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On May 3, the 13th day of their hunger strike, the Frisco 5, in wheelchairs pushed by the doctors and medical students who have been monitoring their health, march with a thousand supporters to City Hall for a showdown with Mayor Ed Lee, who ducked out. Ike Ali Pinkton is just out of camera range at the left. Selassie Blackwell was hospitalized the next day but was soon back with his comrades. – Photo: Mona Caron

The Frisco 5 statement on this afternoon’s phone call from Mayor Ed Lee plus new interview with Equipto

As a result of incredible pressure from the community, Mayor Lee finally contacted the Frisco 5 by phone. The Frisco 5 reiterated their one simple demand – fire Chief Greg Suhr. Mayor Lee told the strikers he would not fire the chief and he stood behind Chief Suhr’s record which includes the choking death of Mark Garcia in 1997, two demotions, the Fajitagate scandal, a personal harassment suit that cost the city millions, racist text messages exposed, a crime lab scandal and the murder of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora and many others.

Behind Enemy Lines

Court rules no punishment for California prison hunger striker

May 3, 2016
A rally at High Desert State Prison on July 14, 2013, a week after the 2013 hunger strike began, when thousands throughout the state were still participating, encourages those starving themselves inside. The 2013 strike had been preceded by two in 2011, the first drawing 6,600 participants and the second 12,000. Changes since the California strikes are happening in prisons and legislatures around the country.

In the early days of the 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike, Jorge Gomez refused up to 12 consecutive meals. The California Department of Corrections struck back by issuing him a Rules Violation Report. The same fate befell untold numbers of other prisoners who’d starved themselves to peacefully call attention to their torture. In an opinion filed on March 25, 2016, the California Court of Appeals ruled that Gomez was guilty of no rules violation for refusing meals during the strike.

My brotha Yogi – two comrades with long memories

Apr 30, 2016
Two legends of the California Prison Movement, Khatari Gaulden and Hugo “Yogi” Pinell, sit in the sunshine in the San Quentin yard in 1976. – Photo courtesy Kiilu Nyasha

I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from my brotha Yogi and the honor of having him call me his “mwenzi” (Swahili for “comrade”). They hated my brotha Yogi because they were unable to break him after years of trying. What I know and hold to be true continues to afford all people a better way of improving their way of life and also our day for justice!

CHOOSE1 Three Strikes Reform Act needs 365,880 signatures by June 1: Volunteer today!

Apr 29, 2016
CHOOSE1 logo

For more than two decades, California’s Three Strikes Law has been criticized for being unfair, excessively punitive and in many ways strikingly irrational. There have been several measures implemented by Californians to fix this law, but it still remains unfair and excessive. Now, California voters have a chance to bring fairness to criminal justice policy along with making some common sense investments towards our future with The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016.

Exposing toxic work conditions inside Texas Prisons

Apr 28, 2016
Organizing to End Prison Slavery in Texas at the Coffield Unit are David “Chino” Martinez, far left, Keith “Malik” Washington in front and other comrades.

Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force pri­soners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?

Political prisoner Luis V. Rodriguez: Aztlan warrior passes to the spirit world

Apr 27, 2016
In addition to all his other accomplishments, Luis Rodriguez was also an extraordinary artist. This is a self-portrait.

Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez left this mortal world on Thursday April 14, 2016, at 7:28 p.m., surrounded by his family and friends. He was 60 years old. Songs and prayers were offered to honor him from the four directions. Luis was innocent. He fought with determination to prove his innocence for 37 years. Lies were told about him; in the media, in the courtroom. Many let him down and betrayed him, but many more loved him and stood by him.

Tipping point in Texas prison strikes? The history of slavery is at stake
Urgent: Call to support tortured hunger-striking prisoners in Louisiana
Stiff resistance is a human right! Malcolm X Grassroots Movement statement on Dr. Mutulu Shakur
Abolish ALL prisons, private and public
Prisoners in multiple states call for strikes to protest forced labor
Mondo mourned
Our hero has not been forgotten
Gov. Brown’s parole initiative could free 30-40,000
The movement inside Texas prisons will not be complete until the sisters join
NALC Rally Call
Petition on abuse in Virginia prisons
I shed a tear
Pride of consciousness
Young prisoner speaks on Yogi’s assassination and bridging the generation gap
Pennsylvania’s torture chamber for juveniles

News & Views

Bruce Dixon on building the Greens into a mass party

May 5, 2016
'Vote your hopes not your fears' Bruce Dixon, Georgia Green Party

Bernie Sanders’ defeats in the East Coast primaries have triggered a flurry of conversation about what the 25 to 35 percent of Sanders supporters who’ve told pollsters they will not vote for Hillary Clinton will do instead. Seattle-based Socialist Alternative has called for Sanders to run as an independent or join the Green Party ticket. Ann Garrison spoke to Georgia Green Party activist and Black Agenda Report Editor Bruce Dixon.

Patrick Xu of the Land Action 4 speaks on their case, human rights and squatter movements locally and internationally

May 3, 2016
Patrick Xu and friend, camping in Death Valley, use the survival skills they’ve learned by squatting – often without electricity and running water.

The Land Action 4 are four people who were arrested after actively reclaiming neglected property. I was made aware of this case by housing activist Tim Killings, who organizes around housing rights in Oakland. I conversed with one of the members of the Land Action 4, Patrick Xu, about their case, their beliefs, human rights and the history of reclaiming property internationally. Check out Patrick Xu in his own words, and support the dropping of charges for the Land Action 4.

Frisco 5 hunger strikers to SFPD: ‘Stop executing our people’

May 3, 2016
The Frisco 5 hunger strikers, clockwise from top left, are Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, 42, Selassie Blackwell, 39, Ike Pinkston, 42, and Edwin Lindo, 29. – Photos: Lola M. Chavez, Mission Local

Five hunger strikers dubbed the Frisco 5 – angered by new police murders of Black and Brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 13 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired. The Frisco 5 hunger strikers are Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, 42, Selassie Blackwell, 39, Ike Pinkston, 42, and Edwin Lindo, 29.

Remembering Burundi’s 1972 Hutu Genocide

Apr 30, 2016
The 1972 Burundian Hutu Genocide was commemorated on the state capitol grounds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on April 30, 2016.

Burundi’s 1972 Hutu genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu people were massacred by the country’s Tutsi army, was commemorated in Burundi on April 30. Commemorations were also held in other parts of the world, including one on the state capitol grounds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Tenacity turned into treasure at San Francisco courts’ Children’s Waiting Room

Apr 30, 2016
Children’s Waiting Room staff gather at the Hall of Justice – from left, Maire Larkin, Dinky Manek Enty and Denise Bradford.

What began in 1991, thanks largely to the tenacious work of some women lawyers, eliminated the need for parents or guardian to panic when faced with the dilemma of having to do business in a San Francisco courthouse without childcare.
The Children’s Waiting Room is open and free for all who have court business in a San Francisco courthouse. They provide a safe place for infants, children and teens to have fun while their parents or guardian are doing business in the building.

Is there a balm in Gilead?
City College faculty strike for justice – to stop class reductions and pay cuts
Hungry for justice: Equipto speaks for the Frisco 5 on hunger strike to demand SFPD Chief Suhr be fired or Mayor Lee resign
Will the Southeast Campus of City College at 1800 Oakdale become a PUC office building?
Hillary Clinton is no friend of Black empowerment
Free Wil B and the other 13 defendants fighting police terror in LA!
Mayor Ed Lee: Fire Police Chief Gregory P. Suhr now!
How much do ‘Black Lives Matter’ to Clinton? Rwanda Genocide offers answer
Rwanda: Evidence undermines the ruling narrative
Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 14
Join ILWU Local 10 for May Day 2016 ‘National Day of Mourning’ for victims of police terror: Bernie Sanders, Danny Glover invited to speak
Two sons shot in the back by police: A mother’s cry for justice
Emigres demand answers after first African American dies during Israeli army service
Hell no! Chief Greg Suhr has got to GO!
Hugo Pinell’s daughter Allegra invites you to join in honoring her father on April 23

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions
May 6, 2016
Ida B. Wells—A Passion for Justice 7:00 pm New Valencia Hall, 747 Polk St., San Francisco (at Ellis near Civic Center BART/Muni; on/near the #19, #31, #38 & #47 Muni bus lines) Celebrate the International Workers Holiday while supporting a radical newspaper, ... more>>
May 7, 2016
Handcarved Rubberstamp Workshop! Fun with Mom! 1:30 pm ACCI Gallery, 1652 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley Special Guest Elaine Chu
This is a great 3 hour workshop. ... more>>

2016’s San Francisco Black Film Festival will be a classic – June 16-19

Apr 30, 2016

Director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival Kali O’Ray has already showed me a number of potential films that are in the running to be selected to be for this year’s festival; great films like “Codigo Color” about colorism in Cuba, “Hustler’s Convention” about some of the greatest protest poets of the last 50 years, the legendary Last Poets, “Tear the Roof Off,” the untold story of Parliament Funkadellic, and “Blackboard,” a movie about Black professional skateboarders.

‘If you can dream it, you can be it’: African American film producer headed to Cannes

Apr 29, 2016
Kwasi Turner, son of Bay View writer Morris Turner, is on the right

Kwasi Turner, who just happens to be my son, served as co-producer for the film, “Do They Fit?” which will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France this May. The film, written and produced by DeForest Mapp, was co-produced by Stefan Gonzalez and is a romantic dramady to be showcased in the Short Film Corner of the festival. The featured actors include Erric Thompson, Afi Ayanna, Christine Waller and Jasania Deshong.

Baltimore filmmaker Bashi Rose makes films on George Jackson and Freddie Gray

Apr 28, 2016
Bashi Rose, filmmaker at work

Bashi Rose is an East coast filmmaker. He recently worked on two flicks that greatly inspired me. One is about the legendary George Jackson’s politics and ideas called “George Jackson: Releasing the Dragon (A Video Mixtape).” The other film is called “Until Them Whores Get Locked Up,” which is about the police murder of Freddie Gray and the people in the recent rebellion. Check out filmmaker Bashi Rose in his own words.

Baba Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at on his newest book, ‘Afrikans Deserve Reparations!’

Apr 27, 2016
Baba Jahahara signs his books in Europe following an interview by Henry Gomba of London- and Uganda-based Black Star News. – Photo: Claudette Perry

For over 500 years, African people have been fighting enslavement and genocide against white and Arab slavery. Billions of lives later, we are still fighting for self-determination and reparations today. Long time people’s warrior Jahahara Alkebulan has written a book on the subject titled “Afrikans Deserve Reparations!” that we all need to take the time and analyze. Check him out in his own words.

On self-defense against racist murder

Apr 26, 2016
'Black Panther's Party for Self-Defense' young Panther beside sign on wall, cropped

For us to make sense of the relentless, 400-year-long onslaught of racist violence against New Afrikans and other nationally oppressed people in Amerika and the absence of a collective program of comprehensive self-defense and secure communities among the majority of the New Afrikan population in the U.S., it’s important we first grasp the origin of this contradiction, as all other points of contradiction and irrationality flow from it.

A Prince passes on
Cadlac Tom the adult cartoon: an interview wit’ founder Tyrone Trapper
‘A Muslim Trapped in Donald Trump’s America’: an interview with author Professor A.L.I.
Tambay Obenson announces plea to filmmakers to save Shadow and Act
Bay Area muralist honored in ‘A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone’ at Oakland International Film Festival
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