Hope people are paying attention to what’s been going on with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the ostracizing that is happening to him via NFL owners. We are bearing witness to owners going all out to send a message that they hope will resonate not just with fellow NFL owners but to other CEOs who oversee increasingly “woke” people who are standing up and speaking out. Fast and hard lines in the sand are being drawn and the name of the game is make those who speak up pay dearly. We can’t return to the days where folks are comfortable and expect athletes and entertainers to simply shut up and play, sing or dance.
Mar 13, 2017
Though few Americans know it, the exception clause in the 13th Amendment makes a person a slave when they are convicted of a crime and sent to prison. I know that former President Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar and a Black man, understands this. I applaud his efforts to address issues of mass incarceration. I understand the symbolism of his visit to a federal prison, the only American president to ever do so. These were important first steps, but there is a long road ahead.
Mar 3, 2017
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
Mar 3, 2017
Since our historical release from solitary confinement, many of us have been bombarded by the same question: How did you (we) survive decades of being in solitary confinement? This is not a question of simplicity, it is only a qualitative and quantitative prelude into an analysis rooted in a historical material construct which would require a compartmentalization of the particulars which are conducive towards providing an accurate response to the above question with both clarity and purpose.
Mar 2, 2017
To address some of the issues and provide relief for our trans and gender non-conforming loved ones inside – a coalition has formed to work on legislation benefiting trans prisoners. This year, the coalition is running SB 310: The Name and Dignity Act for Incarcerated Trans People. SB 310 is crucial to the safety and well-being of trans people. If passed, SB 310 would give dignity to people experiencing extreme dehumanization.
Mar 1, 2017
Zolo Agona Azania is a Black revolutionary who has spent 35 years – most of his adult life – in prison, and much of it on death row. In 1981, at the age of 21, he was convicted of murdering a police officer during a bank robbery gone bad. Unlike his two co-defendants, Zolo was arrested unarmed, walking down the street miles from the scene of the robbery, and has always maintained his total innocence of any involvement in the crime.
Mar 21, 2017
Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case. While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.
Mar 17, 2017
Dr. Denis Mukwege is congratulated for his work by people in his country and worldwide. He is called “the man who restores women.” In Eastern Congo’s Bukavu region near the border with Rwanda, he founded in 1999 the Panzi Hospital. In this hospital, without charge, he and his staff have treated, cured, and restored, physically and psychologically, more than 45,000 women and girls – babies, young and old women – victims of rape by soldiers during the second Congo war.
Mar 17, 2017
City agencies are banding together to conduct a final push for outreach targeting the City’s most vulnerable unemployed and underemployed residents. Under a program signed into law by Gov. Brown, individuals with suspended driver’s licenses can have them reinstated immediately and reduce debt associated with court orders. The program is an important opportunity for low-income San Franciscans to relieve debt and lift one of the most intractable barriers to employment.
Mar 14, 2017
San Francisco may no longer be one of the nation’s top-ranked cities for income disparity, but a study released last week by the Brookings Institution painted a stark picture of the job landscape for Black San Franciscans, as compared to the city as a whole. While San Francisco has the ninth-highest general employment rate in the country (79 percent), it also has the highest employment disparity between Blacks and whites in the country.
Mar 14, 2017
Remember when pundits hailed the election of Barack Obama as the beginning of a “post-racial“ America? After the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, it seems like a distant memory. But in 2008, it was the prevailing wisdom among political commentators. Cornell Belcher, a long-time Democratic pollster who worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, started seeing through the mirage of racial harmony well before Trump’s election made it obvious.
Mar 22, 2017
When one thinks of Black women photographers, Carrie Mae Weems comes to mind and, regarding silhouettes, Kara Walker. Though certainly a historic revisioning of beauty and portraiture, a form reserved for the aristocracy, Erica Deeman’s first major solo exhibition at Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive celebrates the form – the Black female form. The large-scale portraits, created over the course of nine months in 2013, is up through June 11, at the BAMPFA, 2120 Oxford St., Berkeley.
Mar 22, 2017
When a person dies, the living find it hard sometimes to carry on. The loss of a loved one is something one never gets over, and when the death is violent and the victim young, the bitterness is that much harder to swallow. In Patricia Milton’s new play, “Without Mercy,” closing this weekend, Thursday-Saturday, March 23 and 25, 8 p.m., at the Off Broadway West Theatre Company, we meet a grieving mother and daughter, Joanna Parks and Bethany Matthews.
Mar 18, 2017
In “Eclipsed,” playwright Danai Gurira holds the politics of rape and war up to the light and finds it is gone, hidden behind a cloud or the orbit of a larger constellation. How are the politics of the Black female body somehow trivialized or ignored when sexual slavery or rape and war fill mouths, the atrocities dripping from chins; however, no one wipes away the stain? Currently up through Sunday, March 19, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, the play asks audiences to consider the violence of war and what people do when cornered to survive.
Mar 15, 2017
Chatting with producer and playwright Dennis Rowe, he says that everyone in LA wants to be an actor, but this does not mean that they have talent. Rowe learned that his expertise was in production, not performance, early enough in his career to identify and perfect his knack for writing. Twenty-one years later, Rowe has a number of successful stage productions to brag about – but he doesn’t: This weekend, the successful NAACP Image Award nominee is in town with his “Port Chicago 50” at Black Rep, 3201 Adeline St., Berkeley, Friday, March 17, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 18, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 19, 4 p.m. For information, call 800-838-3006.
Mar 10, 2017
Lynne Stewart, after 78 winters in America, has died, after battling for years against breast cancer. But those were just some of her battles and, like most of us, she won some and lost some. But she never stopped fighting! For decades, she and her husband, Ralph Poynter, fought for New York’s political activists and revolutionaries, like Black Panthers and Young Lords, a Puerto Rican socialist collective. But mostly, they fought for the freedom of the poor and dispossessed of New York’s Black and Brown ghettoes. Lynne Stewart was an officer of her clients, a People’s Lawyer, beloved and respected. May she ever be so.