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The violent Separation Nation didn’t begin with this generation --- with these babies --- or their incarceration --- The Separation Nation began with the theft of Turtle Island --- and the humans who lived here and thrived on it. As we grieve, show up, demand and scream for the freedom of these incarcerated babies, please don’t get confused by the blur of this present genocidal history. Take a refresher course with me through the violent herstories that built this stolen land – and continue to assist in the realization and manifestation of the most important aspects of what I call the Separation Nation.
The crisis of deep child poverty persists in California, which recently surpassed the United Kingdom as the fifth largest economy in the world. One in five California children was poor in 2016, and one in 12 children lived in deep poverty. In a high cost-of-living state where the monthly fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,608, many families lack the resources to cover rent and all their children’s basic needs.
In 1969 I decided to join the Black Panther Party and commit myself to a lifetime of revolutionary struggle. In the early 1990s I became a supporter and advocate of Fanmi Lavalas. Lavalas means a cleansing flood that would wash away political corruption and Fanmi means family. I saw the similarities in practice of our Panther and Lavalas activists, whose dedication to the liberation of our peoples and provision of essential goods and services were paramount and well worth any risk to our lives.
The love affair between Black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about Black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.
On July 16, Public Advocates, a nonprofit law firm, sent out a press release announcing that, bowing to community pressure, Oakland has invited new proposals for affordable housing at the controversial Lake Merritt East 12th Street parcel that local groups protested against as an illegal land deal with Urban Core that violated the Surplus Land Act governing the sale of publicly owned land.
Last year, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and All of Us Or None joined the Western Center for Law and Poverty and a broad-based coalition of 140 organizations to repeal the lifetime ban on CalFresh and CalWORKs for people with drug-related felony convictions. Effective April 1, 2015, no person will be deemed ineligible for either CalFresh or CalWORKs aid because they have a prior federal or state felony drug conviction.
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. came to Stanford University to deliver the first iteration of his speech, “The Other America.” Dr. King called attention to the disparate “two Americas” in which whites and Blacks lived – one filled with potential and prosperity and the other filled with “blasted hopes and shattered dreams.” When Dr. King gave this speech in 1967, the Civil Rights Movement was at a turning point.
Last week, the Richmond City Council voted in favor of a city ordinance that will increase the local minimum wage from $8 to $12.30 an hour by 2017. The increase will be phased in over three years and positions Richmond to have the highest minimum wage of any city in California. “I wish it could be more, but it showcases that Richmond has the political will to move forward,” said Mayor McLaughlin.
In addition to condemning IFCO for its support of Viva Palestina, the IRS has also attacked our years of solidarity work with Cuba. In both instances our legal advisor eloquently described work we have historically done to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination. The projects we support and operate have faithfully furthered our mission and our organization’s tax-exempt purpose, as it was originally described.
Dr. King led a movement that issued a stirring call for justice. Lyndon Johnson used his remarkable skills to drive an unprecedented response to that call. The prophet and the president were both remarkable leaders. We may not look on their like again. But even so, one thing is still clear: When we build the demand for change, leaders will arise to offer the response.
As the corporate domination of our food, land, air and water continues and the resistance heats up to the monster known as Monsanto, it must be said that in the U.S. it’s us po’ folks of all cultures and ages that are getting the worst of it. Some obvious, most not. And no one is really speaking for us. “The poor people’s plate is rooted in capitalist hate for the three job working mamaz caught in the welfare state.”
Give us your tired, your poor, your hungry, huddled masses ... and we’ll make sure they stay that way. That’s the message that members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats alike – are sending with their proposals to cut funding and add new restrictions for the Supplementary Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – better known as the food stamp program.
Amerikkka and the conservative bigwigs want to PRIVATIZE the school so that they can choose who gets in, what classes will be offered, when this will all take place and how it is to come about. If they are able to do that, people like me – homeless, poor, poverty-stricken single mother – will not have a ghost of a chance to better ourselves. But that’s what they want: to keep you down and out.
Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund Project Vote and New Orleans attorney Ronald Wilson filed a complaint in federal court alleging that Louisiana is disenfranchising minority and low-income voters by failing to offer them the opportunity to register to vote as required by the National Voter Registration Act.
“This system treats us like throw-away people,” says Carolyn Brown, a Seattle volunteer with prison reform group Justice Works! An African American with a record, her effort to find a job is deeply frustrating due to systemic racism.
Peace mom Cindy Sheehan, who has traveled the world speaking out for peace with justice, spoke to a full house of grassroots activists at the Oct. 2 Bayview Hunters Point Town Hall Meeting about her campaign to replace Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. Congress Nov. 4.