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Tasers kill, but not in San Francisco: Community, unified for 13 years, again tells SFPD ‘No’ as new Taser vote looms Nov. 3

October 23, 2017

Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, marked the death of the 1,044th person that we know of killed by Tasers in North America. The most recent Taser-related death occurred after a man, Marcellus Toney, was detained by Oakland Police for allegedly trying to flee a multi-vehicle accident. This unnecessary death throws into relief the primary reason why the people of San Francisco have consistently rejected Tasers for the SFPD. Yet on Nov. 3, the San Francisco Police Commission will vote again on a renewed proposal to arm the SFPD with these weapons. Why?

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Remembering Muammar Qaddafi and the great Libyan Jamahiriya

October 20, 2017

Oct. 20, 2017, marks the sixth anniversary of the martyrdom of Muammar Qaddafi, revolutionary Pan-Africanist and champion of the Global South. This day also marks the sixth anniversary of the historic battle of Sirte, where Qaddafi, along with a heroic army, including his son, Mutassim Billal Qaddafi, and veteran freedom fighter Abu-Bakr Yunis Jabr, fought until their convoy was bombed by French fighter planes. Wounded and demobilized, they were captured by Qatari scavengers and executed by Al-Qaeda operatives.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Ingabire Day: We are all Victoire and Victoire is all of us

October 18, 2017

Oct. 14 marked the seventh anniversary of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire’s arrest shortly after she attempted to run for president against Rwanda’s military dictator, President Paul Kagame. The Brussels-based International Women’s Network for Democracy and Peace commemorates Oct. 14 as Ingabire Day, a day of solidarity with Victoire Ingabire and all political prisoners. I asked Claude Gatebuke, Rwandan genocide survivor and founder of the African Great Lakes Action Network, to explain Victoire Ingabire’s message.

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Caribbean power bloc forms to challenge Trump’s war mongering and climate change denial

October 18, 2017

I recently attended the first Caribbean Peace Conference in Bridgetown, Barbados, Oct. 6-7, 2017. The theme of the Conference was “Resisting Nuclear and Environmental Disaster: Building Peace in the Caribbean.” Attendees included representatives from Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Venezuela and Barbados. The purpose of this conference was to consolidate a serious Caribbean Peace Movement equipped with a concrete agenda and guiding philosophy.

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Filed Under: Haiti and Latin America
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Witnesses to a police murder are mysteriously dying

October 17, 2017

As the trial over the police murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, an innocent, unhoused Mayan father, husband, brother and son who was killed 18 months ago on the streets of San Francisco, approaches, the witnesses to his murder are mysteriously dying. One witness, John Visor, died in his single room occupancy (SRO) hotel room on Aug. 11. Last week another person related to the case also died mysteriously in his SRO room in the same hotel. “It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer.

FBI says ‘Black Identity Extremists’ are the new terrorist threat

October 13, 2017

In a disturbing report leaked to Foreign Policy, the FBI manufactures threats from so-called “Black Identity Extremists” (BIE): “The FBI assesses it is very likely Black Identity Extremist (BIE) perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will very likely serve as justification for such violence,” the report reads.

Hipsters de-Blacken Oakland, cause the encampments they abhor

October 13, 2017

Gentrifiers, the City and developers all share responsibility for gentrification – the process and system that created the encampments. For years, Oakland leaders wanted to make Oakland a hipster playground. They invested in making Oakland attractive to outsiders – gentrifiers. City planners courted the businesses and high-end condos that catered to them. Making Oakland into a hipster playground meant whitening, or at least “de-blackening,” Oakland. The fact that the “hip” people are mainly white and the people in the encampments mainly Black reminds us that not everyone benefits equally from the “new” Oakland.

Solidarity Uganda: Rural Ugandans resist land grabbing and US-backed dictatorship

October 11, 2017

Eighty-four percent of the population of Uganda are rural subsistence farmers. They are resisting both rampant land grabbing and U.S. ally Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s attempt to rule for life. I spoke to Phil Wilmot, an American-born activist who now lives in rural Uganda. Land grabbing is one of the manifestations of dictatorship in northern Uganda. In 2012, we started Solidarity Uganda to resist evictions and land grabs.

March Against Police Murder, San Francisco to Sacramento, starts Oct. 6

October 6, 2017

After maintaining a vigil outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice for 52 weeks demanding that the murderers of our children be arrested, charged, tried and convicted, we are marching to Sacramento and will be passing through your city. We are looking for churches where we may gather. Dear faith leaders, if this cause is on your heart and you are interested in your church being open so we may gather, inform and invite others to join in the march to stop the execution of our children, we will be grateful. – Archbishop Franzo King, 415-871-9676

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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Goodbyes hurt the most when the story was unfinished

October 5, 2017

It is with deep regret that I write about the tragic death of Arnulfo T. Garcia, a friend, colleague and former editor of the San Quentin News. My heart goes out to his family, especially his 17-year-old daughter. I can only imagine how she must feel having waited her entire life to reunite with her father only to lose him again. Arnulfo T. Garcia and his sister Yolanda Louise Hernandez were killed in a car accident in Hollister, California. I am most concerned with the fact that a daughter lost her father, a family lost two members in one accident, and we lost a valuable member of our community.

U.S.-backed dictator Paul Kagame risks another violent implosion by tightening his grip on Rwanda

October 4, 2017

Since seizing power in Rwanda in 1994, dictator and U.S. military partner Paul Kagame has ruled the tiny East African nation with an iron fist that includes a complex nationwide network of spies and surveillance technology. Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, leader of the FDU-Inkingi Party, has been in prison since 2010, when she tried to run for president against Kagame. Now another woman, Diane Rwigara, who attempted to run against Kagame in this year’s election, has been arrested.

Life of Bobi Wine, Ugandan singer and parliamentarian, threatened for protesting Museveni’s attempt to rule for life

October 2, 2017

A grenade has for the second time in two days been thrown at my house and exploded. I have been receiving death threats on an almost daily basis. Reason? Opposing the removal of age limits in the Ugandan Constitution to allow General Museveni to be “president” for life. Anonymous calls are targeting not only me but my family as well. WE SHALL NOT BE INTIMIDATED.

Welcome her home

October 2, 2017

Speech delivered for Mianta by Julia Arroyo of the Young Women’s Freedom Center at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif.: My name is Mianta McKnight. I am the Community Engagement Director at Justice Now. As a person who came home from a women’s prison after serving 18 years and one day on a 15 to life sentence, I realized exactly how important transitional resources and assistance are.

Picking up the torch of abolition: Millions for Prisoners Day of Action!

October 2, 2017

Speech delivered at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif.: We’re out here in conjunction with all the people who are marching in D.C. on this day with the same message. We have a “justice system” that perpetuates the institution of racism in this country through its targeting of the most marginalized communities: people of color, women and the LGBT community.

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It’s not mass incarceration, but slavery

October 2, 2017

Speech delivered at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C.: Let me tell you what’s going on here today. This is the largest gathering of slavery abolitionists in the history of the United States, happening right here today. In 16 cities across America, they are marching in unison with us and in solidarity with us, and they’re not doing it to end mass incarceration. They’re doing it to end what? (Slavery!) Slavery.

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Filed Under: California and the U.S.
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California Legislature approves juvenile justice bills to update Miranda rights, allow parole for youthful offenders

October 2, 2017

Just weeks after the artist and musician Common held a free concert outside the State Capitol for 25,000 people and met with legislators to push for common sense justice reform, the California Legislature approved two long-overdue juvenile justice bills.
Senate Bills 394 and 395 are part of the #EquityAndJustice package of bills jointly authored by Sens. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, and Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, to promote prevention and rehabilitation and maintain family cohesion.

DACA: The latest from the un-Obama

September 30, 2017

If there is one unifying principle emerging from the disaster known as the Trump Regime, it is the president’s singular mission to erase the executive presence of his predecessor, Barack Obama. This may be seen most recently in Trump’s bumbling undoing of Obama’s executive order known as DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, done to further endear him to his so-called “base,” white nationalists who love to hear about the suffering of nonwhite Others.

Morehouse graduates team up with local rappers for East Oakland charity event

September 30, 2017

Oakland was experiencing unprecedented heat the weekend of Sept. 2, 2017. Yet, many in the East Oakland community still came out of the comfort of their homes and gathered at the Rainbow Community Center. Rainbow Community Center was hosting the first annual Celebrity Basketball Game and Backpack Giveaway. The event was made possible through the collaboration of local rappers and non-profit organizations.

Black contractors and workers protest exclusion from project funded with $123 million tax dollars

September 29, 2017

Open letter to Seefried Industrial Properties, Inc., Executive Chairman Ferdinand Seefried: The purpose of the American Center for Economic Equality (ACEE) and the Black Contractors Group’s (BCG) is to be the voice of legitimate Black and minority contractors. We represent construction workers who have been denied contracts and jobs on construction projects. Legitimate Black and minority contractors are entitled to an equal opportunity.

Hope needs a witness and a witness hope

September 28, 2017

We are here together to make a more humane, just, compassionate society. To do so we must first dispel the myth about America. Then confront the self-deception and lies we have come to believe as truths. Move from the illusion into the heartbreaking reality that it is. We will be disoriented. “The very time I thought I was lost, my dungeon shook and my chains fell off,” wrote James Baldwin.

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