Pastor Jawane Hilton

Church News: Jawane Hilton Seeks Second Term

Lauding the development of new affordable housing, improved budget reserves, and attracting a $65 mil-lion athletic and academic facility to his city, Pastor Jawane Hilton is seeking a second term on the Carson City Council board.
Hilton, a native of Carson, insist he has work that must be continued and completed on his watch. Having already established the Carson Arts Apartments, Veterans Village of Carson, and a reported all-time low crime rate, Hilton claims, “Carson has moved from a being a bedroom city to a destination city.”

The fact that more restaurants are setting up shop in Carson and a new high-end retail outlet center is on deck, a second term for Hilton would offer him the chance to finish what he started. As senior pastor of City on The Hill Church, Hilton points out that serving as a council board person and leading his congregation are not a conflict but a complement to each other. “I tell my members all the time we don’t have seats at tables, we’re on the table. If you’re on the table,
you’re definitely on the menu,” Hilton said. “They know the role of the church in the twenty first century as it was in the civil rights era. The church was the most powerful place on the planet and what their pastor is doing is reclaiming that role.”
Hilton his hoping to head off an expected increase in homelessness in Carson. He says housing is going to be critical in the next four years and it will also be “important to address the food desert that is in north Carson.”
“We’re looking forward to how we can increase the budget and try to bounce back after COVID,” Hilton adds.
“We’re going to have to stretch and we’re gonna have to come together as a community. In order to get through COVID-19, in order to change systematic racism, it’s going to require us all being together. Even though we are socially distant we cannot be socially disconnected.”
Hilton is endorsed by the likes of Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Councilman Herb Wesson, and the LA County Federation of Labor respectively.
Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church Food Program Offers stimulus to Black Restaurants been distributing some 300 meals per Sunday, and recently decided to expand the program to 4-days a week. Therefore, from 12 noon to 1:00 PM designated meals and food are available for pick up as scheduled; Tuesdays is Pizza, Wednesdays is Chicken, Fridays are boxed groceries, and Sundays are Grab and Go dinners.
Local food vendors D’s Original Takeout, Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen, Woody’s Bar-B-Que, Papa John’s Pizza franchisees, and others are on board with the food distribution mission which is helping their businesses thrive.

Mt. Sinai Food Program Helps Black Restaurants

Pastor Jawane Hilton

“We started realizing how the pandemic was going to affect small businesses and could lead to restaurants shutting down,” say Hurtt. “We all know that restaurants in our community is critical to the economy.”
Participating restaurants have testified that the feeding initiative is working like a stimulus package enabling them to stay open and to keep their team members employed.

Mt. Sinai Church has been picking up the tab on all the meals, and the entire program is staffed by church-based volunteers.
“This is everything our vision is which is to see our church, community and our city develop not just spiritually but socially,” Hurtt said. “We are unable to meet as a congregation at this time…but I keep encouraging our people to do everything you can do and then trust God to fill in the rest because our victory is in the struggle.”

Saving Grace

An entertainer with a lasting career like Mary J. Blige must have the ingredients to success.
“I stay grateful, I stay thankful, and I work really, really hard. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to be better, spiritually and personally. It’s not just about all of the accolades I have coming. I couldn’t have them if I wasn’t spiritually aligned and if I wasn’t strong in my mind,” Blige explained. “It’s really about staying healthy in spirit and believing the best in myself and everyone else. Good things come with prayer and meditation. Blessings come, jobs come, by the grace of God.”

The grace of God has catapulted Blige’s career to great heights. Blige has released 13 studio albums, won nine Grammy awards and sold 50 million albums in the United States and 80 million records worldwide.
But her talent doesn’t stop with music. The 49-year-old received three Golden Globe nominations, one for a supporting role in the 2017 historical drama, “Mudbound.” She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for the film, making her the first person to be

nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year. “I caught the acting bug when I was seven. My music teacher put me and this guy in a school play, and word went around the school about how great we did,” Blige recalled. “I took that with me. It was in my heart but I was scared to dream big or let people see that I was optimistic. When I got into the music business, it came back.”
Even with praise and awe coming from all areas of the entertainment industry, she says the key to success is simple.
“My formula to success is being healthy from the inside out. Learning how to love myself, honestly.”
Learning to love herself didn’t come easily.
Born in the Bronx and raised primarily by a single mother, Blige had an admittedly difficult upbringing. She was sexually abused as a child; it was singing that got her through her lowest and most difficult moments.
Her love for music is also what changed her life. In 1989, Blige became the first woman, and the youngest artist, that Uptown Records had ever signed at only 18 years old. She released her now-platinum album, “What’s the 411?” in 1992 and from then on, Blige continued to stun the world with her empowering lyrics, heartfelt storytelling and honesty.


“I don’t believe that we go through things to keep them a secret and then one day die of a heart attack because we have secrets festering inside of us. I think that we go through stuff to speak about it so we can help someone else heal,” Blige said. “That’s the gift God gave me as an artist, to be able to be trans-parent and say: ‘You know what? It happened to me, too.’ I don’t have any of the answers. That’s why I keep having to do so much work.”
Doing the work is something that Blige continues to do despite the incredible hardships she has faced, but this is how she knows that sharing her pain through art is her purpose.
“I went through it myself. It’s a whole other level for me. The higher the lever, the bigger the Devil. The more you try to work on pulling yourself away from the comfort zone, the negative stuff, you get attacked. Especially when you try to do better, you get attacked.”

“I don’t believe that we go through things to keep them a secret and then one day die of a heart attack because we have secrets festering inside of us. I think that we go through stuff to speak about it so we can help someone else heal. That’s the gift God gave me as an artist, to be able to be transparent and say: ‘You know what? It happened to me, too.’ I don’t have any of the answers. That’s why I keep having to do so much work.”

– Mary J. Blige


Blige went through a very messy and public divorce from her hus-band of 13 years, Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, who also happened to be her manager. Rumors of infidelity and private, finance information was splashed all over the tabloids. The divorce was finalized in 2018.
“The breaking point was when I kept asking over and over and over again for respect and to be respected. And it just seemed like I was beating a dead horse and it seemed like I was talking to a wall,” Blige expressed. “I just wasn’t getting it back so if I can’t get respect in the relationship, then I have to move on and save myself. That was the point where I was like, ‘I’m done. I just can’t do it any-more.’”
She has also been very open about substance abuse and described her 1994 album, “My Life” as “a dark, sui-cidal testimony.”
“We numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol and people and shopping and s***, to cover up what’s really going on inside,” she said. “You’re taking drugs so you can go out and feel courageous, or go out and feel beautiful or whatever. You’re doing it to cover up something.”
“My Life” went triple platinum and has not only helped people around the world cope with their difficulties, but Blige as well.
“I started listening to my own words, my own lyrics back. I was just crying listening to it like, wow, all those horrible, dark places I was in, going through all the hell that I was going through, these words are helping me to feel better and be okay in life,” Blige said, admitting that she’s been listening to her own music during the COVID-19 lockdown. “I wrote the lyrics to ‘My Life’ when I didn’t even want to live.”
Through self-love and spirituality, Blige has been able to completely turn her life around and keep herself hope-ful even while the world goes through an undeniably bleak year.
“I sit quietly. I’ll turn everything off and I’ll breathe and start thanking God and be grateful for everything. It’s a time when you get to reflect on your character, who you are, what rules you, what you’re grateful for,” Blige said. “I wake up in the morning happy to live my life, even though we’re in quarantine. I’m alive. Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I’m alive. My mother’s alive.”
She’s also not slowing down in terms of taking on projects.
Blige is currently starring in the hit series, “Power Book II: Ghost” on Starz and she recently released her very own wine label, Sun Goddess Wines. Blige also created a production company, Blue Butterfly, for which she’s excited to begin producing content.
“Our goal is to produce content that is for the culture.
For us, by us. Create stories about great people. Heroes, women, that people don’t even know about. How there’s a Brady Bunch or Partridge Family, have something like that for us. Actually G-Unit and Mary J Blige … there’s something really big. I can’t talk about it too much but the team is amazing.”
Blige’s goal now is to continue giving her fans the authentic and groundbreaking art that they’ve come to know her for.
“I get in where I fit in and if I don’t fit in, I don’t want it because it’s a disaster for me. And my fans do know me, they’re going to notice it too. If I go against that gut feeling of, ‘don’t do that’ it’s a disaster. I don’t know how to do anything else but be Mary J. Blige.”

Mary J. Blige

Saving Grace

An entertainer with a lasting career like Mary J. Blige must have the ingredients to success.
“I stay grateful, I stay thankful, and I work really, really hard. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to be better, spiritually and personally. It’s not just about all of the accolades I have coming. I couldn’t have them if I wasn’t spiritually aligned and if I wasn’t strong in my mind,” Blige explained. “It’s really about staying healthy in spirit and believing the best in myself and everyone else. Good things come with prayer and meditation. Blessings come, jobs come, by the grace of God.”

The grace of God has catapulted Blige’s career to great heights. Blige has released 13 studio albums, won nine Grammy awards and sold 50 million albums in the United States and 80 million records worldwide.
But her talent doesn’t stop with music. The 49-

Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige

year-old received three Golden Globe nominations, one for a supporting role in the 2017 historical drama, “Mudbound.” She was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for the film, making her the first person to be

nominated for both acting and songwriting in the same year. “I caught the acting bug when I was seven. My music teacher put me and this guy in a school play, and word went around the school about how great we did,” Blige recalled. “I took that with me. It was in my heart but I was scared to dream big or let people see that I was optimistic. When I got into the music business, it came back.”
Even with praise and awe coming from all areas of the entertainment industry, she says the key to success is simple.
“My formula to success is being healthy from the inside out. Learning how to love myself, honestly.”
Learning to love herself didn’t come easily.
Born in the Bronx and raised primarily by a single mother, Blige had an admittedly difficult upbringing. She was sexually abused as a child; it was singing that got her through her lowest and most difficult moments.
Her love for music is also what changed her life. In 1989, Blige became the first woman, and the youngest artist, that Uptown Records had ever signed at only 18 years old. She released her now-platinum album, “What’s the 411?” in 1992 and from then on, Blige continued to stun the world with her empowering lyrics, heartfelt storytelling and honesty.


“I don’t believe that we go through things to keep them a secret and then one day die of a heart attack because we have secrets festering inside of us. I think that we go through stuff to speak about it so we can help someone else heal,” Blige said. “That’s the gift God gave me as an artist, to be able to be trans-parent and say: ‘You know what? It happened to me, too.’ I don’t have any of the answers. That’s why I keep having to do so much work.”
Doing the work is something that Blige continues to do despite the incredible hardships she has faced, but this is how she knows that sharing her pain through art is her purpose.
“I went through it myself. It’s a whole other level for me. The higher the lever, the bigger the Devil. The more you try to work on pulling yourself away from the comfort zone, the negative stuff, you get attacked. Especially when you try to do better, you get attacked.”

“I don’t believe that we go through things to keep them a secret and then one day die of a heart attack because we have secrets festering inside of us. I think that we go through stuff to speak about it so we can help someone else heal. That’s the gift God gave me as an artist, to be able to be transparent and say: ‘You know what? It happened to me, too.’ I don’t have any of the answers. That’s why I keep having to do so much work.”

– Mary J. Blige


Blige went through a very messy and public divorce from her hus-band of 13 years, Martin “Kendu” Isaacs, who also happened to be her manager. Rumors of infidelity and private, finance information was splashed all over the tabloids. The divorce was finalized in 2018.
“The breaking point was when I kept asking over and over and over again for respect and to be respected. And it just seemed like I was beating a dead horse and it seemed like I was talking to a wall,” Blige expressed. “I just wasn’t getting it back so if I can’t get respect in the relationship, then I have to move on and save myself. That was the point where I was like, ‘I’m done. I just can’t do it any-more.’”
She has also been very open about substance abuse and described her 1994 album, “My Life” as “a dark, sui-cidal testimony.”
“We numb ourselves with drugs and alcohol and people and shopping and s***, to cover up what’s really going on inside,” she said. “You’re taking drugs so you can go out and feel courageous, or go out and feel beautiful or whatever. You’re doing it to cover up something.”
“My Life” went triple platinum and has not only helped people around the world cope with their difficulties, but Blige as well.
“I started listening to my own words, my own lyrics back. I was just crying listening to it like, wow, all those horrible, dark places I was in, going through all the hell that I was going through, these words are helping me to feel better and be okay in life,” Blige said, admitting that she’s been listening to her own music during the COVID-19 lockdown. “I wrote the lyrics to ‘My Life’ when I didn’t even want to live.”
Through self-love and spirituality, Blige has been able to completely turn her life around and keep herself hope-ful even while the world goes through an undeniably bleak year.
“I sit quietly. I’ll turn everything off and I’ll breathe and start thanking God and be grateful for everything. It’s a time when you get to reflect on your character, who you are, what rules you, what you’re grateful for,” Blige said. “I wake up in the morning happy to live my life, even though we’re in quarantine. I’m alive. Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, I’m alive. My mother’s alive.”
She’s also not slowing down in terms of taking on projects.
Blige is currently starring in the hit series, “Power Book II: Ghost” on Starz and she recently released her very own wine label, Sun Goddess Wines. Blige also created a production company, Blue Butterfly, for which she’s excited to begin producing content.
“Our goal is to produce content that is for the culture.
For us, by us. Create stories about great people. Heroes, women, that people don’t even know about. How there’s a Brady Bunch or Partridge Family, have something like that for us. Actually G-Unit and Mary J Blige … there’s something really big. I can’t talk about it too much but the team is amazing.”
Blige’s goal now is to continue giving her fans the authentic and groundbreaking art that they’ve come to know her for.
“I get in where I fit in and if I don’t fit in, I don’t want it because it’s a disaster for me. And my fans do know me, they’re going to notice it too. If I go against that gut feeling of, ‘don’t do that’ it’s a disaster. I don’t know how to do anything else but be Mary J. Blige.”

Bishop Charles Blake Cover

People: “Bishop Charles Blake Says He Won’t Pursue Another Term”

For the last 13 years, he has led the nation’s largest African-American denomination and has been viewed as one of the country’s most powerful Black religious lead-ers. Last week, Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) announced that he would be stepping down from the role at the next election, the date of which is still being determined by board members.
“I have made the decision to not seek re-election as a member of the General Board or as Presiding Bishop. I have requested that the General Board grant me emeritus status,” Blake said in a video on the Church’s web-site.
The Church of God in Christ is the fifth largest Pro-testant denomination in the U.S., the largest Pentecostal group in the country and the second largest Pentecostal organization in the world with churches in 60 countries and an estimated membership of nearly 6.5 million.


“Bishop Charles E. Blake was to the Church of God in Christ what the Apostle Paul was to the first century church,” said Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Senior Pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church and Presiding Bishop of the Macedonia International Bible Fellowship. “Likewise, I suggest the Lord used the man, the ministry and the message of His Grace Bishop Charles Blake to take the largest Pentecostal denomination of color in the world into the dimension where eyes had not seen, ears had not heard, of the growth, progress and global imprint that characterizes the 13 year tenure of this great Man of God.
“God used the grace and anointing on his life and transitioned the African American Pentecostal/Charis-matic family of the Body of Christ out of the margins where many so fervently attempted to relegate us, on to the front line of spiritual transformation, social change and economic advancement.”
Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis, General Supervisor of the COGIC’s International Department of Women dubbed him as “one of the greatest leaders in the history of Christendom”.
“Bishop Blake’s global mindset caused the Church of God in Christ to grow exponentially around the world,” McCoo said. “He has been a leader of impeccable integrity which is reflected in a posture of financial accountabili-ty.”
Under Blake’s leadership the denomination completed the first comprehensive financial audit of its records in more than 100 years, while completing massive renovations to its headquarters campus in Memphis along with major restorations to downtown Memphis properties and the acquisition of additional properties around our Headquarters campus, including the development of 77 apartment homes near the COGIC’s Mason campus.
Other successes include moving the Holy Convocation to the 502,000 square foot America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from 2010 through 2019.
The decision to not seek reelection with the national COGIC does not affect Bishop Blake’s pastoring in Los Angeles where the 80-year old Little Rock, Arkansas native will continue as Senior Pastor of the West Angeles Church, which is one of the denomination’s largest churches with upwards of 20,000 members.
“I have had many great responsibilities over my life-time but the two that have always been forefront of my mind are my family and pastoring the West Angeles Church, said Blake, who became pastor in 1969 when the church has just 50 members. “God has blessed West Angeles to enter into the next stage of the Family Life Center building project, a 25-million-dollar addition that will attach to the West Angeles Cathedral. West Angeles is soon to break ground on this project.”
Bishop Blake will continue to serve as Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle until his successor is selected. Among the names being mentioned as possible successors are Bishops Jerry Macklin, Sedgwick Daniels, George McKinney, Darrell Hines and J. Drew Sheard, all of whom also serve on the COGIC’s General Board.
“Please understand the depth of my gratitude for every opportunity that God has afforded me in serving you,” Blake said. “I pray that I have pleased Him in all I have attempted for the advancement of the Church of God in Christ and ultimately, for His Kingdom. I remain committed to the success of our church and have pledged my support and assistance in a smooth transition so that the work of the Lord will seamlessly continue.”
Bishop Blake has been a member of COGIC for his entire life and is in his 64th year of preaching, 51st year of pastoring the West Angeles Church in Los Angeles, 35th year as COGIC Bishop and 32nd year as a member of the General Board. He is the husband of Lady Mae Lawrence Blake,
“Bishop calls Lady Mae his secret weapon,” McCoo Lewis said. “I am afraid the secret is out. Lady Mae has been unwavering in serving and motivating women to embrace excellence. She is the epitome of the Proverbs 31

Maxine Waters

Fighting the Good Fight

Since Donald Trump’s arrival on the political stage, few voices have been as consistently outspoken against this President’s divisive rhetoric and policy agenda than that of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D- CA 43). Thanks in part to the internet, Water’s characteristically sharp tongue and fearless devotion to the issues that matter to her constituency have made her a national figure of resistance– from being one of the first to call for Trump’s impeachment, to the now iconic shutting down of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in his attempts to circumvent her questioning during testimony by repeatedly cutting him off saying “I reclaim my time”, to her controversial encouragement of civilians protesting Trump staffers in public.

But followers of national politics have seen her be a tenacious, thorn-in-your-side to Democratic and Republican Presidents alike for the past 30 years, as she spoke up against police brutality during the Rodney King riots of the early 90’s with the same fervor as the killing of George Floyd earlier this year.
For Waters, who was one of 13 children growing up outside of St. Louis, Missouri, the fighting spirit is something she’s had since day one.
“I was raised and educated with the understanding that we have a responsibility to know the civil rights movement and be dedicated to the proposition that we
can help our communities have people do better. I came in with that kind of attitude,” says Waters, who began her tenure in Congress in 1991 after serving in the California State legislature. “And then, coming from a family of 13 , I had to fight for everything so I have no fear of fighting. I have no fear of standing up for myself. Through my work, I’ve walked with the kind of courage that has shown truth-to-power in ways that has got me
recognized as a highly controversial figure, and as a fighter.”

“Coming from a family of 13 , I had to fight for everything so I have no fear of fighting. I have no fear of standing up for myself. Through my work, I’ve walked with the kind of courage that has shown truth-to-power in ways that has got me recognized as a highly controversial figure, and as a fighter”

– Maxine Waters


Now at the age of 82, Waters, whose supporters have lovingly dubbed “Auntie Maxine”, is running for her 16th consecutive term and is making the case that she has the leadership and policy expertise to lead our ideologically torn country through the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic and into a more dignified political era.
While her fighting spirit is most often seen and attributed to her outspoken political stances, much of her fighting is done in her less glamorous work– namely on the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) where she sits as Chairwoman.
And the agenda of the HFSC is heavy to say the least.
Besides being an overseer of financial services agencies both in the public and private sector, Waters is looking ahead to reinstating the mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau– a public watchdog organization set up under Obama to protect consumers against predatory financial organizations– which has been undermined under the Trump administration.
“We’ve got to make sure that we continue to work on denying our big banks the opportunity to engage in predatory lending, which harmed our community so much in the 2008 crash,” says Waters. “We’ve got to pay special attention to payday loans, which are made to lure poor people who are desperate into borrowing situations where they will never get out of debt, and make sure that is outlawed.”
In addition, Waters is using the power of her position to create the first ever Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion in HFSC, creating more room at the top for money managers of color.
“We are looking at what we can do to advance asset managers of color in government agencies which is an opportunity that has not really been available to us due to exclusions and discrimination, which is something I am very excited to be engaged in.”
On top of her regularly jam-packed workload, there are the financial woes resulting from the pandemic to deal with. With millions of workers, homeowners, renters, small business, and landlords looking for some type of bailout, Waters and the Democrats are deadlocked in negotiations with Republicans on further allocations of funds.
“I’m focused, as one of the standing committees of Congress, on what is known as the HEROES Act. We passed the CARES Act which included $1,200 stimulus checks and $600 additionally to those who lost their job. But that ran out,” says Waters. “So now we’re negotiating the HEROES Act, but we have no support from Republicans– they don’t want to spend the money.”
Congressional Democrats have passed the HEROES Act twice now, first for $3.2 trillion then compromised down to $2.2 trillion, only to receive a stiff ‘no’ from Senate Republicans both times.
“They don’t want to give citizens and states the money, but we have to insist so that we don’t start laying off all of the people who provide essential services and keep our economy going,’ says Waters.
Waters also helped craft the HEROES Act to address the pandemic-induced evictions crises with $50 billion in rental assistance and up to $550 billion in relief for landlords who have been left on the hook.
“We’re in a crisis now,” says Waters. “People are desperate to put food on the table and not be put out on the street and be evicted. This president really doesn’t care about this, he interfered with negotiations and extended the moratorium on evictions with no money.”
With hospitalization rates 4.7 times higher for black people than their white counterparts due to the pandemic– Waters recognizes that, like so often is the case in America, communities of color have to fight harder to get
the same treatment. “We had to fight for more testing in [black] communities and to ensure that we had the equipment in the hospitals that serve our constituency,” says Waters. “The next thing that we have to do is be on top of the vaccine and make sure that it’s safe, we have access to them, and
they’ll be distributed fairly.
We have to fight for everything. We cannot sit back and believe that somehow we are going to be treated fairly because history tells a different story.”
Waters is also working with leaders of faith through virtual meetings on how to reinforce the directives of how to protect yourself from the virus.
“We tell people to listen and follow the advice of experts, put on your mask, wash your hands, and be involved with social distancing. You’ve got to do this in order to avoid getting infected,” says Waters.
While Waters’ work seems to be cut out for her, opponents on the right have made sure that she can’t look past her re-election bid this November. Her challenger is 34-year-old first time politician Joe Collins III, who despite only receiving 11% of the vote in March’s primary election, has received massive amounts of campaign funds largely due to his backing from Trump Republicans. Collins, who is a former sailor in the Navy, claims he left the military to run for public office which he couldn’t do while on active duty.
He is an outspoken Trump supporter who is running on an agenda of restoring the 43rd district’s economic livelihood, schools, and combating the lingering crime and homelessness issues, while painting Waters as a selfserving Washington elitist. Collins has run an aggressive campaign with a large ad budget, regularly slamming Waters on social media. In his latest video “Mansion Maxine”, Collins calls out Waters for her lavish $6 million home which is not in the 43rd district.
“Do you know where I am?” says Collins in his video. “Maxine Waters $6 million mansion. Do you know where I am not? Her district. I was born right here in South L.A. in the place Maxine Waters refuses to live. Maxine doesn’t care about our district, she only cares about herself.”
It should be noted that it is not required by law for Congressional leaders to live in their district, and also that Waters’ home was once in the district she represented, before redistricting changed the borders. Waters’ answer to Collins claiming that the woes of the 43rd district are her fault since she’s represented the area for 44 years with the same systematic problems persisting is that he doesn’t understand the general hierarchy of government.
“The young man that is running against me not only has no experience, he doesn’t even know how the government works,” says Waters. “He doesn’t know the difference between City Council, Legislatures and Congress,
and who oversees the agencies who have different responsibilities. For instance, members of Congress fund cities to deal with homelessness. City Councils the ones in charge of contracting non-profit agencies to help shelter
the unhoused. His arguments have not been substantive at all, in fact, he’s been missing arguments.’
Waters has also gone on the offensive attacking Collins character flaws, like the fact that he received a dishonorable discharge from the Navy which disallows him from referring to himself as a ‘veteran’ in any official capacity– including on the ballot where his title is ‘sailor’. Waters also brought to light the information alleging that Collins has some outstanding child support cases.
“It’s not just a lack of experience, it is a flawed character and the inability to represent that he can be a role model for the people he wants to represent, especially young people,” says Waters. “He is holding some food giveaways at his headquarters, and someone remarked to me that he talks about feeding people in Los Angeles, but he doesn’t even feed his own children.”
In coming to her defense, over 30 leaders of faith held a press conference outside the Waters campaign headquarters in Hawthorne to pledge their support for the Congresswoman’s reelection bid.
“Maxine Waters has a history of being there for her community,” said Reverend K.W. Tulloss, president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of Los Angeles. “Her opponent is someone who just popped up off the scene. We know what a wolf looks like in sheep’s clothes. We can see the handwriting on the wall. We know that narrative this GOP candidate is trying to put out there. So, we just want everyone to know that we the faith leaders are praying for the Congresswoman in all her goals and priorities.”
Pastor Shane B. Scott of Macedonia Baptist Church also said that Waters’ record speaks for itself.
“In case Mr. Collins needs to be reminded, you don’t just serve 15 terms in Congress if you’re ineffective. But rather you serve 15 terms because you have been a champion for justice, for all people whether they are Black,
White, Asian, Latino, or Native American.”
Proof of her effectiveness can be seen in Waters’ popularity amongst the much younger millennial generation, many who affectionately refer to her as ‘Auntie Maxine’. “As far as I’m concerned it’s a nickname of honor,” says Waters. “The aunt in the family is considered, oftentimes, to rise above the parents because they take up for the children and they’re able to not only criticize them, but to help direct them in ways that sometimes the parents can’t. So, the aunt is always favorably embraced, and I love it!”
It’s this affection that drive Waters’ passion to fight for her constituents and the office she is proud to hold.
“One of the reasons I fight so hard is because people believe in me and they call on me, so I really want this election. I want to be re-elected because I want to continue to be a voice they can rely on,” says Waters. “And to be someone who will actually work at this job.
“This is what I do seven days a week. So, no matter whether I’m criticized by those who don’t like the way I do it or think I’m too confrontational, it doesn’t stop me. I believe that people know I want to continue my work and to really represent and give everything I can give to my constituents.”
Besides her own re-election, the single most important thing to come from this historic election is replacing the man in the White House, who according to Waters, is the source of the divisive polarization in today’s political climate.
Her solution? “Vote him out!”
“The President of the United States has been the most divisive, most deplorable human being that I have really ever experienced in my life,” says Waters. “He has created polarization, he has dog-whistled to the white supremacists and those who have never been comfortable with the fact that they live in a country where blacks and others have a right to a decent quality of life. The solution is to get rid of those who cause the polarization, from the top of the ticket on down.”

Protesters Demand Immediate Release of Activist Tatiana Turner Accused of Attempted Murder

Stephen Oduntan, Staff

Anthony Bryson called on the crowd to raise their fist in a show of solidarity. It was Sunday, October 25, one month after authorities booked Tatiana Turner into jail on suspicion of attempted murder after allegedly driving a white sedan into counter-protesters during a March for Equality in the Yorba Linda Public Library parking lot.

Prosecutors are alleging just that.

But Bryson from the group Urban Organizers Collective and about 50 demonstrators poured into downtown Los Angeles on Sunday to demand, among other things, that authorities release Turner, reduce her $1 million bail, and charge the counter-protesters who threatened her life.

They chanted “Free Tia” in unison while circling downtown Los Angeles as three LAPD vehicles trailed them.

“It’s important for us to draw the attention and awareness of Tatiana Turner’s case and the systemic racism that has kept her behind bars as a political prisoner,” said Bryson.

“Tiana’s incarceration,” added Bryson, “is partly due to the rhetoric and language our president has displayed, which is something that they live by in Orange County. And so, we’re going city to city to spread the awareness of Tatiana Turner, and her struggle in the hopes and efforts she’ll receive bail and get the charges reduced.”

According to a September 29 press release, issued by Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, “Tatiana Rita Turner, 40, of Long Beach, has been charged with one felony count of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, six felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, including one causing great bodily injury, one felony count of mayhem, and two felony counts of the use of pepper spray by a felon.”

Activist Tatiana Turner

She faces a maximum sentence of seven years to life plus 13 years and four months in state prison if convicted on all charges.

Her defense attorney said Turner tried unsuccessfully to get help from deputies after her group was overwhelmed by a hostile crowd. Turner saw people with guns and feared for her life when she got into her car that was blocked by Donald Trump supporters, attorney Ludlow Creary II said. She was trying to get away and didn’t intend to hit anyone.

Moreover, protesters say they’ve become conspicuous targets for arrest, intimidation, and assault by law enforcement officers for protesting police brutality and racial injustice.

“I believe [Turner] is being singled out for the simple fact there are two similar cases, similar cases that are almost identical. And those two individuals are home and free,” said Sequarier McCoy, the aunt of Dijon Kizzee who was fatally shot last month after deputies tried to stop him for riding his bicycle on the wrong side of the road.

McCoy’s comments were a reference to an incident in which two vehicles drove through a crowd of people in Hollywood protesting police brutality and the decision in the Breonna Taylor case. Officers were seen taking the drivers into custody, but the Los Angeles Police Department said they released them “pending the outcome of a hit and run investigation.”

McCoy suspects that Turner has long been on law enforcement’s radar because her work as an activist is centered on police abuse and voter suppression.

“From my knowledge, she’s been doing activism work for about four years now. The system doesn’t like a strong leader and so they want to make an example out of her,” she said.

Dr. Nizan Shaked, a professor at Cal State University, called the charges against Turner “completely inflated and bogus.” She emailed Spitzer, expressing her disappointment that the DA’s office continues to trample on the constitutional rights of protesters and activists.

“It’s disappointing that Spitzer is discouraging people from participating in their democracy,” Shaked told L.A. Focus. “We have every right to peacefully protest.”

That sentiment was echoed by Kennedy Carter who said the police are purposely targeting focal leadership within the movement, hoping to discourage them by slapping activists with criminal charges and hefty court fines.

Carter is a gang member and was a close friend to Anthony McClain – a 32-year-old Black man shot and killed August 15 by a Pasadena police officer as he ran away from a traffic stop. Carter said he was with a group of protesters who had gathered in Pasadena to demand the city police department officials release body camera footage showing what led up to the shooting.

He alleges police officers violated his constitutional rights.

“I literally just wanted to speak to the Pasadena Police Department about the bodycam footage and how things got out of control, but instead I got roughed up and thrown in jail and was charged with terrorist threats,” Carter said.

“The police,” continued Carter. “Think because we’re gang members that we don’t care about people getting shot and killed by them. They don’t like to see us standing up for our rights.”

Meanwhile, at the protest was Jawad Vision, better known as George Floyd, a 25-year-old Los Angeles resident who said we live in a system designed to “break and destroy” marginalized communities.

“We are here today to free Tia,” Floyd shouted through a megaphone. “This movement must continue. It cannot be destroyed. It has become our lifestyle.”

Bishop Charles Blake Says He Won’t Pursue Another Term as COGIC’s Presiding Prelate and Chief Apostle

Staff

      For the last 13 years, he has led the nation’s largest African-American denomination and has been viewed as one of the country’s most powerful Black religious leaders. Last week, Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) announced that he would be stepping down from the role at the next election, the date of which is still being determined by board members.

      “I have made the decision to not seek re-election as a member of the General Board or as Presiding Bishop. I have requested that the General Board grant me emeritus status,” Blake said in a video on the Church’s website.

      The Church of God in Christ is the fifth largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., the largest Pentecostal group in the country and the second largest Pentecostal organization in the world with churches in 60 countries and an estimated membership of nearly 6.5 million.

      “Bishop Charles E. Blake was to the Church of God in Christ what the Apostle Paul was to the first century church,” said Bishop Kenneth C. Ulmer, Senior Pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church and Presiding Bishop of the Macedonia International Bible Fellowship. “Likewise, I suggest the Lord used the man, the ministry and the message of His Grace Bishop Charles Blake to take the largest Pentecostal denomination of color in the world into the dimension where eyes had not seen, ears had not heard, of the growth, progress and global imprint that characterizes the 13 year tenure of this great Man of God.

      “God used the grace and anointing on his life and transitioned the African American Pentecostal/Charismatic family of the Body of Christ out of the margins where many so fervently attempted to relegate us, on to the front line of spiritual transformation, social change and economic advancement.” 

      Mother Barbara McCoo Lewis, General Supervisor of the COGIC’s International Department of Women dubbed him as “one of the greatest leaders in the history of Christendom”.

      “Bishop Blake’s global mindset caused the Church of God in Christ to grow exponentially around the world,” McCoo said. “He has been a leader of impeccable integrity which is reflected in a posture of financial accountability.”

      Under Blake’s leadership the denomination completed the first comprehensive financial audit of its records in more than 100 years, while completing massive renovations to its headquarters campus in Memphis along with major restorations to downtown Memphis properties and the acquisition of additional properties around our Headquarters campus, including the development of 77 apartment homes near the COGIC’s Mason campus.

      Other successes include moving the Holy Convocation to the 502,000 square foot America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri, from 2010 through 2019.

      The decision to not seek reelection with the national COGIC does not affect Bishop Blake’s pastoring in Los Angeles where the 80-year old Little Rock, Arkansas native will continue as Senior Pastor of the West Angeles Church, which is one of the denomination’s largest churches with upwards of 20,000 members.

      “I have had many great responsibilities over my lifetime but the two that have always been forefront of my mind are my family and pastoring the West Angeles Church, said Blake, who became pastor in 1969 when the church had just 50 members. “God has blessed West Angeles to enter into the next stage of the Family Life Center building project, a 25-million-dollar addition that will attach to the West Angeles Cathedral. West Angeles is soon to break ground on this project.”

      Bishop Blake will continue to serve as Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle until his successor is selected. Among the names being mentioned as possible successors are Bishops Jerry Macklin, Sedgwick Daniels, George McKinney, Darrell Hines and J. Drew Sheard, all of whom also serve on the COGIC’s General Board.

      “Please understand the depth of my gratitude for every opportunity that God has afforded me in serving you,” Blake said. “I pray that I have pleased Him in all I have attempted for the advancement of the Church of God in Christ and ultimately, for His Kingdom. I remain committed to the success of our church and have pledged my support and assistance in a smooth transition so that the work of the Lord will seamlessly continue.”

      Bishop Blake has been a member of COGIC for his entire life and is in his 64th year of preaching, 51st year of pastoring the West Angeles Church in Los Angeles, 35th year as COGIC Bishop and 32nd year as a member of the General Board. He is the husband of Lady Mae Lawrence Blake,

      “Bishop calls Lady Mae his secret weapon,” McCoo Lewis said.  “I am afraid the secret is out. Lady Mae has been unwavering in serving and motivating women to embrace excellence. She is the epitome of the Proverbs 31 virtuous woman…. gracious, loving and enterprising.”

      By all accounts, the couple has been a dynamic force in the Church of God in Christ and —at the helm of the L.A.’s largest Black church— continue to wield a great deal of influence on the city’s religious front.

Black Civil Rights and Business Leaders Address Jared Kushner Comment on Black Work Ethic

Christal Mims, Staff

Members of Black Lives Matter L.A. and other civil rights and business leaders held a press conference over Zoom to discuss the recent comments by White House adviser and son-in-law to Donald Trump, Jared Kushner regarding the work ethic of Black Americans. In attendance were Akili of Black Lives Matter L.A., Damien Goodmon of the Downtown Crenshaw effort, Jackie Ryan – the past president of Leimert Park Village Merchants Association, Linda Morgan Sam from the L.A. South Chamber of Commerce and Rev. William D. Smart Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California.

Kushner is facing backlash after suggesting that Black Americans don’t want to work hard in order to become successful.

“The thing we’ve seen in the Black community, which is mostly Democrat,” Kushner stated on Fox & Friends, “is that President Trump’s policies are the policies that can help people break out of the problems that they’re complaining about, but he can’t want them to be successful more than they want to be successful.”

Goodmon pointed out the irony of Kushner’s comments considering the Downtown Crenshaw effort to gain control of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza is being thwarted by Trump and Kushner-associated business groups like LIVWRK, DFH Partners and CIM Group, who are attempting or have attempted, to purchase the mall.

Akili agreed, saying, “There are four conditions that Black people have to deal with in America: White supremacy, institutional racism, individual bigotry and mass denial. Kushner’s comments represent all four,” Akili explained. “It’s offensive in light of the fact that Downtown Crenshaw is the best example of striving for success, of working for success.”

Ryan said Kushner’s comments and attempt to displace Black people in the Crenshaw community displays his ignorance of humanity and what it means to be Black in America.

“The nerve,” Ryan began, “We have been here for 400 years and we have been successful in all of our attempts to rid ourselves of racist owners from the beginning. We have come a long way because of our resistance, because of our knowledge, because of our courage, because of our right to be in public space.”

Sam questioned the legitimacy of the companies attempting to purchase the mall, as DFH Partners only recently created a website for themselves.

“There were multiple Black bidders for the Crenshaw Mall,” Sam said. “Including a Black community bid in the form of Downtown Crenshaw. These Black bidders are all more competent and capable than LIVWRK and yet they were passed over for Kushner’s business partners,” Sam explained.

Rev. Smart echoed the sentiment that those in the Black community know what’s best for the space and don’t need outside interference from people who are not tapped into the needs and wants of local residents.

“The mall, the sacredness of that site, belongs to Black folks,” Rev. Smart said. “Give us the opportunity to show you what we can do. We have the power; we have the determinism. We need this as a victory.”

Goodmon said that the plans of LIVWRK and DFH Partners for the mall are currently unknown, while the Downtown Crenshaw effort would like to see the expansion of Black businesses, Black jobs and Black empowerment.

“Black culture in so many respects is a critical asset that is often leveraged. How about we do some of that production here on Crenshaw and create working class jobs and support them here,” he expressed.

Goodmon also stated that the sale of the mall has not officially gone through and encouraged supporters to sign a petition on the Downtown Crenshaw website as well as contact their local representatives regarding the sale.

New Report Finds Disturbing Trends in L.A. Police Stops

Christal Mims, Staff

A report by the LAPD Inspector General Mark Smith’s office found that racial disparities identified in an L.A. Times investigation were partially a result of failed strategies to use traffic and other minor violations “as a pretext to identify or suppress more serious crimes.” An independent review of thousands of stops conducted by L.A. police officers showed Black and Latino drivers being stopped more frequently than white drivers and experiencing more invasive searches and questioning.

After the Times reported on the racial disparities in 2019, the LAPD cut back on vehicle stops – as instructed by Mayor Eric Garcetti – and admitted the strategy had been ineffective. They also reassigned elite Metropolitan Division crime suppression officers to other duties.

While Black and Latino drivers were pulled over more often, they were less likely to be caught with contraband, and were “of limited effectiveness in identifying evidence of illegal firearms or other serious crimes.” The report also found that only 2 percent of traffic stops resulted in arrest.

“Some of these actions appeared to be based on a person’s behavior or criminal background, including the fact that a person was on parole or probation for a serious crime or admitted to being a member of a criminal gang. In other instances, however, these actions were more discretionary and appeared to be part of a strategy to identify weapons, involvement in a violent crime, or gang-related intelligence,” the inspector general’s report said. “In some cases, the officers making the stop also acknowledged to the stopped person that the basis for the stop was a pretext, and the officers may not have even mentioned the initial violation at all during the stop.”

Units specifically assigned to suppress crime also made more stops in communities of color with high crime rates and were more likely to question people about their backgrounds, their parole or probation status and their criminal records. Those stopped were also subject to other tactics such as handcuffing, forcing them to face a wall or checking tattoos.

The report also suggests that a large number of stops have gone unreported. A video review from almost 200 stops found that LAPD officers had severely underreported the number of people they had stopped and searched; the officers failed to document searches for 23 percent of the people being searched on camera.

As a result of these findings, the inspector general’s office made several recommendations including that LAPD aim to eliminate or lessen racial disparities in stops by continuing to “refocus its crime fighting strategies away from the use of pretextual stops — particularly those pretextual stops based on minor equipment or regulatory violations, which more heavily impact low-income communities.”

They also suggested LAPD have a more thorough and accurate documentation of stops made and events that took place during the stop, as community members have reported feeling unsafe and racially profiled after being pulled over.

Other suggestions included developing a policy that “consolidates and sets forth clear guidelines and parameters about post-stop activities such as removing a person from their vehicle, conducting pat-downs and other searches, completing (field interview) cards, and handcuffing individuals, including consideration of any officer safety issues that must be taken into account.”

The report was requested by the Police Commission and will be on the agenda for the commission’s upcoming meeting during which Smith and his staff will detail their findings.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore will also reportedly address the findings.

Hate Crimes and White Supremacist Attacks Are on the Rise

Christal Mims, Staff

A new report from the L.A. County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) depicts a higher number of violent hate crimes, with a 36 percent increase since hitting a 30-year low in 2013. White supremacist crimes have jumped by 38 percent and 47 percent of racial hate crimes targeted African Americans.

“For those who believe that racism is no longer a problem, I invite you to review the examples this report provides of these vile and cowardly crimes, more than 70 percent of which were classified as violent in nature,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The overall number of hate crimes has only risen slightly, to 524 from 523 the previous year, but the increase continues a six-year upward trend. Hate-motivated violence in 2019 increased from 61 percent of total hate crimes to 65 percent which is the highest percentage reported since 2007.

The largest number of hate crimes took place in the Metro Service Planning Area (SPA) followed by the San Fernando Valley SPA. 

“It is troubling that hate crimes in L.A. County have been rising for six years in a row,” Robin Toma, LACCHR executive director, said about the report. “We also saw the highest rate of violence in 12 years.”

Other findings include a drop in anti-Black crimes committed by gang members by 37 percent.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said that there’s a lot more work to be done in terms of standing up to racially motivated violence.

“Marginalized communities continue to be targeted and discriminated against,” she explained. “L.A. County must continue to combat racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and white supremacy. We have to ensure that Los Angeles County is truly a place where everyone can be who they are without fear.”

The coronavirus pandemic may have also contributed to a rise in hate crimes against Asians, who have been blamed for the spread of the virus; anti-Asian crimes grew by 32 percent.

There were also 48 crimes in which the suspects used specifically anti-immigrant language. This is the second largest number of crimes reported with such slurs since the report started tracking xenophobic slurs in 2001.

While sexual orientation crimes dropped 22 percent, anti-transgender crimes increased from 25 to 41, the largest number ever reported. This also makes transgenger individuals the highest of any victim group at 92 percent.

County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl believes President Donald Trump’s insensitive language toward minorities has encouraged those who hold biases to commit hate crimes.

“The county cannot be fully insulated from the results of the torrent of hatred and intolerance that has emanated from the White House for four long years,” Kuehl said. “I am deeply saddened by this year’s report, including recording the largest number of anti-transgender hate crimes ever.”

Religious crimes grew 11 percent and made up 19 percent of all hate crimes; 89 percent of those crimes were anti-Semitic.

LACCHR staff have coordinated a countywide Network Against Hate Crime initiative that includes government representatives, law enforcement agencies, civil and human rights organizations, educators, faith communities and service groups. They also support the Hate Violence Prevention Partnership LA that works to “reduce and end hate violence by providing practitioners opportunities to share best practices and exchange relevant and timely information.”


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