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California and the U.S.

Bessie Taylor and her autistic son, Devonte, cropped

When a mother and her autistic son are evicted: The story of Bessie and Devonte Taylor

January 29, 2015

When a mother and her autistic son are evicted, where are they supposed to turn? For Bessie Taylor of Monterey County, every option has come up short. Now, she’s worried about what comes next. Bessie and Devonte Taylor are staying in a motel, but come Friday, the money for that will run out. POOR Magazine is currently seeking legal support for the family to overturn the illegal eviction from public housing as well as collecting emergency donations for Bessie and Devonte to keep them temporarily housed in the motel so they are not on the street.

Marissa Alexander leaves the courtroom on Jan. 27 – free at last, sort of. – Screenshot: WJXT

Marissa Alexander released from prison: Supporters celebrate, demand full freedom

January 28, 2015

Supporters of Marissa Alexander in Jacksonville, across the U.S. and all around the world are overjoyed that she has been released from jail after serving three years behind bars for defending her life. In 2010, Alexander, a Black mother of three from Jacksonville, Florida, was forced to defend her life from a life-threatening attack by her estranged husband by firing a single warning shot that caused no injuries.

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Rooftop solar installation is one of the best opportunities to return the unemployed to the workforce, a top priority in poor communities of color. These trainees are installing panels on a clinic in Rwanda. If Africans can do it, so can African Americans. – Photo: Walt Ratterman, Sunepi

Our future and the solar mandate of Assembly Bill 327

January 22, 2015

The intent of AB 327 is to make the homes and businesses in California into productive and profitable “customer solar generators” by 2020, to help California reach the solar mandate of obtaining 33 percent of its energy from solar and renewables by 2020. Jobs will be created for all the electricians, carpenters and installers needed to build solar homes. These are jobs many young people can learn and do now.

Dr. Martin Luther King, 1962

Hajj Malcolm Shabazz: Malcolm and Martin came at the same enemy from different angles

January 20, 2015

Hajj Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of El Hajj Malik Shabazz, known commonly as Malcolm X, interviewed on Martin Luther King Day 2012, is asked, “How do you see the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King?” Malcolm responds that when it comes to my grandfather’s methods and the methods of Martin Luther King, we can’t always all come at the enemy from the same direction, the same angle. Both are important. And we look beyond our differences to our common interests. And read Malcolm’s telegram to Martin.

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Dr. King, 39, speaks at Mason Temple in Memphis on April 3, 1968, the day before his assassination.

Rep. Barbara Lee: We’re still living in ‘two Americas’

January 19, 2015

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Stanford University to deliver the first iteration of his speech, “The Other America.” Dr. King called attention to the disparate “two Americas” in which whites and Blacks lived – one filled with potential and prosperity and the other filled with “blasted hopes and shattered dreams.” When Dr. King gave this speech in 1967, the Civil Rights Movement was at a turning point.

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U.S. cops kill at 100 times rate of other capitalist countries

January 8, 2015

In May 2014, President Obama told graduating West Point army cadets, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” One area in which the U.S. is unquestionably exceptional is the level of state violence directed against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and working and poor people of all nationalities. U.S. police killings outnumber those in other developed capitalist countries by as much as 100-1!

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Ferguson grand juror sues prosecutor to lift gag order

January 7, 2015

A Ferguson grand juror who heard the case of Darren Wilson previewed potentially scathing criticism of St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch in a lawsuit alleging that McCulloch skewed the views of jurors when he delivered a lengthy public presentation to announce that the jury wouldn’t file any charges against Wilson for killing Michael Brown. The juror filed a federal lawsuit Monday anonymously to challenge a gag order.

When police die!

January 3, 2015

Once again, the nation is compelled to mourn the death of police officers. Rightly so, if such mourning changes the dynamics of the relationship between para-militarized police and the communities in which they patrol. By no sense of the imagination should anyone be cavalier about the killing of a police officer, no more than they should be when a police officer wrongly kills a civilian, especially an unarmed civilian.

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After decades on death row, where prisoners and visitors are separated by glass, Mumia had to fight another year and a half to win contact visits with his oldest son, Jamal, shown here on the left. Mumia’s oldest brother, Keith Cook, is on the right.

Cops vs. the First Amendment

January 2, 2015

Keith Cook delivered this speech on Dec. 5 at “Cops vs. Free Speech,” a public forum organized by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia: Thank you for inviting me again to be a part of this essential, timely discussion that we should be having across our nation. Free speech – for most of us who are activists, what does the Fraternal Order of Police, commonly known as the FOP, have to do with it?

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Soon California High-Speed Rail will be streaking across the state – and Blacks will have helped build it.

Black firms on winning team for $1.5 billion California High-Speed Rail contract

December 30, 2014

“The winning team, Dragados USA, Inc., Flatiron West, Inc., and Shimmick Construction Company, Inc., collectively known as DFS, brings the necessary team experience to successfully complete the California High-Speed Rail Construction Package 2-3 Project,” the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced Monday, Dec. 29. A consortium of 19 minority and women owned firms of all types – 13 Black – is part of the winning team for the $1.5 billion contract.

Proud of my sisters

December 29, 2014

This view that I’m seeing is beautiful and inspirational. I’m sitting here in my cell watching these protesters around the country for equal justice for all – no exception – and also accountability for wrongdoers. For us, the public, and for law enforcement, no one is above the law. It’s time to dismantle this systematic racism in the criminal justice and penal system.

Who will protect and defend Black life? The Black Panthers had the right idea

December 27, 2014

It’s kind of fitting that police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, murderers of Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, were cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the last several weeks. The eruption of protest, activism and organizing in response to the (bad) decisions of legal bodies to not hold these officers accountable for their crimes has occurred at a time of special significance for the legacy of the Black Panther Party.

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We need to use our Black economic power

December 26, 2014

How can a group have over 3 million people with college degrees yet be so underdeveloped economically? How can a people have over 10,000 elected officials yet have so little economic power? Why do African Americans spend only 3 percent of their income with each other? Could that explain why only 9 out of every one thousand African Americans start a business, while other groups are above 100?

On Aug. 16, 2014, communities throughout Southern California caravanned to oppose a series of proposed prison and jail expansion plans.

Immigration policies are criminalizing our communities

December 24, 2014

With President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration and the mass protests throughout the country against the grand jury acquittals of police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, it is more important than ever for Black and Latino communities to confront racism and the oppressive structures that deny our fundamental humanity and divide us into those who are worthy of justice and those who are not.

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Rev. Pinkney – Photo: Dorothy Pinkney

National defense campaign building for Rev. Edward Pinkney

December 23, 2014

Michigan political prisoner Rev. Edward Pinkney is now being held in Jackson state prison. He remains in good spirits despite the racist injustice that has landed him in detention over manufactured claims that he changed the dates on five signature entries on a recall petition designed to remove Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower. This is not the first time that Pinkney has been imprisoned for his political activities.

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Public defenders from the Bay to Brooklyn take to the streets to hold police accountable

December 19, 2014

More than 200 public defenders and allies held a protest Dec. 18 on the steps of San Francisco’s criminal courthouse to show support for racial justice and stand in solidarity with protesters around the country. At least 200 public defenders walked off their jobs in Brooklyn on Dec. 17, staging a march and “die-in” to highlight the pervasiveness of racial inequality in the criminal justice system

Supporters of Rev. Pinkney gather outside the courthouse after his sentencing. He is strongly supported in Benton Harbor, loved for his courage in defending the town from extinction at the hands of officials who take orders from Whirlpool and other corporate bosses rather than the people. – Photo: ABC News

Civil rights leader Rev. Edward Pinkney sentenced to 2 ½ to 10 years by Berrien County Court

December 15, 2014

Berrien County Judge Sterling Schrock sentenced the leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization, Rev. Edward Pinkney, to 30-120 months in prison based on an all-white jury’s verdict of guilty on five felony counts of forgery. The charges stemmed from a successful recall petition drive against Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower, who is perceived as a tool of the Whirlpool Corp. and the political power structure in the area.

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St. Louis Rams players Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt took the field signaling “Hands up, don't shoot” to protest the police murder of Michael Brown at the start of the Oakland Raiders game on Sunday, Nov. 30. – Photo: Jeff Curry, USA Today Sports

Put those police cameras on the bankers

December 8, 2014

A week ago Sunday, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power. The gesture turned to chants – “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” – in demonstrations across the country.

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Protesters in New York City Dec. 4 demand change after the refusal to indict the police officer who murdered Eric Garner with a chokehold. – Photo: Ellen Davidson

People power grows, demands justice

December 7, 2014

This week tens of thousands of people in the United States flooded the streets to demand racial justice. It is one of many issues that have been building for years, reaching the tipping point and seeming to explode in a national awakening. We also saw that in the last two weeks with national protests for living wages. Four years ago we listed 15 crisis issues that the country needed to face; poverty wages and the injustice in criminal enforcement, including racially abusive police practices, were two of them.

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A man is arrested by police after kneeling in the street during a protest outside the Ferguson Police Department on Saturday, Nov. 29. – Photo: Jeff Roberson, AP

Why we won’t wait: Resisting the war against the Black and Brown underclass

December 4, 2014

Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.

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