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It has been 45 years since my mentor, Dr. Arthur A. Fletcher, implemented the Philadelphia Plan. This was a federal program used to integrate unions. From the beginning, the construction trades resisted with violence and Jim Crow style segregation. Then why do most civil rights organizations and local Black elected officials support such instruments of racism? That is simple. They take donations from the very construction locals who discriminate against us.
San Francisco may no longer be one of the nation’s top-ranked cities for income disparity, but a study released last week by the Brookings Institution painted a stark picture of the job landscape for Black San Franciscans, as compared to the city as a whole. While San Francisco has the ninth-highest general employment rate in the country (79 percent), it also has the highest employment disparity between Blacks and whites in the country.
After 2.5 years of foundation laying work, Willie JR Fleming of the Anti-Eviction Campaign has finally caught the attention of the international community. At his behest, the United Nations sent its Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to Chicago to take first-hand testimony from people of color who have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of systemic racism and colonialism.
Funktown, which is near Lake Merritt, is rapidly being gentrified. You can still find “Funktown” scribbled on sidewalks here and there when the concrete was fresh. But economic cleansing has taken its toll on the hood. It’s just not the same any more. As the renters of Oakland are being terrorized by skyrocketing rents and greedy landlords evicting them by the thousands, city officials have mostly turned a blind eye to the economic cleansing taking place on their watch.
The No New SF Jail Coalition’s position has been clear since day one – what San Francisco needs to keep its residents safe is housing, healthcare, mental health support, harm reductive substance use support, education, meaningful employment, community organizations, re-entry support and pre-trial diversion. NOT jails. We need you to call the Board of Supervisors, tell your friends and come out strong on Dec. 15. UPDATE: The vote to reject the new jail was UNANIMOUS! There will be NO NEW SF JAIL.
No one is more knowledgeable about the lasting damage solitary confinement can cause than the tens of thousands of men, women and children experiencing it today. Building on the activism of these individuals, communities around the country are coming together to demand an end to long-term solitary confinement through public events and actions on the 23rd of each month in recognition of the 23 hours per day those in solitary confinement are confined to their cells.
Nelson’s film documents what those who lived through it already know – that the Panthers quickly became a mass movement throughout the country. Their message of unqualified resistance to racism, armed self-defense and anti-capitalist revolutionary politics galvanized the creation of chapters of the Party in nearly every city and state of the U.S. Much has been written by and about the Panthers. But Nelson’s film is the best short introduction to the Party to date.
Revolutionary, Bronx based, political Latino rap group Rebel Diaz strikes again: This time it’s not a dose of reality Hip Hop that they serving, but a new political and cultural education tool better known as Ñ Don’t Stop, a webisode that regularly appears on the Venezuelan media website TeleSur English that will also soon be hitting television screens worldwide.
Our American economy was built on the backs of Black slaves who were initially brought to America to work in the cotton, tobacco and sugar cane fields. America’s dilemma today is what to do with 40 million Black American descendants of those slaves who were shipped, as commodities, to American shores 400 years ago for their economic value yet whose heirs today are deemed of no value to America’s economic mission.
Over a 25 year period, 200 women in South LA went missing. Of these missing women, 100 were found dead. All of the women are Black and most were prostitutes. The refusal to let these women’s lives go unacknowledged is due to the work of Black Coalition Fighting Back Against Serial Murders. HBO will broadcast “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” on April 27.
Supporters of Marissa Alexander in Jacksonville, across the U.S. and all around the world are overjoyed that she has been released from jail after serving three years behind bars for defending her life. In 2010, Alexander, a Black mother of three from Jacksonville, Florida, was forced to defend her life from a life-threatening attack by her estranged husband by firing a single warning shot that caused no injuries.
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
Speaking about police brutality 50 years ago, Jackie Robinson said: “One cannot expect [Black] leaders to sell the non-violence cause when followers see violence erupting against them every day of their lives. Not even new civil rights bills or statesmanlike speeches can counteract this.”
Congratulations to Gerald Lenoir for carrying the torch and blazing the way for so many social justice issues from HIV/AIDS awareness in the Black community to his recent work in just migration for Pan Africans. Much success on your new work! Farewell to Alona Clifton and much success in Atlanta. Congratulations also to Almaz Negash, founder and director of African Diaspora Network in Silicon Valley for her national recognition and award at the Continental African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.
The city of Chicago made history when it passed tobacco control legislation in mid-December that will regulate where menthol and other flavored tobacco products can be sold. Their bold ordinance will create a flavored tobacco buffer zone and prohibit the sale of menthol and other flavored tobacco products within 500 feet of Chicago schools.
Like David fighting Goliath, the faculty of City College of San Francisco are in a pitched battle to protect their union, their students and their school from destruction. They are up against big-business forces pushing to downsize or close community colleges so that profit-making schools can take over. Union members are crucial to building the fight. AFT’s battle for a good contract is a front in the whole fight for public education.
Martin King said as long as there is economic inequality, there will be racial inequality.The lack of economic empowerment in our community comes from economic dysfunction that is a result of – let’s be real – racism as it relates to how this country has been structured so that the classes, in a real sense, exploit the masses, and especially people of color and, without a doubt, African Americans.
Chokwe Lumumba, a veteran of the Black Liberation and New African Independence movements, was elected mayor of Jackson on June 2, 2013. Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and is a city that is over 85 percent Black. If the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States constituted the alleged end of the Black Liberation Movement, the election of Chokwe Lumumba must then represent its resurrection.
Congratulations to my nephew Wilfred Batin, 9 years old, who was one of two honor roll students from Rosa Parks Elementary School honored this year at City Hall. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who deserve more than a day to honor them. Congratulations to all the college graduates!
Pro-Israel forces inside the U.S. are willing to use their money to buy political influence and protection for Israel across the political spectrum. I do believe that much of the suffering could be alleviated if we would put sufficient energy and resources behind putting out in public view how the pro-Israel lobby misdirects U.S. and European policies and prevents pro-peace and justice politicians from ever having the opportunity to put those values, along with our basic human dignity, permanently on the table for public debate. - Cynthia McKinney