Reverend Andre L. Shumake, Sr. - Speech

This is the family of Anthony Shumake sitting on a bench in the Assembly hallway of the Sacramento Capitol. They are flanked by Attorney Mark Ravis far left and B. Cayenne Bird, UNION Director far right just after  serving  Governor Schwarzenegger who is named in their legal action on September 29, 2004.

Attorney Mark  Ravis serves Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's representative with a lawsuit for the wrongful death of Anthony Shumake while sister Toya looks on.

Bio : Reverend Andre L. Shumake, Sr.

Rev. Andre L. Shumake, Sr. is married with three wonderful children. His loving wife name is Sharon, two sons, Charles, and Andre Jr., one daughter, Kayla Monet .
Rev. Shumake is an ordained Baptist minister and is the President, of the Richmond Improvement Association (A Faith Based Organization), and President, of the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council which is located within the city of Richmond, California. He formerly served as the Coordinator of the North Richmond Community Career Resource Center, located within the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church for three years. 

He has a clear and unwavering vision for the community and is determined to be part of the community's growth and economic development. His primary goal is to provide personalized service that focus on addressing academic, social, and economic needs that enable each resident to become self-sufficient, and productive citizens in their community.

North Richmond is a community that faces many challenges. It is among the most economically distressed communities in California.

Under Rev. Shumake's leadership, the Career Center emerged as a vibrant community hub and a strong symbol of hope and progress within the community. In its first year up and running, January 1999 to December 1999, its membership soared to over 500 community residents, many of whom were homeless and on welfare. During this time period, over 300 participants obtained full time employment with benefits. The majority moved from Welfare to Work.

The Career Center success at moving large numbers of North Richmond welfare recipients, homeless, and low-income residents into the job market brought widespread attention to the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church and the Career Center. The Career Center was frequently cited as a model community-based approach to addressing chronic poverty and was strongly supported by a wide range of local, state and federal policy makers. 

The Career Center received a United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) "BEST PRACTICES" award for the year 2000, for the implementation of the Marin County Project. The Career Center, in partnership with the North Richmond Missionary Baptist Church, created employment opportunities for North Richmond residents in Marin County by providing round-trip transportation to and from jobs sites in San Rafael, California.

As a result of the Marin County Project, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission awarded $536,000 for the expansion of the Route 40 Bus Line connecting West County residents with various employment sites in Marin County.

Rev. Andre L. Shumake, Sr. was also a recipient of the "PEACEMAKER AWARD" for the year 2001, from the Center for Human Development Conflict Resolution Panels.
In March of 2004, Rev. Shumake was selected as a recipient of the 2004 Koshland Civic Unity Award for his contributions to the Iron Triangle neighborhood of Richmond, California. The Koshland Committee of The San Francisco Foundation seeks to promote civic unity by building mutual respect among diverse elements of the community and encouraging collaboration in addressing neighborhood problems. The Koshland awards are giving annually to recognize outstanding Bay Area community leaders who are not only risk-takers but also social innovators working to build healthy and productive neighborhoods.

The Richmond Improvement Association, in partnership with other organized groups and networks, are committed to the establishment and support of an Equitable Development Zone to create a vibrant, mixed-income community with a high quality of life for all residents. The vision, that is based on the determination to avoid displacement and gentrification, is a vision for Richmond where every family has access to quality education, where urban revitalization provides opportunities for local businesses to thrive, where "community planning" and development puts existing residents needs first, and where local policies are part of a regional plan for achieving an equitable and sustainable Bay Area.

Established in 1999, the Richmond Improvement Association (A Faith Based Organization) was founded in the spirit of clergy members coming together in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, to address the mistreatment of Negro citizens by the community's local bus company. Montgomery's Negro clergy rallied across denominational lines, around a specific issue, and formed the Montgomery Improvement Association headed by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Hence, the Richmond Improvement Association (RIA) was formed in the same spirit of organizing clergy members across denominational lines around specific community issues.
As a faith-based organization in Richmond, California, RIA's vision is the cultivation of strong, vibrant, churches to minister, nurture, educate, train, transport, employ, and to provide affordable housing to improve the quality of life for the disadvantage and disenfranchised, in a safe community for families.

If you always do, what you've always done, you will always get, what you've always gotten. It is time to do something different.

This is the guiding principle of the Richmond Improvement Association.

RIA, along with the community, local government agencies, community organizations, local corporations, and the philanthropic community are working collaboratively to improve the "quality of life" for the city's economically disadvantaged and disenfranchised residents.

Specific issues currently being addressed by this Performance Partnership include:
· Gentrification/Displacement
· Employment & Training
· Transportation
· Education
· Violence
· Faith-Based Mentoring


We are here today because of a system that is out of control. It's a paramilitary system that terrorizes its own United States citizens; and is more concerned with pay raises and benefit packages than providing inmates with medical treatment.

The California Department of Corrections is funded by the taxpayers of this great state. We are here today to let it be known that we, citizens and taxpayers, do not support our tax dollars underwriting terrorist activities in our prisons. When we closely examine what is happening within the prison walls -- the abuse and pattern and practice of failing to provide medical treatment to inmates -- it is terrorism. Prisons have become institutions of degradation, humiliation, and destruction instead of centers for training, change, and reform. 

During the early morning hours of June 29, 2004, my niece, Toya Shumake, received a voice-mail message from the California State Prison Solano that her brother, Anthony Shumake, was dead. That's it! That's all! They did not provide any details on how or why he died. Later, after we heard this shocking news, the family made several calls to Vacaville for answers. To no avail. They were unwilling to provide my family any information about Anthony's death.

To add insult to injury, later that afternoon, Anthony's grandmother, Annie Shumake, received a telegram stuck inside her screen door. It indicated that not only had her grandson, Anthony Shumake, died, but she had forty-eight hours to claim his body -- or the State of California would cremate him.

Pursuant to Article 7, Section S1070.1 of the Department of Corrections Operations Manuel regarding deaths, the policy states: "The Department shall treat the death of an inmate or parolee with dignity and respect as is regularly accorded persons who are not incarcerated or on parole."

Pursuant to Article 7, Section S1070.10 of the Department of Corrections Operations Manuel regarding Notification of Next-of-Kin, the policy states: "The senior custodial officer shall review the inmate's C-File and using the CDC Form 127, notify the next-of-kin as humanely as possible." Institution staff and/or P&CSD staff may be utilized for this purpose. P&CSD staff are located, or have assigned agents, in every section of California.

Regarding Anthony Shumake's death, the Department violated its own policies. It is shameful the way our family has been treated. We have never experienced such a disregard for humanity. No one in the CDC will talk to us. As of today, six weeks later, we have still not received official notification of Anthony Shumake's cause of death.

Where is the dignity and respect? Is this humane? Is this what we expect from our prison system?

As a family, we are crying out for help. We would like to know why the policies and procedures of the CDC are being violated. We are concerned that inmates do not receive proper medical treatment, and in many cases, are actually denied medical treatment. We want to know if CDC guards are trained to recognize serious ailments or behavior changes that indicate illness. We want to know if the doctors and medical personnel are competent; and most of all, if they are truly concerned about the inmates' medical needs. 

My nephew, Anthony Shumake, had a tooth pulled, and now he is dead! Anthony Shumake was given a prison sentence, not a death sentence! We want to know why the wrong tooth was pulled; and why the medical staff did not identify the infection until it was too late. We want to know why Anthony Shumake was transported two-and-a-half hours from Vacaville to an emergency room in Manteca when there is an emergency room a few minutes from the CSP Solano institution.
Was it because CSP Solano was being sued for $18 Million in unpaid health care bills? This is still America! Inmates ought to be treated like human beings! They're American citizens and ought to be treated better than this! 

In spite of my family's personal pain and suffering, and the suffering of other families -- who have incarcerated loved ones or who have lost loved ones due to the failure of the system to provide medical treatment -- I still have hope. If the CDC is to be transformed, we the people of the great State of California must move forward with the expectation that we can make a difference. We must fight for justice for the inmates who can't fight for themselves.

We must all have hope. We must understand that the system can change; and acknowledge that we are the instrumentality of change. When men and women of good will come together, the impossible becomes possible. Brothers and sisters, this is no time for apathy and complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. We must have a restoration mentality.

I believe God is going to transform this system. He is going to comfort all of us who have lost our loved ones and who have loved ones currently suffering in the CDC system. I believe in God. I believe in America.

So let us leave here today, with a renewed commitment to get involved. Let us leave here today, with a renewed commitment to write letters and make phone calls to our elected officials demanding that this system be reformed. Let us leave here today, sending a clear message to those men and women currently incarcerated that they are not alone, that we feel their pain, and that we are committed to fight the good fight for inmate justice and prison reform.

Let us send a message to our Governor and our State Legislature that the men and women in prison are our loved ones. Let the message be clear that we care for our loved ones and will not go away.

Anthony Shumake, we will always miss and love you. You will always have a place in our hearts. Thank you for forty-one years of being with us.

Remember, there is hope.

May God bless all of you and forever keep you.
Reverend Andre L. Shumake, Sr.                                                                                           President 
Richmond Improvement Association
(A Faith Based Organization)                                                                                                   P.O. Box 2261                                                                                                                           Richmond, California 94802                                                                                                        (510) 860-3681 Office,1413,295~30192~2521450,00.html 

The Reporter

Wolk helped NorthBay recoup funds
Reporter Editor:

Monday, November 08, 2004 - 

On behalf of NorthBay Healthcare, I would like to express our deep appreciation to Assemblywoman Lois Wolk and her staff for their tireless efforts to resolve our lawsuit against the California Department of Corrections. In September, we received two checks totaling almost $11 million dollars, and much of the credit for that settlement belongs to her.

As a nonprofit organization, any profit we make is put right back into our hospitals to improve health-care services to our community. This is the money we use for new equipment, new services and future expansion. The funds from this settlement will add eight new beds to the critical care unit at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield. Also, next spring these funds will help expand our emergency department at VacaValley Hospital in Vacaville.

It's taken NorthBay and our lawyers four long years of litigation to receive payment for the emergency care we've provided to state prison inmates housed in Vacaville. Since 1998, when our contract to care for prison inmates expired, the CDC has asked us to care for their sickest patients, while refusing to pay the bill.

When we began our lawsuit, the CDC owed us $2.5 million. Our case languished for two years before it was transferred to Sacramento Superior Court in 2002. But it wasn't until Assemblywoman Wolk took office and began working on our behalf that we began to feel that a solution was in sight. Through the many strategy meetings she hosted, and the Assembly Bill 2475 she introduced this spring, the CDC was given notice that NorthBay wanted to be heard.

AB 2475 required the CDC to promptly pay the undisputed portion of an emergency service bill, regardless of whether a contract existed. But in reality, it did far more. It served to publicize NorthBay's case to the powerful Public Safety Subcommittee, which also oversees the Department of Corrections.

By June, the CDC owed us more than $17 million, and a "full-court press" was needed. NorthBay, Wolk's staff, our lawyers and our lobbyists met with the California Healthcare Association, various legislators, legislative analysts, senate consultants and the state Department of Finance. Feeling the pressure, the CDC sweetened its deal and offered $10.8 million in July and offered NorthBay a new contract for future services. On July 23, the settlement was final.

We thank Assemblywoman Wolk for her leadership, hard work and dedication to seeing this injustice brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Art DeNio, Chief Financial Officer, NorthBay Healthcare

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