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Perspectives – A Look Back – and Forward – During Black History Month

By Jim Wambach
February 22, 2021

“I think what motivates people is not great hate, but great love for other people.”  — Dr Huey P. Newton

Huey P. Newton Way in West Oakland

Through their toil, Oakland activists like Dr. Huey P. Newton nurture and empower communities, and challenge institutions to identify and eliminate institutional racism once and for all.

Each February we celebrate Black History Month. As we pause to reflect upon the rich, vibrant, and foundational role of Black people in our nation’s history, this year I feel a sense of urgency, coupled with a strong connection to our East Bay community. We should look back with pride at the anti-racist activists in California, and Oakland in particular. They were, and continue to be, leaders in the movement. Through their toil, they are nurturing and empowering communities and challenging federal and local governments to identify and eliminate institutional racism once and for all.

I recently viewed the Oakland Museum of California’s Black Power exhibit, which can be visited online. The exhibit “…will bring to light the tensions between a culturally and socially progressive California and examples of economic racism and oppression in the state.” And earlier this week, a street in West Oakland was renamed after Dr. Huey P. Newton, the revolutionary founder of the Black Panther Party.

“It is so important to look back in time and measure the progress we have made, while realizing there is still so much more to do.”

As I perused the Black Power exhibit, and read more about Dr. Newton and the Black Panther Party, two things struck me. The historic legacy of the Black Power movement is so often presented only through provocative, even sinister-looking photos of activists bearing guns and threatening violence. However, that imagery excludes so much of what the movement was able to achieve, including calling out police brutality against blacks, feeding, and clothing of children, establishing free clinics, and advocating for educational, housing, and employment equity. The disconnect is important to reconcile as we learn from the past.

Black Power Exhibit at Oakland Museum of California

Oakland Museum of California’s Black Power exhibit “…will bring to light the tensions between a culturally and socially progressive California and examples of economic racism and oppression in the state.”

I was struck by how relevant the concerns expressed by the Black Panthers in the 1960s and 1970s are to this very day. Indeed. Dr. Newton’s Ten Point Platform could very well be the current Black Lives Matter platform. It’s a reminder that meaningful progress can move so slowly, even as generations of children continue to be impacted by racism, poverty, violence, and inequity.

It is so important to look back in time and measure the progress we have made while realizing there is still so much more to do.

Seeking the shalom of the city – its health, welfare, and prosperity

As Children Rising celebrates 20 years, I also take this time to cast my eyes forward. I look to the shalom we envision for our community – one of health, welfare, and prosperity for all of us. I am reminded that “This City” is one of our core values.

“We believe there is something wonderful about the East Bay – this “city” where God has placed us. We are proud of the East Bay’s vibrant history, cultural significance and achievements, and the tenacity of our diverse people to not just survive, but thrive. We recognize the people of this city – from lifelong residents to newcomers – hunger for a future of equal opportunity and prosperity. We believe in our city and seek to work with other individuals, organizations, and institutions in our community to fight for our children’s futures so that the East Bay is a beacon of hope and light for the rest of the nation.”

We continue to strive for the shalom of our city. A healthy, vibrant community, where everyone lifts up their neighbor. As we reflect on the legacy of Black leaders, we believe that is a value Dr. Newton would embrace.

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn more about online reading or math clinics to see if tutoring is right for me!

I want to help fund Children Rising tutoring and mentoring programs to empower more children this year!

Our Community Enablement Engine Offers Other Ways to Give

By Chelsea
February 5, 2021

Time or money? How often do we have plenty of both?

Tutors and mentors empower children and youth to rise to their God-given potential.

There are many ways to come alongside a struggling child through your time, talent, and gifts.

I remember my days as a recent college graduate. It was the middle of an economic recession, and I struggled to find a job. I had plenty of time on my hands, and what I really wanted to do was travel. Unfortunately, I had no money!

So much for those travel plans!

Eventually, I was fortunate to find a decent job. Suddenly I had money in my pocket, and things were looking up. Unfortunately, I had precious little time to travel.

Time or money? How often do we have plenty of both? For many folks in our community, it’s always one or the other.

For some, the challenges of family, work, and commute, as well as the general pressures of life, make it impossible to volunteer regularly throughout the year, as our trained volunteers do. They just don’t have enough time.

For many others, the financial reality of living in the East Bay precludes them from making a financial donation. They just don’t have the resources to make a monetary gift.

Other ways to give

Vehicle donation is another way to give

Donating your care, truck, RV, or trailer is another way to make a gift that will empower children and youth in your community.

It reminds me of an email we received from a donor who was looking for a way to do more this year.

Supriya Singh is the President of Foster City Village, a local non-profit serving elders. When she became aware of Children Rising’s work with the children in Oakland and the surrounding East Bay, she wanted to add her support. “The kids need us now more than ever,” she wrote to us.

“Since Children Rising was registered with Vehicles For Charity it was a matter of placing one phone call. A week later, my car was picked up and a check was on the way to help the kids!”

Supriya has made significant gifts to Foster City Village, as well as to Children Rising, in the past. “However, when it came time to trade in one of our cars, I thought this would be an easy way to give once again,” she explained. “Since Children Rising was registered with Vehicles For Charity it was a matter of placing one phone call. A week later, my car was picked up and a check was on the way to help the kids!”

Amazon Smile is another way you can empower children and youth in your community

By designating Children Rising (Search Faith Network of the East Bay) you can support children and youth in the community with each purchase you make.

Please consider the different ways you can help us come alongside more children and youth and build bridges of hope, today.

  • Amazon Smile – Make Children Rising your designated nonprofit. (Search Faith Network of the East Bay)
  • Vehicles for Charity – Donate your car, truck, RV, or trailer.
  • Employer Matching – Find out if your workplace will match the donation you have already made.
  • Legacy Circle – Learn about ways you can leave a legacy through a planned gift.

Whatever your season in life, there are ways for you to empower children and youth in your community.

YES, I CAN empower a child to build bridges to a better future!

 I want to learn about other ways to give to Children Rising!

I want to learn more about the Children Rising Legacy Circle!

This Generous Moment – An Unexpected Ray of Light

By Chelsea
February 3, 2021

“You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and… your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” — 2 Corinthians 9:11

This Generous Moment

These are unprecedented times. Now, more than ever, we need radical generosity. Generosity Bay Area introduced “This Generous Moment”, their first-ever campaign offering $100k to be shared by a collection of organizations that are meeting human needs in this moment.

Rays of light often come at unexpected times, creating rainbows of hope and promise. We see it each time a child learns a new reading or math skill, or a youth discovers new career potential.

This past week, an unexpected ray of light shone brightly on our work. Unbeknownst to our development staff, Rhonda Ramos, a staff member of First Covenant Church of Oakland, nominated Children Rising for Generosity Bay Area’s “This Generous Moment” grant.

This Generous Moment’s focus is to “spark more radical, Christ-centered generosity at the close of a uniquely challenging year.” The campaign, Generosity Bay Area’s first ever, will award $100,000 to 20 Bay Area nonprofits that are meeting human needs in this moment.

We received news that Children Rising was one of the organizations selected for the grant. It certainly was an unexpected ray of light.

"Sarah" and Ms. Roberts

Thanks to Generosity Bay Area, and the thoughtful nomination by Rhonda Ramos, Children Rising has been awarded a grant to continue to empower children and youth like Sarah to rise to their God-given potential.

Children Rising was born out of First Covenant Church 20 years ago. They continue to be a steadfast partner, providing their time, talent, and gifts, and empowering children and youth to rise to their God-given potential. Unexpected gifts such as this are a reminder that radical generosity can shine light into darkness.

We are so grateful to Rhonda for nominating us for this grant, and for the culture of giving that Generosity Bay Area is fostering in our community. From each one of us at Children Rising, thank you.

Explore the organizations and learn about the campaign’s vision to spark more radical, Christ-centered generosity.