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Author Archives: WSS News

Photo Recap: 2018 Riverside Black History Parade

Photos by Sam James, Community Photographer


Black History Month Spotlight: Tanya Wallace-Gobern

Tanya Wallace-Gobern

Tanya Wallace-Gobern

By Alexandra Fenwick

Most people are familiar with the phrase, “If you are doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, Tanya Wallace-Gobern is one of lucky ones doing just that. As the Executive Director of the National Black Worker Center Project, she is fulfilling her dream to serve and uplift the Black  community.

As a criminal justice and social work major in college, Tanya fell into an internship at the Organizing Institute of the AFL-CIO right before graduation that changed her career trajectory. Tanya climbed the ladder and continued to work in advocacy and organizing for more than 20 years, but as time went on, she felt she was getting farther and farther from her calling – making a difference in the Black community. That is until she joined the National Black Worker Center Project.

The National Black Worker Center Project focuses on supporting and incubating Black worker centers, providing education about the impacts of low-wage  work and unemployment in the Black community. The Center works to prevent racial discrimination in the work place. Through national convening’s, supporting their local affiliates and creating campaigns and initiatives to share the Black worker’s experience, Tanya and the National Black Worker Center Project are protecting the rights of unemployed and low-wage Black workers everywhere.

While working on the Project’s nationalWorking While Blackcampaign, Tanya realized the scope of Black workers facing discrimination was much bigger  than the unemployed and low-wage workers she primarily focused on. While speaking to a man who worked in film in L.A. and earned a six-figure salary, he uttered words that would stick with her: “What about the rest of us?” Tanya thought, if you believe he shouldn’t be the kind of person the National Black Worker Center Project should also focus on, you’d be wrong.

Research shows the more educated or the higher the salary, the more opportunities there are for discrimination against Black workers. Tanya is working against the discrimination itself, as well as the fallacies that once Black workers reach a particular status or salary, they no longer encounter discrimination.

As a Black worker herself, Tanya knows this to be true. That’s why it’s so important to her that she, and people who look like her, are at the forefront of the movement. She understands the people she serves aren’t waiting for a savior. What they are looking for is leadership development so they can become the leaders in their own movement.

Although their focus is on Black workers, Tanya is clear that the work the National Black Worker Center Project does encompasses people of all races, economic status, religion and sexual orientation. “The work doesn’t end with us. It isn’t a poor person’s issue, or a Black person’s issue, or rich person’s issue, these are worker issues.” Tanya doesn’t think she can solve this problem any time soon, but that isn’t stopping her from trying. She believes the mere existence of her organization is a win for workers everywhere.

To learn more about the National Black Worker Center Project, or get involved with an affiliate, please visit: https://nationalblackworkercenters.org/.

26th Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival Announces 2018 Winners

Director Aminah Bakeer Abdul-Jabbaar accepts the "Audience Award - Narrative Feature" for “Muslimah's Guide to Marriage”. Standing with her is her father, author/filmmaker, Donald Bakeer, and Ayuko Babu. (Photo Credit: Koi Sojer/Snap'N U Photos)

Director Aminah Bakeer Abdul-Jabbaar accepts the “Audience Award – Narrative Feature” for “Muslimah’s Guide to Marriage”. Standing with her is her father, author/filmmaker, Donald Bakeer, and Ayuko Babu. (Photo Credit: Koi Sojer/Snap’N U Photos)

LOS ANGELES, CA – It’s a wrap! The 26th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival (PAFF) has reached its end, and after 12 full days of showcasing an impressive slate of 173 films, PAFF has finally announced the winners of its 2018 season.

At the highly anticipated PAFF Filmmaker Awards Brunch, which was held yesterday on festival grounds at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, PAFF Executive Director, Ayuko Babu, presented various awards to competing filmmakers who have proven to be the greatest up-and-coming storytellers of our time. The experience was an exciting celebration of both accomplishment and next level success.


Best Narrative Feature

Borders (Frontières) (Burkina Faso)

Directed by: Woye Apolline Traoré

Best Director-First Feature Narrative

Kalushi (South Africa)

Directed by: Mandlakayise Dube

Best Documentary Feature

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (US)

Directed by: Samuel D. Pollard

Best Narrative Short

Kyenvu (Yellow) (Uganda)

Directed by: Kemiyondo Coutinho

Best Documentary Short

Mama (US)

Directed by: Nicholas Brennan

Programmers’ Award-Narrative or Documentary Short

Lalo’s House (Haiti/US)

Directed by: Kelley Kali

Programmers’ Award-Documentary

Barrow-Freedom Fighter (Barbados)

Directed by: Marcia Weekes

Programmers’ Award-Narrative Feature

Love Jacked (South Africa)

Directed by: Alfons Adetuyi


PAFF Directors’ Award-Feature Documentary (TIE)

King of Stage: The Woodie King Jr. Story (US)

Directed by: Juney Smith

Maynard (US)

Directed by: Samuel D. Pollard

PAFF Directors’ Award- Feature Narrative

The Train of Salt and Sugar (Mozambique/South Africa)

Directed by: Licínio Azevedo

Audience Award- Documentary Short

’63 Boycott (US)

Directed by: Gordon Quinn

Audience Award- Documentary Feature

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me (US)

Directed by: Samuel D. Pollard

Audience Award- Narrative Short

For Evan’s Sake (US)

Directed by: Kirstin Lorin

Audience Award- Narrative Feature

Muslimah’s Guide to Marriage (US)

Directed by: Aminah Bakeer Abdul-Jabbaar


The 27th Annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival will take place Thursday, February 7 through Monday, February 18 in Los Angeles, California. Stay tuned to the festival’s official website, www.PAFF.org, and social media channels for exciting updates, festival news and information!