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Early Saturday, Jan. 12, activists and artists gathered in a theater at the historic Redstone Labor Temple to advocate for the preservation of one the largest community centers for justice organizing in San Francisco. The Mission Economic Development Agency placed a bid of $18 million in December to purchase the Redstone and allow the current nonprofits to operate in the area. If the current owner accepts the MEDA bid, the building could be preserved as a place for low-budget nonprofit organizations in the Mission for the foreseeable future.
Liberation News spoke with Bradley Angel, the executive director of Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice, about the news that a U.S. Navy-sponsored review of the radioactive cleanup at the former shipyard in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point revealed massive fraud by federal contractor Tetra Tech. According to the review, nearly half of the data produced by Tetra Tech has been manipulated, falsified or is otherwise suspect.
Breaking news reports in the mainstream media this week supplant the humble role the SF Bay View has played for over two decades in alerting the San Francisco community to the ongoing threats to health, safety and the environment stemming from the botched radiological remediation that continues at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. On Jan. 31, 2018, the US Navy has scheduled an Open House on Radiological Cleanup. Be there and be heard. It is time to take a stand against the final straw of criminal negligence, coverup and dangerous corruption that is driving the shipyard development like a diesel powered train on a track to nowhere!
We must raise the query, what is the value in a monument when our country has fallen so far backwards in race relations under this president? We need a movement. In Dr. King’s honor, every American must join this movement to establish justice, peace and equality of opportunity for all. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve every injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step closer to King’s “Beloved Community.”
On Black Friday 2014, 14 Black activists chained themselves together on a BART transit platform “to prevent trains from moving at the West Oakland station, in response to the seemingly unending war against Black communities.” The 14, a majority of them women, faced criminal charges. Now, after a year-long campaign by the Black Friday14 and a broad coalition of allies, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has dropped all the charges.
You are invited to the opening reception on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m., in the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library of “I Am San Francisco,” a major exhibit that tells the personal stories of Black San Franciscans at a time when the Black population has been almost entirely forced out and includes a display of historic copies of the San Francisco Bay View, back to 1994, with the headline “We Shall Not Be Moved.”
“We have sought and received input from the community and our partner, the city,” acknowledged Lennar San Francisco President Kofi Bonner in a statement cited by columnists Matier & Ross in the Chronicle today. As a result, Bonner added, “Lennar intends to withdraw its request to implode the stadium.” The community’s next step is to demand a fair share of the demolition jobs. And since long experience tells us that unless Black contractors get the work, Black workers won’t be hired except in token numbers, calls to Kofi Bonner are in order: Call 415-995-1770.
All the ingredients of human bondage and denigration which characterize Anglo treatment of minority peoples in the United States are also present in Oakland, California. A study of Oakland’s socio-economic situation demonstrates, as the Kerner Report and many other similar queries have done throughout the country, that the poor are cut off dramatically from the middle and upper classes.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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