November 18, 2010
We are not fooled by the corporate media hype that criminalizes our righteous struggle. We are not fooled by a prison industrial complexed court system acting to protect its own from criminal prosecution! Did not Malcolm X tell us that it would do no good to take the crimes of the criminal to the criminal’s courts?
July 4, 2010
July brings to mind many historic events, such as Frederick Douglass’ speech at an event July 5, 1852, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence. “What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity …”
July 4, 2010
On July 5, 1852, the great orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglas delivered an electrifying speech where he posed what was possibly the most significant question of his time; “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” He received a thunderous round of applause. Today I still ask, Why do Black folks feel obligated to dress up in red, white and blue top hats and sing the Star Spangled Banner to commemorate a day when our ancestors were picking tobacco in the hot Carolina sun?
January 16, 2010
Time is of the essence in Haiti, yet the international response has been painfully, tragically slow. Would this pace of rescue – where every minute counts in digging people out of the wreckage – have been the case if the earthquake victims were European?
January 15, 2010
“The Other America” by Martin Luther King Jr. “is a chilling, troubled speech made with the background of urban riots, pleas for Black Power and the Vietnam War.” – Ishmael Reed
October 26, 2009
The thing that most threw me off about this East Oakland native is that she loves opera. She has been singing longer in her life than she hasn’t been, and seems to be able to hit notes that makes glass break. She has recently been cast in a Black opera called “Dark River,” which tells the story of legendary Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer. It opens at the Oakland Metro Opera House on Nov. 12 and runs until the 22nd.
October 8, 2009
Paul Robeson was an extraordinary and versatile individual, world famous during his lifetime, who has been deliberately erased from the dominant myth of U.S. history for speaking the truth about conditions both domestic and abroad – his opposition to racism, fascism and colonialism and his support for civil and human rights, democracy, national liberation, socialism and the day-to-day resistance of working people of all lands to oppression, knowing that his fame would allow these messages to be more widely heard.
August 19, 2009
In many ways, Black August, at least in the West, begins in Haiti. It is the Blackest August possible — revolution and resultant liberation from bondage. From its earliest days, Haiti was declared an asylum for escaped slaves, and a place of refuge for any person of African or American Indian descent.
August 1, 2009
Black August begins with a campaign for the acquittal of Francisco Torres, the only member of the San Francisco 8 still charged. Go to www.freethesf8.org for messages to phone or fax to Attorney General Jerry Brown, urging him to drop the charges. Cisco’s hearing is Aug. 10 if the charges aren’t dropped.
July 7, 2009
What was amazing about the hearing Monday was the prosecution’s admission that it didn’t have enough evidence to convict these men. As attorney Daro Inouye said of Jalil Muntaqim, who pled no contest to the prosecution’s charge of conspiracy, his client picked up a loaded grenade to save his brothers, his friends, his fellow defendants, and he didn’t plead guilty. That language did not pass his lips.
July 4, 2009
This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhumane mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel in your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can today take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!
July 2, 2009
Required reading for Americans pre-fireworks and festivities should be an important speech given by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass, who, in “What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?” questions this holiday which took place while citizens were denied their right to justice, freedom and equality. At the Oakland Public Conservatory, Michael Lange and youth wordsmiths Ayinde Webb, the drummer in the Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble, and Jamani Williams will read excerpts.
April 22, 2009
Angela Davis called for a new movement to abolish what she called “the prison-industrial complex” in the U.S., which has become the largest jailer in the world. “Racism is directly responsible for the fact that the U.S. has become the great incarcerator.”
February 19, 2009
We need to confront our racial past – and our racial present. In things racial, we have always been and continue to be essentially a nation of cowards. This Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must – and will – lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom.”
August 21, 2008
On a cloudy Saturday morning in August, the sidewalk outside Glenn E. Dyer Jail in Oakland seems an odd site for a voter registration drive – but organizers are targeting an atypical audience: inmates and those visiting them.