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.
May 14, 2012
Excitement filled the sanctuary as five generations sat in the audience waiting to hear a legend speak. Oakland’s Beebe Memorial Cathedral was packed from the main floor to the church balcony. The congregation jumped to their feet and clapped for over five minutes when the moderator said, “Tonight we will hear from Congressman John Lewis!”
April 4, 2012
Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
December 3, 2011
Sobonfu Somé, West African healer, says that when people die and become ancestors, they get smarter and often try to repair any damage they may have made while in this physical form. Ancestors want to be busy making our lives better. She said we can call on them to intercede on our behalf when we are troubled.
September 8, 2011
On Feb. 10, 2011, I arrived at Attica for the third time during my 40 year incarceration. As soon as I entered the reception room, I heard a correctional officer announce to all the other prisoners: “What you heard about Attica is true. We don’t care what you do to each other, but if any of you touch one of us, we will put you in the hospital or worse … Welcome to Attica!”
August 20, 2011
Everybody out Tuesday, Aug. 23, for the rally at 11:30 a.m. on the South Steps of the State Assembly Building, Sacramento, then for Assemblyman Tom Ammiano’s hearing on the Pelican Bay SHU at 1:30 p.m. Car pools leave from West Oakland BART at 9:30 a.m. Join the Day of Action to support the historic prisoner-led hunger strike protesting torture in California’s prisons. Support the families of hunger strikers testifying on conditions in the SHU and amplify the voices of thousands of prisoners across California. The hunger strike exposed for three weeks the carefully planned and executed barbarism of life in supermax America.
August 18, 2011
In the aftermath of Oscar Grant’s murder in 2009, directors of the Bay Area Rapid Transit district announced they would turn over the agency’s internal affairs probe to what they called an “independent, third-party law firm.”
August 12, 2011
In an historic verdict with national implications, five New Orleans police officers were convicted on Friday of civil rights violations for killing unarmed African Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and could face life in prison when sentenced later this year.
July 28, 2011
Like the country it governs, Washington is a city of extremes. In a car, you can zip in bare moments from northwest District of Columbia, its streets lined with million-dollar homes and palatial embassies, its inhabitants sporting one of the nation’s lowest jobless rates, to Anacostia, a mostly forgotten neighborhood in southeastern D.C. with one of the highest unemployment rates anywhere in America.
June 30, 2011
Prisoners in the Security Housing Units, SHUs, at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons in California are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment in what is being called “an unusual show of racial unity.” Breaking news: Prisoners at Centinela have joined the hunger strike. A prisoner there reports: “Only a few inmates are walking the yard. No Blacks or Hispanics have left their cells. No one has gone to work. He said all the races are united in this fight.”
June 9, 2011
Led by students and teachers noisily chanting, “Tax, tax, tax the rich!” a crowd took over the state Capitol rotunda on May 9 to kick off a week of protest against looming draconian cuts to the California education budget.
June 4, 2011
This June 19, millions of Americans, particularly African Americans, will celebrate Juneteenth. Yet slavery’s abolishment, under the 13th Amendment, didn’t really end slavery, as many people believe. The 13th Amendment merely codified America’s “peculiar institution” under penal statutes.
May 13, 2011
Second Chance is a unique program at City College of San Francisco that provides academic and other services to parolees. It’s the birth child of the Extended Opportunity Program or, as one of its founding fathers calls it, the Experienced Oppressed People’s Program, hard won by Third World students in the ’60s.
May 7, 2011
Tanya McDowell, the mother in Connecticut who was charged with larceny for allegedly stealing an education for her son, faces up to 20 years in prison and a $15,000 fine for sending her child to a school outside his district.
April 10, 2011
Big Tobacco is the Mack Daddy of all corporate pimps. It knows when to come down hard and intimidating with its elite battery of highly paid executives, attorneys and scientists. And it equally knows when to quietly deflect attention by using – pimping – the front groups they keep on call to do their bidding.
April 4, 2011
On March 31, a federal judge sentenced two former New Orleans police officers for killing Henry Glover and incinerating his body during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One got 25 years for shooting Glover with an assault rifle and the other got 17 years for torching the man’s corpse.
March 26, 2011
Sylvia Darensburg, an African-American mother of three in East Oakland, experiences the reality of transit inequality. Sylvia relies on AC Transit to get to her job during the day and to college classes at night, each trip taking an hour or more each way.
March 25, 2011
A legal dispute in the rural Louisiana town of Waterproof has attracted the attention of national civil rights organizations and activists. Waterproof Mayor Bobby Higginbotham has been held without bail since May of 2010.
February 25, 2011
Matt Gonzalez, a longtime civil rights and criminal defense attorney and former Board of Supervisors president, was appointed Feb. 22 as chief attorney of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. In 2010, San Francisco public defenders won 48 percent of their trials for their clients.
January 10, 2011
AC Transit routes are back on the cutting table, and once again, it will be the youth, seniors, disabled riders, and low-income families whose opportunities for work and education will feel the impact. AC Transit driver Lorenzo Jacobs said, “When you start cutting service, you’re cutting opportunities. When you cut lines, you’re affecting people’s lives.”