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California and the U.S.

Common sense says support SB 224, the Elder Parole Program, to reduce the prison population and corrections spending and get people back to their families and communities. – Photo courtesy of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

A durable and sustainable plan: Reducing corrections spending in California

March 26, 2015

The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.

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University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson was viciously beaten by white police March 18. At the highly ranked school, average SAT scores regularly exceed 1300, and there are typically fewer than 1,500 African American students among the 21,000-member student body. Black students report feeling ostracized.

Viciously beaten University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson did not have a fake ID, attorney says

March 19, 2015

The bloody arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson started when a bouncer for a local bar approached him on a sidewalk, Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, said Thursday, March 19. Watkins said his client was never in possession of a fake ID and was simply standing on the sidewalk. The attack against Johnson, a third-year student and member of the UVA’s Honor Council, exposed long-standing racial tensions at one of the country’s most prestigious universities.

Protestors gather at the memorial for Michael Brown where he was murdered in the street outside the Canfield Apartments in Ferguson, Missouri, on March 13. – Photo: ©Michael B. Thomas, AFP

Tensions remain high in Ferguson

March 18, 2015

After two officers were shot, police conducted an unjustified dawn raid on a house in Ferguson. A woman and her 6-year-old son had the red laser sights of police rifles trained on their chests as they emerged into their garden under orders from the officers, who arrived in military-style vehicles.

The Obamas lead a march in Selma on Saturday, March 7, marking the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the president holding the hands of two veterans of the struggle for voting rights, Congressman John Lewis and Amelia Boynton Robinson, 103. Both were severely beaten by state troopers on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965. The other wheelchair user is educator Adelaide Sanford, a founder of Elder’s House, a history repository and learning center in Selma. – Photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP

Mumia Abu Jamal: Unsaid at Selma

March 11, 2015

Who can question whether President Barack Obama is a master when it comes to speeches? Such a quality literally put him on the map when he mesmerized a crowd at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He did it again in the Selma, Alabama’s 50th anniversary at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. His central message: No one can doubt things are better since Selma. No one. His speech, delivered with quiet passion, was a master work. And yet … and yet.

“Unarmed Blacks on the Loose” – the artist writes: “This illustration depicts the nature of a one-sided war that has long been waged by Amerikkka’s oppressive machine against Blacks. Every time we ask for peace, justice and equality, our answer comes in the form of another murder. Why must we be so naïve to think that these same devils that created this hell for us will ever turn the heat down! – Art: Dwayne Staats, 467005, 1181 Paddock Rd., Smyrna DE 19977

Democracy or hypocrisy: Why do we dare to call it genocide?

March 10, 2015

It is of necessity and of urgency that we recognize that in order to understand our present situation and strive for change, we must come to terms with our past. We must tie America’s history of genocide and racism to our current history, to our so-called system of democracy, which is fundamentally hypocrisy, and to the lives of our lost youths of color at the hands of this system.

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Almost at the end of their 2,400-mile van ride across the country, All of Us or None members stopped in Byhalia, Miss., to see a comrade, Shabaka Ji Jaga, and have a little reunion and breakfast.

Formerly incarcerated people drive 2,400 miles to celebrate 50 years since Bloody Sunday in Selma

March 9, 2015

Bay Area All of Us or None (AOUON) members drove across the country this past weekend to Selma, Alabama, to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of Bloody Sunday, which included a speech by President Obama and a reenactment of the historical march. They went to speak out about voting rights for formerly incarcerated people as well as the need for an executive order to Ban the Box for federal contractors.

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Tent “city” in the “Chinatown” area of Salinas, where houseless, gentriFUKed Salinas families and folks try to live peacefully and are constantly harassed by police. The day after we came, one of the houseless organizers in Chinatown had his RV seized. – Photo: Poor News Network

Bessie and Devonte Taylor: Black, disabled, still houseless

March 4, 2015

I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.

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One billion in potential contract dollars lost annually by businesses owned by women and people of color due to Proposition 209

March 4, 2015

California’s minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) have lost the potential equivalent of $1 billion in public contracts because of Proposition 209, according to a report by the Equal Justice Society. EJS released the report Feb. 24 during an informational hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The hearing also heard other testimony related to the impact of Proposition 209 on public contracting.

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Banners with the names of 118 Jon Burge torture victims were displayed in the freezing cold on Valentine’s Day by supporters who filled an entire block. For some, the torture hasn’t stopped. Aaron Patterson, after being exonerated, was soon re-imprisoned when he spent his settlement freeing other victims. – Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee

Chicago shows love to torture survivors

March 3, 2015

The national protests catalyzed by the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson last August continue even as many have moved on. In Chicago, many have used the energy and opening created by these ongoing protests to re-animate existing long-term anti-police violence campaigns. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the Chicago Temple to show our love for police torture survivors on the day after Jon Burge was released from house arrest.

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Cops kill every 8 hours in 2015

March 1, 2015

As of Feb. 13, U.S. police have killed at least 131 people in 2015, an average of three per day, the vast majority by gunfire. The glorification of the police by the corporate media and politicians, the exaggeration of the dangers they face, and the high pay most receive are all due to the role the police play as the protectors, not of the people but of a system based on capitalist exploitation and national oppression.

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Ranking Member Maxine Waters hosts a roundtable discussion with Committee Democrats and HUD Secretary Castro on Feb. 4.

Congresswoman Waters calls for HUD to fulfill its mission, meet nation’s housing needs

February 25, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Following an announcement made Feb. 11 by Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling that the committee will embark upon “an extensive review and thorough examination of the successes and failures” of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ranking Member Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., issued this statement.

Marshawn Lynch by Otto Greule Jr., cropped

Repression and a green light for murder: The government ‘shout out to the Africans out there’!

February 15, 2015

The message for the protectors of the white corporate and financial elite is that it does not matter if you execute a kid in cold blood in front of a dozen witnesses or you are caught on video murdering Eric Garner or 12 year-old Tamir Rice; you don’t have to fear prosecution from the state. It is now open season when it comes to policing and controlling the dangerous class of poor and working class Black people.

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Akai Gurley composite, cropped (1)

Grand Jury indicts Brooklyn police officer Peter Liang in the shooting death of Akai Gurley

February 11, 2015

The NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund supports the decision of the Brooklyn grand jury to indict NYPD Officer Peter Liang for the crime of manslaughter in the killing of Akai Gurley in November of 2014. Mr. Gurley was, in the words of New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, a “total innocent,” who was shot and killed while walking in the stairwell of the Pink Houses, a public housing development in Brooklyn.

Endria Richardson, web cropped

Repealing the lifetime ban on CalFresh and CalWORKs for people with drug felony convictions – Where do we go from here?

February 3, 2015

Last year, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All of Us Or None joined the Western Center for Law and Poverty and a broad-based coalition of 140 organizations to repeal the lifetime ban on CalFresh and CalWORKs for people with drug-related felony convictions. Effective April 1, 2015, no person will be deemed ineligible for either CalFresh or CalWORKs aid because they have a prior federal or state felony drug conviction.

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'Ending Child Poverty Now' cover

How to end child poverty for 60% of poor children and 72% of poor Black children today

January 31, 2015

Poverty hurts children and our nation’s future. This stark statement is backed by years of scientific research, and the more we learn about the brain and its development the more devastatingly true we know this to be. Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty, it’s time for all Americans to work together to finish the job, beginning with ending child poverty in our nation with the largest economy on earth.

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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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