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‘WE are the Bay View’: Kevin Jones-Bey and Sundiata Acoli salute the Bay View

May 3, 2018

A pittance for the priceless

by Kevin Jones-Bey and Sundiata Acoli

“We recognize as valuable only what serves the cause of the people.” – Sekou Toure

Sundiata Acoli and Kevin Jones-Bey

Around six years ago, my then 16-year-old daughter submitted a poem to a Bay View poetry contest sponsored by the creative genius, Paradise. Though the contest was cancelled due to poor participation, her poem was still featured in the newspaper.

A few years later, while majoring in engineering at Morgan State University, she wrote an article about an unjust federal sentencing provision which allows sentencing without indictment, prosecution or conviction. Mrs. Ratcliff wasted no time publishing both her article and a companion article written by my Elder Brother and Critical Thinking Co-Instructor, Sundiata Acoli.

The Bay View is THE voice of countless Sisters and Brothers. Indeed, WE are the Bay View, and if we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?

Last year I wrote an article about an inmate-run rehabilitation and reentry program and asked my daughter to send it to Mrs. Ratcliff. Mrs. Ratcliff published the article.

I am not a world-renowned freedom fighter. In fact, I contributed to the destruction of lives and communities. In spite of this ugly truth, Willie and Mary Ratcliff and the Bay View family have given me opportunities when no one else would.

I am not unique. The Bay View is THE voice of countless Sisters and Brothers. Indeed, WE are the Bay View, and if we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?

Twenty-four dollars is a paltry sum. The San Francisco Bay View is priceless.

Kevin Jones-Bey

Expand Bay View subscription sales

by Sundiata Acoli

“God bless the child that’s got his own.” – Billie Holiday, jazz legend

Once again, I can only applaud the brilliance of my Brother-Comrade K. Jones-Bey. The San Francisco Bay View is priceless and $24 is a pittance to pay for it.

So what’s the problem? There’s no problem with the online (electronic) version of Bay View, but the paper (newsprint) version, which is mailed to prisoners, is going broke. The cost of newsprint and postage is just too expensive to compete with today’s electronic newspapers.

Nor do prisoners have access (yet?) to iPhones or other online systems. So Bay View as a “newspaper” is likely “going under” unless a way can be found to save it.

Once again, I can only applaud the brilliance of my Brother-Comrade K. Jones-Bey. The San Francisco Bay View is priceless and $24 is a pittance to pay for it.

We say let us prisoners find a way to save Bay View. We could start by expanding subscription sales in any and every principled way possible.

We prisoners could sign up single subscriptions to other prisoners, sign up multiple prisoners to share one subscription, work out a deal with the editor to get a free subscription – or a monetary percentage – for signing up a fixed number of subscribers, canvass our friends, family members, their church members, temple members, schools, colleges, Black/Brown/People’s History Departments or who and where ever to sign up subscriptions.

Publish the picture of the Bay View Subscription Champ of the Month in the paper and the number of subscriptions signed up.

We say let us prisoners find a way to save Bay View. We could start by expanding subscription sales in any and every principled way possible.

Meanwhile, the subscription drive would help keep Bay View newspaper afloat long enough to put together a core collective paid nonprofit group around Sis Mary and Bro Willie (they’re not getting any younger) to learn the newspaper business from them and look to arrange a buyout or friendly takeover and transform Bay View into a collectively owned nonprofit to provide jobs to the community and on the job training (OJT) for volunteer part-time youth interns to educate themselves in all or any part of the newspaper business they choose to pursue.

Sundiata Acoli

Send our brothers some love and light: Kevin Jones-Bey, 32567-037, and Sundiata Acoli (Squire), 39794-066 – both of them at FCI Cumberland, P.O. Box 1000, Cumberland MD 21501.

Editor’s note: Is there a volunteer to head up the kind of subscription drive Sundiata describes? And, picking up on his suggestion of making the Bay View into a collectively owned nonprofit, we’re exploring a step beyond that – making the Bay View a co-op! For a very low price per share, readers, including those in prison, could become owners of the Bay View! Is there a volunteer to help look into that? If you are interested in these ideas or have more to suggest, email editor@sbayview.com or call 415-671-0789.

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