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    COMMENTARY: Judge Janice Clark’s legacy lives on

    December 31, 2020 was be the last official day that Judge Janice Clark will “dispense justice” in an official judicial capacity. The irony of the aforementioned statement is, if you know her then you know justice and equality has been the pillars of her foundation, the solid rock she stands on, the sheer existence of her being.

    Janice Gartrell Clark, a native of Plainfield, N.J., was raised in the Baptist Church – Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church of both Plainfield and Baton Rouge. An Historically Black College and University queen who matriculated through Howard University and Florida A&M University (FAMU) for her baccalaureate studies and Southern University for her Jurist Doctorate (JD). Many may not know she accomplished many a feat including her JD while married with young children and living in Southern’s Married Student housing.

    It has been said that “Legacy is not what’s left tomorrow when you’re gone. It’s what you give, create, impact and contribute today while you’re here that then happens to live on.” Janice Clark’s legacy will be an infinite piece of Louisiana history for years.

    She naturally wielded power from her youthful days before there ever was an inclination for a judicial position. See my mother began fighting the good fight way back during the famous March On Washington. She MARCHED!! As a FAMU student she led the march and protest for civil rights and the FAMU Law Center!

    She MARCHED as an attorney. She fought for the rights of others through a plethora of avenues, including private practice, the Board of Directors for Capital Area Legal Services, Gus Young Nonviolence, the NAACP and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.!! She LED!! She led a group of Black attorneys and sued the State of LA at the U.S. Supreme Court to carve and create Minority Voting blocs and Districts! She WON!! Louisiana has more black judges than many states because of her lawsuit! She also was instrumental in leading the charge for creating and building the new 19th Judicial District Court’s 12-story courthouse.

    Leaving and retiring from the 19th JDC may mark the end of an era on that bench, in that job, in that space, but not in her natural God-given position as Servant and Fighter for the people. She will continue to walk in her purpose, fighting the good fight, until like the Rev. Martin Luther King’s said: “Justice Rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

    Janice Clark is truly proof that Your Legacy is not a destination. It is a journey. Her life’s work is a catalyst for Social Change and Justice that will be encouraging to the next generation of lawyers, community servants and activists. I am so proud of her contributions to this community, state and country. I am honored to be one of many that stood on her shoulders. She truly epitomizes what you leave behind is not what is engraved in some stone monument but what is woven into the lives of others.

    I believe we should give people their flowers while they are living…Thank You…

    Tasha Clark-Amar
    Daughter

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    LETTER: Community meeting on Exxon fire more than just talk

    Dear Editor,

    As Chief Executive Officer of the East Baton Rouge Council On Aging, I was compelled to attend the Emergency Called Community Meeting, held by Senator Cleo Fields on February 19, 2020. This meeting was called in response to the fire at the ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Refinery the night of February 12th. The meeting, which occurred one day after the release of Exxon’s seven-day report, explained a timeline of events and which chemicals were released into the air and how harmful they are to us.

    I felt obliged to attend because I knew the dynamics of the community and in my capacity as EBRCOA CEO, I represent the seniors in that area.

    Senator Cleo Fields conducted a wonderful community meeting as it relates to the Exxon fire and how it has impacted the community closer to the plant. He laid out steps that he was going to do moving forward: accountability, notification, education, air monitoring and legislation to make significant changes on how we are notified about potential threats to our health. I was impressed that Sen. Fields stuck to his purpose of this meeting which was meaningful dialogue to craft legislation to “ensure the safety of the state’s citizens”.

    As I surveyed the close to 200 + people in the room, a resounding message and picture occurred to me. Ninety percent of the folks at the meeting who are living in the area nearest to the chemical plant are Seniors….they are scared and worried about their health and environment. I’ve had conversation with many of them as it relates to their fears about being messed over again and being forgotten about. I’ve spoken to many of them regarding their health issues; cancers, debilitating mobility problems, breathing and lung issues among other health complications.

    I left the meeting feeling reassured that this time, it was more than just talk and just maybe we will see some immediate changes made to protect the lives of our most vulnerable community members.
    A great big “Thank you” to Senator Cleo Fields, Senator Regina Barrow, State Representatives Edmond Jordan and C. Denise Marcelle, and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome for taking up this community issue. 

    Mrs. Tasha Clark-Amar
    Council on Aging
    East Baton Rouge

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    Council on Aging purchases property to expand services

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging Purchases Property to Expand Meal Services.

    The East Baton Rouge Parish Council on Aging has purchased 2.8 acres to meet the demands of meals on wheels and congregate meals services.  The property, located on North 18th Street, will be the site of a new 25,000 square feet facility that will provide much-needed space for preparing home-delivered meals to seniors and congregate (hot) meals that are delivered to the 26 senior centers and feeding sites across the parish.

    “We have performed miracles in the current, but outdated, facility and I am eager to begin construction on a new state of the art building that will accommodate the ever-increasing needs of seniors in our Parish,” said Tasha Clark-Amar, CEO.

    The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging has been housed at the 5790 Florida Boulevard location for over 30 years.  The new facility will not only include a commercial kitchen and meal packing facility, but also a space for administrative offices for more than 60 employees and parking for the agency’s fleet of Meals on Wheels vans.

    “The North 18th/Fuqua site has been an abandoned property in my district for a number of years.  I am proud the Council on Aging is not only expanding services for seniors but investing in a much-needed area of the Parish,” said Councilwoman Tara Wicker.

    The Council on Aging will begin the design phase of the new development in January, with hopes of moving into the new building in approximately 18 months.

    “Many thanks to our board of directors and staff for all their hard work bringing this vision to fruition.  The entire parish will benefit from this investment in seniors, and the community as a whole,” said board chairwoman Jennifer Moisant.

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    Council n Aging to distribute emergency kits Sept. 28

    The East Baton Rouge Council on Aging (EBRCOA) announced today that after the AARP and AARP Foundation emergency kit packing event, the agency will be distributing the prepared kits, Friday, September 28 at the EBRCOA Capital City Event Center  at 6955 Florida Blvd, Baton Rouge, LA 70806. The agency would like to thank its partners: the AARP Foundation and the Louisiana Department of Health, Center for Community Preparedness for their donation of supplies.  The drive-thru event will begin at 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. while supplies last.

    Recipients must be 50 years of age or older, preferably low to moderate income and residents of East Baton Rouge Parish, in order to receive an emergency preparedness kit.

    With the peak of hurricane season upon us, the EBRCOA wants to remind seniors that staying “emergency-ready” is essential.  Keep essentials items such as: medicine, water, vital documents, flashlights, batteries and an overnight bag in case of an emergency evacuation.

    “This distribution of emergency preparedness kits is a part of our commitment to serve the seniors of East Baton Rouge Parish in every capacity.  We would like to thank AARP and AARP Foundation and the Office of Public Health for their support,” said COA chief executive officer Tasha Clark-Amar.

    “For vulnerable older adults, a natural disaster complicates the challenges they already experience. As storms surge, so do the hardships for those struggling to make ends meet. That’s why AARP and AARP Foundation are mobilizing volunteers to assemble thousands of bags filled with emergency preparedness supplies to seniors in Baton Rouge,” said Marc McDonald, VP grants and external initiatives, AARP Foundation.

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