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.
September 5, 2013
On Sept. 8, 1985, Oscar Grant Jr. found himself in jail for a murder he did not commit and has since been held in prison for 28 years. An innocent Grant suffered for decades the dehumanizing conditions of prison and was deprived of raising his son, Oscar Grant III. His reality took a more horrifying turn on New Year’s Day 2009, when from inside prison Grant Jr. learned the news that a police officer had deliberately killed his son on a train platform in Oakland.
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.
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.
November 1, 2011
On July 16, 1934, the four-day San Francisco General Strike began as strikers and National Guard battled for control of the shut-down city. Longshore strike leader Harry Bridges went to Black churches on both sides of San Francisco Bay to beg the congregation to join the strikers on the picket line and promised that when the strike ended, Blacks would work on every dock on the West Coast.
July 28, 2011
Like the country it governs, Washington is a city of extremes. In a car, you can zip in bare moments from northwest District of Columbia, its streets lined with million-dollar homes and palatial embassies, its inhabitants sporting one of the nation’s lowest jobless rates, to Anacostia, a mostly forgotten neighborhood in southeastern D.C. with one of the highest unemployment rates anywhere in America.
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 13, 2010
Bonding has historically blocked Blacks from working. Don’t let it stop Liberty Builders from building the new Bayview Library and hiring and training the community. Tell the mayor the Bayview Library must be built by the people it serves: Call (415) 554-6141 or email email@example.com. Tell the Supervisors too. Get their contact info at www.sfbos.org. Good jobs will bring peace and prosperity to our hood.
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.
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.
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.
December 28, 2008
This is a great time to make a long overdue change. Construction unions are the most racist organizations in the nation. Let’s make them integrate.