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California and the U.S.

Decarcerate PA Free Speech poster

Oct. 14 take action to stop Pennsylvania’s ‘Gag Mumia and All Other Prisoners’ bill

October 13, 2014

Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Vereb introduced a bill, HB2533, called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, district attorneys and the attorney general to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.” The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.

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During her Bay View-Block Report-sponsored book tour in April 2013, Cynthia McKinney spoke to a full house at Laney College. “Ain’t Nothing Like Freedom,” her second book, is an autobiography about her years as a six-term Congress member from Georgia. Cynthia, like Paul Robeson, has been largely silenced by the powers that be. Though she is invited to speak all over the world, here in the U.S., her truth telling is considered too dangerous and she is rarely quoted or heard in the mainstream media. – Photo: Darnisha Wright

Cynthia McKinney on autism and Ferguson

October 13, 2014

While people were righteously rebelling in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, against police terrorism, a Center for Disease Control whistleblower confirmed something that has been on the lips of conscious ghetto dwellers for decades. International peace activist Cynthia McKinney speaks on the U.S. government spreading autism through vaccinations in the Black community, on Ferguson and much more.

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Malcolm Shabazz 1014, web

Still no resolution: an interview wit’ Sheikh Hashim Ali Alauddeen, the Imam of Malcolm Shabazz

October 7, 2014

Oct. 8 will mark the 30th birthday of Young Malcolm Shabazz. It’s been over a year since his murder in Mexico City. As time goes by, it becomes clearer and clearer, even to the most skeptical of people, that this was a straight up assassination, like what was done to Malcolm’s grandfather and great grandfather. It is a must that we regularly commemorate the people who mean something to us, especially those who have fought for our human rights.

Most of the Black people lynched last century were high achievers, often business owners; whites were jealous and feared their competition. Some of the same passions likely drive today’s militarization of police and the mass arrest and incarceration of Black people, often for exercising their constitutional rights, as in this arrest of a peaceful protester on Aug. 20 in Ferguson. – Photo: Curtis Compton, AP

More Black people killed by police than were lynched during Jim Crow

October 5, 2014

Most Americans tend to think of lynchings as a dated form of racial violence that suddenly disappeared with the ending of Jim Crow; however, America’s proclivity towards slaughtering Black people lives on through the country’s police departments. Instead of Black people being presented as savages and beasts like they once were, the media perpetuates the notion that Black people are gangbangers and thugs.

Governor veto of prosecutor misconduct bill criticized

October 5, 2014

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano released this statement on Sept. 29 in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of Ammiano’s AB 885, a bill that would have created a modest sanction in the courts for prosecutors who try to win trials by withholding evidence. “I’m not just disappointed at the governor’s veto of this bill, I’m angry,” Ammiano said.

Sen. Holly Mitchell’s California Fair Sentencing Act, ending crack disparity, becomes law

October 4, 2014

On Sept. 28, Gov. Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles. The legislation eliminates the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. The law takes effect in January.

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As a Black-founded, all-Black town, all adults in Mound Bayou, Mississippi, were registered voters long before the Civil Rights Movement and the Voting Rights Act. Although their votes did not count outside the town, residents were still able to elect their own police chief and town officials. It’s time to build on this extraordinary history.

National Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Association brings families together to free themselves from poverty

October 3, 2014

The National Afrikan Amerikan Family Reunion Association, NAAFRA, a non-profit family movement, is working to bring those families who have not yet experienced the joy of family reunions – and all Black families – into one national movement. Our family movement needs these families to come together in NAAFRA’s Family Operational Unity Plan for positive change.

Kevin Alexander Gray, Columbia, South Carolina, native and co-editor of “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence”

Why did you shoot me?

October 1, 2014

On Sept. 4, a white South Carolina highway patrolman, Sean Groubert, shot a Black motorist in Columbia, South Carolina. LeVar Jones, the shooting victim, survived a bullet in the hip. Richland County’s chief prosecutor had Groubert arrested and charged with felony assault and battery. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Kevin Alexander Gray, a South Carolina native and co-editor of “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence.”

A Ferguson protester defies militarized police, his hands up showing fearlessness in the face of their mighty firepower. The photo was taken Aug. 18 by a photographer with a Chinese news agency. – Photo: Xinhua News Agency

Join the #HandsUp mass mobilization in Ferguson Oct. 9-13

October 1, 2014

What began as a local call for justice for Mike Brown has grown into a nationwide shout for justice. Mike Brown falls in a long line of others killed as a result of systemic racial bias and violence against Black and Brown communities. John Crawford III, Ezel Ford, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Marilyn Banks and countless others named and unnamed have been killed through the excessive use of force by law enforcement. If you want to join in this national fight, sign up to organize locally and come to Ferguson, Missouri, Oct. 9-13.

Soldiers and riot cops aim all their fire power at one lone protester in Ferguson. – Photo: AP

Mumia on the meaning of Ferguson

September 29, 2014

For the youth, excluded from the American economy by inferior, substandard education; targeted by the malevolence of the fake drug war and mass incarceration; stopped and frisked for Walking While Black, were given front-row seats to the national security state at Ferguson after a friend was murdered by police in their streets. Ferguson may prove a wake-up call. A call for youth to build social, radical, revolutionary movements for change.

Activists renew urgent call for Ferguson police chief’s resignation after cops attack protesters again

September 26, 2014

A broad coalition of activists and local organizations are calling again for Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson to resign after a new round of police attacks on peaceful protestors last night. Over 200 activists have been arrested in conjunction with protests calling for justice for Mike Brown. Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Mike Brown, still walks free.

John Crawford with his baby

No charges in Ohio police killing of John Crawford as Wal-Mart video contradicts 911 caller account

September 25, 2014

An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the white police officer who fatally shot John Crawford, a 22-year-old African American, who was killed inside a Wal-Mart store last month after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun. In fact, Crawford had picked up an unloaded BB air rifle on a shelf, an item that is sold in the store. Newly released surveillance footage shows major discrepancies between a 911 caller’s account and what really happened.

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The world famous memorial for Mike Brown, before and after the Sept. 23 fire. This memorial is at the curb; another remains in the middle of the street, where Mike was murdered by Darren Wilson.

Fire destroys Michael Brown memorial, some residents cry arson

September 23, 2014

Just before 7 a.m. on Sept. 23, the memorial erected on Canfield Drive, mere feet from where unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was gunned down by police officer Darren Wilson, went up in flames. Twitter lit up with pictures and outrage. Many who were at the scene report smelling something that may have been used as an accelerant. However police and officials are saying that candles near the memorial site are what caused the blaze.

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.

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