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Asa Sullivan – Art: Nomy Lamm

The people’s investigation into the San Francisco police killing of Asa B. Sullivan

March 29, 2015

A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”

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At his March 26 press conference, Public Defender Jeff Adachi plays the recording of his interview with Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, a 150-pound Hawaiian and Filipino man, the smallest and only Asian in his pod at San Francisco County Jail, who was forced into gladiator fights with Stanly Harris, a 350-pound African-American man, the largest man in the pod, though neither wanted to fight. Garcia believes the deputies’ intent in forcing the fights was not only to entertain themselves as they gambled but to stir up racial animosity among prisoners. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle

SF County Jail prisoners forced into interracial gladiator-style fights

March 27, 2015

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial … because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.

This man decided to make installing solar panels on his roof a do-it-yourself project.

Making money with solar

March 26, 2015

What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar? If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that. The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us.

Thousands march up San Francisco’s Market Street in the youth-organized “Millions March” against police brutality in cities around the country on Dec. 13, 2014. Since then, SFPD has taken four more lives. – Photo: Jeremy Raff, KQED

Jim Crow San Francisco

March 24, 2015

Every morning, young and old African Americans are paraded through courtrooms in San Francisco, dressed in orange jumpsuits not unlike Guantanamo inmates and often shackled in handcuffs or chains. The vast majority of judges and prosecutors are resigned to that daily reality. The City’s jail in 1994 had 4.4 times the proportion of Black inmates as in San Francisco as a whole. By 2012, the jail population was 9.5 times more Black than The City. It is time to address the apartheid-like conditions in the metropolis and stop giving passes to the “liberal” coastal cities like San Francisco.

As Black-Brown solidarity grows in the Bay Area, the focus March 22-23 was on the first anniversary of the San Francisco police murder of Alex Nieto, marked with a cultural commemoration Sunday, followed by an early Monday morning shutdown of the street outside the Mission Police Station for a people’s trial of the four officers who killed Alex. – Photo: Freddie, Twitter

Community shuts down Mission Station, puts police on trial on anniversary of Alex Nieto’s SFPD murder

March 23, 2015

Over 200 people gathered in the early morning hours today and shut down Valencia Street in front of the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission District station. Sixteen activists locked themselves down for four hours and 15 minutes, blocking the gate to the parking lot and chaining themselves to large-scale art work in front of the station.

Chevron oil refinery in Richmond at night – Photo: Doug Duran, Bay Area News Group

Bay Area air quality regulator to refineries: Refine more crude

March 22, 2015

What will Bay Area oil refineries have to do to comply with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s new emissions limits, as drafted? Refine more crude.

Assata Shakur celebrates May Day 2010 in Cuba. – Photo: Kenny Snodgrass

UC Berkeley Black Student Union wants Barrows Hall renamed for Assata Shakur as one of 10 demands

March 22, 2015

The UC Berkeley Black Student Union has demanded institutional changes to address the conditions of Black students. “Black people have been oppressed at this university since its creation,” declared BSU member Alana Banks. “The fact that we have to come up with demands for support … is a testament to our condition. Regardless, I believe that we will win; and they believe that we will win too.”

In San Francisco, these billboards are in the Castro but not in Bayview Hunters Point.

AIDS group’s Castro billboards with Dr. King’s image have whites-only feel

March 19, 2015

Report after report reminds and warns the Black community that AIDS is not yet under control for the Black population. However, when I saw several new 6-foot-by-4-foot billboard ads in the Castro district of San Francisco this past week with the image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. under the heading, “AIDS is a civil rights issue,” I first thought, “Well, that’s a stretch.”

The train that derailed March 8 near Gogama, Ontario, the third CN derailment in a month, spilled crude into a river and the fire spewed toxins that caused widespread breathing problems. Chief Walter Naveau of the Mattagami First Nation says his community does not feel safe despite CN’s assurances that the disaster posed no threat to people or the environment, saying, “Why should I trust them?” He fears poisoning of his people and the fish spawning grounds they depend on. – Photo: Glenn Thibeault, Canadian Press

Bay Area residents hold Air District accountable for protecting health and climate from refinery pollution

March 17, 2015

Communities across the region’s oil belt stood up to industry pressure to demand that air officials clean up refinery pollution instead of letting it worsen. “Communities and workers are fighting to protect our health, safety and climate from dirtier oil projects that our Air District should be stopping instead of proposing to allow,” said Andrés Soto.

At a press conference Monday about the police texts, Public Defender Jeff Adachi listens as former San Francisco Youth Commissioner De’Anthony Jones describes an incident in which he ended a police encounter by offering to shake the officer’s hand, but the officer refused. – Photo: Larry Roberts

Public defender releases racial justice recommendations, finds up to 1,000 cases may be tainted by bigoted officers

March 17, 2015

An estimated 1,000 criminal cases will be reviewed following revelations that San Francisco police officers regularly shared racist and homophobic views in text messages, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced today. Adachi also released a 10-point plan to increase police transparency and safeguard citizens against racial bias.

The Navy was still segregated in 1944, when this photo of a crew of Black sailors was taken shortly before the July 17 explosion. Blacks were given the hardest, most dangerous work with little if any safety training and were constantly pushed to work faster. – Photo: Percy Robinson

Port Chicago: Who were those men?

March 12, 2015

Who were those men who served this country with great pride and dignity? They were Black men who served their enlistment term at Port Chicago Naval Base, in Contra Costa County. These men were enlisted in the service from 1943 to 1946. These men are just now being properly recognized for the historical part they played in making America what it is today.

MyMy funeral program cover 0814

#JusiceForMyMy

March 2, 2015

On the night of Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, MiYana “MyMy” Gregory was leaving the movie theatre on Fourth and Mission with her aunt Loyresha Gage and her twin brother. As they walked across the street, MyMy was struck and killed by a car described as a white 1990s style Lexus, Honda or Camry type vehicle with a black bumper and black rims. This vehicle’s mismatched bumper is distinct, which is why it shouldn’t take this long or be this difficult to locate it.

After California passed from Mexican to U.S. control, American settlers disparaged Mexican landowners by likening them to Blacks. Mexicans were descended from the Spanish, they reasoned, and the Spanish have Moorish blood, so they must be akin to Hottentots, whose wildly distorted cartoon images struck terror in whites. – Cartoon: George Cruikshank, published in about 1820

Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 10

February 28, 2015

During this same period, another major change was taking place. The Southern gold mines were running out, and quartz mining filled the vacuum. Wages by the summer of 1851 were $20 and $30 per week including board; now a new type of miner was needed, one who would work for wages. Yankees in California preferred to remain independent in the hopes of becoming owners of rich mines rather than working for others.

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Video: SFPD officer strikes, pepper sprays homeless man

February 26, 2015

On Feb. 26, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi released video showing a San Francisco police officer striking a homeless man repeatedly with a baton and pepper spraying him after the incapacitated man objected to being pushed off a Muni bus. The video is the second to surface this year in which an SFPD officer appears to dramatically escalate his use of force after overreacting to a minor conflict. In January, a private citizen released footage of an officer trying to dump a paralyzed man from his wheelchair.

The courageous students hung this banner outside Haviland Hall.

Graduate students host teach-in to address institutionalized racism at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare

February 26, 2015

A contingent of 60 graduate students led a teach-in and mediation at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in response to racist comments made by a tenured professor. Present were Dean Jeffery Edleson and Professor Steven Segal. The action was organized in support of 25 graduate students enrolled in Segal’s Mental Health Policy course, which must be completed this semester by all students in the Community Mental Health concentration.

The Oscar Grant rebellions were Black and young, and protesters knew and loudly proclaimed exactly why they risked arrest or worse in their quest for justice. – Photo: Malaika Kambon

Centuries of rage: The murder of Oscar Grant III

February 25, 2015

Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.

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The group that shut down BART on Black Friday in November and shut down Oakland police headquarters in December – making Black Lives Matter a household phrase around the world – struck again on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, Saturday, Feb. 21, shutting down Home Depot in Emeryville for five hours, the length of time Yuvette Henderson’s body lay in the street after she was gunned down by Emeryville police. – Photo: Cece Carpio

Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson

February 23, 2015

Activists locked down entrances to the Emeryville Home Depot to demand answers about the murder of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old Black mother of two children who was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on Feb. 3, 2015, allegedly accused by the store of shoplifting. Activists chained themselves to multiple store doors as supporters rallied outside. Protesters shut down the store for five hours, the amount of time Yuvette Henderson lay in the street after being shot by police.

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On a celebratory election night at Richmond Progressive Alliance headquarters, re-elected Richmond City Councilors Gayle McLaughlin and Jovanka Beckles listen as City Councilor Eduardo Martinez speaks. Chevron spent $1 million each to defeat them – and failed. In an October speech to a packed Richmond Auditorium, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, had said, “If you can stand up and beat (Chevron) with all of their money, you’re going to give hope to people all over America.” – Photo: Tom Goulding, Richmond Confidential

Does Richmond, California, have a progressive majority?

February 15, 2015

The Richmond Progressive Alliance, commonly known as the RPA, is backing Planning Commissioner Marilyn Langlois for the vacant seat on the Richmond City Council. The RPA made national and international headlines last November, when each of their three City Council candidates won their seats even though Chevron Corp, spent $1 million each to defeat them. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Richmond City Councilor Eduardo Martinez.

As the Chevron refinery fire of Aug. 6, 2012, raged, this mushroom cloud hanging over Richmond spread toxic air pollution that sent 15,000 people to the hospital. – Photo: Harrison Chastang

Richmond residents to Chevron: Get your dirty money out of politics

February 13, 2015

Richmond residents, social justice advocates, elected officials and Chevron shareholders today announced a resolution being put forward at Chevron’s upcoming shareholders meeting that would prevent the company from dumping money into the political cycle. The resolution comes after Chevron spent more than $3 million to influence elections in Richmond – a small portion of the millions spent to influence elections at all levels across California and the country.

Clarence Thomas by Delores Lemon Thomas, cropped

On West Coast, bosses threaten lockout of longshore workers

February 10, 2015

Despite an original agreement to hold negotiations between the PMA and the ILWU negotiating committee in secrecy, which has been upheld on the union’s side since the contract expired on June 30, the PMA has chosen to go public with their offer in an attempt to negotiate the contract through the media. In taking these steps, the PMA is putting out an all or nothing proposition and challenging the union’s right to negotiate the contract under normal fair bargaining practices.

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