January 12, 2023

By Cora Jackson-Fossett

Managing Editor

 

Los Angeles bid farewell to the iconic Beverly White, the dynamic news reporter who has graced local airwaves for the last three decades and been in the industry for more than 40 years.

 

The versatile TV journalist attracted legions of fans while covering tragic events such as earthquakes and shootings as well as conducting memorable stories like the untimely deaths of music superstars Michael Jackson and Prince. 

 

However, after 30 years of stellar work at NBC4, she is leaving L.A. to pursue new opportunities in Florida. 

 

Acknowledging her success in the city of angels, White said, “L.A. has been good to me and I’ve truly enjoyed my time here.” 

 

 

On Twitter she wrote, “This is for anyone who ever granted me an on-camera interview, gave me a news tip or blessed me w/a kind word.

 

Thank you. I’m retiring today after 41 yrs in TV news. Y’all who watched & liked? I’m grateful 4 you too. Stay safe! And support journalism #1A.”

 

White’s fellow journalists expressed comparable sentiments about her storied career and friendship.  Her colleague Michael Brownlee quipped, “Without Bev White on site, it just don’t feel right,” in response to her departure.

 

“Beverly has a command in the field. She grabs you by the arm and says, ‘Let me explain this to you and pay attention and I got you,’” insisted NBC4 General Manager Todd Mokhtari.

 

“She’s like the queen mother of news,” said photojournalist David Gregory. “Compassion and fairness. I mean it means the world to both of us really to make sure we get everyone’s voices in the story.”

 

“Beverly is a kick-ass reporter,” declared anchor Colleen Williams. 

 

Her statement is illustrated by White’s coverage of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the jarring street protests following the murder of George Floyd, and the delayed government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Looking back on some of the stories she’ll always cherish, White said, “I covered Nelson Mandela when he was first released [from prison]. The station flew me to Miami. Also, I covered him when he came to L.A. [and appeared at] First AME Church. Just to be in that space was memorable. 

 

“I also got to interview Desmond Tutu, which was awesome. And due to childcare issues, I had to take my daughter on my interview with Maya Angelou, who actually got down and played with her.  My daughter still remembers it.”

 

While some believe they witnessed White grow up on the L.A. TV news, she was a seasoned and award-winning reporter when she joined the KNBC4 in 1992.  A native of Texas, White worked at several stations before coming to the West Coast.

 

Armed with a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, her first assignment was at KMOL in San Antonio.

 

She moved on to stints at KCEN in Temple/Waco, KENS in San Antonio and WKRC in Cincinnati where she anchored the weekday morning news.  Later as a reporter at WTVJ in Miami, White was part of the news team earning a Peabody Award in 1992 for covering Hurricane Andrew.

 

Regarding her arrival, she remembered, “When I came to L.A., I had a proven track record and was an established reporter.”  She also joined the growing contingent of L.A.-based African American TV journalists.

 

“There were already many Blacks in the industry here.

 

I worked with Furnell Chapman at KNBC and also, Marc Brown (of ABC7) and Pat Harvey (of KCBS/KCAL) were here.  Although we’re on different stations, we are all colleagues and support one another,” noted White.

 

In addition to supporting her fellow reporters, White advocates for up-and-coming African Americans in the industry through her work with the National Association of Black Journalists.

 

A longtime member of NABJ, she served two terms as president of the organization’s Southern California Chapter.

 

“I owe so much to NABJ,” said White. “I began attending the national conferences in the 1980s.

 

At one conference, I had my reels and showed them to a woman who [went on to] hire me in L.A. Also, I met my husband at a NABJ convention and he came to L.A. with me!”

 

As for the future, White and her husband are preparing to relocate again.

 

“We are moving to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the Gulf side,” she announced.

“I’ll be close to my granddaughter and I won’t just do nothing. Perhaps I’ll teach since I taught as an adjunct professor at USC.”

 

She also intends to continue promoting NABJ and Black media in general.

 

“I appreciate the Black press,” White said. “Mr. Bakewell – Sr. and Jr. – have always supported me and covered my career in the past. I think the Black press is important.”

 

 

Whatever comes her way, White aims to employ the mantra that has guided her throughout her career. “Be an encourager,” she recommended.  “The world has enough critics.”

 

Assistant Managing Editor Devyn Bakewell has contributed to this story.

Category: News

January 12, 2023

By Dr. Valerie Wardlaw

Contributing Writer

 

It was his final march, standing shoulder to shoulder with the striking sanitation workers of Memphis, TN, in April 1968. According to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., their concerns were our concerns.

 

This concern extended to all who lived in poverty in America. It was the richness and vast resources of the wealth of our nation that was not used to “school the unschooled and feed the unfed” that drew his ire.

 

 

King said that America signed a promissory note to help “bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots.”  The Declaration of Independence states:  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

 

King would ask how humankind could pursue happiness if they do not have a job, an income, or a place to sleep. He would ask how one could avoid being depressed when he sees millions going to bed hungry with his own eyes or “God’s children sleeping on the sidewalks at night?”

 

For King, poverty was an evil that plagued the modern world. It was seeing our neighbors suffer in plain sight, a failure of a nation’s long-ago promise to its citizen.

 

In his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize speech, King addressed this plight, lamenting the ills of poverty:

“They are undernourished, ill-housed, and shabbily clad. Many of them have no houses or beds to sleep in. Their only beds are the sidewalks of cities and the dusty roads of the villages.”

 

King believed that the “true measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

For him, poverty in a nation as prosperous as ours was an unfathomable phenomenon that should not persist. He believed that humankind formed an “inescapable network of mutuality.” King would say that we are all “tied in a single garment of destiny.”

“Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be,” King said.

 

For months before his death, King saw “poverty as an issue of overriding urgency.” King would say that with the existence of poverty, no man could be totally rich even if he had a billion dollars.

 

For King, eradicating poverty was a question of compassion and the willingness of our country to stand up for those less fortunate. He said this was our responsibility as a nation but also a personal responsibility for each of us to do our part. King would encourage us to reach beyond ourselves and to courageously do what is right.

 

As we celebrate his legacy, his birthday, the promissory note remains unanswered as the City of Angels and the nation strives to find answers to homelessness. Consider the 2022 Los Angeles homelessness statistics:  69,144 people experienced homelessness in Los Angeles County in 2022.

• 9% are under the age 18.

• 32% are female.

• 16% are in family units (often headed by a single mother}.

• 18% are physically disabled.

• 9% are developmentally disabled.

• 41% are chronically homeless.

• 24% have substance abuse disorders.

• 22% suffer from serious mental illness.

• 33% experienced domes­tic/ intimate partner violence.

 

 

King, in many writings, warned of our day of judgment when we “stand before the God of history.” He spoke of the things that we could tell God that we had done…”built gargantuan bridges to span the seas, built gigantic buildings to kiss the skies, submarines to penetrate oceanic depths.” But God, King said, would answer that those things weren’t enough.

 

Matthew 25:42-45 states: “But I was hungry, and ye fed me not. I was naked, and ye clothed me not. I was devoid of a decent sanitary house to live in, and ye provided no shelter for me. Consequently, you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness. If ye, do it unto the least of these, my brethren, ye, do it unto me.”

 

What, then, would Martin Luther King Jr., have us do? He would tell us that love for one another transcends the evils of homelessness. “Love, truth, and the courage to do what is right should be our guidepost.”

 

King would say that we can no longer afford the luxury of looking away, crossing the street on the other side, or stepping over those who lay on our streets with outstretched hands.

He would ask that we aspire to a higher moral calling and underpin human dignity. He would remind us that when humanity is at its best, we should ask the right questions – what will happen to those who sleep on the streets, cannot provide for themselves, if I do not go to them, to help them?

King left us with these words, his guidepost, “I must not ignore the wounded man on life’s Jericho Road because he is a part of me, and I am a part of him. His agony diminishes me, and his salvation enlarges me.”

Category: News

January 12, 2023

By Betti Halsell

Assistant Managing Editor

 

The nation approaches an anniversary of a vision, manifested by world renown activist, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., on Aug. 28, 1963, King verbalized the need for America to “live out the true meaning of its creed.”

The 1963 March to the Lincoln Memorial symbolized an awakening to the “the dream,” but presently, it still looks like an endless terror of injustice for a lot of Black Americans in Los Angeles. Do any of our local public servants reflect the work of that awareness?

 

The narrative of lack of resources, police brutality, and distinct favoritism seen in the white community has been recorded over time—illuminated in the “I Have a Dream” speech.

 

250,000 men, women, and children heard the truth about their lives echo through halls of the nation’s capital.

 

King spoke of the racial injustices in America; holding the country accountable to redefine equality for all. This has been addressed in June of 2020, Los Angeles gave birth to an entire organization, the Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department was created.

 

Spearheaded by Executive Director Capri Maddox, the mission located on the website states, they look to “maintain and strengthen the city's diversity, equity, and accountability.”

 

 

With similar impact of the 1963 March, the murder of George Floyd—due to police brutality—created a social resurgence. While being a force within the U.S. Congress, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass worked on a national directive - the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

 

In June of 2020, Bass curated a “bold, comprehensive approach to hold police accountable, and change the culture of law enforcement and our communities.”

King recounted a history of racial injustice in America, and he charged the country to live up to the core promises of freedom and equality for all that inhibit the land.

He spoke a truth that rings true today; Black people have little to no upward economic mobility and drift like castaways from essential resources. The 1963 March drew attention to the reality Black Americans face and Los Angeles is answering that call from the far beyond.

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

Category: News

January 12, 2023

By Antonio Ray Harvey

California Black Media

 

Last week Malia M. Cohen was sworn-in as the first Black woman – and first African American -- to serve as California’s State Controller. 

On Monday, Jan. 2, the oath of office was administered by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“I am proud and honored to serve as California’s State Controller,” said Cohen. “The work to create a more equitable California has already begun. I look forward to ensuring fiscal accountability, with an eye toward transparency and innovation.”

On Friday Jan. 6, Cohen was given the oath of office by San Francisco Mayor London Breed with her husband Warren Pulley by her side.

The community event was held at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Sacramento.

California now has three Black politicians holding Constitutional offices including Cohen. Secretary of State Dr. Shirley Weber and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond are the others.

“Congratulations @MaliaCohen. As California’s first Black State Controller, Malia has made history and continues to break barriers while helping build long-term equity throughout our communities. I’m confident she will continue fighting for the rights of all Californians,” Breed stated in a Jan. 6 post on her Twitter page

“I am excited to get to work on creating a more equitable California as your next Controller,” Cohen tweeted Jan. 6.

Cohen was elected to the California Board of Equalization (BOE) in November 2018 and was named chairperson in 2019 and 2022. As Controller, Cohen continues to serve the Board as the BOE’s fifth voting member. 

Prior to being elected to the BOE, Cohen was President of the Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco. As a Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, she also served as the Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee and President of the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (SFERS). 

Cohen was born and raised in San Francisco. Her political journey, she says lightheartedly, began when she was elected class president of San Francisco’s Lowell High School, the oldest public high school on the West Coast. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Fisk University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University. 

She and her husband reside in San Francisco along with their daughter.

As the chief fiscal officer of California, Cohen is responsible for accountability and disbursement of the state’s financial resources. The controller also has independent auditing authority over government agencies that spend state funds. 

Cohen’s duties include being a member of numerous financing authorities, and fiscal and financial oversight entities including the Franchise Tax Board. She also serves on the boards for the nation’s two largest public pension funds. 

At the St. Paul Baptist Missionary Baptist Church swearing-in, Kenneth Reece, the Senior Pastor, gave the opening prayer.

Held at the church six miles from the State Capitol, Cohen’s swearing-in ceremony included prayers offered by Imam Yasir Kahn, the Chaplain of the California State Assembly, and Rabbi Mona Alfi, the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’Nai Israel.

Among guests were Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), Director of Bay Area Rapid Transit Bevan Duffy, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, the singer Aloe Blacc and Jaqueline Thompson, Pastor at Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland. 

Cohen’s swearing-in was held on the second anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

 

The day was packed with political activities in Sacramento and shadowed by references to the infamous Capitol insurrection in Washington that shocked people across the country and around the world.

That day, Gov. Newsom was sworn in to a second term. Rob Bonta was also sworn-in for the first time as the state’s Attorney General. He was appointed to the position by Newsom in March 2021. 

Before Newsom’s outdoor ceremony, the Governor, his wife, and four children led a march from West Sacramento, across the Tower Bridge, to the Capitol. During the Governor’s address on the steps of the Capitol, he shared his feelings about the attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago while addressing some of the state’s most pressing issues. 

“Our politics doesn’t always reward taking on the hardest problems. The results of our work may not be evident for a long time. But that cannot be our concern,” Newsom said. “We will prepare for uncertain times ahead. We will be prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars, pay down debt, and meet our future obligations. And we will build and safeguard the largest fiscal reserve of any state in American history.”

Category: News

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