Black Employee Collective  – ep.129

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February 29, 2024
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March 14, 2024

Join me as members of the Black Employee Collective, Yolanda Barial Knight, Yulie Padmore and Sabrina Pinell, delve into the impactful advocacy efforts within the East Bay Regional Park District in California shedding light on the profound legacy of the Port Chicago 50, highlighting the intersection of history, social justice, and community empowerment.

Yolande Barial Knight is a co-founder along with Yulie Padmore and Sabrina Pinell of the Black Employee Collective of the East Bay Regional Park District where she and her fellow members proudly campaigned along with many organizations in the Bay Area and nationally to name the first park in Contra Costa County after a black person! The park is in Concord, CA and is named: Thurgood Marshall Regional Park – Home of the Port Chicago 50 in Concord, California.

Yolande is blessed to be the proud mother of 3 adult children: 2 sons and a daughter who are the lights of her life. She has been honored to receive the NAACP Image Award from the NAACP Stockton Branch, the Woman of Color Award from the African American Chamber of Commerce and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from the Tracy African American Association. She is the immediate past President of Tracy African American Association, immediate past Director of the Youth Department at People of Christ Missionary (POC) Baptist Church’s in Tracy, she has a byline in the Tracy Press Newspaper where she writes Mother’s Corner column that focuses on parenting children of all ages.  Yolande is also a member of the Tracy Democratic Club and the Tracy African American Association.

Yolande is the Clerk of the Board for East Bay Regional Park District where she has been employed for 32 years.

Yulie Padmore has advocated for justice for the Port Chicago sailors since 2019. As a co-founder of East Bay Black Employee Collective, she worked with colleagues and community organizations to help facilitate the naming of Thurgood Marshall Regional Park — Home of the Port Chicago 50 in 2020/2021. Yulie is a proud member of the Port Chicago Taskforce and editor of the news and resource website

Sabrina Pinell started her career with the East Bay Regional Park District in 2007 at the Robert Crown Memorial State Beach – Crab Cove Visitor Center in Alameda. She is now working in the Acquisition, Stewardship & Development Division at the Park District Administrative Headquarters in Oakland, closer to her home. Sabrina received her Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Art and a minor in African-American Studies from UC Berkeley in 1997. She shares not only a love for art in all of its expressions (craft, sculpture,dance, etc.), but also culturally and historically embraces the people who make it globally; and their stories. Sabrina is a Certified Massage Therapist with a specialization in Reiki Energy healing in collaboration with the Luna Nueva Wellness Healing Collective in the Bay Area. In her spare time, you can find Sabrina at a local festival, in the backyard with her fur babies or spending quality time with her two children and family. 

Melyssa Barrett: Welcome to The Jali podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started. Many of you may not know this story, but I thought it was interesting because there are so many people that don’t know the story. When you talk about Port Chicago 50 or the Port Chicago Disaster, many people think we’re talking about something that happened in Chicago, and yet we find that Port Chicago was in California. 

And you’ll hear me talking to several individuals. they will introduce themselves at the beginning so you get to know their voices, and they not only are going to talk about Port Chicago, but they are going to talk about the East Bay Regional Parks District as well as the Black Employee Collective that they created. It’s a fascinating story of how the Black Employee Collective came together at the East Bay Regional Parks District and the intention and purpose that they focus their efforts on. So I wanted to bring you this conversation because I found it so interesting, not only for just helping people understand the Port Chicago disaster, but also regarding what we can do as an employee collective, an employee resource group potentially, and you’ll hear from them on kind of why this was a focus for them. So tune in, check it out, and invite yourself to understand what was happening at that time, and now here we are 80 years later and people are still just finding out about it. 

I can’t tell you how many people I have come across that don’t know anything about Port Chicago, and for those that know a lot about it, you will find they don’t really want to talk about it. But it is important that our stories are told. And so at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine near Concord, California, the naval base was racially segregated. And remember, this was Jim Crow segregation policies that were being strictly enforced. So although African-Americans were signing up for the military, they really wanted to participate, serve their country, there were lots of things going on that you will hear. I am of course, once again, so excited to have this week the Black Employee Collective for the East Bay Regional Parks District. Woo hoo, that’s a mouthful, y’all. So I’m excited to talk to you all, first of all about the East Bay Regional Parks District and maybe you can tell us a little bit about that, and then I want to hear a little bit more about the Black Employee Collective because you all are just amazing women doing amazing things. So who wants to start?

Sabrina Pinell:  Well, I guess I am since nobody’s saying anything.

Melyssa Barrett: All right, Sabrina.

Sabrina Pinell: I’m Sabrina Pinell and I work for the East Bay Regional Park District. I’ve been here for 17 years and currently I’m a senior executive assistant in the Apposition Stewardship and Development Division. Yes, that is a lot of words, but in our division we’re acquiring land, getting land donated to the district, building trails, designing trails, planning for new parks, stewarding the lands, keeping up with habitat and watching out for the little, what is it, endangered species mouse that are maybe this small to a really rare plant that might grow in our lands that we have to keep and monitor and keep track of, as well as building and designing and constructing a staging area. So that’s kind of what my division does, but what the whole park district does, because it’s an infrastructure. We have a public safety department. We have a whole police division, a fire department. We have lifeguards.

We increase our employees to maybe 700 during the summer just because of all of the recreation and outdoor recreation that we do to support the local communities. We’re in two counties, Alameda County and Contra Costa County. We have over 125,000 acres of land and 1,200 miles of trail, and we’re pretty big. I remember finding out about the district for the first time. It’s really embedded in the community and you could grow up going to them all your life, but never know that this big district agency is behind all of it. State parks have looked to us for good ideas on innovation, on how to make state parks better because we manage our parks so well. We are nation-wide and well-known, and even acknowledged by the president’s office. And speaking of president’s office, the Obama office actually has come out as well as the Secretary of the Interior to visit some of our parks. So I’ll leave it there and pass it on to one of you.

Yolanda Barial Knight: Hello. Thank you Melissa for interviewing us. We’re so excited. My name is Yolanda Barial Knight, and I am the clerk of the board at East Bay Regional Park District. And I have been I think longer, I’m just going to say 32 years working in the park. I started out working in public affairs as the membership coordinator and over time, I just kind of moved around the agency until I ended up in the clerk of the board’s office and after a couple of our clerks retired, I interviewed in that position. So I’ve been a clerk of the board since 2015. Now, what is the clerk of the board? When I say that, sometimes people just go, “Okay.” I am the person that you see when you go to the city council meetings, any city council meeting that is sitting there transcribing or just sitting there making sure that everything goes okay with the meeting.

That’s pretty much what I do in terms of public-facing. But what my office does is we support seven elected officials throughout Alameda and Contra Costa County. They meet twice. We have two public meetings every month, and then we have standing committee meetings. So currently we are staffing about 73, 74 meetings annually. And so I have a really small but dynamic office. I have an assistant clerk, Deborah Fuller, and then executive assistant, the woman with the mostest, the best woman in the world, Yulie Padmore. and then the clerk’s office is the maintainer of all of the district’s records, so we maintain the record retention policy. We work closely with the legal department and pretty much with all of the departments at the general manager’s office and so at any time, you could find anybody in our office or in our corner of the world.

We do a lot of putting out fires. We have to follow some very stringent legal laws in terms of posting all of our agendas and meeting minutes and staff reports, and that can be cumbersome because we’re dealing pretty much with the entire district when it comes to that because we’re getting information from all different corners of the district and because we’re not really in one place, sometimes that’s challenging. But I really love working here and I believe in the mission of the district, which is to make sure that we practice an environmental ethic and that we also make sure that these lands are here in perpetuity, if that’s the right word. And so I think we do a good job with that. So that’s what I’m going to say for right now.

Yulie Padmore: Great job. You lovely ladies, they’re a hard act to follow. So Yulie Padmore. Thank you, Melyssa, for having us on your show. I work with Yolanda Barial Knight, she’s my boss. I’m new to her office. Just started gosh, this year, I guess a few months. Previously worked about eight years in government and legislative affairs and established different relationships within Contra Costa, Alameda County, mayor’s offices, so at a local level, state level, and a federal level. And of course, these lovely ladies here. You were talking earlier, Melyssa, about some of the work that you’re going to be doing this month for Women’s History Month and women empowering other women. These women right here are women that I truly honor and respect and that, like you were saying, this is going to be an emotional month, but these women empower me to do a lot of the things that I would think was not possible. 

And I’m sure we’re going to talk about that a little bit more, but I’ve worked for the Park District for almost 13 years. Like Yolanda, have kind of moved around. I’ve seen great things happen and I’ve seen the Park District work through adversity. We’re not perfect, but we do try. And generally what I can say and what people mostly say when they start here is, “Wow, everyone that works here is so nice.” And I don’t know if that’s related to the fact that we have this environmental ethic that both Sabrina and Yolanda touched on or what, but if there is a dispute, it’s usually kind of sweet because it’s someone fighting for climate change more than someone else. You know what I’m saying? They’re pretty good people, so that’s kind of my take on the Park district and we’re a changing and growing organization and just so happy to be on the show.

Melyssa Barrett: Obviously there’s a lot of history in the East Bay Regional Parks District, but how did this Black Employee Collective get started?

Sabrina Pinell: It’s the first ever of its kind, the Black Employee Collective. There hasn’t been one ever in the park district. The Park District was established in 1934 and the Black Employee Collective was established in September of 2020. And basically what happened is-

Yolanda Barial Knight: 90 years.

Sabrina Pinell: … as Yolanda was saying, hoping to be in perpetuity forever, and forever have these lands conserved and preserved for everybody’s enjoyment. Anyway, so it all started with I get an email and they’re saying, “Oh my gosh, you need to check out this committee meeting that’s going on right now.” We’re like, “What? There’s a board committee meeting going on,” and all of these people are coming from the public really concerned about the naming of this park in Concord, California. And they’re like, “I don’t know what’s going on,” and they’re reaching out to me and I didn’t realize it was because I was Black. I was like, “Oh, what do you mean?” Wait, now I really want to know what’s going on, right? 

Melyssa Barrett: Yes. 

Sabrina Pinell: And so when I started reaching out to my girls and then we started talking about it, we ended up talking until two or three o’clock in the morning about this park name. They had decided to go one direction when most of the public and everybody else assumed it would be Port Chicago because that’s where the explosion happened in 1944. What else would you name this park in honor of the 50 soldiers that risked their lives, went up against the court? This is a whole long story, but I first got introduced to the story back in 2014 by one of the planners, but they were having a big festival that year where they were inviting new authors that just released a book.

This book right here, the colorful one in the red, and they had just released-

Yulie Padmore: Steve Shankin

Sabrina Pinell: Port Chicago.

Yulie Padmore: Port Chicago 50.

Sabrina Pinell: Port Chicago 50, and it was like a teen version of the book. And so I was out that year when he there and he was signing his book, so I got one signed for my son, I was all excited, and I just learned more about it and it was just great. But when this came back up in 2020, we’re all shelter in place. We’re all stuck at home. We have access now to look at these, go back and watch the meeting because in the past, they were held during the day. We were all at work, we didn’t have time to go. Now we’re all stuck in home and we have all this extra time on our hands, and we go back and look at the video and we hear all of these comments and we get jazzed and excited.

We start talking until, like I said, two or three in the morning, “What are we going to do?” Because we already have the support from the public and the community. They already showed up, we just needed to start reaching out to them and really making this change. And the real effort here was in getting some type of recognition of this name, the Port Chicago, the event itself that happened. The way I learned, the way Yulie learned about it, the way Yolanda learned about it, getting that out to the public so that everybody knows. Every Black employee in the park district needs to know. Just like somebody passed it on to me in an email, why don’t we all know?

Melyssa Barrett: So you guys effectively created this Black Employee Collective with the few of you?

Sabrina Pinell: Just the three of us.

Melyssa Barrett: Oh, just the three of you. Oh my God.

Yolanda Barial Knight: Just the three. 

Melyssa Barrett: I would think there would be this huge number of people that are coming together. You all are dynamos, I’m telling you.

Yolanda Barial Knight: Well, we did start it with the three of us and then what Sabrina was saying is that after we decided what we wanted to do, then we sent emails to the rest of the Black employees that when knew and they started coming. We had our first meeting and we explained this and they were like, “What?” And so we got more people involved in it. And then it became an advocacy for the naming because they were going to name it a different name like Sabrina was saying, and not really recognizing that there’s so much. Well, they recognized it because they used it to market and get money. And so we are the ones that helped the community because we knew the ins and outs, so we knew who needed to hear this and who they needed to talk to, and then we were able to push on our inside knowledge without divulging any confidential matters within the district because it’s a public meeting. Everything was public. 

Melyssa Barrett: This is one of the reasons I love employee resource groups or business resource groups or whatever you call them, because y’all have all the internal navigation, but you can actually channel a lot of business initiatives. So with this, I know we’ve kind of been talking a little bit around this land and the naming of it. So I’m assuming Yulie, you’re going to give us a little bit of background on how this land came into play and why there was this controversy, I’ll call it, around the name.

Yulie Padmore: So Sabrina touches on the fact that so many of the community came to this one meeting, members of the NAACP, so that was president at that time of East County, Victoria Adams. We had Citizens for Historical Equity, incredibly beautiful speakers that showed up at this meeting-

Yolanda Barial Knight: That had already started a petition.

Yulie Padmore: … started a petition and were ready to go that day. They had Reverend Diana McDaniel, and anybody who is really into this will know that she’s pretty much carrying on that history. She showed up that day. At this time, we are dealing with the Black Lives Matter movement going on and so you have folks showing up saying, “By not honoring this history, by not talking to the Black community, you’re making us feel like our lives don’t matter,” and that was a direct quote from her and very powerful. And then of course Sabrina’s like, “Are you seeing what’s going on?” We’re typing, we’re all at home. We’re reaching out to Yolanda and we’re like, “Girl, what’s going on with this meeting?” And we’re just all deeply connected.

And later that evening we go into deeper conversations. “What happened? What’s going on?” I thought we thought it was going to be named a general name, so the general name that we thought it was going to be was Concord Regional Park, which is not controversial. How do you debate that? Blah, blah, blah. But like I said, we have really good people who work here that decided we want to come forward and we want to name it to honor indigenous people. Yay. Okay, that’s fine. But how as a Black person do you say, “No, don’t name a park after indigenous people”? So what we recognized is by doing that, you’re creating an environment that is pitting people of color against one another because there is no regional park to honor local history and for Black regional. This is Black regional history. And so we were all connecting and we’re late at night. We’re trying to figure out all the details, and it wasn’t easy. It was a nine month. 

Sabrina Pinell: And so the planning department did a couple of surveys out to the community, and so we even delve even deeper and start looking up those surveys online and said, “Well, what were the options? What were the multiple choice options that people had to choose to pick an name?” And Port Chicago was not even an option. People were filling it in as an other or a fill in the blank, but there were more fill in the blanks of Port Chicago than there was of some of the items that they had as a third place or second place. So wait a minute, it got lost in translation. So we were just coming to bring this resurgence, especially after the NPS superintendent, one of the superintendents, Tom Leatherman was there even speaking up for recognition of this explosion. And so back to the actual event. So when we started hearing Port Chicago we’re like, “Okay, so this happened in Chicago, right?” And they’re like, “No, they called it Port Chicago in Concord, California.” What? Right? And that was just the name of the port.

Yulie Padmore: Well, it was in the town of Port Chicago.

Sabrina Pinell: Right.

Melyssa Barrett: This land is connected to the Port Chicago in Concord.

Sabrina Pinell: Yes.

Melyssa Barrett: I want to make sure everybody’s with me.

Yolanda Barial Knight: A lot of people even now when you say something about it, they think you’re talking about Chicago. It’s Port Chicago in Concord, California. And so the Navy owned the land and the Army owned the base.

Yulie Padmore: So right now it’s still an active Army base. 

Yolanda ighBarial Knt: And what they did was the Navy ended up, the district gets a lot of land by people giving it to us, so they gave it just because they didn’t want it anymore and because it had all kinds of problems that they needed to fix. And that was when they started shutting down all the bases. Remember when they were doing that? But anyway, so they gave us the land. So the land had been just sitting there forever and it still had bunkers on it where they had put the bombs, and the railroad tracks and all of that. But the park that the actual explosion occurred was near the water, which is an active Army base now.

Melyssa Barrett: So maybe one of you can talk a little bit about how this explosion occurred and what was happening at the time so that we can kind of fast forward 50 years.

Yolanda Barial Knight: But before we do that, I want to connect that because the reason why we needed to name it Port Chicago 50 was because most people, of course, didn’t know about it. But the other part is even when they knew about it, they couldn’t get there because in order to go into any kind of naval facility, you have to have your credentials checked and all of that. Most people don’t know that it’s even there and then in order to get there, they have to go online, they have to fill out application, they’ve got to send them their driver’s license, and most people don’t have time for that and don’t even know how to do that. And so the land, which is what the district owned, would be the place where we would actually interpret what happened at the port. And therefore people could still come to Port Chicago, excuse me, to Thurgood Marshall Regional Park, home of the Port Chicago 50, and get that information about the actual explosion. So the actual explosion happened in 1944. 

Yulie Padmore: Okay, so there are two parks, right? There’s the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, that is where the explosion took place. Then there’s the-

Sabrina Pinell: Miles away. 

Yulie Padmore: … miles away, and then you have what was Concord Naval Weapons Station is what they were calling it, but was also a Port Chicago Naval Weapons Station in the fifties and sixties, which a couple of the members of the public said during public comment, and they have the bunkers and munitions and things loading within that base. And so I want to touch on this a little bit just about the naming because as Yolanda said, it takes two weeks for someone to fill out an application to go see this location. And I will share that history of course, of Port Chicago, but it takes two weeks. So you have to provide identification. So imagine if you’re a formerly incarcerated person, imagine if you are a person who is documented, just the comfort level that it would take to learn about this history. 

And so we knew that they were going to tell this history because that was a part of our land use plan and we’re saying, “We’re going to tell this history. We talked to the secretary of the Navy. We’re talking about these men, we’re talking about the Port Chicago 50 and everything that occurred.” So as a group we knew, what does that mean? That means they’re going to receive grants with this history. They’re going to receive donations, different kind of opportunities that come with this history. 

And so the importance of naming it Thurgood Marshall Regional Park, Home of the Port Chicago 50, that importance in addition to the fact that because our board of directors wanted to name it [inaudible 00:26:17]Territories. And so we say, “Okay. We would love for you to call any park Chicon Territories. You just named two parks one after Aurelia Reinhardt, a white woman, and one after one of our previous board members, a white board member. And you had the opportunity to name parks after indigenous people, but instead you chose this park with African American history.” And so this was something that we were discussing and why we decided we needed to talk to the employees. So background on the history.

Sabrina Pinell: This was a naval weapons station. This is where they held bombs. This is where they were loading the ships during World War II. Thank you. Trying to remember the war, during one of those wars. And they were loading the ships. So the reason why there was a lot of a high concentration of Black soldiers is because that’s all they were allowed to do when they signed up for the Navy. “Oh, you can load bombs on a ship.” They thought they were going to be on the ship and sail out and fight for their country. They said, “No, you can load a ship. You’re good enough to”-

Yolanda Barial Knight: And you can cook and clean.

Sabrina Pinell: … and you can cook and clean the ship, but that’s about it.” So these young men, anywhere from 17, these were young men, was it late teens, early twenties, loading these bombs very fast on these ships, and they had white supervisors making bets on how fast they could load. They were pocketing the money on these young men’s lives, on the risking their lives on how fast they could load them because they had crews and different crews were loading up the bombs. And so they were always thinking, “Oh my gosh, this is a big disaster waiting to happen,” just because they were not taught safety, they weren’t taught how to properly handle them. 

There were things that would slip and slide and people would just hold their breath because it was so dangerous and it was scary. It was terrifying, but it was a job. They were serving their country. They were doing something. They were feeling like for the first time, instead of being discriminated against or told, “You’re not good enough,” that I can go serve my country and I can do something to make my family proud. Right? So they’re doing this and they’re hustling. Now, some men got to go as far as Berkeley to go hang out with a girlfriend and go watch a movie. But on this night of July 17th, 1944, 327 died because something happened that we nobody knows. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: And they don’t talk about exactly what happened, but there was a huge explosion, and that explosion was felt all the way in San Francisco. There’s a great video we’d like to share with you that you can share with your viewers, just a short little view of some of the disaster in the post of this. But what our Black soldiers who did survive, who were in the bunkers, who may have went on a vacation and had to come back to see this and see that some of their friends are gone, they were asked the next day to go up and do the cleanup, pick up body parts, but the white supervisors that were in charge of them got bereavement for two weeks paid. 

Yulie Padmore: Well, and there’s a lot to this too, because we’re talking about Black people coming from different parts. We’re talking it’s still Great Migration. We’re moving here for opportunity building Kaiser ships, right? California is the location of opportunity, so you have Black men who are signing up to be sailors. Not everyone, some were drafted, but Black men signing up to serve their country to provide opportunities for their family who are coming here to California. And when they arrive, because the image they’re seeing is Dory Miller from Pearl Harbor and him stepping up. He was a mess cook and many people didn’t know that, but they used his image as propaganda to recruit Black men, Black sailors. 

So as Sabrina mentioned, you have 16 year olds, you have to 17 coming here. They come here, they see the hillside, and they had no clue what they were going to be doing. And she mentioned that 327 of them died in the explosion, 202 of them were African American sailors. That makes up 15% of the Black sailors that died in World War II. 15%, the entire World War II, right here in our backyard in California and we’re not talking about it, and we were just hearing about it. I learned about it for the first time, Sabrina’s saying she learned about it in 2014, I learned about it for the first time in 2015. 

And this friend of mine, white boy, Brian Holt comes by and he says, “Yulie, have you ever heard about this history? You need to learn about it.” I was learning, but I hadn’t learned the way that I learned about it in 2019. So the explosion ultimately happens and nobody knows how it happens, but we kind of do, right? Because the men are being bet on like they’re race horses, “Who can move the fastest because it’s World War II? We need to get these bombs out.” And you look at all of the people who are loading and moving the munitions, they’re all Black. All of their superiors were a distance away. They couldn’t even use the restrooms. They weren’t allowed to use the restrooms. They’re loading munitions. They’re writing to local attorneys saying, “Hey, we have to buy our own gloves. The bombs are slipping out of our hands where we’re like, this is an accident waiting to happen.”

And our hero, Joseph Small, he’s talking to folks and he’s letting them know, “We are not receiving proper training.” They’re talking to their superiors, and there is actually a Naval Inquiry Report that later we find out the Navy actually is aware after the explosion, but they have to find someone to hold accountable. So who are they going to hold accountable? They’re going to hold the Black sailors accountable. And the trauma of that event of picking up the body parts of your comrades in baskets going around, you’re doing the cleanup. And then after you spend all this time, you see that your superiors are getting a 30-day leave and you’re not getting a 30-day leave. They’re sending you now to Mare Island over in Vallejo and they’re saying, “Well, okay. Now you’re going to get back to work. And they have a pathway that they can take, it’s this pier. And if they go left, they know that they’re going to be asked to load munitions and if they go right, then they know they’re going to be doing some other work. 

So instead, as they’re directed to continue and go left down this pier to load munitions, they stand together and they stop, and that was 252 of them. 252 men who stand together and they say, “Well, we’re not going to do this.” And I don’t even like using the word refused, because here we are 80 years later and people are acting like these men committed a crime or that they didn’t obey an order or whatever. But the order itself was unlawful. So you have Title 46 happening at the time, and Coast Guard is telling the Navy, “Hey Navy, you are in violation of federal law. These men need to be properly trained.” They totally ignored this, and they don’t know this at the time.

Yolanda Barial Knight: And it makes you wonder, just really quickly, just to interject, these 252 men are all Black and oh, is anybody concerned with their safety? Was it because of the color of their skin? We can only ask the question. Go ahead, sorry. 

Yulie Padmore: No, we know it was because of the color.

Melyssa Barrett: We probably know the answer.

Yulie Padmore: Yeah. They were considered less than human even at that time, right? With things that we’re fighting for constantly.

Melyssa Barrett: The explosion took place and then how long before they had to go back and decide whether they were actually having to go do this again?

Yulie Padmore: Well, like I said, their officers had leave. They had no leave, so what we’re talking about is after cleanup, they were sent to Mare Island. 

Sabrina Pinell: It was next day cleanup. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: It was like less than two weeks that they stayed in Mare Island. 

Sabrina Pinell: They had to stay where they were to clean up Port Chicago site, then they were transferred to Mare Island in Vallejo. And that’s where Yulie was, she said they were marching down. There’s a famous picture of them marching down the pier, and they’re saying, “About face,” or whatever, I don’t know what military is when you turn left. And they just stood still, but they looked at their leader. You mentioned Joe Small and all the younger men. These are young guys, right? You’re not going to trump authority or go against it, but they’re looking at him. He’s a little older. He was in his early twenties, that was old back then. He had a job back home. He was from the Midwest, and he ran a truck or drove his own truck, but he had some experience working, and he had some experience with people and he had natural leadership abilities, so all the young men looked to him. He wasn’t technically in the military a superior officer, but he just had that natural leadership and people looked at him. And even white supervisors always referred to him because they knew he had-

Yulie Padmore: He was trusted.

Sabrina Pinell: … he was trusted by all the younger soldiers. So when they went and everybody had that, I’m sure their hearts are racing, and they’re told to turn left, to go back to load those ammunition again, they all looked to him. He didn’t budge, they didn’t budge. So 252 of them stopped, ceased. That means you can’t load ships. What are you going to do, boss? Right? Well, that’s when they divide and conquer, separated them all out, had individual interviews with each one and threatened them. “This is mutiny. You could be charged. You could be killed. You could be line of fire executed for this. This is mutiny.” So getting in their heads, these are young men. They don’t have Joe Smalls right there to look up to. They’re stuck in these one-on-one interviews going, “So what do you want to do?” “Okay, I’ll go back. I’ll go back.”

Yulie Padmore: Also, Admiral Wright, he lines him up. He’s a disgraced admiral, basically. He’s someone who is upset about his position. He’s upset that he’s not overseas as well. He’s upset that he’s having to deal with these Black grunt workers in his opinion, right? He’s dealing with all of this and at that time, basically their superior calls in the admiral. He talks to all the men. He says, “Hey, either you get back to work or we’re going to charge you with mutiny.” Number one, they’re not even on a ship, so excuse me? What? How does this even make any sense? 

Okay, so you’re going to charge us with mutiny, which is punishable by firing squad. Now, at that time, I don’t know that this generation has seen this, when I was growing up, World War II, I saw people lined up, guns and then bodies in a pile within, and that’s the imagery that people saw during World War II. So that’s what they were thinking, that they were going to line them all up and they were going to kill them. It was murder, but it wasn’t considered that because you have a white admiral telling you that, “You need to go back to work or we’re going to charge you.”

Once they get to the point when they are actually down to 202, they were able to get the other 48-

Yulie Padmore: 50. Oh, you’re talking about the others.

Yolanda Barial Knight: … the other ones go back to work-

Yulie Padmore: And they kept them on the barge.

Yolanda Barial Knight: … but 202 refused to go back to work. And because I think Yulie or Sabrina was saying, they had already been advocating for safer conditions. I can’t remember exactly how, because we’re going to have to move it forward. Thurgood Marshall, who was the lawyer for the NAACP at the time, a young lawyer, actually got involved. And then he ended up coming down to Concord and kind of advocating for the men in the way that he could, because of course he wasn’t able to try them or to represent them. There was the newspaper in Pittsburgh, there were I think one or two Black press that actually picked up the story, and they were doing what they could for them. So they ended up having a trial, and the trial didn’t last that long. 

Yulie Padmore: It took 90 seconds per person. 90 seconds, they had five attorneys and 90 seconds per man, and that’s part the dispute that we’re having right now.

Melyssa Barrett: Is it guilty, guilty, guilty or what happened?

Yolanda Barial Knight: They were all found-

Melyssa Barrett: What was the 90 seconds for?

Yolanda Barial Knight: I believe they actually even went to lunch before, the white attorneys. 

Sabrina Pinell: The deliberation wasn’t very good. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: Get something to eat, hang out, and came back in. So they found them all guilty.

Sabrina Pinell: All of the attorneys were white men, and they were in the Navy. So the legal counsel had to be in the Navy. So even if Thurgood Marshall were able to come, he couldn’t because he wasn’t part of the Navy. So he sat.

Melyssa Barrett: We weren’t officers then.

Sabrina Pinell: Exactly. Exactly. So he sat with the press and just observed, but the only way we could get things out back in the day was through Black press, through our own periodicals, getting it out to the community or speaking in big crowds and getting the word out. So he was really doing the advocacy and just letting them know what was going on in the courtroom and how it was an injustice. 

Yulie Padmore: His famous quote, Port Chicago, is he said, “It’s not the men who should be on trial, but it’s the Navy who should be on trial for their vicious policies.” Because like Sabrina was saying he came out here, he talked to the press. He met with each of those men. He cared about it. He filed an appeal, which was rejected. And for years in the Bay Area, we were saying that that was a failure, that his appeal was a failure, but it was his appeal. Had he not filed that appeal, it wouldn’t have reached the desk of Eleanor Roosevelt or James Forrestal, then Secretary of the Navy. And so all of this work he had to do after they were charged.

Melyssa Barrett: Fast forward for me, because we know that these men were essentially guilty of what they called mutiny.

Sabrina Pinell: Charged.

Melyssa Barrett: Charged. They were charged with.

Yulie Padmore: We say this, wrongly convicted.

Melyssa Barrett: Wrongly convicted.

Yulie Padmore: Wrongfully convicted. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: That’s what we use. That is our messaging.

Melyssa Barrett: So they were wrongfully convicted, and I want to be clear on this because I think there are so many layers to what this story talks about. The deaths of not only the initial explosion, then to have to go and pick up your friends’ body parts, and then to have to go back to work almost immediately and make a real decision about your life and where you stand, and then to be charged-

Yolanda Barial Knight: And convicted.

Melyssa Barrett: … and convicted. And I know just listening to some of the stories when you all came and spoke at the NAACP meeting most recently, there’s a lot of people that were around at that time or even maybe part of the Port Chicago that will not talk about it.

Sabrina Pinell: Exactly. So imagine when the professor, oh my goodness, what is his name?

Yulie Padmore: Robert Allen. 

Sabrina Pinell: Thank you. Robert Allen got on a Greyhound bus and went on the East Coast looking for all these men and he wanted to hear it from their mouth what really happened. Right? 

Melyssa Barrett: The book is called The Port Chicago Mutiny.

Sabrina Pinell: Yes. And that’s his book, Robert Allen, the Port Chicago Mutiny. And he went around on the bus traveling, imagine back in the eighties, traveling around, finding whoever he could find. They were ashamed. They were embarrassed. Some of them had never told their family these stories. He was able to share it with another Black man because Robert Allen’s gone around and he got their stories. He collected their stories, and he created a book in their honor. And to this day, they are still not honored. They were dishonorably discharged. They haven’t told their families to this day. In their death, they’re all gone now  so to this day, their families can’t even. For the honor. I’m sorry, the bravery it took to stand up against that to risk your life, and they get no honor in their life for it. It’s as if they exploded with the rest of the 327 men, because their memory is not being honored. And I will pass it on to Yulie about the exoneration, but there was one member that did get some type of-

Yulie Padmore: Meeks.

Sabrina Pinell: … Freddie Meeks.

Yolanda Barial Knight: They were not honored, but they will be honored. We are going to make sure that they get honored. And not just us, but all of the stakeholders that are only community, and some of them are white who were working with now in Contra Costa. Port Chicago Task Force, whatever it’s called, the task force. And so they will get on. The goal is to get them exonerated this year. And so we’ve got a few more months, we’re really working hard on it.

Melyssa Barrett: And just to set the stage, this is 50 years ago?

Yulie Padmore: 80.

Melyssa Barrett: 80 years ago, thank you.

Sabrina Pinell: This is the 80th anniversary. 

Melyssa Barrett: Oh, my goodness. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: And I don’t know if you remember that in that piece during the NAACP meeting, you were at. Gloria, remember Ms. Johnson talked about her uncle.

Melyssa Barrett: Her brother-in-law.

Yolanda Barial Knight: … her brother-in-law didn’t even know that he had been there, and they didn’t realize why he acted like that. He was ashamed and he was depressed and all of that.

Yulie Padmore: You met someone recently too. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: Yeah. I met another guy that knows somebody that I’m going to work with. I can’t remember his name right now, who had an uncle or something there. 

Yulie Padmore: And that’s the thing, is that there’s so many people who are connected to this story who don’t know about it because their family members didn’t talk about it. I don’t know about y’all, but my grandpa, he sat in a chair. He never said a peep. You know what I’m saying? He never said nothing. He sat down. He kept all, and I know he was the vet. I knew he was a part of a different war, but he was traumatized. Never talked about it, and that’s what we are dealing with, is with a community who was traumatized, who was essentially victimized and intimidated, and we can never talk about it. Sorry. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: And now I was going to say, and then they were so young that what do they say? That the children’s brains don’t mature until they’re 25. So you’re looking at young people who really are just clueless. They’ve got this pie sky idea about their lives and what they can contribute, and to be demoralized like that. So then here we go, I think they served Eleanor Roosevelt kind of pressured her husband, who was the president, to get them out of prison. So they didn’t serve but 15 to 16 months at the most.

Sabrina Pinell: It was a range.

Yolanda Barial Knight: There was a range. So they were all out, but then they were allowed to come back into the military, but they were demoted, they lost all their benefits, and they lose some time, two or three months worth of wages, and then they were dishonorably discharged.

Yulie Padmore: And that was of course with many of the 252. So of the 202 that were turned, and some of them by the way, because I learned this recently, Carl Tuggle was actually one of the members who wanted to join them. So he considered himself, but he was kept on the barge. He was not allowed to be a part of it. So my guess is they probably were like, “We can’t have more than 50.” There’s a chance there were more than just Carl Tuggle on the barge who were both kept there.

Sabrina Pinell: But I think there were less. Remember, they had 48 and they grabbed two that were in the hospital or something, or had some injury to make it an even 50 or something like that. They wanted to make a nice round number, I guess. 

Yulie Padmore: Well, and then you have stories from Black people, Carl Tuggle, who was like, “I wasn’t allowed to leave the barge.” So there’s a lot of history there. There’s a lot to-

Yolanda Barial Knight: A lot we may not know still.

Yulie Padmore: There’s a lot we don’t know. That’s what we do know. We know that there was a lot, and that is our story. Much of our story is not told. It’s not told. This is one of them. I lived in California. I’m like, “Oh, when I was growing up, people called this the bubble.” And so to find out about this history was tragic to me because I was like, “Wait a minute. You mean liberal California, Bay Area? This happened here? How is that even possible?” And it is.

Melyssa Barrett: And what I was surprised to hear you talk about, some well-known people that were part of the Port Chicago 50.

Yulie Padmore: I have a website,, and it has resources like where can I get a book? I want to wear a Port Chicago to rep these men. I want to find Robert Allen’s book, his audio book, or even just his resources from when he was a professor at UC Berkeley. And so you have all these available. So Harry Belafonte, that was news that we found out when he passed away. And this Port Chicago 50 is a site for everyone. It’s a site for people to say, “Hey, I discovered this. Put it on the website because we don’t know where it will go.” Obviously over this amount of time, history disappears, so I’m like, “Share that.” And it was my mother-in-Law actually, who was like, “Oh, did you know that Harry Belafonte was a Port Chicago 50 sailor?”

And I was like, “What? You’ve got to be kidding me. Of course he was.” He was a civil rights advocate. He was such an important part of advocating for Black men in the military, advocating for Black people and our rights, and so it was so fitting to find out that he was a Port Chicago sailor. So he actually, when they were charged and imprisoned, they had to hire more people, and who do they hire? They hired more Black people. And so Harry Belafonte was a Port Chicago sailor.

Sabrina Pinell: They enlisted more.

Yulie Padmore: They enlisted more.

Sabrina Pinell: Sure. Yeah, exactly. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: And so this is what he says. I went to the website. He says, “Belafonte recalled the Port Chicago 50 and the decimated Port Chicago Naval Magazine.” And he says, “As we arrived on the scene with mangled structures and debris still in evidence, those sailors were being court marshaled, 50 of them sentenced to long-term for mutiny. We didn’t know at the time, nor could we know that the political reverberations of the Port Chicago disaster would help lead to desegregation of all the armed forces in 1948. We just wanted to get as far away from Port Chicago as possible.” So that is the importance of Port Chicago, that it did lead to the desegregation of the military. And at this point in time, it is incumbent upon us, everybody that knows anything about this or anything historical to open up our mouths and speak because our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents were not allowed to do that. 

And like Yulie was saying, my grandfather did the same thing. He never spoke, never. It would be a whole bunch of us in the house or whatever. He sat there, he had six children, one of them was my father, but stoic. Imagine all the trauma that our men had to deal with. And even to this day, we’re traumatized as a people. So they’re going to get their just due. Now, I don’t know what they’re going to do about the money. I don’t even think it’s about that anymore. I’m sure they’ll take care of that. And that’s probably the reason why they haven’t done it is because they’re sitting there calculating how much money and the fact that the Navy has to admit that they did something wrong. So we’re working on it.

Melyssa Barrett: Similar to our reparation story, right?

Yolanda Barial Knight: The reparation story.

Melyssa Barrett: There’s so much. Their lives could have obviously been very different based on what has happened to them, and I’m not sure that you can ever make up, whether it’s money or anything else, for what trauma people have gone through. It’s a story that I’ve heard. I heard about the Port Chicago 50. I will tell you, I never thought it was a stone’s throw away from where I live.

Yolanda Barial Knight: And I think that the next time that we are going to, I know we should extend an invitation to the NAACP or to anyone to come up to the event in July and Yulie, tell about what we’re going to be doing, a Port Chicago weekend. But before we go there I just want to say, as you’re speaking, I’m thinking about the symbolism of the fire. And it’s like when you think about every single time that the Black man starts to achieve anything, the white man burns it down. Think about every single city that’s been burned to the ground, bombed the minute Black people start to achieve anything. That’s what’s happening in Oakland. They’re going to burn it down, and we as a people have to help the young kids understand that they come from greatness and that is so hard to do when they see decimation all around.

Most of us, those of us that were sitting here didn’t grow up like that, and then sometimes we even forget that these other people didn’t grow up like we did. So their trauma is deep, and so we have to do better as a people. And I just pray that this little bit, that what we’re doing will make a contribution. So Yulie’s going to talk about the next thing that we’re going to be doing. This is what, but I’m sure you know, Yulie. 

Yulie Padmore: Yes. And I am also going to reference it. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: Oh, because we’re almost at time.

Yulie Padmore: There’s a couple of things I want to say because we are working on exoneration. We’ve been working on that. Thanks for all the support that you and Stockton NAACP, East County NAACP, Bay Area, San Jose, California Hawaii Conference, National. Praise be to Antoinisha.

Melyssa Barrett: Yes. Shout out to Antoinisha Burles-Williamson. Huh?

Yulie Padmore: Shout out to Antoinisha Burles-Williamson. We love her. And we’ve done a lot of work working on resolutions and at a national level, the NAACP has supported exoneration where I know Antoinisha is. We’re waiting for a printout, just a physical something, but it’s already happened. It’s done. As soon as we have that, we’re going to use that for our power and advocacy. But yes, so we’re working on exoneration. There was a man commander, Todd Moe, who wrote an article, and this information is new information. So in previous years, the men were considered unlawful, unlawfully objecting to an order, Navy, blah, blah, blah.

But this evidence of the Coast Guard and that what it meant is the men were one, Robert Allen always likes to mention that it was a wildcat protest. This was civil disobedience. It was civil. They didn’t argue, they talked. They were civil. It was a civil rights issue. But basically what it comes down to is this new information clarifies that the men were actually objecting to what was an unlawful order. They were being told to break the law. Now, just innate, I know Sabrina kind of says we’re an oral people. I love that. She said that to me back in 2020 ad I was like, “Yes, we are,” because I’m like somebody can come. They talk to you and then we retain it.

Melyssa Barrett: Oral tradition, storytelling.

Yulie Padmore: Storytelling, all of that. And so Commander Todd Moe sharing this information, sharing that what took place was unlawful, and that these men knew that something wasn’t right. They felt it, and they were honorable men. There’s another thing I have to clarify. One thing that I’m always discussing is when we’re talking about the men being afraid, you’ll hear this all the time, “The men were afraid. They were afraid,” I personally get offended by that. I’ll just clarify why that offends me when we say they were afraid, when we say they were terrified. The only thing that they were afraid and terrified about, it wasn’t about going to war, it wasn’t about dying. They were willing to die. So what we realized is they were terrified and afraid of negligence. They weren’t afraid. 

We need to stay away from using the word afraid. They were brave men who stood up for their rights. They were courageous, as Sabrina said, and that is what we’re talking about. Every year we go to the commemoration. We recognize this disaster that happened, this tragedy that took place, but just think about this. Would we know about the disaster that had taken place had it not been for the Port Chicago 50? Would we even know about it? So what are we doing to honor these men? And I’ll say this, there are people, legislators who are concerned. Does this connect with reparations? It does not because what we are talking about is restitution. What we are talking about is these men serve their country. Reparations is a totally different thing, though. I’m just saying yes-

Melyssa Barrett: Be clear.

Yulie Padmore: … yes, we need that, but that’s a totally different thing. But this is restitution. They worked. They did additional work in addition to being going through whatever enslavement, things that we dealt with. In addition to that, they serve their country, and we need to honor that and give them this exoneration. That’s what we’re working towards. So Freddie Meeks, and I’ll get to that. Freddie Meeks was pardoned in the nineties by Bill Clinton. That was not an easy feat. It was not easy to take this on, and the reason why is because all of the men-

Yolanda Barial Knight: The survivors.

Yulie Padmore: … the survivors, all of the surviving men, the men who were Port Chicago 50 sailors, they would not accept a pardon Because accepting a pardon was admitting that they were wrong. So they were saying, “We’re not going to accept a pardon because it’s the Navy that owes us an apology. We are not going to apologize to the Navy when we were treated poorly.” Now, Freddie Meeks accepted the pardon, which had to be extremely hard to do because you want to honor this position with your brothers. You want to have their back, but instead, he had to accept a pardon to keep the press, to keep that conversation going. 

Sabrina Pinell: Keep the memory alive.

Yulie Padmore: And so with the, pardon, having the pardon with Freddie Meeks, it is not the end. Because of the exoneration, the work that he did moved us forward so that we can now talk about exoneration, so that the Contra Costa Bar Association can talk about the fact that these men deserve to be exonerated.

Melyssa Barrett: Just to tell people, go to 

Yulie Padmore: Yes, yes. 

Melyssa Barrett: There’s so much information that you all have put in here that is amazing in terms of the city’s support for the Port Chicago 50.

Yulie Padmore: The California.

Melyssa Barrett: Yes. The NAACP. Vice President Harris, a resolution from Congress. The story goes on and on. I’m honestly just amazed at the work that you all are doing as the Black Employee Collective because let me just say, you all three have day jobs and this is what you do on the side.

Sabrina Pinell: We’re like you.

Melyssa Barrett: Incredible. I’m so amazed not only for what you’ve pulled together and how you’re making sure that the information gets out there to create awareness and educate, but that you are there at the East Bay Regional Parks District and making sure that all the other things that have to happen behind the scenes actually happen with events and other things that are happening as well. So I mean, just,

Sabrina Pinell: It’s really just getting the word out because the park district is kind of a well-kept known secret in the neighborhood. You know what I mean? So people who know about it, know about it. Great. But do they know all of this that’s going on behind the scenes? We do because for the employees here, we’re doing the work. And I have to say a big shout out to Citizens of Historical Equity who started a petition for Thurgood Marshall Regional Park. We would’ve never. “Why are you even honoring this man? What do you mean? These 50 brothers died.” 

But even Thurgood Marshall, not realizing because he did so wonderful work as an attorney when he was traveling all over the place for so many people, he didn’t think, “Oh yeah, yeah, I did that,” but he didn’t get to go up and litigate it. He didn’t get to do anything as an attorney, win a case. It was really a community effort he did, but it was so profound and so important. And so that’s why Citizens of Historical Equity started a petition for his name, but we need it for the Port Chicago 50. Reverend Diana McDaniels said, “No, we got to have.” So there was a little tug in this process. This whole naming process as a whole nother story because-

Melyssa Barrett: So what is the name? Let’s say what the name is. 

Sabrina Pinell: The name is Thurgood Marshall Regional Park, Home of the Port Chicago 50. And so if this long name because Citizens of Historical Equity was petitioning for one name. We had NAACP and Reverend Diana who started the Friends of Port Chicago saying, “No, this has to be Port Chicago.” Well, then there’s this bylaw we have in our naming policy that says we can’t name something after a pre-existing name. As Yolanda and Yulie already said, there is a memorial that’s the National Park Service that already has called Port Chicago Memorial, so we had to find a way to make some acknowledgement of these 50 men. So you understand how the name we ended up with has 50 at the end. We are honoring these 50 men home, their home, where didn’t even touch on how the town of Port Chicago was what do they call it? 

Melyssa Barrett: Sundown.

Sabrina Pinell: Sundown town. This is in the height of Jim Crow. 

Melyssa Barrett: They couldn’t go there.

Sabrina Pinell: They couldn’t go. Don’t have your brown skin, Black butt anywhere in this area after a certain time-

Melyssa Barrett: After dark.

Sabrina Pinell: … because who knows what’s going to happen to you? They are soldiers of the United States military and they got to deal with this? They can’t even go to go watch a movie or go get ice cream when they’re off duty? Not in that town. 

Yulie Padmore: Well, Sabrina, but why not name it after Joseph Small? Explain that.

Sabrina Pinell: Oh, and then there were so many names that come up. There was Cory Miller. There was why not name it and Joseph, why not? Well, I think the reason that we opted out of that name was because even though he was very important, of course, he wasn’t well-known policy.

Yulie Padmore: The naming policy.

Sabrina Pinell: Oh, the naming policy.

Yulie Padmore: You have to a certain level of significance as Black person or any person. But I’m saying if we’re talking.

Yolanda Barial Knight: The district has many different policies. One of them is a naming policy. How do we name parks? So that’s what she’s talking about. 

Sabrina Pinell: Yes. Yep. And so if your naming, but Thurgood Marshall because he was a Supreme Court, it’s perfect.

Yulie Padmore: You should have seen during our time of public comment. We’re like, “Let’s say even Thurgood Marshall,” you had people who were like, “Who is Thurgood Marshall?” So there was some racism too. I’m just saying. It was like, “Who is Thurgood Marshall?” And they were also say racist comments and you’re just like, “This is why it’s important to have a park name to honor Thurgood Marshall and the Port Chicago 50.”

Sabrina Pinell: This is how do you educate the community and this is what we do at the park. We interpret and we preserve not only land and species and plants and animals, we preserve history here, and that’s where we brought this to the forefront and we took it on as a Black Employee Collective. And we got more behind us, so it wasn’t just the three of us. They saw there were more people concerned, involved in the community. And like I said, a shout out definitely goes to Citizens for Historical Equity for bringing it, for pushing back.

For making all those public comments, for reaching out to NAACP, for reaching out to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, where we brought the youth and they got involved. They created videos on why it was such a great idea to have that park. At the end of the day, that’s what’s grab the board member’s heart? It was seeing the children speak up and say, “We want the park to be Thurgood Marshall Regional Park, Home of the Port Chicago 50.” And I thought that just touched everybody’s heart, and that’s what really was that last little straw that we needed. 

Yolanda Barial Knight: To me, after we had done it, I just was like, “We did it. It was crazy and it was a community.” Not we like us, but we everybody And then it was like, wow. 

Yulie Padmore: But that’s why it was successful, because we were all in it together. It was incredible. 

Sabrina Pinell: Such a unifying experience. 

Yulie Padmore: It can only happen once. 

Melyssa Barrett: No, no, no. Don’t speak that.

Yulie Padmore: Lets get this exoneration, okay?

Sabrina Pinell: That’s going to happen. That’s going to happen.

Yulie Padmore: Well, okay, and here’s what I want to say. That is going to happen, but that’s going to happen with everybody having our back and coming in and helping us to exonerate. Letters of support resolutions. You know a political figure, you know somebody in the news, let’s get them talking about it. That’s the way that it’s going to happen because this has been going on for 80 years, and you ask Reverend Diana how many times she thought it was going to happen. So I don’t believe yet-

Yolanda Barial Knight: I believe.

Yulie Padmore: … but she’s right. I think we believe to the point where it’s like if it doesn’t happen this year, then every year here after we’re going to be outside of the park holding signs. So something’s got to happen because it’s either get it done or eventually it’s going to be every year, it’s going to be like the Port Chicago 50 version of Black Joy. You know? I’m like, “Do we have a Black Joy partnership? Are we going to Black Joy protest, celebrate, desegregating these Black men who desegregated the military?” Let’s do it. We got to do it together.

Melyssa Barrett: I love it. I love this. Well, thank you all so much for joining me.

Sabrina Pinell: Thank you for having us.

Melyssa Barrett: It’s such a story. It’s such a historical moment for people to understand. Honestly, I love celebrating people. I love celebrating especially women who are doing wonderful things. And you all Black women, the Black Employee Collective, are serving so much more than just the East Bay Regional Parks District. So we thank you for the work you’re doing in the community, and I can’t wait to talk to you all more because I think there’s so much more to this story and there’s so many layers to it that I know y’all are going to have to come back and connect with me again. Thank you guys so much.

Sabrina Pinell: Thank you.

Yolanda Barial Knight: Thank you.

Yulie Padmore: Thank you.

Melyssa Barrett: This has been quite the journey, so thank you.

Melyssa Barrett: Thank you, Melyssa.

Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for joining me on The Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.