News Briefs: Oakland LGBTQ center offers Black History Month films

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday February 15, 2023
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"Can You Feel It: The Black Queer Origins of House and Techno" explores this global phenomena. Photo: Screengrab via Oakland LGBTQ center
"Can You Feel It: The Black Queer Origins of House and Techno" explores this global phenomena. Photo: Screengrab via Oakland LGBTQ center

The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is presenting its Black History Month film series that continues through February.

On Saturday, February 18, the center will screen "The Untold Story of Disco" (2017) at 3 p.m. and "Can You Feel It: The Black Queer Origins of House and Techno" (2018) at 4 p.m.

Then to round out the series, on February 25 the center will screen the classic "Paris is Burning" (1990) at 3 p.m. and "The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson" (2017) at 5 p.m.

The film screenings are free. The center is located at 3207 Lakeshore Boulevard (entrance on Rand Avenue).

Pre-registration is required due to limited seating. To sign up, click here.

Quake relief fund started for Turkey, Syria

Rainbow World Fund, the LGBTQ humanitarian organization based in San Francisco's Castro district, has announced it has set up a Turkey-Syria Earthquake Relief Fund. Both countries were hard-hit by a magnitude 7.5 temblor February 6. Nearly 40,000 people have died and the death toll continues to rise, according to news reports. Winter storms have also hampered rescue efforts, leaving survivors stranded in freezing temperatures.

Additionally, the earthquakes have severely damaged roads, further complicating rescue efforts.

Jeff Cotter, a gay man who's executive director of Rainbow World Fund, stated in an email announcement to supporters that the organization is working with in-country partners to deliver aid. "Our funds are being used to provide food, temporary shelter, and emergency supplies," Cotter wrote. "Please be part of the LGBTQ+ community's response." One hundred percent of donations will fund life-saving actions, Cotter added.

Donors should specify "Disaster Recovery" when they make a contribution online or via a check. To donate online, click here. Checks can be sent to RWF, 4111 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Contra Costa County opens applications for civil grand jury

Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia has announced that residents can apply to serve on the civil grand jury.

The body typically monitors city and county governments, special districts, and school districts, Gioia wrote in an email to constituents. "Juries are often referred to as the 'citizen watchdogs' of local government," he added.

In Contra Costa County, the civil grand jury is made up of 19 members who serve for one year. Gioia stated that the county wants the body "to reflect the geographic, racial, ethnic, and gender diversity" of the area.

Superior court judges will interview approximately 75 applicants, with the final selection expected by June 16. The deadline to apply is March 24.

For more information and to apply, click here.

Wildflowers are in bloom at Jack London Historic State Park in Sonoma County. Photos: Deborah Large  

Free wildflower guide to Jack London park
The historic rains of January are expected to yield a bountiful wildflower season at Jack London Historic State Park in Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, and to help visitors, the park has compiled a free online guide.

"Blooming Now" is a guide to the latest blossoms at the 1,570-acre park, with photos, names, and recently spotted locations, a news release stated. Visitors can seek out a variety of flowers, with names like California Buttercup, Pacific Hounds Tongue, and Checker Lily. The guide will be updated every two weeks through August 31, the release noted.

For flower-finding success, park visitors are advised to go slowly, look closely, and consider many characteristics. Wildflowers can vary greatly in size, their colors can be subdued or splashy, and they can appear alone or abundantly. In addition to admiring the wildflowers, visitors can enjoy the park's historic side and learn about the lives of London and his wife, Charmian, who made the place they called "Beauty Ranch" their home.

The park is operated and funded by Jack London Park Partners, one of the first nonprofits to be entrusted with management of a state park in California. Funding to keep the park going strong is generated by visitors, annual passholders, and donors.

To download the wildflower guide, click here.
For more about the park, go to

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