Saturday morning, April 15, Humboldt State University student David Lawson was stabbed at an off-campus party and died as a result of his injuries. David Lawson, a young Black man, was a sophomore at HSU studying criminology. Elijah Chandler, a friend of David who was present at the scene, gives a chilling recount to reporters of what happened. What is most alarming is the ways in which Chandler describes how the police handled the situation. Humboldt State University, the Arcata Police Department and the community surrounding HSU have blood on their hands and there is no denying it.
Apr 26, 2017
I would like to bring to the cognizance of the people the atrocious treatment of prisoners by a company called Prison Transportation Services of America (PTSA). This is a private company based out of Tennessee that transports prisoners being extradited across the country. The conditions in which the prisoners are transported are most arduous and inhumane with no consideration for the safety or well-being of the prisoners.
Apr 25, 2017
We are within our fifth year of the August 2012 historical document, the “Agreement to End Hostilities.” Its release was followed by the Prisoner Human Rights Movement’s third and largest hunger strike in the state of California and larger than any prison hunger strike in history in either the federal or state prison systems in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. At its peak, 30,000 prisoners here in California participated – prisoners in solitary confinement and the general population.
Apr 19, 2017
My regular readers know I’ve come under recent fire for exposing abuse and corruption in Texas prisons. Despite outside protests and support, retaliations have escalated and most recently culminated in officials directing outright criminal acts at me, including guards I’ve reported on recovering a weapon from the scene of an altercation and planting it in my cell the next day, and guards confiscating most of my belongings (again) with the intent of destroying them.
Apr 13, 2017
In the netherworld of American prisons, one must jettison any medical assumptions one brings in from the so-called “free” world. We have been conditioned to see nurses as sweet sources of solace and doctors as people dedicated to healing the sick and easing our pains. In prison, new rules govern medicine and care. Here, money is master; the ill are all but ignored. This may seem harsh but, I must assure you, reality is even harsher.
Apr 5, 2017
The California Board of Parole Hearings has established the Forensic Assessment Division, a staff of psychologists who conduct psychological evaluations of prisoners for Board hearings. This paper is provided to help California prisoners applying for parole understand the psychological evaluations conducted for the Board of Parole Hearings and to provide advice to them and their supporters on how to counter the psychological evaluation with letters and other materials submitted to the Board.
Apr 27, 2017
The Greenlining Institute brought its 24th annual Economic Summit to the organization’s new hometown of Oakland April 14. At a moment when communities of color are under attack nationwide, the Summit – which brings together community leaders and grassroots organizers from California and around the U.S. – felt surprisingly like a celebration: a celebration of defiance, resistance and persistence in the face of threats to our communities.
Apr 26, 2017
The 60-day notification deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) re-designation is rapidly approaching, on May 23, 2017, for Haitian nationals. If re-designation is not granted, as many as 50,000 Haitians living across the United States will be stripped of work authorization and will be prioritized for ICE removal. ICE is currently removing over 4,000 Somalis residing in the United States, according to Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s U.S. ambassador.
Apr 26, 2017
Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent Nandi Cain, the 24-year-old African American man who, according to Burris, is the “most recent victim of racial profiling by Sacramento Police Department.” Burris said that, “Mr. Cain’s only real crime was ‘walking while Black.’” The victim, Nandi Cain. explains that this ordeal made him feel “degraded, less than a man, ashamed, depressed and humiliated.” Mr. Cain feels that “all the involved officers should be fired” and that he “hopes no one ever has to go through anything like this again.”
Apr 25, 2017
Twenty-two years ago, on April 22, 1995, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred between 4,000 and 8,000 Hutu men, women and children at the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda. I spoke to Rene Mugenzi, a Rwandan refugee, British citizen and human rights activist, who continues to seek acknowledgment and indictment for the crimes against humanity and, arguably, genocide committed at Kibeho in 1995.
Apr 24, 2017
Maxine Waters stood before a crowd of young people Friday at Busboys and Poets, a Washington, D.C., restaurant that doubles as stomping ground for social movements. At the event, which she organized as a soulful open mic before the following day’s Tax March, the congresswoman doubled down on her call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump with a combined bluntness and realness one wouldn’t expect from a politician: “We’ve got to stop his ass!” After nearly 40 years in public service, Waters has become the Democratic face for the resistance against Trump.
Apr 25, 2017
“Oakland in Blue” is a short movie that was made by locally grown, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Robbin Rae and selected to be in both the Oakland International Film Festival, which just passed, and the upcoming San Francisco Black Film Festival. The cinematography, the lighting, the script, the acting and the message were all on point. Robbin Rae is a name we will hear more of, mark my words.
Apr 19, 2017
On the second weekend of June this year, the San Francisco Black Film Festival will be celebrating its 19th year by screening over 100 independent Black films in this annual four-day cinema marathon. San Francisco Black Film Festival director Kali O’Ray, son of founder Ave Montague, sits down to discuss how it feels for the festival to celebrate its 19th birthday, the importance of indie films, remaining in a city that was once a lot more chocolate but has been gentrified to 3 percent Black – and more.
Apr 15, 2017
Back during the Black Power Era, if you were down for the cause, people called you “aware.” In the Hip Hop Era, the term for being politically up to date was “conscious.” Now, with the Millennials, if you are in tune with what’s going on in the world, you are referred to as “woke.” For the past few years, since the murder of Trayvon Martin, there has been a steady rise in cultural awareness within the Black community. The Black truth now gets as much traction as the white mainstream news on Facebook. So why is the church, arguably the spiritual center of the Black community, still running two steps behind?
Apr 14, 2017
Poet-composer-playwright-critic Mari Evans Phemster was funeralized March 21, 2017, at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. Like her friend, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), Mari’s output preceded the Black Arts Movement, though many of her titles and themes – like “I Am a Black Woman” – became anthems of BAM.
Apr 14, 2017
“Jitney,” August Wilson’s first play, set in 1977, takes place in the Hill District in Philadelphia, a place Wilson called home. “Jitney,” a part of Wilson’s 10-play canon that chronicles Black life from Jim Crow South to illusive Northern freedoms, speaks to the absence of permanent change for Black people despite legislative acts 1865 to now. It runs through April 16; visit www.african-americanshakes.org.