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California and the U.S.

Black Women’s Roundtable: Open letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

September 17, 2014

We, the undersigned members of the Black Women’s Roundtable, are writing to request an emergency meeting with you to share our deep concern and outrage about the plethora of domestic violence cases that has been exposed involving current and past players that are a part of the National Football League. In addition, we would like to discuss your recent decision to establish an advisory group of women to assist you in developing new policies to eradicate domestic violence within the NFL and other diversity issues within the NFL.

Protesters demanding Gov. Nixon appoint a special prosecutor are surrounded by multiple law enforcement agencies as they try to shut down I-70 on Sept. 10. – Photo: KMOV

The red flag flies high again on prosecution in Michael Brown slaying

September 16, 2014

The instant that the call on whether to prosecute Brown’s killer, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, would be made by the hard-nosed St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough, who has a well-worn record of refusal to prosecute any officers who have been involved in dubious, even outrageous killings of mostly unarmed Black suspects, the screams were loud for a special prosecutor.

“My whole thing is that the world needs to wake the fuck up,” said 27-year-old Ferguson resident Darren Seals. “When a boy was just laying here dead, we didn’t get all this attention. Burn Quick Trip down and now everybody coming. That’s sending off the wrong message. We got to start valuing life more than we value material. It’s been more about the rioting than the boy being dead. His life is more valuable than any of that. It shouldn’t be money over everything. It should be life over everything.” – Photo: Brett Myers, Youth Radio

Why we should listen to the youth fury from Ferguson

September 11, 2014

They call themselves a “circle of fathers,” a group made up of people who know first-hand what Michael Brown’s family is experiencing. The young man’s shooting death by a Ferguson police officer has brought them together – again. The “circle of fathers” hopes some powerful new, young leaders will be formed by these experiences. From the activity on the streets around the country and online, I believe that’s already happening.

Justice for Michael Brown Hwy 70 Shutdown poster 091014

Justice for Michael Brown: Ferguson youth to shut down I-70 on Sept. 10

September 9, 2014

Supporters of Michael Brown plan to march on I-70 Wednesday, shutting down the highway, to protest St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s failure to appoint a special prosecutor in the case. “I want to thank the youth leadership that has come to the forefront,” said attorney Eric Vickers. “Our obligation is to support them, to use our experience in civil disobedience to help bring forward their desire to change the system.”

Ron Bobb-Semple brings the Hon. Marcus Garvey back to life. – Photo: Wanda Sabir

UNIA at 100

September 8, 2014

I spent a week in Harlem for the Centennial Celebration of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association-African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), an organization that looked at Africans separated through the institutions of slavery and colonialism, both global systems of exploitation of people, goods and environments.

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Photos: People's Minister of Information JR Valrey, Block Report

Ferguson lit the fuse

September 3, 2014

On Aug. 9, police in Ferguson, St. Louis County, Missouri, murdered Michael Brown, 18, as he put his hands in the air to let his friend escape. Then the police aimed their full U.S. military-strength force at all the youth of Ferguson who dared to demand justice. With the world watching and their hands in the air, identifying the police as the source of the violence, night after night, young people waded INTO the tear gas and stood unflinching with guns in their faces. Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, Cephus Johnson, calls them the most fearless youth of our generation. And they vow not to stop until killer cop Darren Wilson is brought to justice.

Uncle Bobby in Ferguson, supporting the most fearless youth of our generation

August 29, 2014

Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.

In a chaotic crowd of well-paid media and police, a resident of Ferguson, a suburb where the poverty rate doubled in three years and the unemployment rate rocketed from less 5 percent to over 13 percent in two years, demands that no tax money be spent on the Ferguson Police Department when it murders children instead of protecting them. – Photo: Scott Olson

The lessons of Ferguson, Part One: Economic inequality a root cause of unrest

August 28, 2014

I am haunted by the words of Lesley McSpadden immediately following the shooting death of her son, Michael Brown: “Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many Black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway.”

“Ferguson” – Art: Criss Garcia, J-93559, Pelican Bay SHU C1-112, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532

Hands up! Don’t shoot: The genocidal killing of Michael Brown

August 26, 2014

On Aug. 9, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown and a friend were walking down a street in their own community when they were confronted by an officer for “walking while Black.” Ever since Black people have been in this country, we have been subjected to a perpetual state of structural oppression and exploitation, including genocidal killings purposefully committed by law enforcement to instill terror in the Black community. And in most cases, because of “who we are,” when confronted with such injustices, we have marched, boycotted, protested, rioted and rebelled.

These photos were taken at Michael Brown’s funeral, held in Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, St. Louis, which was filled to capacity with 4,500 mourners, leaving hundreds more to wait outside. They were taken by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and posted to Facebook with the comments that appear beneath them. Enjoy them as we await his print quality photos. Here, a young woman reads a flier that is shown at the end of the story. – Photo: Minister of Information JR Valrey, Block Report

Thousands attend funeral of Michael Brown

August 26, 2014

Slain 18-year-old Ferguson, Missouri, resident Michael Brown was laid to rest on Aug. 25. The funeral was a local and national event with thousands in attendance. Brown was killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, on Aug. 9 while he walked through the streets of his neighborhood. His brutal death from six gunshot wounds fired at close range sparked immediate mass demonstrations in Ferguson that have continued for over two weeks.

First they won the Great Lakes Little League championship.

On the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West and Michael Brown

August 24, 2014

Speaking about police brutality 50 years ago, Jackie Robinson said: “One cannot expect [Black] leaders to sell the non-violence cause when followers see violence erupting against them every day of their lives. Not even new civil rights bills or statesmanlike speeches can counteract this.”

On West Florissant, two young protesters, unintimidated by a mobile highway sign, declare their determination to survive police terrorism and fight for freedom. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz: Ten important observations to know about Ferguson

August 23, 2014

Nothing in this country will ever be the same after what is going on in Ferguson. This is our generation’s calling! Those young people are the bravest and most resilient souls I have ever encountered. Think about it! Without any weapons and being heavily outnumbered, they have fought back against the police for 10 days! Darren Wilson the cop who killed Mike Brown is still free. And they youth of Ferguson say, “If we don’t get no justice, then they don’t get no peace!” Rod Starz’ story is illustrated with some amazing photos by Minister of Information JR Valrey.

Mike Brown appears to have paid for those cigars

August 20, 2014

Ferguson police’s attempts to demonize Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teen killed by Officer Darren Wilson, may have hit a small snag. In their fervent effort to cast Brown in a negative light, they missed that the video seems to show Brown paying for the Swisher Sweets.

A woman demanding answers turns away from a line of militarized police and toward the crowd of protesters. – Photo: J.B. Forbes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch/AP

Israel-trained police ‘occupy’ Missouri after killing of Black youth

August 15, 2014

Since the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson police in Missouri last weekend, the people of Ferguson have been subjected to a military-style crackdown by a squadron of local police departments dressed like combat soldiers. This has prompted residents to liken the conditions on the ground in Ferguson to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. And who can blame them?

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Unarmed Black man, Ezell Ford, murdered by police in Los Angeles

August 13, 2014

While the country is still reeling from the news and aftermath of the fatal shooting by police of unarmed Ferguson, Mo., teen Michael Brown, KTLA is reporting that a 25-year-old mentally challenged man was shot and killed in Los Angeles while lying on the ground. His family says he was complying with officers. He was also unarmed.

Michael Brown murder aftermath white cops in riot gear aim gun at Black man hands raised Ferguson Mo 081114 by AP-VOA

To win justice for Michael Brown, send the Black press to Ferguson, Missouri

August 12, 2014

The SF Bay View newspaper is working to gather enough funds to send JR Valrey to the frontlines in Ferguson, Missouri, site of the biggest protests against police terrorism since Oakland rose up to demand justice for Oscar Grant. They started Saturday, when a police officer murdered unarmed Michael Brown, 18, for walking in the roadway with his friend. Most corporate media is working to distort the story and demonize the righteous anger of the people. Michael’s family and friends and the people of Ferguson need the Black press to tell their truth.

Black Caucus: #StandWithKeith Ellison to end Gaza blockade

August 10, 2014

On July 29, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison did something unique for a member of Congress. He published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for ending the economic blockade on 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, noting that most of the victims of the blockade were women and children. Let’s try to get other Members of Congress to #StandWithKeith in favor of ending the economic blockade on 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza.

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Michael Brown’s step-father, Louis Head, indicts the police.

Police murder unarmed, fleeing Michael Brown, 18, in St. Louis suburb

August 10, 2014

A local NAACP chapter has called for a federal investigation into the death of a Black teenager who was shot by police in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday, Aug. 9. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed Saturday afternoon near his grandmother’s house by a Ferguson police officer. St. Louis County police have not given a reason for the shooting, which happened in a predominantly Black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis. After the shooting, a confrontation between police and hundreds of neighborhood residents lasted several hours, with shouts of “kill the police.”

Professor Kimberly C. Williams

Black and female in higher education: Professors stand alone against hate crimes

August 10, 2014

When I got an email about a recent assault on a Black female sociology instructor at Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Professor Kimberly C. Williams, whose student brought a noose to her class, I thought her case was an isolated event. Little did I know that assault on Black women professors is cause for alarm, given the fact that two instances happened in the same month in the same year.

Theodore Wafer, Renisha McBride

Killer of Renisha McBride convicted on all counts

August 8, 2014

Theodore Paul Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride on Thursday, Aug. 7, in downtown Detroit. The jury began deliberations a little before noon on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The Wayne County jury found Wafer guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Nov. 2, 2013, killing of McBride. Wafer was remanded into custody after the trial and will be sentenced Aug. 25 by Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway. He faces a maximum of life in prison.

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