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California and the U.S.

Aunti Francis of the Aunti Francis Self-Help Hunger Program and Love Mission marches against displacement on Martin Luther King Day in Oakland. – Photo: PNN

California: For rich people only?

April 13, 2015

Thousands of families, elders and babies across the state are under attack by the concerted forces of gentrification and removal by the white-supremacist nation that would like to remove us all. From police terror to the acts of elder and child abuse caused by eviction to the endless building of prisons and militarizing of these colonizer created borders leaves us all asking who is this shiny state being built for?

“Everybody loved him,” Walter Scott’s mother told reporters. “He was the most outgoing out of all of us. He knew everybody,” his older brother said.

ACLU: America’s obsession with locking up Black men led directly to death of Walter Scott

April 12, 2015

If America hadn’t become a nation that excessively incarcerates Black men for minor, nonviolent offenses, Walter Scott’s funeral would not be happening because he’d likely still be alive. That’s the conclusion drawn by Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project.

Blacks picking cotton in the U.S. in 1897

With no more cotton to pick, what will America do with 40 million Black people?

April 11, 2015

Our American economy was built on the backs of Black slaves who were initially brought to America to work in the cotton, tobacco and sugar cane fields. America’s dilemma today is what to do with 40 million Black American descendants of those slaves who were shipped, as commodities, to American shores 400 years ago for their economic value yet whose heirs today are deemed of no value to America’s economic mission.

The man Walter Scott’s family lawyer calls a hero for recording Scott’s police murder came forward to be interviewed on NBC News today. He had delayed releasing his video to the press – he gave it first to The New York Times – until he could first show it to Scott’s family and until the police department had given the press Officer Slager’s version of events.

Witness who recorded shooting of Walter Scott speaks out: Cop had control before he shot

April 8, 2015

The bystander who recorded a South Carolina officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man eight times said the cop had control of the situation before he pulled out his gun. “I remember the police had control of the situation,” Feidin Santana said during the interview. “You can hear the sound of a Taser … I believe [Scott] was just trying to get away from the Taser.” Update: Watch a powerful video of the reunion between Santana and Walter Scott’s family.

A frame from the video recorded April 4 by a passerby – a “hero,” according to the victim’s family’s attorney – shows Officer Michael Slager, 33, checking out Walter Scott, 50, the man he had stopped for a faulty taillight, then shot eight times in the back as he ran. The video also shows Slager planting his Taser next to Scott as he lay dead or dying. Slager has been fired and charged with murder.

White cop charged with murder for shooting Black man in South Carolina

April 8, 2015

A white South Carolina police officer was arrested and charged with murder Tuesday after video showed him fatally shooting a fleeing, unarmed Black man in the back. North Charleston Police Officer Michael T. Slager, 33, can be seen shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott after a confrontation on Saturday. Slager chases Scott and shoots at him eight times in the video recorded by a passerby

Art: J. Heshima Denham, J-38283, Cor-SHU, 4B-1L-25, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran CA 93212

Quest for Democracy Day 2015: Formerly incarcerated people will press legislators to allow them to thrive

April 7, 2015

To formerly incarcerated people, their families, friends, allies and comrades, join us for a day of grassroots legislative visits at the California State Capitol on Monday, April 27. We need to speak out when our suffering outlasts our jail or prison sentences. Bills are being considered that directly relate to our capacity to thrive as human beings. Buses will roll out of both Northern and Southern California. Join us.

Oakland’s action was in Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, the scene of many, many struggles for justice in recent years. Readers are urged to come out in droves on April 23 and the 23rd of every month. We may not be able to rid the world of all evils, but we CAN end solitary confinement!

The first monthly Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement held March 23

March 28, 2015

Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.

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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.

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