illness and substance use disorders through the newly proposed CARE Court plan,” she explained.

Barrera says that CARE Court is a thoughtful, measured response to the tragedy of untreated mental illness impacting thousands of individuals. California employers have a clear stake in seeing the success of CARE Court as many business owners and their employees experience, first-hand, the impacts of inadequate policies that fail to address the needs of those individuals suffering on our streets and in our communities.

Disability Rights California (DRC) is also voicing its opposition to SB 1338.

“CARE Court is antithetical to recovery principles, which are based on self-determination and self-direction,” read the DRC’s opposition letter. “The CARE Court proposal is based on the stigma and stereotypes of people living with mental health disabilities and experiencing homelessness.”

DRC proposes an alternative solution to the problems CARE Court is attempting to address.

“The right framework allows people with disabilities to retain autonomy over their own lives by providing them with meaningful and reliable access to affordable, accessible, integrated housing combined with voluntary service,” read the letter.

The HRW expressed concern about how the program might impact personal rights.

“In fact, the bill creates a new pathway for government officials and family members to place people under state control and take away their autonomy and liberty,” HRW warns.

About a month before Umberg and Eggman introduced SB 1338, Gov. Newsom foreshadowed the bill’s arrival in his January budget proposal.

“We are leaning into conservatorships this year,” the governor said. “What’s happening on the streets and sidewalks in our state is unacceptable. I don’t want to see any more people die on the streets and call that compassion.”

President Biden Establishes White House Task Force Addressing Online Harassment and Abuse

Stacy M. Brown / NNPA Newswire

      According to a White House Fact Sheet, one in three women under the age of 35 in the United States report being sexually harassed online, and over half of LGBTQI+ individuals report being the target of severe online abuse.

Further, administration officials stated that individuals may also be disproportionately targeted because of their race, gender and gender identity, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, or at the intersection of various identifies.

On June 16, President Joe Biden announced the signing of a Presidential Memorandum establishing the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse.
White House officials said the President is responding to the need for government leadership to address online harms, which disproportionately affect women, girls, people of color, and LGBTQI+ individuals.

Vice President Kamala Harris launched the Task Force by hosting a survivor and expert roundtable.

“The tragic events in Buffalo and Uvalde have underscored a fact known all too well by many Americans: the internet can fuel hate, misogyny, and abuse with spillover effects that threaten our communities and safety offline,” administration officials wrote in the Fact Sheet.

They noted that when Biden initially wrote and championed the Violence Against Women Act in the 1990s, the internet hadn’t become what the world knows it as today.

It has transformed the ability to connect, communicate, and access services and support, officials noted.

At the same time, social media and other forms of technology have increasingly been misused as tools of abuse, harassment, and exploitation, the officials emphasized.

The White House noted that the Task Force counts as an interagency effort to address online harassment and abuse, specifically focused on technology-facilitated gender-based violence.
According to the Fact Sheet, in consultation with survivors, advocates, educators, experts from diverse fields, and the private sector, the Task Force will develop specific recommendations to improve prevention, response, and protection efforts through programs and policies in the United States and globally by:

  • Improving coordination among executive departments, agencies, and offices to maximize the Federal Government’s effectiveness in preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence in the United States and globally, including by developing policy solutions to enhance accountability for those who perpetrate online harms;
  • Enhancing and expanding data collection and research across the Federal Government to measure the costs, prevalence, exposure to, and impact of technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including by studying the mental health effects of harassment and abuse perpetrated through social media, particularly affecting adolescents;
  • Increasing access to survivor-centered services, information, and support for victims, and increasing training and technical assistance for Federal, State, Tribal, local, and territorial governments, as well as for global organizations and entities in the fields of criminal justice, health and mental health services, education, and victim services;
  • Developing programs and policies to address the disproportionate impact of online harassment, abuse, and disinformation campaigns targeting women and LGBTQI+ individuals who are public and political figures, government and civic leaders, activists, and journalists in the United States and globally;
  • Examining existing Federal laws, regulations, and policies to evaluate the adequacy of the current legal framework to address technology-facilitated gender-based violence and provide recommendations for strengthening it; and
  • Identifying additional opportunities to improve efforts to prevent and address technology-facilitated gender-based violence in United States foreign policy and foreign assistance, including through the Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse.

“President Biden and Vice President Harris have long been committed to standing with survivors of gender-based violence wherever it occurs – including online,” administration officials stated.

“Through this Task Force, they will lead a strategic vision for countering online forms of violence, harassment and abuse.”

Kevin Hart Expands into Fast Food Industry


Kisha Smith

Kevin Hart’s business empire is expanding into the fast food industry with two restaurants offering healthy options. Dubbed Hart’s House, the 100% plant-based menu—containing no antibiotics, hormones, artificial colors, preservatives or high-fructose syrup—features plant-forward sandwiches, vegan burgers, salads, nuggets, fries, tots and milkshakes.

Hart shared the news with his millions of fans on Instagram, posting “I am thrilled to announce that I have collaborated with an all-star team of partners and industry leaders to create an industry-changing restaurant called Hart House. This thing is going to be huge!

“I founded Hart House to create a good experience that combines the joy of coming together over food, with the power of purpose,” the actor shared on the Hart House website. “Our amazing chefs and team members have crafted a 100% plant-based menu that delivers ‘can’t-believe-it’ flavor in every bite. I know you’re going to love it.”

To develop the menu, Hart’s team tapped Chef Michael Salem, the former head of culinary innovation at Burger King.

“When it comes to vegans making food for vegans, I think if you’re immersed in that food too much, you can lose sight of what the carnivores truly want, so as we curated this menu, we really developed it as carnivores,” Salem said. “We’re not sacrificing. We’re still delivering great crave-able flavor. We’re still delivering products that you want to take to your friends and share. It just happens to be really good for you. It happens to be plant-based, and you happen to feel a lot better after you eat it.”

The restaurants are set to open later this summer with one location in Westchester and the second, in Hollywood with plans to expand to other locations.

Faith Community Celebrates Famed Preacher Manuel Scott Jr.’s 40 Years of Evangelism

As the first full-time, Ivy League trained national evangelist to come out of the Black Baptist church, Manuel Scott, Jr. is somewhat of an anomaly. His gifting has fueled an appeal that has led him to conducting well over 1000 revivals and workshops and resulted in thousands receiving salvation.

This Friday, the L.A. faith community will come together to honor a man they hail as a legend among them. The event—hosted by Rev. Dr. J. Benjamin Hardwick and keynoted by Dr. R.A. Williams— celebrates his four decades as a full-time evangelist —a feat he says has never been done in the Black Baptist church.

“The Black Baptist tradition historically has not supported the notion of someone being a fulltime evangelist,” Scott explains. “All of your “evangelists” have always been pastors.”

Which is not surprisingly how Scott started out.

“After I finished Princeton Seminary in New Jersey and returned to Los Angeles, I worked out in San Bernardino, New Hope Church for two years before being called to pastor Park Windsor Baptist Church from 1977 to 1982,” Scott recounts.

Like everything he’d done, the L.A. native excelled at pastoring.

“The five years I was there, the Lord blessed the work so much that it was phenomenal. We grew to over 1100 members. We were on the cutting edge of ministry,” said Scott.

“What we established most churches do not have even today and because I’m a great believer in tithing, under my leadership the tithes jumped 1500%. So, when I came there, the church had $4,000 in the bank. When I left 40 years ago, the church had over $154,000 in the bank.”

But, he says, God was calling him to do something else.

“I kept hearing a voice two years before I actually left”, Scott Recalls, The voice said, this is not for you and it scared me death. At the same time, my revival activities were increasing, and I had enough sense to know that I could not keep both ministries up because I had such a young growing church that needed my attention, not just on Sunday, but during the week.”

Scott, who says he was born to do evangelism, is the son of legendary pastor, Manuel Scott Sr., who was twice named to Ebony Magazine’s list of “America’s 15 Greatest Black Preachers”.

“Most sons of legendary preachers do not make it. What happens is the son tries very unwisely to compete with the legend of their father. But,” notes Scott, “I’m very independent. I’ve always wanted to make it on my own. The name didn’t hurt me. In fact, it opened so many doors, but I had to do my due diligence to keep the doors open.”

Not only did his work open doors in the national Baptist community but expanded to other denominations as will be reflected in the crowd that is expected to gather on Friday at the Praises of Zion Baptist Church to honor him.

However, what you won’t see is any indication of Scott’s slowing down.

This really signals chapter two.” Scott remarks “I’ve got too much to do, particularly now that the pandemic for the most part is subsiding, things are opening up and my calendar looks like it used to look prior to the pandemic averaging anywhere from 55 to 61 revivals a year and I had not missed preaching on a Sunday morning in 15 years.” “Scott Remarks

Bill Cosby Ordered to Pay $500K To Woman He Assaulted in 1975

In 1975—at the age of 16—Judy Huth had a chance encounter with Bill Cosby on the set of the film, “Let’s Do It Again” and he invited her to a party at the Playboy Mansion where, she says, he’d rape her.

This week, following a two-week long civil trial in a Santa Monica courtroom, a California judge ordered Cosby to pay the now 64-year old woman $500,000.

Neither Cosby—who asserted his fifth amendment right against self-incrimination— or his lawyers were on hand for the reading of the court’s decision.

Huth initially filed the case in 2014. While the statute of limitations had past for the filing of a criminal case, underaged victims of sexual abuse are allowed to file civil lawsuits decades after an incident has taken place.

Famed attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Huth, was pleased by the decision.

Said Allred, “The late United States Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, once said, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” Today our client, Judy Huth, won real change because she fought Bill Cosby one step at a time over seven and a half years, and she proved with the jury’s verdict that Mr. Cosby did sexually assault her when she was a minor, and that he should be held accountable for what he did to her.”

While she was awarded compensatory damages, the jury declined to award punitive damages to Huth. Her allegations are the first civil case on sex crime claims against Cosby to make it to trial.

A spokesman for the 84-year old entertainer—who claimed he’d never met Huth— said that they would be appealing the matter and declared it a victory for Cosby given that Huth was “looking for millions.”

Bass Widens Her Lead Over Caruso

Congresswoman Karen Bass has once again extended her lead in the L.A. mayor’s race. The latest count released by the L.A. County Registrar has Bass at 277,459 votes (43.14%), widening the gap between she and second place finisher Bob Caruso, who —with 231,419 votes— is nearly eight percentage points behind at 35.98%.

The latest count reflects the strong showing Bass’ camp had predicted despite being outspent by Caruso, whose $40 million failed to secure him the victory.

Still, Bass—who spent just $3 million and who would make history the first Black woman to be elected mayor of L.A., and just the second Black hold the post —is hardly resting on her laurels, fully understanding that November is a whole new ballgame.

“We’re almost at a 50,000 vote lead which is really astronomical given what we’ve been up against, but we’re staying focused on the general election because that’s the election that matters the most,” said Kerman Maddox, campaign’s finance director.

Caruso, who—say insiders— will likely reach deeper into his pocketbooks and restructure his campaign, has recruited some pretty heavy hitters along the way—Elon Musk among them.

For the moment, however, the momentum is with Bass.

“Where she is likely to reap the most benefit is with potential donors, who were somewhat reluctant given Caruso’s money and dramatic rise in the polls,” veteran political fundraiser/consultant Lena Kennedy observed. “It will increase donor participation, but what I like about Karen is that she has connected on every level, including grassroots with a proven track record that demonstrates her care for all.

“I hope the voters are smart enough to see that Caruso did not need to be mayor to make a dent in the homeless population,” Kennedy continues. “He could have put his money into the passion he’s saying he has now for the homeless. I have yet to see a building with his name on it to house the homeless. Instead, he has built are big elaborate shopping centers where you will find no homeless people. Clearly, he wants the status and the power of being mayor.

“Instead, Karen Bass has been galvanizing, organizing and energizing her base all along. That’s what delivers the votes, and they dictate who will be the next mayor, not a billionaire.”

Lura’s Kitchen

Lura’s Kitchen ‘Madear’s Teacake Mix,’ is a simple but rare blend of rich decadent vanilla and fragrant nutmeg. Named for Lura’s mother, Mary Lee Daniels, who was affectionately called “Madear.” Just like each of Lura’s mixes, they are three ingredients and ready to eat in thirty minutes or less. Just add eggs and butter. Steeped in African American history and culture, teacakes in America date back over 200 years ago, prepared by slaves in the southeastern United States; Plantation cooks made Teacakes a specialty for guests of white plantation owners. Although plantation cooks created this “sweet cookie” served with tea, it was not “slave food” as slaves did not have access to white flour. However, cooks would hide cookies to slip to their families at their own risk as a matter of record. Over time, Teacakes have become inextricably linked to southern African American culture.
Lura’s Kitchen is a multi-generational family-run benefit corporation located in South Los Angeles. We are in the business of doing good and giving back 2% of annual profits to our community each year. This June as part of our “Sweetness of Doing Good Program,” partial proceeds from our sales will help restore the tower of the Congregational Church of Christian Fellowship. The site of Civil Rights Advancement, the housing of labor leader and civil rights icon Cesar Chavez, and formative involvement in community healthcare. The tower serves as a symbol of hope, peace, and freedom for thousands in LA daily. So order your mixes today. Enjoy a time-honored dessert and help keep the Bell Tower and Cross perched high above the palm trees to inspire us all.
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Click here to learn more about the Teacake History
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California Commemorates Juneteenth ’22

Edward Henderson | California Black Media

On June 6, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a proclamation making Juneteenth an official holiday for city employees.

Although President Joe Biden signed a bill declaring Juneteenth a federal holiday last year, cities and states still have the power to decide which holidays they will officially observe.

Mayor Garcetti’s signing is one among many commemorations of Juneteenth nationwide as a growing number of states and municipalities officially honor the historic holiday long celebrated in African American communities across the United States.

“We need every Angeleno to learn the full story of our past, no matter the ugliness of some of its chapters, and that means recognizing the lasting legacy of slavery in our country,” Garcetti said at the signing ceremony.

History of Juneteenth

The holiday is recognition of June 19th, 1865, the day Union soldiers notified enslaved African Americans in Galveston Bay, Texas that they were free under the Emancipation Proclamation.

Two and a half years earlier, enslaved and free African Americans gathered in churches and private homes across the country to mark what was known as “Freedom’s Eve” on Jan. 1, 1863. They were awaiting news confirming that President Abraham Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery in Confederate States.

Anticipation heightened and celebrations began as the news spread of the 13th Amendment, the constitutional modification that established the abolishment of slavery. Union soldiers began their march to spread the news throughout plantations and cities in the South.

However, not everyone in Confederate territory would immediately be free. Even though the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law in 1863, it could not be implemented in places still under Confederate control. As a result, in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, enslaved people would not be free until much later.

In Galveston Bay, freedom finally came on June 19, 1865, when some 2,000 Union troops arrived. The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in the state, were free by executive decree. That momentous day came to be known as “Juneteenth,” by the newly freed people in Texas.

The post-emancipation period known as Reconstruction (1865-1877) marked an era of great hope, uncertainty, and struggle for the nation. Formerly enslaved people immediately sought to reunify families, establish schools, run for political office, push radical legislation, and even sue slaveholders for compensation.

A California 2022 Juneteenth State Proposal 

On May 19, California State Senators Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) and Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) introduced Senate Concurrent Resolution (SCR) 109, which would recognize Juneteenth an official holiday statewide this year. Nine other members of the California Legislative Black Caucus are co-sponsors of the resolution.

For the past three years, Gov. Newsom has issued Juneteenth proclamations commemorating the holiday and declaring it “Juneteenth National Freedom Day: A Day of Observance” in the State.

SCR 109 urges “the people of California to join in celebrating Juneteenth as a day to honor and reflect on the significant role that African Americans have played in the history of the United States and how they have enriched society through their steadfast commitment to promoting unity and equality.”

California joins Texas (1980), Massachusetts (2007), New Jersey (2020), New York (2020), Pennsylvania (2020), Virginia (2020), Washington (2021), Oregon (2021) and Delaware (2021) recognizing Juneteenth as an official state holiday giving state employees the day off from work.

“By making Juneteenth an official state holiday, California would demonstrate its commitment to celebrating the emancipation of all slaves,” Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) said in a statement.

“Juneteenth is an important and special annual celebration for Black culture, resilience, and achievement,” Weber continued. “Designating this date as a paid state holiday mirrors the federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.”

A Snapshot of Juneteenth Events in California

Here are a few highlighted Juneteenth 2022 events in California.




State Capitol – West Steps

From 12: 30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, June 20, the California Legislative Black Caucus will hold will host a lunch celebrating Black freedom with family, friends, food trucks, and more festivities. The CLBC is calling on all Californians to support AB 1655, which will permanently make Juneteenth a state holiday in California.


William Land Park

Sacramento Juneteenth Incorporated will produce this year’s festival June 17-19, 2022, in William Land Park. This year’s theme will focus on systematic economic injustices. They will partner with several local organizations to highlight and expose the systems and laws that perpetuate the continued economic injustices inflicted on communities of color. Events include a gospel concert, live entertainment, vendors, and more.

You can find more Sacramento Juneteenth events here

Los Angeles


4395 Leimert Blvd., Los Angeles 90008

Leimert Park Rising is a collaborative effort to build a more cooperative Leimert Park Village through arts, culture and commerce. Taking place from noon to 8 p.m. on June 19-20, the annual Juneteenth Celebration is a family friendly event for all ages with craft vendors, food trucks, and multiple stages featuring live music and DJs. Free admission.

You can find a more comprehensive list of Juneteenth events in the Los Angeles area here.

San Diego

JUNETEENTH A Summer Celebration of Culture

The Jacobs Center (404 Euclid Ave) Saturday June 18, 2022, 10am-5pm

Community Actor’s Theatre and Common Ground Theatre two of San Diego’s most prestigious African American Theatres are hosting this majestic outdoor event at the Jacob’s Center in Market Creek Plaza. Come out and treat yourself to a time filled with history music dancing story telling reflection vendors and physical art on display! All Are Welcome!

You can find more San Diego Juneteenth events here.

Inland Empire


June 18th San Bernardino Valley College 12pm-6pm

“Come out and Celebrate Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom, we will have vendors, live performances, speakers, kids’ zone, spade and domino tournaments, food vendors, cook offs, resources and much more. This will be a one-of-a-kind Juneteenth event to hit our city, we are going educate the community on the history of Juneteenth and its origins, make sure you come out you do not want to miss this event. This is a free event. A day of fun and entertainment.”



Oxnard College and 5th Street Downtown

Art enthusiasts and community-based organizations in Oxnard are marking Juneteenth this year with a two-day event celebrating art and artists while promoting financial freedom.

Artist Milton “510” Bowen, an Oakland native, is headlining the festival that will be held at various locations in Ventura County’s largest city, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

June 17 • 6PM – 8PM

Private Artist Reception and Pre-Sale

99Three FM Radio Station, Oxnard College

June 18 • Noon – 4PM

Milton 510 Collection Exhibition and Public Sale

Open Door Studio – 329 W 5th St, Downtown Oxnard (Next door to Carnegie Art Museum)

June 18 • 10 – 5PM

Juneteenth Celebration

Oxnard Plaza Park (Downtown Oxnard) – 500 S C Street, Oxnard 93030

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