May 15, 2013
The inclusion of Assata Shakur on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Terrorists list last month – marking 29 years since her liberation from a New Jersey maximum security prison in 1979 by members of the Black Liberation Army – while aimed at Cuba’s leadership should also be interpreted as a shot across the bow of any internal revolutionary movement or revolutionary activists in the United States.
March 25, 2013
What a tragic image: A man and his son handcuffed and shackled together, yet musingly delighted about seeing a senior family member whom they are not going inside to visit. Rather, the two are to join in what is widely considered as America’s modern day form of slavery. The inhumanity represented in this artwork should be disturbing to anyone with a conscience – but few are moved.
January 27, 2013
In our current climate, it is increasingly hard to see how some of the alternating proposals flowing from these debates, namely, a “good guy with a gun” in every school or a generic “gun control” that bans all bad guns and gun accessories will be anything but a distraction from truly understanding and addressing the root of what is causing people to die.
December 11, 2012
A horrific shooting on Nov. 29 resulted in the death of two unarmed African Americans, Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43. This may be the worst example of excessive use of deadly force in the history of the United States. The fact that 12 of the 13 Cleveland police officers were white and the victims were Black in a city which has an almost 70 percent minority population is a crisis. We all know that 12 Black police officers would never have fired 137 shots at Black or white citizens.
November 10, 2012
On Nov. 6, a majority of the voters in California voted to amend the Three Strikes Law. In Cali alone, according to the film “Cruel and Unusual,” there are over 4,000 people locked up doing life under Three Strikes for nonviolent offenses. The Documentary Film Fest is featuring “Cruel and Unusual” on Nov. 11, 12 and 15 in San Francisco and Berkeley.
November 7, 2012
First, be more forceful about appointing federal judges. As a former constitutional law professor, you know better than most the importance of the federal bench. Second, please listen to Paul Krugman on economic policy. He was right early on in the economic crisis when he was adamant about the need to create jobs. Finally, do not abandon the needs of Black people because you will be seen as playing favorites. Black folks are out here on our own. We need you to stand up for us and to advance policies that will help us move upward, “lifting as we climb.”
November 6, 2012
If Proposition 34 passes, it will endorse everything that is wrong with the criminal justice system and allow the appeals of innocent people on death row to go unheard. It will take away the one guarantee, through habeas counsel, that death row prisoners have to be able to clear their names and prove their innocence. Vote No on Prop 34; do not destroy due process rights.
October 4, 2012
Three Strikes has disproportionately targeted the poor and people of color. More than 70 percent of the Three Strikes prisoners serving life sentences are either African American or Latino; making Three Strikes one of the leading civil rights issues of today. We need your help. On Nov. 6, California residents will have another opportunity to amend Three Strikes. Vote Yes on Prop. 36.
September 5, 2012
When our mayor and police chief show that they don’t care about their citizens’ civil rights, and when our media and politicians treat these violations less seriously than it would be treated in other cities, it adds to New Orleans’ status as a “second-class” city, and gives all of us, as residents, second-class rights.
July 11, 2012
Black August is a month of reflection on the losses that we as a people have suffered. It is a month of high elation and extreme sorrow – elation for our resistance, sorrow for our losses. For me, the three most significant events of August are Jonathan Jackson’s raid on the Marin County Courthouse in 1970, the August 1971 liberation of the San Quentin Adjustment Center by Comrade George Jackson and Nat Turner’s slave uprising.
June 19, 2012
Robert King writes that “standing on the State Capitol steps on Tuesday, 17 April, I felt the power of the people, of 65,000 people and more – all those who have supported the Angola 3 over the years were also with us. We could not be ignored – the media were there and wanted to report on this; organizations stood by our side in support. Amnesty’s presence was felt.”
June 10, 2012
The David who upset Goliath to take the lead in the run-off to become the next Los Angeles district attorney is actually an African American woman, Chief Deputy District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who came out 8 points ahead of second place finisher Alan Jackson and 10 points ahead of perceived frontrunner LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, despite being outspent 3 to 1 by the Trutanich campaign.
February 17, 2012
On Monday, Feb. 20, over a dozen rallies will be held throughout the U.S. for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.” Join the Bay Area rally 12-3 p.m. at San Quentin by getting or giving a ride at 10 a.m. at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland or 1540 Market St. in SF. “The U.S. is the world’s leader of the incarceration industry – it’s time for the focused attention of the Occupy Movement,” notes Mumia Abu-Jamal. Big rallies on Feb. 20 will push California authorities to meet 12,000 California prisoners’ five core demands and challenge the prison industrial complex everywhere.
November 13, 2011
I am not about to trust a “movement” that offers no critique of the role of state violence in upholding capitalist economic interests. I am not about to get arrested with some “white” guys whose interests are just their own, who only noticed injustice when they were the ones who got laid off, arrested, beat down or tased.
September 9, 2011
Sept. 9 marks 40 years since the uprising at Attica State Prison in upstate New York and the deadly and sadistic retaking of the prison – and mass torture of hundreds of prisoners all the rest of the day and night and beyond – by state police and prison guards on the morning of Sept. 13, 1971. Attica and its aftermath exposed the powder kegs ready to explode inside the U.S. prisons.
September 1, 2011
As this weekend’s storm has reminded us, hurricanes can be a threat to U.S. cities on the East Coast as well the Gulf. But the vast changes that have taken place in New Orleans since Katrina have had little to do with weather and everything to do with political struggles.
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.
July 27, 2010
My nephew was a recent victim of systemic racism at the hands of an unethical judicial system. From the point of his arrest, he was treated as if he were guilty of a crime he had not committed. Yes, he is Black. Yes, it was late into the night. “I’m innocent,” he would say, over and over.
June 19, 2010
All out to Washington, D.C., Monday, June 21, for the the Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice: 10 a.m. Department of Justice, 12 noon White House press conference, 1-9 p.m. Lafayette Square Park! We need your support in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all other women who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced, punishing and destroying our families and children.
May 6, 2010
Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” (published by The New Press, 2010) looks at the invisible people and the invisible birdcage that keeps the masses of Black people locked in and alienated from society – the targets of the War on Drugs.