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Wiping the stain of capital punishment clean

November 20, 2017

Soon the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a case with the potential to end this nation’s abominably long and freakish experimentation with the death penalty. That’s right, drum roll, please. Because, if it grants certiorari in Hidalgo v. Arizona – a case Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe describes as emblematic of “the problems with our [country’s] current capital punishment regimes” – America’s broken and vile “machinery of death” can finally be trashed in the junkyard of our dark, wayward humanity. Implore the Supreme Court to wipe capital punishment’s bloody stain away. Forever.

The Caribbean is being killed: Time to fight back

November 20, 2017

A while back, people might have argued that this was a statement of journalistic exaggeration, a way to grab the reader’s attention by fear mongering, but today it is an unfortunate statement of fact when one looks around the region. While the intensity and unrelenting nature of this year’s hurricane season has captured a great deal of media attention, the way these storms have intersected with the region’s indebtedness, vulnerable, dependent economies and correspondingly weakened state capacity has not.

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Filed Under: Haiti and Latin America
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Police massacre in Gran Ravin, protesting students in Cap Haitien beaten by police

November 18, 2017

Monday, Nov. 13, was a day of extra-judicial killings of men and women estimated by community residents to total 14, plus a number of disappeared. Many are reported wounded by police gunfire and beatings with hammers. In addition, news reports mention 31 arbitrary arrests, and many children and adults were injured by the very potent tear gas used by the police. In the northern city of Cap-Haitien, marching students shouting, “Down with the army, long live education, long live schools!” were brutally attacked by the police using tear gas and batons.

Victory for academic freedom: Judge dismisses Israel Lobby suit against SF State and Palestinian professor

November 17, 2017

On Nov. 8, a federal judge said that he will dismiss a lawsuit against San Francisco State University, several SFSU administrators and Professor Rabab Abdulhadi. The suit was filed in June by The Lawfare Project, the self-described “legal arm of the pro-Israel movement.” Lawfare accused defendants of “fostering a hostile environment for Jewish students” by tolerating the activism of Palestinian students and loud criticism of Israel’s policies. “I am pleased that the judge saw through the bunch of lies by The Lawfare Project,” Abdulhadi said.

Burundi defies the Imperial Criminal Court, an interview with John Philpot

November 16, 2017

The International Criminal Court (ICC) propagates injustice as stark as slavery or South African apartheid. It’s a Western court that prosecutes Africans exclusively. In June 2011, the ICC indicted Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi and his son Saif al-Islam Qaddafi. Now, six years later, Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has announced that she will investigate Burundian officials for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the country’s past three years of civil unrest.

How did friendly Berkeley come to be spying for the FBI?

November 12, 2017

Berkeley’s police are collaborating with some very unsavory federal police agencies. In the process, our civil rights and civil liberties have been put in jeopardy. Which side is Berkeley on? Do we really want to be part of a national police network headed by “America’s top cop,” the arch-racist attorney general, Jeff Sessions? The City Council needs to decisively sever Berkeley from a militarized surveillance state that is spreading its tentacles everywhere.

Plan to protect San Francisco neighborhoods from fire after a major earthquake abandoned

November 12, 2017

As the smoke clears from the devastating fires north of San Francisco that burned roughly 200,000 acres, incinerated more than 7,000 houses and killed 42 people, San Francisco might notice the distant roar of its own disastrous inferno approaching. More than 15 San Francisco neighborhoods could burn to the ground due to a lack of water at the SF Fire Department’s disposal after a major earthquake. A plan to expand the city’s emergency firefighting network was stalled for years because of political interference and one city agency’s refusal to ask voters for all of the money that is needed to protect neighborhoods in the southern and western parts of the city.

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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Judicial sovereignty: Victoire Ingabire and the African Court

November 10, 2017

Friends and supporters of Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire are still waiting for the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights to rule on her appeal. In 2010, Victoire attempted to run for president against military dictator Paul Kagame and went to prison instead. Many Rwandans describe their country as a tinderbox, an earthquake fault, or a smoldering volcano because of its brutal oligarchy, unresolved ethnic polarization, and repressed memories of violence and loss.

Healthcare is a human right!

November 9, 2017

Healthcare is a human right! I’ve heard that phrase many times in my 20 years advocating for universal healthcare. Until now, few legislators in Sacramento have spoken those words. On Oct. 23 and 24, however, California Assembly members Jim Wood and Joaquin Arambula, co-chairs of the Assembly’s Select Committee on Healthcare, said, “Healthcare is a human right.” The other Democratic members of the committee, Autumn Burke, David Chiu and Laura Friedman, all agreed.

Hipster-gentrifiers defend their illusions of ‘innocence’ in Oakland’s homeless crisis

November 8, 2017

On Oct. 13, 2017, San Francisco Bay View posted my essay “Hipsters de-Blacken Oakland, cause the encampments they abhor.” In the essay, I argued that Oakland leaders helped displace mainly native African American Oaklanders in order to make room for the hipsters and gentrifiers. Thus, the hipsters and gentrifiers have a duty to help solve the homeless crisis. However, several commenters to my essay showed ignorance or denial in defending their “innocence.”

Bayview nonprofit to transform liquor store into STEM school

November 8, 2017

A liquor store in Bayview will soon become a school. Bayview-based nonprofit Urban Ed Academy intends to transform Sav-Mor Mart, located at 4500 Third St., into its new headquarters at the beginning of 2018. The idea for creating an educational facility at the corner of Third Street and La Salle Avenue started with Chris and Cynthia Fleming, who have owned the building since 1997.

ACLU calls on Alameda School District to lift Black Lives Matter ban

November 7, 2017

The ACLU of Northern California sent a letter to the superintendent of the Alameda Unified School District urging him to reconsider a ban on Black Lives Matter signs and stickers. The ban violates the California constitution by placing unlawful restrictions on student speech and conduct, as well as the First Amendment. “Black Lives Matter stickers and signs are protected speech and censorship of them is illegal,” said ACLU of Northern California staff attorney Abré Conner.

Mario Woods and the movement for justice in our second year

November 6, 2017

On Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017, community will gather in the Bayview to honor Mario Woods on the second anniversary of his execution by San Francisco Police. We will come together once again to show the city of San Francisco that we will NEVER forget, and until such time as our demands for justice are met, we will never stop seeking Justice for Mario Woods and justice for all victims of police violence.

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ISIS of Central Africa a new cover for plundering Congo

November 5, 2017

A video calling for an Islamic State jihad in the Democratic Republic of the Congo appeared online and in a few news reports last week. It was purportedly made in Beni Territory, within Congo’s North Kivu Province, where a phantom so-called Islamist militia, the Allied Democratic Forces, has been blamed for massacres of the indigenous population that began in October 2014. I asked Boniface Musavuli, a native of Beni and author of “The Massacres of Beni: Kabila, Rwanda, and the Fake Islamists” to help contextualize the so-called news.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Public defenders stand up to money bail

November 4, 2017

In response to a pair of major statewide developments in the fight to abolish money bail, San Francisco public defenders will file challenges in every criminal case in which bail is set. San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today that his office has filed 282 challenges in current felonies and misdemeanors since Oct. 10, representing 14 times the amount typically filed in the same period. Each challenge results in a hearing in which a judge must consider the defendant’s financial circumstances and alternatives to incarceration rather than simply relying on a pre-set dollar amount.

Making sure ‘brothers and sisters’ attain real jobs and contracts on Alice Griffith Housing Development Project

November 3, 2017

On Oct. 20, 2017, The Labor Compliance Managers, pictured here with participating trainees who helped facilitate the event, worked in partnership with HUD to coordinate an educational forum hosted at the SFPUC’s Contractors Assistance Center. Because of people like Dr. Espanola Jackson, today San Francisco has a local hire mandate that was approved in December of 2010, as well as other City policies that strive to bring equity and inclusion to under-represented communities throughout San Francisco, including Bayview Hunters Point.

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Reclaiming our land when gentrifiers lurk

November 3, 2017

Gentrification is the process in which neighborhoods where people of color have lived for years become desirable, especially from the viewpoint of the white gentrifier. This process frequently begins, but most often ends in the displacement of long-time residents. It seems contradictory that white hipsters who support progressive movements, liberation and climate justice are the very people who contribute to the elimination of marginalized communities.

Burundi exits the ICC, an interview with David Paul Jacobs

November 2, 2017

Last year the African Union resisted Western pressure to intervene militarily in Burundi. On Oct. 26, Burundi officially completed its withdrawal from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without being indicted. Western powers, NGOs and press have accused Burundi of human rights abuse within its own borders but not of invading another country. I asked Canadian lawyer David Paul Jacobs, an expert in international law, to contextualize this distinction.

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Filed Under: Africa and the World
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Community pushes for equity in cannabis licensing

November 2, 2017

Activists, business owners and community members argued that victims of the War on Drugs should be given consideration as the city of San Francisco develops licensing policy for its fledgling recreational marijuana industry at a community forum on Oct. 21. The forum, which was held at the historic Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater and called by San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, was designed to engage community members in discussion regarding the cannabis industry.

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Filed Under: SF Bay Area
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New Community Leadership Foundation announces creation of Oversight Board for Fillmore Heritage Center

October 31, 2017

Residents and community organization leaders in the Fillmore District are banding together to ensure that the community benefits package promised to them by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development actually materializes with the forthcoming sale of the Fillmore Heritage Center. The New Community Leadership Foundation will host a rally on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 12 noon outside of the Fillmore Heritage Center at 1330 Fillmore St. to formally announce the creation of the Fillmore Heritage Center Oversight Board and solicit applications.

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