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
It is hard not to cry watching the unfolding horror in Gaza – children with heads blown off, a pregnant woman with her body torn by a shell, babies with missing limbs, targeting of playing children, targeting hospitals, targeting ambulances and even a handicap center, killing two handicapped children. Israeli forces then ratcheted up their attacks committing large scale massacres in places like Shujaia and Beit Hanoun.
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 21, 2014
After the Richmond City Council meeting of July 1, I experienced one of the most intense and hostile encounters I have had to endure as a public official and in my entire life for that matter. Since then, there has been at least one news report and a series of deliberate misrepresentations of what took place that night. It is not my intention to respond to false accusations raised or dignify the insults with a response.
July 18, 2014
I am proposing that a fund or funds be set up in memory of Andy Lopez to help students, especially Latino students and other disenfranchised students of color, who are in need of financial support and are struggling to achieve the goal of higher education. I strongly urge that the district attorney, the sheriff, the City Council and the Board of Supervisors, as well as all law enforcement agencies, contribute to these efforts.
July 18, 2014
The Girls and Boys Club departure is sobering for island parents. It establishes that a venerable organization refuses to participate in exposing young people – their children – to radioactive and chemical poisons it knows to a certainty exist at its former site. What if Job Corps and the other small island businesses employing many young people followed suit?
July 16, 2014
Three years ago, on July 16, 2011, I awakened to the news that San Francisco police had killed my 19-year-old son, Kenneth Harding Jr., for allegedly evading a $2 bus fare. It’s hard when you’re trying to find out what happened to your child but no one will produce the facts that support the theory that he supposedly killed himself. The police put that message out and never backed it up, hoping to take away any sense of empathy. This month will be our 29th consecutive month of feeding the community at the very spot where Kenneth’s blood still stains the ground.
July 13, 2014
When I first heard about Andy, I had no doubt that there would be no justice coming from the D.A.’s office; it will come from the people. Expecting the D.A. to provide justice in this case would be like asking Israel to stop shelling Palestine. The oppressors will never police themselves. But what did give me hope was seeing the people rising up in Santa Rosa demanding an end to state terror.
July 12, 2014
I am writing this as ambulance and rescue crews continue to search for bodies. Gaza is currently enduring one of Israel’s heaviest bombings. In the last hour, during and after Iftar, the meal breaking the daily Ramadan fast, 80 air strikes were launched on Gaza, according to Israeli sources. These strikes targeted homes, streets, schools, mosques, governmental buildings, greenhouses and agricultural fields.
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 3, 2014
The father of Oscar Grant III, whose shocking death at the hands of a transit police officer was memorialized in the award-winning film “Fruitvale Station” was denied damages yesterday by a federal jury. The jury found that the father – who had been in prison all of his son’s life – failed to show he had a close familial relationship with his son and failed to prove the officer intentionally harmed his son for reasons “unrelated to legitimate law-enforcement objectives.”
July 2, 2014
Gentile, soft-spoken Sandy Agee represents a group of African-American Bayview Hunters Point residents who thought they escaped radiation and chemicals that the Navy dumped at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, turning it into one of the nation’s most radioactive EPA Superfund sites. They discovered the Navy also carpeted their refuge, Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay.
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 30, 2014
In the midst of San Francisco’s affordability crisis, where evictions of tenants in rent controlled housing units have skyrocketed, Supervisor David Campos, Public Defender Jeff Adachi and tenant advocates are asking the City of San Francisco to fund enough attorneys to provide a right to counsel for any tenant facing an unlawful detainer eviction.