tv Beyond the Headlines ABC February 14, 2016 4:30pm-5:01pm PST
welcome to "beyond the headlines," i'm cheryl jennings. today's special roundtable edition celebrates the achievements, history and culture of african-americans in the bay area. now, the month of february has been officially recognized as black history month by every u.s. president since 1976, but we believe this conversation should be shared all year long. today abc 7 news anchor ama daetz is here with local leaders to talk about some of the current issues affecting bay area african-american communities. >> thank you, cheryl. before we begin, one hot issue has been the protests connected to the issue of police brutality between black men and white officers. earlier this year we saw a weekend of demonstrations during the dr. martin luther king jr. holiday.
abc 7 news reporter alyssa harrington reported about how lgbt groups and supporters were standing in solidarity with the black lives matters campaign. a march in east oakland. a civil rights slide show, a rally in san francisco's castro district. these are just a few of several demonstrations happening in the bay area over the martin luther king jr. holiday weekend. protests against police violence involving black men and other minorities. the movement is also to take back mlk's legacy and support nonviolence civil disobedience. >> until we get justice, there will be no peace. >> in oakland a group marched from the eastmont police substation. four were arrested on the way. >> how do you not care? >> among the demonstrators, her son was shot and killed by
police when he was 16 and she has traveled to rallies all over the country to demand justice. >> new york, chicago, all around oakland, everywhere that we're not going to go anywhere and we're trying to educate mothers to get off the couch and do this. >> kadean williams, sister of a woman who was shot and killed by san francisco police in october. >> i'm going to fight for all the stolen nights because this has to end today. this has to stop. >> protesters blocked traffic at 18th and castro. a group called queers and trans of color. organizers say many other lgbt communities have remained silent on the black lives matter issue, and their goal is to adopt the campaign as their own. alyssa harrington, abc 7 news. >> here in the studio, we have three community advocates, who are working hard to improve our bay area. andrea shorter handles community relations for out and equal workplace advocates and serves as vice president on the san francisco commission on the
status of women. thank you for coming in today. we also have christopher chapman, executive director of african-american male achievement, a program of oakland unified school district and retired judge ladoris cordell. she's the city of san jose's independent auditor, a former vice provost at stanford university and a former palo alto city councilwoman. thank you all so much for coming in today. you know, we aren't seeing these protests nightly anymore, but we really saw a lot of unrest in our communities in the past few months. this obviously after the deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers and the grand jury decisions to not bring any criminal charges against these officers. we have michael brown of ferguson and eric garner in new york. judge, let's begin with you because you're in sort of a unique position as the independent police auditor of the city of san jose. there's so much distrust between the community and the police
departments. where's this coming from. how do we get here and how do we move on from here? >> it's difficult to put into just a couple seconds how we got here but let us just say that the issue of race in america has always been the elephant in the room. periodically things will perk up, bubble up, and now we, because especially since black lives matter are being forced to deal with this issue of race with respect to law enforcement and policing. this isn't something that just rose up with the deaths of the two people you just described. this has been simmering sometimes above the surface and under the surface for years and years. actually since well before the civil rights movement even in the '60s. we're here now. the idea is that this is a crisis as far as i'm concerned. this is a crisis throughout this country and we need to deal with this. there's not one way to deal with it. so we have to deal with policing. we have to deal with attitudes.
we have to deal with how do we build trust between communities of color and law enforcement. we're talking about issues like implicit bias. people who say -- i tell you i've interacted with police officers in san jose and in a quick minute they'll tell you i'm not a racist and get very defensive when the issue of race comes up. we're not talking about races, we're talking about implied bias. actually all of us have implied biases. the problem is when it is with individuals that carry guns and wear badges and has to do with their work. that's where the problems come up. so we have a lot of work to do on many, many different levels. >> okay. chris, you work, you know, with the oakland unified school district so you work with kids and our youth. do you see this as a huge problem? she talked a little bit about attitudes with police officers, but i think it comes from both sides. what are you seeing with the youth in our communities? >> sure. i mean so we see it play itself out in the public school system.
i mean there's a reason why african-american male students are suspended disproportionally compared to any other subgroup in the public school system, be it in oakland, be it in the south or the midwest. i think it goes back to those biases. it goes back to a society that really has normalized the failure of black boys, of black children. i think one of the ways that we are addressing it, though, one is taking on, having conversations, courageous conversations around race, around class, around gender. and standing in those conversations. i think another piece is around, you know, leaning in the public school system on how we evolve not just telling the stories of our white brothers and sisters but lifting up the stories of black and brown people. so people know that black, brown, asian pacific and islander and otherwise have contributed to this nation, have contributed to all the core content areas. and then there's a greater appreciation when they see a child in the street and not are
acting off of what they see off television or what they hear in the music but they have a rich appreciation for that child and gauge them differently as opposed to seeing them as a threat, they see them as an asset. so our way is evolving the curriculum, engaging students, engaging families, as well as teaching students and families on how to engage and work with the police. >> he talks about bettering ourselves and being proud of what we do and other people seeing that. talk a little bit about your views on where we can go in the future and how we need to look a little bit farther ahead in what we do in our every day lives. >> i think that in order to move forward positively in the future, clearly as has been expressed, that having a good sense of what our history and what our contributions are is always and will always remain essential. but this issue of implicit bias
is something that we do need to continue to be greatly aware of, acutely aware of and have those courageous conversations about race and society. i think that one of the things that in moving forward that we must understand is that part of i think what's going on is the failure of the war on drugs and it's the remnants of that. and one of the remnants of the war on drugs was to really police a whole community. and so the interaction between police and black folks has not always been perfect in american society. there are many examples that demonstrate that. but i think in part and moving forward we have to not look at whole communities as being suspect. and so as we move forward, inclusion, opportunity to be
included and the positive aspects of contributing to society, whether that is in our education system, whether that is in the workplace, wherever in our community is very important. when we have such a disproportionate rate of incarceration of young african-american males, clearly we start from some point of disadvantage. but there are many advantages that we can work to build on, and i think that one important advantage is to continue to invest in our kids being educated. >> that's right. thank you so much. we do have to take a quick break but we will be right back with more from our roundtable guests.
welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm ama daetz with a special roundtable discussion with our local leaders in our african-american communities. we have with us today andrea shorter, christopher chapman and judge ladoris kordell. before we broke, andrea, you spoke about education and where we take education after that. once you graduate, getting a good job. what do you see for the future of our african-american communities and how we need to
move toward perhaps more tech type job. we are in the bay area, silicon valley. tech is very big here, very important. >> right, absolutely, absolutely. it's not only very big, it's very important and it's essential that we be engaged as much as possible, not only as consumers of the technological development, but investors in those developments as well as partners, meaning that as far as education is concerned, i'm very excited about the various stem initiatives that are taking place, those are the science, technology, engineering and mathematics initiatives that are taking place not only in public education settings but certainly that private and public partnerships that are taking place. i think it's also going to be very interesting to see some of the larger initiatives, such as intel has put, as i understand,
$300 million into an initiative where they will work to increase the employment and participation of women, young people of color, particularly african-american, and others to engage not only in the s.t.e.m. initiatives, but also to be future employees and partners in the burgeoning te technology sector. >> given that this is black history month, it's very important to know our history in the tech field. there are pioneers that most people, especially young people don't know about. there's roy clay sr., who now lives in oakland. he was in palo alto, huge in the field. frank green, who died, unfortunately, a few years ago. but there's a program called the frank green scholars. and this is a program set up, silicon valley and the south bay, to bring in young people, african-americans, and to really instill in them the importance of the computer and technology.
so there are efforts happening right here in silicon valley that have its roots in the history of african-americans who have been pioneers in the field. >> there's also an amazing brother with keno labs who partnered up with our office where young brothers who didn't have a way into the tech field are doing weekend hack-a-thons. but our district, school district has been partnering up with folks in the science, technology, engineering and math community. we partnered up with the national society of black engineers to actually host a summer program for 400 elementary school and middle school students to learn about s.t.e.m. as well. i think folks are taking advantage of the opportunities and i think silicon valley also called out recently who is being
employed aren't black and brown folks. and was it intel? >> right. >> who made the biggest investment in trying to partner with and diversify. i've been very excited about the work in oakland on how we're trying to build bridges with the tech world to create more opportunities for black and brown youth as well. >> andrea, do you want to expand a little bit with intel and their initiative and just a little bit about how they're kind of investing in our communities? >> well, i don't know all of the ins and outs of that particular initiative, but i think that it's a step in the right direction and we should certainly encourage and support that type of initiative. and certainly there are so many different programs now where young people can be involved and take advantage of various learning opportunities, and opportunities to really express themselves and be creative in a very positive way. and be entrepreneurial. and so there are more examples
that christopher can provide than i can today to that regard, but nonetheless what intel and other companies are doing and stepping up to the plate to really build these initiatives to be more inclusive and create opportunities, i think, is really exciting. >> we talk about education and s.t.e.m. and it's very important to learn the skills. chris, talk a little bit about what oakland unified school district is doing because these kids also need to be taught how to be proper citizens in our communities beyond just learning the math skills and the science skills. >> sure. well, so a couple of things. i think it's important to note that black boys and black children in the public school system was an adult issue that we struggled with. we were creating conditions and structures where black boys were being pushed out and so part of our work is not only building
the self efficacy of but also young people and old people on knowing your triggers. one, we know we stand tall because we stand on the backs of those who come before us so it's very important that all of our kings know they come from greatness. it's also important they know how to navigate and negotiate the conflicting adults that come in their life. getting a sense of who you are, what are your triggers, knowing your -- kind of your disposition. and so when you get yourself in a situation where you're frustrated or, you know, you want to act out, there's things that you can do to kind of calm yourself and advocate for yourself. so our manhood development classes that are in 18 schools in oakland teach black history, teach social emotional learning. that's one way that we're working with them so they can
access not only resources in the tech world but resources and opportunities in art, really in every kind of professional domain. but there's a big push in terms of what does it do different for adults. i go back when we first launched the work and asked the question to 106 principals. i want you to visualize a successful african-american male in your school community and took them through this process. once you had an idea of who that person was, raise your hand. less than a third of our principals actually could visualize what a successful african-american male student looks like in the school environment. i do that to say if the majority of my students are black but yet i can't conceptualize that you're great, then you create the conditions and the cultures of which students then meet that expectation. so i did that to say that we're addressing and continue to deepen how we address implicit bias and replace those biasses with positive stereotypes of black boys and black culture, so
really adults and children are aligning in the spirit of manifests and putting forth a culture and conditions for our young brothers to manifest their best self so those are some of the things we're doing. >> one of the things i'm doing in san jose is telling young people about how they should interact with the police. there are three basic rules oi tell them. it's very quick. don't be a rat. r, never run from a police officer. a, never argue and t, never touch. so i teach young people their responsibilities. at the same time, i spend a lot of time talking about their rights when interacting with the police. >> judge, we want to talk more about that in just a moment but first we need to take another short break. we will be right back with more on our conversation.
welcome back to a special african-american roundtable edition of "beyond the headlines." i'm ama daetz sitting in for cheryl jennings. we have our guests in today talking more about black history month and the issues facing our black communities. judge, let's go back to you for a moment and talk a little about
your initiative and some of the things you're doing. >> sure. two years ago -- actually last year some co-founders and i formed the african-american composer initiative. our mission is to bring the music of black composers to the world. margaret bonds, florence price, william grant still, joshua mcgee, those names are mostly unknown to people. they are all african-american composers, some of whom are no longer with us. joshua mcgee is just 29 years old. he's an amazing composer. so once a year, the last sunday in january, we do a concert and it's in tribute to african-american composers and it's done at the east side college prep tore school. if people are interested, they can go to our website and also contract us because we can put you in our database and let you know whenever our concerts take place. >> everyone should know those names.
chris, you spoke about teaching our youth about our black history and these are some of the things that you guys are working on in the oakland unified school district. >> that's right, that's right. i want to acknowledge actually one elder who i wouldn't be here doing the work i'm doing if it wasn't for the work that he has started in oakland really since the '60s, oscar rice who's been a staunch advocate for the education of all african-american children in particular, so i just want to acknowledge him and his work. we are actually going to be incorporating his life story and contributions. he was the first contractor when b.a.r.t. was created here in oakland. he was a contractor to help create b.a.r.t. here in oakland as well, let alone didn't miss a board meeting for like three decades in the city of oakland and always advocating for african-american youth. so we'll continue to lift up the history and the story of the contributions of african-americans and in particular african-americans in oakland as well because i think
that's important for our young brothers to know the extraordinary contributions of black people in oakland and how that's impacted the entire world. >> and, andrea, do you kind of feel the same way, that maybe our youth and people going through school and as they graduate need to know more about our history so they can be -- they can better themselves for our computer? >> you can never know enough about your own history. you can never know, no matter who you are. you can never know enough about it. i think the more that young people are engaged in history that's local to them, the more excited and the more invested they become in that community. we've done some great things here in the bay area. we have our first african-american and asian person as the state attorney general. and she may be moving on to greater heights. we've had our first speaker of the assembly in lily brown, first black mayor of san
francisco and so on, so there are all sorts of achievements that we can all be proud of. i'm also very proud of the opportunities of communities coming together, the lgbt community with the african-american community as we see coalescence around the issues of public safety for all. but ultimately, no one can know enough about their own history and there's more to learn. >> thank you so much. thank you all for being here. that is all we have time for today. andrea shorter, christopher chapman and ladoris kordell, thank you for being here and sharing with us your insights and specioexperience. very valuable and we're glad you spent some time with us today. i'm ama daetz, follow me on twitter and facebook. now back to you, cheryl. >> thank you, ama. for more information about today's program, just go to our website, abc7news.com and we're also on facebook and follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. i'm cheryl jennings. have a great week.
we'll see you next time. it took joel silverman years to become a master dog trainer. but only a few commands to master depositing checks at chase atms. technology designed for you. so you can easily master the way you bank. get up to four years interest-free financing announcer: through presidents day at sleep train, on tempur-pedic, and save up to $300 on beautyrest and posturepedic,
i've never actually felt so much love in my life. >> an outpouring of love for family mourning the loss of a husband, father, and police officer, known for helping others. hello, i'm eric thomas. people filled the vallejo church in honor of this man, gus vegas, police officer killed inside his home. a whole lot of community support for the family? >> reporter: officer investigate gas was a long-time member of this church in vallejo and i got a chan to speak with his wife. she wants to thank everybody for their support during this difficult time. a funeral has