July 26, 2014
A federal judge issued a stunning decision July 16, holding that the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. As Judge Cormac Carney, a Bush appointee, found, systemic delays result in execution of only a “random few (who) will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.”
July 25, 2014
For as long as she can remember, Marissa Cors has had to learn to live with regular bouts of excruciating pain. Marissa was born with sickle cell disease, a nasty genetic condition where red blood cells, instead of being smooth and round and flowing freely, become rigid and sickle shaped, clumping together, blocking blood flow and causing pain and organ damage. In the U.S., it affects around 100,000 people, most of them African Americans.
July 25, 2014
Hundreds marched in the streets of downtown Detroit on July 18 to protest water services being shut off for thousands of residents too poor to pay their utility bills. Nurses organizing the demonstration declared a public health emergency and called for a moratorium on the water shutoffs, a violation of human rights. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a brief reprieve.
July 24, 2014
Cindy Cristal Gonzalez and Valeska Castaneda Gutierrez are young mothers and college students, deeply proud of their ancestral roots and motivated to help their people. The two worked together with a network of activists, and on Tuesday, July 22, they put their plan into action: mothers and their children walking 300 miles for 30 days to the border to draw attention to the mass deportations, imprisonment and suffering of our people.
July 23, 2014
This week, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Color of Change launched a Twitter-based social media and online petition campaign to hundreds of thousands of their subscribers demanding that Twitter release its EEO-1 workforce diversity inclusion data and convene a direct dialogue with SF Bay Area community partners on solutions and strategies. On July 23, a few days after the launch, Twitter finally delivered its “pathetic” data.
July 22, 2014
“They will try to scandalize the deceased,” Rev. Al Sharpton said of the NYPD and what he anticipated they would say. “The issue is not about an unarmed man selling cigarettes … It’s about a man who was subjected to a chokehold and is no longer with us.” At that point, Esaw Garner collapsed and had to be held up by Sharpton and Rev. Herbert Daughtry. All of Garner’s relatives were in pain and weeping as they left the stage. Sure enough, at a press conference, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton began his remarks by citing the arrest record of Garner and explaining that the police were there to apprehend Garner for the sale of illegal cigarettes.
July 11, 2014
More than 23 years after the videotape release of White uniformed LAPD officers beating unarmed Black motorist Rodney King in 1991 – which sparked civil unrest in Los Angeles and throughout the country in 1992 – the savage beating of 51-year-old African American woman Marlene Pinnock by a yet to be named White California Highway Patrol officer on the Santa Monica Freeway on July 1 was captured by cell phone video. A community is outraged, civil rights and community leaders are planning a protest and the victim’s attorney is demanding justice.
July 10, 2014
Detroit activists concerned about the massive water shutoffs across the economically devastated city blocked entrances into the yard of Homrich, a firm given a nearly $6 million contract to terminate services for hundreds of thousands of people. The firm was hired by emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed by right-wing Gov. Rick Snyder, who forced the city into the largest municipal bankruptcy in United States history a year ago.
July 5, 2014
Over 65 million people in the U.S., perhaps a fifth of our sisters and brothers, are not enjoying the “unalienable rights” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” promised when the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. They are about 20 percent of our U.S. population. This July 4 can be an opportunity to remember them and rededicate ourselves and our country to making these promises real for all people in the U.S.
July 1, 2014
Her name was Yuri, a Japanese woman born in the United States. I hesitate to call her a Japanese-American, for to do so suggests she was a citizen. In light of how she, her family and her community were treated during World War II, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, to call any of them citizens would be an exaggeration. Yuri Kochiyama, freedom fighter, after 93 summers, has become an ancestor.
June 28, 2014
In March 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced it would begin shutting off water service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers every week if their water bills were not paid. Thousands of families are now without water. A coalition of grassroots groups submitted a report to the United Nations naming these shut-offs as a violation of human rights.
June 27, 2014
The Death Penalty is one of many signs of a society that is morally deteriorating, especially a society that proclaims an affinity with God and the Holy Scriptures. First of all, there’s nothing in the Holy Scriptures which gives moral support and/or credence to the implementation of the Death Penalty. This is a man-made evil, and it is this spiritual contradiction that will eventually condemn us all to a spiritual and moral death.
June 26, 2014
The Jackson Rising Organizing Committee and Cooperation Jackson sincerely thank all who attended and all our supporters for helping to make the New Economies Conference a total success. You, along with more than 500 other participants, helped to secure the legacy of the Lumumba administration and establish a solid foundation for the development of Cooperation Jackson as a vehicle to build economic democracy in Jackson, Mississippi.
June 26, 2014
Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th Anniversary Conference is underway! Join us through June 29 at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., as we bring everything full circle. Just as in 1964, young people will be at the center of the Freedom Summer 50th commemoration with their own Youth Congress. The Youth Congress will cover topics like voting rights, education, healthcare and workers’ rights, but with a definite nod to a younger audience.
June 25, 2014
In mid-June, Gov. Brown signed the Budget Act of 2015, which shows no vision for the future of most Californians. In total, this budget underestimated the amount of resources available, overestimated the cost of vital programs, and chose spending on debt service, rainy day funds and prisons instead of the people of California and the vital services they need.
June 25, 2014
This is a story about music, radio and the connection to the human spirit. The date is Jan. 10, 1992, and Troy Williams and his cellmate at Pelican Bay Prison are using wire to make an antenna for a radio. Williams was looking for something on the radio he was familiar with, but as usual he was greeted by a flurry of country music. This particular night however, Williams and his cellmate were fortunate.
June 1, 2014
“I’m going to win my fight over sickle cell anemia,” declares little Nicholas Hinkins. Having a bone marrow transplant is the only hope for saving this little boy’s life. Nick’s twin brother Christopher is a perfect 100 percent match! Chris’s bone marrow can possibly save Nick’s life. But we must go to Atlanta, Georgia, for the treatment. Readers can visit HealNickHinkins.com or GoFundMe to learn more about Nicholas and donate for this lifesaving procedure. His entire family is profoundly grateful for donations in any and all amounts.
May 26, 2014
As we pause to remember the nation’s war dead, it’s worth remembering that Memorial Day was first celebrated by Black Union troops and free Black Americans in Charleston, South Carolina at the end of the Civil War. The free Black population of Charleston, primarily consisting of former slaves, engaged in a series of celebrations to proclaim the meaning of the war as they saw it.
May 19, 2014
During an interview with Anderson Cooper on May 13, disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling tried to distract the public from his history of racial bigotry by changing the conversation to attacking and stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS. The Black AIDS Institute urges communities, advocates, policymakers and, once again, the NBA to work aggressively to create an environment where we eliminate HIV-related stigma.
May 16, 2014
Community groups today condemned the brutality of police officers who allegedly handcuffed, choked and violently kicked a young Florida boy for opening the window on his school bus. The attack on the young man is part of a broader pattern of police brutality in Florida and the painful realities of the school-to-prison pipeline in the state.