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Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party and the UK’s socialist surge

June 23, 2017

Great news when Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost their Parliamentary majority in the U.K.’s June 8 snap election and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party surged, adding 30 seats to their total. Pollsters, who predicted a Conservative Party victory, were way off, but for what it’s worth, they’ve since reported that Corbyn’s popularity continues to rise.

Where are the police in the murder investigation of Humboldt State student David Josiah Lawson?

June 22, 2017

It has been two months since the murder of David Josiah Lawson, a Humboldt State student who was stabbed at an off-campus party Easter weekend. Lawson was a 19-year old sophomore at HSU from Perris, California, in Riverside County. Police arrested 23-year-old Kyle Zoellner at the scene. After five days of preliminary hearings and 17 witness testimonies, Eureka Judge Dale Reinholtsen released Zoellner due to a lack of physical evidence.

The federalization of local police: Why the Urban Shield vote failed

June 21, 2017

On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.

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City of Berkeley to vote on Urban Shield war games and weapons expo

June 18, 2017

This coming Tuesday, June 20, the Berkeley City Council will hold a special meeting starting at 6 p.m. to decide whether or not to keep sending officers to the annual Urban Shield war games and weapons expo, which is billed as the world’s largest tactical training exercise for law enforcement and first responders. One of the expo’s best-selling T-shirts reads “Black Rifles Matter.” Urban Shield expos have been held around the country since the 9/11 attacks. In December 2015, then Berkeley City Councilor Max Anderson spoke in favor of withdrawing.

Love life, don’t take life: First Love Life billboard is up at 24th & Adeline, Oakland

June 16, 2017

As of 2016, “Love Life” became the City of Oakland’s motto. In early June, Health Through Art, a program of the Health Human Resource Education Center, announced the campaign release of Eric Norberg’s winning artwork piece, “Love Life.” The art will appear on 25 billboards throughout the city of Oakland displaying the slogan “Love Life, Don’t Take Life”. The first billboard, at 24th and Adeline, was dedicated and celebrated on the morning of Monday, June 12.

Jeremy Corbyn wants to lay the white man’s burden down

June 13, 2017

I did a Google search for “Jeremy Corbyn” and “Rwanda” on the unlikely chance that Britain’s Labor Party leader had ever said anything about that tiny, tortured East African nation. The one and only result was unsurprising because, in the West, Rwanda is largely forgotten except as an excuse to go to war – to “stop the next Rwanda” – meaning the country’s 1994 bloodbath.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Oakland nonprofit jacks up the rent as Trump proposes $6.2 billion in cuts to HUD

June 4, 2017

With the Trump regime pushing for a massive $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion in budget cuts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so-called nonprofit affordable housing developers see the writing on the wall and are jacking up the rents on the poor, elderly and disabled renters in their projects as fast as they can, before the budget cuts take effect. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget detailing the cuts was released May 23.

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Ending the bail system

June 4, 2017

California is taking a momentous step forward. The state Senate, supported by the Assembly, is moving to end bail as we know it. For as long as I have been a lawyer, “making bail” has been a requirement in our criminal justice system. The rule says you are “innocent until proven guilty.” Making bail is the first step that undermines the rule. In our system of justice, once you are arrested, you must prove your innocence. That requires money, starting with bail money.

SFSU commencement speaker Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, graduates with honors

June 3, 2017

While a graduate student in ethnic studies, Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter, an international organization that began in 2013 to fight violence and racism toward Black people. The organization began after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. It has since grown to an international network of more than 40 chapters across North America and the United Kingdom.

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Who cares when children are taken from home to foster home – and abused?

June 3, 2017

Our children are our future. We must nurture them, protect them, give them the tools necessary to survive in this harsh and unforgiving world. What if I told you that the very system designated to care for and safeguard abused and neglected children is in gross and willful negligence of its role as “protector of innocence?” Why would Child Protective Services remove children from parental custody that have not been abused or neglected? The answer is simple and incredibly sad: financial incentives.

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Free summer meals program for SF children celebrates 20th anniversary

June 2, 2017

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered locally by the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth & Their Families (DCYF), 60 sites in every San Francisco neighborhood will offer free lunches and afternoon snacks to children and youth age 18 and under every Monday through Friday from May 30 to Aug. 18. No proof of need, registration or identification is required in order to receive a lunch or snack. Arrive at a designated site during the site’s serving time.

Making a case for beds in the Bayview

June 1, 2017

It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.

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TownBiz II, a launching pad for Black vendors, coming June 4 to Oakland’s Splash Pad Park

June 1, 2017

Kyle Wiggins started Wiggins Consulting to help businesses grow and refine their products and services. Desiring to be more strategic and supportive in a targeted fashion, he created TownBiz, a platform for expression where both budding and established businesses could showcase their goods while networking with like-minded entrepreneurs. TownBiz is a free trade market, serving as a launching pad for vendors.

‘Haiti will never accept the electoral coup d’etat’

June 1, 2017

Five hundred people packed an Oakland church to welcome Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The event kicked off a week-long speaking tour of California that took her to Scripps College in Los Angeles County, the UCLA School of Public Health and the National Lawyers Guild annual dinner in San Francisco.

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Filed Under: Haiti and Latin America
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Mumia Abu-Jamal: The fall

May 31, 2017

It has been exceedingly difficult to write about the Trump presidency, seemingly crumbling before our eyes. In part that’s because of the sheer pace of new revelations, scandals superseded by new scandals, the inane utterances – and tweets – of the president, a daily cascade of craziness. Part of this is the news media, which rushes at us on a 24-hour clock, with no sense of cessation. Part of it is Trump’s sheer obsession with social media.

10th annual Black Health and Healing Summit coming June 1-3

May 31, 2017

The annual Black Health and Healing Summit will take place the first weekend in June, June 1-3, in San Francisco and is expected to attract hundreds of health care professionals and community activists seeking to learn more about Black health inequities and strategies for improvement, as participants also experience the groundbreaking work of Dr. Joy DeGruy, the author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.”

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Why the rash of Bay Area police shootings?

May 30, 2017

Last week I noted that there had been a rash of police shootings all over the Bay Area and some of y’all thought I was literally seeing or making up things. Well over the Memorial Day weekend we had three people shot by Bay Area police in two days. Three police shootings in two days is a lot. Ten police shootings in six months by two police departments is a lot. One doesn’t have to look to places like Texas, St. Louis or Louisiana or other Trump-loving states to see questionable police shootings. A lot is happening right here in the Bay Area.

RIP: Mary L. Booker, civil rights activist, Bayview community theater leader

May 27, 2017

Mary L. Booker, a longtime associate of Bayview Opera House and civil rights advocate, passed away at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco on May 11 of leukemia. She was 85. Booker moved to San Francisco in 1955. Five years later, she started Infinity Productions at Bayview Opera House, where she offered free acting workshops, in addition to writing and directing several productions. A strong advocate for social justice, Booker used the theatrical arts to promote African-American culture and bring together community members from different generations.

Americans can have better healthcare at lower cost

May 26, 2017

In other countries, people enjoy better healthcare at lower cost. Everyone has access to healthcare and average life expectancy is greater. In Canada, with their version of Medicare for All, no one goes bankrupt because of healthcare expenses. In the U.S., healthcare bankrupts more than a million every year. In a recent Kaiser poll, 81 percent of Democrats and 58 percent of all voters supported an Improved and Expanded Medicare for All. What is being done to move us in that direction?

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Positive impact in African American community is key to Democratic infrastructure jobs plan

May 25, 2017

Today, May 25, congressional Democrats and a coalition of progressive organizations representing millions of Americans kicked off the long-anticipated infrastructure fight, launching a massive campaign to create millions of new jobs – and invest billions in much-needed projects in African-American communities across the country. The Millions of Jobs Coalition announced grassroots events across the nation next week touting the progressive plan.

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