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Saweetie's ICY Baby Foundation To Launch A Financial Literacy Program For Black And Brown Youth

Saweetie is dedicated to passing on knowledge to the next generation.

Ngozi Nwanji

Dec 13, 2022

The Currys Plan To Install 150 Libraries In Oakland To Boost The Literacy Rate For Black And Latinx Youth

Stephen and Ayesha Curry are taking action to increase the literacy rate for children through their Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation. ABC7 reports that the Currys have unveiled the first of 150 Little Town Libraries that will be spread out across Oakland, CA — with an aim to provide 30,000 books to the youth. The libraries are chosen by partners in the community such as Oakland Literacy Coalition, Oakland Public Library, and Black Cultural Zone. First up for the installments was Franklin Elementary. The power couple’s foundation — launched in 2019 — is all about providing kids and families in Oakland, the Bay Area, and across the U.S. with the resources necessary to excel. Their latest initiative is working to combat the statistic of one in three children reading at grade level by the end of third grade in addition to the low levels of Black and Latinx elementary students reading at grade level. According to the outlet, “only 15.4% of Black and 12.5% of Latino/a elementary students are...

Ngozi Nwanji

Apr 1, 2022

Oak Impact Group's Erik Murray Aims To Bring More Black Real Estate Brokers And Developers Into The Industry

Erik Murray began his journey in commercial real estate in 2004, and 17 years later, the same thought crosses his mind: There’s not enough diversity. The lack thereof drove him to envision the possibility of him creating his own company to create what he wanted to see within the industry. Owing gratitude to becoming one of a few from his background to get his foot in the door, Murray was dedicated to finding a way to pay it forward in bringing more who looked like him into the space. “It’s almost a secret that is kept from us,” Murray told AfroTech. “Even though I grew up in a highly educated, middle-class, Black family, my mom and dad always kept saying, ‘Son, you have to be a doctor or a lawyer.’ No one said you can be a real estate broker. You can be a real estate developer.” He continued: “So, I made it my goal that once I ‘learned the game,’ I was going to build a firm that was not only Black-owned but went out of our way to create pathways and opportunities for other aspiring...

Ngozi Nwanji

Feb 20, 2022

This Black Ownership Circle is Looking to Become the First Black-Owned NFL Ownership Group

The African American Sports & Entertainment Group (AASEG) — which was founded with a primary purpose to create economic equity within the Black community through sports — is on a mission to become the first Black-owned ownership group in the NFL to bring professional football back to its city of Oakland, CA. According to The Undefeated, the group has put in a bid on the Oakland Coliseum site with a plan to get a professional football team back in its hometown and make history in the process. The outlet reports that there are owners in the league that represent a total of 32 NFL teams — two that are people of color and none of which are Black. AASEG is hoping to change that and create a historical moment that will break the existing color barrier amongst the league, allowing Black people to have a piece of the pie too. “We feel like this is a Jackie Robinson moment,” Raymond “Ray” Bobbitt — the creator of AASEG and founder of an Oakland-based facility management and urban consulting...

Njera Perkins

Mar 31, 2021

This Oakland Teen Started A Nonprofit to Introduce Youth to the Wonders of Science

We could all learn a lesson on time management from one high school senior, Ahmed Muhammad. He finds time to juggle playing basketball, take college courses on top of his high school classes, and design science kits for his nonprofit. According to Because of Them We Can (BOTWC), Muhammad launched Kits Cubed in March 2020 to provide kids with hands-on science experience. It was this very experience that was used in his college admissions essay and now he will be the first person in his family to attend college following his recent admission into Stanford University. “It was a dream come true,” he said, according to CNN. “It still doesn’t feel real.” The Oakland Technical senior says he drew inspiration from his kits while babysitting his niece and nephew. He says it was his nephew’s dislike for science that compelled him to start the nonprofit. “He literally loved everything, and then when I brought up science, he doubted himself,” shared Muhammad. “He didn’t believe in himself...

Shanique Yates

Jan 11, 2021

Black Women Founders Raise Over $70K to Fund New Wine Shop

This Black-owned wine shop is making its way to Oakland’s Black Arts Movement District. CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar was co-founded by Bay area natives Mari Kemp and Alicia Kidd and will open during the first quarter of 2021 with a focus on BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) along with women-owned brands made around the country. They will also work globally to pair them with a curated menu of small bites, reports EURweb . “We founded CoCo Noir to be a disruptor in the wine industry by offering a platform and a space for winemakers of color and women producing amazing wines and also expose those wines to an amazing demographic of people,” said Kidd, wine distributor and founder of The Wine Noire. Both of these women entrepreneurs aim to influence the wine culture that has continuously risen in Oakland’s nationally recognized culinary scene. Located at 13 th and Webster, Kemp and Kidd want CoCo Noir to be a place where all wine lovers (no matter the level) can not only...

Shanique Yates

Oct 28, 2020

Meet the Two Entrepreneurs Who Launched a $1B Investment Fund For Black Businesses

Black Americans are faced with two pandemics — COVID-19 and racism. Due to this, a lot of businesses have been forced to close or currently face the brink of extinction. Elisse Douglass and Trevor Parham are two entrepreneurs that have decided to give back during this time by helping local business during the pandemic. In June, they established the Oakland Black Business Fund which was created to aid Black-owned businesses in the Bay Area with a goal of $10 million. Their relief efforts also include a $1 billion investment fund that will help other Black entrepreneurs nationwide survive the economic fallout from the pandemic, Crunchbase reports . The fund first started after Douglass created a community-oriented crowdfunding site for businesses that had been affected by the Black Lives Matter protests. According to Crunchbase , after bringing in $100,000 in less than a week and a half, Parham shares that they had more money than they originally set out to make. “We immediately...

Shanique Yates

Sep 3, 2020

AfroTech 2019: How the Official Homecoming for Black People in Tech Changed My Life

AfroTech 2019 has come to an end, and this elderly millennial is exhausted but feeling revived and renewed. For the first time, I had a chance to brush shoulders and connect with 10,000 Black programmers, engineers, founders, and entrepreneurs from over 100 companies focused on scaling our collective power in the culture, innovation, and tech. It is the official homecoming for Black techies proving that diversity and inclusion in tech is not a pipeline problem. Let me preface. For almost ten years, I have been fortunate to have a seat at the table where I can be curious about the future of AdTech, leading strategic partnerships to bring advertising and entertainment solutions to life. Despite all of the challenges, I am proud to be a part of an exciting and rewarding industry surrounded by talented people. The AdTech industry has been a lonely place for me as a person of color. It is evident that we have made significant progress with diversity and inclusion in creative industries....

Alicia Ray

Nov 14, 2019

Two Minority-Led Investment Banks Expected to Close on Merger in November

Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. and The Williams Capital Group are set to close on a merger early next month, according to a press release . The deal will make Siebert Williams Shank & Co. one of the top women-led and minority-owned investment banks in the country. “Williams was the only firm with the capabilities, talent, and integrity in the corporate underwriting space that we felt expanded our franchise and matched our work-ethic and high-standards of performance, and now, we have created a truly historic firm,” Suzanne Shank, a founding partner and CEO of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., said in a statement. Shank will serve as President and CEO of the new firm, while Christopher Williams serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Williams Capital has participated in a healthy number of debt and equity financings for clients across different industries and has held the top spot as co-manager of U.S. corporate debt. Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. is top-ranked for co-managers of...

Arriana McLymore

Oct 21, 2019

Oakland Could Be Headed Toward a Ban on Facial Recognition Technology

The use of facial recognition technology by government agencies — including law enforcement — has continued to raise privacy and civil rights concerns across the nation. Now, some cities are taking pre-emptive steps to prevent it from ever reaching them. On Thursday, the Oakland Privacy Commission unanimously approved a recommendation to the city council calling for the ban of any type of facial recognition technology. According to KTVU , Chair Brian Hofer acknowledged that there’s no agency he’s presently aware of utilizing facial recognition technology in Oakland. However, it’s better to act now than get caught scrambling later. As Hofer told KTVU: “This is our opportunity to prevent the genie from getting out of the bottle. We know the technology is dangerously inaccurate today, and even if it becomes perfectly accurate, it is too radical of an expansion of government power over our lives. We have a human right, and a state right, to privacy. When the vendors of such technology...

Vanessa Taylor

May 6, 2019

Red Bay Coffee Secures Series A Funding Round led by Richelieu Dennis and David Drummond

Red Bay Coffee, an Oakland-based, Black-owned coffee brand, just secured its Series A funding round. Photojournalist Keba Konte started Red Bay Coffee in 2014, creating a space where coffee and art could collide. David Drummond, the senior vice president of corporate development at Alphabet Inc., and Sundial Brands Founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis, helped lead the funding round for Red Bay Coffee. Red Bay Coffee is a pillar in the Fruitvale community–where it’s based–and uses its space to host panel discussions, screen films, and launch products. The company also sources its coffee from countries including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and more. In 2018, Konte told AfroTech “My home is Oakland.” “The spirit of Oakland is in line with Red Bay Coffee’s mission. There is an entrepreneurial and artistic spirit in the water here,” Konte said. Red Bay has also been a wholesale supplier for major tech companies like Facebook, Salesforce, Twitter, and Airbnb. “People all over the world...

Arriana McLymore

Feb 22, 2019

Lyft Is Investing $1 Million To Help Make Transportation More Accessible In Oakland

Lyft is partnering with local organizations for a $1 million initiative to help make transportation more accessible to underserved communities in Oakland. “We are proud to seize that opportunity starting in Oakland,” Lyft said in a blog post. “By working together to ensure everyone can share in reliable, safe and affordable transportation, we can make our cities even better places to live.” Lyft is teaming up with  TransForm, East Oakland Collective, and The Scraper Bike Team to offer mobilization through bikes, scooters and car rides. The company announced on its blog that TransForm, an organization working to increase sustainable transportation choices in California cities, would play a huge role in identifying future parklets and bike share stations and launching pilot programs for underserved neighborhoods. According to TechCrunch, Lyft is using $700,000 of its own money and its helping TransForm raise an additional $300,000 for Oakland.

Arriana McLymore

Feb 13, 2019