November 18, 2013
Oakland resident Joseph R. Debro Jr. was born in Jackson, Mississippi, on Nov. 27, 1928, and passed away on Nov. 5, 2013, at a VA facility in Martinez, California. Joe Debro was the eldest of three children born to Joseph Debro and Seleana Gaylor Debro. Mr. Debro’s two younger siblings, Julius Cesar and Gloria Etta, were born in 1931 and 1935.
November 3, 2013
As many of you know from experience, or have read before in these pages, the last decade has cut a deadly swath through Black prosperity and the viability of Black businesses in San Francisco. This is coupled with the flight of many of our neighbors, family members and friends out of the City. Yet we hang on, still determined to “make a way out of no way.” We remain, our children remain, and if we work hard enough, diligently enough, we can turn things around so that the next generation has a fighting chance.
October 5, 2013
The protest was staged in response to practices permitted by the San Francisco 49ers and the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and executed by Turner Construction and its joint venture partner Devcon Construction, to intentionally and systematically exclude Black and minority contractors from participation on the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium project.
June 20, 2013
No one with Chokwe Lumumba’s grassroots organizing experience, and no one who has so openly challenged white supremacy has ever been elected mayor of a major American city. And, as Jackson native, scholar and activist Tom Head has written, he has the distinct advantage of promoting democratic economic policies as both a community organizer and a public official.
June 17, 2013
Black people have largely been locked out of construction work in San Francisco since 1998. That’s a shame, because construction work is a solution to many of the ills in the Black community. Construction wages are high, and when Black contractors have work, they are generally eager to train Black workers regardless of their school, police or prison records.
April 30, 2013
“We must leverage our athletic success for economic development in our community,” says Magic Johnson. Everett L. Glenn, president of the National Sports Authority, a division of ESP Education & Leadership Institute, is applying that principle to construction of the 49ers’ new stadium under construction in Santa Clara.
February 4, 2013
It has been five short months since dozens of unemployed Black workers and contractors protested exclusion of Blacks from demolition and demanded inclusion of Blacks in the rebuilding of Bayview’s Willie Brown Middle School. Now SFUSD plans to ask the School Board at their meeting Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m., at 555 Franklin, First Floor, to AWARD THE $44.6 MILLION CONTRACT FOR WILLIE BROWN SCHOOL TO A MAJOR WHITE CONTRACTOR without competitive bidding. Pack the meeting! Protest economic racism!
September 4, 2012
In late August, Aboriginal Blackman United organized over 30 unemployed union members from Bayview Hunters Point to protest construction at Bayview’s Willie Brown Academy. We did not protest because we disagree that our public schools are much in need of repair or with the $531 million that the San Francisco School District will spend to upgrade our public schools. We protested because, despite this historic opportunity for the School District to work with local communities to rebuild our schools, there are no Black workers and no Black contractors at Willie Brown Academy. And at ABU we say that if we don’t work, nobody works.
August 29, 2011
On the corner of Third and Revere, where the Bayview Library used to be, nothing is left but bare ground. One of the few places in the neighborhood where youngsters felt safe and enriched and everyone was welcome is gone. If the City had allowed the low bidder to build the new library, it would have been at least halfway to completion by now. The youngsters who love the library would be watching their parents and older brothers and sisters build a beautiful new library for them to return to in a matter of months. Liberty Builders, my general contracting company, was that low bidder.
January 12, 2011
How do we as a Black community build capacity in our own people? How do we learn to circulate our money in our own community? It is not just Beth Eden; it is all of us.
September 3, 2010
On Sept. 1, we learned that Liberty Builders, owned by Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff, will build the new Bayview Library. That’s a great breakthrough for Liberty Builders, the Bay View and the entire community and a step toward heeding the advice of Malcolm X: “We should own and operate and control the economy of our community.” Keep an eye on www.sfbayview.com. In about a month, we should know when the jobs will begin and how you can benefit.
April 28, 2010
Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff’s construction company, Liberty Builders, has advanced to the second stage of competition for the contract to build the new Bayview Library. The next hurdle is bonding, a barrier that usually locks Blacks out. Ratcliff has a long proven record of hiring from the community. Bay Area Black Builders will join the mass JOBS RALLY Saturday, May 8, 12 noon, New Federal Bldg, 7th & Mission, SF, to demand jobs for all.
April 9, 2010
The new Bayview Library must be built by the people it serves. No more exclusion of Blacks as with Third Street Light Rail. Bay View publisher Willie Ratcliff’s company, Liberty Builders, is competing to build it with a team of top Black construction professionals committed to hiring from the community. Come to the Bay Area Black Builders meeting Saturday, April 10, 12 noon, at 1099 Sunnydale, Vis Valley, San Francisco.
February 15, 2010
“This is a critical situation,” says Joe Debro, president of Bay Area Black Builders, a new organization that joins the forces of Black contractors, workers, jobseekers and design professionals to stop the lockout and win contracts and jobs in the construction industry by any means necessary, in an explosive interview broadcast Feb. 12 on CBS5 News.
December 21, 2009
Since the inception of BART, this transportation system has excluded Black contractors, Black construction workers and Black riders. Charlie Walker drove a truck into a San Francisco BART excavation site before we could get contracts.
November 29, 2009
When America talks about unemployment percentages around 10 percent, I know they are talking about white people. It is talked about as an alarming figure. As a Black man, I am not alarmed. If that were the number in my community, I would rejoice. “No Blacks working! That’s what I see at every construction jobsite in San Francisco,” exclaims Willie Ratcliff, Bay View publisher and lifelong construction worker and contractor.
November 18, 2009
Supervisors Nate Miley and Keith Carson have restored my faith in Black elected officials. The leverage that public officials have just before contract award is enormous. Nate Miley and Keith Carson by their actions have established a method of enforcing contractor goals that can create economic parity in the Black community.
June 6, 2009
The Hampton House Motel in Miami’s predominantly Black Brownsville section was one of the places where famous Black recording artists stayed during segregation after performing for all-white audiences on the beach. The performers were not allowed to stay in predominantly white hotels.
Miami-Dade County is restoring and renovating Hampton House after it fell into disrepair over the years. But ironically, the construction work on the Black historic site does not include any Black contractors, subcontractors or laborers.
May 5, 2009
The San Francisco Housing Authority is spending $5 million to create hundreds of jobs where many of us live. But Blacks will be excluded unless Black contractors can borrow from a loan fund so they can hire Black workers. Pack the Housing Commission meeting Thursday, May 14, 4 p.m., at 440 Turk St. to demand our fair share.