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Phase 1B Vaccinations Can Begin Saturday In San Diego County

 February 25, 2021 at 10:24 AM PST

Speaker 1: 00:00 Vaccine eligibility opens up for another half million San Diego wins Speaker 2: 00:05 4 million doses right away. And they've said, they're going to wrap up to 20 million, I think over the next several weeks. So it's only going to help supply Speaker 1: 00:12 I'm Maureen Cavenaugh with Jade Heinemann. This is KPBS Speaker 3: 00:15 Midday edition. Speaker 1: 00:24 San Diego teachers react to school reopening plans Speaker 3: 00:28 From the start of the pandemic educators and the district's leadership have been on the same page that safety and science must be the driving factors, Speaker 1: 00:37 An update on racial equity promises at San Diego unified and jazz soloist. Rebecca Jade shares her playlist that's ahead on midday edition. Speaker 3: 00:47 First, the news, Speaker 1: 01:00 A whole new sector of people eligible for COVID vaccinations opens up in San Diego. This Saturday teachers police essential workers like grocery store employees and farm workers will be able to get their vaccinations. That's an additional 500,000 people in San Diego who can now get ready for their shots, but will there be enough vaccine available for them in the next several weeks? That's a question County officials say they can't answer. Joining me is Dr. Christian Ramers chief of population health at the family health centers of San Diego. Dr. Ramers is also on the county's clinical vaccine advisory panel. Dr. Ramers. Welcome back. Speaker 2: 01:39 Thank you for having me morning now, does Speaker 1: 01:41 This mean all teachers, all police employees, et cetera, will be eligible to be vaccinated come Saturday, Speaker 2: 01:48 Starting on Saturday. Yes. And in fact it means more than just all teachers, but really all people that work at schools and then all people who are emergency services that are nonmedical, which principally refers to law enforcement and then with food and agriculture, it's really from the farm to the table. Really those that pick the food, does it process food and those that serve food as well. So a really comprehensive list. Speaker 1: 02:11 Teachers are not being encouraged to make their own vaccination appointments. Can you tell us how that will work instead? Speaker 2: 02:17 Yeah. So the County has, um, struck a deal with the County office of education. The County public health has struck a deal with County office of education to sort of allow them to manage their own vaccine appointments. That's how I understand it. And this has to do with the way that they're reserving a certain percentage of vaccines to channel them directly to teachers. Um, so as I heard the announcement yesterday, uh, the appointments are being encouraged to be made through that system. Now the County may, um, may prefer not to vaccinate at their sites, but I just want people to know that, um, there should be multiple ways to get a vaccine. Um, and if you go to your own private doctor's office, because we're through these criteria, I don't think that they'll turn teachers away. What police will they be Speaker 1: 03:00 Contacted for vaccinations as well? Speaker 2: 03:02 So my understanding is that the script's health system is taking the lead on law enforcement. And so they should be expected to be contacted individually for their appointments. Speaker 1: 03:11 And I read the County firefighters will be vaccinating farm workers. Is that right? Speaker 2: 03:15 That's right. So when we think about populations that may be harder to reach that really can't take a day off work to come in and stand in line and get a vaccine. We have to think of more innovative ways to reach them. And so, uh, the firefighters Cal fire will be out there. I think actually in the farms and in the locations where these individuals work to vaccinate them. But remember, like I said, that that third category includes not just the farm workers, but a grocery store workers, people that work in food processing and meat packing, and then all the way to the servers. Speaker 1: 03:43 And will those essential workers make their own appointments like at Petco park or some other vaccination site? Speaker 2: 03:50 Yes, exactly. So everybody else can use any of the other channels available to be vaccinated, whether they're at your own private healthcare provider, a FQHC or a federally qualified health center, like family health centers or at the super stations. Yes. Speaker 1: 04:04 What about doctor? The concerns over vaccine supply? Do we know how much we're getting, Speaker 2: 04:09 We have hoped that to have a better prediction because it is very hard to plan how many appointments to have when you don't know exactly how much is coming. And I have to say it's gotten a little bit better as a vaccine provider, uh, getting more supplies, certainly, but we're still not where we want to be. Uh, it is encouraging that we're seeing more and more numbers come in. And then for example, there's a federal program that is going to ship vaccines directly to community health centers. We haven't seen a dose arrive yet, but we're encouraged by the fact that those will be coming again soon. Speaker 1: 04:39 Now, good news this week is that Johnson and Johnson's one shot vaccine is close to approval. How is that expected to change vaccine availability? Speaker 2: 04:49 Well, I think it can only improve the availability. Uh, I've heard that they have about 4 million doses that we'll be ready to ship as soon as authorization occurs, which based on the data that I've seen. I see no reason that the FDA will not approve this vaccine. And then the CDC on Saturday will weigh in. Uh, and the company has said as soon as Monday, they would be able to ship so 4 million doses right away. And they've said, they're going to wrap up to 20 million, I think over the next several weeks. So it's only going to help supply Speaker 1: 05:15 Now, aside from the fact that this Johnson and Johnson vaccine only requires one dose, what other key characteristics sets it apart from vaccines that are currently available? Speaker 2: 05:26 Sure. Well, it is, um, easier to deal with it. It can actually be in a regular refrigerator for, I think up to three months, so much easier to transport and move around. The single shot is key because you just need one moment in someone's life to get the vaccine into them. And then I want to emphasize the headline sort of shows that the effectiveness may be a little bit lower than Madonna or Pfizer, but it's really not a fair comparison. This Johnson and Johnson vaccine was tested at a different time in the pandemic when there were more of these circulating variants and the deeper you get into 60 page document that the FDA is going to review on Friday. Actually the better that this vaccine looks, the effectiveness was 85% at present preventing severe disease, a hundred percent at preventing hospitalization and death. And then there was even some information about asymptomatic transmission that was encouraging. Speaker 1: 06:15 Do you see a time coming when people will be able to choose which COVID vaccine? Again, Speaker 2: 06:21 I really don't in the short term and my advice to anybody is get the one that, that you can, as soon as you can, because all three of these vaccines are very, very good at preventing the most meaningful outcome, which is going into the hospital or dying. Um, we just don't have enough supply for people to be choosy. And honestly, for other vaccines, like the annual flu vaccine, we don't really have choice that's involved because we all believe that they are at least equally protective Speaker 1: 06:48 And doctor, what steps are being put in place to ensure that there is an equitable distribution of vaccines based on need in the hardest hit areas of San Diego County. Speaker 2: 06:59 Yeah. This has been something that County has, has been paying attention to for, for more than six months. And so we're doing many, many things in many different ways. Uh, but this is a, this is a problem that isn't easy to just flip a switch and change. These are decades of conditions that have led to the equity problems. So the County has a program that is reserving spots for people from specific census tracks. When they roll out to teachers, they are prioritizing the lowest core tile based on a health equity index schools and the lowest core tile. And then those in community clinics and federally qualified health centers are really targeting our neighborhoods that we know have been the hardest hit, uh, from COVID-19. Speaker 1: 07:40 And what does the lowest Courteille mean? Speaker 2: 07:44 Sure. There's a, there's something called the healthy places index, which is an index of, I think, 20 or so socio-economic factors, educational factors that the state uses to determine what the social determinants of health are. Things that influence life expectancy and other illnesses, and have certainly been predictive of where COVID-19, that has been the most widespread. The state uses this to, to give us what's called a, um, uh, health equity index score, which is part of the blueprint that puts us in purple and red and orange tiers. And the lowest Courteille means the lowest 25% of those neighborhoods, uh, that can be specifically, um, prioritized for vaccine. Okay. Speaker 1: 08:24 Okay. Then I want to thank you so much, Dr. Christian Ramers. He is a member of the county's clinical vaccine advisory panel and chief of population health at the family health centers of San Diego. Thanks so much for your information. Speaker 2: 08:37 Thank you so much for having me [inaudible] Speaker 1: 08:48 San Diego unified students could be back in the classroom by April. The district announced plans to reopen for hybrid learning Speaker 4: 08:56 At all grade levels on April 12th, as long as the County is out of the purple tier and school staff can get access to both COVID vaccine doses. The agreement comes after months of negotiations between San Diego unified and the teacher's union. Kyle Weinberg is vice president of the San Diego education association and was a leader in the bargaining unit for this back to school agreement. Kyle, welcome. Thank you. J start by telling us about the negotiations for this agreement. How long did they actually take in what was that issue? Speaker 5: 09:28 So we have been in negotiations with the district since the pandemic began on providing a safe education for students within our County. And as the negotiation statewide on Senate bill nine 86 took effect. We started ramping up our negotiations with the district on making sure that we have all the criteria in place to be able to provide a plan for families so that they can plan for the safe return to campuses. And we were able to, uh, agree to our criteria on, on Monday, uh, for, uh, that, that plan. Speaker 4: 10:06 And tell me more about that criteria. What are the conditions for reopening San Diego unified schools the week of April 12th and you know, what has to happen? Speaker 5: 10:15 So there's three criteria that needs to be in place for a safe reopening of campuses. One all school employees need to have the opportunity to be fully vaccinated. The site mitigations must be in place such as proper ventilation, social distancing, and required use of masks by all on campus. And also our community case rates need to be able to allow the County to return to the red tier for the first time, since the fall, in order to be able to open the campuses for in-person learning for all students by April 12th. Speaker 4: 10:49 And, you know, is there time to do all this Speaker 5: 10:53 That is up in the air. We need to be able to have that opportunity for the vaccinations. And we have assurances from the County that those will be, um, the supply will be there for those vaccines. We also need to all do our part to make the collective set, continue to make those collective sacrifices, um, with social distancing so that we can get our community case rates down below seven per a hundred thousand. Um, as we know, we need to get into the red tier. Speaker 4: 11:22 What were the San Diego education associations main concerns going into the bargaining session? Um, I assume safety was one. Speaker 5: 11:30 Safety is principle, um, from the start of the pandemic educators and the district leadership have been on the same page that safety and science must be the driving factors when we decide how we want to expand our in learning in person learning activities. And we can't lose sight of the fact that many of our students' families are being severely impacted by deadly pandemic and won't feel comfortable returning to school just yet, especially in our 91, one, three and 91 level for San Diego unified zip codes. Um, Logan's South San Diego, Southeast San Diego that have consistently had a positive COVID case rates, uh, three times the rate of the rest of the County. Speaker 4: 12:14 Hm. And, you know, that brings me to the students. Uh, you know, which students do you think have suffered the most by not being able to attend in person? Speaker 5: 12:23 You know, the inability to learn in person has impacted everyone, but particularly our English language learners, our foster and homeless youth, our students with disabilities. And we have been working with the district since the fall on expanding learning opportunities for those students, even before we have a full reopening so that we can have learning labs and appointment-based opportunities for those students to come onto campuses up to five days a week so that we can meet their needs, because we know that, uh, remote learning is not the best option for most students. Speaker 4: 13:03 Mm. And, and tell me more, how will the district be able to make up for these learning losses? Speaker 5: 13:08 So we have received learning loss funds from the state and from the federal government as part of the stimulus and a disaster relief packages. Those funds are being used to pay for visiting teachers to supervise online, learning on campuses so that, um, staff, they can not come in before they are fully vaccinated so that they can continue to teach from home while the students have access to stable internet on campuses. And those funds can also be used for tutoring hours. Right. Speaker 4: 13:41 Right. And hybrid learning, uh, has been mentioned a lot. Can you explain what that looks like for San Diego unified students? Speaker 5: 13:49 Those discussions are in the very early stages on what hybrid learning will look like. We'll be returning to the bargaining table tomorrow to discuss what the daily schedule will look like. We know that in Chula Vista elementary school district, they recently surveyed parents and the parents in working class neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the virus, um, uh, have said that they will prefer that their students continue to learn by home for, by a two to one margin. And so we need to keep those families and those students in mind and make sure that any hybrid option that we return to when it is safe to do so is not going to negatively impact the students and the online learning program that has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. Speaker 4: 14:38 Hmm. What kind of resources would it take for schools to fully reopened as they were pre pandemic? Speaker 5: 14:45 Well, most important is that we reach herd immunity. Uh, we need to bring the rate of the down to the level where we can actually do contact tracing. And if we are able to do that, then we're expecting that the state will also relax the guidelines on social distancing, which currently require that, um, students and teachers need to be six feet apart at all times. And to reduce the number of people that are in a room at any one time, Speaker 1: 15:13 Union's main concerns in the upcoming negotiations. Speaker 5: 15:17 We're going to make sure that the daily schedule for students is, uh, student-centered and is able to meet the needs of our diverse learners. Uh, we need to make sure that the safety mitigations in place are robust. We need to make sure that there's a process for educators who are at high risk, and we need to make sure that we have stability for, for everyone. Um, we do not want to have a roller coaster situation going forward, where we are opening and closing schools. I've been speaking Speaker 1: 15:48 With Kyle Weinberg, vice president of the San Diego education association. Kyle, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you, dude. This is KPBS midday edition. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Hyman in the past decade, San Diego unified school district has made significant progress toward reducing the long-standing inequities. That's black students have faced, but there's room for growth, KPBS education reporter Joe Hong spoke with students, families, and experts about the black student experience at San Diego unified. And what needs to change when students return to a post pandemic classroom? Speaker 6: 16:33 Um, I grew up here in Southeast San Diego for majority of my life. Speaker 7: 16:37 Shut up. Doula is the daughter of Ethiopian immigrants who came to the United States as refugees during the Somali civil war. I'll do law. He says growing up, her parents had high expectations for her, but she quickly realized that our teachers didn't have the same expectations. Speaker 6: 16:51 Well, that's when I started to realize, like, I know they won't see me the same, so I needed to start doing better in school and really take it serious. And if I didn't, they'd probably just see me as you know, that other black student who doesn't care about school doesn't want to listen. And, you know, just to reinforce those stereotypes, Speaker 7: 17:09 The middle school experience was especially discouraging. She and her black peers felt isolated and constantly monitored, but she said she toughened up when she got to Morris high school. Speaker 6: 17:17 So I tried, I tried my hardest talk to my counselors, you know, put me in those AP classes. I don't care if you won't let me, I'm gonna keep trying. So that's what I really started getting into school. But the experience was definitely not easy Speaker 7: 17:30 Today. She's in her first year at UC San Diego, majoring in political science, I'll do law. His path was difficult, but she's part of a positive trend at San Diego unified Pedro Noguera, the Dean of the Rossier school of education at the university of Southern California led a 2019 study of the district that founded that increased both graduation and college readiness rates for black students. I'd Speaker 8: 17:50 Say that's a really powerful, um, factor because that has bearing on college eligibility rates. So you've seen that, that the, the number of black students who are eligible for admission to Cal state and the university of California go up, and that is I think not an insignificant, um, data point. Speaker 7: 18:07 Well graduation and college readiness rates have increased during outgoing superintendent. Cindy Martin's tenure results for school discipline have been mixed. The suspension rates for black students dropped from 10.1% in 2013, 2014 Martin's first year to 8.6% in 2018, 2019, but black students are still more than three times as likely to be suspended than their white peers. According to the most recent data, the one Richmond, a former school board candidate from Southeast San Diego said, it's a sign that black students are still seen as outsiders at schools. Speaker 6: 18:38 When you think of a child as your neighbor, your community member, your family member, they could be your child. Um, the way that you see them is, is different than if you see them as like those kids, Speaker 7: 18:50 But as the district begins to bring students back to campuses, both Richmond and new Garrison opportunity to rebuild trust between educators and students from all marginalized backgrounds, no Garris said overemphasizing, academics and making up for what's been referred to as learning loss is not the path to an equitable post pandemic public school system. Speaker 8: 19:08 I would prioritize relationships. I would prioritize bringing some joy to learning the arts music so that kids want to be in school. And then I would really focus on getting kids engaged as learners, before we focus narrowly on assessments Speaker 7: 19:24 Know, fight has already taken steps in that direction. Shortly following this summer's protests for racial justice, the district revised its grading policy to prioritize mastery of material over test scores. The district also revised its discipline policy for middle school and invested in training for its police department. I'll do Lahita UC San Diego students. She's hoping her younger siblings might get to experience a more inclusive curriculum and school. Speaker 6: 19:47 There's still so much history that needs to be covered. And so much history that blacks high school students deserve to learn about their own people. And within AP us history, you know, they just brush over, you know, the major topics, Jim Crow, slavery, you know, so, um, there's so there's so much more work that needs to be done, but it's, it's a step in the right direction for now Johnny Mayez KPBS education reporter, Joe hung and show. Welcome. Thanks for having me tell us more about how the racial justice marches last spring and summer brought changes to San Diego unified policies. Speaker 7: 20:22 Yeah. So following the killing of George Floyd last summer, um, local students were part of the protests and they were calling for using the funding for school, please, to invest in more mental health services. And part of their campaign was also hire more diverse staff, um, and teachers, especially Speaker 6: 20:41 Now, did educators realize that perhaps the old policies had racist overtones? Yeah, I, so I think the, Speaker 7: 20:48 Uh, district officials definitely acknowledged that the, the students, uh, had very valid grievances and, um, the district in large part recognize the racial inequities at the schools and the S the school board has expressed the commitment to reforming the police. They won't be abolishing or quote-unquote defunding the department, but they are investing in, uh, in training police officers so that they have sort of less of a, a threatening presence on campus, especially for black students and students of color. And, uh, the district has also revised its grading policies. They're focusing more on, uh, on mastery of material, meaning that students will get more opportunities to retake tests, take more time with, uh, assignments and, uh, just more flexibility overall to accommodate for certain students who might be going through things at home, for instance. Speaker 1: 21:43 So according to the USC educator you spoke with going back to school this spring, or next fall should not be all about making up for lost academic time. Speaker 7: 21:55 Yes. So, uh, the expert cautioned against sort of an overemphasis on academics because that can ultimately just pressure students, right. And you said the focus should be on, on rebuilding the in-person relationships and making students feel comfortable in the classroom setting again, Speaker 1: 22:12 But aren't there major concerns about the amount of learning that's been lost during the pandemic? Speaker 7: 22:16 Yeah, definitely. Um, and I, and I don't think, uh, Pedro Noguera, the, the expert would, would disagree with that, but I think, uh, his argument is that educators need to build sort of the social and emotional foundation, uh, so that the learning can happen again, right. And students could be coming in with all sorts of behaviors and even traumas that they've sort of picked up during a year of, of the pandemic and distance learning and, and black students and students of color and other sort of historically marginalized groups will probably be more likely to need these sort of, uh, extra non-academic supports. Speaker 1: 22:51 Is the district getting any pushback for the plan to de emphasize test scores? Isn't that what a lot of colleges look at for admission? Speaker 7: 23:00 Yeah. I think, uh, when the board sort of approved this, uh, new grading policy, I think there were a few vocal opponents who, who made the argument that a lenient grading policy isn't doing any favors for students, but, you know, when we sort of look ahead in the academic pipeline to college admissions, right. I think it's important to note that the university of California, um, Cal state universities, and a lot of highly selective universities, like the university of Chicago are shifting away from requiring standardized testing. Speaker 1: 23:32 The people you spoke with at San Diego unified emphasize the reduction in the number of black students suspensions over the past years. But the co-author of a recent discipline disparity report says there has been virtually no improvement over that time. So why the disagreement? Speaker 7: 23:51 Yeah. So it really depends on what years you're looking at. So a district spokesperson that I spoke with emphasize that during, um, superintendent Cindy Martin's tenure suspension rates for, uh, black students, um, declined in, in her first sort of two years from 9% to 7.8%. But since then, um, the suspension rates for black students has gone back up to 8.6% in 2018, 2019. So there has been, uh, early successes for, for reducing the disparity, but, um, a lot of fluctuation in the years following Speaker 1: 24:27 The local NAACP is critical of Cindy Martin. Of course, who's now waiting for confirmation as deputy us secretary of education. The group says that Martin has not kept her equity promises because of the suspension rate, have any other metrics improved for black students under her watch? Speaker 7: 24:46 Yeah, absolutely. So graduation rates for black students has gone up significantly since Martin became superintendent. Um, but on top of that more black students are graduating college ready. And what that means is they're taking the classes and they're passing the classes that make them eligible to enroll at a Cal state or university of California campus. Speaker 1: 25:08 Uh, the NAACP is also calling for more black teachers in San Diego schools. What do we know about the impact that that can have on black students? Speaker 7: 25:17 Yeah, so to throw out some more numbers, um, so at San Diego unified about 8% of students are black while, uh, 4% of teachers are black, right? And, um, it's pretty well known at this point in the education field that if a student has a teacher who looks like them and can relate to their own experiences, whether they be racial or socioeconomic or whatever, um, those students are more likely to succeed and feel supported. And in my story, a former school board candidate, uh, Lawanna Richmond made a key point in the story that a lot of times black students feel like they're seen as outsiders. And when you have teachers who can relate to students, the less likely the teachers are to see those kids as, as other. And they start to see them more as you know, our students and part of our community. And this could be the key to decreasing things like suspension rates. Speaker 1: 26:08 Okay. Then I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter Joe Hong and Joe. Thank you. Thank you, Marie. Speaker 4: 26:19 You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen Kavanaugh. San Diego is common. Ground theater has a mission to produce classics and new works by and about people of African descent this weekend. It showcases day of absence by Douglas Turner ward who died last Saturday, KPBS PBS arts reporter, Beth Armando speaks with actor, Leon Alexander Matthews, the virtual Speaker 9: 26:44 Production, Speaker 10: 26:46 Leon, you are part of a production of day of absence. Uh, talk a little bit about what this play by Douglas Turner ward is about. Speaker 9: 26:54 Uh, this play is about a small town in deep, in the deep South. And one day the town, uh, wakes up the white wake up and all the black folks have gone away for 24 hours and to their despair, they don't know what to do. And so it's, uh, we go through 24 hours of the whole town talking about where the white folk are, where the black folks have gone and why they've gone. They don't know where they've gone. Uh, what are we going to do if they're not here? How are we going to live? How are we going to do I day to day without them? So that's basically what the play is about. And then also you get, uh, uh, insight on what this town thought about the, about the Negroes in the town Speaker 10: 27:37 And this play in terms of performance involves a version of white face. And what does that entail for the performance? Speaker 9: 27:45 It's, uh, uh, actually reversal of the menstruals that happened back, uh, when it started in the beginning of the 19th century, where you had the white males dressing in black face or charcoal face and doing comedy skips before the race gets, if you will, about African-Americans about blacks in the, in the towns or in the blacks and growing up back then. And so this play is a reversal of that, where we're all in white space and we're portraying the, our white counterparts. Speaker 10: 28:15 And is this something that was actually written into the text of the play, or is this a choice by the company? Speaker 9: 28:21 No, this was actually written into the text of the play. This is, uh, in its original form. Uh, we haven't changed it. Uh, it was written back in 1965. And, um, so everything that you will see is exactly how it was written, Speaker 10: 28:35 Adding a note of sadness to this particular production is the fact that the playwright just recently passed away. And how does it feel to be, or to have this being performed at this particular moment, then, Speaker 9: 28:51 You know, it's like you said, it's with sadness, but you know, it's a, it's a great honor to be able to perform a play like this, and actually at a time that we're experiencing in America, because even though it was written back in 1965, it is so relevant to what is going on in 2021. And, you know, by then we thought, you know, racism and, and, uh, just the way that America thinks and the way that America processes things we thought by now, it should be men and women of any color or race or background or religion should be on equal ground, but they're not. Speaker 10: 29:30 And how was this performance done? Is this something that was filmed specifically to go online? Or was this something that was a performance that had been filmed a while? Originally? Speaker 9: 29:42 Of course, this was done onstage pre COVID. And so when the play came across the table and we thought about this play, it's like, wow, you know, hopefully the restrictions will have, uh, gone away and we can get back to the theater. But of course the strict restrictions have not gone back to normal. Nothing is normally ed. So Yolanda put her head together and said, you know what, we can do this online. We can do this be as zone. So our rehearsals, all of our rehearsals grounds in them, all of our Reese worms. And so none of the actors have actually been acting together really. And so we were able to do that through the technology. And so, um, I think we'll have a pretty good production. Speaker 10: 30:20 Tell people a little bit about this theater company, common ground. It's been here in San Diego for quite a while, but, um, some people may not be familiar with it. So give us a little background. Speaker 9: 30:31 So common ground it's been around for over 50 years and it's stayed in the community. And what they do is, uh, not only do they, uh, get actors from this community, but they also get actress from other communities. And regardless of your background, uh, your experience, they audition you and give you a chance to, to perform. So like myself. When, of course, when I first started, I didn't have any acting experience. If I first started off as a musician and then a role came about called mute, uh, before it goes home, before it comes home, I was able to act as a sax player and actually got the lead role, surprisingly enough. And so, but they groom you and, uh, some of the actors have gone on to be a major performers. Speaker 10: 31:15 And if it's not too much of an imposition, could I ask you to read a couple of lines from the play in your character? Speaker 9: 31:21 This is where, um, John and Mary actually, they woken up. They, they, uh, John's already gone to work and he's actually gone through the neighborhood and there they have a maid and her name is Lula and they can't find Lula. So let me just give a little bit of this. Walked up to the shack, knocked on the door. Didn't get no answer. Holler, Lula, Lola, not a thing. Went around the side, picked in the window, nobody start next door. Nobody with her crossed over side of the street, bang on five, six other doors, not a colored person could be filed on a man, neither woman, a child, not even a black dog could be seen, smelled or heard for blocks around there. Go Mary, go. Speaker 10: 32:18 I don't want to, I want to thank you very much for talking about this production. Speaker 9: 32:23 Well, thank you very much. That was Speaker 10: 32:25 Beth Armando speaking with actor, Leon Alexander Matthews about day of absence. The plays being performed online tomorrow through Sunday. Information is Speaker 3: 32:47 We continue on Speaker 1: 32:48 Black heritage month salute to San Diego's great black music artists today, jazz soloist, Rebecca Jade. She's the winner of multiple San Diego music awards and performs in her own band, Rebecca Jade, and the cold fact, and is also a backup singer with Sheila E. We asked her to reflect on her, influences her childhood with a jazz singer for a mother, the songs that made her fall in love with music and the artists that shaped her style. She starts with how the pandemic has affected her. Speaker 11: 33:20 For me personally, it was like cancellation after cancellation, after cancellation of dates, right at the beginning, you know? So it's a bit of like, Oh boy, okay, what am I going to do? What do we do? So there was a sense of that kind of, um, Oh no, a little bit. But then it was like, okay, so, so now what, this is a reality, what can I do on that's just so that's really where things kind of shifted Speaker 3: 33:46 Mentally. It's hard to recognize your power when the world seems to be bringing you down. Speaker 11: 34:01 And I think some of it reflected also in songs, a lot of the songs I write are also very encouraging. I try to write songs that are like uplifting or, you know, and so some of the songs that came out of this pandemic has reflected that as well. So it's a matter of, you know, we can all be what was me or we can be like, okay, this is our reality. What can we do Speaker 3: 34:24 About it? [inaudible] Speaker 11: 34:50 My, mom's a jazz singer. Shout out to my beautiful mom. And growing up, she helped expose me to a lot of different musical styles. Billie holiday was, was one of the icons, you know, Speaker 3: 35:05 Good morning. [inaudible] good morning, Hottie, thawed. We said, good Speaker 11: 35:16 Her voice. There was something just so haunting. And so holes, I can't even explain what it is. I couldn't even tell you technically, but there was something about her voice when I was, when I was first hearing her, that just drew Speaker 3: 35:29 Me to her wish, but you're here to stay. It seems that menu, when [inaudible] Speaker 11: 35:55 She lived a life, you know, there's, there's such sorrow and sadness and yet power and vulnerability. And there's so many layers that I think I hear when I hear her voice, her voice, and it just draws me to her. And so it kind of reflects in my writing. I don't know why, but I just, I always tend to write love songs or I try to write songs that are encouraging and empowering as well. But I also tend to, to have a lot of like love songs or heartbreak songs. And I think that being a fan of Billy holiday almost gave me the permission to be comfortable to do that. You know? Yeah. She was one of the first voices that, that just really stuck into my, my ear, my soul, my Speaker 3: 36:42 Good morning, Speaker 11: 36:56 Whitney Houston is definitely a big influence for me. I tried to sing like her. I was trying to learn her runs and she just had this pure voice that it was undeniable. Speaker 3: 37:13 Oh, that [inaudible] Speaker 11: 37:35 All at once was just one of those songs. I just loved the melody. And I just loved the way she sang. I love what she's saying, everything. I just remember that being one of the songs that was not really, you know, everybody knew I want to dance with somebody and greatest love of all, but I think this one was just one of those that was not as popular, but it was such a great song when she passed. I remember going, you know, like a lot of people do, Oh, I want to reminisce on. And I was like, gosh, she had so many amazing songs. And I knew so many of them. And she just really, really impacted me to be that voice to try to, to try to be like, I, I did try to sing like her. That's how that's how much she meant to me. Speaker 3: 38:29 [inaudible] Speaker 11: 38:37 Celia. Cruz is one of gosh, she, she was just, she's kind of just more of a representation of the style of music that my, my mom and I listened to a lot. I was partly raised in Puerto Rico. Like I said, my mom was a jazz singer. She was a jazz singer there in Puerto Rico. So Latin music that Puerto Rican Cuban was just flowing everywhere. It was part of, it was part of my Speaker 3: 39:10 [inaudible]. Speaker 11: 39:11 We moved to California. It was just one of those. Like, we always still played that music a lot. And when it was time to do something, to make dinner, to get ready for something, we were always playing Celia Cruz and Tico point. And it was part of the catalog of Speaker 3: 39:42 [inaudible]. [inaudible] Speaker 11: 39:56 What I favorite top five movies is on the Deus. You know, that's, the soundtrack is all is Mozart's Requiem. And the such a contrast, you know, you hear this wide array of instrumentation that is just powerful. And you know, and I can hear the melodies in my head and you just, for me physically, like my head moves when it's like these like low and big sounds Speaker 3: 40:38 [inaudible] Speaker 11: 40:41 Then the choir comes in and, and then, or there's a lead vocalist that, that is, takes this, you know, this part. And it's just, there's something that is just so moving and it's incredible to see it and feel it. I just, I just love it. My mom really helped me a lot with vocal harmonies. Oftentimes it would be just the two of us singing, you know, As I got a little older, she started to share with me bands like Manhattan transfer, where are just almost instrumentation, you know, they, they are, they are the, the main Speaker 3: 41:57 [inaudible] Speaker 11: 41:57 Anytime we would do go on car rides, or if I'd go on car rides with my dad. I remember we drove one time, I think, to Texas and we were listening to Manhattan transfer. And just, it's just, again, a different style that like classical where, you know, you just have this wide range of instrumentation. I love how Manhattan transfer, like how they take vocal and put a wide range within that scope within that Speaker 3: 42:30 Style. You know, Speaker 11: 42:31 I I'm so blown away by it. And I love listening to the vocal acrobatics. Like Speaker 3: 42:57 [inaudible], Speaker 11: 43:00 I truly believe that the Mozart's and the take six and the, and the Manhattan transfer that all reflects still into the shows that I do either with Sheila E or my own stuff, cold fact, and all it all relates 100%. So I encourage people to keep at it, if there's any doubts within yourself of, you know, Oh, I don't know how this is going to help or contribute. I truly believe it all contributes in some form or fashion, so to stick with it. And at some point it manifests itself to reveal that, that it was, it was part of your evolution. Speaker 3: 43:45 That was San Diego musician, Rebecca Jade. You can find links to all the songs that influenced her as well as her own music on our [inaudible].

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Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccinations can begin Saturday. This includes education and childcare workers, law enforcement, food and farm workers. Plus, San Diego Unified School District leaders announced a targeted date of April 12 to allow students of all grade levels to return to the classroom. And San Diego Unified School District has made significant progress toward reducing the longstanding inequities its Black students have faced, but there’s room for growth. Then, Common Ground Theatre's mission is “to produce classics and new works by and about people of African descent.” This weekend it showcases "Day of Absence" by Douglas Turner Ward, who died last Saturday. Finally, San Diego musician Rebecca Jade told KPBS Midday about her influences, her childhood with a jazz singer for a mother, the songs that made her fall in love with music and the artists that shaped her style.