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California and the U.S.

Then take the money you didn’t spend and #InvestInJustUs. Acknowledge and support our justice-seeking institutions who labor to defend us 365 days a year.

Beyond #BoycottBlackFriday, Invest in Justice #InvestInJustUs

November 27, 2014

The call to action here is to, while outraged, spend some time and energy focusing on what we have, who stands for us, who needs our help. So YES to #BoycottBlackFriday and yes to #InvestInJustUs. Let’s acknowledge and support our justice-seeking institutions who labor to defend us 365 days a year.

Thanksgiving and Ferguson: Mixed generation Black immigrant family’s holiday meal

November 27, 2014

As thanksgiving approaches, many of us are receiving messages that reflect on what we should be thankful for. Coming on the heels of the grand jury decision on Michael Brown, it is obvious some of us may not be feeling particularly blessed and thankful, living in a system that threatens our boys – our lives. Like all families across this nation that mix generations of American kids with immigrant parents and grandparents, the story is mixed and at times complicated.

Dorian Johnson – Photo: Laurie Skrivan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

SF Public Defender calls refusal to indict Ferguson killer cop legal, ethical racial bias

November 26, 2014

Wilson’s description of Brown as a “demon” with superhuman strength and unremitting rage and his description of the neighborhood as “hostile” illustrate implicit racial bias that taints use-of-force decisions. These biases surely contribute to the fact that African Americans are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than whites in the U.S., but the statement’s racial implications remained unexamined.

Michael Brown Sr.

Who torched Michael Brown Sr.’s church the day after his baptism?

November 26, 2014

The pastor said he doubted the same people who were raging on the other end of West Florissant had burned his church. Instead, he said, he suspected white supremacists who wanted to punish him for his support of the Brown family, who had just been baptized there.

Cheris Place writes: “Immediately after the shooting, people poured out in the streets in shock and sympathy for the family. It started out as a peaceful protest and a candlelight memorial for this young man. However, Ferguson and St. Louis County sent in cops in riot gear, and reportedly allowed their dog to urinate on the flowers Michael’s mother had put over his blood.”

Let’s talk about Ferguson

November 23, 2014

I was born and raised in Missouri, so hopefully I can shed some light on how Ferguson, a little Missouri suburb of 21,000 people, became the focus of the nation, and even the world. I am getting the stench that they’re about to pull the pin on another grenade to throw that community into upheaval, so first let’s take a hard look at what they’ve been through and why. First of all, when we think of racism, we tend to think of Mississippi and Alabama due to the events of the ‘60s. However, Missouri was one of the bloodiest states during the Civil War because it was so divided – and it is still that divided today, as we’ve seen in Ferguson.

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St. Louis rebels Chip Wiley and his friend Tommy exchange war stories and pictures from the previous night. These photos were taken in August, in over 100-degree heat. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

From the front lines in Ferguson: ‘We will go out hard’

November 19, 2014

They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, … all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.

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“Police officers move in to arrest protesters as they push and clear crowds out of the West Florissant Avenue area in Ferguson, Mo., early Wednesday, Aug. 20,” reads the AP caption. – Photo: Curtis Compton, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Ten illegal police actions to watch for in Ferguson

November 18, 2014

When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least 10 different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others, so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the U.S.

Advocates celebrate Prop. 47 victory against mass incarceration and war on drugs but raise concerns about where the funding will go: four perspectives

November 6, 2014

On Nov. 4, California voters passed criminal justice reform measure Proposition 47. Proposition 47 changes the lowest level drug possession and petty theft crimes from felonies to simple misdemeanors for some people. Although re-sentencing is not guaranteed, up to 10,000 people in California’s prisons and jails will be eligible for resentencing, and newly sentenced individuals who meet the requirements will be under county jurisdiction.

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Prop 47: We support it, but it’s complicated …

November 3, 2014

You may be aware of California’s ballot initiative Prop 47, which would reduce six crimes that could be charged as felonies to misdemeanors and prevent thousands of people from being incarcerated. Prop 47 represents an important opportunity to push back on overcharging people for crimes that leads to mass incarceration. All of Us or None will continue to loudly demand an end to overcharging and for the freedom of our people.

NAAFRA: We need a youth hip-hop vanguard for change

October 29, 2014

NAAFRA, our family movement, calls for a youth vanguard to provide added strength for immediate results. The need for a youth vanguard is made very clear in Ferguson, Missouri, where the world has been watching our youth confront a militarized police force prepared to fire on unarmed Black citizens. With these courageous youth directly in the line of fire, at that moment we were too close to a line we do not want to cross.

World famous commentator and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal gave the commencement speech Oct. 5 at Goddard College, where he earned his degree, at the invitation of the students and with the backing of the administration, which had to move the ceremony forward three hours to avoid threatened disruption from police who have long sought to silence Mumia. Immediately, Philadelphia’s Fraternal Order of Police pressured the state Legislature for this Victim Revictimization Relief Act, enabling victims to sue to stop a prisoner from causing them mental anguish, thus silencing Mumia and other state prisoners. “Unconstitutional Tom” Corbett, Pennsylvania’s very unpopular governor, urged legislators to pass the bill. They did and he signed it on Oct. 21. Prison censorship has hit a new low!

Another ‘Mumia Rule’

October 28, 2014

Anyone even remotely familiar with my case knows about the “Mumia Rule.” That’s when the court or agency changes its rule or precedent to go against me. When Amnesty International wrote about my case, that was its essential focus: that laws and precedents that applied to other cases would be changed when it came to me. Now, the Mumia Rule has been enacted into law, the so-called Victim Revictimization Act.

Corrections Dept. agents bang on activist’s door at 8 a.m. over a postcard she wrote to a prisoner

October 27, 2014

This morning, Monday, Oct. 27, 2014, at 8 a.m., I woke up to sounds of hard banging at my door. I thought it was the person to fix my broken heater, but once I looked outside my peephole I saw what I thought were two sheriff’s officers. My heart pounded thinking something terrible had happened to my child if two officers are standing outside my door with full blown police gear on.

The official Michael Brown autopsy report doesn’t say what the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it does

October 24, 2014

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article about the controversial leaked autopsy report quotes California forensics expert Dr. Judy Melinek extensively, but it turns out that she didn’t say what the story says she did. If you think the official autopsy report exonerates Darren Wilson, blame it on a couple of reporters who blithely misquoted a forensics expert to – apparently – support the headline they wanted to write.

Rev. Pinkney: Why I’m charged with election fraud

October 21, 2014

The USA proclaims itself the “land of freedom,” but the reality is we live under the world’s most corrupt legal system. It has rigged courts, bribed judges, phony trials, extortion by lawyers and over 2 million prisoners. That’s more prisoners than any other country, in real numbers and proportionately. You can be sent to prison and even put to death with absolutely no evidence.

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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