In 1972, when Brian Copeland was eight, his family moved from Oakland to San Leandro, California, hoping for a better life. At the time, San Leandro was 99.4 percent white, known nationwide as a racist enclave. This reputation was confirmed almost immediately: Brian got his first look at the inside of a cop car, for being a black kid walking to the park with a baseball bat. That story became the basis for "Not a Genuine Black Man," his solo show that began at The Marsh theater in 2004 and the last performance was more than seven years later at the Marsh Arts Center in Berkeley last month.
Thirty-nine years later, San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy proclaimed October 19, 2011, as Brian Copeland day, honoring him as an ambassador of San Leandro. The text of the proclamation:
WHEREAS, Brian Copeland moved to San Leandro with his family as a small child and has remained a resident, proclaiming "San Leandro is my home town"; and
WHEREAS, Brian Copeland attained celebrity for his work in the news media, as a comedian, and most notably for authoring a poignant book about growing up in San Leandro during a time of discrimination and racism which grew into his highly successful one-man play, "Not A Genuine Black Man"; and
WHEREAS, in telling his story, Brian Copeland has become an ambassador for San Leandro, and demonstrates how one can overcome adversity, how neighbors can become friends, and the change that has occurred within San Leandro communities; and
WHEREAS, for more than twenty years, Brian Copeland has been a champion of the Davis Street Family Resource Center, supporting its programs and services in many ways, most notably by raising thousands of dollars every year for the children's nutrition program to ensure that preschool children in the Center's programs have a hot and nutritious breakfast; and
WHEREAS, Brian Copeland's philanthropy and celebrity have brought acclaim and honor to this community.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Stephen H. Cassidy, Mayor of the City of San Leandro, on behalf of the City Council, do hereby proudly proclaim October 19,2011 as "BRIAN COPELAND DAY" in San Leandro.
Copeland's new solo play, "The Waiting Period," will preview at San Francisco's Marsh Theater in November and will open in January. Copeland also is the host of the talk show 7LIVE weekdays at 3pm.
|Brian Copeland and son Casey|