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FDA authorizes omicron-specific booster shots

 August 31, 2022 at 3:39 PM PDT

S1: The new Omicron booster shot moves closer to full approval.

S2: It's been a really tough road these last several weeks. Fortunately , we're in a descent right now.

S1: I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Andrew BOE. And this is KPBS Midday Edition. California lawmakers vote to affirm the state as a refuge for transgender youth.

S3: This care is not only deemed as medically necessary by all the medical associations across the country , but it is life saving and suicide prevention treatment.

S1: The city of Carlsbad moves forward with its state of emergency on bike safety and San Diego's African features. All things futuristic happening among African American creative artists. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The wait for an oma kron specific booster vaccine is almost over. The fda gave emergency use authorization to the booster today and a cdc panel review is scheduled tomorrow. Pfizer and moderna are both asking that the booster shot be approved for everyone 12 and older. Health officials say a booster targeting the most dominant strain of the COVID virus available just weeks before an expected fall wave of the disease is great news. But others worry that because this vaccine has not gone through human trials , its effectiveness is still uncertain. Joining us once again is Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. Dr. Topol , welcome.

S2: Thanks , Maureen. Always good to be with you.

S1: Does this booster target the Bay five variant of COVID ? And is that still the most dominant strain ? Yes.

S2: VA five accounts for about 90% of the cases in the U.S. and it's been a really tough road these last several weeks. Fortunately , we're in a descent right now , but there is no other variant besides this one called Bay 4.6 that's troublesome. And that should also be protected by the Bay five booster vaccine.


S2: So they haven't differentiated , Maureen , regarding age and immunocompromised status. That would be the logical thing. Of course , they should be the first ones to get a booster if they haven't had either a booster in recent months or an infection. I mean , I think that's really important. A lot of people were hit with by Bay five in the last couple of months and they should wait at least two months before they get a shot.


S2: So we don't know. That can be better than the original booster. There is hope for that. But right now , if you've had a recent booster , there's no reason to go out right away. A good few , two , three or four months would be prudent.

S1: Now , one thing about the new Omicron booster that may sound strange to the general public is that this booster has not been given human trials. It's only been tested on mice. Is that problem ? Yes.

S2: This is the first vaccine that's updated in Kuwait , and it's the first time , of course , without human data. We are used to that with flu shots. Each year there's a flu shot that's updated based on mouse data and that's been going on for quite a while. This is different because it's a different virus and it would be nice that we would have some data from people. We'll have that soon. But there is some uncertainty because we don't know with this V5 variant whether we're going to be able to induce very high levels of antibodies because of course mice are different in people. A lot of people , as we've already touched on , have already had a few boosters. So that's uncertain right now. It would be nice to have that nailed down , and hopefully we will soon.


S2: But these studies can be done pretty quickly within a few weeks. So hopefully there is a commitment by the companies to get these results. So hopefully within a month we'll have some good data on the immune response , which is likely to be very robust , but we just don't know for sure.


S2: And so there's hope that you'll be reducing infections and transmission among all those people who get it age 12 and older. So the transmission chain , if that really works , which we don't know yet , but if it works , that will help everybody , including children. But you're right , because children are against this booster , at least right now , that may change in the months ahead. The United States purchased over 175 million of the shots from the two companies. So they'll be more than enough to give to kids under 12 over the months ahead. But for now , it's banking on an unknown about infection , transmission reduction in people over age 12.

S1: Now , the San Diego Unified School District , which just got back in session this week , is not mandating indoor mask wearing. But it's encouraging it. Is that enough ? Yeah.

S2: Well , this is a tough call because obviously we want to have as natural conditions as possible for kids in school. And encouraging it , of course , has got mixed response. We also know that with the kind of mass that children typically use , they're not , you know , in 95 or K in 94. So they're not really high grade quality. And I'm a crime and all these variants like a five , they just so hyper transmissible that regular cough masks don't do that much. They were something , but they're not nearly as good as medical grade. So it's a tough one , Maureen. I mean , you know , it would be much better if all the kids were vaccinated. But our biggest problem right now is that we have such a low rate of vaccination among children of all ages from six months all the way through to , you know , through 11 and older. So this is the biggest hole in our prevention.


S2: They're we're in the descent of a five. There's no scary variant that's imminent. We may have a couple of good months here where we have low levels of circulating virus , certainly more of that in the weeks ahead. And relative containment perhaps as good as we've seen for the whole pandemic. And it's possible that this booster vaccine will help to some degree. The only question that remains , though , is what's next after this lull ? Will there be a new family of variants or will it be another derivative of a crime that causes trouble that is looming out there ? It's an unknown. We should be planning for that , because even though we're going to get a respite for a stretch , it's unlikely that we're going to see smooth sailing from here on in.

S1: I just read there is another COVID lockdown going on in China.

S2: There are parts like , for example , in Asia , Japan has been hit extremely hard , the worst part of the pandemic for them. But they are one of the best managed countries. There will be a bit more of the five around the world , but for the most part , it's run its course throughout Europe now in North America , South America. So I think , you know , again , throughout the world , we should be getting to a good level of containment. The only real question is how long will that last ? I only hope it will last a long time , as all of us would like to see.

S1: Now , the National Centers for Health Statistics says COVID has caused a drop in life expectancy in the U.S. for the second year in a row. It's down from 77 years to just over 76 years.

S2: We have dropped , you know , nearly three years over this period. It's driven by the pandemic , but also with drug overdoses and accidents. And it's really you know , there's a lot of disparities. The level of life expectancy in the mid 60 years for American natives is at the level of 1944. This is the worst we've seen a drop for almost 100 years and there's 76 years of life expectancy. Maureen is the lowest it's been for 25 years. We've been on steady decline. So this really deserves a lot of attention. It's not just the pandemic , although that's a dominant factor. We don't have a universal health system with the access that we need. And this is showing up in our results.

S1: Because you say we're in this period where we're seeing falling numbers of COVID cases.

S2: You know , it's perfectly fine for eager beavers to go and get this , especially people , you know , over age 50 or 65 , even people who are immunocompromised and haven't had either an infection or a booster in recent months , that's perfectly fine and reasonable. But , you know , for a lot of people waiting a month to get the data to nail this down , it might be a wise move. It's not as straightforward as the FDA and CDC may make it when they release this right after Labor Day next week. So it's really an individual choice. I'm going to be a little more cautious and wait a few weeks to see what the data shows. And I'd really like to see that immune response data. Okay.

S1: Okay. Then I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. As always , Dr. Topol , thank you so much.

S2: Thank you , Mary.

S4: The rights of transgender youth to access gender affirming medical care is under attack in much of the country. In Texas , for example , Governor Greg Abbott has ordered state officials to investigate parents of trans youth for child abuse if they allow their kids to access things like hormone therapy or medications that delay the onset of puberty. California lawmakers have responded by passing a bill that would declare the state a refuge for trans youth. That bill , SB 107 , was co-sponsored by the San Diego based non-profit Trans Family Support Services. And joining me now is that group's founder and executive director , Cathy mOLIK. Cathy , welcome.

S3: Thanks for having me.

S4: Let's start with what exactly is in this bill SB 107 , which is expected to head to the governor's desk this week.

S3: So California will not extradite , will not serve warrants and doctors will not be required to disclose medical information of their patients as a part of this criminalization.


S3: I've been in this work for almost a decade , and that is not something that we have seen previously. But certainly we are seeing it now with all of these hateful , anti-trans youth legislation that's going on around the country. So we have already started serving families that are coming to California for care. We have a couple of families that have moved to California because of this legislation that's happening in other states where their kids don't feel safe. And in the legislation is not just affecting the people in that state because all of our trans youth can hear about this and get concerned that it could happen to them no matter where they live.

S4: Your son came out as trans about a decade ago.

S3: When I would call , the response I got back from doctor after doctor was We don't do that here , including our local Rady Children's Hospital , which my son has a disability. So we had already been accessing so many different departments at Rady that when I got that response of We don't do that here. I got , as my kids say , the pushy mom and and came back with , okay , we're going to make you do this. And and so now it's great they have a center for gender affirming care and they've treated probably over a thousand trans youth.

S4: What kinds of medical interventions are available to trans youth and how do those vary by age ? Yeah.

S3: Thank you for asking this question because I think there's a lot of misinformation out there that , you know , doctors are treating very young children and that's not the case. Anyone that has not started puberty would not have any type of medical interventions or medical treatment. Once someone starts puberty , then there are puberty blockers , which is medication that just causes puberty. This is a great piece for the youth as well as their families , to give some time for them to explore more on their gender journey. Working with a therapist , if that's right and appropriate for them. And it just pauses those secondary sex characteristics. And then once an individual is older , usually around 1314 , it may be right and appropriate for hormone replacement therapy for cross-sex hormones so that this individual can go through the puberty that aligns with their gender identity. But these are all very individualized personal decisions that are decided amongst a team that includes the youth , the parents , usually a mental health provider and the medical team. So no one's just out willy nilly , you know , kind of putting this treatment out to kids that there isn't this this sort of long process of decision making and informed consent that happens.


S3: My son gives me the permission to share his story in order to educate other people. When he was very young and just starting puberty at a far too early of age and he was having breast growth and that became really distressing to him. He knew himself to be a boy. And and that is not part of an experience of a boy. He used to take my husband's shoes at night and pound his breast tissue back in thinking that that would make it stop growing. And so it's vitally important that our kids be able to have the puberty that aligns with their identity. He was in distress for years before we got medical treatment on board. That was appropriate and necessary for him. This care is not only deemed as medically necessary by all the medical associations across the country , but it is lifesaving and suicide prevention treatment.

S4: If there is a parent listening right now whose child has come out as trans and they're not sure what to do with that information.

S3: Our tagline is Navigation for the Journey. We provide a plethora of services at no fee to the families to be able to support them to walk through that. This is all come because when my son started his transition , we didn't have resources. I was lost. I didn't know what to do. And and so out of our need came working with other families to help them. So that would be the first thing. The second thing I would say is all the experts in the field tell us that our job as parents is to follow the lead of our child. That is not something we as parents do innately well , but it's is vitally important to the success of our children. And so being able to lean in , even if you're afraid , even if you think that it's not true , even if you aren't sure that this is the right thing , lean in and support your child by supporting your child. By affirming their identity , you've laid a safe ground for them to tell you if any of this information changes in the future.

S4: I've been speaking with Cathy like founder and executive director of the San Diego based non-profit Trans Family Support Services. Cathy , thank you so much.

S3: Thank you for having me.

S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Andrew Bowen in for Jade Heineman. Last night , the Carlsbad City Council voted unanimously to ratify a state of emergency due to recent bike or e-bike collisions in the coastal community. There have been nearly 60 bike collisions with motorized vehicles in Carlsbad this year. The city council approved $2 million in new funding meant to make roads safer. The funding includes stricter traffic enforcement by police , new message boards , road speed feedback signs and education programs. Earlier this month , E-bike Rider 35 year old Christine Hawk Embry was killed in a collision with an SUV. Her infant daughter riding with her was not harmed. Ambriz death has become a focal point for efforts to make Carlsbad safer for cyclists. But critics say the new state of emergency safety programs will not fit the bill. Joining me is Will Rhatigan of the San Diego County Bike Coalition and will , welcome to the program.

S3: Hi , and thanks so much for having me on.

S1: Now , we invited the Carlsbad City manager to speak with us about the new safety measures , but his office told us he was not available. Will much of the focus of the $2 million safety package is towards increasing traffic enforcement.

S3: That is the approach that every city in America has taken. Whenever there is a string of traffic fatalities over the last 50 years and it has never been effective in increasing road safety. It may be effective.

S5: For a short period while.

S3: There is extremely intense enforcement , but it's certainly not a durable strategy. It never lasts. And what we've seen across the country is that enforcement , especially when it's directed at the behavior of bicyclists , does not have a significant impact on traffic safety. So we're happy to see this significant investment in. Safer road infrastructure. But the enforcement piece is exactly the wrong approach and especially the wrong approach if it's going to be targeting cyclists in particular.

S1: Carlsbad funds will also go to efforts to increase safety education for cyclists.

S3: I think the city manager in Carlsbad did acknowledge that drivers have an essential responsibility in road safety as well. But nonetheless , I think undue emphasis does go on the behavior of cyclists. I think Bob Embry , Christine Hawk and Bruce Husband said it very well when he said that when a.

S2: Driver breaks the law.

S3: The consequences of that action fall almost entirely on the pedestrian or cyclists who they hit who will often be hurt or killed when a cyclist breaks the law. The consequences of that almost always fall on themselves. So when we're thinking about where enforcement efforts should go , it should be almost entirely on the drivers , because those.

S2: Are the road users causing the.

S3: Vast , vast majority of harm.


S3: And I would say I did not. The majority of roads in Carlsbad that actually go anywhere are these large , high speed , six lane arterials. Most of them do have striped class to bike lanes. But when you are riding 15 or 20 miles an hour and cars are driving by at 50 or 60 miles an hour , that stripe on the road does not make you feel safe. And if the driver is distracted , drunk or just plain malicious and it's you , for some reason , you stand little chance of that speed , your odds of survival are about 10%. And so what we really want to see is Carlsbad invest significantly in protected infrastructure that would provide some sort of physical separation between drivers and bicyclists on the road.


S3: E-bikes makes riding a bike much more accessible for many more people. People that may have mobility issues , they may be intimidated by large hills or high speed traffic. They can now access riding much easier. And so what we're seeing is many more people riding bikes than ever before. That said , the way people ride e-bikes is not significantly different than the way people were riding bikes in the past. Most e-bikes are capped at 20 miles an hour , which is a speed that many people can do on pedal bikes as well. And so if we're seeing more crashes , it's mostly due to the fact that we're seeing many more people on bikes , period. It's not anything to do with e-bikes being inherently dangerous in some way. So e-bikes have allowed many more people than ever before to get out and ride their bikes to the place they need to go. And as a result , that's exposing a lot of these systemic safety issues that have always existed in our road system but haven't been as visible because we've had fewer people walking and biking in the past.

S1: Now , the city of San Diego is also struggling with ways to reduce pedestrian and cyclist deaths and injuries. And it's embarked on putting in a lot of the proven methods that we know help reduce bike and motorized vehicle crashes , things like roundabouts , bike lanes and other measures like that.

S3: Everything the city of San Diego is doing , for the most part , is driven by hard safety data. So we know that roundabouts can reduce crashes at intersections by or 50% , fatal crashes by up to 80%. We know that protected bike lanes can reduce fatal crashes by up to 80% as well. And we know that traffic calming and reducing speeds is the most significant thing we can do to reduce fatalities on the road. And so City of San Diego is right now doing a great job at that , is not doing it fast enough. It could be doing a lot faster. And Carlsbad right now has a sustainable mobility plan that is not using those best practices. It's recommending fast to bike lanes on roads that have speed limits of 45 miles an hour or higher , which is not in a single bike and pedestrian association's approved design guidelines. And so that plan was only adopted two years ago. Carlsbad really needs to look at what other cities are doing and re-evaluate its own road safety plans if it's actually serious about the state of emergency and reducing cyclists deaths.

S1: But at the same time , San Diego officials have experienced a big pushback from the public on many of those bike safety measures. People complaining they are a waste of money. They make traffic even more congested. They only benefit a relatively small number of people who ride bikes.

S3: And when we have roads that lack basic safety measures , basic bike infrastructure , we know statistically that eventually someone will die on that road and. We can put safety improvements in. We know where they are that will save lives. And I think that is worth making motorists slow down , having their commute be a minute or two longer. Having the government spend what is a minuscule amount of money in comparison to how much it spends on highways. So that tradeoff is very easy for me. And when we are taking seriously how unsafe our roads are right now , I think that trade off should be easy for more people to see.

S1: I've been speaking with Wil Rhatigan of the San Diego County Bike Coalition. Well , thank you.

S2: Thank you so much.

S4: Like in many places , rates of mental illness and substance abuse are skyrocketing in San Diego County. At the same time , the region is facing a shortage of behavioral health workers. KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman has more on a new plan that aims to close the gap.

S5: Over the next five years. We need to recruit more people than currently work in this field. That's a very , very tall order. The San Diego Workforce Partnership's chief economist , Daniel Anna Mark , helped prepare the behavioral health report that he calls one of a kind. It included surveying some 1600 behavioral health workers and students. Results found that the majority of jobs are underpaying. This is a problem. We can't recruit and retain people if we aren't paying them. The Workforce Partnership presented their findings to local providers during a recent behavioral health symposium. Officials estimate between the private , public and nonprofit sector , there's currently 17,000 behavioral health workers to serve a county of more than 3 million. The current workforce is meeting a lot of the behavioral health need , but not all of it. According to the partnership , to meet the growing need and replace people leaving the field. About 18,000 more workers need to be hired in the San Diego region over the next five years. That includes everything from peer support specialists to counselors , social workers , psychiatrist and other hospital staff.

S2: I would say nowhere in America has built out the system of behavioral health care to provide the right care to the right person at the right time. And I want San Diego to be the first.

S5: Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Nathan Fletcher commissioned this study. He says no one entity can fix this gap overnight , but many have to chip in.

S2: We're hoping to not only leverage our friends in philanthropy to have the county join , to have the state join. I will be going to Washington , D.C. , to advocate for funding there because we've got to develop a system that gets the right person , the right care at the right time. And the investing in people and in the workforce is a is a vital component.

S5: The county has been doing more in recent years. The last four budget cycles have resulted in a total $230 million increase in behavioral health services. With the overall budget now approaching $900 million for Fletcher , this issue is personal. He says he had a turbulent and traumatic childhood then as a marine , had multiple combat deployments.

S2: And watched the impact of combat weigh not just on me , but on my friends. And I know how serious that is. But the reality of trauma is it's not just Marines and Navy SEALs in war who go through this. Trauma is trauma. You know , anyone who survived a sexual assault , anyone who's been in a difficult situation could be experiencing that.

S5: The county issues contracts to local nonprofits who then provide behavioral health services in the region. But some argue that system is outdated and doesn't keep pace with rising cost of living.

S3: Right now , the county is allowing us to do hiring on bonuses , but we also need to do retention bonuses because we may be able to reward the staff who stuck with us , especially during the pandemic.

S5: Kathryn Nakano is CEO of San Diego's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness , or NAMI. They work with up to 40,000 San Diegans each year. Nakano says some of her staff are leaving the field because of burnout.

S3: Individuals are also leaving for higher paying jobs within the same industry. Since there is such a workforce shortage , what we're seeing happening is folks are leaving for one or $2 more an hour and literally giving no notice , saying , Hey , today's my last day , I'm going to go work for something when I start tomorrow.

S5: The Workforce Partnership estimates the price tag for hiring and training 18,000 additional workers would be around $424 million. They're recommending a down payment strategy. It calls for investing about a third of that to bring on thousands of workers over the next 5 to 10 years. Nakano is part of the steering committee that aims to put these goals into action.

S3: This is truly where the work does begin. We don't want this to go up on a shelf and gather dust. So we have to get a core group of individuals together that over the next two , three , five , seven years can make sure this is continuing to be pushed forward.

S5: The Workforce Partnership also recommends developing a regional training hub to help create a steady pipeline of behavioral health workers. Matt Hoffman , KPBS News.

S4: San Diegans hear a lot about the delicate and sometimes deadly state of our coastal cliffs. Just last month , SANDAG received $300 million in state funds to begin the process of moving train tracks along the crumbling Del Mar bluffs. But the problem of erosion. Isn't just confined to San Diego. California has more than 800 miles of coastline. A new report from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography details just that by outlining which parts of the California coast are most susceptible to erosion and collapse. Joining me now with more is Scripps researcher Adam Young , who oversaw that study. Adam , welcome to Midday Edition. Thanks. So let's start big picture here.

S2: Different areas are threatened at different rates depending on how close they are to the coastline. And erosion tends to be episodic. So some areas may be threatened during one time periods and then be relatively stable during other time periods.


S2: So the areas that are really quickly during that time period may not be the ones that are going to continue to erode at that rapid rate. But some of the areas that we did see during that time period , a lot of them were located in Northern California , at Centerville Beach , probably one of the higher rates of retreat that we had , which is up in Humboldt County.


S2: So you have the environmental conditions , you have the waves and rainfall and groundwater driving the processes. But unfavorable geologic conditions can also contribute to cliff instability.

S4: Things like earthquakes are fault lines.

S2: I assume earthquakes , faults , joints do tend to cause weaker areas in the cliffs. But there's also other things to consider , such as the types of materials that the cliffs are composed of how they're oriented within the cliff.

S4: So let's talk about San Diego. We've been talking about coastal erosion for quite a while now , and it's a very important topic here politically. How does San Diego compare to the rest of the state. During.

S2: During.

S3: This particular time.

S2: Period ? Other parts of the state were eroding faster. But obviously there's been some recent activity in San Diego , particularly in Del Mar , over the last few years.

S4: California has 800 miles of coastline.

S2: So some places can have beaches and some cliffs do not. So you can have waves in constant contact with the cliffs. The geology changes along shore , the cliff heights change along for the wave conditions and the weather and all the environmental factors change. Longshore And there's a wide variety of coastal settings along our coastline.


S2: That was one of the things that was different about this most recent study is that we do now have few data sets to work with in those areas , which we didn't have in the past.

S4: Now , the thing that I imagine is on most people's minds when they think of coastal erosion is sea level rise and climate change.

S2: And the cliffs are through wave action , driving , eroding the bottom of the cliff , causing cliff instability. And then you can have things that can trigger a landslide in this unstable cliff , such as rainfall or groundwater conditions. And again , you can also have just general weathering of the cliffs causing inversion. So these aren't necessarily new processes that have been happening is have been happening for thousands of years along the coastline.

S4: You tried to assess the risk of each part of California to coastal erosion.

S2: So if you have more erosion on the bottom of the cliff compared to the top , the cliff is getting steeper and that's increasing its potential hazard and of having a failure in the cliff top. So we look at those differences between where exactly the version is happening on the cliff.

S4: So erosion can be much worse in other parts of California , but we typically hear the most about it in these densely populated areas like San Diego.

S2: I think definitely more attention is paid to where we have critical resources along our coastline and certainly more data could be collected in more remote areas. And that's something that I'm hoping to address in the future.



S4: I've been speaking with. Adam Young , a researcher from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. And , Adam , thank you so much for talking with us.

S2: Thank you.

S1: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Andrew Bowen in for Jade Heineman. The second annual Afrikan takes place this weekend at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. The convention focuses on Afrofuturism , which the organizers describe as a movement in literature , music , art and film featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporates elements of black history and culture. It also provides an educational , entertaining and informative space for creative thinkers. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with founder Luana Richmond and filmmaker Demi Raya. Danny Run.

S3: Luana African is short for Afrofuturism consciousness convention. So what can people expect from this convention this weekend ? Well , you know , they can expect to have fun. They'll be like comic book and cultural artifacts and like fun things in the exhibit hall. And then they can also expect to engage in discourse around critical topics that are relevant to just improving society. And then also they can expect to connect with industry opportunities in terms of meeting other people who have shared interests that they could potentially collaborate with and continue the process of creation. And this is going to be your second Afro con. So was there anything you learned from the first one in terms of what you wanted to change or what you wanted to add or anything that you wanted to do this year ? Well , I wanted to add film and fashion as elements just cause I thought they would be fun. And then in terms of changing for people who know me , I'm learning how to not try to do everything myself. So , Luana , you brought up film , and this year you're going to be showing a movie. Oh , Genoma.

S6: Once upon a time , long ago , in the 54 United Kingdom of Tom Moray live chemo father and his beautiful wife. We'd like him to tour the kingdom.

S3: And we have the filmmaker here to talk about it. So , Demarais , please tell us what the film is about.

S2: So this one is the first one I've done of this kind , which is fantasy. It's something familiar. You know , there's nothing really new under the sun. It's just the way we mix up the ingredients. So it's very familiar because it touches on other fantasy movies like Sleeping Beauty , Cinderella Spirit and the Beast. So there's magic and there's also music because I grew up loving musicals and nice to watch. I watched like The Sound of Music , like , so many times as a boy , I miss musicals , so I put a musical element into it as well.

S3: And I understand this is going to be the first U.S. screening.

S2: Yes , we did Zambia. I just came back from Zambia from screening there. And I mean , it was shot in Zambia. This week is going to be shown in London.


S2: This one has been the most challenging because this is the second time I actually shot this movie. I actually shot it before and completed in Nigeria first and then I redid it. Right. Nigeria is a whole story because , you know , I'm Nigerian , my family's Nigerian , my parents , I was born I was born and raised in London , in Nigeria. I faced a lot of challenges because there was sabotage , delaying the project , thinking that if they delay it , they'd get some more money out of me. And so it caused me to shoot it in a way which was more guerrilla than the way I wanted to shoot it. So after I finished , it wasn't my vision and I said , I'm going to scrap it. They didn't know where I was going to be able to raise the money to do it again. I didn't know. I just was determined. And three days later I got a call from a friend , a good friend , and he asked me if I had any projects that needed funding. And so it happened. But I think if I settled for what I had , I don't think I would have got that call in three days. That's how I. Feel.

S3: Feel. And Luana , in addition to having the film , you also have a keynote speaker who is local artist Max Moses. So explain who he is and why you wanted him as a speaker. So in many ways , Max Moses is Afrofuturism is probably one of the most beautiful humans on the planet in terms of being able to communicate and express visually as well as in conversation. And I think having someone besides me talk to people about what Afrofuturism is and why it's important will be helpful overall. And I couldn't think of a better person to kick off with the message because he works with people of all generations and I believe that he's a communicator that can bridge a variety of gaps. And who are some of the other guests you're going to have and what kind of panels can people expect ? Kahlil Nash is going to be performing and then Tony Washington and then we're going to have Black Diver Scuba. So Snorkel Association , we'll be talking about the connection between genetics from trauma , from Middle Passage and. Fear of swimming and encouraged people to get back in the water. We'll be talking about mental wellness. We'll be talking about this divine femininity and , of course , business opportunities in art and creativity. And this is a question for both of you.

S2: Image it projects a different type of image. One of the things is that seeing ourselves in the future , that's something that's always brought up to me. Art shapes society. It has a very important place in society in the way we think. I use movies in a way to talk to people because , you know , we have all our prejudices , our beliefs , our traumas. But when we sit down and watch a movie , our minds are open. Then we can we can hear what someone is saying. So I think , like Afrofuturism , that image allows people to present themselves basically , especially for the young. They can project themselves and see themselves in many different ways and be who they want to be.

S3: So for me , it's important because we live in a time where there's a lot of angst and consternation. People are looking back and shaking their head and discuss and people are dealing with current events that are , I'll say , distasteful. And , you know , all of that isn't going away. But I believe if we want something different , we have to start by actually being able to imagine something different. And I think that it's important in terms of creating neural pathways that support co-creation of better realities and engage people in understanding that they have agency in their life. And once they imagine something better , my hope is that then they'll take the steps to make that something better actually come into reality. Seeing ourselves outside of the standard stereotypes creates space for us to be a little bit more creative about what's possible and what the solutions are. And even beyond solutions , like what are the opportunities ? How do we take the action today in order to make that future vision a reality ? An Afro con evolved out of the Afro Futurist Lounge , which happened at Comic-Con a number of years ago. Moving forward , what is your vision for this convention ? Well , my vision is for it to grow into being a cultural space that's also social , economic and continues to be entertaining. I believe that we have many places where people can buy , you know , cultural art or where people can go for comics. San Diego itself is emerging as a hub for Afrofuturism. One of the things that I didn't realize when I first started out were how many prominent creative people and critical thinkers live right here in San Diego making and are making a difference on a global scale. And this being kind of quiet here about what they're doing. I want to thank you both very much for talking about this year's African. All right. Thank you both.

S2: Thank you.

S3: Hope to see people. Friday through Sunday , Saturday and Sunday will be at the Jackie Robinson Y. Again , there's a there'll be a pre-party at MAXIMOS It's the studio and the film on Saturday night. The film starts at a but will be opening the doors at seven. And I think if you would like to interact or hear from Mariah , this would be a good opportunity to ask questions and learn some things.

S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Luana Richmond and Demi Raya. Danny Run African kicks off with a party Friday night with the convention running Saturday and Sunday at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. To register for free tickets , go to Afrikan Dot net.

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A new report from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography identifies which coastal cliffs are most susceptible to erosion and collapse. Finally, the second annual Afro Con takes place this weekend at the Jackie Robinson Family YMCA. The Afrofuturism convention focuses on literature, music, art, and film which incorporate elements of Black history and culture.

The wait for an Omicron specific booster vaccine is almost over. The FDA gave emergency use authorization to the booster today and a CDC panel review is scheduled tomorrow. Then, California lawmakers passed a bill that would declare the state a refuge for transgender youth. Next, the Carlsbad city council voted unanimously on Tuesday to ratify a state of emergency in response to a rise in traffic collisions involving bicycles. And, a look into a San Diego County plan to address a shortage of mental health workers. Then, the problem of cliff erosion isn’t unique to San Diego, California has more than eight hundred miles of coastline.