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Explore Culture and Community This Black History Month

Dear Friends,

As we begin the month of February, we are excited to commemorate Black History Month across our District. This annual observance is a time for community reflection and recognition of the remarkable contributions made by African Americans throughout Assembly District 18 and California. The stories of African American innovation, resilience, and excellence that have shaped history are ingrained in our neighborhoods. For instance, we were honored to have Mills College host the historic Reparations Task Force Meeting in May 2023, fostering a discussion on the significance of repairing the historical wrongs perpetrated on the African American community. 

Similarly, I was honored to have played a role in the historic passage of the Ebony Alert directing state and local agencies to assist with the urgent rescue of young African American women and girls who are reported missing or kidnapped. Nationally, African Americans make up roughly 14% of the country’s population, yet African American youth and young adults account for nearly 40% of missing persons. We can, and must, do better to deliver equity for our African American neighbors.

While we work to address the disparities head-on, we have a lot to be proud of in our District. Leila Mottley, Oakland’s own New York Times bestselling writer and poet is an Assembly District 18 Youth Leadership Award recipient. Karibu Winery is Alameda’s first Black-Owned Winery and Art Lounge and Emeryville’s first African American Mayor is Courtney Welch, who is working to deliver for the residents of Emeryville. We should be proud of our community.

As we plan our Black History Month engagements, you’ll find various events, parades, and opportunities uplifting our African American communities in today’s newsletter. In addition, you’ll find newly released 2024 state grants for businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies. I encourage you to continue engaging with my office and reach out for any state support or questions you may have. 

Yours in Service,

Assemblymember Bonta signature

Mia Bonta
Assemblymember, 18th District

In this newsletter, you'll find the following information:

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Section 1: Black History Month District 18 Opportunities and Engagements

Section 1A: Free Master's in Engineering Management for Black Students with Undergraduate Degree

Master's in Engineering Management Image

The Wade Institute of Technology (WIT), a new engineering college focused on mitigating the acute underrepresentation of students of African descent in STEM professions through scholarships and unique educational programs, is seeking applicants for a Master’s in Engineering Management. This is a 24-month, tuition-free program for Black students with undergraduate degrees in a STEM discipline OR in the liberal arts. This unique program provides background in core engineering areas as well as leadership principles for those who want broad-based management and leadership positions rather than technologist roles.

Section 1B: Black History Month and Lunar New Year

Lunar New Year Black and Black History Month Community Event Image

On Saturday, February 3, 2024, the Oakland Asian Cultural Center and Malonga Arts Residents Association will be celebrating Black History Month through a Lunar New Year + Black History Month Community Event free and open to the public! Participating guests and presenters include Black and Asian martial artists, musicians, artisans, dancers, guest speakers, and local vendors to cultivate multi-ethnic solidarity. 

When: Saturday, February 3, 2024 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Where: Oakland Asian Cultural Center, 388 Ninth St., #290 Oakland

Section 1C: Oakland Arts and Lectures: Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Oakland Arts and Lectures free public event image

The Oakland Arts & Lectures series welcomes writer and artist Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah for a free public event and an evening of creativity and intellectual engagement. Oakland Arts & Lectures brings local literary patrons together in celebration of art, literature, and community as they highlight some of the most acclaimed authors from across the country. From captivating lectures to interactive question-and-answer sessions, this event promises to ignite your imagination and leave you inspired. 

When: Saturday, February 4, 2024, starting at 3 p.m.
Where: Gaines Gallery, 1740 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA

Please register here.

Section 1D: Snow Day Oakland in Eastmont Mall

Snow Day Oakland community event image

On Saturday, February 24, 2024 a total of 30,000 pounds of snow will transform Eastmont Mall for a winter snow day for families and children to enjoy! This free community event will include carnival games, prizes, participation from community organizations, services, music and entertainment, and so much more for Oakland residents to enjoy. Please attend this day of fun in the snow or, if you’d like to volunteer your services, please fill out this form.

When: February 24, 2024 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Where: Eastmont Mall Parking Lot 7200 Bancroft Ave, Oakland

Section 1E: Black Joy Parade

Black Joy Parade Oakland banner image

Come make noise and celebrate the 7th annual Black Joy Parade in Oakland! This festival will include 200+ Black and people of colored-owned vendors tabling alongside two stages celebrating Black musicians, performers, and music. The parade will begin at 14th St and Franklin in Downtown Oakland at 12:30 p.m., with the festival ending at 7 p.m. This is a community event celebrating Black History and culture. 

When: Sunday, February 25 from 12 - 7 p.m.
Where: 14th Street and Franklin Street, Oakland

Section 1F: Oakland Library Black History Month 2024 Events

Oakland Public Library Logo image

Attention families, parents, and young adults! Throughout February, libraries throughout Oakland will participate in free events uplifting Black history, culture, literature, music, and so much more for residents and children to enjoy. In addition, there will be a celebration of the 2024 winners for the limited edition library card contest celebrating Black art, artists, and culture on Saturday, February 3, 2024, from 2 - 4 p.m. at the Diamond Branch Library.

When: February 1 - 29, 2024
Where: Oakland Libraries

Section 1G: Public Market Emeryville Arts & Craft Day for Black History Month and Lunar New Year 

Together with The Public Market in Emeryville, Habitot Children’s Museum is thrilled to continue its indoor Arts & Crafts Days for young children and their families at the Public Market. Arts and crafts activities will celebrate two February multicultural events: Lunar New Year and Black History Month. Participants can make fabric quilt squares in squares in the style of Black quilt artists like Faith Ringgold and create dragon hand puppets for the Year of the Dragon. 

This event will take place near Peet’s back entrance of The Public Market. The event is free but we appreciate pre-registration so we can plan for supplies. Walk-ups are welcome as long as space is available. 

When: Friday, February 16, 2024, from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where: Public Market Emeryville, 5959 Shellmound St, Emeryville

Section 1H: Black History Month Celebration: An Evening with Dr. Carl Ellis

An Evening with Carl Ellis event image

Join Resurrection Oakland Church for a conversation with Dr. Carl Ellis, leader of the African American Initiative at the Reformed Theological Seminar. Dr. Ellis will be speaking on “Black Joy: The Gospel and the African American Experience” and will discuss the importance of Black History Month. Please RSVP online if you’d like to attend.

When: February 2, from 7 - 9 p.m.
Where: Resurrection Oakland Church, 1701 Franklin Street, Oakland. 

Section 1I: Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series with California Attorney General

Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community Lecture Series event image

Co-presented by the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center and Peralta Community College District, the Barbara Lee and Elihu Harris Lecture Series presents “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?” with California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta. To RSVP, please call (510) 434-3988.

When: February 8, 2024 at 7 p.m.
Where: Beebe Memorial Cathedral, 3900 Telegraph Ave, Oakland

Section 2: State of California Updates and Resources

Section 2A: Department of Financial Protection and Innovation Fraud Prevention Pamphlet

Protect yourself from fraud cover image

The “Protect Yourself from Fraud” booklet is a valuable resource for individuals seeking to safeguard themselves against fraudulent activities and scams. Find out how to identify fraud, how to get help from the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) and how to avoid scams. Although it’s currently only available in English, stay tuned for more languages.

Section 2B: Victim Impact Grant for Community-Based Organizations for Restorative Justice 

The Victim Impact Grant (VIG) program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), aims to provide financial assistance to local government agencies and non-profit organizations in California that are directly involved in addressing the needs of crime victims. This grant program is designed to support services and programs that promote the safety, well-being, and recovery of crime victims, as well as to enhance the criminal justice system’s response to the needs of these victims. 

Learn more about the grant and how to apply here.

Section 2C: CalFIRE Business and Workforce Development Grant

California Department of Corrections and RehabilitationCalifornia Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Logo

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has announced the $20 million CalFIRE Business and Workforce Development Grant. This grant supports projects that include facilities, operations, and professional services that support the restoration of healthy, resilient forests. Eligible workforce development projects include universities, colleges, government and community organizations, and businesses that aim to increase workforce capacity in logging, fuel treatment, transportation, manufacturing, or other support services that bolster the development of a resilient forest sector workforce. 

Eligible applicants include businesses, nonprofits, public agencies, tribal governments, and individuals. Please view the 2024 Grant Guidelines and don’t forget applications are due March 8, 2024. 

Section 2D: California Earthquake Brace & Bolt Grant Program for Homeowners

California Earthquake Brace & Bolt EBB Program logo

The California Earthquake Brace & Bolt (“EBB”) Program is now open! Homeowners in Assembly District 18 will be able to register for a grant of up to $3,000 to be used towards a code-compliant seismic retrofit to make their houses more resistant to earthquake damage. The due date to register is February 21, 2024. For households with an annual income of $87,360 or less, EBB may be able to support 100% of the funds for full household seismic retrofit. 

Section 2E: Paid Family Leave Small Business Grant

California Employment Training Panel logo

The California Employment Training Panel has announced $1 million in grant funding to support small businesses impacted by Paid Family Leave absence. This grant is to help offset the costs incurred when training employees to cover the duties of the individual utilizing Paid Family Leave (PFL). Applications are due February 2, 2024. 

Learn more about the Paid Family Leave Small Business Grant and apply. 

Section 2F: California Mortgage Relief Update 2024

California Mortgage Relief Program image

The California Mortgage Relief Program has adjusted its eligibility date requirement to help even more homeowners! Now, any two past-due mortgage payments or delinquent property taxes up to February 1, 2024 may qualify for assistance of up to $80,000.

Find out if you are eligible and apply today!

Section 3: Community Feedback Needed for Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland!

Over the next several years, Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland will invest approximately $1.5 billion to improve patient and family experience, address aged and obsolete facilities, expand critical care, create private rooms, add mental health services and beds, build new operating rooms and a new emergency department, and ensure the long-term viability of the hospital.

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) analyzes potential environmental impacts that would result from implementing the New Hospital Building (NHB) project. The Draft EIR is available for public review and comment for 45 days from January 16, 2024, to March 1, 2024.

On February 15, 2024 at 6 p.m. there will be a virtual public Environmental Impact Report (EIR) hearing. Please register and make your voice heard!