Tag: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When, in October 2016, I wrote, “Death row inmates in Alabama are human guinea pigs” because the state’s capital punishment regime – specifically its barbaric, often bungled lethal injection protocol – is already so dark, so depraved, so outrageously cloaked in lies and officious secrecy, I never could have predicted the situation could get worse. But it has. Plans are now underway for Alabama to develop a protocol to execute death row prisoners with nitrogen gas.
Above the din of disturbing news – that discordant banging you’re hearing, steadily getting louder and louder, that you can no longer ignore – that’s the drumbeat of the unfree. Dehumanized by the labels “prisoner,” “inmate” and “convict,” even reduced to serial numbers like Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean in “Les Misérables,” these men and women are, just like you and me, or any mortal – irrespective of flaws, frailties, even felonious acts and misdemeanors – endowed with the right to be treated with dignity, decency and respect.
A grand sunny day dawned in San Francisco’s Hunters Point Bayvew District for the naming of “Sam Jordan Way,” formerly Galvez Avenue between Phelps and Third Street. Over 150 people gathered for the celebration on Aug. 18. It is fitting that his two sons, Allen and Sam Jr., and baby girl Ruth with other family members were on hand. They pointed out that their father was the first African American to make a serious run for mayor and now we have a Black woman, Mayor London Breed.
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.
One of the seven deadly social sins, recited first by Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925 and later by Mahatma Gandhi, is “politics without principle.” That may be the nicest way to describe the injustice that led to London Breed’s ousting as San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor. Breed is a champion of homeless rights, affordable housing and advocacy for dreamers, the candidate with the courage to do the right thing, who is not intimidated by any forces, no matter how powerful.
We continue to see and hear lies coming from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies in respect to their hyper-surveillance of groups and individuals who are New Afrikans and who engage in constitutionally protected activities such as protests, rallies, marches, litigation and political efforts. With this essay, I seek to give a detailed explanation into the ongoing campaign of retaliation and harassment the members of the NABPP-PC have been subjected to.
We must raise the query, what is the value in a monument when our country has fallen so far backwards in race relations under this president? We need a movement. In Dr. King’s honor, every American must join this movement to establish justice, peace and equality of opportunity for all. Through reasoned compromise, both sides resolve every injustice with a plan of action. Each act of reconciliation is one step closer to King’s “Beloved Community.”
Congrats to new San Francisco Mayor London Breed! Congrats to TheatreFirst for “Participants,” the kind of collaborative theatre project which should be the norm, not the exception. Make sure you check out the finale for the TF 2017-18 season: “Between Us” and “Just One Day” beginning Feb. 18. Listen to two engaging conversations with playwrights and actors about “Participants”: Dezi Soléy and Cheri L. Miller, Skyler Cooper, Nick Nanna Mwaluko, Carl Lumbly.
The backlash against President Donald Trump’s recent visit to the new Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum underscores an issue far more significant than a polarizing president. It was further proof that the wounds from decades upon decades of racial injustice in our nation, and in Mississippi in particular, remain deep. The pain and the sensitivities are ever-present, as is the continued socio-economic oppression that has kept African Americans as second-class citizens.
In Texas, prisoner lives don’t matter, and nothing illustrates this point better than the decision by the federal government to abandon over 2,000 prisoners at the federal prison complex in Beaumont during Hurricane Harvey. My friend, journalist Candice Bernd of Truth-Out, wrote a heart-wrenching piece which detailed the horrendous living conditions prisoners were forced to contend with during and in the aftermath of Harvey.
One of the most important ways that a tiny 0.01 percent of the population controls all of society is through its police, military and prisons. These are some of the fascist institutions within capitalism that, through its control of mass media, can shape and mold how the contradictions between the capitalist class and working class are viewed. These views never expose the truth about how capitalism is a predatory system that has to be destroyed entirely if the working class is to prevail.
The spirit of Ancestor Mike “Dream” Francisco lives on! From the Bayshore hill above the Alemany Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, a special tribute to the renowned Oakland graffiti artist, who was murdered in a robbery in 2000, has risen. It was created by another exceptional, multi-genre artist, Ana Teresa Fernandez. In this period, the DREAM sculpture has multiple meanings to our communities.
“The Vietnam War” provides us a new opportunity to examine the history of the war and to examine ourselves and our nation. Burns’ and Novick’s documentary will be evaluated based on the historiography they employ, the balance and fairness of their approach, whether they give equal weight to the Vietnamese voices as to the American voices, and their objectivity. Let us not forget the Vietnam War. Let us not, in the name of misguided foreign policy, allow the government to send our young men and women abroad to kill and to be killed.
Change is a protracted struggle. We must have clear eyed theoreticians who are able to shape public opinion, instruct us of the possibilities on the horizon and move us forward. So I implore all New Afrikan revolutionary nationalists to recognize after the inauguration of Donald Trump that just by nature of the reactionary circle he is forming for his cabinet, there will be many opportunities to agitate, educate and organize. Our struggle is one campaign composed of many battles.
Iris Canada, a New Afrikan Queen and one of San Francisco’s few centenarians, has just been evicted from her home of over 60 years on the southern edge of the historic Fillmore district, now “Hayes Valley,” by Sheriff Vicki Hennessy. In a move that can only be construed as Machiavellian, the sheriffs arrived and changed the lock while Mrs. Canada was at her senior program! As of the date of writing it is unclear whether Mrs. Canada is even aware that said eviction occurred.
The order to ban entry to the U.S. by travelers from numerous majority-Muslim countries is subjecting not only Muslims coming here but also those already here to a reinvigorated campaign of Islamophobia. Now the state of Texas and its prison agency, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, is attempting to use a statement I made in 2012 as justification to deny me my religious right to grow a fist-length beard and wear my kuffi prayer cap throughout any TDCJ facility.
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
“Dr. Mutulu Is Welcome Here” is the title of the campaign and the program Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hosted Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, in Oakland. As we walked into Sole Space, a venue that also sells shoes and art and is a part of the corner building that houses Oakstop, we were invited to pose with a photo of Dr. Shakur. Mama Ayanna, seated at the door, welcomes and greets comrades and friends of friends as other members of MXGM host the program.
Artist Eugene White hails from southwestern Arkansas but has worked quietly in his studio and gallery along the 21-Hayes line for over 50 years. Lately, he’s had some overdue attention as one of the few remaining Black artists to live and work in San Francisco: He’s featured in an installation at the newly redesigned Buchanan Mall, where he’s honored with a portrait and a listening station delivering his untold story.