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April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and other journalists of color have not been favorites of President Donald Trump. From telling Ryan to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus when she asked if he planned to meet with Black members of Congress to calling her a loser, President Trump has displayed his contempt for Ryan. His rage, his diminishing of the credibility of these Black, award-winning journalists, and his stupidity in calling their questions “racist” minimized what was actually happening: Trump was committing racism by omission.
The fifth of November marked the historic 50th anniversary of the election of the first African American woman to the U.S. Congress, Rep. Shirley Chisholm. This important milestone marks a watershed moment in American politics for Black women to emerge and take their rightful seats at the table of elected Democratic leadership. As the representative from the state of New York, Rep. Chisholm was a trailblazer, inspiring generations of women elected officials. Her career and those of many Black women in Congress are intrinsically connected. One of those women is California Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
CNN commentator Angela Rye didn’t mince words Tuesday, June 27, when she criticized Democratic bigwigs Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer for their rebuke of recent comments from fellow Democratic lawmaker Maxine Waters. Rye bumped heads with Trump official Steve Cortes during what began as a discussion on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s call for Waters to apologize for her statements encouraging people to harass members of President Donald Trump’s administration.
I’m writing this editorial because I want to brag on my husband, Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff, and tell you why he and I have faith that a benefactor, someone with deep pockets who cares, will step forward in time to save the Bay View and keep it in print – an angel who understands how much the Bay View means to a prisoner being tortured and a youngster in the hood being framed. Dr. Ratcliff was that angel, that benefactor, to Gladys Knight in 1975, when she ran out of money in the midst of producing a major film in Valdez, Alaska called “Pipe Dreams.”
Asked what she wanted her legacy to be, Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm once said, “I’d like them to say that Shirley Chisholm had guts. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.” Like Shirley, I believe that to restore confidence and trust in our institutions and leaders, we need to speak truth. And that means electing more leaders who aren’t afraid to speak up and speak out. And every one of us privileged to serve has to mentor and lift up others.
When Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement Aug. 21 opposing President Trump’s announced plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” and for 16 years she has “waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution.” Her warning that it would lead to “war without end” seems fulfilled by Trump’s announcement he’s sending more troops continue the war.
Maxine Waters stood before a crowd of young people Friday at Busboys and Poets, a Washington, D.C., restaurant that doubles as stomping ground for social movements. At the event, which she organized as a soulful open mic before the following day’s Tax March, the congresswoman doubled down on her call for the impeachment of President Donald Trump with a combined bluntness and realness one wouldn’t expect from a politician: “We’ve got to stop his ass!” After nearly 40 years in public service, Waters has become the Democratic face for the resistance against Trump.
Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church of Los Angeles joined religious institutions across the nation as it hosted the first NoMenthol Sunday observance in Southern California. NoMenthol Sunday is a national interfaith effort that educates congregants about the role mentholated and candy-flavored tobacco products play in addicting African Americans to tobacco products.
Sen. Sanders, you have spoken out against the depredations of Big Pharma, refused to take donations from any of them, and call for “Medicare for all.” You’ve also spoken to support the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently in Pennsylvania there is a case before a federal court which embodies both of these battles, Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes. Mumia Abu-Jamal is suing to force the Department of Corrections to immediately provide him treatment with the Hep C drug.
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
Throughout her life, Congresswoman Chisholm broke many barriers while tirelessly advocating for the most vulnerable in our nation and our world. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of work and advocacy. In 1969, Congresswoman Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress. She was the first major-party African American candidate and first Democratic woman candidate for the U.S. presidency. Shirley Chisholm had guts.
Recently, Congresswoman Corinne Brown revealed that white legislators from Florida’s redistricting body changed her district to include the state’s overcrowded but under-represented prisons. If the Congressional Black Caucus had fought for and prevailed on prisoner enfranchisement, Rep. Brown would have no viable argument against her redistricting, for prisoners would be allowed to vote as everyone else.
Our Formerly Incarcerated Quest for Democracy (Q4D) Day continues to grow and evolve. This year we had over 250 committed people. We had around 30 teams advocating on legislation relevant to formerly incarcerated people and our communities. Grassroots co-sponsors got a chance to educate community members about their bills. And Sen. Holly Mitchell as well as Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Autumn Burke addressed participants.
When we were growing up, we understood that most of these white, Black and Brown police officers were predators. They came to our communities pumped up, looking for action. And there are several profiles of them: cocky, scared, fearless, racist, prejudiced, biased, anxious, gangsters etc. We was warned as young boys to have NO engagement with police, under NO circumstances.
The USA proclaims itself the “land of freedom,” but the reality is we live under the world’s most corrupt legal system. It has rigged courts, bribed judges, phony trials, extortion by lawyers and over 2 million prisoners. That’s more prisoners than any other country, in real numbers and proportionately. You can be sent to prison and even put to death with absolutely no evidence.
While people were righteously rebelling in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, against police terrorism, a Center for Disease Control whistleblower confirmed something that has been on the lips of conscious ghetto dwellers for decades. International peace activist Cynthia McKinney speaks on the U.S. government spreading autism through vaccinations in the Black community, on Ferguson and much more.
On July 29, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Keith Ellison did something unique for a member of Congress. He published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for ending the economic blockade on 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, noting that most of the victims of the blockade were women and children. Let’s try to get other Members of Congress to #StandWithKeith in favor of ending the economic blockade on 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza.
Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”
The house was packed for the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala, “We Shall Not Be Moved Until Justice Rolls Down Like a Mighty Stream,” at the Union Square Hilton on Saturday, Nov. 9, when Tavis Smiley, named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” by TIME magazine, broadcaster, author of 16 books, publisher, advocate and philanthropist, took the mic. Beginning with excerpts from his introduction by San Francisco NAACP President Dr. Amos C. Brown, here is Tavis’ provocative and profoundly moving address:
California District 13 Congresswoman Barbara Lee made it clear, on Friday, Aug. 31, that she sees no imminent threat to the U.S. from Syria and that the Constitution therefore requires President Obama to seek congressional authorization to launch a military strike. She has persuaded 64 members of Congress to sign a letter calling on the president to instead initiate a debate and seek congressional authorization before taking military action.