September 2, 2013
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
August 29, 2013
“It is now time to return the control of our prison system to California,” says Gov. Brown. We say it’s time to return California’s criminal justice system to a sense of human dignity and social justice. We call upon the governor and Legislature to immediately sit down at the bargaining table with representatives of the current prison hunger strike and enter into meaningful negotiations before prisoners die or suffer irreparable damage to their health. Stop the political posturing and name-calling, and start negotiating before there is blood on your hands.
August 27, 2013
When discussing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., especially his “I Have a Dream Speech,” what is often missed is his concern for global justice, particularly in Africa. While Dr. King’s outspokenness about the Vietnam War toward the end of his life has been well documented and discussed, his views about the need to support anti-colonialism and anti-Apartheid in Africa is less so.
August 6, 2013
Beloved Willie B. Kennedy, former San Francisco supervisor, was laid to rest on Friday, July 12, after a momentous Homegoing Service at her church of many years, Jones Memorial United Methodist, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Fillmore Western Addition. Pastor Staci Current officiated. Kennedy passed June 28. During her 89 years, the lady lived an illustrious life!
August 3, 2013
The Civil Rights Movement, which led to a massive expansion of educational, political and economic rights for African Americans and others who were traditionally marginalized, has been under attack since before it started. The ongoing attacks against public sector workers and unions seem to be more of the same. Rather than happening in far away states, though, the attacks are happening to workers in the Bay Area.
July 30, 2013
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.
June 19, 2013
When Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued General Orders, Number 3, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States.
June 17, 2013
June 29 is one of the most exciting days for Black bookworms across the state of California. That is the date for the Leimert Park Book Fair, the only annual Black book fair in Cali. I attended this beautiful event two years ago and met boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, who was promoting his book at an event at Eso Won Black bookstore, one of the founding sponsors of the Leimert Park Book Fair.
June 15, 2013
Marcus Book Store, at 1712 Fillmore St., San Francisco, is packed with knowledge it has purveyed since 1960, for 53 years. Now the oldest Black book store in the country has been ordered out. But the community is REFUSING to let Marcus Books close. The Sweises, who bought the property, want the judge to evict Marcus Books. Everyone is urged to BOYCOTT their businesses, Big Dog City Cab and Royal Cab companies. On Tuesday, July 2, 3 p.m., the community will caravan to the Sweis home in South City for a PROTEST RALLY at 4 p.m.
June 9, 2013
“Afro-Futurism: Envisioning the Year 2070 and Beyond” reflects and builds upon African American history. The art exhibit challenges us to cherish and critique the moment. By placing African Americanism into the year 2070, the artwork and statements visualize a future to look forward to. So how will African Americans/Negroes/Blacks define the world in 2070?
May 25, 2013
The Scottsboro Boys have been vindicated, but there are many more waiting in the wings – waiting for justice. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied. Many years have passed in so many unresolved civil rights crimes and injustices. And if no one is prepared to step up and pursue these cases, we must wonder if justice will ever come.
May 19, 2013
The mayoral contest in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is now widely reported to be very close as it heads for a conclusion on Tuesday, May 21. Jackson’s population is majority Black and Democratic, so Tuesday’s Democratic primary run-off, between Black Democrat Chokwe Lumumba and Black Democrat Jonathan Lee, will effectively determine who the city’s next mayor will be.
May 9, 2013
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!
March 8, 2013
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
March 7, 2013
The Bay Area and beyond paid tribute to Belva Davis Feb. 23 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, pouring out memories of her struggles as a “first” on many fronts, breaking through racist barriers and bringing Black people, perspectives and issues to the mainstream news. The unforgettable night also marked the 50th wedding anniversary for Belva and Bill Moore, first Black news cameraman in commercial television on the West Coast.
February 21, 2013
Feb. 4, 2013, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Louise MaCauley Parks in Tuskegee, Alabama. Parks was born in the segregated South, where African Americans were subjected to daily humiliations aimed at maintaining the system of exploitation and national oppression which grew out of slavery and the failure of reconstruction.
February 7, 2013
Esther Cooper Jackson, born in Arlington, Virginia, graduated from Ohio’s Oberlin College, received her MA degree in sociology from Fisk University, then remarkably turned down a scholarship offer to Chicago University to earn a PhD to relocate to Birmingham, Ala., where she became the organizational secretary for the Southern Negro Youth Congress.
February 2, 2013
The steady rise of ethnic nationalism over the past decade, the replacing of history with mendacious and sanitized versions of lost glory, is part of the moral decay that infects a dying culture. It is a frightening attempt, by those who are desperate and trapped, to escape through invented history their despair, impoverishment and hopelessness.
January 28, 2013
Movie-goers across the country are embroiled in heavy social media discussions or water cooler arguments about Quentin Tarantino’s use and Spike Lee’s criticism of use of the infamous N-word in the blockbuster hit “Django Unchained.” During the last couple of decades there has been an interesting ongoing dialogue concerning the use, misuse and exploitation of the so-called N-word.
January 19, 2013
John Carlos is best known as the man who, along with Tommie Smith, raised a clenched fist – the Black Power salute – on the medal stand after the 200 meter race. Carlos took bronze, and Smith gold, at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. But that moment was a culmination of months of political discussion among black leaders in America. One such discussion happened in early 1968 in New York City.