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California and the U.S.

Dhoruba bin Wahad was hospitalized after the Aug. 8 attack with serious injuries including a severe concussion, ecchymosis of both eyes, deep lacerations and a jaw broken in three places that required an operation to wire it shut and insert a titanium plate to stabilize the bone. Supporters have set up the Dhoruba Medical Fund at GoFundMe.com: http://www.gofundme.com/DhorubaMedicalFund.

Concerning reactionaries and thugs: The New Black Panther Party

August 23, 2015

Like many of my comrades, original Black Panther Party members, I have for years watched these strutting caricatures who call themselves the New Black Panther Party and expressed my disgust. But now I have had enough – they have crossed a line. Their most recent attack on our comrade, former member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Dhoruba bin-Wahad on Aug. 8, 2015, needs to be addressed in no uncertain terms.

Julian Bond on Ebony cover 0569

Julian Bond, race man

August 22, 2015

Of all the labels and titles that could rightfully be appended to Bond – activist, politician, lecturer, commentator, professor – he wished to be remembered most as a “race man”: “A race man is an expression that’s not used anymore, but it used to describe a man – usually a man, could have been a woman too – who was a good defender of the race, who didn’t dislike White people, but who stood up for Black people, who fought for Black people. I’d want people to say that about me.”

A prisoner in solitary confinement in the Louisiana State Penitentiary Angola, a former plantation, peers through his mail and food slot. Will the condemnation of longterm solitary by Justice Kennedy and President Obama help him finally find freedom? – Photo: Adam Shemper

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy goes out of his way to denounce solitary confinement

August 21, 2015

Justice Anthony Kennedy agreed with the majority in its most recent capital punishment case. But in an unusual move, he dedicated almost all of his concurring opinion to condemning the practice of solitary confinement in the nation’s prisons, even though the issue, of his own admission, had “no direct bearing” on the case. In Kennedy’s lengthy opinion concerning how Ayala was incarcerated, he noted that Ayala had been isolated for most of his 25 years of custody.

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Ferguson takes to the streets again Tuesday, Aug. 11, during more than a week of protests around the first anniversary of the Aug. 9, 2014, murder of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. – Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP

Ferguson police intensify abuse, but no amount of tear gas, hatred and contempt will deter us

August 20, 2015

One year following the tragic killing of Michael Brown, with more and more people across the country acknowledging the systemic targeting of Black communities by law enforcement, police officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County have made no progress. Police officials remain unrepentant for their heavy-handed and violent reaction to people they are sworn to protect and serve.

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California Attorney General Kamala Harris kicked off her U.S. Senate campaign with a private fundraiser in San Francisco April 1, 2015. – Photo: CBS San Francisco

California Attorney General Kamala Harris must end the barbaric practice of solitary confinement

August 17, 2015

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is nothing if not ambitious. Not content with being the Golden State’s top law enforcement officer – a position she has held since 2011, after serving seven years as San Francisco County’s district attorney – she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate and is the clear favorite to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring in November 2016. Harris must not miss this historic opportunity to end solitary confinement in California.

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Christian Taylor

Why the police killing of football player Christian Taylor matters

August 11, 2015

On the weekend that marked the one year anniversary of the police killing of Michael Brown, there was another disturbingly similar case making the social media rounds: another unarmed young black man shot dead, another police officer on administrative leave holding the smoking gun, another rush to convict the dead. But there was one difference.

The Movement for Black Lives Convening walks the talk, rescues teen from cops: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for

August 11, 2015

Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.

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Police, bolstered by the California National Guard, showed the Watts rebels no mercy, but the people were determined to be heard. It took 14,000 National Guard troops, 3,000 arrests, 800 injuries and 32 deaths to put down the Watts Rebellion. Police watching nonchalantly as a young Black man bleeds to death is reminiscent of Mike Brown in Ferguson in 2014 and Kenneth Harding in Hunters Point in 2011.

50th anniversary of the Watts Rebellion, a turning point in the struggle for Black liberation

August 11, 2015

Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.

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Tyrone Harris Jr., 18, who his father says was “very close” to Michael Brown, lies critically wounded by cops on the ground one year to the day after Brown’s death, Aug. 9, 2015. The photo is eerily similar to that of Michael Brown as he lay dead on the ground for four and a half hours after being shot eight times by cop Darren Wilson.

State of emergency declared in Ferguson as cops shoot Mike Brown’s friend on anniversary of the murder that sparked the movement

August 10, 2015

St. Louis County declared a state of emergency for Ferguson on Monday due to the officer-involved shooting that took place on Sunday. Protesters were mourning the anniversary of the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown when shots rang out. The shooting victim is Tyrone Harris Jr. of St. Louis, 18, who was “real close” to Brown, his father says. In a rally the next day, dozens of protesters were arrested during a demonstration against police brutality.

Trump and the politics of resentment

August 7, 2015

When New York billionaire and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump launched into his anti-immigrant tirade against Mexicans crossing the border, he was using a long known political technique of plugging into the live wire of American resentment of “the other.” Today, it’s Latinos, of course – more precisely, those from South of the border: Mexicans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans and the like.

'#blacklivesmatter' cutiepie

What I meant when I said that #BlackLivesMatter

July 25, 2015

July 13 marks two years since #BlackLivesMatter was created. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has pushed to ensure that all Black lives are seen as an important part of an overall movement for social transformation. We have much to lose if we negate that all Black lives are central to the most well being for all of us. We must not rest until all of us are free.

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Task Force shelter producing pounds of veggies on rooftop garden

July 25, 2015

The Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless has made good on its plan to help feed the homeless people it serves through an organic rooftop garden, involving bees and a rainwater collection system. The garden is so successful an expansion is planned. Residents at the shelter, located in downtown Atlanta’s Peachtree and Pine Streets, will gain real life work skills removing the old roof and laying the new roof.

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Sandra Bland drove to Texas to start a new job, so how did she end up dead in jail?

July 16, 2015

On July 9, 28-year-old Sandra Bland drove to Texas to start a new job at Prairie View A&M. On July 10, police stopped Bland just outside the campus for allegedly failing to signal while changing lanes. Police claim that during the stop she became combative, was thrown to the ground, arrested and charged with “assault on a public servant.” On July 13, around 9 a.m., before her family could bail her out, Bland was found dead inside a Waller County, Texas, jail cell.

Professors Darius Spearman and Roberta Alexander, a Black Panther Party veteran, welcome BPP co-founder and guest speaker Elbert “Big Man” Howard to San Diego. – Photo: Carole Hyams-Howard

The legacy lives on: Black Panther Party founding member Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard carries the message to San Diego youth

July 16, 2015

Some of the important rewards about being a former member of the Black Panther Party include opportunities to pass on our history and legacy to the next generations and to learn what young activists in other communities are accomplishing. This give and take of information is vital to continuing the struggle for human rights and against this oppressive “injustice” system which exists here and worldwide.

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Clemency has become so rare for ordinary people that it is seldom even demanded in marches and rallies. An exception in recent years were the mass protests around the country demanding that Georgia pardon, not execute Troy Davis, a prisoner on death row who firmly maintained his innocence. Despite the loud and long outcry, including this march in September 2008, Troy was executed on Sept. 21, 2011. – Photo: Michael Schiffman

Expand clemency! Freeing 46 is a start but not enough

July 15, 2015

On July 13, President Barack Obama followed up his March 2015 pardons of 22 federal prisoners by commuting the sentences of 46 federal prisoners who had served time for what has been described by the Washington Post as overly harsh sentencing. On Thursday, July 16, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and prisoners at El Reno, the first time a sitting president has visited a federal prison.

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Cynthia McKinney smiles as she prepares to speak at Laney College in Oakland April 24, 2013, on a tour organized by the Bay View and the Block Report. – Photo: Darnisha Wright

Stars and Bars and Stripes: Are you ready for this conversation on race?

July 12, 2015

Are we ready, finally, to have the conversation on race that President Bill Clinton suggested the United States needed? The Saint Andrew’s Cross, which is the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, now known as the Confederate Flag, symbolizes a fact of history that most White Southerners choose to deny: enslavement of Africans forcibly trafficked to this country and their systematic dehumanization while here – sentiments and aspects of which continue to this day.

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Bree Newsom removes Confederate flag from SC capitol grounds 062715, cropped

Bree Newsome describes her role in persuading South Carolina to banish slavery flag

July 10, 2015

On June 27, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson. Though the flag was replaced an hour later, only 12 days later, the Legislature voted it down for good.

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Charleston

July 2, 2015

White supremacy is the mother’s milk of Charleston, of South Carolina, of the South, of America. For surely as slavery funded and built America, the underlying principle was the devaluation, exploitation and oppression of Black life. It’s the only thing that makes the church massacre in Charleston even remotely intelligible. Nine Black people were sacrificed to the blind idol of white supremacy.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters speaks at 'Walk for Life' LA 080914, web cropped

Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ twist of fate

July 1, 2015

The pain and suffering of the nine months since unarmed Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer has given birth to a new era of intolerance for police brutality. On the heels of Mother’s Day, more than a thousand community members turned out for a luncheon to honor those whose children lost their lives to violence and to join forces with the Black Women’s Forum (BWF), of which Congresswoman Maxine Waters is co-founder.

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Birmingham Police Chief Bull Connor turned vicious police dogs and water hoses on children when their Children’s Crusade in May 1963 attempted for several days to march to City Hall to meet with the mayor. In September 1963, the brutal suppression culminated in the murder of the four little girls at the 16th Street Baptist Church. Today, the events are memorialized in lifelike statues mounted in Birmingham’s Kelly Ingram Park. – Photo: Shino, Flickr

Officer of the Year Eric Casebolt’s brutality inspires courageous youth to fight back

June 30, 2015

The honorable bronze statues at Birmingham, Alabama’s Kelly Ingram Park show a display of courageous youth who refused to be silent and stood up for justice. Dear children, do not continue to be distracted by the ways of the world and its falsehoods. Your great legacies are at stake, and THAT is worth fighting for. And one day my grandchildren will visit your statues of courage in beautiful parks because you, too, like our ancestors, are not afraid.

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