400 YEARS OF CALIFORNIA AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY: Theme of 30th Anniversary Poetry Celebration

On Saturday, February 1st, 2020, at the West Oakland Library, 1-4 pm., will host the 30th Anniversary Year for the Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry. This year will have two running themes. It’s primary theme, “400 Years of California African American History (1535-1872, slave state to now).” As a secondary theme, in conjunction with the event’s history of themes based on the annual theme of the Carter G Woodson’s Association for the Study of African American Life and History, est. 1915, is “African Americans and the Vote.” As always, all poetry submissions are welcomed regardless of subject; with just one caveat, no profanity, which includes the n-word, nor overt sexual themes or content.

Wanda Sabir, of Wanda Picks, and event organizer, is also seeking poetry from past participants in the past 29 years. She is putting together a Poetry Anthology. Contributers to the Anthology can send upto 5-pages or 5-poems, plus a bio and photo. The deadline for submissions is February 28th, 2020. Mail submissions to Poetry Anthology, P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604, or email: racewoman@gmail.com

30th Anniversary Submissions:

Send submissions to the West Oakland Library, 1801 Adeline St., Oakland, CA 94607, (510) 238-7352, Attention: W.Sabir, Poetry Celebration.
One week before the event will be a rehearsal, Saturday, January 25th, 2020, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, at the West Oakland Library.

EVENT: 30th Anniversary Year for the Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poety


West Oakland Library

1801 Adeline St.

Oakland, CA 94607

(510) 238-7352

Date & Time:

February 1, 2020

1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


[Editor’s Note]:

The cover image is the sculptural work of Mark Newman (1962-present). For the uninitiated, the state of California was named after the mythical Black Queen Califia. According to the story, California was an island where only Black women lived. The women were the most powerful women in the world. When Cortez arrived in California, searching for this mythical queen, her influence on him was so severe, he paid tribute to this powerful Black Woman Queen Califia by naming the state after her. California literally means, “the land where Black women live.”

Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), announces its 2020 Black History Theme, African Americans and the Vote.
The year 2020 marks the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and the culmination of the women’s suffrage movement. The year 2020 also marks the sesquicentennial of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870) and the right of black men to the ballot after the Civil War. The theme speaks, therefore, to the ongoing struggle on the part of both black men and black women for the right to vote. This theme has a rich and long history, which begins at the turn of the nineteenth century, i.e., in the era of the Early Republic, with the states’ passage of laws that democratized the vote for white men while disfranchising free black men. Thus, even before the Civil War, black men petitioned their legislatures and the US Congress, seeking to be recognized as voters. Tensions between abolitionists and women’s suffragists first surfaced in the aftermath of the Civil War, while black disfranchisement laws in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries undermined the guarantees in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments for the great majority of southern blacks until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The important contribution of black suffragists occurred not only within the larger women’s movement, but within the larger black voting rights movement. Through voting-rights campaigns and legal suits from the turn of the twentieth century to the mid-1960s, African Americans made their voices heard as to the importance of the vote. Indeed the fight for black voting rights continues in the courts today. The theme of the vote should also include the rise of black elected and appointed officials at the local and national levels, campaigns for equal rights legislation, as well as the role of blacks in traditional and alternative political parties.

Live life through art. A black arts event source.
Wanda Ali Batin Sabir
P.O. Box 30756
Oakland, CA 94604

Holy Names College
Oakland, CA
BA, Humanistic Studies, 1991

University of San Francisco
MA, Writing, 1997

Recognition Awards in Art and Literature:
Ida B. Wells Barnett Leadership Award, 2002, Contra Costa College; 1998 Best of the Bay“Best Newspaper” SF Bay Guardian for the SF Bay View Newspaper; Unsung Heroes, District 3, City of Oakland, 1995-96, Queen of Hearts, Center for Visual Design, 1994, Oakland Pride, Evergreen Baptist Church,1993, Alex Haley Community Service Award, 1992, In the Company of Poets Magazine.
2005-2006 Activities
Host and Participant in the 15th Annual African American Celebration through Poetry: Revolutionary Struggles: The Black Panther Party Revisited on its 40th Anniversary, Saturday, and February 4, 2006.

Hosted and continue to organize Maafa Awareness Month Activities October 1995-2005: Ritual, Film Festival, Poetry Readings, and Panel Discussion; Curated Art Exhibit 2003-4. Locations included Laney College Theatre, the African American Art and Culture Complex, the Malonga Center Casquelourd Center for the Arts, Ocean Beach.

The 2005 panel included Oakland City Council member Desley Brooks’ participation, along with Professor and African Studies Scholar, Dr. Theophile Obenga, Psychologist, Dr. Rita Bobino, Professor of African Diaspora Studies, Manu Ampin, MA; and Public Health Professional, Aduni Luckett, MPH.

Hosted and Organized: Maafa 2005: Hurricane Katrina, 9/20,05: Hosted and Organized a Poetry Event and Silent Art Auction at la Pena Cultural Center: Lee Williams, Ishmael Reed, Tennessee Reed, Ginny Lim, devorah major, Wanda Sabir, Karla Brundage, Kim Shuck, June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, Raymond Nat Turner, Leroy Moore, Paradise, Kaylah Marin, Charles Blackwell, and others. Raised over $2000 for the Houston Center for Independent Living for people with disabilities.

Hosted, Organized and Featured in “The 14th Annual African American Celebration through Poetry: 40 years after the Voting Rights Act,” 2/5/05.

Hosted Panel: “When Media makes History at Berkeley Rep, 5/7/05.” Panelists were Bob Calo, Andrew S. Ross, and Marshall Kilduff re: The People’s Temple – Free Post-Performance dialogues.

Hosted and Organized “Poetic Protest 2005: Electorial Politics.” at College of Alameda on Inauguration Day, Thursday, January 20, 2005. Featured poets included Wanda Sabir, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez, Mary Rudge, Reginald James and others

Panelist AfroSolo Arts Festival XII: “A Day of Learning: Develop, Fund and Market, Your Work,” August 8, 2005”

Panelist, Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now,” February 12, 2005: Why has it been 10 years since the last Black Choreographers’ Festival?

Hosted and Organized Film Screening and Panel Discussion: “Shirley Chisholm: Unbossed, Unbought,” at the African American Museum and Library, Oakland, January 17, 2005. Panelists included: U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, 9th District; Aileen Hernandez, Statewide Chair of the California Women’s Agenda, Founder of Black Women Stirring the Waters and Second National President of the National Organization for Women (NOW); and Sister Makinyah Kouate, Human Rights Activist, First Corporate President of the Associated Students of Merritt College and Pan-Africanist.

Hosted “Haiti 200th Anniversary and US Policies Panel” at Laney College (2005) with Haiti Action Committee. The panel included representatives from HAC, Haitian nationals, a Representative from Hon. Barbara Lee’s office and a film by KPFA 94.1 FM correspondent Kevin Pena at Haiti’s 200 year anniversary celebration February 2005.

Host and presenter at, Lil Bobby Hutton Day. April 16, 2005. The theme was “Bobby Hutton, Oakland legend.” Other special guest speakers and live entertainment were: Elbert “Big Man” Howard, author of “Panther on the Prowl,” Straight Out Scribes and others, at the West Oakland Library.

English Teacher
College of Alameda, Peralta Community College District, September 1997-present
Contra Costa College, September 1998-2003
Holy Names College, August 2002-December 2002
Media Alliance, Grammar Intensive Workshop, 2001
Chabot College, August 1999- December, 1999
Maybeck High School, June 1997-June, 1998

Have taught a variety of college level English courses: basic skills (both reading and writing), preparatory English courses, as well as university required classes and curriculums. Facilitated inter-department collaboration between the English Dept. and English for International Students Dept. at CCC, as well as fostered a closer working relationship between the Forensics Dept. and Drama Dept. at CCC.

Currently Instructor of Record in the Basic Skills English/English as a Second Language Lab, where students served include: native and non-native speakers, as well as students with developmental and learning disabilities. I supervise a staff of ten: teachers, a clerk and tutor(s), coordinate schedules, stay abreast of current software and protocols for ESL and Basic Skills English, host college-wide trainings, and inter-district collaboration with other ESL and Basic Skills English staff. We also host study groups geared for specific disciplines such as: automotive, computer information systems, dental assisting, and child development.

Arts Editor
San Francisco Bay View, June 1998- present
Oakland Tribune, January 2001-present

Freelance Journalist, January, 1994-present
Theatre, music, dance, visual arts, and literary reviewer, as well as, editorial columnist and features writer for local and national publications.

Berkeley Public Library, December, 1995-September, 1996
Berkeley, CA
African American Community Outreach Information Network, Forum Coordinator
Developed monthly programs, facilitated community discussions

Women Organized in Response to Life Threatening Diseases, September, 1995
Oakland, CA
Coordinated a book reading/sales fund-raiser, at the 4th Annual Women and HIV Conference, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA

Vanguard Public Foundation September, 1995
San Francisco, CA
Publicist, logistics planner for the “Mass Meeting of the Affirmative Action Coalition,” Cathedral Hill Hotel, San Francisco, CA

California Poets in the School, “Embrace of Poetry” October, 1995
Oakland, CA
Helped plan all day seminar. Recruited facilitators for small group discussions, open reading, introductions, panels.

East Bay AIDS Foundation December, 1994, 1995
Oakland, CA
World AIDS Day, Event Organizer for Alameda County

The New Volunteer Center July, 1992-June, 1995
Oakland, CA
AIDS Volunteer Clearinghouse Director. Responsible for setting up three year pilot program, monitoring its implementation, prioritizing allocations. This included writing grants, reports to funders, establishing collaborations between community based organizations, government organizations, corporations and foundations, technical assistance to CBO’s, public education on AIDS and Volunteerism.

Oakland Public Library August,1990-present
Oakland, CA
Coordinated writing workshops, poetry celebrations, business forums, author events, as well as facilitated collaborations between the library and Oakland Parks and Rec.: Blues & Barbecue 8/96.

Points of Light Foundation June, 1993
Orlando, FL
Presenter at the Annual Conference, “Building Community.”

Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Bay View Newspaper, Oakland Post Newspaper Group, In Dance (January, 2005, Cover story); Jazz Steps/San Francisco (1999-2002), Drum Voices Journal, University of Indiana Press (2001, 2002, 2003); Houzin’ Project, Poor News Network (2003); The Peralta Press, Theatre Bay Area’s “Call Board” Magazine, Africana.com, Media File: Media Alliance; Asian Weekly, the S.F. Chronicle, Hayward Review, Berkeley Voice, Montclarion, El Cerrito Journal, Sun Reporter, California Voice; San Francisco Bay Area Reporter, ICON Newspaper; HearSay – National Writer’s Union (local chapter), Images and Imagination: Encounters with the Photography of Dorthea Lange, Edited by Ben Clark; the University of San Francisco’s Ignatian Literary Magazine; The Squaw Valley Review, Volume 4; Friends of the Oakland Public Library Newsletter, Black Issues in Higher Education, Black Scholar Journal, Alameda County New Public Health Proposal, Mama Bears “Books and Notes.”

1995/6: Perspectives: KQED Radio. 1994/5: Gyne-centricity: KPFA Radio. 1999: AIDS Update “Panel Discussion on AIDS Theatre.” 2000: Media Alliance: “Writers’ Tips of the Trade.” 2001: National Writer’s Union Roundtable:“Women Writers Share Trade Secrets.” 2003: Spirituality and African Activism, San Jose State University.

Interviews: Television, KPIX, Soul Beat, Cable Stations: Oakland, Alameda, San Mateo, San Francisco. Radio, KCBS, KPOO, KPFA, KALX, Berkeley High School Jacket. Print, Oakland Tribune, Montclarion, San Jose Mercury News.

Professional Affiliations:
Library Advisory Commission, City of Oakland, 1995-2004

Board Member, Friends of the Oakland Public Library, 1995-1998

Trustee, Center for Northern CA Study of the History of Black Family Life, 1998-present

Coalition for West Oakland Revitalization, 1993-present

Women’s National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter, 1995 – 2001

International Black Writers and Artists, Local 5, 37, 1987- present

Bay Area Poets Coalition, 1995 – 2001

National Writer’s Union, 1998 – present

Squaw Valley Community of Writers, 1997 – present

Bay Area Book Reviewers Association 1998 – present

New California Media 1994 – present

Modern Language Association – 1999

Society of Professional Journalists – 1999 – 2001