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Uncle Bobby in Ferguson, supporting the most fearless youth of our generation

Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.

Behind Enemy Lines

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

Aug 29, 2014
That’s Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa in both photos, one taken in 2012 and the other in 1988. – Photo: Adithya Sambamurthy, CIR

This place is worse than Pelican Bay State Prison in so many ways. The DRB (Departmental Review Board) lies to the public. They are playing CDCR prison politics as to who they are allowing to go directly to the general population (GP) and who is placed in Steps 1-4.

Another dead teenager: Only in solidarity will we ever get back what’s been taken from us

Aug 27, 2014
Michael Brown’s body lay in the street for over four hours. Like public lynchings, the delay was meant to strike terror in the hearts of the people.

Police officers in Ferguson, whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again.

SB 260: Don’t deny yourself a chance at life

Aug 18, 2014

There may be hope after all. Back in 1995, I was a juvenile, tried as an adult, tried and convicted of first degree murder. Senate Bill 260, which became part of the Penal Code effective Jan. 1, 2014, is called California Youth Offenders Parole. The new youth offender parole process in this new law applies to people who were under the age of 18 at the time they committed their crime, were tried as adults and sentenced to life or a determinate sentence.

SB 892: Letter from four main reps at Pelican Bay to California legislators

Aug 13, 2014
California corrections officials located and designed Pelican Bay State Prison, opened in 1989, as a place where torture could be conducted with impunity. The torture the following year of Vaughn Dortch, a Black man who survived an attempt to boil him alive until his skin fell down around his ankles, horrified judges and the public. – Photo: National Geographic

On May 1, 2014, we, California inmates who have been in solitary confinement for long periods of time, co-signed a letter addressed to the California Senate and Assembly expressing our grave concerns with Sen. Hancock’s SB 892. We wish to follow up on our previous letter, as SB 892 has now been approved by the Senate and is being considered in the Assembly.

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
Racism in San Francisco County Jail
Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) transferred to Butner Federal Medical Center, N.C.
Federal judge strikes down California’s death penalty
Guantánamo nurse refused to participate in ‘criminal’ force-feedings

News & Views

Second genocide in Rwanda? Slow, silent, systematic?

Aug 30, 2014
Life prisoners – all Hutu – in Muhanga (formerly Gitarama) Prison are, according to the Global Research caption, regularly “hung, cuffed and crucified.” Some appear very young. Eighty percent of those who are released reportedly live no longer than another year or two. In 1995, the British Independent newspaper described this as the “worst prison in the world.” Much of it was destroyed by fire June 5. Were the prisoners inside? Are their bodies in Lake Rweru?

What is happening in Rwanda? On Aug. 26, the BBC reported that Burundian officials are investigating to determine why Rwandan bodies have been found floating in Lake Rweru, on Burundi’s border with Rwanda. Both East African nations suffer from Hutu-Tutsi ethnic rivalries rooted in centuries of Hutu oppression by a feudal Tutsi aristocracy, which became a colonial elite in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The lessons of Ferguson, Part One: Economic inequality a root cause of unrest

Aug 28, 2014
In a chaotic crowd of well-paid media and police, a resident of Ferguson, a suburb where the poverty rate doubled in three years and the unemployment rate rocketed from less 5 percent to over 13 percent in two years, demands that no tax money be spent on the Ferguson Police Department when it murders children instead of protecting them. – Photo: Scott Olson

I am haunted by the words of Lesley McSpadden immediately following the shooting death of her son, Michael Brown: “Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many Black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway.”

Talking about Liberty Hall and Net Neutrality wit’ Oakland mayoral candidate Jason Anderson

Aug 27, 2014
Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson has been a staunch activist in the Oakland area for about half a decade and has been working very hard on keeping the historic Liberty Hall building, the original Oakland home to Marcus Garvey’s UNIA in West Oakland, in the hands of the Black community. It has been an uphill battle, but this veteran of Occupy Oakland is up for the challenge.

Hands up! Don’t shoot: The genocidal killing of Michael Brown

Aug 26, 2014
“Ferguson” – Art: Criss Garcia, J-93559, Pelican Bay SHU C1-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down a street in their own community when they were confronted by an officer for “walking while Black.” Ever since Black people have been in this country, we have been subjected to a perpetual state of structural oppression and exploitation, including genocidal killings purposefully committed by law enforcement to instill terror in the Black community. And in most cases, because of “who we are,” when confronted with such injustices, we have marched, boycotted, protested, rioted and rebelled.

Thousands attend funeral of Michael Brown

Aug 26, 2014
These photos were taken at Michael Brown’s funeral, held in Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, St. Louis, which was filled to capacity with 4,500 mourners, leaving hundreds more to wait outside. They were taken by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and posted to Facebook with the comments that appear beneath them. Enjoy them as we await his print quality photos. Here, a young woman reads a flier that is shown at the end of the story. – Photo: Minister of Information JR Valrey, Block Report

Slain 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25. The funeral was a local and national event with thousands in attendance. Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9 while he walked through the streets of his neighborhood. His brutal death from six gunshot wounds fired at close range sparked immediate mass demonstrations in Ferguson that have continued for over two weeks.

Why Ferguson is the Congo
On the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West and Michael Brown
Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz: Ten important observations to know about Ferguson
PFLP salutes the Black struggle in the US: The empire will fall from within
Mike Brown appears to have paid for those cigars
US-Israeli terrorism blocked at the Port of Oakland
From Ferguson to Gaza, we charge genocide
Richmond unites to fight hospital closure by filing federal lawsuit against responsible county officials
How the Navy made Treasure Island a radiation dump, then promised to clean it up and didn’t
Stop the attacks on former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement
Israel-trained police ‘occupy’ Missouri after killing of Black youth
Unarmed Black man, Ezell Ford, murdered by police in Los Angeles
To win justice for Michael Brown, send the Black press to Ferguson, Missouri
Richmond Progressive Alliance mayoral candidate Mike Parker withdraws, throws support to Tom Butt
Black Caucus: #StandWithKeith Ellison to end Gaza blockade

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions
  • Screening of FREEDOM SUMMER

    Sep 4 - 7:00 PM

  • PUBLIC FORUM: SHOULD BERKELEY POLICE USE TASERS ON THE PEOPLE OF BERKELEY?

    Sep 4 - 7:00 PM

  • MUSICAL HAPPY HOUR at Radio Africa & Kitchen

    Sep 5 - 5:30 PM

  • Anniversary of Suspension of 2013 Hunger Strike

    Sep 6 - 11:00 AM

  • Mandela Foods Co-op Diet and Disease Prevention Workshop

    Sep 6 - 2:00 PM

  • From Ferguson to Oakland: Police Violence and Political Protest in America

    Sep 6 - 2:00 PM

  • HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE STUDY GROUP: Topic, Attacking Aristide & the People’s Democratic Movement

    Sep 6 - 2:00 PM

  • STRUGGLE FOR A NEW WORLD! Fred Ho Memorial Tribute

    Sep 7 - 2:00 PM

  • Launching Your Own Business (Bayview)

    Sep 9 - 6:00 PM

  • Black reSurgence!TV

    Sep 11 - 7:00 PM

UCAN kicks off new school year with 10-city HBCU college recruitment tour

Aug 29, 2014
Oakland School for the Arts senior Jalen Preston was aiming for admission to an HBCU and to receive a scholarship to pay all or at least half the tuition. – Photo: TheBlackHour.com

Hundreds of students from the Bay Area will gather at Mission High School to meet with recruiters and admissions counselors from HBCUs when the United College Action Network (U-CAN) hosts its 15th annual “Historically Black” college recruitment fair for the first time in San Francisco on Monday, Sept. 15. Altogether, 12 fairs will be held in Northern California.

‘Motown the Musical’ rocking the Bay Aug. 19-Sept. 28

Aug 18, 2014
Rodney Jackson Jr. plays David Ruffin of The Temptations, shown here, and also Jermaine Jackson in “Motown the Musical” at the Orpheum in San Francisco. – Photo: Joan Marcus

“Motown the Musical” is the true story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and many more. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat. Interview with Bayview Hunters Point native Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., who plays David Ruffin.

‘Birth of a New Breed’: an interview wit’ rhyme slayer Ms. Incredible aka TaLea Monet

Aug 15, 2014
TaLea Monet – Photo: TaSin Sabir

TaLea Monet, aka Ms. Incredible, is an MC based in Frisco’s Hunters Point with skills and a very distinct voice. She recently dropped her debut album titled “Birth of a New Breed,” featuring her two beautiful children on the front cover. I wanted to sit down with this hometown shero and talk about her history and her latest musical offering to the people. Hear’s Ms. Incredible in her own words …

‘Sweet & Lovely’: an interview wit’ vocalist Meres-Sia Gabriel

Aug 7, 2014
Meres-Sia Gabriel

Meres Sia Gabriel has been rhyming for decades around Oakland, but she just now released an EP titled “Sweet & Lovely” that will lead up to her much anticipated album. She invites you to an EP release performance on Friday, Aug. 22, 6:30-9:30, at The Golden Stair, 608 55th St., near Shattuck, in Oakland.

Schwartz means black

Aug 5, 2014
Lacey Schwartz

It is one thing when there is racial ambiguity based on systemic commodification of one’s people; it’s another when the questions stem from an omission or purposeful lie, which is the case when little Lacey Schwartz was born. Lacey, who is accepted into the clan, notices as did others her darker skin and curly hair, yet says nothing. Perhaps upper class Woodstock, New York, is a town without many Black people.

To the late great Freedom Fighter Yuri Kochiyama, salute!
Bayview Legal’s 1st annual Summer Benefit Concert Aug. 16
Wanda’s Picks for August 2014
Third Street Stroll …
Oakland’s native daughter: an interview wit’ thespian and playwright Anita Woodley
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