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Defending sanctuary and fighting for abolition: It’s our time to be bold

June 24, 2017

We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.

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The federalization of local police: Why the Urban Shield vote failed

June 21, 2017

On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.

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City of Berkeley to vote on Urban Shield war games and weapons expo

June 18, 2017

This coming Tuesday, June 20, the Berkeley City Council will hold a special meeting starting at 6 p.m. to decide whether or not to keep sending officers to the annual Urban Shield war games and weapons expo, which is billed as the world’s largest tactical training exercise for law enforcement and first responders. One of the expo’s best-selling T-shirts reads “Black Rifles Matter.” Urban Shield expos have been held around the country since the 9/11 attacks. In December 2015, then Berkeley City Councilor Max Anderson spoke in favor of withdrawing.

Love life, don’t take life: First Love Life billboard is up at 24th & Adeline, Oakland

June 16, 2017

As of 2016, “Love Life” became the City of Oakland’s motto. In early June, Health Through Art, a program of the Health Human Resource Education Center, announced the campaign release of Eric Norberg’s winning artwork piece, “Love Life.” The art will appear on 25 billboards throughout the city of Oakland displaying the slogan “Love Life, Don’t Take Life”. The first billboard, at 24th and Adeline, was dedicated and celebrated on the morning of Monday, June 12.

Oakland nonprofit jacks up the rent as Trump proposes $6.2 billion in cuts to HUD

June 4, 2017

With the Trump regime pushing for a massive $6.2 billion to $6.8 billion in budget cuts for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so-called nonprofit affordable housing developers see the writing on the wall and are jacking up the rents on the poor, elderly and disabled renters in their projects as fast as they can, before the budget cuts take effect. The fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget detailing the cuts was released May 23.

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Ending the bail system

June 4, 2017

California is taking a momentous step forward. The state Senate, supported by the Assembly, is moving to end bail as we know it. For as long as I have been a lawyer, “making bail” has been a requirement in our criminal justice system. The rule says you are “innocent until proven guilty.” Making bail is the first step that undermines the rule. In our system of justice, once you are arrested, you must prove your innocence. That requires money, starting with bail money.

SFSU commencement speaker Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, graduates with honors

June 3, 2017

While a graduate student in ethnic studies, Alicia Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter, an international organization that began in 2013 to fight violence and racism toward Black people. The organization began after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida. It has since grown to an international network of more than 40 chapters across North America and the United Kingdom.

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Who cares when children are taken from home to foster home – and abused?

June 3, 2017

Our children are our future. We must nurture them, protect them, give them the tools necessary to survive in this harsh and unforgiving world. What if I told you that the very system designated to care for and safeguard abused and neglected children is in gross and willful negligence of its role as “protector of innocence?” Why would Child Protective Services remove children from parental custody that have not been abused or neglected? The answer is simple and incredibly sad: financial incentives.

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Free summer meals program for SF children celebrates 20th anniversary

June 2, 2017

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered locally by the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth & Their Families (DCYF), 60 sites in every San Francisco neighborhood will offer free lunches and afternoon snacks to children and youth age 18 and under every Monday through Friday from May 30 to Aug. 18. No proof of need, registration or identification is required in order to receive a lunch or snack. Arrive at a designated site during the site’s serving time.

Making a case for beds in the Bayview

June 1, 2017

It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.

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TownBiz II, a launching pad for Black vendors, coming June 4 to Oakland’s Splash Pad Park

June 1, 2017

Kyle Wiggins started Wiggins Consulting to help businesses grow and refine their products and services. Desiring to be more strategic and supportive in a targeted fashion, he created TownBiz, a platform for expression where both budding and established businesses could showcase their goods while networking with like-minded entrepreneurs. TownBiz is a free trade market, serving as a launching pad for vendors.

10th annual Black Health and Healing Summit coming June 1-3

May 31, 2017

The annual Black Health and Healing Summit will take place the first weekend in June, June 1-3, in San Francisco and is expected to attract hundreds of health care professionals and community activists seeking to learn more about Black health inequities and strategies for improvement, as participants also experience the groundbreaking work of Dr. Joy DeGruy, the author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.”

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Why the rash of Bay Area police shootings?

May 30, 2017

Last week I noted that there had been a rash of police shootings all over the Bay Area and some of y’all thought I was literally seeing or making up things. Well over the Memorial Day weekend we had three people shot by Bay Area police in two days. Three police shootings in two days is a lot. Ten police shootings in six months by two police departments is a lot. One doesn’t have to look to places like Texas, St. Louis or Louisiana or other Trump-loving states to see questionable police shootings. A lot is happening right here in the Bay Area.

RIP: Mary L. Booker, civil rights activist, Bayview community theater leader

May 27, 2017

Mary L. Booker, a longtime associate of Bayview Opera House and civil rights advocate, passed away at Coming Home Hospice in San Francisco on May 11 of leukemia. She was 85. Booker moved to San Francisco in 1955. Five years later, she started Infinity Productions at Bayview Opera House, where she offered free acting workshops, in addition to writing and directing several productions. A strong advocate for social justice, Booker used the theatrical arts to promote African-American culture and bring together community members from different generations.

The story of SF Mayor Hood Robin’ and his Merrie Men

May 25, 2017

San Francisco has the highest employment disparity between Blacks and Whites in the country according to a February 2017 report from the Brookings Institution. The legend of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men who stole from the rich to give to the poor has more myth than truth to it. However, in San Francisco, the story of Mayor Hood Robin’ and his Merrie Men, who steal from the poor to give to the rich has more truth than myth.

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SF Sounds’ ‘Bring on the Bayview’ by Sarah Burchard greenlights white supremacist gentrification

May 22, 2017

On April 13, the ​SF Sounds​ newspaper made the mistake of publishing an article written by Sarah Burchard, entitled ​“Bring on the Bayview​.” From what we’ve gathered, Sarah Burchard is a white person who is not from San Francisco. ​As people born and raised in San Francisco and Bayview residents, we find Sarah’s article overtly ignorant and flat-out offensive. The article blatantly disrespects residents and our experiences in the current social, economic and political climate.

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Tribute to my pops, Kilo G Perry

May 16, 2017

As the music is turned up, sounds of Curtis Mayfield blaring, a little child running wild, scenes of the movie “Super Fly” flash through my mind as I envision Keith “Kilo G” Perry with a suit coat on, head full of rollers, platforms, addicted to the fast life of the Black Frisco streets. Kilo G – Oct. 13, 1954, to March 30, 2017 – and his great works have come to an end this year. He leaves a huge legacy for his family, relatives and friends to cherish his memory.

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Parents bring the child care crisis to Sacramento at the 21st annual Stand for Children Day

May 9, 2017

Anticipating the governor will maintain a conservative fiscal outlook and hesitate to keep previously promised budget commitments, 500 parents and children will rally tomorrow, May 10, at the state capitol and meet with their legislators to address policies that limit access to affordable child care. Parents are deeply concerned that failure to address 10-year-old outdated income eligibility criteria forces thousands of parents out of the state subsidized child care system, threatening their ability to maintain their jobs and progress toward economic self-sufficiency.

Parents Against CPS Corruption fights ‘medical kidnap’

May 5, 2017

Eight years ago, Melinda Garrett was induced into labor a month and a half before her due date. To Melinda, the baby represented a new beginning, a way to right all the wrongs and trauma and abuse she herself had endured as the survivor of childhood sexual and physical abuse, sex trafficking and a previously stillborn birth. She swore to break the cycle of abuse and to give everything she never had as a child to her newborn baby. She was never given that chance.

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Future plans for Southeast Campus remain cloudy

May 4, 2017

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has had its eye on the City College Southeast Campus for quite some time and has stressed that they will take into account the needs of the surrounding community, Bayview Hunters Point. However, it now appears that the SFPUC has not been open about what plans they have for the Southeast Campus.

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