April 4, 2018
On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Wednesday, April 4, we need to stop and reflect on the many landmark movements which began 50 years ago … like hip-hop. For the Oakland Museum of California to showcase this culture in an exhibit entitled “RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom” now through August 2018 is to elevate this conversation and its creators to a level unprecedented.
February 9, 2018
The month of February signifies the annual celebration of Black History Month, a time to recognize African American achievements and contributions to America. One notable consequence is the hero worship of a handful of prominent figures. This celebration of Black achievement tends to be sanitized, and this selective representation often comes at the expense of erasing a rich legacy of individuals, groups and movements just as important in the legacy of Black struggle.
May 29, 2017
Steve Bloom, a comrade and veteran activist, asked me several questions regarding my contribution to “Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” The questions delve into aspects of our political struggle against oppression back in the 1960s and ‘70s and are still pressing concerns. My story is closer to what untold numbers of highly motivated 1960s and 1970s “revolutionaries” usually don’t write about or discuss nowadays. I believe I have answered comrade Steve Bloom’s questions.
April 28, 2017
A new day has dawned, pregnant with opportunity. For the first time, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has granted the status of “pilot program” to a prisoner-created, prisoner-run rehabilitation and reentry program, effectively offering prisoners an opportunity to control their own destiny. For many of us who have spent decades in federal prison, the Young Men Incorporated (YMI) program is a reality few could have imagined.
March 3, 2017
At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.
October 14, 2016
Perhaps the reason why Nat Turner is almost completely buried within documented and oral histories is connected to the fear his rebellion caused in the Southampton and by extension the Southern antebellum community. Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” visits this story as Donald Trump draws a white male constituency very much in keeping philosophically with the angry mob who tear the flesh from the iconic Prophet Nat Turner’s body.
March 1, 2016
“Race” (2016) is the story of Jesse Owens’ triumphant wins in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin just before World War II. Nicknamed “The Buckeye Bullet” for his legendary speed, Owens distanced himself from socially constructed hurdles which ran counter to his personal goals. Directed by Stephen Hopkins, the film features rising star, Stephan James (“Selma”) as Jesse Owens.
September 26, 2015
Mumia Abu-Jamal’s eighth book written from prison cells in the state of Pennsylvania, USA, is a selection of 107 essays that date from January 1982 to October 2014. They cover practically the entire period of his incarceration as an internationally recognized political prisoner. Most of the pieces were written while he was on death row after being framed for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9, 1981, in the city of Philadelphia.
July 10, 2015
On June 27, a young freedom fighter and community organizer mounted an awe-inspiring campaign to bring down the Confederate battle flag. Brittany “Bree” Newsome, in a courageous act of civil disobedience, scaled a metal pole using a climbing harness, to remove the flag from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol. She refused law enforcement commands to end her mission and was immediately arrested along with ally James Ian Tyson. Though the flag was replaced an hour later, only 12 days later, the Legislature voted it down for good.
January 12, 2015
I’ve finally seen “Selma” and can report it is a proper civil rights movie. By that I mean it takes few chances either thematically or aesthetically. The icons remain intact and the movement free from revisionist recriminations. This cautious strategy is understandable in a risk-averse Hollywood. Although boxed in by those kinds of commercial expectations, “Selma” delivers even more than it should.
April 2, 2013
Leo lives in every navy blue or ash T-shirt with brown, beige, Tan, ivory, hands circled in solidarity, In every fiery speech during San Francisco strikes and Port Of Oakland shutdowns, in fights for health care, cradle To grave, in housing, library, post office and school struggles, In good fights against fracking and in the Occupy Movement …
August 24, 2012
Seth Rosenfeld’s dramatic announcement that Richard Aoki was an FBI informant provoked an enormous response from Chronicle readers. Could it be true? Or was this a “snitch-jacketing,” a classic FBI tactic used to cast suspicion on a legitimate activist by spreading rumors and manufacturing evidence?
February 15, 2012
We are the ones who refused to be captured in Afrika without a fight, who staged daring raids on enemy supply lines and brought our nationals back to freedom. We are the ones the enemy calls, “criminals,” “terrorists,” “gangs,” “militants,” “leftists,” “separatists,” “radicals,” “feminists,” “worst of the worst,” “America’s Most Wanted” and enemy combatants.
May 19, 2011
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X), born 86 years ago on May 19, 1925, was loved by the oppressed and hated by the oppressors. Our “Black Shining Prince,” in the words of Ossie Davis, aimed to “use whatever means necessary to bring about a society in which the 22 million Afro-Americans are recognized and respected as human beings.” His influence is immeasurable – from music to foreign policy to religion. Today Islam, followed then by very few, is the second largest religion in the United States and Canada.
August 4, 2010
Marilyn Buck was a former political prisoner and prisoner of war. Along with Mutulu Shakur, she was responsible for the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison in 1979. She later went underground and spent 25 years in prison. She was released July 15, 2010. Then suddenly, only 19 days later, she was gone.
February 10, 2010
Five years ago this month, Coleman Advocates started off on a bold new journey after three decades of fiercely independent and uniquely successful fights for San Francisco’s children. The board hired a young, ambitious and passionate leader named NTanya Lee, who shared with civil rights visionary Ella Baker the deep conviction that everyday people can and should determine their own destiny.
February 22, 2009
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was assassinated 44 years ago, on Feb. 21, 1965, because of his attempt to internationalize the African American struggle for self-determination.