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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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Direct your browser to yolo.californialocal.com to catch up on the latest news in California and Yolo County. Bookmark the link and visit often, there's a lot happening in your community!


Get to Know a Group

Big Brothers Big Sisters logo Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brother Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, enduring, professionally supported mentorship. The chapter serves Sacramento and Yolo counties, as well as southern Placer County.

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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.

The Dirt logo Celebrate Black History Month at The Avid Reader

To celebrate Black History Month, the Avid Reader welcomes local children’s book author Anita Crawford Clark and her debut picture book, “Old to Joy.”

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Recent Local News

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• Talk Focuses on Anti-Gentrification and Displacement Efforts Around Aggie Square

While promising to boost local health care and tech economies, UC Davis’s Aggie Square project raises concerns for Oak Park community.

(02/05/2024) → The Sacramento Observer

• The 2024 State of West Sacramento

West Sacramento Mayor Martha Guerrero, now in the fourth year of her second term, writes that she wants a third term “to further the dreams for the city that spurred my initial desire to run for office.”

(02/04/2024) → Daily Democrat

• A Guide to the City of Woodland’s Measure M

There is no shortage of information or opinions when it comes to Measure M, but what does a “Yes” or “No” vote mean, and what do you as a voter need to know about it?

(02/04/2024) → Daily Democrat

• 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

• Nonpartisan Yolo County Election Information Resource a Click Away

VOTE411, a leading digital platform dedicated to election information, offers voters in California a streamlined and intuitive way to research candidates, understand ballot measures, and prepare to vote confidently.

(02/01/2024) → Daily Democrat

• City of Davis Begins Transition to Ban Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers

During the Davis City Council meeting, the council approved a motion to create a progression plan that will eventually ban gas-powered leaf blowers and small off-road engines.

(02/01/2024) → The California Aggie

• Measure N Campaign Underway in Davis Ahead of Upcoming Election

The election, scheduled for March 5, will have Davis voters deciding on whether to support continued funding for local public schools.

(02/01/2024) → The California Aggie

• 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

• New Studio and Gallery Brings ‘Art Renaissance’ to Davis

Secret Spot’s founders discuss their recent open-call show and Davis’ art scene.

(01/30/2024) → The California Aggie

• Sacramento Joins San Francisco as California’s Slowest Cities to Recover From the Pandemic

San Francisco is coping with a “doom loop” of declining employment and business activity in its downtown core, but a new study suggests Sacramento may be in worse shape.

(01/30/2024) → CalMatters
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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 City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (02/02/2024)

Public Library Announces Winners of 150th Anniversary Library Card Contest

The limited-edition cards featuring these winning designs are set to officially launch this summer, coinciding with the Woodland Public Library's celebration of its 150th anniversary
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)

Bill Dodd CA Senate 03:
Sen. Dodd Introduces Utilities Infrastructure Savings Bill

Thursday, February 1, 2024SACRAMENTO Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced legislation today that would help ensure electrical utilities are pursuing the fastest and most cost-effective infrastructure improvements, safeguarding the public from future wildfires and saving money for ratepayers forced to cover the cost of more expensive repairs. As utilities make upgrades to their systems to keep us safe from wildfire, we …
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 Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (01/31/2024)

REXPO & Senior Art Show

Come to REXPO for fun and summer discounts, and see senior artwork
Image of City of Woodland seal. City of Woodland   (01/31/2024)

Community Services hiring for summer

Community Services is now hiring for summer positions
Image of United States seal. United States   (01/30/2024)

Byrne Dairy Recalls Mighty Fine Chocolate Ice Cream in Half Gallons Dated 10/4/2024 Due to Undeclared Peanuts

Byrne Dairy, Inc. of Syracuse, New York is voluntarily recalling its Byrne Dairy Mighty Fine Chocolate Ice Cream in half gallon cartons with a Last Date of Sale of 10/4/2024 because it may contain undeclared peanuts. People who have allergies to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening al