May 12, 2017
by Bilen Mesfin Packwood and Layla Crater Oakland – Ahead of Mother’s Day, Bay Area leaders and advocates hosted a press conference as part of National Mama’s Bail Out Day, a coordinated effort to bail out Black “mamas” – mothers and other transgender and cisgender women – who would otherwise spend Mother’s Day in a […]
May 11, 2017
Kyle Zoellner, the suspect accused of stabbing Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson to death at an off-campus party Easter weekend, was released from Eureka’s jail. All charges were dropped. At the five-day preliminary hearing, I watched Zoellner’s girlfriend and her friends lie under oath. Black lives cannot matter as long as non-black people and their word is held in a higher regard than Black people. Black lives cannot matter within the realm of white privilege so long as the stereotypes of Blackness allow for others to use Black bodies as scapegoats.
May 3, 2017
Louisiana has per capita the highest incarceration rate in the world. This statistic includes comparisons to South Africa, Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt. And, with 87 percent of these people being Black, the United Nations Human Rights Council should be investigating Louisiana’s legal system as a rather ingenious form of ethnic cleansing. Louisiana must decarcerate – or accept the fact that this is modern legal apartheid.
May 2, 2017
Along with the phrases “alternate truth” and “fake news,” another phrase, even more ominous, is being bandied about, “net neutrality.” Net neutrality means internet freedom. It means that everyone has equal access to internet content – that is, content and all applications regardless of the source. In other words, the bus that takes you to the mall may not control what you see and where you shop when you get there.
May 1, 2017
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
April 28, 2017
On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, was murdered by officers of the Baltimore Police Department while in their custody. An article published in The Atlantic three days after Gray’s death pointed out the historical precedent for this particular kind of state violence. The author wrote, “Black men dying at the hands of the police is of course nothing new.” The “peculiar institution” of this violent and racist system can be better understood by tracing the lineage of the police back in time.
April 27, 2017
Saturday morning, April 15, Humboldt State University student David Lawson was stabbed at an off-campus party and died as a result of his injuries. David Lawson, a young Black man, was a sophomore at HSU studying criminology. Elijah Chandler, a friend of David who was present at the scene, gives a chilling recount to reporters of what happened. What is most alarming is the ways in which Chandler describes how the police handled the situation. Humboldt State University, the Arcata Police Department and the community surrounding HSU have blood on their hands and there is no denying it.
April 26, 2017
Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent Nandi Cain, the 24-year-old African American man who, according to Burris, is the “most recent victim of racial profiling by Sacramento Police Department.” Burris said that, “Mr. Cain’s only real crime was ‘walking while Black.’” The victim, Nandi Cain. explains that this ordeal made him feel “degraded, less than a man, ashamed, depressed and humiliated.” Mr. Cain feels that “all the involved officers should be fired” and that he “hopes no one ever has to go through anything like this again.”
April 24, 2017
Maxine Waters stood before a crowd of young people Friday at Busboys and Poets, a Washington, D.C., restaurant that doubles as stomping ground for social movements. At the event, which she organized as a soulful open mic before the following day’s Tax March, the congresswoman doubled down on her call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump with a combined bluntness and realness one wouldn’t expect from a politician: “We’ve got to stop his ass!” After nearly 40 years in public service, Waters has become the Democratic face for the resistance against Trump.
April 12, 2017
We are all upset about United Airlines as we should be, but that’s low hanging fruit. It’s easy to smash down on the airlines – and, again, they deserve the backlash. But the actual brutality was carried out by officers from one department and backed up by a blatant lie issued by officers from another – which is under a federal consent decree. Let that sink in for a minute and let’s see if accountability will really happen beyond a paid suspension. Let’s see if accountability will happen over the lie told by Chicago Police. Let’s not overlook the larger picture in play around this horrific incident with United Airlines.
April 11, 2017
The debate about what are considered fundamental human rights is constantly evolving and changing. And in the United States, incidents like the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan, have raised questions about whether or not access to clean water is a basic right – although arguably this has been a discussion among people all around the world, and in marginalized parts of the U.S., for quite some time. A new report issued by the NAACP also reframes access to energy service and electric power as a basic human right.
April 7, 2017
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives yesterday introduced bicameral legislation, modeled on reforms that have taken hold in the states, to ensure that job seekers who have a conviction record in their past are not unfairly shut out from employment because of the stigma of a record, but rather are considered on their qualifications just like any other applicant.
April 1, 2017
It has been 45 years since my mentor, Dr. Arthur A. Fletcher, implemented the Philadelphia Plan. This was a federal program used to integrate unions. From the beginning, the construction trades resisted with violence and Jim Crow style segregation. Then why do most civil rights organizations and local Black elected officials support such instruments of racism? That is simple. They take donations from the very construction locals who discriminate against us.
March 30, 2017
It is amazing to me to hear the cries and complaints from Euro-Amerikans about so-called racism by New Afrikans or Blacks, racism against white people, reverse racism and all of the other nonsense they were spreading while at the same time attending Donald Trump rallies by tens of thousands and then voting for him as he spews some of the most reactionary, racist, xenophobic bigotry coming from the mainstream. Why is it that white folks in large numbers feel threatened by Black pride?
March 27, 2017
In the wake of Trump’s Russia scandal to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, President Trump made a series of unsubstantiated claims in tweets early Saturday, March 4, that Obama “had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!” and, minutes later, “Is it legal for a sitting president to be wire-tapping a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court order. A NEW LOW!”
March 25, 2017
The top prosecutor in Orlando, Florida, took to a podium outside the Orange County courthouse last week to outline a new policy: Her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any capital case. The prosecutor, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, told assembled reporters that seeking the death penalty is “not in the best interests of this community or in the interest of justice.” Ayala’s decision to stop seeking the death penalty was bound to be controversial. But the announcement has kicked off a fire storm.
March 19, 2017
Hope people are paying attention to what’s been going on with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the ostracizing that is happening to him via NFL owners. We are bearing witness to owners going all out to send a message that they hope will resonate not just with fellow NFL owners but to other CEOs who oversee increasingly “woke” people who are standing up and speaking out. Fast and hard lines in the sand are being drawn and the name of the game is make those who speak up pay dearly. We can’t return to the days where folks are comfortable and expect athletes and entertainers to simply shut up and play, sing or dance.
March 14, 2017
Remember when pundits hailed the election of Barack Obama as the beginning of a “post-racial“ America? After the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, it seems like a distant memory. But in 2008, it was the prevailing wisdom among political commentators. Cornell Belcher, a long-time Democratic pollster who worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, started seeing through the mirage of racial harmony well before Trump’s election made it obvious.
March 12, 2017
In the most diverse state in America, the 10 largest insurers do shockingly little business with suppliers owned by people of color, according to a new report released March 13 by The Greenlining Institute. Insurers buy huge amounts of goods and services in California – over $23 billion in 2014 alone – but the largest firms did barely over 3 percent of their contracting with businesses owned by people of color.
February 25, 2017
Repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act by passing Assembly Bill 1506 would go a long way toward strengthening rent control, limiting rent increases and once again allowing cities to regulate the rental rates on rental housing units that have been voluntarily vacated. Passage of AB 1506 would help in the effort to stabilize communities and challenge price gouging by unscrupulous landlords throughout California.