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NAJEE’S NOTES: An agenda for African Americans

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas continues to lead from the front.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who stomped all over his Republican challenger in last year’s race for governor, hit the ground running. Within days of his victory, Newsom announced his transition team with “All-in California” Ridley-Thomas and UC Regent Laphonza Butler convened a coalition of African-American leaders to address urgent issues that African Americans face throughout the state.

This month marks the dividend of this convening – and numerous subsequent meetings – with the release of the Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective.

Embodying the ethos of the people powered approach, Gov. Newsom sought in his selection of the duo as “All-in California” ambassadors, wanting “respected leaders to help him search for innovative ideas and talent across the state.” The Agenda for California: An African-American Perspective answers this call and more.

“As a community, we’ve been disproportionately impacted in so many areas of social well-being that animating the California ‘Dream for All’ in the face of this inexorable truth will take leadership, imagination, and an attentiveness to innovative and focused policy,” Ridley-Thomas said. “This agenda does just that through policy priorities that are achievable, scalable and evidenced-based. It’s a rock-solid foundation for Gov. Newsom’s administration to build on.”

Edited by Dr. Ange Marie Alfaro-Hancock, a leading academic on intersectional theory, the agenda delivers to the governor a sharp and interconnected perspective on five critical policy areas: early childhood education, ending child poverty, fighting homelessness, expanding access to health care, and improving redevelopment and economic development. Each section includes not just a diagnosis of challenges, but also provides high-impact solutions that will stem the tide in problem areas Californians face in their daily lives.

The initial gathering, held at SEIU 2015 headquarters, included an array of participants from various sectors and industries. Academics, business leaders, philanthropic leaders, health care providers, artists, media managers, ecumenical and civil rights leaders, labor, educators, and many more shared their experiences and divided into daylong working groups.

Using their respective areas of professional expertise, participants put forth a range of policy solutions to counteract the complex risk factors that originate in racism, sexism, poverty, and geographic inequities to empower Californians to seize the “Californian Dream.”

I had a chance to download and read the entire agenda for African Americans in California and was impressed by the agenda that was presented by Ridley-Thomas and his team of African-American professionals. Health care, ending child poverty, early childhood education, fighting homelessness, redevelopment and economic development were all prominently featured in the report.

I would encourage members of the African-American community to download the report and become engaged with any community group or organization that is working on issues that impact the quality of life in your community. Wave readers can download the entire report by simply clicking on the following link.

And finally, you can read the entire story of the controversial Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department shooting and killing of South Los Angeles resident Ryan Twyman on the front page of the paper. But the breaking news in this case is the Sheriff’s Department just released a video of the shooting.

The video, in my opinion, doesn’t clear the deputies involved in the shooting. It just confirms this was an unnecessary killing of another young unarmed black man. The deputies could have just stepped out the way of the car with ease. The car was backing up at a slow rate of th speed.

Instead, the deputies chose to become judge, jury and executioner. They shot at him with more than 30 rounds of ammunition, which was confirmed by Sheriff’s Department officials. They also confirmed no weapons were in his car.

The NAACP Compton and Los Angeles branches have been involved with the tragedy from day one and will continue to support the Twyman family and our community as we demand justice for Twyman.

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