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Culture Stories

Proud Boys

December 12, 2017

One of the strangest organizations in the rising “alt-right” movement, the headline-grabbing mix of white supremacism, racism and right-wing populism, has to be Proud Boys. The group takes on something of a libertarian credo similar to that of their founder, former editor and co-founder of Vice Magazine Gavin McInness, and are all-male “Western chauvinists” who “do not apologize for creating the Western world,” according to their Facebook group pages.

Wanda’s Picks for December 2017

December 11, 2017

Those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area reflect on the legacy and work that illustrated the life of Queen Mother Makinya Kouate. After Maulana Karenga gave the students from Merritt College a mimeographed sheet with notes about a harvest festival called Kwanzaa, the Oakland-Berkeley team started hosting community Kwanzaas in their homes. Later Sister Makinya would travel to Africa and learn more about harvest festivals

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East Bay filmmaker Jayson Johnson looks at the ‘alt-right’ through a cinematic lens

December 8, 2017

Every artist has a process, a ritual they go through before working. Some meditate. Some eat a ritual meal. Others listen to a specific kind of music. Director Jayson Johnson, whose credits range from Bollywood films to Lego commercials, prays and eats peanut butter. Lots and lots of peanut butter. Standing opposite a painting evocative of Jackson Pollock which he created, the 40-year-old Batavia, Ill., native gave a toothy grin and showed off a jar he had just purchased three days prior.

On loving us exactly as is

December 1, 2017

There is a powerful Black population in the U.K., which relishes the richness of their roots. Here, hairstyles, fashion, cuisine, music, celebrations and traditions are woven into an intricate tapestry of life and prosperity. Blackness is celebrated at cultural centers, exhibitions and events that bring communities together. Some of my favorite Black musicians hail from the U.K. And so, despite the persistence of white supremacy, Black Britons continue to thrive.

Expressing gratitude

November 30, 2017

As I complete this column, the situation in our continental African nation of Zimbabwe is growing evermore intense. Our Elder, Baba, Freedom Fighter and President Robert Mugabe has been forced to “resign” – and removed from his democratically-elected office by that nation’s military and the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) leaders – in an apparent coup.

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They called him Bunchy, like a bunch of greens

November 27, 2017

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party by Bunchy Carter in 1968. Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter was the least known of the iconic Black Panther Party leaders in the turbulent late 1960s but was arguably the most legendary as the leader of the L.A. chapter of the Black Panther Party who was murdered in 1969 at the age of 26, only a year after founding the chapter.

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Dennis Banks, warrior for Indian rights, presénte

November 26, 2017

In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, two names emerged from the Native American and Indigenous community that stood for resistance to white repression and assaults on Native life: Russell Means and Dennis Banks. In a time of mass resistance and social upheaval shown by the anti-war (re Vietnam) and Black liberation movements, Banks was among thousands of young activists of Native, Indigenous communities who rose up to speak – and act – on behalf of the oppressed.

City attacks Black culture to erase Blacks from San Francisco

November 11, 2017

“My entire family enthusiastically applauds, supports and genuinely appreciates the Bayview Hunters Point community’s powerful expressions of appreciation for our mother, Ruth Williams’, hard fought struggles to insure that the neediest of the needy have access to that building, the Ruth Williams Memorial Theater Bayview Opera House, at a very nominal charge,” writes Kevin Williams. “All of my family has pledged, along with dozens of other families rooted deepest in BVHP, to simultaneously rise up in protest against Black culture being hijacked by local government controls.“

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School to be named after Bayview’s own Mary L. Booker

November 9, 2017

Parents and community members working to open a new school in Southeast San Francisco gathered for a naming ceremony at the Bayview Opera House earlier this month. With hopes of creating a school that embodies the core values of equity and leadership, they chose to name the school Mary L. Booker Leadership Academy (MLBLA). Mary L. Booker was one of Bayview Hunters Point’s greatest community leaders.

3UFirst: Bringing billions back to you

November 8, 2017

So what is 3UFirst and how does it bring billions back to our community? 3UFirst was created specifically to solve the major problems in the Black community. The focus is on creating jobs, business and investment opportunities, building wealth, sponsoring, funding the best programs locally and across the country, solving the other problems in our community, and donating 50 percent of the net profits back into the community.

In the Bayview Imani Breast Cancer Support Group, women heal, feel safe and know they are not alone

November 7, 2017

The incidence of breast cancer among African-American women, which has typically been lower than among white women, increased 0.4 percent in the past 10 years, according to a 2015 report by the American Cancer Society. The Bayview Imani Breast Cancer Support Group meets on the third Wednesday afternoon of the month. Their website describes these meetings as “a place where women can find comfort, feel safe, gather information and understand that they are not alone in the fight against breast cancer.”

New report shows San Francisco schools near bottom statewide for low-income Black and Latino students

November 6, 2017

On Oct. 26, the nonprofit Innovate Public Schools released a new report that reveals a deep conflict between San Francisco’s image as a bastion of progressivism and the reality playing out in its public schools. Concerned parents and community leaders gathered on the steps of City Hall for a press conference on the findings of “A Dream Deferred: How San Francisco schools leave behind the most vulnerable students.”

Spreading the word to African Americans about PrEP

November 5, 2017

A drug that prevents HIV infection has been available for five years. But even in San Francisco, a city where one might expect information about the drug to be easy to come by, only some people have heard of it – and it’s not the communities that remain disproportionately affected by HIV. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis, commercially called Truvada) helps prevent individuals who are HIV-negative from contracting HIV.

Can the military do some good?

November 4, 2017

In light of increasing monumental weather events, I ask the following question: Can the U.S. military do some good in helping address some of the effects of climate chaos? Yes, I know it’s very strange for me to be considering this, being one who has for so long advocated against giving one single penny to the murderous, fascist and corrupt shock force of U.S. imperialism on this continent and abroad. But, after all, isn’t the U.S. military one of the major instigators of this dangerous temperature rise on our planet?

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Wanda’s Picks for November 2017

November 3, 2017

We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.

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22nd annual Maafa Commemoration

October 24, 2017

What I loved this year was all the celebratory dancing from just before our ancestors crossed into the unknown territory to landing on these shores and celebrating life and the possibility of freedom, which remained physically just beyond reach for centuries. In small steps as we regained agency over ourselves, even if our bodies then and now continue to be exploited, liberation was a bit sweeter.

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Black psychologist Dr. Jonathan Lassiter fights for society’s ‘ultimate underdogs’

October 18, 2017

A clinician actually fighting for America’s ultimate underdogs – as his academic “focus” – immediately grabbed my attention. Dr. Jonathan Lassiter, PhD, a clinical psychologist and an assistant professor of psychology at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, visited San Francisco this past summer, as he was enrolled in the Visiting Professors’ Program at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at UCSF. He’s a polymath, a critical thinker and notably a healer.

‘Whose Streets?’ Free community screenings Oct. 25 in Fruitvale, Nov. 10 in Bayview Hunters Point

October 12, 2017

“Whose Streets?” exemplifies what the great Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) stated about an organized Black people, that there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Although the policeman who killed Mike Brown escaped punishment, “Whose Streets?” shows how the people still won and continue to win. What is beautiful about “Whose Streets?” is the peoples’ will and commitment to not relinquishing their power and right to claim what is theirs – their neighborhoods, their streets and their right to occupy both.

Black woman entrepreneur making ‘money moves’ to recapture the $500 billion Black beauty and haircare industry

October 12, 2017

Shanon Nelson, owner of Amari Hair Extensions, the online hair boutique, is both anxious and excited about the future. The seasoned entrepreneur and former business professor with an MBA is poised to take her love of travel and international business for a foray into the massive $500 billion Black hair care and beauty industry.

Wanda’s Picks for October 2017

October 6, 2017

Folks have probably heard by now that the African American Museum and Library, Oakland (AAMLO), is without a permanent director. While the search is being articulated and mounted, Susan D. Anderson, Bay Area author and founder of Memory House, will act as interim director and chief curator for the next six to nine months as the Oakland Public Library (OPL) mounts a national search to find the right person for the job.

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