Holding a Book, Having a Disability, Having a car breakdown – while being Black

By Jane Fischberg September 22, 2016

Recently I have been silent on police killings of people who are black, because I could not come up with anything unique or helpful to add to the discourse on social media -- posts, blogs, articles, many of which are more articulate than I could hope to be.  I didn’t want to be sanctimonious, redundant.  Nor did I wish to inadvertently disrespect the dignity of each life lost, each unique soul who was gunned done by those charged with protecting public safety.

Just as we hear or read the details of one death and see a new hashtag, we hear of yet another brutal killing.

I cannot speak with the righteous anger of my black friends and colleagues so I try to find my own voice. I try to imagine what it would be like if people who look like me were gunned down on a daily basis while carrying on the business of their lives. I could invoke the purge and genocide of Jews during the Holocaust.  And I don’t wish to lessen the dignity of those 6 million lives lost, nor deny history, nor say that one genocide is more important than another.  My family was lucky – we made it to the US in the late decade of the 19th century and early decades of the 20th.  I pay homage to my ancestors, and their brethren who were not so lucky.

Never again, we say.

Genocide happened, and is happening again here.  If our nation’s Original Sin was genocide of Native Americans, then the legacy of slavery is our Second Sin. 

I try to imagine -- and I keep coming back to what it must have been like when white slave owners sought to recapture slaves who had escaped in search of a free life.  I have been reading Homegoing and I reflect on the relationship between our nation’s Second Sin and what is happening in our world today.  I think of Ness and Sam’s escape, capture, the brutal punishment they both received -- and Sam’s fate. 

We cannot distance ourselves from this traumatic legacy

So, as a white person, what can I do?  Here is what Derrick Weston says:

1. Don’t Silence Us
2. Confession
3. Use your privilege for good
4. Amplify black voices
5. Transfer resources

Wise words.

Read Weston's full post>>

Read More

Solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe

By Jane Fischberg September 8, 2016

Many of us have been following and supporting the Standing Rock Sioux tribal members’ protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would be placed less than a mile upstream of the reservation, and could impact drinking water for more than 8,000 tribal members and millions who rely on it downstream. Further, it would disturb the site of an ancient burial ground.  In response to the protest, six people — including a child — have been bitten by guard dogs and at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed.

This protest, and the response to it, make me think about the relationship between our values of justice and hope, and solidarity with justice movements throughout the US and the world. The issue also vividly demonstrates the connections between poverty and environmental justice.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Read More

Rubicon’s Workforce Services Team Meets Your Hiring Needs

By Lisa Dyas September 6, 2016

Hayward job fairRubicon’s Workforce Services team provides top-notch employment services to local Bay Area businesses looking to expand their workfoce at no cost.

Our team connects you with pre-screened, qualified job applicants at no cost to the employer. Serving a geographic area spanning the entire East Bay from Hayward to Richmond, we draw on a roster of over five hundred job seekers to find people who meet your unique hiring needs. Our business clients range from multi-national corporations to local small business owners.

Our Workforce Liaisons provide a comprehensive array of staffing services to employers including:

  • Customized direct staffing assistance
  • Pre-screening and referrals of qualified candidates
  • Free distribution and advertising of current job postings
  • Job Fair and on-site recruitment assistance
  • Pre and post-employment support
  • Employee retention assistance

Wage Reimbursements:

  • Mitigate new hire costs
  • Wage reimbursements up to $5,000

No-cost Labor Assistance:

  • Temporary labor assignments 
  • Increase workplace productivity 

If you are a business owner or hiring manager and would like to learn more about how Rubicon can help solve your staffing needs at no cost to you, please contact:

Workforce Services Manager 
Traci Young

Read More

Rubicon History | Mental Heath & Wellness Services

By Lisa Dyas September 6, 2016

Beginning 1973, Rubicon offered mental health and wellness services to some of our most vulnerable neighbors in Richmond, CA. We helped people living with persistent and severe mental health issues find stability, access benefits to help them address their health needs, find housing, and manage their money.

As the agency grew, however, it evolved to meet the changing demands of the communities it served. In 1989 Rubicon began Project Independence to help people access permanent and permanent supportive housing. Rubicon also started two social enterprise businesses, a bakery and landscape company, and began its workforce development services in both Contra Costa and Alameda Counties.

In 2014, we realized that we were providing two very different sets of services to equally unique populations. While we were extremely proud of our more than 40 year history of helping people meet their mental health needs, we knew that we could best achieve our vision of an East Bay without poverty by focusing our services on our program participants who were seeking to enter, or re-enter the workforce, with the ultimate goal of earning self-sufficiency wages.

We made the difficult decision to stop offering our mental health and wellness services in 2016. Mental Health and Wellness services are offered at organizations throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. There are many providers throughout the East Bay that continue to provide mental health services. Please see the list below for resources.


Resources for Mental Health Services

From anywhere in the East Bay, call 211 (dial 211 from your phone or go to for referrals to resources in your area.

In Contra Costa County:

  • Contra Costa County Access Line: 1-888-678-7277.
  • Money Management assistance, please call Criss Cross at: 1-866-380-9708
  • Substance Abuse services, please contact the Contra Costa Substance Abuse Access Line at: 1-800-846-1652.
  • If you are Homeless, please contact the Contra Costa County Homeless Hotline at: 1-800-799-6599.
  • You may also contact 211 (dial 211 from your phone or go to, the Bay Area Social Service information network. They will refer you to resources in your area.

In Alameda County:

  • Alameda County Access line: 1-800-491-9099
  • Alameda County Crisis Line: 1-800-309-2131.
  • Berkeley residents may contact the Berkeley Mental Health crisis and information line: 510-981-5290.
  • Berkeley residents who are homeless may contact the Berkeley Homeless Outreach program: 510-981-2388

If you are a former participant of Rubicon's Mental Health and Wellness program and need access to your medical records, please contact Hallie Friedman.

Read More

Another Fatal Police Shooting of a Black Person

By Jane Fischberg July 7, 2016

I hope for a time when we do not have reason to grieve another Black life taken by gun violence, especially due to police brutality.

A friend wrote:

Don't do while black: 
1. Sell CD's (‪#‎AltonSterling)

2. Play in park (‪#‎TamirRice)

3. Wear hoodie (‪#‎TrayvonMartin)

4. Pump gas (‪#‎JordanDavis)

5. Ride BART (‪#‎OscarGrant)

6. Enter own home (‪#‎HenryLouisGates)

File these next to: laugh loud on wine train, drive a nice car, carry a gun in an open carry state, ask for help after a car accident, walk to a drug store like 7-11 for a late night snack, and shop in nice stores.

I would add:

7. Sell cigarettes (#EricGarner)

8. Being pulled over for routine traffic stop ( #SandraBland )

9. Catch the eye of a police officer (#FreddieGray)

Or any of the more than 100 unarmed Black people killed by Police in 2015 in the US.

These incidents have become tragically frequent, and we cannot and will not allow ourselves to accept them as the status quo.  We are directly and indirectly impacted by systemic racism – we cannot ignore the fact of this oppression yet we can equip ourselves and our participants to take action against it.  Black Lives Matter.

Read More