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California Black Media Political Playback: News You Might Have Missed

Tanu Henry, Antonio Ray Harvey and Joe W. Bowers Jr. | California Black Media

California State University Faculty Vote to Authorize Strike

The California Faculty Association (CFA), the union representing
faculty at California State University (CSU) schools has voted to
authorize a strike if it cannot reach a deal with the 23-campus system’s
administration.

CFA represents approximately 29,000 professors, lecturers, coaches and
other faculty across the state.

“Cal State voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, if necessary,”
said Charles Toombs, a professor and former chairperson of Africana
Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU) and the union’s president,
during a virtual press conference Oct 30. “Members are emphatic that
low pay, growing workloads, and systematic inequalities are not
sustainable.

The union pushed for 12% across-the-board increases this fiscal year,
but CSU offered 12% over the next three years. When CFA refused to
consider a multi-year offer, the CSU offered a one-year GSI of 5%. CFA
then declared an impasse within 40 minutes of receiving this offer.

“We are still moving through the statutory process. CFA members plan on
bringing our demands and solidarity to trustees and new Chancellor Mildred
García at the November 7 CSU Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach,”
read a press release from CFA.

“CSU management says they can’t afford our re-opener proposals, but
a CFA fiscal analysis shows otherwise. The CSU has been hoarding
billions of dollars in reserves instead of investing in faculty and staff who
work directly with our students. Their investment in administrative
personnel is increasing while their investment in instructional support
continues to shrink,” it continued.

In the fall of 2022, 18,308 Black or African American students
(4.0%) were enrolled in the CSU system. Overall, the CSU system. The
CSU system is comprised of 23 universities with nearly 500,000
students.

PPIC Releases Report on Community College Access

“Tracking Progress in Community College Access and Success,” a
report by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) examines the
effects of Assembly Bill (AB) 705 authored by Jacqui Irwin (DThousand Oaks) and passed in 2017 that changed the assessment and
placement practices for community college students in California.

AB 705 requires California community colleges to use multiple
measures like high school coursework, grades, and GPA for student
placement in transfer-level Math and English courses without needing to
take remedial courses first. The law aims to ensure that students are
starting and finishing the English and Math courses during their first
year.

By replacing standardized tests used for Math and English course
placement, AB 705 addressed criticisms of inaccuracies, inequities, and
biases that disadvantaged some groups of students, especially Black,
Latino, and English Language Learners.

The report shows both the progress students made from the fall of 2018
to fall 2022, and the challenges remaining to be addressed. While access
and completion rates have improved substantially for all students, there
are still large equity gaps between racial/ethnic groups, especially for
Black students.

For example, in transfer-level math, the white-Black gap in one-term
course completion is 22 percentage points, and the White-Latino gap is
17 points. In transfer-level English, the White-Black gap is 13 points,
and the White-Latino gap is 10 points. Black students are also less
likely to enroll in corequisite courses, which provide additional support
and are taken concurrently with the transfer-level course and offer extra
instruction, tutoring, or mentoring to help students succeed.

The report recommends several strategies and initiatives that can help
improve outcomes and reduce disparities. They include the involvement
and cooperation of institutions, efficient supports and resources for
students, data-driven decision-making, and targeted programs for Black
students.

Some examples of the targeted programs for Black students are:

Umoja Community: A statewide program that provides culturally
relevant curriculum, mentoring, counseling, and academic support
to increase the success and retention of Black students.

African American Male Education Network and Development
(A2MEND): A program that focuses on empowering Black male
students through leadership development, personal growth, and
academic achievement.

Puente Project: A program that aims to increase the number of
educationally underserved students who enroll in four-year
colleges and universities, earn degrees, and return to the
community as leaders and mentors.

California Promise: A program that offers two years of free
tuition to first-time, full-time students who meet certain eligibility
criteria.

The report is based on data from the California Community Colleges
Chancellor’s Office and interviews with faculty and administrators from
selected colleges.

Open Enrollment 2023: Covered California Is Providing Financial,
Enrollment Assistance to Insure Maximum Insurance Coverage

Covered California kicked off its 2024 open-enrollment period at the
iconic Los Angeles State Historic Park and Roundhouse Bridge, a public
space that serves some of the most vulnerable communities in the state,
with roots that connect back to the early history of the city and region.

California Black Women’s Health Project Chief Executive Officer
Sonya Young Aadam was among those who joined Covered California
Executive Director Jessica Altman to launch open enrollment and
highlight how record financial assistance are bridging the gap between
uninsured Californians and access to affordable, name brand health
insurance coverage.

“There has never been more financial assistance available to help
Californians pay for health care coverage than there will be in 2024,”
said Jessica Altman. “We want every uninsured Californian to know that
affordable and quality health care coverage is available and within closer
reach than ever before.”

The event marked the start of the 11th year of Covered California
offering affordable, name brand health care coverage and financial
assistance to Californians under the Affordable Care Act. Open
enrollment, which began Nov. 1 and runs through Jan. 31, 2024, is the
time of year when Californians can register for health insurance or
modify to their existing plans.

During this year’s open enrollment, Covered California is partnering
with organizations throughout the state to deliver health resources to the
community. In Los Angeles, Covered California will participate in the
African American Men’s Wellness Walk at Rancho Cienega
Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 11, where in addition to health
screenings, two informational sessions with Dr. Monica Soni, Chief
Medical Officer of Covered California will be presented at 9 a.m. and
10:15 am. The sessions will discuss healthcare, open enrollment and
Medi-Cal, and be moderated by KJLH Radio on-air personality Adai
Lamar.

In San Francisco, Covered California will host a joint African American
and AANHPI health clinic event at the Southeast Community Center on
Saturday, Dec. 9. In addition to health screenings, community-based
organizations will be on hand to provide information and resources.

Consumers can learn more about their options by visiting
CoveredCA.com, where they can easily find out if they qualify for
financial help and see the coverage options in their area.

All they need to do is enter their household income, ZIP code, household
size and the number of people who need coverage and their ages into the
calculator on Covered California’s homepage.

Interested parties can get free and confidential assistance over the phone,
in a variety of languages, from a certified enroller at (800) 300-1506.

Asm. Mike Gipson Shares Legal Details About Closing of Lincoln
Cemetery With Concerned Constituents

California Legislative Black Caucus member Assemblymember Mike
Gipson (D-Carson) provided an update on the circumstances
surrounding the closing of Lincoln Memorial Park, a cemetery located in
Carson.

Outraged families of loved ones laid to rest at Lincoln Memorial Park
have been under a cloud of frustration about the privately-owned
cemetery. Gipson stated that the California Department of Consumer
Affairs’ Cemetery and Funeral Bureau (CFB) has posted a Frequently
Asked Questions FAQ document that updates the public on the status
of Lincoln Cemetery.

“It has been just over two months since the cemetery license was
canceled. CFB’s FAQ explains what this means in specific terms, from a
legal perspective,” Gipson wrote.

The owner of the cemetery, Michael Mintz, abandoned the property and
surrendered his cemetery license. The gates to the 20-acre property were
briefly locked and it was reopened despite disrepair and neglect.

The cemetery holds historical significance dating back to the 1930s.
Some of those interred were born after the Civil War. African American
boxer Joe Lewis dedicated a plaque in Lincoln cemetery in 1949.

“I am continuing to explore all possible avenues that will expedite our
path to license operations at the Lincoln Cemetery and I am advocating
personally for our community,” Gipson stated. “Please share the FAQ
with those who have an interest in this historic site. I would like to thank
all community members for their continued support and your feedback.”

Gipson’s staff is available for questions concerning the cemetery. For
additional information, call (310) 324-6408.

California Launches Basic Income Program for Former Foster
Children

Former foster youth living in the city and county of San Francisco are
eligible to apply for a Guaranteed Income Pilot Program that will pay
them $1200 a month for 18 months.

“Guaranteed income programs help level the playing field and will give
these former foster youth the support and resources they need to pursue
their California dream,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a statement when
he announced the program Nov. 3.

To support the program, the state awarded San Francisco $3,439,090.
Another Guaranteed Income Pilot program will be launched in Ventura
County with a $1,538,758 state investment.

“These pilots, through the Department of Social Services, will provide
unconditional, individual, regular cash payments intended to disrupt
poverty, advance equity, and support the basic needs of recipients,” said
a press release from Newsom’s office.

San Franciscans who participate in the program will receive counseling
and the state will measure the impact of the program on their lives and
their eligibility for other public benefits.

“Transitioning out of the foster care system can be incredibly
challenging for many of our youth, and this sustained unconditional
income over 18 months will help systems-involved youth pursue their
hopes and dreams. In doing so, our goal is to disrupt the cycle of poverty
and advance a more equitable future for former foster youth,” said San
Francisco Human Services Agency Deputy Director of Policy, Planning,
and Public Affairs Susie Smith.

“This is an amazing opportunity to break the cycle of poverty
experienced by many young adults transitioning out of foster care,”
Smith added.

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