This year’s Celebration will be held at The West Oakland Youth Center, at: 3233 Market Street, Oakland, Ca. 94608; Friday, February, 20th 2015, 6:00pm – 9:30pm. Admission is FREE. Hors-d’oeuvres and Refreshments will be served from 6pm – 6:45pm.
Pastor Larry Austin - (Oakland City Church – 180 Degree, African American Male Achievement) Pastor James A. Long, Jr. – (True Faith Baptist Church - Our Souls Run Deep)
David Roach - (MoBetterfood.com)
Letitia Henderson (Olivet IMBC – History)
L. Karen Monroe - (Alameda County Superintendent of Schools)
Melody Powers - (The Bay Area Black United Funds)
Allensworth Descendants Association
Brenda Brumfield-Ross & Paula Kirkendoll - (Sister Cities International)
Douglas Steward - (Covered California)
I80 Degree Program / Piedmont Avenue Elementary School Gators
BOP - (Black Organizing Project)
Voices of Freedom “Keren Beloved”
Piwai of Acoustic Soul Stories
The Bay Area Black United Fund KulCha Coloring Works, Inc. Montoya Mayo
Marvin X, Black Bird Press
Bay Area Headwraps
Allensworth Descendants Association Aries Jordan
Women’s Chamber of Commerce The Aieste Star Foundation, 501(c)3 Sankofa Vine
As people ate dinner, I could hear them whispering about the homicide around the corner in the area we used to call the Dirty 30s. It is an area well familiar to me since I once lived at 32nd and Market as well as 32nd and Magnolia. Thirty Second Street was a freeway for drugs back in the day and apparently still is alive with medication for the oppressed.
The Dirty 30s is also known as an area for sex workers, one of whom was immortalized in my essay The Maid, the Ho, the Cook (In the Crazy House Called America, essays, Marvin X, Black Bird Press, 2002). The character with the triple crown was based on a sex worker I befriended and who came to live with me for a time. It was a time when I was already giving shelter to the director of my play One Day in the Life, Ayodele Nzinga, and her six children. The prostitute shared my one bedroom apartment along with Ayo and her children who were homeless at the time. Often when the prostitute came home from her runs up and down San Pablo, she would find us rehearsing One Day in the Life, a docudrama about my addiction and recovery from Crack, including a scene of my last meeting with Black Panther co-founder Huey P. Newton in a Crack house near the infamous Acorn Projects. She pretended not to notice us rehearsing and would often fall asleep on floor from exhausion, sleeping anywhere she could find space. But the play apparently seeped into her subconscious since she eventually gave up her sex work and went into recovery. She went to San Francisco and enrolled in a job training program to become a paralegal. So there is hope for those caught in the Dirty 30s. For sure, the Youth Center is making an impact, despite the fact that there are victims falling every minute in America's 400 year old war with North American Africans.
photo South Park Ken Johnson
Marvin X and the BAM 27 City Tour is coming to San Francisco, Berkeley and Sacramento. Stay tuned to www.blackbirdpressnews.blogspot.com or call 510-200-4164 for booking in your city.