BWOPA Oakland/Berkeley Blogs & Issues

Separate and Unequal: The Compound Effect of Racial Inequality and COVID-19 

co-authored by: De’Zhon Grace, Carolyn Johnson, & Treva Reid

A Viral Pandemic Meets America’s Pandemic of Inequality

Earlier this month both the New York Times and ProPublica wrote about the impact of COVID-19, reporting that in states where Black communities make up only a relatively small portion of the population, nearly half -- if not majority -- of all COVID-19 deaths are members of the Black community.  This is largely due to environmental, economic and political factors that have compounded for generations, putting black people at higher risk of chronic conditions that leave lungs weak and immune systems compromised: asthma, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. Redlining and environmental racism, for example, have consigned Black neighborhoods to breathing some of America’s dirtiest air, drinking contaminated water, and living in food deserts.

COVID-19 is having  a clearly disparate impact on the Black community, and we have a clear need for data to be disaggregated by race and ethnicity, in addition to resources focused on our most vulnerable communities.  COVID-19 is not an equal opportunity virus. Indeed, it’s shined a spotlight on America’s pandemic of inequality. Everything we know thus far says that its burden falls disproportionately on low-income communities and communities of color, especially the Black community. 

The Black community is also standing up for, and standing in solidarity with, other communities who are suffering. This is particularly true of the Asian Pacific Islander American community, which is seeing a spike in despicable hate crimes, and the undocumented immigrant community, which has cruelly been denied access to federal economic recovery funds. 

The author’s call on the governor and California elected officials to schedule a meeting with us and other representatives of the Black community to discuss concrete steps the state can take in addressing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our community, as well as targeting our community in its recovery efforts. Governor Newsom and California elected officials must act immediately to ensure that our community’s economic engine is not decimated due to the pandemic.

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Let's Talk Roundtable

BWOPA members!!!
In this unprecedented time as we shelter in place and practice social distancing, its a critical time to continue to check-in on each other, our loved ones and engage, mobilize and organize our sisters and respective communities with pertinent information.
On Sat, April 4th from 10am - 11:30am, join BWOPA California leadership for an "All Membership Zoom Call" --- BWOPA officers, board of directors, chapter leaders and membership.  With guest speaker, BWOPA very own Lifetime Member California Senator Holly Mitchell.
For your link to access the Zoom call... RSVP here:
We are slated to cover current affairs, tools and methods to continue organizing around our core issues and operations, to include, but not limited to: 
  • Census 2020:  Updates and resources
  • November General Election:  local, presidential, regional and state
  • Self-Care:  What are you doing to ensure the health & wellness is safe & sound for yourself, family & our community
  • Organizing:  Chapter and State Board meetings
  • Legislation:  Important issues on the Watch List
If you have key information to share for consideration on the agenda or just to share to all, send an email to: by April 1st.
To JOIN or RENEW your membership -- visit
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East Bay Area School Sites "Grab & Go"

During our Shelter in Place mandate there are a number of Bay Area schools that are providing free breakfast & lunch for children under 18 for pick up only.

School District





Albany High School Cafeteria

603 Key route Blvd.

M-F, March 16-April 3

11am – 1pm








Berkeley Arts Magnet Elementary

2015 Virginia St.







T-F, March 17 – March 20 M,W,F, March 23-March 27







11am – 1pm

Rosa Parks Elementary

920 Allston Way

Longfellow Middle School

1500 Derby St.

Willard Middle School

2425 Stuart St.

Berkeley High School

1980 Allston Way

Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School 1781 Rose St.

Castro Valley

Creekside Middle School Cafeteria

19722 Center St.

M-F, March 18 – March 31

11am – 12:30pm









Cherryland Elementary

456 Laurel Ave.








M-F, March 17, March 27









Fairview Elementary

23515 Maud Ave.

Longwood Elementary

850 Longwood Ave.

Park Elementary

411 Larchmont St.

Schafer Park Elementary

26268 Flamingo Ave.

Treeview Elementary

30565 Treeview St.

Tyrrell Elementary

27000 Tyrrell Ave.




Hayward High School

1633 East Ave.



Tennyson High School

27035 Whitman St.

Mt. Eden High School 2300 Panama St.





East Avenue Middle School

3951 East Ave.




M-F, March 17 – April 13




12pm – 1pm

Junction Avenue K-8

298 Junction Ave.

Marilyn Ave Elementary 800 Marilyn Ave.








New Haven

Alvarado Elementary

31100 Fredi St.








M-F, March 17 – March 27








8am – 9am 12pm – 1pm

Eastin Elementary

34901 Eastin Dr.

Guy Emanuele Elementary

100 Decoto Rd.

Hillview Crest Elementary

31410 Wheelon Ave.

Kitayama Elementary

1959 Sunsprite Dr.

Cesar Chavez Middle School

2801 Hop Ranch Rd.

James Logan High School 1800 H St.




Newark Junior High School

6201 Lafayette Ave.



M-F, March 17-March 27



11am – 12pm

NUSD Central Kitchen 37370 Birch St.















Sankofa Academy

581 61st St.













M, TH, March 17 – until school resumes













8am – 12pm

West Oakland Middle School

991 14th St.

Hoover Elementary

890 Brockhurst St.

Oakland High School

1023 MacArthur Blvd.

Garfield Elementary

1640 22nd Ave.

Bret Harte Middle School

3700 Coolidge Ave.

Life Academy

2101 35th Ave.

Coliseum College Prep Academy

1390 66th Ave.

Madison Park Academy, Upper

400 Capistrano Dr.

Fremont High School

4610 Foothill Blvd.

Elmhurst United Middle School

1800 98th Ave.

Castlemont High School 8601 MacArthur Blvd.






Pleasanton Middle School

5001 Case Ave.





M-F, March 17 – April 3





11am – 12pm

Valley View Elementary

480 Adams Way

Lydiksen Elementary 7700 Highland Oaks Dr.

Alisal Elementary 1454 Santa Rita Rd.




San Leandro

San Leandro High School

2200 Bancroft Ave.



M-F, March 16 – until school resumes



12pm – 12:45pm

John Muir Middle School

1444 William St.

Monroe Elementary

3750 Monterey Blvd.


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Level Up Masterclass

RSVP today!   Limited Scholarships - apply by Jan 10th

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Happy Kwanzaa

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Public Safety Power Shutoff


In 2018, California had one the deadliest and most destructive fire seasons ever with over 1.8 million acres burned. We are working now to better prepare our communities for wildfires and disasters. One focus has been to increase the access to safety information that gives our residents what they need to plan and prepare.
BWOPA is working with Pacific Gas & Electric Company on this, and we hope it makes all of the difference in keeping everyone safe.
People are being asked to prepare a Five Minute Plan to evacuate their homes immediately and watch for Red Flag Warnings. Evacuation orders means you have to leave right away to avoid getting stuck. Preparing a Five Minute Plan gets your family ready to go quickly once you are ordered to leave.
There are steps that must be taken in order to be able to leave in 5 minutes.
  • Mark evacuation routes on map
  • Plan where to go if you can’t come home
  • Put together an emergency supply kit
  • Explain plan to children
  • Practice leaving your home in 5 minutes
Visit PG& to learn more ways to keep you and your family safe during this Wildfire Season.
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Presidential Debate Watch Party

You are invited to join BWOPA, AKA, Niagara Democratic Club, Joy and Justice Initiative and Bayard Rustin LGBT Coalition for the 2020 Presidential Debate Watch Party @ Geoffrey's Inner Circle, Wed July 31st, 5pm.  Doors open at 4:30pm.


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BOSS Helping BOSS Women

We Invite You To Join Us!

BWOPA partners with 100 Black Women of the Bay Area & the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Xi Gamma Omega Chapter for the"BOSS Women Helping BOSS Women" - an initiative set to support women in the Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS) - Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC) program.

In an effort to lift the self-esteem and remove the barriers to be self-sufficient, the collective of black women organizations' goal is to gather women clothing of ALL sizes, to include: slacks, blazers, professional tops, dresses, skirts, shoes, brief bags, purses, and scarves to support their efforts for on the job and for interviews.

Since a large portion of the women in the CTEC programs are formerly incarcerated and/or homeless, many may lack sufficient clothing for interviewing or in a job setting. A large number of the women are excited to obtain a job interview, but are let down when they realize they do not have the proper interview attire.

We ask members of the community to join us in this effort to bring a little more joy in our community.

BOSS works daily to fulfill its mission to help individuals become self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is the means to be able to support one self without relying on solely on assistance. It is our goal to assist the women of BOSS in their efforts to become self-sufficient and prosperous.

If you are interested in supporting and have gently worn or new clothes for women of all sizes - e-mail for upcoming drop off locations and events.

Or visit




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Legislative Learning Day 2019

Join BWOPA, California Media Coalition, Sistallect and BAPAC for a day of legislative advocacy at the State Capitol.

Gather for morning briefing and attend scheduled meetings with state legislators and key staff to discuss key issues that effect our urban communities on Education, Criminal Justice, Health and Economic Security.

RSVP by May 1st for proper planning purposes.


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Kamala Harris Officially Announces 2020 Presidential Run

After many rumors and much speculation over the past few months, Senator Kamala Harris (D) announced on Monday she will run for president in the 2020 election.

The California senator first released the news during a Good Morning America interview on Jan. 21, the day the nation honors Martin Luther King Jr. 

Harris later posted her official campaign video on her social media platforms. "The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values. That's why I'm running for president of the United States," she said in the video.

Embedded video

I'm running for president. Let's do this together. Join us: 

The announcement of her campaign themed 'For the People', honors and appropriately falls on a historic day, the 47th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm's presidential campaign launch.
Harris is the first African American woman to announce her run for the 2020 presidential race, and the third woman. 

The Howard alumna released her debut memoir, "The Truths We Hold" at the start of 2019, for which she launched a January book tour. The tour was viewed by many as a major hint to her presidential run.

Harris will officially make her announcement in Oakland, California on Jan. 27.


Maya J. Boddie

by Maya J. Boddie
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