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Something amazingly powerful is happening all over the country with America’s youth. In 34 states, with at least 44 high schools, 21 colleges, and two youth sports leagues, brilliant, bold, courageous young student athletes – ranging from football players to cheerleaders to volleyball players and marching bands – have all taken a knee during the Star Spangled Banner to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America.
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.
A group of civil rights era activists have passed the torch to a younger generation, so to speak. One week after the Movement for Black Lives released a wide-ranging, and long-awaited, policy platform, the activists’ vision for change has also earned an endorsement from delegates of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a famed student organizing group that formed in the 1960s.
I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire. My fingers froze on the keys. I could not bring myself to recycle old truths. Something more is required. But what?
The reverberations. Not the rumbles, the reverberations. The death of Muhammad Ali will undoubtedly move people’s minds to his epic boxing matches against Joe Frazier and George Foreman, or there will be retrospectives about his epic “rumbles” against racism and war. But it’s the reverberations that we have to understand in order to see Muhammad Ali as what he remains: the most important athlete to ever live.
Cleve Bailey has taken the story of his great uncle and aunt, George and Kathy Eames, and created a screenplay entitled “A Small Temporary Inconvenience,” which chronicles the lives of this interracial couple who dedicated their lives to civil rights activism and fighting against racism in the Deep South. I caught up with Cleve, who now lives in the Bay Area in Hayward, to get his take on the film project.
“Dr. Mutulu Is Welcome Here” is the title of the campaign and the program Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hosted Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, in Oakland. As we walked into Sole Space, a venue that also sells shoes and art and is a part of the corner building that houses Oakstop, we were invited to pose with a photo of Dr. Shakur. Mama Ayanna, seated at the door, welcomes and greets comrades and friends of friends as other members of MXGM host the program.
It was a few minutes before we began chanting that I found out what we were going to do – that we were going to do anything at all besides be passive observers at the white supremacist rally disguised as a presidential campaign. My nerves churned a bit like anyone’s do as they realize they’re about to engage in an altercation that could become physical. Or violent. It’s a strange thing that happens when you know you’re in a “no turning back” situation. What you won’t do is back down from the principles on which you stand. Or turn away from the ledge from which you’ve been forced to leap.
“Race” (2016) is the story of Jesse Owens’ triumphant wins in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin just before World War II. Nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet” for his legendary speed, Owens distanced himself from socially constructed hurdles which ran counter to his personal goals. Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film features rising star, Stephan James (“Selma”) as Jesse Owens.
In an effort to improve transparency, accountability and trust between law enforcement and the public, Sen. Mark Leno has introduced SB 1286, a bill allowing greater public access to peace officer records related to serious uses of force and sustained charges of misconduct. “California is behind the times when it comes to providing transparency in law enforcement records,” said Sen. Leno, D-San Francisco.
The love affair between Black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about Black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.
An African American man filed a lawsuit against his employer, Bay Bridge contractor Adams & Smith, Inc., for racial discrimination and retaliation just a little over a week after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The complaint cited incidents in which a foreman lowered a hangman’s noose in front of plaintiff James H. Brown and a co-worker told him to wear the rope around his neck.
As union members gathered in the nation’s capital over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, some of the country’s top labor leaders faced tough questions about how the movement can reconcile its support for racial justice with its embrace of police unions. Over the last year, the AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of unions, has faced calls from some in its membership to end its affiliation with the International Union of Police Associations.
When activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was curled up on the ground getting kicked, punched and choked by Donald Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he thought: “I can’t die today. I’ve got shit to do. I have little kids. Fuck these people.” Southall told ThinkProgress that he decided to go to Trump’s event with two friends in order to speak out against the frontrunner candidate’s “racist” rhetoric.
The 2015 U.S. Food Sovereignty Prize goes to two organizations that are demonstrating just how much Black lives matter, as they defend their ancestral lands for community-controlled food production. The Federation of Southern Cooperatives, primarily African-American farmers across the deep South, shares the prize with the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, Afro-indigenous farmers and fisher-people.
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s eighth book written from prison cells in the state of Pennsylvania, USA, is a selection of 107 essays that date from January 1982 to October 2014. They cover practically the entire period of his incarceration as an internationally recognized political prisoner. Most of the pieces were written while he was on death row after being framed for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981, in the city of Philadelphia.
Of all the labels and titles that could rightfully be appended to Bond – activist, politician, lecturer, commentator, professor – he wished to be remembered most as a “race man”: “A race man is an expression that’s not used anymore, but it used to describe a man – usually a man, could have been a woman too – who was a good defender of the race, who didn’t dislike White people, but who stood up for Black people, who fought for Black people. I’d want people to say that about me.”
Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.
Calling all families: Come out for ‘A Fair Chance to Advance’ on Saturday, Aug. 1, 11-2, at At Thy Word Church, 8915 International Blvd, Oakland, to see how Prop 47, reducing many felonies to misdemeanors, can free your family – presented by Bay Area Black Workers Center, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, East Bay Community Law Center, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights and Assemblyman Rob Bonta.