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For the last couple of years in San Francisco, the beginning of December has been marked by a bloody tradition: the murder of Black men by San Francisco police. On Dec. 1, just one day before we were set to gather around the family of Mario Woods to remember his life on the two-year anniversary of his killing, the SFPD shot and killed another of Bayview Hunters Point’s own sons, Keita O’Neil aka Icky. The result of letting Icky’s murder go without response is that another one of us gets killed. They didn’t kill Icky because he was a hustler. They killed Icky because in San Francisco our Black and Brown lives are considered expendable.
The Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation will be celebrating and honoring the lives of Kenneth Harding Jr., O’Shaine Evans and Alex Nieto, all killed by San Francisco police. It is written that to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord. So for the fourth anniversary of Kenny’s homegoing, please mark your calendars for Friday, July 17. We will be in Kenny’s Plaza, Third Street and Oakdale, distributing food and essential gift bags starting at noon. Please feel free to join us on this joyful day. To the community, thank you for keeping us truly community supported.
Three years ago, on July 16, 2011, I awakened to the news that San Francisco police had killed my 19-year-old son, Kenneth Harding Jr., for allegedly evading a $2 bus fare. It’s hard when you’re trying to find out what happened to your child but no one will produce the facts that support the theory that he supposedly killed himself. The police put that message out and never backed it up, hoping to take away any sense of empathy. This month will be our 29th consecutive month of feeding the community at the very spot where Kenneth’s blood still stains the ground.
When you think of an officer of the law, you tend to think of a public servant to protect and serve, not a murderer, child molester or pedophile. We know that all officers aren’t bad, but we also know that all officers aren’t good. According to ABC News on Aug. 29, 2013, Officer Richard Hastings of the San Francisco Police Department, who is 37 years old, was arrested in Concord, California, for alleged child molestation.
Who could forget the murder of Oscar Grant by BART policeman Johannes Mehserle on a platform on Jan. 1, 2009. That murder, caught by other BART passengers on video that quickly went viral, sparked a movement for justice that led to the first conviction of a killer cop in California history. Because of the work of the Oscar Grant Foundation, an award-winning movie is telling Oscar’s story. It’s called “Fruitvale Station.”
There was an ocean of signs in a sea of banners of struggle and liberation in front of Anaheim’s City Hall and the adjacent park on July 21, 2013. The signs held faces of those cut down in the prime of their lives in loving memory and detail. There were informational signs and signs with slogans of liberation, with demands, statements of fact and advice – such as “Fuck the system” and “FTP” (“Fuck the police”).
On April 4, 2013, the Oakland Film Festival premiered the long anticipated documentary “Crimes of Police,” directed by Ansar El Muhammad and produced by Derrick Bowman. Now the documentary has been chosen for the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well, screening Saturday, June 15, 5:45 p.m., at the Jazz Heritage Center, 1320 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
The Blueford family and the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition (JAB) held a vigil for Alan on the one-year anniversary of his murder by Oakland police officer Miguel Masso. JAB has based itself deep within the Afrikan community that birthed it and has brought together many organizations and individuals to fight for justice for Alan and to stop continued police violence.
Crooked laws, crooked cops – they all need 2 be stopped. It’s a shame, a shame how they getting away wit’ murder, wit’ no blame. RIP Kenneth Harding, James Earl Rivera, Derrick Gaines, Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford, Jason Smith, Kendrec McDade, Christian Gomez and all the brothas and sistas who have lost their precious lives to this rotten system and their minions. You are not forgotten.
Judith Jamison looked regal on stage with Farai Chideya last month in The Forum Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her message seemed to be one of preparedness and presence – being, as our sister Ayana Vanzant says, in spirit. Muslims call this the sirata-l-mustaqim or the path of the rightly guided.
Mayor Ed Lee is considering a New York City-style stop-and-frisk policy, where police search anyone they consider “suspicious.” Lee, the first Chinese American mayor of San Francisco, said, “I will be tagged – as the minority mayor of this city – for racial profiling.” He’s right – and that tag is entirely justified.
The police line was hard, boot to boot, helmet to helmet, unmoving, bringing the threat of death with each gaze. The opposing line was a circle and it was moving, with resistance. And strength and people power. We were mamaz, uncles, daddys, sisters and brothers in solidarity, and we won’t stop fighting, we won’t stop walking, we won’t stop speaking until this ongoing police murder of our babies is over. “Our children are being stalked and murdered in cold blood, and it cannot continue,” said Oscar Grant's Uncle Bobby.
When Kenneth Harding, 19, couldn’t show police a Muni transfer to prove he’d paid his $2 fare on July 16, 2011, he ran, they shot him in the back and for an agonizing half hour, instead of trying to save his life, they trained their guns on Kenneth and the crowd while the young man slowly bled to death and the crowd screamed in horror. Knowing that the police murder of Kenneth Harding was the outcome of the routine, though unofficial, police practice of stopping and frisking young men of color, why would San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, a former civil rights attorney, consider importing New York City’s disastrous stop-and-frisk policy?
"We’re having a big benefit concert for my son on Feb. 10 at 330 Ritch in San Francisco. And I'll just list a few of the artists who will be there: The Jacka, J-Diggs, Mac Mall, Turf Talk, Beeda Weeda, Cellski, Matt Blaque, Laroo, plus The Doe Gang, Undagod and Fly Benzo. It's hosted by Chuy Gomez, music by DJ JR, The Minister of Information," says Denika Chatman, mother of Kenneth Harding, murdered by SFPD. Come celebrate Kenny's life. For tickets and more information, go to http://justice4kennethhardingjr.eventbrite.com/.
“It’s time for the killing, brutality, terrorizing and occupation of our communities by the police to stop,” writes Denika Chatman, mother of Kenneth Harding Jr., murdered by SFPD last July. Since then police attacks on the community, especially his supporters, have intensified. Denika is calling everyone to make a dramatic demand for justice by surrounding Candlestick Stadium during the NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 22. Gather at noon at Third & Palou, Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco.
Kenny was a real happy person. He had a beautiful spirit. He loved his mom. He was really into music and underground rap and really liked most of the local Bay Area underground artists – people from Hunters Point and Fillmore. Now that the police in San Francisco have killed Kenny, we’re going through a lot with the police in Seattle. They brought out the SWAT team to my home for nothing. The police said that my son was a piece of trash and that he got what he deserved. I don’t think nobody deserves to be killed in the fashion that my son was.