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Black Media Appreciation Night

Defining our empowerment fuels Black Media Appreciation Night 2014

From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.

Behind Enemy Lines

Exposing a national crisis in Black mental health behind bars

Sep 10, 2014
On Aug. 12, Mark-Anthony Johnson and Lynwood social worker Kristina Ronnquist pause at the entrance of the United Nations in Geneva, where they submitted the Dignity and Power Now report, “Impact of Disproportionate Incarceration and Abuse of Black People with Mental Health Conditions in World’s Largest Jail System“ for review of U.S. compliance with the International Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.

Power concedes nothing, Part 2: a discussion on retaliation, censorship and fascism in the modern US state

Sep 8, 2014
The artist, Raja Smith, in 24-hour lockdown for two years, writes: “I have been encouraging prisoners to fight the administration nonviolently through grievances and civil actions and have become a target of abuse. I find it appalling that the same system that condemns people for breaking their laws finds it so easy to participate in illegal and cruel behavior on a daily basis. What’s sad is that the system actually takes pride in torturing the poor and minorities when they break the law, but when one of them does it, they get a slap on the wrist, if that. Prisoners, unite!” – Art: Raja Smith, 953055, Georgia State Prison, 2164 Ga. Hwy 147, Reidsville GA 30499

Often when citizens of this nation think of “state repression,” images of Egypt, North Korea, Apartheid Palestine or Nazi Germany immediately spring to mind. U.S. state controlled media has become practiced at flooding our airwaves and attitudes with images of violent retali­ation and systematic repression of dissent in other nations as a means to obfuscate the U.S. state’s engagement in identical activity in its own society.

Leaving Pelican Bay SHU, I’m a pup in a brand new world

Sep 6, 2014

Leaving Pelican Bay SHU was exhilarating – with at the same time a feeling of melancholy. I hardly looked back as I was departing, but I was never displaced from the stark reminder of what I personally experienced and what others continue to endure. Considering the horrific circumstances of the SHU, it is not an easy adjustment.

Culture shock! Leaving Skeleton Bay after decades in solitary

Sep 6, 2014

I’m still decompressing from being warehoused inside that pathological incubator, Skeleton Bay, for over 25 years while slowly making adjustments to this new environment. My journey out of Pelican Bay caused relief on one hand and on the other hand a profound sense of emptiness in leaving behind relationships born out of shared respect, fortitude, self-respect and strength in surviving the crippling effects of prolonged isolation and sensory deprivation.

Ending hostilities means no more violence on the yards – period!

Aug 30, 2014

I believe that a lot of racial tension in California prisons comes from this: The end of hostilities is being misinterpreted. When I left the SHU, I was asked to explain the end to hostilities even further, and that was for everyone to understand that the end of hostilities means no more bullshit violence on the yards – PERIOD!

Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa: Worse than Pelican Bay
Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us
SB 260: Don’t deny yourself a chance at life
SB 892: Letter from four main reps at Pelican Bay to California legislators
Biopsy results released for Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown)
From the Keystone State to the Golden State: The need for a national movement to liberate political prisoners
Grand Jury investigates Santa Cruz County Jail deaths
Angola warden ponders releasing Zulu from 35 years in solitary – but he’s a Panther
‘Mass Incarceration on Trial’
Chess vs. checkers
Stop the McFarland GEO women’s prison!
Rally to stop wrongful convictions planned in Louisiana
Medical ‘care’ at Soledad is degrading … and lethal
Pennsylvania hunger striker: I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to our struggles
Inside a CCA private prison: Two slaves for the price of one, Part Two

News & Views

Rwanda Day: Black faces of empire

Sep 22, 2014
Bruce Dixon

The City of Atlanta hosted the fourth international Rwanda Day on September 20, 2014. Rwanda Day celebrations were held in Chicago in 2011, Boston and London in 2012, and Toronto in 2013. Rwandan and Congolese exiles and refugees have appeared to protest each time, as they did again in Atlanta. Bruce Dixon, Atlanta resident and managing editor of the Black Agenda Report, attended the protest.

Trapped on Treasure Island, Part Two: Treasure Island is a big bowl of jello

Sep 21, 2014

Common wisdom holds that Island authorities have simply abandoned the buildings and infrastructure to crumble until they are razed during the redevelopment build-out phase, which will not start until 2015 and could last over a decade. In the process, they seem also to have abandoned the low-income people they enticed to the island, who are providing rent and securing the infrastructure until the island can be rebuilt for rich condo owners.

Trapped on Treasure Island, Part One: Yet another Treasure Island renter wrestles the mold monster

Sep 20, 2014
Andrea McHenry speaks at a Treasure Island community meeting. – Photo: Carol Harvey

“I’m trapped and it sucks. Our lives are in danger. I must get out of here but can’t afford it. We are guinea pigs in a big radiological experiment. I know how the Alcatraz prisoners felt hearing the City’s sounds and laughter, but unable to be there. (Island management) is so slick at promoting life on the island, covering up the Navy’s mess and shushing us.”

Kagame started the genocide in Rwanda, then Congo

Sep 19, 2014
Rwandans and Congolese joined forces to protest the first Rwanda Day, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2011, and at each Rwanda Day since.

President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, is organizing what he calls Rwanda Day in the city of Atlanta. The United States, which takes pride in its democratic history, and the City of Atlanta, which played such a proud role in the American Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King, cannot want to appear to the world as supporters of dictatorship and mass murder, but allowing Paul Kagame to organize “Rwanda Day” in Atlanta tells the world that they are.

Black Women’s Roundtable: Open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Sep 17, 2014

We, the undersigned members of the Black Women’s Roundtable, are writing to request an emergency meeting with you to share our deep concern and outrage about the plethora of domestic violence cases that has been exposed involving current and past players that are a part of the National Football League. In addition, we would like to discuss your recent decision to establish an advisory group of women to assist you in developing new policies to eradicate domestic violence within the NFL and other diversity issues within the NFL.

The red flag flies high again on prosecution in Michael Brown slaying
As former Haitian President Aristide is placed on house arrest, supporters worldwide demand immediate halt to attacks on him and Lavalas Movement
Why we should listen to the youth fury from Ferguson
Justice for Michael Brown: Ferguson youth to shut down I-70 on Sept. 10
Removing fraudulent debt
Vote for natural grass soccer fields, not toxic artificial turf
UNIA at 100
Revolutionary education for our youth: Homefulness runs a summer camp and opens a school
Ammiano’s bill on prosecutor misconduct goes to governor
Keeping my eyes on the prize
Ferguson lit the fuse
Second genocide in Rwanda? Slow, silent, systematic?
Uncle Bobby in Ferguson, supporting the most fearless youth of our generation
The lessons of Ferguson, Part One: Economic inequality a root cause of unrest
Talking about Liberty Hall and Net Neutrality wit’ Oakland mayoral candidate Jason Anderson

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions

‘Color Struck’: an interview wit’ thespian and comedian Donald Lacy

Sep 20, 2014
Donald Lacy brought down the house when he performed at Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 on Sept. 13 in the Buriel Clay Theater. – Photo: TaSin Sabir

Thespian, comedian, humanitarian, radio broadcaster and father would all be words to describe this Bay Area renaissance man who has been putting his stamp on Oakland and the Bay Area’s culture for decades. Donald Lacy will be performing his world renowned play, “Color Struck,” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., at 8 p.m. Check out this Oakland legend as he speaks to us about his history and thoughts.

Myron Potier, legendary graphic designer to rappers and more

Sep 18, 2014

The graphic work of Myron Potier dominated the Oakland rap scene in the ‘90s after he worked on the album cover of Askari X’s classic “Message to the Black Man” and Seagram’s legendary album “Reality Check.” Today, Myron draws and designs mostly out of his apartment in the San Antonio-Fruitvale District of East Oakland, not far from where he grew up in the streets of Oakland. Check out one of Oakland’s unsung humble heroes in his own words.

Digital undivide: New Google Flights finds the best airfare, schedule, wi-fi and other tech amenities

Sep 11, 2014

The internet has made it easier to book and search for airfares, but unless you have the time and the expertise to conduct extensive internet fare searches, it’s become harder to find the cheapest fares available online. Google has come to the aid of fliers looking for the best air deals. Google’s new website app Google Flights (google.com/flights) gives travelers a one-stop option to quickly search for the best fares and flight options.

Fathers in the classroom: Everybody benefits

Sep 9, 2014

This month, I’m challenging all fathers of school age children to visit their classrooms at least one time during the school year. There is nothing that makes a child feel more appreciated and proud than having a parent come to school for positive reasons. Moms usually fill this role; let’s change that up this year. You don’t need any special skills, and most teachers will welcome you with open arms.

The Art of Mothering: an interview wit’ doula Gingi Allen

Sep 8, 2014

Gingi Allen is a doula in the Bay Area, an expert in the science and art of becoming a mother. For all of the people who want to consider new ways of looking at giving birth other than your ordinary hospital, this is a woman who can help you. I wanted to sit down with her to talk about this very important subject that really doesn’t get enough attention. Check her out in her own words.

Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 this Saturday, Sept. 13
‘Motown the Musical’
Wanda’s Picks for September 2014
Dr. Mutulu Shakur on Tupac: Fight for the legacy
Third Street Stroll …
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