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Tag: Civil Rights
It is clear now that the 45th president of the United States is knowingly or unwittingly a tool of the Russian government. But for many years before the dumpster fire in the White House came into office, the Kremlin has been wielding a secret weapon against the “land of the free.” This weapon is “secret” not because it is hidden, but because a large segment of the American public refuses to acknowledge its existence.
At our council retreat in San Diego Jan. 18, during the presentation on how to correct the low 1 percent participation of African Americans in Caltrans contracting in the midst of a 17.9 percent DBE accomplishment, a council member made a comment that has made me feel compelled to clarify why this council is in existence. I know that most of us, particularly newer council members, may believe that we are here because we are qualified contractors, but in this country, with its inherent institutional discrimination where qualifications of certain ethnic groups don’t matter, we are here to pursue equality and equal opportunity, known as civil rights, for all classified minorities and women.
I’m thrilled to share that I will be joining 19 other activists and changemakers for the 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship! Jailhouse Lawyers Speak’s Right2Vote (R2V) Campaign is being recognized for the direct impact on civil rights in the United States. The Roddenberry Fellowship supports 20 activists, organizers, leaders and changemakers who are working to make the U.S. a more inclusive and equitable place to live. Fellows’ projects focus on one of four issues: Civil Rights, Immigration and Refugee Rights, LGBTQIA and Women’s Rights, Environmental Protection.
October 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the historic and remarkable organizing initiative to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Dr. Harry Edwards led the boycott efforts, as well as the creation of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, in which he involved countless Black activists from throughout the country, including H. Rap Brown. On Oct. 21, 2018, I was fortunate to interview Dr. Edwards about his 1968 organizing efforts and his affiliation with H. Rap Brown (now Jamil Al-Amin) who also played a leading and inspirational role in this historic 1968 event.
As incarcerated people across the country began a three-week series of protests, a contingent of physicians, health professions students and other allied health professionals expressed their solidarity with the protestors. More than 125 students and healthcare providers signed an open letter endorsing the National Prison Strike, with many participating in local solidarity actions or making phone calls to prisons to show support for the strikers’ demands.
With heartbreak, yet hope, we reach out to you in the Name of our Lord and Liberator, Jesus, the Christ. It was unsettling and upsetting to witness the meeting with you, our moral leaders, and one of the most amoral persons to ever occupy the White House in the name of discussing prison reform. We are sure it must have been intoxicating to walk the corridors of power and sit at the table of governing authority. Unfortunately, those precincts of power have been infected by White supremacy and moral bankruptcy.
The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
The problems with Alan Dershowitz’s position regarding Obama’s taking a picture with Farrakhan are two-fold. First, by associating Obama with Farrakhan’s views, he is painting with too broad a brush. The second problem with Alan Dershowitz’s complaint is the static nature of his worldview. We can love our allies, and still have a concern that they do not speak against our interest when our interests diverge from theirs. Alan Dershowitz and others of our allies must come to understand this.
Acting Mayor London Breed, San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor, issued the following statement on Jan. 15, the birthday and federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for solemn reflection and commemoration of the life and legacy of one of our country’s most distinguished leaders. It is a time for us to remember and think critically about the values he stood for: social and racial justice, service and equality."
Journalist and poet Frank Marshall Davis is an important voice who channeled his social convictions through the power of the pen, and proved to be an unsung hero in the struggle for human rights. "Frank Marshall Davis established his reputation as a socially minded poet employing free-verse forms.” His work has been recognized by the National Poetry Foundation, stating on their website: “Davis concerned himself with portraying Black life, protesting racial inequalities, and promoting Black pride.”
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
His name was Richard Claxton Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri. But the world knew him as Dick Gregory, comedian, human rights activist, social critic and presidential candidate. As a young man, he won an athletic scholarship as a runner, which took him to college. But he really hit his mark as a comedian who told sidesplitting jokes about American segregation and racism. The great civil rights activist Dick Gregory died this week.
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
Since September, over three hundred Black Jews have announced their intention to refuse any military order to report for reserve duty, accusing the Israeli government of state-sponsored racism against citizens of Ethiopian origin. The soldiers, who include fighters from all Israel Defense Forces infantry brigades, as well as some of its most specialized commando units, say that as long as the state does not respect their civil rights, they will in turn refrain from fulfilling their civic obligations.
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
After one frustrating year of union bargaining, AFT 2121 faculty at City College of San Francisco conducted a one-day unfair labor practice strike “of all classes at all 11 campuses” on April 27 because the administration has not been bargaining in good faith as it proposes “to shrink classes by 26 percent and lay off more than a quarter of the faculty.” These cuts are staggering.
For over 500 years, African people have been fighting enslavement and genocide against white and Arab slavery. Billions of lives later, we are still fighting for self-determination and reparations today. Long time people’s warrior Jahahara Alkebulan has written a book on the subject titled “Afrikans Deserve Reparations!” that we all need to take the time and analyze. Check him out in his own words.
As an African American, I have struggled to understand why so many of my Black brothers and sisters seem to prefer Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s record on civil rights is indeed extensive, albeit inconsistent and often ignoble. By contrast, Bernie has a long, proud, consistent record on fighting inequality – often far ahead of the Democratic Party in this regard – and always far, far ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Beneath the banner “Justice or Else,” this march appeared different from the Oct. 20, 1995, event. Minister Louis Farrakhan called for an end to police violence against African Americans and demanded a halt to Black-on-Black crime, which kills more inner-city men than all other causes combined. The Nation of Islam leader used the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March at the steps of the U.S. Capitol to condemn the loss of life of Blacks.
Leading Black women across the nation are expressing outrage this week over the videotaped violent incident showing a White police officer in Columbia, S.C., grabbing a Black 16-year-old female high school student around her neck, flipping her desk, then dragging her across the floor and tossing her across the classroom. Many fear the growth of such incidents unless corrective action is taken.