484 Lake Park Avenue, #332 Oakland, CA 94610 info@Michaellangefoundation.org (510) 455-4040

Gina’s Journey: The Story of William Grimes — Opens November 3, 2016 Oakland, CA

by Pettis Perry

Gina’s Journey is the story of William Grimes who was slave and who wrote the first slave narratives. It is a compelling story of his life and times during slavery and afterwards once he gained his freedom. It is also the story of Regina Mason’s Journey to understand her Great, Great, Great, Grandfather as part of her family legacy.

This was the last film in which Michael F. Lange acted. The film is opening to a private showing of family members, cast, and crew on November 3, 2016, 7:00 pm at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland, California ahead of making its way to a number of film festivals nationwide and internationally.


Gina’s Journey Trailer from Your Media 2 LLC on Vimeo.

The Michael F. Lange Foundation mission and purpose

Mission Statement
To support and promote global social change, social justice, and peace.
Purpose Statement
To generate financial and other forms of support for individuals and organizations globally who are meeting the expressed purposes of the foundation as defined by The Michael F. Lange Foundation mission statement, and articulated in its vision statement, projected initiatives, and framed by its goals as established by the Board of Directors. When deemed necessary by the Board of Directors, The Michael F. Lange Foundation will offer direct programs and services to selected constituent groups.

For more information about the foundation, click on the “About” page in the menu above.

Vaping: The Future of Smoking? Or a Clandestine Gateway?

by Matthew Perry

There can be no denying that electronic cigarettes (also known as E-cigarettes, E-cigs, or Vaping) are a growing phenomenon for those who choose to smoke. They may be used as a gateway to other forms of smoking by the young; and they may also be used as an alternative to smoking for those who smoke tobacco cigarettes or by those who want to quit smoking.  Since E-cigs are new to the market, the verdict is still out on the long-term side effects of E-cigs, although it has been reported that E-cigs might be safer than tobacco cigarettes (Watson, 2014, WebMD).

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly 480,000 people die annually from smoking and from secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke itself also takes the lives of more than 41,000 people annually through lung cancer and heart disease making smoking a concern for not only those who smoke, but for those who live with or must be around smokers (CDC on Tobacco Studies).

What we know today, is that under low voltages, smoking an E-cig can dramatically reduce the carcinogens that are inhaled when compared to tobacco cigarettes (WEBMD Electronic Cigarettes). Also there is not much, if any, second hand smoke that could be inhaled by others, therefore making an E-cig a safer alternative for households with non-smokers and children. However, while these are significant improvements, we must be realistic and recognize that people who are currently addicted to cigarettes may continue smoking tobacco products no matter what benefits may occur from E-cigs.

Although the E-cig phenomenon seems like a better alternative to smoking, there are some negative and more covert consequences. For example, when E-cigs are smoked at high voltages, levels of formaldehyde can be produced in high concentrations. According to a CBS report, E-cigs can increase formaldehyde containing chemicals at levels up to 15 times more than tobacco cigarettes when the vapor oils inside of the device are burned at a high heat (CBS News Article on Electronic Cigarettes). This high level is what is most typically seen as it produces the most amount of vapor giving E-cig smokers the feeling of actually smoking. One cost to the public is that this device can become a gateway for kids and young adults to get into a cigarette smoking habit because E-cigs have become a cool trend with young adults (WEBMD Electronic Cigarettes). Another negative outcome of E-cig smoking is that people might be more inclined to smoke an E-cig much more frequently than they normally would a tobacco cigarette because they are able to smoke the device indoors in many places, and it is a growing fashion trend of sorts in contemporary culture.

At this point in time, my opinion of electronic cigarettes is that they are a cleaver and much safer alternative for people who are already heavy smokers (e.g., two plus packs per day). It also reduces carcinogens and second hand smoke making them safer for by-standers as long as they are used at low voltages. Hopefully, future regulations will prevent E-cigs from being marketed as a cool trend to kids and young persons. I also want to emphasize that no one should assume that a new device is safe just because it is popular and on the shelves for purchase. Do your research to fully understand what you are putting into your body, and with such a new device as E-cigs, we all will have to wait to see the long-term health risk outcomes of 21st century smoking products.

While I do not condone smoking E-cigs or tobacco cigarettes, I think it is important to shed light on the subject because of the incidence of lung and other cancers, cardiovascular, metabolic, and respiratory diseases resulting from smoking tobacco products. I also think it’s an important topic since lung cancer took the life of such people as our foundation namesake Michael Lange in 2015 and my grandmother in 1987 a few years prior to when I was born.

Check out the links below for more Information:

WEBMD Electronic Cigarettes

CBS News Article on Electronic Cigarettes

Watson (2014) WebMD

CDC on E-cig Info

CDC on E-cig Toxicity

CDC on Tobacco Studies



FDA Approval?

Written by: Matthew Perry

Edited by: Ally Bowles

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the most prominent agencies in the federal government. The FDA is the overseer of Over the Counter Drugs (OTC’s) and prescription drugs, and states that consumer protection is the primary public health mission (FDA Basics). OTC medications are drugs that can be purchased by the consumer without a prescription. These drugs can be marketed without FDA pre approval as long as the active ingredients conform to their monograph. The monograph is a bank of medications that are generally recognized as safe and effective (Regulation of Nonprescription drugs). Therefore, any drug put in a particular category has a formula that is recognized as safe by the FDA in terms of composition and dosage. However, although these standards seem on the surface to be stringent, as long as the chemical composition is the same and there is a standardized label of active ingredients, warnings and other information typically seen on the back of a medication box, the medications may remain unsupervised by the FDA. The un-regulation of OTC products can become potentially hazardous, especially when the FDA claims that “there are over 300,000 marketed OTC drug products…[and]…instead of individual drug products, the FDA reviews the active ingredients and the labeling of over 80 therapeutic classes of drugs” (FDA frequently asked questions).

This does not mean that anyone can market cyanide as a pain reliever because pain relief is not this chemical’s intended purpose. However, what it does mean is that with little regulation and without any testing whatsoever from the FDA (FDA frequently asked questions), anyone could put their aspirin in a type of packaging that chemically reacts with the medication potentially rendering the product either toxic, diminished, or useless. This seems like a trivial and unlikely scenario, however, if a person is taking aspirin for a heart condition and regularly relies on the blood thinning abilities of aspirin to keep them alive, then this packaging and medication interaction could put the person in a position where they are either regularly ingesting a toxic substance, or unknowingly not receiving the full dosage to keep their heart condition under control. This is one of the many latent consequences of not testing every, or at least most, drugs that are on the market.

The next time you see the term FDA approved, and it gives you comfort, think again, because it is only the class of active ingredients and color additives in your medication that has been seen as generally safe, and not necessarily the entire contents of the OTC medication you are taking. It is also important to note that “If [the] FDA grants an approval, it means the agency has determined that the benefits of the product outweigh the risks for the intended use” (“Is It Really FDA Approved?” FDA’s consumer updates article). This means that the medication you take are not certainly intended to be healthy for your body, it is only potentially less destructive than the side effects. This process of unregulated products becomes even more concerning when it comes to cosmetics, soap, dietary supplements and compound drugs. I will be diving into some of these issues in my upcoming articles.
For more Information, click on the links below:

FDA Basics

FDA frequently asked questions

FDA Monograph Information

“Is It Really FDA Approved?” FDA’s consumer updates article

Mandated Labeling for all FDA OTC medications

Regulation of Nonprescription drugs

The Birth of The Michael F. Lange Foundation

by Carmen Stone, Founding Member

Michael Lange BW Photograph copy

Professionally, Michael Lange was an extraordinarily talented person. He was an educator, coach, mentor, counselor, actor, playwright, musician, lyricist, writer, artist, television host, civil rights activist, and humanitarian. He was also an eloquent gentleman who lived with integrity, compassion, and commitment for making life better for all people.  He made significant contributions during his lifetime to social change, social justice, and peace, and counseled someone who needed help until just days before losing his battle with cancer on May 20, 2015.  He was 66 years old.

On the day of his passing, his mother, Jerri Lange, called family and friends to gather at her home in Michael’s honor and to help her send him to heaven on a beam of love sealed with a champagne toast. Around 40 people, along with the entire cast of “Lord, Why Can’t I do Right?” a play Michael was producing, all came to show their love and support for the Lange family.  Everyone talked about Michael’s remarkable life as well as his extraordinary accomplishments.  That evening it was decided that creating a foundation in his name would honor him by carrying his legacy forward to serve his local community where he lived in Oakland, CA and the world which he considered his global community. The discussion turned into an idea, and the idea gave way to the birth of The Michael F. Lange Foundation five short months after his passing.

Under the leadership of one of Michael’s closest friends and Alpha Phi Alpha brother, Pettis Perry, mother Jerri Lange, and five other founding members came together as Incorporators to form the initial nucleus of the organization. In addition to Jerri and Pettis, the founders were Michael’s cousin Anita Smith, friend Carmen Stone, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Brothers Peter Bostic, John Cooke, and Darrell Ovid, as well as Jeffrey Slough a teacher and community activist from Bellingham, WA. Cheryl Perry-League, Doris Mangrum, Alpha Phi Alpha Brother Fred Jackson, and Cherif Sidialicherif were recruited to the Board of Directors shortly thereafter. With the help of many other friends and family members, The Michael F. Lange Foundation initiated its strategic thinking process, received its 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity designation from the California Secretary of State on October 19, 2015, and its Letter of Exemption from the IRS on December 30, 2015. Within one year, The Foundation Launched its website on May 20, 2016, the anniversary of Michael’s passing.