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By Eric Johnson
Published Feb 05, 2024

The celebrated sci-fi author and futurist Octavia E. Butler said we are changed when we work for positive change. The celebrated sci-fi author and futurist Octavia E. Butler said we are changed when we work for positive change. Image credit: Nikolas Coukouma   CC BY-SA 2.5 DEED

Black History and Black Futurism

In The Newsletter this week we celebrate the start of Black History Month with a guide to California organizions working to help the state deliver on the promises of equal rights and social justice to its African American residents. 

Also: ICYMI, a list of 30 great Black California heroes who helped create the best of California, from the abolitionist millionaire Mary Ellen Pleasant (c. 1814-1904) to the Boyz n the Hood filmmaker John Singleton (1968-2019). And as always: A curated collection of local news you can use, and the Recipe of the Week.

Black Californians Working for Justice

Last week I happened to hear Baratunde Thurston, host of the “How to Citizen” podcast and “America Outdoors” on PBS, pose this question to Ava DuVernay, the director of Origin, as well as the MLK biopic Selma and the documentary 13th

“I want to ask you about your belief and your faith in the human capacity to change,” Thurston said to DuVernay. “Because so many of the stories you're telling … are about revealing some deep intransigence in the human condition—commitments to discrimination, [and] to systems of hierarchy and unfairness.

“As you wrestle with these ideas, where do you stand on our capacity to not just recognize these systems, but to alter them for the better?”

DuVernay took the question in a direction likely informed by its source—whether he’s talking about political activism or tree-climbing, Bararunde generally begins and ends in a deeply personal place.

DuVernay: “Let me say, yeah, I believe, I believe in change. I believe Octavia Butler, the great writer and futurist, talked about ‘all that you touch changes you.’ And, and so that is a daily process, that is an ongoing engagement—holding hands with the world. And to think that that change is not possible, to think that you are not changed by what you encounter, what you say, what you do, what is said and done to you, is I think a pedestrian way to think about life.

So for me, absolutely. Not only is change possible—it’s inevitable, and it’s happening in every moment.”

Here are some individuals and organizations working for positive change in California.

Bending the Arc of History

Here’s a short list of just some of the organizations working to build better futures for African Americans in California.

California Pioneers

Clockwise from upper right: Architect Paul R. Williams, Assemblyman Frederick Madison Roberts, abolitionist Mary Ellen Pleasant, and Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (with President Gerald Ford).
Black History Month provides an opportunity to remember the achievements of African Americans who fought for equality in the Golden State.

Recipe of the Week

Our friends at Sacramento Digs Gardening publish a recipe from their gardens every Sunday, which we feature here so you can start your week with some yum.

As an extra bonus, we're also including a link to their new cookbook of seasonal recipes! 

Slab apple tart a no-sugar treat

Thinly sliced apples top this slab tart, which makes a lovely dessert for a dinner or potluck.
Recipe: Make bourbon apple butter for extra flavorful filling

‘Taste Winter!’ cookbook shows how to make the most of your cool-season harvest

Fresh-off-the-tree oranges mean winter to those of us lucky enough to live in California. Find several citrus-based recipes in the "Taste Winter! cookbook.
Enjoy winter fruit and vegetables with these home-grown recipes

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Blue Line Arts logo Blue Line Arts

Blue Line Arts is a nonprofit art gallery promoting creative expression through art showcases and building bridges between artists, businesses and local residents.

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Upcoming Community Ally Events

Roseville Urban Forest Foundation logo RUFF: Native Tree Planting, Roseville
Saturday February 24 2024   9:00 AM
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From Our Media Allies

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Tahoe Daily Tribune logo Slow Down, Move Over

A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety sheds light on the daily risks encountered by tow truck drivers, mobile mechanics, and roadside technicians.

Sierra Sun logo Community Collaborative Asks Residents to Participate in Survey

The Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee is measuring quality of life, community engagement, and behavioral health needs in a survey of local residents.

Sierra Sun logo February Purchases at Alpenglow Gallery Will Support Tahoe Fund

Alpenglow Gallery owners Douglas DeVore and Justin Majeczky will donate 100% of their profits to the Tahoe Fund.

Sierra Sun logo North Tahoe Community Alliance Accepting Applications for Event Funding

The North Tahoe Community Alliance will consider events that are scheduled to take place in North Lake Tahoe between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31.

Placer Herald logo Local Film Aims to Humanize Those Experiencing Homelessness

The Northern California film scene locally is growing as a big-feature movie was in Auburn to complete production. “No Address,” about homelessness, was filmed throughout the area, and is produced by Rocklin-based Robert Craig Films.

Auburn Journal logo Colfax Reviews Downtown Connectivity, Improvement Plan

The Colfax City Council held a workshop for its Draft Downtown Connectivity/Main Street Improvement Plan during its Jan. 24 meeting.

Sierra Sun logo Proposed North Lake Tahoe Recreation and Aquatics Center Initiative Faces Setback

At a joint North Tahoe Public Utility District and Tahoe City Public Utility District meeting, both boards gave a green light to continue to discuss putting a tax measure to fund a North Lake Tahoe Recreation and Aquatics Center on …

Loomis News logo Board of Supervisors District 3 Candidates Face Off in Q&A

The newly drawn District 3 represents Rocklin, Loomis, Penryn and a portion of Newcastle. There is no incumbent, and three candidates are going head to head. The two top vote-getters will advance to the November ballot.

Lincoln News Messenger logo Lincoln City Treasurer Announces City Council Campaign

“Governance and civic involvement has been in my blood for decades,” City Treasurer Richard Pearl said. “As a consultant I spent most of my career assisting cities and counties govern more effectively.”

Sierra Sun logo Tahoe City Downtown Access Improvements Project Needs Additional $500k

The Tahoe City Downtown Access Improvements project is seeking to add to a $1,099,000 commitment from the North Tahoe Community Alliance.

Sierra Sun logo Design Committee Wants Kings Beach 8-Unit Project to Adjust Aesthetics

The Tahoe Basin Design Review Committee asked a Kings Beach multi-family residential housing project developer to come back and present implemented suggestions at a future meeting.

Auburn Journal logo New Auburn Bakery Cooks Up Gourmet Doughnuts

Hula Buns Bakery specializes in brioche doughnuts and Hawaiian-inspired Malasadas that are hand crafted with all fresh ingredients.

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Recent Local News

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• Former CSU Professor Admits to Setting Blazes Near Dixie Fire in 2021

The ex-professor pleaded guilty to multiple arson charges in court.

(02/02/2024) → SF Gate

• Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe Raising Funds to Reestablish Homeland

The Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe has a time-limited opportunity to purchase 232 acres on a Nisenan Village site called Yulića—the tribe’s best opportunity to re-establish a homeland in more than half a century.

(02/01/2024) → YubaNet

• Imperiled Monarch Butterflies Cling to Survival in California

Monarch butterflies have a long way to go before reaching stable population numbers.

(01/30/2024) → SF Gate
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Recent Statewide News

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• Mike McGuire Wants to ‘Lift Up Every Person’ as New California Senate Leader

Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg takes over as Democratic leader in the state Senate from Sen. Toni Atkins. He terms out in 2026, so has limited time to push his agenda.

(02/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Is Housing Health Care? State Medicaid Programs Increasingly Say ‘Yes’

States are plowing billions of dollars into a high-stakes health care experiment that’s exploding around the country: using scarce public health insurance money to provide housing for the poorest and sickest Americans.

(02/05/2024) → California Healthline

• The Terrifying Forces That Created a California Monster Storm

The storm fed off of unusually warm waters as it grew. It also reached “bomb cyclone” status as it neared California.

(02/05/2024) → Los Angeles Times

• Darrell Steinberg: Return of State Workers Helps, But Sacramento’s Transformation is Well Underway

Downtown Sacramento faces many challenges, but the growing number of small businesses, hotels, homes and other major developments signal its transformation, says the city’s mayor.

(02/05/2024) → CalMatters

• Despite Disbanding in 1995, Grateful Dead Make Billboard History

The Grateful Dead have broken the record for the most Top 40 albums to chart on the Billboard 200.

(02/05/2024) → Daily Democrat

• Some Experts Are Proposing a Category 6 Storm Rating

A handful of super powerful tropical storms in the last decade and the prospect of more to come has a couple of experts proposing a new category of whopper hurricanes: Category 6.

(02/05/2024) → Daily Democrat

• California Universities Are Required to Offer Students Abortion Pills. A Lot Just Don’t Mention It

One year after California became the first state to require its public universities to provide the abortion pill to students, basic information on where or how students can obtain the medication is lacking.

(02/04/2024) → CapPublicRadio

• New ‘Toothless’ Walrus Discovered Along California Coast

An extinct species of walrus was unearthed in Santa Cruz County, evoking a time when California was teeming with odd creatures that feel closer to fantasy than reality, researchers said.

(02/01/2024) → SF Gate

• Back From COP28, California Climate Leaders Talk Health Impacts of Warming

As Californians increasingly feel the health effects of climate change, state leaders are adopting sweeping policies they hope will fend off the worst impacts.

(01/31/2024) → California Healthline

• ‘Just the Beginning’: California Reparations Backers Applaud Bills, Even Without Big Cash Payouts

Lawmakers introduced a package of bills designed to tackle some forms of reparations. The measures may face budget constraints and opposition.

(01/31/2024) → CalMatters

• Saving Salmon: Newsom Unveils Blueprint for Ending Decades-Long Decline

Chinook and other salmon runs are collapsing. Conservation groups call it too little, too late. Plan includes dam removals and restoring river flows.

(01/30/2024) → CalMatters

• Advice From Former Superintendents on Retaining Those Still on the Job

Five former California superintendents shared potential solutions for reducing the increasing turnover rate in their profession.

(01/30/2024) → EdSource

• Will More Outdoor Drinking Give CA Economy a Buzz?

State Sen. Scott Wiener wants to allow California cities and counties to designate “entertainment zones” where bars and restaurants could serve alcoholic drinks that people can consume on public streets and sidewalks.

(01/29/2024) → CalMatters

• New Pickleball Equipment Takes a Swing at the Sport’s Noise Problem

The “pop, pop, pop” that’s become synonymous with Pickleball may soon be a racket of the past. That’s the goal promised by a new generation of equipment developed to lessen the overall acoustic burden of the sport.

(01/29/2024) → Daily Democrat
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Government Announcements

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Image of United States seal. United States   (02/03/2024)

Hormel Foods Recalls Ready-To-Eat Spiced Deli Ham Products Due to Misbranding and Undeclared Allergen

WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2024 - Hormel Foods, an Austin, Minn. establishment, is recalling approximately 945 pounds of ready-to-eat spiced deli ham products due to misbranding and undeclared allergen, the U.S...
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/02/2024)

Summer Fresh Salads Inc. Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Sesame in Wegmans Harissa Hummus Topped with Harissa

Summer Fresh Salads Inc. of Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada is recalling its Wegmans Harissa Hummus Topped With Harissa because they may contain undeclared sesame. People who have allergies to sesame run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products. The recal
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (02/02/2024)

Brian Dahle CA Senate 01:
Update from Senator Dahle - 02.02.2024

Update from Senator Dahle - 02.02.2024 SREPweb Fri, 02/02/2024 - 14:54
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (02/02/2024)

Megan Dahle CA Assembly 01:
January at the Capitol

Greetings I hope this message finds you well as we usher in the month of February! Last month brought a number of visitors to our office a testament to the engagement of businesses and organizations within the 1st Assembly District in the legislative process. I am appreciative of those who took the time to connect [...] The post January at …
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/02/2024)

Macgregors Meat and Seafood Ltd Recalls Frozen Ready-To-Eat Pork Products Imported Without Benefit of Import Reinspection

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2024 - Macgregors Meat and Seafood Ltd, a Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada establishment, is recalling approximately 2,745 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat pork products that were not presented for...
Image of State of California seal. State of California   (02/01/2024)

Joe Patterson CA Assembly 05:
Assemblyman Joe Patterson Introduces Bill to Stop Transient Releases of Sexually Violent Predators

Image of County of Placer seal. County of Placer   (02/01/2024)

County seeks to safeguard pedestrian safety and enhance traffic flow at Grove Street in Tahoe City

A project to safeguard pedestrians and enhance traffic flow within the Tahoe City corridor is set to kick off after a key approval by the Placer County Board of Supervisors last week.
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/01/2024)

Hearty Acquisitions Llc Issues Allergy Alert on Undeclared Soy in Tomato Basil with Rice Exp 3/22/2024

Hearty Acquisitions Inc. of Brooklyn, NY, is recalling its pints of "Tomato Basil with Rice EXP 3/22/2024" 16 Oz containers because they contain Butternut Squash Bisque resulting in soy being undeclared on the label. People who have allergies to soy run the risk of serious or life-threatening allerg
Image of United States seal. United States   (02/01/2024)

Nam & Son of MD Recalls Soybean Sprouts Because of Possible Health Risk

Nam & Son of MD, Jessup, MD is recalling one-pound bags of soybean sprouts, with the sell-by date of December 21, 2023, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
Image of City of Auburn seal. City of Auburn   (01/31/2024)

View the latest City Council agenda here