Aug 29, 2008

Marcus Garvey Day in LA

The UNIA & ACL PRESENTS the 19TH ANNUAL MARCUS GARVEY PARADE AND FESTIVAL- Los Angeles, California. Saturday August 30, 2008.

This year’s parade will be held on Saturday August 30, 2008 starting at Adams and Crenshaw and will proceed to Leimert Park at Crenshaw and Vernon. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and participants will arrive at the parade starting point at 8:30 a.m.

The parade will be followed by the Marcus Garvey Festival that will take place in Leimert Park from 12 noon to 6 p.m. The festival will offer entertainment, information booths, speakers and free fruit to the community.

The parade and festival will be held to commemorate the life and valuable contributions of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA & ACL. Mr. Garvey is credited with organizing the largest mass movement of people of African descent around the world to date. This year’s theme is “The Legacy of Leadership.”

Additionally, the Full and Complete Exoneration of Marcus Garvey will be one of the main focuses of the 19TH ANNUAL MARCUS GARVEY PARADE AND FESTIVAL.

The legislation H.CON.RES.24 sponsored by Congressman Charles Rangel, which will lead to the exoneration and pardon of Marcus Garvey, will be explained to the community.

For information on the exoneration see the following websites: and

For additional information on the 19th Annual Marcus Garvey Parade and Festival contact UNIA at 323-428-3897.

Aug 22, 2008

13th Annual Ron Brown Business Economic Summit

The California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC) hosted its 13th Annual Ron Brown Business Economic Summit, Aug. 21–23 at the Westin LAX Hotel in Los Angeles.
The Ron Brown Summit promotes economic development by bring together diverse suppliers to interface with private/public corporations to enhance mutual small business objectives.”
CBCC also launch its Junior Chamber. “Empowering and Preparing African American Youth for Business Success brought together 500 young people from throughout California. Topics included entrepreneurship and financial literacy, mentoring opportunities and workforce readiness. •H•
–Charles Perkins

Half a million African Americans have HIV

Half a million African Americans have HIV, and although only 13 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans account for half of new HIV infections, according to a report by the Black Aids Institute.
The AIDS epidemic for Africans in America is severe as some parts of the African continent.
“AIDS in American today is a Black disease,” said Phil Wilson, founder and CEO of the institute.
This comes on the heals of a Center for Disease Control (CDC) report about new HIV/AIDS cases. It was previously estimated that 40,000 infections occured in 2006, but it is now estimated that there were 56,300 infections.
CDC’s new method estimates infection rates for African Americans at seven times higher than whites.
“The continued severity of the epidemic among Blacks underscores the need to sustain and accelerate prevention efforts in this population,” said the CDC.
“While race itself is not a risk factor for HIV infection, a range of issues contribute to the disproportionate HIV risk for African Americans in the U.S., including poverty, stigma and higher rates of other STDs, and drug use,” the CDC added. •H•
–Reginald James

New State Student Senate transitions

Representing 2.6 million students

By M.J. Abdulbari

The Student Senate Council for the California Community Colleges (SSCCC) met this summer to prepare it’s incoming officers for the new academic year.
Representing 2.6 million students in the shared governance process at the state level, 30 student representatives began their terms this past July, including Marlene C. Hurd, president of the Black Caucus of the California Student Association of Community Colleges, who serves as a senator for Region III.
Former San Mateo CCD Student Trustee Richael Young was elected the SSCCC’s first woman-president in it’s three-year history.
Young, “honored to represent our students in this capacity,” looks forward “to the upcoming opportunities to make education California’s first priority.”
Sacramento City College student Troy Carter, who served as the SSCCC’s Communications Officer last year was elected Vice-President. Steven Ferguson of Glendale College was elected Secretary, Avery Ryder of San Diego Mesa College was elected Treasurer while David Fisher of American River College was elected Communications officer.
The 30-member body is comprised of 20 regional senators, two from each of the California Community Colleges (CCC) ten region, along with ten at-large senators.
Although five students of African Descent ran for at-large senator positions on the council at the Spring General Assembly in May, none were elected.
“It highlights the need for our organization to empower people locally,” said Hurd, “in order to elevate us at the state level.”
Hurd was appointed to serve alongside Young as the SSCCC’s representative to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the.
The SSCCC, in addition to the work of various committees, is currently preparing for its’ fall General Assembly which will be held Oct. 22-24 at the San Jose Doubletree.
SSCCC meets on the first weekend of each month. •H•

Nas' Untitled

Nas recently released his second consecutive controversial titled album, “Untitled” (previously titled “Nigger” until the NAACP cast fire and brimstone upon his label company for allowing him to use the N-word after they buried it 6-feet deep from the vocabulary of the world).
Before Untitled was released, there was much anxiety in the music industry and the Hip-Hop world about just why Nas would use the N-world to title his album and what message he could possibly have after the NAACP just abolished it.
Nas has not let me down. Nas has taken the concept of what society deems as being a “Nigga/er” and has eloquently decoded the notion through historical and present context.
Nas explores the ideas of having a Black president to the traditional (stereotypical) eating habits of many famlies.
He rhymes about the unfair propaganda that Fox News has been guilty of as well as an analysis of the relationship “Niggers” to a slave master. He surprisingly captures a more realistic glimpse of the Black experience which has been recently higlighted by other mainstream media such as CNN’s Black in America serieies.
Untitled is an instant classlic like his other albums, Illmatic, It Was Written, and God’s Son. “Nigger” brings back informational and motivational style HipHop back to the mainstream, creating a long neeeded dialogue between listeners about something more depth and provacitve than majority of the materialistic, self-hatred advocating music that has permeated through the Hip-Hop industry.
It allows the listeners to focus on more positive attributes rather than the redundant argument of “Hip-Hop destroying Black America” as reflected in BET’S series Hip-Hop vs. America.
Although there may be some inaccurate information on it, Nas brings it with his lyrical delivery making an album that is educational, artistic, motivating and dope. •H•
–Charles Perkins

The Boondocks II (Review)

Complete second season DVD

What began as a cartoon strip in a student newspaper is now the most controversial cartoon on TV. Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks is somewhere beyond South Park and Family Guy. On steroids and viagra. The show consistently exposes the truth that “most Black people don’t talk about when they think white people are listening,” as Huey Freeman (Regina King) said in season one.
In season one, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King–who was actually just in a coma, not assassinated–came back and in order to get the attention of his people he said, “The N-word.”
After being kicked off with a satirical spoof of a fictional Soul Plane 2: The Black Jacking, showing the difficulty would-be terrorists would have hijacking the Black NWA airlines, season two presses the limits of dark comedy and even has an episode where a teacher calls Riley the N-word, based on a true story.
While seemingly out of touch with reality at times (for a cartoon), season two never strays far from the series greatest strength: truth.
Season two was also marred with controversy, but ironically not because of what was aired, but what wasn’t.
Two episodes were banned from TV in the U.S. but aired in Canada. Clips were constantly being uploaded to, and removed from, online video sites like and
The first banned episode, Hunger Strike, Huey vows to go on a hunger strike until BET is taken off the air and all it’s top executives commit Japanese ritual suicide.” Mocking BET (which now stands for Black EVIL Television) top execs are depicted in an Austin Powers Dr. Evil fashion. Huey meets a Al Sharptonesque Reverend (Rollo Goodlove) who is more concerned with “shining”than Huey’s actual cause. Not far from the actual experience of many aspiring revolutionaries. The second banned episode shows Uncle Ruckus (that Black guy that hates Black folks) and his own reality TV show.
The show also pokes fun at the image of so-called gangsta rappers, with the return of Gangstalicious (Mos Def), who is on the down low. (Not the R. Kelly type either–as far as we know). Riley’s grandfather gets worried when he sees Riley wearing Gangstalicious’ new fashions (i.e. pink, sandles, capris and halter tops). Not mention ‘licious’ new song, “Homies ova Hoes.” Complete with a DL4 snap beat and all. The Boondocks will make you laugh and think. The $40 price tag might make you think twice, but think of it as an investment for your critical thinking skills. •H•
–Reginald James

'Bay Area Cypher' voted best in state

BCC student, multi-media artist wins film festival for Hip-Hop documentary

By Reginald James

My mother was the queen of multi-tasking. She could cook while talking on the phone, all the while keeping a watchful eye on me that said: don’t get your butt whooped.
As multi-talented as she is, she has some competition these days.
Berkeley City College multi-media student Idris Hassan is an amazing one-woman show. She writes, directs, films, edits, and does it all with the grace and poise of a professional.

‘Bay Area Cypher is a performance documentary that blends live freestyle presentations with short interviews to showcase the uniqueness of Hip Hop in the San Francisco Bay Area.’
Idris Hassan, producer, director, writer, media activist

Initially, Hassan started with black and white photographer. She later explored magazine writing and editing which eventually led to audio broadcasting.
Her most recent production, “Bay Area Cypher” was voted Best Documentary/Interview in the state at the 3rd Annual Student Film & Video Festival. The festival is held by 3C Media Solutions, the California Community Colleges’ educational media distribution network.
“Bay Area Cypher is a performance documentary that blends live freestyle presentations with short interviews to showcase the uniqueness of Hip Hop in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said Hassan. “I’ve always been amazed at how folks are able to manifest spiritual energy through the art of freestyle rhyme and dance.”
Hassan is both an artist and activist, who is inspired by artists from mediums as diverse as jazz music a and scullpting to poetry and photography.
“As an artist I want to touch and inspire people of the world,” said Hassan, both an artist and an activist. “It is crucial for people of color to create, own and distribute their own media” and “also have to say media creation is vital for women of color, and Black Women in particular.”
She also created a documentary for the 10th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference.
“I enjoyed connecting with the diversity of students from the Black Student Unions (BSUs) of the various campuses,” said Hassan, “and being able to incorporate their comments.”
Hassan added, “I want to use my media skills and creative expression to promote justice, positive social transformation, and to inspire love. •H•

Umoja: Unity

Collective of educators empower students through culture, unity

By Reginald James

Umoja means “unity” in Swahili. While many are unaware of the words meaning–let alone Swahili–in the California Community Colleges, the word is even more popular.
“Umoja is a grassroots movement,” said Teresa Aldredge, a counselor at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento who is alsoVice-Chair of Program Development of the Umoja Community. Umoja’s mission is “enhancing the cultural and educational experiences of African American and other students.”
Umoja a group of faculty, student support staff and administrators dedicated to the academic success of all students utilizing a curriculum and pedagogy specific to the African Diaspora indigenous to North America.
The Umoja movement began at Umoja I in 2006 at Diablo Valley College. The goal was to improve the success and retention of African American students. Two steering committees were formed; one for Northern and one for Southern California.
Based on the then-current African American student success programs (i.e. Chabot’s Daraja, Santa Monica’s Black Collegians, etc.) a statewide steering committee created a comprehensive draft of a statewide program.
While still in a development stage, the program already has success with phase I, Umoja programs at five campuses in the beginning of 2008.
Umoja III was held at Chabot in 2007 and Umoja IV will be held in San Diego in October.
(This is part one of a three part series focusing on California’s Umoja Community.)

Remembering Black August

By Rasheed Shabazz

The hot summer month of August is notorious in the Black community. From neighborhood cookouts indicating the end of summertime to the rise in hood shootouts resulting in increased inner city homicide rates. August is a month of significance.
For many Africans in America of the revolutionary persuasion, August has another significance: Black August.

Rebellious Nature of Black August:

• First enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia in August 1619
• Henry Highland Garnett, a militant abolitionist, called for a general slave strike
• August Birthdays: Marcus Garvey, Dr. Mutulu Shaur, and Fred Hampton, Sr.
• The Underground Railroad started on August 2, 1850
• March on Washington was held August of 1963
• Prophet Nat Turner planned and executed an uprising beginning August 21, 1831
• Watts Rebellion (riots) held August of 1965 in LA
• The MOVE family bombed by Philadelphia police August 8, 1978
• George Jackson was assassinated by San Quentin guards August 21, 1971
• Visit for info.

“Black August originated in the concentration camps of California to honor fallen Freedom Fighters,” according to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM). Honoring George Jackson, his brother Jonathan Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gualden. Jonathan was gunned down outside the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970 attempting to liberate McClain, Chrismas and Ruchell Magee. Magee is the sole survior of that uprising and has been on lockdown for 40 years.
George, who was assassinated by San Quentin guards August 21, 1971, is the founder of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF).
In August, many refrain from listening to the radio or watching television in commemoration of Black August. There is also a tradition of a Ramadan-like fast in which a “conscious fast” is in effect. In the spirit of sacrifice and discipline, many do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset.
“Black August fasting should serve as a constant reminder of the conditions our people have faced and still confront,” says MXGM.
Visit for more information. •H•

Addressing the African American Male 'Crisis' in Higher Education

(African American Male Focus, Part II)
(This is part two of a three part series on African American Males in Higher Education.)

By Reginald James

A2MEND, the African American Male Education Network and Development, held its’ first African American Male Summit in March 2008.
The summit identified and quantified ‘the need’ and brainstormed solutions to addressing the ‘crisis.’
Considering the low graduation rates, high homicide rates, the low attendance rate versus the high incarceration rate, A2MEND emphasized the role community colleges need to play in changing these trends.
‘These findings suggest that California Communtiy Colleges need to develop interventions that would appropriately reduce the racial and gender disparities in student sucess, persistence and achievement,” said A2MEND President Dr. Mark Robinson, vice-chancellor of student development at City College of San Frnacisco.
“Community colleges play a significant role in sustaining and increaisng the educational attainment of the American population, particulary for African Americans,” said Robinson. “One in every 14 African Americans who are enrolled in higher education attends a California Community College; moreover, one of eery seven African American community college students in the country is enrolled in California.”
Summit attendees also proposed a number of soultions. •H•

Fighting for Allensworth

Preserving our history, legacy

(Uncovering Allensworth, part 2)

By Marlene C. Hurd

African Americans must fight daily to preserve our history. There are no easy battles. Our power and victories will only come through unity.
Allensworth, CA–the all-Black town that was governed, financed and run by Africans Americans during the 1900s–had embarked upon a new challenge.
In 2007, two large dairy farms had proposed housing 15,000 cows a just mile and a half across from the Colonel Allensworth Historic Park. The appearance and waste generated from the cows would have disgraced the park’s historical significance, its beauty and its tourist attraction.
As news traveled up and down the state, residents of Tulare County, where the park is located, organized. Eddie Abrams, President and Founder of the Family Resource House of Unity located in Oakland has taken bus loads of Californians and students to Allensworth over the past five years.
African Americans were excited to learn about the legacy Allensworth left, said Abrams.
“News of the dairy farms is not a local problem,” said Abrams. “People all over the nation should be concerned about this happening.”
Californians united to support preserving Allensworth traveling four hours by bus to attend the dairy hearings. The dairy proposal allowed African Americans and Mexican Americans to work together and resolve the Allensworth issues.
Then-Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton), who authored the legislation to create Allensworth State Park Dymally voiced concern that the appearance of the park had declined. To ensure the parks historical significance would not be lost, the “Protect Allensworth State Historical Park Committee was created.
Assemblywomen Wilmer Carter (D-Rialto) authored Assembly Bill 576.
According to the bill, “It would permanently protect the entire perimeter of the town and the park from any such ventures.”
The entire California Legislative Black Caucus including Dymally and Vice-Chair Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles), now Assembly Speaker, stood alongside Assemblywoman Carter in support of AB 576.
On August 30, 2007 AB 576 passed in the Senate 23 to 15. As a result of people coming together to protect Allensworth State Historic Park a settlement was reached.
The Farmer was paid $3.5 million to keep his cattle two and a half away from Allensworth .
Unfortunately, due to the rising cost of gas, Abrams will not take bus loads down to Allensworth this year for the “Peace and Unity Day celebration.
The event will be held in Oakland at Merritt College September 20. Plans are still being made for the event.
For more information on the upcoming event contact Eddie Abrams at Family Resource House of Unity at 510 430-9931. •H•

All colleges should subscribe to Harambee

Dear Editor,

Congratulations are definitely in order to you…for your leadership and “role modeling” on multiple fronts while addressing the many issues facing community college students, particularly our Black students, as they strive to attain their academic goals. As I have shared with you many times, I am extremely proud of…the many contributions you have made to improve the situation and conditions for all Peralta students as well as California Community College students.
Thanks for sharing your earlier issue of Harambee. That publication was exemplary! I shared copies with many friends and family while proudly stating that ‘these are Laney College students...two of my former students’. As you can see, I was grasping for some of the credit for your superior work. The publication was informative, covered a wide-range of subjects, and was well laid out with multiple pictures that helped tell the story.
The Peralta administrative leadership will hopefully subscribe and have the Harambee publication distributed to the libraries and departments throughout the campuses. Issues of this publication should be available to students in all Student Centers and information centers.
All CCC campuses should subscribe to Harambee as well.

Odell Johnson
Laney College
Former President

Going 'Black' to school

By Reginald James

Back in the days when I was young, I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.
Those are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs and an all-time Hip Hop classic. The song instantly invokes memories of going Back-to-School. Cartoon character backpacks and lunchboxes, school clothes, and the girls I missed all summer-long.
These days, school doesn’t always have such sweet memories. It’s about getting good classes, a decent schedule, financial aid and text books, and preparing to transfer. Basically, much stress.
I’ve learned to be real stingy with my time. Not to be mean, but I can’t just ‘go outside and play’ these days. School is usually followed by work or studying.
Time management is of utmost importance; and not just managing, but prioritization. You have to make sure you are dedicated to completing your goals and not just distracting daily tasks.
You must protect your health too. Don’t just go for junk food. Eat foods that will feed your brain and empower you to be your best. You are the best.
And no one calls your house if you miss class. It is your responsibility. Not only to yourself, but to your family. Students must ask themselves many questions: Why are you going to school? How will your education empower yourself and others? These questions ultimately lead to the following questions: Who are you? What is your purpose?
Too many wander through life without knowledge of either nor the desire for such guidance.
Considering that for many Harambee readers, just a few hundred years, it would have been illegal to read this a few hundred years ago, we have a great responsibility to succeed academically that exceeds ourselves.
And our educations must not be for the benefit of our oppressors but for the benefit of our ancestors and descendants.
Sure, school can be difficult–we haven’t even got to institutional racism yet. You are not a victim, but the victor. So go ‘Black to school’ in style this year. Take hold of your future. It’s yours.
Reginald James is Harambee Managing Editor. For more ‘Black-to-School’ tips, visit

Student leaders wanted

Black Caucus seeks Executive officers

By Semaj D. La Niger

Are you a community college student who is interested in meeting new people, improving your leadership skills, and empowering other students?
The Black Caucus of the California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC) is currently seeking students to serve in vacant positions on its 2008-09 Executive Board.
Vacancies include Secretary, Communications Officer, Parliamentarian, Central Region Chair and Northern Region Chair.
“Students have an opportunity to participate in a statewide network that collectively represents over 200,000 students of African Descent,” said Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd. “Officers gain organizational experience, numerous networking opportunities, and will receive assistance in reaching their academic goals.”
In addition to the duties of the position, all students will be required to hold a minimum of two (2) office hours per week. Students must be registered at a California Community College with three (3) units and have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0.
For more info about the vacancies, contact President Hurd at •H•

Don Dorsey appointed Foothill VP

Black Caucus Advisor begins new post Sept. 1

By Charles Perkins

Don Dorsey, advisor for the Black Caucus of the California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC) has been appointed Interim Vice-President for Student Development and Instruction at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills.
Dorsey, who currently serves as Dean of Student Affairs and Activities, will serve September 1, 2008 to July 1, 2009.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to continue my work at Foothill College,” said Dorsey, who takes over at a time when his knowledge will provide a much needed continuity.
Dorsey began at Foothill in 1972 serving as a coordinator for math and science tutoring and soon after joined the caculty as associate coordinator for the campus’ multicultural Program. In 1982 he was hired as a counselor, and in 1986 he became the campus’ director of student Activities. Dorsey has served as a dean since 2000.
His leadership and “work in creating new programs at Foothill to promote a broader understanding of cultural perspectives, diversity and student equity earned him the John W. Rice Diversity Award from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office in 2006,” said Foothill College President Judy Miner. The prestigious Rice Award program honors the memory of the late John W. Rice, who served on the CCC Board of Governors from 1995 to 2000.
Under Dorsey’s leadership, the college recently completed a [enter dollar amount] renovation of it’s student center.
Some of his other achievements at Foothill include coordinating the Foothill Bridge Program that targets students who are under-prepared academically; he co-founded the Footihll De Anza minority Staff Associaiotn and served on its executive board from 1984 to 1988 and president in 1985-1986; co-founded the Foothill African American Networker; and led the development of a Black studies degree at the college.
While he has served as advisor of the Black Caucus since its’ inception, he is also a former President of the California Community College Student Affairs Association (CCCSAA), a professional association for student/life activies advisors.
“Don is an asset to any organization,” said Black Caucus Advisor Harold Tyler, who serves as Student Activities Advisor at El Camino College. Dorsey, an Emeryville resident is also very active in the community. Besides serving as a former trustee for the Emeyville Unified School District, he is also a local business owner, providing employment opportunities.
As President of Dorsey & Associates, Dorsey led the reclaiming of “Dorsey’s Locker,” a soul food restaurant and lounge in North Oakland. The restaurant has been an Oakland insitution since 1941.
Former Black Caucus Northern Region Chair President L. Davis, who has hosted a weekly open mic called Blue Candle said that Dorsey’s appointment is a “great victory for the Black community.”
“They have somebody who has a good spirit,” said Davis. "He is very disciplined and focused but will keep an ear to young people.” Davis commended Dorsey for his efforts to mentor young people. “Blue Candle has made me believe I can achieve anything.” •H•

California budget still deadlocked

Could break record for latest in history

By Marlene C. Hurd

The California State Legislature is set to reach a milestone that most politicians likely won’t want to brag about. At press time, the state budget is nearly two months late, and counting. The current record of a tardy budget is August 31, 2002.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers continue to wrangle over how to fill the state’s $15 billion budget deficit, with Republicans and Democrats at war over raising taxes versuscutting services and borrowing.
Meanwhile, clinics are laying off workers and community college students are being denied grants. Colleges also have reduced funds for student workers, and many state employees are being paid minimum wage. The temporary pay cut has state workers getting the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour. Over 175,000 workers are affected. Over ten thousand others were laid off.
The governor had previously proposed cutting the competitive Cal grants, but withdrew the proposal after numerous students advocated against the proposal.
“Students will not get Cal grants that they need for college,” said Black Caucus Treasurer Charles Perkins. “Students need those grants for books and fees.”
Ironically, many community colleges have record enrollments. This means; more students, less money.
The governor and Democrats are proposing an increased sales tax. Republican lawmakers want to cut $10 billion in state programs and services and borrow $2 billion from the state’s lottery funds.
California will likely be the only state in the nation without a budget. The budget was due July 1, at the beginning of the fiscal year. Californian’s are hopeful a budget will be passed soon.

Aug 21, 2008

I Read Harambee

"I Read Harambee" seeks to show students, faculty, and staff reading Harambee on every campus of the California Community Colleges, and throughout the nation and world.

Send us your "I Read Harambee" submissions with a short paragraph to


Black Caucus Treasurer and Harambee Advertising Manager Charles Perkins reads about "Organizing Black Students" in the September issue of Harambee at Laney College in Oakland.




Laney College mascot "Eddie the Eagle" checks out an issue of Harambee.

Ten years of 'Critical Resistance' celebrated

Ten years ago thousands of activists gathered in Berkeley, CA and founded a movement to end the prison industrial complex. On Sept. 26-28, thousands will converge at Laney College in Oakland for Critical Resistance (CR10) for workshops, performances, action, reflection and celebration. For more info, visit •H•
–Marlene C. Hurd

Aug 20, 2008

Message from the President, August 2008

Community comes from, through unity

By Marlene C. Hurd

When you think of ‘community,’ what comes to mind?
Relationships. A sense of belonging. Family atmosphere and environment. Support system. A place of safety.
People having similar interests. Helping one another. Seeing people as a part of your extended family. Sharing. Caring. No racial barriers, age limits.
Just imagine if our communities, and our community colleges could reflect this beautiful appearance. What would it look like? The reflection of ‘Unity.’
Having the return of communities in our society would revive a sense of belonging, and having an extended support system, to supply the needs of every person in our communities.
The same is true for our community colleges who have served as a support system and a second extended family to many.
As a student on your college campus, your community starts with you. Deep within you have the power to make a difference. This will come by the choices you make.
Setting wise examples as a student will allow you to become a leader, and not a follower. Success will only take place as you bring your community into your inner circle of influence.
Who might your community be on campus?
Close Relationships you have built during your time on campus. Your study groups and classmates. Both can be seen as an extended family, who have taught you the dynamics of discipline, being a team player, building your leadership skills and excelling in your academics.
Our college presidents, administrators, faculty, counselors, and student support services staff. Each can be seen as your cheerleaders and support group, applauding you as you head to the finish line. Loving you like a parent.
The above groups serve as footprints, mentoring you through the good times and the difficult times. They challenge you to draw upon your inner strength of knowledge.
Our most important community; however, is family. This could be parents, siblings, close friends, community relationships etc. Your foundation. Always there when you need them. That’s why we must have unity, because without unity, there can be no community.

Aug 18, 2008

Increasing access to education with affordable transportation

On July 24, 2008, a press conference was held at Laney College in Oakland to celebrate the passage of Assembly Bill 1980, the Peralta College Transportation Accessibility Act and the launch of the Peralta EasyPass.

Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd and Secretary Reginald James, who served as Student Trustees for the Peralta Community College District (2006-2008), led the student effort to strike a deal between Peralta and AC Transit to lower the cost for bus passes for students.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Minorities to become the new majority

Nation follows trend found in California, Texas

By Rasheed Shabazz

History shows us that; where California goes, the nation will–eventually–follow.
California has the largest “minority” population in the United States, and since 1998, minorities have been the majority.
And by 2042, minorities who are now about one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Previous predictions said this would happen in 2050.
“We [ain’t] no minority” said Harambee Managing Editor Reginald James. “We’re the majority, if you’re thinking globally.”
According to the bureau’s projections, the total U.S. population, now estimated at 305 million, is expected to rise to 439 million by 2050.
By 2023, half of the U.S.’s children will be so-called minorities, due to higher birth rates.
“We just have to make sure that this translates to just power,” said James.
“Many times the masses of people are still oppressed by a ‘minority,’ like White South Africa,” said James. “If this does translate to power, we can’t cause the same injustices and commit the same atrocities that others have commited towards us.”
James also suggests students research Francis Cress Welsing’s “Theory of Color Confrontation” and its’ implications.
The census projects the racial and ethnic breakdowns will be (with current percentages in parentheses): non-Hispanic, single-race white, 46%(down from 66% in 2008), Latinos, 30% (up from 15%); Black, 15% (up from 14%); Asian, 9.2% (up from 5.1%), American Indians and indigenous Alaskans, 2% (up from 1.6%). •H•

Aug 15, 2008

Black Caucus transitions

By Jacquinn Scales

While some students took off summer to vacation, members of the Black Caucus of the California Student Association of Community Colleges (CalSACC) were hard at work.
Over the summer, the Executive Board met to transition officers and keep moving the organizations agenda forward, despite a number of obstacles.
Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd was hospitalized after being hit by an airport shuttle bus while riding her bicycle in Oakland. She suffered a broken ankle, but not a broken spirit.
When the July 26 retreat was rescheduled when locked out of Berkeley City College, the organization regrouped.
The group has met via teleconference and is hard at work planning activities for next year.
The Board voted to create and continue to publish Harambee. The Board also will be presenting workshops at the UMOJA IV conference in San Diego.
For the fourth year in a row, the Caucus will also be presenting at the CCCSAA Student Leadership Conference. This year’s theme is “America’s Next Top Leaders.” Both events are in San Diego.
The Board also voted to hold it’s 11th Annual Black Caucus Leadership Conference (ABCLC) at Foothill College. Foothill was the site of the 6th annual conference.
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Nearly half of Black students drop out

One in four of all Californians don't finish high school

By Jaquinn Scales

Every year more than 100,000 students fail to graduate from high school, falling through the cracks of a failing California K-12 educational system.
According to a report recently published by the California Department of Education one in four Californians are dropping out of high school. While this number is higher than previous estimates, the number is even more dismal for African American students. Mainstream media outlets often underemphasized or under-reported this traumatic rate.
Two of five Black students drop out of high school, a rate of 41.6%. The data also shows a drop out rate of 30.3% for Latinos, 15.2% for whites and 10.2% for Asians.
The rates are not the result of a completely new crisis, as education spending in California consistently ranks amongst the lowest in the nation, but of a new tracking system. The state’s new tracking system assigns an identification number to every CA public school student. The numbers were issued to students in the fall of 2006.
In the past rates were calculated using formulas and “educated guesses about how many students were graduating and how many were leaving school without a diploma” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connel, who called called the rates for Latinos and Blacks “disturbingly high.”
According to the California Dropout Research Project, California will pay $46 billion every year in increased spending and reduced taxes for every group of yearly dropouts.
“That is why funding for education is so important for our community,” said Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd. “Programs like ‘Gateway to College’ give everyone a second chance. We must fight to keep the doors open.”
“By any means necessary.” •H•

Aug 12, 2008

Is Obama's victory ours?

By Mumia Abu Jamal

With the attainment of the required delegates to claim the Democratic Party’s nomination for U.S. president, Sen. Barack H. Obama (D. ILL.) has written a new page in American history.
For by so doing he succeeds where Channing Phillips, Shirley Chisholm, Jesse Jackson, Sr., and Al Sharpton could not–by gaining the necessary delegates to demand nomination.
Of course, there have been numerous Black candidates for president, but these have been third party efforts designed more to raise issues, to organize or protest than to actually win elections. Some of the best known have been Eldridge Cleaver (former Black Panther Minister of Information), Dick Gregory, Dr. Lenora Fulani, and the former congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney.
But this is a different kettle of fish, for Obama’s candidacy is the closest to make it to the winner’s circle.
What also distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is he doesn’t come from civil rights, Black liberation, socialist or anti war movements. (He often remarks at speeches, “I’m not against all wars, I’m just against dumb wars”)

Indeed, although his detractors may try to paint him as a leftist liberal this is hardly true.
On issues both foreign and domestic he would’ve been more at home in the Republican Party of his senatorial forebear, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts.
For though he is Black by dint of his African father, he has studiously avoided Black political groups in his long, harrowing climb to the rim of the White House.
He has studiously avoided the very real and long standing grievances of Black America. In fact, he tried to run a ‘post-racial’ campaign until Sen. Hillary R. Clinton (D.N.Y.) (and her rambunctious husband, former Pres. Bill), brought race front and center during the Super Tuesday February primaries, by trying to pigeonhole him as ‘the Black candidate’.
This primary wounded Obama, and as he won in the delegate count, he also lost a number of primary states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, which are necessary for a win in November.
Politics is the art of making people believe that they are in power when in fact, they have none.
It is a measure of how dire is the hour that they’ve passed the keys to the kingdom to a Black man.
As in many American cities, Black Mayors were let in when the treasuries were almost barren, and tax bases were almost at rock-bottom.
With the nation’s manufacturing base also a thing of history, amidst the socioeconomic wreckage of globalization, with foreign affairs in shambles, the rulers reach for a pretty, brown face to front for the Empire.
‘Real change that you could believe in’ would be an end to Empire, and an end to wars for corporate greed, not just a change of the shade of the political managers.
That change, I’m afraid, is still to come. •H•

Mumia Abu Jamal is an award-winning journalist, author, and political prisoner being held captive in Pennsylvania. His case has garnered international attention. He has been held captive since the 1982. For more information about Mumia Abu Jamal, visit

Aug 9, 2008

Who killed Chauncey Bailey?

We write these words on the anniversary of the murder of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. We are tired of the sham reporting of the Chauncey Bailey Project, a consortium of journalists and Bay Area newspapers that have made millions infecting the Bay Area and the world with misinformation and most importantly, committing the sin of omission by focusing on one of two reasons my friend and fellow writer was assassinated.

The Bailey incident reminds us of the killing of Malcolm X, a conspiracy between the Nation of Islam and the New York Police. What is even more striking in Bailey's case is that he was not only doing a story on the Black Muslim Bakery, but was also writing an expose of black police murderers on the OPD, similar to the "Riders" case in which white and Latino police were killing, shaking down and planting false evidence on mostly black victims.

Why has not the Chauncey Bailey Project focused on the second reason Chauncey was killed? No doubt it has been to poison the pubic against Muslims, as in the Malcolm X case. The media so poisoned the atmosphere that even today black intellectuals are guilty of revisionism when attempting to write Black history, often omitting or down playing the importance of Elijah Muhammad, who was our master psychologist and had a profound influence not only on Malcolm X, but Muhammad Ali, Farrakhan, Warithdin, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, in short, the Black Arts Movement, Black Studies, Black psychology, theology and most importantly, economics.

To read complete article, visit Marvin X's blog at

Marvin X is a lesser known playwright, poet, and author of the 1960s Black Arts Movement. He is the father of Muslim American literature, according to Dr. Mohja Kahf, Professor of Near Eastern and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Aug 8, 2008

'Putting Sustainability to Work'

By Reginald James

For some, ‘environmental sustainability’ and ‘going green’ is just a fad. For others, it is a way of life.
Over a thousand students, faculty and staff of the University of California (UC), Californa State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC) systems gathered at CalPoly San Luis Obispo “Putting Sustainability to Work.”
The 7th annual UC/CSU/CCC Sustainability Conference focused on the role of educational institutions in combating climate change while championing social change, addressing global warming while alleving global poverty, and reducing California’s carbon footprint so others can follow the state’s footsteps.
Keynote speaker Jerome Ringo of the Apollo Alliance, one of a few African Americans present, wasn’t shy about noting the absence of “those most adversely affected” by global warming.
“The green movement is the civil rights movement of our time,” said Ringo. “We have an opportunity to bring the world together.” Ringo worked for over 20 years in the Louisiana petrochemical industry before realizing the negative impacts of the industry’s pollution on local communities, especially poor and minority communities.
The conference featued workshops on energy, green building construction, operations, and maintenance, as well as transportation. A new educational track at this year’s conference focused on social equity and a “green economy,” about the role of a green jobs industry that will providee living wages while stimulating the economy and helping the planet.
The conference also featured a student affairs track highlighting the role of students in campus sustainability. Following the conference, there was a student convergence where student’s shared their various campus experiences on sustainability. •H•
The 8th Sustainability Conference will be held June 2009 at UC Santa Barbara. Harambee Online for info. for more info.