October 5, 2012
As a descendant of former slaves and as an immigrant from the South, I have a unique perspective on segregation. My parents migrated to Oakland from Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. In Jackson there were signs which posted the segregation policies. In California there were segregation policies, but no signs.
September 21, 2012
Sometimes one gets tired of living in a place that doesn’t want you there, Zaccho Artistic Director, Joanna Haigood, states at the reception Thursday at the California Historical Society. The only problem is 154 years later, Black people are still unwelcome in San Francisco, which is what “Sailing Away” addresses so eloquently without words.
September 11, 2012
When Andre Ward stood on the ropes and raised his arms in victory after demolishing Chad Dawson, I was reminded of a similar scene when a young Cassius Clay stood next to the ropes with a raised fist after demolishing “Big Bear” Sonny Liston, and said: “I shook up the world. I’m the greatest.” Both tend to beat their opponents psychologically before they get into the ring.
September 7, 2012
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
August 24, 2012
The boxing world has its eye on Northern Cali, because the area is producing champions in every division, right and left. Later on, I will talk to more of the fighters, but I wanted to write this story first, so that people could see boxing from the eyes of trainers, not just fighters.
August 8, 2012
Dr. V. Diane Woods is the architect of the California Reducing Disparities Project’s African American Strategic Workgroup report, “We Ain’t Crazy! Just Coping with a Crazy System,” which looks qualitatively and quantitatively at Black mental health in California and its blatant racialized disparities.
August 8, 2012
There are many great programs for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area – among them, AileyCamp at Cal Performances, Destiny Arts, Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Dimensions Extensions and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, founded by Angela Wellman.
August 7, 2012
Nothing is more dangerous to a system that depends on misinformation than a voice that obeys its own dictates and has the courage to speak out. George Jackson’s imprisonment and further isolation within the prison system were clearly a function of the state’s response to his outspoken opposition to the capitalist structure. George was one of the brilliant minds of the 20th century, passionately involved with liberating not only himself, but all of us.
July 18, 2012
City College of San Francisco will train former prisoners to be community health workers to help chronically ill patients released from prison navigate the care system, find primary care and other medical and social services, and coach them in chronic disease management.
July 15, 2012
In protest against the ongoing foul and inhumane conditions at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison – one of America’s most notoriously abusive and racist prisons – dozens of inmates went on a hunger strike. The strike began on May 22 and lasted several weeks. I was imprisoned at Red Onion for over a decade.
July 13, 2012
The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.
June 27, 2012
Parents, young students, teachers, families and community members have seized Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland in response to the Oakland Unified School District’s decision to proceed with closure. Lakeview was recognized for having low suspension rates of Black boys. In theory, OUSD has shown interest in interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, but in practice, the school closures push our youth out of the schools and into the streets. Visit the People’s School and protest to Supt. Tony Smith!
June 20, 2012
Thanks to all who called Wells Fargo or went to City Hall on behalf of Archbishop and Marina King. Wells Fargo removed the home from the auction list on the morning of June 21, several hours before the public auction. Wells Fargo is currently reviewing the Kings’ case for modification a second time. Until a real agreement can be reached, the Kings and their supporters are planning to block the auction July 20 at City Hall. Call Grace Martinez at ACCE for more information at (415) 377-6872.
June 18, 2012
On the morning of Tuesday, June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is having an important public hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement.” This Senate hearing comes on the heels of widespread prisoner hunger strikes that have made the use of solitary confinement a central issue.
June 17, 2012
In testimony submitted to the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement June 19, Dolores Canales wrote: “I am a mother of a Pelican Bay SHU prisoner, and since the hunger strike it has been my goal and passion to bring an end to such inhumane and torturous conditions going on right here in America – land of the free and home of the brave! When Americans are held in solitary confinement in other countries, it is considered barbaric and a form of torture, Sen. John McCain himself being one of those Americans.”
June 17, 2012
We are the families of thousands of loved ones who have been incarcerated indefinitely – some for decades – in California’s “supermax” segregated and administrative housing units. Solitary confinement, even for short periods, has been known for centuries to cause irreparable physical and psychological damage: torture. Yet California continues to condone this practice.
June 17, 2012
The governor’s budget proposal would cut funding for child care by over 20 percent, or $452 million. That would mean a cut of over 40 percent since 2008, or nearly $1 billion. Already over 100,000 child care slots for low‐income parents have been lost since 2008, and the governor’s proposal for 2012‐13 proposes nearly 30,000 more child care slots be eliminated.
June 14, 2012
On Thursday, May 31, the Stockton, Calif., families of James Earl Rivera and Luther (Champ) Brown hosted a rally co-sponsored by Occupy Stockton and Oakland. The purpose of the Stockton rally was to protest the police murders of James Rivera, age 16, and of Luther Brown, age 32.
June 14, 2012
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) will be organizing community actions to commemorate the one year anniversary of the California prisoners’ hunger strike, which began on July 1, 2011. As a part of these community actions, we plan to have some visual images that express aspects of what it means to be in solitary confinement.
June 12, 2012
Today, residents throughout the state celebrate as AB1270, a bill to lift the media access ban in California prisons, passed the Senate Committee on Public Safety in a 4-2 vote. Since 1996, media have been prohibited from choosing their interview subjects inside prisons, and nine versions of this bill have been vetoed by three different governors.