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In a picture taken last year, Mumia stands between his son, Jamal Hart, and his older brother, Keith Cook.

Mumia Abu-Jamal hospitalized in diabetic shock, guarded, family and friends denied access

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Penn., without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Professor Johanna Fernández, said, “We were told he was in diabetic shock and taken to the hospital.” Supporters say hospital staff has confirmed Abu-Jamal is in the ICU. Listen to an interview with Professor Fernández recorded by Block Report Radio at about 8 a.m. this morning, March 31.

Behind Enemy Lines

Gov. Jerry Brown, AG Kamala Harris and CDCr officials, you have the power to stop torture in California prisons

Mar 29, 2015
This imaginative sign appeared at the Oakland action on March 23.

We are sharing our express concerns as the CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Danny Troxell, Antonio Villagrana and George Ruiz – concerning the non-functional operation of Steps 1 through 4 and how we as SHU Step Down Program prisoners are being denied our federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive and procedural due process.

SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

Mar 28, 2015

Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

Free Speech Society: Forum for prison activists inside and out

Mar 25, 2015

The Free Speech Society (FSS) is primarily a movement to defend and preserve the rights of imprisoned activists to inform society of the social contradictions of the prison industrial slave complex in hopes of educating the people not only to the existence of these social ills but their impact on their daily lives. Join us in this historic effort and support the FSS with your time, talent and treasure.

The criminality of solitary confinement

Mar 21, 2015
“Trapped, Isolated” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore (address above)

In this series of articles, we have traced the various mechanisms whereby the prison procedures of “gang validation” are used to deny the civil rights, the human rights and even the humanity of the prisoners. These procedures mark the criminality of the prison administration. The real crime problem in the U.S. is the prison system itself and its judicial machine. Together they are making justice and democracy practically impossible.

Grant ‘Strategic Release’ to Abdul Olugbala Shakur

Mar 20, 2015
Abdul Olugbala Shakur

A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.

Successful motion in court strengthens California prisoners’ case against solitary
Prison artist uses ‘visual language’ to inspire his brothers
On leaving solitary confinement after 26 years, I salute all the advocates of progressive positive change
To Hunters Point
Nurse Paul Spector blows the whistle on torture in a California prison
My safari from Pelikkkan Bay
Losing lives while gaining profit: 4 deaths in 2 months is business as usual for CCA prison
Amplify the voices these prisons try to silence: Fight censorship from California to Pennsylvania
The value of Black life in America, Part 1
Hundreds of South Carolina prisoners sent to solitary confinement over Facebook
Judge approves expanding class action suit against solitary confinement to include prisoners transferred out of Pelican Bay
The Black Guerrilla Family and human freedom
Mission Statement of the Free Speech Society
Prisons, gangs, witchhunts and white supremacy
What would compel a man to try to cut his own face off?

News & Views

The people’s investigation into the San Francisco police killing of Asa B. Sullivan

Mar 29, 2015
Asa Sullivan – Art: Nomy Lamm

A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”

The first monthly Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement held March 23

Mar 28, 2015
Oakland’s action was in Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, the scene of many, many struggles for justice in recent years. Readers are urged to come out in droves on April 23 and the 23rd of every month. We may not be able to rid the world of all evils, but we CAN end solitary confinement!

Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.

SF County Jail prisoners forced into interracial gladiator-style fights

Mar 27, 2015
At his March 26 press conference, Public Defender Jeff Adachi plays the recording of his interview with Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, a 150-pound Hawaiian and Filipino man, the smallest and only Asian in his pod at San Francisco County Jail, who was forced into gladiator fights with Stanly Harris, a 350-pound African-American man, the largest man in the pod, though neither wanted to fight. Garcia believes the deputies’ intent in forcing the fights was not only to entertain themselves as they gambled but to stir up racial animosity among prisoners. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial … because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.

Making money with solar

Mar 26, 2015
This man decided to make installing solar panels on his roof a do-it-yourself project.

What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar? If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that. The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us.

A durable and sustainable plan: Reducing corrections spending in California

Mar 26, 2015
Common sense says support SB 224, the Elder Parole Program, to reduce the prison population and corrections spending and get people back to their families and communities. – Photo courtesy of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.

How does Africa get reported? A letter of concern to 60 Minutes
Jim Crow San Francisco
Community shuts down Mission Station, puts police on trial on anniversary of Alex Nieto’s SFPD murder
Bay Area air quality regulator to refineries: Refine more crude
UC Berkeley Black Student Union wants Barrows Hall renamed for Assata Shakur as one of 10 demands
Viciously beaten University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson did not have a fake ID, attorney says
AIDS group’s Castro billboards with Dr. King’s image have whites-only feel
Tensions remain high in Ferguson
UK Foreign Office calls on Rwanda to restore BBC Gahuza
Bay Area residents hold Air District accountable for protecting health and climate from refinery pollution
Public defender releases racial justice recommendations, finds up to 1,000 cases may be tainted by bigoted officers
A terrorist under every bed in Canada
Venezuela a threat to US national security?
Port Chicago: Who were those men?
Mumia Abu Jamal: Unsaid at Selma

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions
HHS to host “Back 2 Business” Conference to educate small businesses about contracting with the federal government Apr 1 12:00 AM Laney College Forum Building, 900 Fallon St., Oakland U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of more>> ---------------
Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) Shares his Journey at Commonwealth Club Apr 1 11:30 AM Commonwealth Club, 555 Post St., San Francisco Former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank will discuss his journey from more>> ---------------
Senior and Disability Survival School: Learn about community resources, your rights and advocacy! Apr 1 1:30 PM Bayview Linda Brooks-Burton Library, 5075 Third St., BVHP, San Francisco Wednesdays March 25th, April 1st, April 8th and Monday April more>> ---------------

After 30 years leading City College Journalism Department, ‘not over yet’ for Juan Gonzales

Mar 31, 2015

Journalists, local newspaper publishers, instructors and students gathered on March 20 at Randy’s Place in the Ingleside to honor Juan Gonzales for his 30 years as a faculty member and chair of the Department of Journalism at City College of San Francisco. The mix of former and current students and colleagues attested to his dedication as they mingled, shot pool and enjoyed spaghetti and drinks in the cozy neighborhood bar.

Kev Epps talkin’ about his new film ‘Solutions Not Suspensions’

Mar 31, 2015
'Coleman Advocates Presents Solutions Not Suspensions, directed by Kevin Epps', web

Frisco filmmaker Kevin Epps is at it again with his weapon of choice, his camera. This time, the “Straight Outta Hunters Point” filmmaker just released his new film, “Solutions Not Suspensions,” which takes a look at who is being suspended from the San Francisco Unified School District and under what circumstance. He is taking a stand on an issue that does not get a lot of attention in our community.

Dear Black men: Help us save the lives of young Black men and boys by simply writing a letter!

Mar 30, 2015
AfroSolo Empowerment Hands, web

Inspired by President Barack Obama’s “My Brothers Keeper” initiative, AfroSolo will launch Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed II. An anthology entitled “Lighting up the Future: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys,” will be a collection of letters from Black men designed to celebrate, uplift and motivate young Black men and boys to successfully transcend youth to adulthood. We cordially invite your participation.

Writer coaches make a positive social impact!

Mar 30, 2015

After a WriterCoach Connection volunteer offered words of praise to a Korematsu Middle School seventh grader on a writing assignment, the youngster told the coach, “Nobody has ever said that to me before. Not my teachers, not my parents – nobody. Thank you!” The coach had met the student where he was with his writing process. No judgments. No preset expectations. Just pure encouragement to help him get his voice and views on paper.

Grandfatherhood: Part 3

Mar 29, 2015

The most important thing you can give any child is your time. This month I will share some activities and outings you can enjoy while sharing time with your children, grandchildren or the children of friends you are fortunate enough to have in your life. Here are a few suggestions of positive ways to spend some moments that will create memories to last long beyond when you and I are gone.

Robert ‘Fleetwood’ Bowden’s ‘Da Cotton Pickas’ to be featured in Oakland International Film Festival
Does the disability community need a documentary on police brutality from a retired disabled Black cop?
An appreciation: Dr. Ben, legendary Egypt scholar, dean of Harlem Street University
Filmmaker Pendarvis Harshaw talks about graf legend Mike Dream in ‘Dream Kontinues’ doc
Performing Arts Workshop’s Beats of the Bayview coming Friday at 3rd on Third
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