April 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?
March 25, 2017
The top prosecutor in Orlando, Florida, took to a podium outside the Orange County courthouse last week to outline a new policy: Her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any capital case. The prosecutor, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, told assembled reporters that seeking the death penalty is “not in the best interests of this community or in the interest of justice.” Ayala’s decision to stop seeking the death penalty was bound to be controversial. But the announcement has kicked off a fire storm.
February 17, 2017
It has been another victory for rent control, just cause eviction protections, and the voters and renters of Richmond. The California Apartment Association retaliated with a lawsuit against the City of Richmond after the voters and renters approved Measure L last November in a landslide victory. In a ruling filed on Feb. 14, Judge Judith S. Craddick of Contra Costa County wrote, “The California Apartment Association’s motion for a preliminary injunction is denied.”
January 20, 2017
One of the most devastating U.S. interventions was the overthrow of the democratically elected leader of the Congo, Prime Minister Patrice Emery Lumumba, in 1960. That overthrow has been devastating for the Congolese people, because not only did the U.S. overthrow and assassinate the democratically elected leader, but they also imposed a dictatorship on the Congolese people for over three decades, and it has crushed and destroyed the country and the people.
December 10, 2016
The death of Fidel Castro, for those of us living in the belly of the beast, has meant being forced to endure non-stop lies and hypocrisy from the mass media about Fidel. According to our “free press,” Fidel was a “brutal dictator” who would not allow “democratic” elections like we have here. Two words put the lie to the story that U.S.-style elections bring justice and prosperity: Donald Trump.
November 27, 2016
This camp is an “occupation” by the Standing Rock Sioux, the Oceti Sakowin, whose sacred ground is being desecrated as the pipeline is being built and whose watershed will be the first to be polluted when the pipeline breaks. They are supported by millions of people around the world who sense that this is our last chance to secure the human right to clean water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Black Friday the imminent eviction of Oceti Sakowin Camp, where the call is out for reinforcements.
November 23, 2016
Cannon Ball, N.D. – Hundreds of water protectors were injured at the Standing Rock encampments when law enforcement blasted them with water cannons in freezing temperatures Sunday evening, Nov. 20. The attacks came as water protectors used a semi-truck to remove burnt military vehicles that police had chained to concrete barriers weeks ago, blocking traffic on Highway 1806. LaDonna Allard, director of the Sacred Stone Camp, says: “We are asking for clean water, for the right to live. Instead they attack us, because they protect oil.”
November 21, 2016
If you care about everything from civil and human rights to economic justice and climate survival, Trump’s impending presidency is terrifying – but the amount of wreckage he can cause depends in part on how people respond. Already, a Dump Trump rebellion is rising up in the streets and online; it’s also worth remembering Trump lost the popular vote, the Senate is close to tied and not filibuster-proof, and things have a way of see-sawing in American politics.
October 15, 2016
On Oct. 4, Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti, killing at least 1,000 people and leaving thousands without shelter or food. The hurricane has devastated the city of Les Cayes and many villages in the Southwestern part of the country. The torrential rains and winds have also hit the capital, Port-au-Prince. With massive flooding comes the increased danger of water-borne diseases, particularly cholera, which has already reached epidemic proportions. We ask that all friends of Haiti donate as much as you can to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund.
September 12, 2016
On Sunday, a small group of National Football League players risked their careers, their endorsements and their livelihoods. They did so through the simple act of refusal. They stood in the proudest tradition of athletes who have used their platforms for social change, and they have already felt a backlash that would ring familiar, almost note-for-note, to anyone acquainted with what that last generation had to endure.
September 9, 2016
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
September 3, 2016
Prisoners in Alabama, Texas and many other states have coordinated and released a call for a national prison strike on Sept. 9, 2016, the 45-year anniversary of the Attica Rebellion. In their call, the prisoners declare, “On Sept. 9 of 1971 prisoners took over and shut down Attica, New York State’s most notorious prison. On Sept. 9 of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.”
September 2, 2016
Colin Kaepernick just became an instant national hero in the Black community, risking his career like Muhammad Ali, taking a stand or a seat like Rosa Parks, and shocking the sports world by doing what the vast majority of modern day athletes wouldn’t dare even think about doing and jeopardize their million dollar contracts by speak out against injustice. So WE GOT YOUR BACK, CAP!
August 19, 2016
A group of civil rights era activists have passed the torch to a younger generation, so to speak. One week after the Movement for Black Lives released a wide-ranging, and long-awaited, policy platform, the activists’ vision for change has also earned an endorsement from delegates of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a famed student organizing group that formed in the 1960s.
July 28, 2016
I answered some heartbreaking calls from Dr. Léopold Munyakazi phoning from an Alabama jail this week. Dr. Munyakazi is a gentle Rwandan born scholar, with a PhD in linguistics and further advanced degrees in French and African linguistics. He has lost his immigration case in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals and will all but certainly be deported to Rwanda to face prison or worse.
July 27, 2016
Kevin Durant, the 6-foot-10 basketball star, is now a Golden State Warrior, as he signed a two year $54 million free agent contract to join the team. He announced his decision on July 4, Independence Day, and the announcement sent shockwaves throughout the NBA and the country. After being wooed by six different teams over the 4th of July weekend in the Hamptons of New York, Durant was ready for a change and a new basketball experience.
July 21, 2016
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement has released its final report detailing its year-long investigation into issues of potential bias in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The panel found that the SFPD is in need of greater transparency, lacks robust oversight, must rebuild trust with the communities it serves, and should pay greater attention to the potential for bias against people of color, with respect to both its own police officers and members of the public.
July 7, 2016
From 1983 to 1993, I taught Bible to teenaged felons housed at San Francisco Juvenile Hall. Teaching teenaged felons with lives on hold due to youthful anger, ignorance and mistakes was a challenge but also a lot of fun. However, what made me good at what I did was in part due to a stabbing I witnessed away from the facility and a special moment I missed out on when Muhammad Ali came up to the SF Juvenile Hall.
June 30, 2016
The budget signed June 27 by Gov. Jerry Brown reflects Sacramento’s relentless reliance on incarceration. Although the budget includes some repairs to the social safety net, it nonetheless aggressively builds up California’s system of imprisonment, adding another $270 million to the state’s large-scale jail construction program, extending contracts for private prisons, increasing the number of prison guards and funding construction on a dilapidated prison in Norco.
June 5, 2016
The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live.