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Eric Garner, father of 6, killed in chokehold by NYPD for selling untaxed cigarettes

“They will try to scandalize the deceased,” Rev. Al Sharpton said of the NYPD and what he anticipated they would say. “The issue is not about an unarmed man selling cigarettes … It’s about a man who was subjected to a chokehold and is no longer with us.” At that point, Esaw Garner collapsed and had to be held up by Sharpton and Rev. Herbert Daughtry. All of Garner’s relatives were in pain and weeping as they left the stage. Sure enough, at a press conference, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton began his remarks by citing the arrest record of Garner and explaining that the police were there to apprehend Garner for the sale of illegal cigarettes.

Behind Enemy Lines

Pennsylvania hunger striker: I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to our struggles

Jul 26, 2014

I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs, very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process.

Inside a CCA private prison: Two slaves for the price of one, Part Two

Jul 25, 2014
Anthony Robinson Jr., cropped

In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals issued a report which stated in part: “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” This same report stated directly: “No new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”

Racism in San Francisco County Jail

Jul 24, 2014

In regards to the prison censorship issue, I am just chiming in to let it be known that it isn’t a “nudity” thing (the California Department of Corrections’ new censorship regulations are disguised under the title “Obscene Material” – ed.); it’s a Black-Latino thing, period! I’m not in prison, I’m in County Jail 5 in San Francisco, and it has even trickled down this far. Here we are not allowed to receive magazines that are most favored by Blacks or Latinos.

Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) transferred to Butner Federal Medical Center, N.C.

Jul 18, 2014

Attorney Karima Al-Amin, wife of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly known worldwide as H. Rap Brown, the voice of Black power, announced yesterday what has now been confirmed: “Imam Jamil has been moved to Butner FMC (Federal Medical Center), North Carolina.” Word on his condition or whether he has received medical care has not yet come. Still, this great man remains behind enemy lines, and the same mass pressure by the people that resulted in his transfer must be applied and intensified until he is free.

Federal judge strikes down California’s death penalty

Jul 16, 2014

A federal judge has ruled that California’s death penalty system is unconstitutional, finding it arbitrary and in violation of the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. “Today’s ruling … is a monumental victory for justice,” declared San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi. “I commend U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney for his courage and wisdom,”

Guantánamo nurse refused to participate in ‘criminal’ force-feedings
To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later
Prisoners and advocates commemorate the one-year anniversary of the hunger strike by California prisoners and file lawsuit against CDCR
Events worldwide commemorate mass California hunger strike first anniversary
Supporters demand political prisoner Imam Jamil (H. Rap Brown), diagnosed with rare cancer, be hospitalized immediately
Largest hunger strike in history: California prisoners speak out on first anniversary
Outlaw to walk free July 14
Houston needs a civilian review board – but Texas needs much more!
Calipatria riots need to cease and unity needs to spread
Leonard Peltier, my cellmate: Simple man with a big vision
Leonard Peltier after 39 years in prison: Live to make our children proud
Attorney Anne Butterfield Weills: ‘Obscenity’ regs show ‘CDCR views many of its prisoners … as political prisoners’
Last Menard hunger striker calls for a new generation of warriors
Who gets to choose? Coerced sterilization in California prisons
Don’t let Ohio execute Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur), framed and innocent on death row

News & Views

Special assignment: George Jackson funeral

Jul 27, 2014
This is the front page of The Black Panther newspaper that came out Aug. 28, 1971, the day of George Jackson’s funeral, alerting mourners to attend; 8,000 came.

I was working at Central Headquarters of the Black Panther Party (BPP) when George Jackson was murdered by guards in San Quentin Prison in 1971. George Jackson was one of the leaders of the developing Prison Rights Movement at the time. He helped develop a new consciousness among prisoners based on political education, service to the community and the destruction of the evil capitalist system.

Child refugees: When children are ‘the enemy’

Jul 27, 2014
The Christian nonviolence organization Pax Christie writes: “There is a refugee crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border and a war in Central America and Mexico against children … (They) are making a perilous journey north, … fleeing from the countries with the highest murder rates in the world. … Undocumented children have become the new scapegoats. … Do not deport these children. Protect them. Help them reunite with their families. Welcome the stranger. Welcome the children.”

I’ve been watching for days now as media reports display the growing hatred at the arrival of Central American children across the Mexican-U.S. border. American voices crackle with bile as they begin the drumbeat for their immediate deportation. They are refugees from want and war, almost all the result of U.S. interventions in Central America in support of murderous military governments and the mindless drug war.

California’s death penalty is cruel, unusual and ‘arbitrary’

Jul 26, 2014

A federal judge issued a stunning decision July 16, holding that the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. As Judge Cormac Carney, a Bush appointee, found, systemic delays result in execution of only a “random few (who) will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.”

Will current clinical trial mean the end of sickle cell disease?

Jul 25, 2014

For as long as she can remember, Marissa Cors has had to learn to live with regular bouts of excruciating pain. Marissa was born with sickle cell disease, a nasty genetic condition where red blood cells, instead of being smooth and round and flowing freely, become rigid and sickle shaped, clumping together, blocking blood flow and causing pain and organ damage. In the U.S., it affects around 100,000 people, most of them African Americans.

Hundreds of protestors flood Detroit streets to protest water shut-offs

Jul 25, 2014
Monica Lewis-Patrick of We the People of Detroit speaks out against cuts to water services for poor residents during July 18 rally and march in downtown Detroit. – Photo: Rasheed Shabazz

Hundreds marched in the streets of downtown Detroit on July 18 to protest water services being shut off for thousands of residents too poor to pay their utility bills. Nurses organizing the demonstration declared a public health emergency and called for a moratorium on the water shutoffs, a violation of human rights. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a brief reprieve.

Trail for Humanity: Mothers and children walk from Merced to the border
From Gaza with pain – and dignity
Using Twitter to challenge Twitter on workforce inclusion-diversity data
Bigoted bullying at Richmond City Council meetings aims to end progressive leadership
In memory of Andy Lopez: Turn a negative into a positive
Doesn’t the Navy know the Boys and Girls Club left toxic Treasure Island?
Kenneth Harding Jr.: Three years after SFPD murdered my son, just demonizing, no justice
Andy Lopez inspires the people to rise up, to defend! educate! resist!
Gaza: Nowhere to run
Justice sought for Black woman savagely beaten by CHP officer
10 arrested blocking trucks sent to shut off water services in Detroit
Sixty-five million left out of July 4 celebration
Jury denies damages to father of Oscar Grant
Hunters Point to Treasure Island: From the frying pan into the fire
Yuri Kochiyama: A life in struggle

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions
  • SHUT DOWN MCFARLAND GEO WOMEN'S PRISON

    Jul 31 - 5:00 PM

  • Showing of the film and discussion of "Freedom Riders"

    Jul 31 - 7:00 PM

  • Black reSurgence!TV

    Jul 31 - 7:00 PM

  • MUSICAL HAPPY HOUR at Radio Africa & Kitchen

    Aug 1 - 5:30 PM

  • Mandela Foods Co-op Diet and Disease Prevention Workshop

    Aug 2 - 2:00 PM

  • Chronicle Books Warehouse Sale-Save 65% on everything

    Aug 6 - 9:00 AM

  • Chronicle Books Warehouse Sale-Save 65% on everything

    Aug 7 - 9:00 AM

  • Chronicle Books Warehouse Sale-Save 65% on everything

    Aug 8 - 9:00 AM

  • MUSICAL HAPPY HOUR at Radio Africa & Kitchen

    Aug 8 - 5:30 PM

  • Mandela Foods Co-op Diet and Disease Prevention Workshop

    Aug 9 - 2:00 PM

‘Kill Team,’ the mind state imperialism breeds

Jul 28, 2014

“Kill Team” is a very well put together documentary about a number of U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan who were caught being a part of a kill team that would routinely kill innocent civilians. This documentary is for anybody fascinated by the mentality and psychology promoted in the U.S. military to get their paid mercenary soldiers ready to steal resources and control populations on an international level.

8th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair Aug. 9 in Los Angeles

Jul 27, 2014
It’s a treat to meet young authors along with the celebrities and literary legends at the Leimert Park Village Book Fair.

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair, based in South Central Los Angeles, is the main annual literary event for the Black community on the West Coast. A number of authors and screenwriters attend every year to expose the community to their latest work, and thousands of book lovers come to see what all of these writers have cooked up. Check out Leimert Park Village Book Fair founder Cynthia Exum in her own words.

Umoja African Festival returns

Jul 26, 2014
The futbol (soccer) tournament at the Umoja African Festival is the first in the Bay to pit teams from different African nations against each other. Many players were stars back home. – Photo: Pochina Press

True cultural pan-Africanism has finally crept into the Oakland festival scene with the second annual Umoja African Festival on Aug. 16 at Lowell Park in West Oakland. This festival is a symbol of our self-determination. There will be food, music, vendors and, to top it off, there will be an African soccer tournament for teams from the continent and the diaspora. Check out cofounder of the Umoja African Festival, Effie Tesfahun in her own words.

Mary Ellen Pleasant, California’s Mother of Civil Rights, and her partner meet again on the corner of Bush and Octavia, where it all began

Jul 25, 2014
'House on the Hill Mary Ellen Pleasant Story' poster

It has been over 100 years since the story of Mary Ellen Pleasant, the Mother of Civil Rights in the state of California and the first African American woman millionaire, has been told on the location where she made most of her wealth. Mary Ellen Pleasant became a famous name in the city of San Francisco, described as “a Rosa Parks, a Martin Luther King and a Malcolm X all rolled into one.”

‘Virunga’ documents Congo battle pitting gorillas against greed over ocean of oil

Jul 17, 2014
Virunga National Park Congolese gorilla caretaker Andre Baum carries one of his “family members,” a gorilla held at the rehabilitation center to recover from injuries inflicted by poachers.

The documentary “Virunga” tells the story of the rangers at Virunga National Park in eastern Congo who are battling to keep the last remaining 800 mountain gorillas that live in the park alive – a battle against poachers, the M23 rebel forces and the British corporation Soco, which is trying to convince officials inside the park and in government to allow them to exploit the huge ocean of oil that lies under the park.

‘The 12 O’Clock Boys’ screens July 17 in Matatu Film Festival
Poetry returns to Oakland: The Golden Stair
Wanda’s Picks for July 2014
Comedian Leroy Stanfield talks Stop the Violence and Oakland Comedy Superfest Weekend
Meet Tawana Williams, motivational speaker born without arms, author of ‘Unarmed But Dangerous’
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