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At our council retreat in San Diego Jan. 18, during the presentation on how to correct the low 1 percent participation of African Americans in Caltrans contracting in the midst of a 17.9 percent DBE accomplishment, a council member made a comment that has made me feel compelled to clarify why this council is in existence. I know that most of us, particularly newer council members, may believe that we are here because we are qualified contractors, but in this country, with its inherent institutional discrimination where qualifications of certain ethnic groups don’t matter, we are here to pursue equality and equal opportunity, known as civil rights, for all classified minorities and women.
Many New Afrikans (Blacks) for some reason think that the revolution is dead. The revolution is not dead. It is the spirit of the people that is dead. They have forgotten their history. And since their spirit is dead, the revolution is at a standstill or stagnant. Revolution means to bring about a change. A revolutionary is one who is dedicated to bringing about that change. We can all agree that change in these times is indeed needed. Revolution is needed! The people’s spirit is only dead because those of us who claim to be revolutionaries haven’t sparked their interest.
As WE commemorate Juneteenth Freedom Day(s) again this year, it is always necessary to OVERstand the real Lessons in the Blessings (as my beloved God-Mother ELIZABETH ELIZANN OAKS-ARMSTRONG would often say). While Juneteenth is possibly the oldest and largest commemoration of the “official” ending of the murderous war of enslavement, many of our people have never grasped its true origins and significance.
Our movement is fighting hard to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to strike its “slavery clause” that forces prisoners to work for free or for pennies in the prisons, in the fields like slaves of old and in sweatshops manufacturing goods. We are calling for your help in raising the public’s awareness of the existence and the urgent need to end prison slavery inside the state of Texas and across the nation. Let’s dedicate Juneteenth 2018 to abolishing slavery once and for all!
Good morning and welcome to Wanda’s Picks, a Black arts and culture program with the African Sister’s Media Network. We are joined in the studio by Robert King, Albert Woodfox and Malik Rahim. Welcome to the show. Today we are going to be talking about the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington. We can talk about solitary confinement, political prisoners, the 13th Amendment. We can talk about what the need is for having such an event.
On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, was murdered by officers of the Baltimore Police Department while in their custody. An article published in The Atlantic three days after Gray’s death pointed out the historical precedent for this particular kind of state violence. The author wrote, “Black men dying at the hands of the police is of course nothing new.” The “peculiar institution” of this violent and racist system can be better understood by tracing the lineage of the police back in time.
On March 25, 1931, at the age of 69, Ida B. Wells-Barnett joined the ancestors, leaving an incredible legacy of courage, sacrifice, dedication and activism. Given the harsh, dangerous conditions of the post-Civil War context in which she struggled, her accomplishments were truly amazing. She was surely one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women. Long live the spirit of Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
The United States of America is presently home to 2 million active slaves and approximately 6 million documented as slaves for future use. You ask how the land of the free can be home to some 8 million slaves and why Americans know nothing about it? The answer is that Congress enacted the 13th Amendment in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It abolished slavery throughout the country but it allows all states to enslave all persons convicted of a crime.
Development of the concept and strategy for the “amend the 13th: abolish “legal” slavery in Amerika movement” began in November 2013 following the close of the third hunger strike here in California, after holding discussions and issuing statements with other think tank coordinators on the next logical step for our anti-prison industrial slave complex (PISC) struggle.
Nine people were killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, co-founded by Denmark Vesey, whose rebellion was planned for June 17, 193 years ago. Victims included South Carolina Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of the historic church. This is nothing short of a terrorist assassination. Watch the videos updating this story, including President Obama's eulogy of Pastor Pinckney on June 26 and the removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds by a Black woman, Bree Newsome on June 27.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially those dads who stayed the course, when walking away would have been so much easier, even expected. Happy Father’s Day to the OGs who have grown more responsible with age. It is never too late to do better, even if you missed a generation – grace is that second chance. Congrats to all the May-June graduates, especially my niece and nephew Wilda Batin and Wilfred Batin.
Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden’s “Da Cotton Pickas” is a must see documentary about how slavery did not stop with the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, some people who were sharecropping slaves are still alive today, like Bishop Henry Williams, the subject of this monumental documentary. He worked for over 18 years and was never paid for picking cotton. Fleetwood tells a story of a historical reality with this documentary that most have never heard.
When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
The resurgence of modern Black towns for today’s Black population could represent a renaissance in Black thinking. It makes sense that if other cultural groups have “towns” like Chinatown, Japantown, Little Italy or Little Mexico, the Black community should get serious about developing and building Africatowns to recapture our internal economic markets and revitalize our cultural heritage for posterity.
“Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, and one white – separate and unequal.” And, unless immediate corrective action is taken, “large scale and continuing violence could result, followed by white retaliation, and, ultimately, the separation of the two communities into a garrison state.” These are words from the much publicized and relatively blunt report of the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
Martin King said as long as there is economic inequality, there will be racial inequality.The lack of economic empowerment in our community comes from economic dysfunction that is a result of – let’s be real – racism as it relates to how this country has been structured so that the classes, in a real sense, exploit the masses, and especially people of color and, without a doubt, African Americans.
It is hot enough in Corcoran, California, to melt people. That being said, it still wasn’t hot enough to keep upwards of 400 people from braving 103-degree weather to mobilize and rally at Corcoran State Prison in support of over 30,000 prisoners on hunger strike in California. The immediate goal is to stop the cruelty and torture that being held in isolation represents. The long-range objective is liberation.