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Possibly the only thing that could be worse for Oakland than a loss of a third of its Black population in less than 30 years is that so many of its stars develop their chops, their talents and skills in Oakland and then leave and don’t come back or give back! Our community treasure chest would be much richer if our Oakland All Stars came back home! Most of the great talent that Oakland develops leaves to enrich the coffers and treasure chests of other cities and countries.
On April 15, tax day, we think about money. If we follow the money, we find the root of the rot. That is the unifying theme of 66 incisive interviews with Dennis J. Bernstein on his Pacifica Radio Network KPFA Flashpoints program, in a just-released book, “Follow the Money: Radio Voices for Peace and Justice,” selected, transcribed and edited by Riva Enteen. The interviews, all during the Obama administration, are the writing on the wall that foreshadowed a Trump presidency.
For over three decades, thousands of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe have mobilized to save Mumia Abu-Jamal from execution, to overturn his conviction, to demand his freedom. Without these international mobilizations, crucially including the organized labor movement, we would not have saved Mumia from two warrants of execution and compelled the state to concede defeat in trying to execute him.
What I loved this year was all the celebratory dancing from just before our ancestors crossed into the unknown territory to landing on these shores and celebrating life and the possibility of freedom, which remained physically just beyond reach for centuries. In small steps as we regained agency over ourselves, even if our bodies then and now continue to be exploited, liberation was a bit sweeter.
Don’t forget the legacy of the Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey (Aug. 17, 1887-June 10, 1940) this Black August. There is an annual program at Marcus Books in Oakland, Sunday, Aug. 20, 12:30-3:30 p.m. Happy Birthday to Karla Brundage (8/29), Cousin Jeffery Lewis (8/29), Gene Howell Jr. and to all the ancestors lost in the Great Storm – Katrina (8/29/2005), and to those still swimming home on rafts and other flotilla. Follow the light.
With President Agent Orange sitting in the White House surrounded by his harem of small-handed Klansmen, we must understand that this homogenous group of fascists is intent on wreaking havoc on intellectual strength. We cannot sink into the depths of mental despair and spiritual neglect. This is exactly what they want. The tyranny of a totalitarian regime and the suffering and oppression that ensues is nothing new to the Black psyche.
To those of us who were alive and sentient, the name Huey P. Newton evokes an era of mass resistance, of Black popular protest and of the rise of revolutionary organizations across the land. To those of subsequent eras – youth in their 20s – the name is largely unknown, as is the name of its greatest creation: the Black Panther Party. It is up to the oppressed of every generation to plumb the depths of history and to excavate the ore of understanding, to teach us not what happened yesterday, but to teach us why today is like it is, so that we may learn ideas to change it.
The most exciting literary event every year for Black people on the West Coast is the Leimert Park Book Fair, held this year on Saturday, Aug. 1. It brings out a lot of community members, community heroes and sheroes, as well as Hollywood celebrities to share in the festivities. Check out the founder of the Leimert Park Book Fair and author Cynthia Exum as she tells us about this year’s Leimert Park Book Fair.
Three weeks after the initial public promise to repost Urban Dreams and stop police control of Oakland school curriculum, Urban Dreams had still not been posted, ostensibly for aesthetic reasons. Two and a half hours after the following letter to Oakland Superintendent Antwan Wilson was sent – detailing OUSD’s official role in covering up the murder of Raheim Brown by school district police – Urban Dreams reappeared.
While people were righteously rebelling in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, against police terrorism, a Center for Disease Control whistleblower confirmed something that has been on the lips of conscious ghetto dwellers for decades. International peace activist Cynthia McKinney speaks on the U.S. government spreading autism through vaccinations in the Black community, on Ferguson and much more.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
I found out Sept. 30, 2013, that she was in San Francisco General Hospital with lung cancer. She’d been going into emergency for chest pain and problems breathing, but they treated the symptoms and didn’t notice the spots until recently when they kept her. I didn’t know it was as serious as it was, so imagine my surprise when I get a text, two texts that she is gone. Genevieve Bayan, my big sister – gone. I hope she wasn’t alone.
The literary work of Robert Beck, aka Iceberg Slim, has captivated the imaginations of ghetto-dwellers for decades. Much different from the writings of Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Richard Wright, who all hold up a piece of the American pantheon of legendary Black writers, the work of Iceberg Slim was a chronicle into what was going on in the underbelly of capitalism, America’s ghettos.
Wanda’s reviews for April include: the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Monument, the “Transformative Visions” exhibition at Studio One, Spirit Silence Retreat, “The Dream Never Dies,” “The Resurrection of SHE,” “Journey of the Shadow,” the 9th Annual CubaCaribe Festival of Dance Music, “The Whipping Man,” “Mental” and many more …
Robert Chrisman and the internationally acclaimed The Black Scholar journal (TBS) are principle beacons of achievement and hope within the movement to create Black Studies departments and ultimately Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies departments. Chrisman and The Black Scholar occupied the vanguard of the struggle for recognition of Black Studies as a serious academic endeavor.
Esther Cooper Jackson, born in Arlington, Virginia, graduated from Ohio’s Oberlin College, received her MA degree in sociology from Fisk University, then remarkably turned down a scholarship offer to Chicago University to earn a PhD to relocate to Birmingham, Ala., where she became the organizational secretary for the Southern Negro Youth Congress.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Cynthia McKinney, and I asked her about leadership. She replied that at the local level in the Black communities, there is leadership. It no longer gets media coverage, but it is there. Real leaders are those with the courage to dissent and to resist. It is the act of resistance that transforms an elected person into a leader.
This Open Letter addresses what is happening to me as I challenge a system that no longer serves the interests of the people and push for the kind of change that will really make a difference. I seek merely to expose covert actions directed at me, and people close to me, that constitute bullying and soft repression that would otherwise go unnoted and whose purpose I surmise is to punish me for my values and political beliefs that favor justice and peace, and, most probably, to dissuade me from future political activities.
“Long Distance Revolutionary,” the new documentary about political prisoner and prolific writer Mumia Abu Jamal, will have its international premiere in the Bay Area on Oct. 6 and 8 at the Mill Valley Film Festival. There have been a number of documentaries done about the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, but this one puts his life at the center of the discussion.
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