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California and the U.S.

'#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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Dr. Vickie M. Mays

Racism and African American men: Killing without a gun

June 28, 2015

Dr. Vickie M. Mays, a clinical psychologist and professor of health policy and management at UCLA, has published a number of studies showing how experiencing racism contributes to high morbidity and mortality in African Americans. Mays said she is concerned that not enough attention is paid to the lethal consequences of discrimination African American men face every day.

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Fifteen most outrageous responses by police after killing unarmed people

June 25, 2015

Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police. So far in 2015, there have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, was of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toys, according to the Washington Post. Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.

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Rebuke and praise after Charleston, South Carolina, church tragedy

June 24, 2015

Early reports revealed that Dylann Roof, a high school dropout, had a seldom used Facebook page and many Black friends. Then the Facebook photo of Roof sitting on his car with a Confederate flag license plate was revealed and another of Roof wearing a jacket with the flags of Apartheid South Africa and White-run Rhodesia, indicating that Roof was capable of tragically putting into practice what had been preached to him.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency that actually listens

June 19, 2015

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created five years ago by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law to be a “cop on the beat” to protect consumers in their dealings with banks, credit card companies and other financial firms. The CFPB clearly takes its job seriously. Some members of Congress who take their marching orders from Wall Street have been trying to weaken CFPB ever since it was created, but happily they haven’t succeeded.

The Bay View joins all people of good will in saluting and praying for these dear souls, pastor and members of Emanuel African American Methodist Church, whose lives were taken in a terrorist assassination there on June 17: Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Myra Thompson and Daniel Simmons.

White terrorist slays nine in Charleston church founded by Denmark Vesey on anniversary of his 1822 rebellion

June 18, 2015

Nine people were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, co-founded by Denmark Vesey, whose rebellion was planned for June 17, 193 years ago. Victims included South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the historic church. This is nothing short of a terrorist assassination. Watch the videos updating this story, including President Obama’s eulogy of Pastor Pinckney on June 26 and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds by a Black woman, Bree Newsome on June 27.

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The Los Angeles action for May 23 was a very well-received play, “If the SHU Fits: Voices from Solitary Confinement,” compiled by Andy Griggs and Melvin Ishmael Johnson, directed by Andy Griggs and performed at Chuco’s Justice Center. It will be performed again during Torture Awareness Month at the Neighborhood Unitarian Universalist Church, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena 91103, on Tuesday, June 23, at 7 p.m.

On the 23rd of every month, Californians demand, ‘End solitary confinement!’ – May report

June 17, 2015

On May 23, 2015, families and loved ones of people in solitary, community organizations and prisoner-class human rights advocates once again mobilized Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) throughout California and in Pennsylvania. Since the actions began on March 23, 2015, over 30 organizations – statewide, nationwide and worldwide – became co-sponsors, 45 endorsed, and the movement keeps growing.

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The people of McKinney, like Black youth all over the country, are taking the freedom fighters of Ferguson, Missouri, as their model. – Photo: Elroy Johnson

Brutal, child abusing cop at Texas pool party resigns, should be charged

June 9, 2015

Resignation is not enough to hold former patrol supervisor Cpl. Eric Casebolt accountable or shift the discriminatory and violent culture of policing. He must be prosecuted. Unless violent and discriminatory officers face criminal charges, they will continue to target and harm Black communities. Police accountability is critical for transforming deeply entrenched policing culture that says it’s OK to racially profile and brutalize Black folks.

Chicago creates reparations fund for police torture victims

June 1, 2015

In front of a packed chamber May 6, the Chicago City Council unanimously approved a reparations ordinance allocating $5.5 million for many of those tortured and framed by police commander Jon Burge and his notorious “Midnight Crew” from 1972 to 1991. Burge and his “crew” extracted false confessions to win convictions of at least 120 people, mostly Black men, using electric shocks, mock executions, suffocation and beatings.

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Visitors to Allensworth are inspired not only by this sterling example of Black self-determination but by the founder, Col. Allen Allensworth. Born a slave in 1842 and “sold down the river” at age 12 when he was discovered learning to learn to read and write, he founded Allensworth in 1908, and it thrived until the Depression. It was declared a state historical park in 1976.

Allensworth State Park Festival July 11: Celebrating and elevating the pioneering spirit of African American women

May 31, 2015

Allensworth is the first town in California founded by an ex-slave and is the only Black historical park in California. The Allensworth Volunteer Community Association, the Friends of Allensworth and the We Can Foundation invite you to attend our Women’s Celebration. It will be held on Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Black historical township and park of Allensworth in Delano, California.

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Marylin Zuniga

Teacher fired for students’ get-well letters to Mumia says we should rethink ‘leadership’

May 30, 2015

Support for the now-suspended New Jersey teacher who allowed her third-graders to write get-well letters to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal was undeniable at the fateful Orange Public School Board meeting April 14. Supporters flanking both sides of Marylin Zuniga called for her reinstatement while she appealed to the board to allow her to continue teaching after the highly-criticized writing activity.

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