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Political Playback: California Capitol News You Might Have Missed   

Bo Tefu, Joe W. Bowers Jr., and Lila Brown | California Black Media  

Black Freedom Fund Is Hosting State of Black California Tour Focused on State’s Reparations Effort

The California Legislative Black Caucus CLBC) has partnered with the California Black Freedom Fund (CBFF) for a tour that raises awareness about the fight for reparations in California.  

The CBFF is a community-based organization and non-profit leading a five-year initiative that aims to invest $100 million towards Black power-building and movement-based organizations statewide.  

The organization announced the “State of Black California Tour,” a series of six community events that bring together lawmakers, local leaders, and community members.

During the events, attendees raise questions and concerns that address historical, current and emerging challenges in various Black communities across California. Those discussions will focus on educating and motivating the public about the work the California Reparations task force has completed and why it is critical to compensate Black Californians for historical wrongs they have endured.  

The first event in the series was held in San Diego on June 15.  

Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber (D-La Mesa) was the host of the San Diego event and moderated the discussion, “on the state of the Black community and how we work to secure the future all Black Californians deserve,” the organization stated.  

“I am deeply honored to stand before you as we gather to discuss a matter of profound importance: The State of Black California,” said Weber, Secretary of the CLBC. She was speaking on June 15, making the opening statement during the San Diego stop of the tour.  

“Today, we come together not only to acknowledge these injustices but to reaffirm the California Legislative Black Caucus’ commitment to rectifying many of the harms outlined in the California Reparations Task Force report.”  

Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber also spoke at the San Diego event.  

The elder Weber said when she was a lawmaker many of her colleagues in the Legislature were reluctant to support AB 3121, the reparations bill she introduced that garnered bi-partisan support and made the task force possible. They were hesitant because they thought a bill that provided monetary compensation to Black Californians “would divide California.”  

“We used the United Nations model in terms of what you’re supposed to do for reparations across the world. So, we had the backing of the international community,” said Weber. This is the standard across the world: to do reparations.”

“The fact that we have not given African Americans reparations is a blemish on this country,” said Weber. “The nation and the world have standards of justice, and this nation has never met those standards. Reparations is one of those standards that needs to be met for African Americans for the 400 years of injustices we have suffered.”

Leaders of local organizations, grassroots advocates, and community members are encouraged to attend an event in their respective communities.  

The tour will continue to various cities across the state, including Santa Barbara, Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, and Moreno Valley. The events will be held once a month starting in June up until October 2024.  

Californians interested in attending an event in their area can find additional information on State of Black California website. Details for events held in each city are available online including registration, speakers, and necessary updates.  

California Legislature Honors First Black Radio Personality to Serve as SF Giants Announcer

Last week, lawmakers in both houses of the legislature honored San Francisco Giants public address announcer Renel Brooks-Moon for her trailblazing media career and advocacy work statewide.  

By all accounts a Bay Area legend, the multi-award-winning radio personality served as the Giants public address announcer for 24 seasons. The Baseball Hall of Fame acknowledged Brooks-Moon as the first woman to serve as a Public Address Announcer for a world championship game in any professional sport.

On June 11, Oakland-born Brooks-Moon was recognized on the California Assembly Floor as “Woman of the Year” by State Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco).

The same day, Brooks-Moon was also presented with a resolution on the Senate Floor by Senate President pro-Tempore Mike McGuire (D-North Coast), Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and other Bay Area lawmakers.

“On the Assembly Floor, we honored Renel Brooks-Moon. Her career started in radio, but she is best known for her role as San Francisco Giants announcer,” Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) wrote on Facebook. “She is the first Black Californian to have that position and she did it with gusto!”

Brooks-Moon dedicated her awards to her late parents, whom she acknowledged as her role models and inspiration.  

“I am profoundly honored and humbled to receive this recognition,” she said. “My heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation.”

McGuire said Brooks-Moon had been a fixture at Oracle Park and announced over 2,000 games including three World Series Championships.  

“She brought incredible excitement and emotion to the game of baseball,” McGuire stated. “For those of us listening, she brought the game to life. But her storied career and community impact extend beyond the ballpark.”

Brooks-Moon spent 34 years as a radio and television broadcaster, including lead roles at 106 KMEL, 98.1 KISS-FM and CBS-5.

On air, Brooks-Moon led a number of efforts that empowered and uplifted the community. During that time, she received various awards for her advocacy and media work, including honors from the Bay Area Black Journalists Association, American Women in Radio and Television, Girl Scouts of NorCal, and Girls, Inc.  

High Turnout Expected in California’s General Election Amid Racial and Age Gaps

A recent survey by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS), commissioned by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, indicates that over three-quarters (78%) of California’s registered voters are highly likely to participate in the upcoming general election on November 5. However, the survey of 5,095 voters highlights significant disparities among different voter demographics.

White voters show the highest likelihood of voting at 89%, compared to 66% for Black voters, 70% for Latino voters, and 62% for Asian American voters. Age differences are also notable, with 89% of voters aged 65 or older likely to vote, compared to just 60% of those aged 18-29.

The primary motivation for voters is the Presidential election, with 70% citing it as their reason for voting. Other significant factors include supporting specific issues (66%), fulfilling civic duty (63%), and protecting democracy (60%).

For those less likely to vote, dissatisfaction with Presidential candidates is a major deterrent, cited by 40%. Additionally, 36% are discouraged by the influence of special interests and big money.

John Kim, President and CEO of Catalyst California, emphasizes the importance of understanding voter motivations to address these disparities. “Knowing what is motivating California voters to participate in elections, and to what degree, is key to understanding our democratic systems,” he said. “This state has made strides in recent years to make voting more accessible. Yet the racial disparities that persist are a call to action for advocates and state officials to work together to address continuing structural impediments.”

Christian Arana of the Latino Community Foundation points out that investments in voter education are essential for a well-informed electorate capable of influencing state policies.

Eric Schickler, IGS co-director, notes that while overall engagement is high, the significant gaps in voter interest across different demographics highlight the need for continued efforts to mobilize underrepresented groups. “The big gaps across racial and ethnic subgroups and age cohorts underscore that interest in this election is far from universal, and that dissatisfaction with the two major party candidates may be a substantial obstacle in mobilizing turnout to the level seen in 2020.”

For JuneteenthAmazon will Livestream Sold-Out Kendrick Lamar Concert in L.A.

Celebrating Juneteenth, multi-Grammy award winning musician and Compton native Kendrick Lamar will perform at a sold-out concert from the Kia Forum in Los Angeles on June 19.  

Tickets sold out almost instantly when news of the performance by the rapper the California State Senate recognized as a Generational Icon in 2015 was announced.  

Fans flocked to snag tickets, some reporting they were in line behind tens of thousands of others. Demand for tickets was so high that resale prices skyrocketed, climbing up to $1,500.

Those who can’t attend in person won’t have to miss out as the concert will be livestreamed on Amazon Music. Titled “The Pop Out – Ken & Friends,” presented by pgLang and Free Lunch, the livestream will start at 4 p.m. PT and air on the Amazon Music channel on Twitch and Prime Video.

The livestream coincides with “Forever the Influence,” Amazon Music’s way of honoring the contributions of Black artists, producers, and songwriters who have defined culture during Black Music Month. Amazon Music will announce additional Amazon Music Originals and video content from the most influential Black artists for “Forever the Influence” in the coming weeks.

The concert’s title is a reference to Lamar’s wildly popular Drake diss track, “Not Like Us,” which hip-hop fans have declared cemented his place as “winner” with the song becoming a huge radio success as a result from the feud. Since Lamar dropped his verse on Metro Boomin and Future’s track “Like That” back in March, the beef between him and Drake has finally come to an end.

pgLang, is a multidisciplinary creative communications company that specializes in music and visual media production. The company was founded in 2020 by rapper Kendrick Lamar and music executive Dave Free and is headquartered in Los Angeles. The name is an acronym for “program language”, which Free says is synonymous with text-based formal languages and aligns with Lamar’s art.  

Last year, Amazon Music sponsored the Juneteenth celebration at Leimert Park but had to cancel several performances when a stampede broke out causing an abrupt ending.

Those interested in tuning in can learn more at

Despite 11th Hour Push from Gov. Newsom, Prop 47 Amendment Makes It to Ballot

California voters will decide the outcome of a measure that aims to amend Proposition 47, a law that made drug possession and theft for property less than $950 a misdemeanor instead of a felony.  

Last week, a reform measure that imposes harsher criminal penalties for drug possession and theft qualified for the November ballot. Republican legislators and law enforcement officers advocated for the reform measure they say would reduce crime rates statewide.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones said that Democrats are too prideful to admit that Prop 47 was a mistake and continue to deny the need to reform the law.  

“To combat the California crime wave, we need to strengthen our laws, both in the Legislature and at the ballot box,” Jones said in a statement.  

“It’s irresponsible to force voters into a false choice between the two,” he added.  

Before the ballot measure qualified last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom attempted to negotiate with legislators to keep the reform measure off the November ballot. Democratic leaders made efforts to prevent Republican plans to have parts of Prop 47 repealed.  

Democrats accused Republicans of political posturing and intentionally misrepresenting Prop 47, pointing out that most retail theft and other crimes most frequently committed exceed the $950 misdemeanor threshold that has become a point of contention for opponents.  

“If a ballot measure purporting to address retail theft and fentanyl issues is approved by voters this fall, aspects of these laws simply won’t be applicable and there will be conflicts,” Speaker of the Assembly Robert Rivas said.  

“We should solve our crime problem with carefully considered legislation that addresses the problem, because that’s how to solve this — not through blunt force, but through informed fixes,” he said.

However, Californians for Safer Communities, a bipartisan group composed of law enforcement officers, community organizers, and business leaders backed the proposed amendment to reform Prop 47. The advocacy group garnered over 900,000 signatures for a petition that qualifies Prop 47 to be included in the November ballot, allowing voters to have a say on the amendment.  

Greg Totten, co-chair of Californians for Safer Communities said that State legislators should stop playing politics.  

“The Legislature’s plan to include an automatic repeal … proves they are not serious about addressing the explosion in retail theft and the state’s fentanyl crisis,” said Totten.

Voters approved Prop 47 in 2014 lowering the penalty for crimes including shoplifting, grand theft, and receiving stolen property. But Republican leaders want harsher penalties for offenses such as drug possession and property theft.  

Democratic leaders in the legislature proposed a bi-partisan package of 14 bills to help curb retail theft statewide to sway voters from repealing Prop 47. Democratic legislators also promised to add an amendment to a proposed bill on retail crimes that revokes the laws if voters pass the statewide proposition regarding harsher crime laws.  

Despite the governor’s repeated attempts to avoid including Prop 47 in the ballot box, voters will make the final decision in November.  

“Do I think the legislative path is better than the ballot box? Yes, I do, but I also respect the will of our voters here in California, said Rivas They’re frustrated, and I know that’s why our caucus, why our leaders in the Senate – why we have devoted a year to developing good, strong laws to fix this problem.”

History-Making Move: L.A. County Board of Supervisors Convenes First-Ever LGBTQ+ Commission

Los Angeles County introduced the first-ever Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Commission in a ceremony hosted by Supervisor Hilda Solis.  

The commission was created to recommend policies and address current and emerging issues that impact LGBTQ communities. This initiative was proposed and co-authored by Solis and Supervisor Janice Hahn, aiming to be more inclusive of LGBTQ individuals in California’s most populous county.  

The commission’s executive director Sunitha Menon will work alongside 15 LGBTQ commission members including community leaders, local government officials, lawyers, and health professionals.  

Solis said that the board of supervisors stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community.  

“Today, Los Angeles County is making history – again – and hopefully setting an example for the rest of the nation to follow,” said Solis.

The board of supervisors completed a year-long selection process when it appointed Menon as the commission’s executive director. The board also compiled a resolution to fly the Progress Pride Flag at all County facilities in honor of Pride Month.  

Menon said that the commission will remain dedicated to ensuring the safety and survival of LGBTQ individuals in their respective communities.  

“I look forward to working alongside the Commissioners to ensure we are uplifting the needs of the over 500,000 members of our community, particularly for our Black and Brown trans community members, and those who live in areas with less access to life-saving resources and support,” said Menon.

Supervisor Hahn said that LA County is on the right side of history by uplifting LGBTQ voices.  

“There are too many states and local governments across the country who are moving backwards when it comes to LGBTQ rights,” said Hahn.

California Lawmakers Amend AB 886, Bill Written to Save Journalism

Last week, California lawmakers added new amendments to Assembly Bill (AB) 886, reviving a controversial piece of legislation that would require online platforms to pay a fee for news content distributed alongside digital advertisements.  

The bill, supporters say, was written to protect news publications and the public service journalism they produce – one of the pillars that strengthens America’s democracy.  

AB 866’s author Assemblymember Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland) cancelled a hearing on the bill last year after significant pushback from Google and other major digital tech companies.  

Under current law, tech companies pocket all the revenue they generate from digital ads displayed on news articles online. 

The “California Journalism Preservation Act” models Canada’s digital news publishing laws that charge online platforms for distributing news content.  

The newly amended AB 886 requires tech companies that own online platforms to pay publishers a sizable portion of the ad revenue generated from online news content. The law also obligates publishers to use 70% of the proceeds they would receive from the tech giants to pay journalists who are residents of the state.  

Similar to Canada’s law, if AB 886 passes, payment for each news outlet would be based on the number of journalists working in the newsroom as opposed to the rate of engagement and impressions generated by articles. The bill also aims to create a fund that companies can pay into, which would later be distributed to various news outlets. Since the law took effect in Canada last year, Google has paid approximately $74 million toward a fund that supports the news industry.  

“What we learned with the Canada version is that it’s possible, and that news is of value, it’s critical,” said Wicks.

“And that we should be doing everything we can to ensure that our publishers are compensated for the work that they’re providing,” she said.  

The California News Publishers Association sponsored the bill despite facing opposition from tech giants like Google, Facebook and other companies. Google argued that the bill would interrupt its business model, stating in a blog post that the law “undermines news in California.”  

Earlier this year, Google removed links to California news sites from online search results as a show of power to push back against the bill.  

California lawmakers are also working on a tax measure under Senate Bill (SB) 1327. That legislation, authored by Assemblymember Steve Glazer (D-Orinda), would impose a tax on Amazon, Meta, and Google for the data they extract from users. The “data mitigation fee” will be reinvested into news organizations and reward publishers with a tax credit for hiring full-time journalists.  

That bill has been held in the Senate Appropriations Committee.


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