African American Leadership Conference

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African American Leadership Weekend


March 2011


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“Moving the Urban Agenda!”


The California Black Chamber of Commerce is excited about the upcoming

African American Leadership Weekend, a Renaissance 21st Century Project,

to be held at the beautiful Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento, California.


The African American Leadership weekend is hosted by the California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation (CBCCF) and convenes Friday and Saturday, March 31 thru April 2 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Our theme “Moving the Urban Agenda” reflects the vital role the Chamber and

Foundation has represented predominately in the African American community

over the last 15 years.


This representation of African American Leadership and Civic organizations have entered through the halls of National and State government to public and private business entities to protect and expand on business opportunities for community growth and sustainability.

I look forward to meeting and interacting with each of you personally, as we move to the next level of business successes together.  Click here for online registration.



Aubry L. Stone



California Black Chamber of Commerce


Inside This Comminique
Keynote Speakers
African American Leadership Weekend Overview
Legend and Leaders Luncheon – Honorees
Faith-Based Breakfast features Bishop Parnell Lovelace, Jr.
Sponsors and Guest Panelist
Registration Information
Hotel Information
Join the CBCC

Keynote Speakers

Mario Van Peebles (invited)mario van peebles 2
The son of African American director/writer Melvin Van Peebles, Mario van Peebles made his acting bow in a small role in his dad’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971). At the time, Van Peebles had no burning desire to become a performer, choosing instead to study economics at Columbia University. He wavered between a financial and an acting career before becoming a full-time actor with the 1984 film Cotton Club. In 1988, Van Peebles starred in a conformist TV comedy adventure series, Sonny

Spoon, playing a glib private eye with a predilection for elaborate disguises; this brief series afforded him his first opportunity to direct. Three years later he made his film directing debut with New Jack City, a film widely praised by some as being a truthful, no-nonsense dissection of inner-city life, and widely derided by others as merely a slick outgrowth of the “blaxploitation” flicks of the 1970s. Van Peebles played a major role in New Jack City, as he would in his subsequent Posse (1993), a revisionist western about a Utopian all-black community.

Van Peebles’ next directorial endeavor was Panthers (1995), a recounting of the Black Panther Movement that came under fire from several of the real-life activists depicted in the film despite the fact that Van Peebles steadfastly defended it as historically accurate.

In addition to making and starring in his own films, Van Peebles occasionally appears in the films of others. He had a starring role in Clint Eastwood’s Heartbreak Ridge (1986) and for his performance earned an NAACP Image Award. On television, Van Peebles has starred in a number of prestigious productions, including The Emperor Jones for PBS and The Pool Hall opposite James Earl Jones. For this latter role, Van Peebles was nominated for a Cable ACE award. For his work in Children of the Night he received a Bronze Halo Award. He has also directed episodes of television series, notably those of producer Steven J. Cannell. For directing the ABC After School Special: Malcolm Takes a Shot, he received a nomination for a Directors Guild Award. In the late ’90s, Van Peebles joined a growing trend and starred in an elaborate CD-Rom game for Sony called Solo in which he played an android superhero with a human learning capacity.


Mike Jai White

Michael Jai ( pronounced Jye )White was born in Brooklyn NY and as a pre-teen moved to Bridgeport, CT. (an impoverished city that boasted some of the highest crime rates per-capita, in the country.) The fact that Bridgeport is so close to Westport, CT ( which has one of the highest per-capita income levels in the U.S.) would bear no significance to Bridgeport’s mean streets. Living so close to two such drastically opposing worlds Michael grew up having friends from the worst housing projects, as well as the richest mansions and felt much at home in either setting.

At age 14 Michael was partially on his own to fend for himself in the world. Already 6 ft, 190 lbs., with a deep voice and facial hair, he was easily mistaken for an adult. The former troubled youth graduated high school with honors and went on to college without a clue as to what he want to become. Michael jumped from university to university, and major to major, all the while finding room to squeeze in an acting class or two. In college Mike never gave acting a consideration as a possible career choice.

Mike eventually became a junior high school teacher. He found he had a gift for reaching troubled children. For three years he taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade, emotionally disturbed children. This endeavor is what Mike says has been his proudest achievement. Along with his growth as an educator, came the growth of the desire to act.

Though reluctant to follow acting, he felt he had to get it out of his system; so he began to audition for roles in nearby Manhattan, in his time off. He eventually landed commercials, theatre roles, and bit parts in soaps. Faced with the difficult decision to leave teaching, he finally did so with the blessing of his young students. In 1992 Michael moved to LA to pursue acting. Incidentally Michael’s motivation to act is from the standpoint of a teacher; “The actor has a responsibility to teach his audience the truth while standing in the shoes of the character he is playing at the time. Done correctly, acting can teach people about themselves as well as others. It has the power to touch and change the lives of millions at a time.

African American Leadership Weekend Overview



U. S. Senate Business Chief, Donald R. Cravins, Jr. delivers Keynote Address at the Leaders and Legends Luncheon on Saturday, April 2, 2011

Donald Cravins, Jr., Staff Director and Chief Counsel of the U.S. Senate Committee on Business and Entrepreneurship will deliver the keynote address at the Leaders and Legends Luncheon on Saturday,

April 2, 2011.

Donald Cravins, Jr.

Donald R. Cravins, Jr.


Cravins, Jr., was elected to the Louisiana state Senate and Member of the State Assembly in 2004 to 2009. He currently leads the Federal Senate business committee that manages all proposed business legislation and matters relating to the Small Business Administration.

He is one of only two African Americans to hold this position in the US Senate. As such, Cravins, Jr. oversees all activities of the Committee including supervising its 20 plus employees, developing policy and legislation affecting small businesses throughout America and advising the committee chairman and the 18 Senators who sit on the Committee about issues before the Committee.


His discussion will address small and minority business opportunities, new federal regulations and revealing the most recent strategic access to capital.


The African American Leadership Weekend is a series of workshops targeting the most pressing issues facing underserved minority communities to develop positive solutions and remove barriers to growth in education, healthcare, government relations and building wealth.


CBCCF honors state and local community leaders, Irene West, educator; Dr. William Lee, newspaper publisher; and Percy Pickney, U.S. Senate district rep., for their exceptional civic contribution in small business, media, politics, and education. The acknowledgement will take place during the Leaders and Legends Luncheon, Saturday April 2.

Legend and Leaders Honorees


Dr. & Mrs Lee

Dr. and Mrs. William H. Lee

Dr. William H. Lee is a leader in the Sacramento community, and indeed throughout the nation, Dr. Lee, founder and publisher of THE OBSERVER Newspapers, continues to exceed audiences’ expectations in providing high quality publications and media services for African American audiences in the markets served by THE OBSERVER.

Dr. Lee’s publications, the weekly OBSERVER newspaper as well as many of THE OBSERVER’S special editions, are recognized as the most stylish and educational publications published anywhere. THE OBSERVER, recognized as “The Most Honored Black Newspaper in America,” has received the coveted John B. Russwurm Trophy, the highest award in Black journalism, six times – more than any other Black newspaper in the nation.

Dr. Lee’s leadership in journalism is legendary. He is the founding president of the West Coast Black Publishers Association, serving a total of nine years as its leader; he has served as a board member and longtime officer of the National Newspaper Publishers Association; he has been privileged to serve as a juror for Pulitzer Prize judging in newspaper journalism; he now assists the California Newspaper Awards in judging top journalistic works in the state. He belongs to, and has helped to form a whole host of professional journalism organizations.

Dr. Lee is also a highly recognized businessman. A former successful real estate broker and developer, he has served and continues to serve, in a number of boards for major firms and corporations, including the multi-billion dollar Blue Cross of California; the Methodist Hospital in Sacramento; the advisory board for the Wells Fargo Bank and the former Home Savings; and chair of the former Superior Valley Small Business Development Corporation.
Of his many, many community service roles, Dr. Lee says his greatest joy has come from serving as chair of the statewide Governor-appointed Dr. Martin Luther King Commission, which helped to lead California to ultimately establishing the statewide MLK holiday.
Dr. Lee’s local and national honors and tributes number into the hundreds. They line the offices of THE OBSERVER, dating back to the founding of THE OBSERVER in 1962. He was recently honored by the 100 Black Men, Inc.; the American Leadership Forum, as an “exemplary leader”; and was the recipient of the late Congressman Bob Matsui Award, for distinguished community service.

The pioneering publisher is married to Kathryn C. Lee. The Lees have three sons (one deceased), and two granddaughters.


Irene WestIrene West attended historic Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, but received her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University at Sacramento (CSUS) and a Master of Arts degree from the University of San Francisco.

Ms. West’s teaching career began at the Elk Grove Elementary School in 1962. She later moved to teach at James McKee Elementary and then transferred to Florin Elementary where she taught for 14 years.

Ms. West focused her teaching skills on improving the reading and language arts skills of her students. She supplemented language arts with a series of games in all the subject areas.

Ms. West completed work on her administrative credential and later became principal of Cosumnes River Elementary in 1980. After five years, she transferred to Franklin Elementary in south Sacramento and stayed until she retired in 1989.

In August 2002, Ms. West was honored to have the Irene B. West Elementary School in the Elk Grove District named for her.

Ms. West has been a member of the Sacramento Chapter of the Links for 37 years, a member of the Eta Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a member of Shiloh Baptist Church.

Ms. West has four children, one of which is noted Princeton University professor, Dr. Cornel West.


Percy Pinkney 1

Percy Pinkney, Sr. has been a legendary leader in California politics for over three decades serving two California governors and United States Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Currently he serves as the senior representative to Senator Feinstein responsible for the African American Community throughout the State. Percy works with a wide variety of stakeholders- elected officials, community leaders, urban cities, inter-faith and community based organizations, and civil rights organizations-to improve the quality of life for all citizens of California.

He is the Statewide President of the Black American Political Association of California (BAPAC), the largest political grassroots organization with 55 chapters and over 60,000 members. It has a leadership institute that trains young people how to become leaders and give scholarships to disadvantaged youth to help with completing college.

Publications: “The Lonely One”, a manual and textbook for street and community workers. This is the only textbook on “Streetwork” published in the State of California, Berkeley.



Faith-Based Breakfast Features Bishop Parnell Lovelace, Jr.

Bishop Lovelace alone

The African American Leadership Weekend features its Faith-Based Breakfast, Saturday, April 2 beginning 8:30 am at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.


Bishop Parnell M. Lovelace, Jr., the founder and Senior Pastor of the Center of Praise Ministries in Sacramento will be the keynote speaker for the morning program. As leader of one of Sacramento’s fastest growing, culturally diverse churches, Bishop Lovelace is a highly recognized and persistently sought after faith and civic leader. His pastoral style is considered modern and cutting-edge yet based in traditional spiritual ministering of the Word of God.


The breakfast discussion includes dialogue-sharing information about

various funding streams and resources for business and faith colleagues to develop a stronger network for community coalition-building and greater economic opportunities.


Faith leaders continue to be the primary social, emotional and spiritual bedrock in the African American community. Developing partnerships with community based organizations increases opportunities to obtain

critical resources necessary for strong economic stability.


The African American Leadership Weekend is a series of workshops targeting the most pressing

issues facing underserved communities of color to develop positive solutions and remove barriers to

growth in faith, education, healthcare, government relations and building wealth.



Partial Sponsor List and Guest Panelist




Leonard Robinson


Acting Director

Department of Toxic Substances Control

California Environmental Protection Agency

Director Robinson to deliver “Green Technology” Workshop

Leonard E. Robinson was recently appointed as the Acting Director for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s, Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Prior to this new position, he served as Federal Liaison for DTSC. Mr. Robinson was originally was appointed to the position of Chief Deputy Director for DTSC by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in September of 2004. He has over thirty (35) years experience in environmental management. The mission of DTSC is to provide the highest level of safety and protecting public health and the environment from toxic harm.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Robinson was the Environmental/Safety Manager at TAMCO Steel. Located in Rancho Cucamonga, it is California’s only steel mill. While at TAMCO Steel, Mr. Robinson started a program that recycled used oil filters into steel reinforcing bar (rebar) for use in the construction industry. Another recycling program started by him was named “Project Isaiah,” a program where firearms delivered by southern California law enforcement agencies were melted and also recycled into rebar.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Robinson also taught leadership and executive management classes. He was a daily radio talk show host on Radio Station KTIE 590 AM; a lecturer; and a motivational speaker. He has been a featured speaker at several functions and conferences including the: U.S. Small Business Administration Awards Conference; California Waste Association (CWA); Air & Waste Management Association; California Certified Unified Program Agencies (Cal-CUPA); Steel Manufacturers Association; Law Seminars International; Environmental Industry Summit and the Product Stewardship Council; The Green Economy and the African American Community Symposium; Sustainable Brands Conference and the West Coast Green Conference. In addition to his governmental duties, Mr. Robinson hosts a weekly talk radio show called “Going Green With EnviroBro” on Sacramento radio station KDEE 97.7FM.


Green Technology

Green Technology is based on the concept of emerging principles in agriculture, manufacturing, construction and transportation. As scientist continue to link pollution in the air, ground, water and weather patterns with the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, government and private enterprise explore the trend of energy efficiency, renewable energy (alternative fuels), recycling and an array of lifestyle changes to improve the quality of the earth’s atmosphere. The burgeoning field of Green Technology creates new economic sector promising to bring new business opportunities and varying career fields.  Topics of discussion include:

  • What role will African Americans play in the green economy?
  • Is Global Warming real?
  • What is a Green Job?
  • What businesses will grow due to the emerging clean green energy economy?
  • Is energy efficiency really a homeland security issue?
  • Green Technology: Renewable energy-biofuels, solar, wind, water power, electric/hydrogen fuel cell/hybrid transportation.

Finance/Wealth Creation Plenary Session

Mark Harris

Mark Harris, Finance/Wealth Creation Moderator

A robust economy drives social progress and determines class structure within American culture.

This session offers essential economic development strategy unique to the success of African American communities. Panelists and participants will discuss:


· Personal Finance, Home Ownership, Wealth building, and

State Budget

· Mortgage Foreclosure Crisis: Have government efforts to

stem foreclosures been effective? What resources to stem

foreclosures are available to minority homeowners? How

can the business community help?

· Bank Lending to Small Businesses: Have lines of credit

opened for small and minority businesses? Have banks

receiving bail-out funds extended loans to small/minority

businesses for start-ups and operating costs?

· Has President Obama’s American Recovery and

Reinvestment Act (ARRA) worked for African Americans?

What is the impact of ARRA on small business and

commerce in communities of color?

· 2010-11 State Budget-Overview of the Governor’s Proposal:

What is the potential impact on business and African

American communities?

Government and Politics

California Government and politics determines policy and regulation of business and civic participation in all communities. This session explores the role of government and its impact on the African American community. Participants will discuss how to improve political conditions and strategies toward influential impact in California governance. Topics of discussion include:

  • 2010 Census: Counting California’s African Americans – How and Why?
  • How does the California State Budget effect small businesses in working class communities?
  • What is ARRA? Do we have any?
  • Black and Latino Coalition building: How will we increase our power base?
  • Redistricting commission: How do we get selected for the commission? What impact will redistricting have on legislative seats held by African Americans?
  • How do we build a new generation of political leaders?

Dr. Brown

Dr. Brown, Education Panel Moderator


A comprehensive education builds each citizens ability to become successful in society, accomplish

personal goals and develop generational progress. The purpose of education in a civilized society is to develop the knowledge and skill to empower an individual, their core group and overall community. A solid education allows each individual to pursue and obtain equal opportunity in the spoils of society. California’s education is no longer considered “the best education money can buy.” This session surveys the status of education in this state and what it will take to improve education outcomes in the African American community.

· Race to the Top Initiative: What does it mean for CA’s African-

American students and their families?

· The Achievement Gap and the Dropout Rate: How are African

American students faring under No Child Left Behind?

· Higher Education: Why are there more Blacks in prison than in


· Rising costs of going to College and rising cost of not going to

college (illiteracy)

· Education from age 0 to 5: Are Blacks starting early enough?

· Parents role in educating their children

Reducing Crime

California’s criminal justice system is mired in controversy from poor health care, overcrowding, false convictions, abuse of power and rampant corruption. African Americans continue to disproportionately populate the state prison system. However, the purpose of public safety and protection remain necessary and prevalent in all communities. This session will determine best practices to lower the rate of incarceration, provide security and fairness for African Americans and strategies to assist individuals facing judicial review and court proceedings. Topics of discussion include:

  • Prisons vs. Higher Education: What’s the tradeoff and what’s the bottom line for CA’s Black communities?
  • Impact of 2010 Early Releases due to prison overcrowding: How will African American communities and families are affected? Will communities be safer or more at risk?
  • Marijuana: Should it be legalized, taxed and regulated? What is the impact on the African American community?
  • Recidivism: Review of the most effective re-entry program in California.
  • Entertainers that found themselves in trouble with the law. How are they coping? Are they falsely accused? Is this a setup within the industry? Are they getting to much to fast with no guidance?

    Tara Lynn

    Tara Lynn Gray, Technology Panel Moderator

Technology Plenary Session

Bringing area small business owners and entrepreneurs together is important to help entrepreneurs realize the full

potential of technology for their businesses.  This panel will discuss the tech trends of 2011 and implementing money-saving business practices such as low-cost marketing tactics. Among other topics addressed will be increasing sales and advertising and hot “tech” topics.

Media and Entertainment

Song, dance and cultural arts performance continues to be an important element of social progress in the Black community. Entertainment provides a respite from labor and an outlet for fun, play and enjoyment. African Americans have always displayed emotion through the joys of entertainment in the form of crying, laughing, applause and live interaction. Blacks have excelled tremendously, but as generations progress, style and preference has evolved. This session reveals the history, the good, the bad and the future of African American cultural amusement.

  • Entertainment as a profession: Media Communications, public relations, singers, actors, writers, producers, directing opportunities and entertainment business ownership.
  • BET: The influence of music videos on Black culture
  • Sports as Entertainment.


LaCherryal Veal

LaCherryal Veal, Healthcare Panel Moderator

Healthcare is considered the ultimate civil right. Today, California

continues to violate that civil right based on prevailing disparities in health outcomes of African Americans to the majority ethnicities. Too many blacks, unemployed or underemployed do not have access to health insurance. This growing population suffers from preventable ailments often with fatal results. Society at large also suffers from strained resources on unpaid medical services. Hospitals in urban communities are closing under fiscal duress and services that remain in poor communities provide poor service. This workshop explores proposed government remedies.

· Understanding President Barack Obama’s Healthcare Plan

· African American youth Obesity and adult diabetes

· Update on AIDS epidemic in African American Women

· Overall Health and Wellness: Eating habits and exercise

· Diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness

· California’s Healthy Families Program (Health Insurance for the Poor)








Registration Information

CBCCF African American Leadership Weekend

CBCC Members and Affiliates   $  75                            $100
Non-Members                          $100                            $125
Students with ID (18-25 yrs.)     $  25                            $ 35
Breakfast Only                         $  25                            $ 30
VIP Reception Only                  $  25                            $ 30
Saturday Luncheon Only           $  35                            $ 40
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Sheraton Grand – Sacramento, California

Hotel Info - Sheraton Grand

Join the California Black Chamber of Commerce (CBCC)

Joining the CBCC is a great way to gain new business prospects, be an active part of your state community and learn about new ways to advertise your business. You can attract more local/statewide business and have resources available as a part of the California Chamber of Commerce. It’s also a great way to make connections, meet new business people and become informed about the activities going on in your state community.

Enjoy membership in the Black Chamber of Commerce.  You will receive:

*New member profile in newsletter (50 words with logo)

*Discount on registration and fees

*Tax Deduction for Business Membership

*FREE Business Counseling


You can join online–for more information about CBCC membership, click here.
California Black Chamber of Commerce
2951 Sunrise Boulevard Suite 175
Rancho Cordova, CA 95742
Voice 916-463-0177 · Fax 916-463-0190


Join the CBCC today, and get discount on registration. Register online at:

African American Leadership Conference

Get registered now for the African American Leadership Conference presented by the California Black Chamber of Commerce Foundation.  The program will include MOVING THE URBAN AGENDA that will focus on workshops targeting issues facing undeserved minority communities that are having issues in the barrier of growth in the areas of education, health, crime, home ownership, building wealth and the churches role in the community.

Renaissance 21st Century Project is helping to revitalize the “Can Do” spirit in our Communities here in our cities and around the State.  For more information or to register go to or call the office at (916) 463-0177.  Download the register form. >>read more


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