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California and the U.S.

UN committee urges US government to pay reparations for slavery

February 7, 2016

A United Nations panel of human rights activists has urged the United States’ government to pay reparations to the descendants of Africans who were brought to the U.S. as slaves. The committee blamed slavery for the plight of African-Americans today. The U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent’s preliminary report follows a year of aggravated racial tensions in the United States that saw the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

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UN panel hears wrenching testimony of abuse in Black Chicago

February 2, 2016

After 2.5 years of foundation laying work, Willie JR Fleming of the Anti-Eviction Campaign has finally caught the attention of the international community. At his behest, the United Nations sent its Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to Chicago to take first-hand testimony from people of color who have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of systemic racism and colonialism.

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NAACP secures changes to California Marijuana Initiative

January 31, 2016

With California voters likely to decide by ballot initiative this year whether to become the fifth state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the state chapter of the NAACP saw an opportunity to address related civil rights issues it has been concerned with for years. After successfully voicing their concerns, the state’s NAACP chapter endorsed the ballot initiative.

Black Chicagoans with disabilities stand solid against police terror

January 30, 2016

The activism of the late May Molina can be seen in two young Black disabled activists, Candace Marie and Timotheus Gordon Jr., of Chicago today living in the middle of not only the aftermath and protesting of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, but also budget cuts in special education and the recent release of a Hollywood film, “Chi-Raq,” that have pointed the spotlight on Chicago.

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Can labor support both Black Lives Matter and police unions?

January 29, 2016

As union members gathered in the nation’s capital over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, some of the country’s top labor leaders faced tough questions about how the movement can reconcile its support for racial justice with its embrace of police unions. Over the last year, the AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of unions, has faced calls from some in its membership to end its affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations.

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US police are killing people with war-crimes ammunition

January 25, 2016

Virtually every person shot to death by police handguns in the U.S. in the last 20 years has been killed with a bullet that international law has declared to be a war crime. By challenging the police dum-dum, the Black Lives movement could assert, even by implication, that Black people, under assault from racist police and the white supremacist state, should be entitled to at least some of the protections of international law.

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Boycott major Michigan corporations

Boycott Michigan! Jail Snyder, cronies for Flint lead poisoning, domestic terrorism, racism

January 22, 2016

The deliberate lead poisoning of the people of Flint, especially its children, babies and those still in their mothers’ wombs, likely ranks among the greatest genocidal crimes in the U.S. in the 21st century, an act of domestic terrorism comparable only to the thousands of murders of unarmed Blacks, Latinos and poor people by law enforcement since 2000. Direct action by the people can be the only appropriate response.

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Covered California holds Big Sunday events on Jan. 17 in hundreds of churches throughout the state to encourage African Americans to sign up for health insurance before the Jan. 31 deadline. Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, addresses the congregation at First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME) in Los Angeles as guest of Pastor Edgar Boyd (center, sitting). – Photo: Ian Foxx

Covered California ‘Big Sunday’ connects with more than 500 African American churches statewide

January 19, 2016

Three of the largest churches in Los Angeles County – First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles (FAME), Faithful Central Bible Church and City of Refuge Church – joined forces with Covered California over MLK Jr. Day weekend to reach the African American community with a message that health insurance is now a right that is available to everyone, and it is time to exercise that right by enrolling and getting family and friends to enroll.

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Covered California estimates hundreds of thousands of Californians face increased tax penalty if they go without health insurance in 2016

January 13, 2016

Covered California is reminding consumers that time is running out to avoid the increased tax penalty for those who do not have health insurance in 2016, and the exchange is encouraging Californians without coverage to explore their options and sign up to avoid a big tax bill. The deadline to sign up for a health insurance plan that starts on Feb. 1 is Friday, Jan. 15. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 31, and anyone signing up between Jan. 16 and Jan. 31 will have their health care coverage start on March 1.

Bayview Hunters Point residents’ demands to shut down the old PG&E power plant that poisoned the air and water, causing the children especially to suffer such ills as unstoppable nosebleeds, went unheard and unheeded for years.

EPA Office of Civil Rights proposes to weaken civil rights protections – hearing in Oakland Jan. 20

January 12, 2016

The EPA dismissed 90 percent of claims it received alleging environmental discrimination and never issued a finding of environmental discrimination in its 22-year history of investigating civil rights complaints despite repeated national studies showing that communities of color face a disproportionate burden of environmental pollution. Protest the EPA’s environmental racism at an EPA hearing Wednesday, Jan. 20, 9:30 a.m. to noon, at the Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland.

A police officer holds a Taser, also known as a stun gun or ECW.

Expert: Stun guns are far from being a ‘nonlethal’ alternative to bullets

December 22, 2015

In the wake of public outcry over the latest police shooting, of Mario Woods, an unarmed African American, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr has revived his previous call to equip his officers with electronic stun guns, also called electronic control weapons (ECWs). With similar cases in Chicago, New York and Miami, New America Media’s Paul Kleyman interviewed Aram James, a leading opponent of ECWs, about their risks.

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'Victory! UC Divests!' by Afrikan Black Coalition

Black students persuade University of California to divest from private prisons – Wells Fargo next

December 18, 2015

Afrikan Black Coalition Political Director Yoel Haile states: “This victory is historic and momentous. Divesting $25 million is a good step towards shutting down private prisons by starving them of capital. This is a clear example of Black Power and what we can achieve when we work in unity. This victory belongs to the masses of our people languishing behind America’s mass incarceration regime.”

Nuclear terrorism kills millions, enriches the few

December 16, 2015

Maybe we should look more broadly when defining terrorism – as something beyond just foreigners or lawbreakers. Some terrorists may actually operate within the law. One such example is environmental terrorism, generated by those companies that pollute our ecosystem with harmful chemicals that enter human bodies and cause people to suffer and die. Any discussion of terrorism should include those who are harming our precious planet and its inhabitants.

Do you live in a ‘hot spot’? need health insurance? Covered California can help, but 12/15 deadline looming

December 11, 2015

Covered California has released a list of the top areas in the San Francisco Bay Area where high numbers of people who qualify for subsidized health insurance are believed to reside. The “hot spots” released today show the estimated highest concentrations of subsidy-eligible uninsured individuals – people who qualify for help to buy health insurance through Covered California but have not yet taken advantage of it.

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Imam Malik, better known as Jeff Fort, is recognized by the Jericho Movement as a political prisoner, imprisoned for his political beliefs.

The grandson of Imam Malik bka Jeff Fort of the Black Stone Rangers speaks on Tyshawn Lee and Laquan McDonald

December 2, 2015

The Block Report talked with Amir, the grandson of Imam Malik, better known as Jeff Fort, the leader of the Black Stone Rangers, about the recent murder of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee and the Chicago police murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was “shot 16 times after he hit on the ground.” Amir asks, “If you’re going to blame a whole community for this 9-year-old boy passing, how can you not convict the whole Chicago Police Department for the murder of the 17-year-old boy?”

Congresswomen Shirley Chisholm and Barbara Lee at an event they attended together in Berkeley in about 1995.

Shirley Chisholm awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

November 30, 2015

Throughout her life, Congresswoman Chisholm broke many barriers while tirelessly advocating for the most vulnerable in our nation and our world. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of work and advocacy. In 1969, Congresswoman Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress. She was the first major-party African American candidate and first Democratic woman candidate for the U.S. presidency. Shirley Chisholm had guts.

The man beaten and choked at a Donald Trump rally tells his story

November 28, 2015

When activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was curled up on the ground getting kicked, punched and choked by Donald Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he thought: “I can’t die today. I’ve got shit to do. I have little kids. Fuck these people.” Southall told ThinkProgress that he decided to go to Trump’s event with two friends in order to speak out against the frontrunner candidate’s “racist” rhetoric.

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Amid complaints from police that they’re being intimidated, Chicago youth, one on one, show they are not afraid during Nov. 24 protests over the dashcam video of Officer Van Dyke’s murder of Laquan McDonald. – Photo: Chicago Tribune

#LaquanMcDonald: As video released, cop charged with murder 1, activists demand Police Supt. McCarthy, State’s Attorney Alvarez resign

November 26, 2015

The City of Chicago has released, under court order, the dashcam video from the brutal killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer – and it’s as bad as we all expected. At the same time as they released the video, the county prosecutor announced she’d be pursuing first degree murder charges against McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke. Unfortunately, these are charges that should have been filed a year ago.

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Marcus Abrams, 17, was attacked when police found him and a couple of friends on the Metro Transit tracks. Abrams, who has autism, says police slammed him to the ground, causing him to suffer a seizure. He was not charged with a crime. – Photo: Adrienne Broaddus, KARE

Sister shares story about police profiling and beating her autistic brother

November 24, 2015

I’m used to reading about and advocating for adults with disabilities, but today our Black and Brown youth with disabilities are increasingly targeted for police brutality and incarceration. Everybody cares about kids, so when will disabled and Black community activists focus more on stopping state violence against youth with disabilities and providing programs after the tragedy?

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Eight hundred people filled Harvard’s Memorial Church on Oct. 30, 2015, when Alicia Garza, Oakland-based co-founder of the Black Lives Matter network, was the honoree of the ninth annual Robert Coles “Call of Service” Lecture and Award. She began by dedicating the award to the BLM network and the people “still fighting for humanity and dignity.” When she coined the phrase Black Lives Matter in 2013, she called it “a love letter to our people” and “a call to action.” – Photo: Jon Chase, Harvard staff photographer

Alicia Garza honored at Harvard: One equal temper of heroic hearts

November 21, 2015

Before I drew closer to the wide steps of the church, I realized my mistake – it was not empty at all. Three lines of people stood waiting to enter the doors to hear what Alicia Garza had to say. That evening she would be receiving the Robert Coles “Call of Service” Award. The Coles Award is certainly prestigious, if for no other reason than that Harvard’s famous Dr. Robert Coles is known to set the bar very high to encourage others to follow his example.

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