BPG x Kingmakers of Oakland – Black History Month

February 7th, 2020

This month we celebrate African American History at Berkeley Patients Group. February is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of these individuals in our nation’s history.

Impacts of the War on Drugs

As a group of activists fighting for legalization and safe access for over 30 years, we at BPG would be remiss to celebrate this month without recognizing the disproportionate negative impacts that the war on drugs has had on minority communities.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws in the early 1900s were directed at black men in the South. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. 

Today, Latinx and especially African American communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices. 700,000 people are still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people are still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation. 

Check out this video, from hip hop legend Jay Z and acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple, depicting the drug war’s devastating impact on the African American community from decades of biased law enforcement. We also put together a comprehensive history of cannabis that highlights the impacts of the drug war.

Progress is inevitably slow, and even with an administration hostile to reform, there is still unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform in states and localities across the country. 

Organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance, NORML, SSDP, and Americans for Safe Access (founded by BPG) continue to advocate for health-based reforms such as marijuana legalization, drug decriminalization, safe consumption sites, naloxone access, bail reform, and more.

We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

In Berkeley, across the state of California and our country, we advocate for reparations and equity programs. We’ve support local organizations like Kingmakers of Oakland and Supernova Women, that offer direct services and support to African Americans in our community.

This month, shop at BPG to support Kingmakers of Oakland, and in March to support Supernova Women.


About Kingmakers of Oakland 

The Office of African American Male Achievement creates the systems, structures, and spaces that guarantee success for all African Americans in OUSD and other counties. 

In 2010, the Office of AAMA initiated a unique academic mentoring model designed and implemented by African American males for African American males.

During its first year, the program proved so effective that it grew from three to six sites. Thus, Kingmakers of Oakland was born. Today, the program is operating in 14 organizations throughout the district.

Kingmakers of Oakland seeks to decrease suspensions and increase attendance; decrease incarceration and increase graduation rates; decrease the opportunity gap and increase literacy.

Members are offered KOO’s distinct drivers to achieve the aim and are also supported and encouraged to discover drivers that are unique to their district’s needs. 

KOO offers a large variety of services such as:

    • Professional Development Training
    • Central Office Support & Technical Assistance
    • School-Based and Programmatic Technical Assistance
    • Narrative Change Products

Why We Love Kingmakers Of Oakland

Kingmakers of Oakland engages, encourages and empowers African American males through education of self. Committee choice winner of the 2019 American Civic Collaboration Awards, or “Civvys,” Kingmakers was honored as one of the organizations making America work; answering the call to serve their nation and their neighbors through collaborative, creative efforts that inspire, unite and facilitate civic participation.

We love this short-documentary, Kings in the Making, about the foundation and vision for the future Kingmakers of Oakland organization seeks to revolutionize the education of African Americans in our country.

Kingmakers’ Spring Symposium brings together educators, school administrators, city officials, board members, families, and community members to discuss and create action plans that address the systems, structures, culture, and conditions that lead to improved educational outcomes for African American male students.

During this multi-day event, participants will understand the Kingmakers of Oakland model for African American Male Achievement through visiting school sites to observe their Manhood Development classes in action and have opportunities to speak with students (Kings) and teachers (facilitators) directly. 

Participants will also learn more about Kingmakers’ Culturally Relevant Curriculum (Khepera) and learn practical methods for how to engage with teachers and school leaders in their home districts in support of Black male students.

If you are a member of a school district, nonprofit, philanthropic, or other educational team, register for the Spring Symposium March 18-20!


Visit BPG in February to Support Kingmakers

Shop at Berkeley Patients Group in February to support the Kingmakers Of Oakland! 

Throughout the month of February, BPG will have collection jars at each register accepting donations for KOO.

You can also support African American owned brands such as Be More Blunt. Sales from supporting brand partners will benefit the KOO programs and participants.