March 29, 2015
A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”
March 28, 2015
Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.
March 27, 2015
A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial … because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.
March 26, 2015
What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar? If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that. The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us.
March 26, 2015
The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.
March 25, 2015
The following open letter was sent by email to CBS 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager: We, the undersigned, are writing to express our grave concern about the frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent by 60 Minutes. In a series of recent segments from the continent, 60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of Black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible.
March 24, 2015
Every morning, young and old African Americans are paraded through courtrooms in San Francisco, dressed in orange jumpsuits not unlike Guantanamo inmates and often shackled in handcuffs or chains. The vast majority of judges and prosecutors are resigned to that daily reality. The City’s jail in 1994 had 4.4 times the proportion of Black inmates as in San Francisco as a whole. By 2012, the jail population was 9.5 times more Black than The City. It is time to address the apartheid-like conditions in the metropolis and stop giving passes to the “liberal” coastal cities like San Francisco.
March 23, 2015
Over 200 people gathered in the early morning hours today and shut down Valencia Street in front of the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission District station. Sixteen activists locked themselves down for four hours and 15 minutes, blocking the gate to the parking lot and chaining themselves to large-scale art work in front of the station.
March 22, 2015
What will Bay Area oil refineries have to do to comply with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s new emissions limits, as drafted? Refine more crude.
March 22, 2015
The UC Berkeley Black Student Union has demanded institutional changes to address the conditions of Black students. “Black people have been oppressed at this university since its creation,” declared BSU member Alana Banks. “The fact that we have to come up with demands for support … is a testament to our condition. Regardless, I believe that we will win; and they believe that we will win too.”
March 19, 2015
The bloody arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson started when a bouncer for a local bar approached him on a sidewalk, Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, said Thursday, March 19. Watkins said his client was never in possession of a fake ID and was simply standing on the sidewalk. The attack against Johnson, a third-year student and member of the UVA’s Honor Council, exposed long-standing racial tensions at one of the country’s most prestigious universities.
March 19, 2015
Report after report reminds and warns the Black community that AIDS is not yet under control for the Black population. However, when I saw several new 6-foot-by-4-foot billboard ads in the Castro district of San Francisco this past week with the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. under the heading, “AIDS is a civil rights issue,” I first thought, “Well, that’s a stretch.”
March 18, 2015
After two officers were shot, police conducted an unjustified dawn raid on a house in Ferguson. A woman and her 6-year-old son had the red laser sights of police rifles trained on their chests as they emerged into their garden under orders from the officers, who arrived in military-style vehicles.
March 17, 2015
The U.K. Foreign Office called on the Rwandan government to lift the ban on its BBC broadcast in Rwandans’ native language. The government banned the native language broadcast after the BBC broadcast “Rwanda’s Untold Story,” a documentary which upends conventional belief about the Rwandan massacres of 1994.
March 17, 2015
Communities across the region’s oil belt stood up to industry pressure to demand that air officials clean up refinery pollution instead of letting it worsen. “Communities and workers are fighting to protect our health, safety and climate from dirtier oil projects that our Air District should be stopping instead of proposing to allow,” said Andrés Soto.
March 17, 2015
An estimated 1,000 criminal cases will be reviewed following revelations that San Francisco police officers regularly shared racist and homophobic views in text messages, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today. Adachi also released a 10-point plan to increase police transparency and safeguard citizens against racial bias.
March 16, 2015
Canadians gathered in 50 cities across Canada today to protest pending legislation known as C-51, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. The bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons in late February, and the government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now rushing to pass it with minimal debate. Retired Professor Michael Keefer was among the bill’s critics.
March 14, 2015
On March 9, 2015, U.S. President Obama issued an executive order declaring a “national emergency” affirming that “the situation in Venezuela” poses an “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.” This is the latest measure of U.S. imperialist meddling in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation like the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and as such is strongly condemned by the Hands off Venezuela campaign.
March 12, 2015
Who were those men who served this country with great pride and dignity? They were Black men who served their enlistment term at Port Chicago Naval Base, in Contra Costa County. These men were enlisted in the service from 1943 to 1946. These men are just now being properly recognized for the historical part they played in making America what it is today.
March 11, 2015
Who can question whether President Barack Obama is a master when it comes to speeches? Such a quality literally put him on the map when he mesmerized a crowd at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He did it again in the Selma, Alabama’s 50th anniversary at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. His central message: No one can doubt things are better since Selma. No one. His speech, delivered with quiet passion, was a master work. And yet … and yet.