May 1, 2017
RYSE debuts its third annual production at El Cerrito High School Performing Arts Theater on May 6 and 7. “Richmond Renaissance” is an original play written and performed by Richmond youth. Set in AnnaBelle’s, a Black-owned juke joint in 1940s North Richmond, Richmond Renaissance counters the often negative Richmond narrative of poverty and violence by highlighting the community’s wealthy cultural past as an epicenter for blues, jazz and zydeco.
May 1, 2017
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
March 29, 2017
“I’ll tell you … they really wanted that building to burn down,” said by one of elder survivors of the West Oakland apartment building fire, at 2551 San Pablo, which has taken four precious lives, hospitalized several people and displaced over 100 residents – disabled elders, community members and families with children – on a dark and cold morning on Monday, March 27, at 5:40 a.m.
March 29, 2017
“I was born in 1916,” Iris whispered into the camera in her last hours of life. “Peter, I can’t believe you did me like this.” Her eyes were pools of sacred time. Sacred, like a prayer. Sacred like things you hold lightly to protect and dream about and kneel to. Not evict and harass and drag to court and intrude and disrespect and eventually kill. Iris Canada joined the ancestors on Monday, March 27, one month after being evicted. Iris was murdered by the people and the systems that rule this stolen land. Iris was killed by landlord Peter Owens, the sheriff, the DA, the mayor, the judge and everyone who protects them.
March 1, 2017
“Even an animal doesn’t deserve to die the way they killed my husband,” said Dona Fedelia del Carmen, widow of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, a Mayan indigenous man killed by San Francisco police April 7, 2016, for doing nothing. For doing nothing, except being Brown and unhoused in a city plagued by the disease of capitalism and its sister illness, gentrification. “I am demanding justice and honor for my husband,” she concluded. The family asks everyone to join the march on Friday, April 7.
February 23, 2017
Most of the citizens living in Oakland’s homeless encampments are African Americans born and raised in Oakland. Gentrification displaced them from housing in their own hometown. On Dec. 2, 2016, 36 members and friends of Oakland’s warehouse community died while partying in the Ghost Ship warehouse. In contrast with the people in the encampments, most were not African American or born nor raised in Oakland. According to the Oakland Council, those people who died partying in the warehouse, not the people in the encampment, have become “a symbol of Oakland’s affordability crisis.”
January 31, 2017
As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
January 27, 2017
At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
January 5, 2017
This holiday season, many are wondering what we can possibly do to get involved and create real change in our communities. One way to make a difference at the local level is to become a volunteer in public schools, especially schools that are under-resourced and can really use the support. Anyone who has stepped inside a school knows teachers and principals simply cannot do it alone. It takes a whole team of caring adults to educate a child.
December 29, 2016
The Auset Movement: Loving Humanity into Wholeness reluctantly celebrated its one year anniversary today, Sunday, Dec. 25. The group, made up of concerned citizens, have been serving hot meals once a month since Christmas last year. If there is a holiday, we show up that day with hot breakfast, today, the menu was Wanda Ravernell’s homefries, Jovelyn’s delight – fresh greens, Tobaji’s beans and rice, Kwalin’s sausage and pumpkin spice bread.
December 15, 2016
I ain’t gonna front – I shed tears when Trump and his minions were elected. The impending doom that is a Trump presidency is the result of a white America unable to swallow the conspicuousness of Black perfection, and a corollary of white rage. Black people have been shot, burned and lynched, but we did not die. Our hearts and minds have been subject to unspeakable trauma, and still we got back up. Persistence and lightenin’ spits from our fingers and truth is our ammunition. This is all too much for white America. Our perfection is our savior and it should not be feared.
November 11, 2016
City leaders announced the “New Oakland” as if to say it was no longer a “Black city.” As Oakland became more attractive to outsiders, housing costs rose and more African Americans were displaced. Oakland was voted one of the country’s “coolest cities,” but today, Oakland’s homeless people have been displaced into visible encampments located throughout the gentrified areas. They are mainly African Americans displaced by the city’s gentrification.
October 28, 2016
The “Stolen Land and Hoarded Resources Redistribution, Decolonization and Community Reparations Tour for Mama Earth and its Earth Peoples” was launched last spring by POOR Magazine, led by “Poverty Skola” Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE and fellow race, disability, indigenous scholars Leroy Moore from Krip Hop Nation and First Nations Ohlone warrior Corrina Gould of the Sogorea Land Trust. They plan to resume the tour in the coming months.
October 6, 2016
Rwanda Day-San Francisco was a bad day for identity politics. Rwandan President Paul Kagame stepped to the podium and said that he was happy to be in San Francisco because it’s so diverse, seeming not to understand that his guest speaker, Rev. Rick Warren, champion of the 2008 Prop 8 ballot measure banning same sex marriage, wouldn’t appeal to San Francisco’s diverse population.
October 4, 2016
Big Mouth Productions is presenting a cultural event for everyone in the community to come together and have a pleasurable time. A recent First Tuesdays Spoken Word event I attended was filled with an abundance of positive energy and great people. The event takes place this evening and every first Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Radio Africa Kitchen restaurant, located on the corner of Third and Oakdale in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point.
September 3, 2016
Black people are genetic experts at dislocation and assimilation; what with centuries of practice, we come to this place with authority and grief. However, Saturday, July 30, at the fifth OG or Original Good Community Barbecue, children, youth and adults had a chance to mingle, eat and enjoy the chance to introduce Gen X to those elders who made this city situated between Silicon Valley giants – Palo Alto and Menlo Park – what it was, if not what it is now.
August 25, 2016
Over the past week Donald Trump has been giving all sorts of speeches where he’s telling Black and Brown folks what he will be doing for us if he gets elected. Now most of us know Trump is full of shyt, and while his remarks have gotten folks talking and many more laughing, he inadvertently does raise a few questions. For those who are voting for Hillary Clinton, one should ask, “What is she putting on the table?” The answer should be more than “she won’t be as bad as Trump.” What exactly is she promising that folks can hang their hats on?
July 25, 2016
The No New SF Jail Coalition has been selected to receive the prestigious Hero Award by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission and its Equity Advisory Committee. The coalition celebrated a monumental victory last December, when, after years of community organizing and advocacy, they persuaded the Board of Supervisors to reject plans for a new jail in San Francisco.
July 23, 2016
The recent deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, at the hands of state-sanctioned violence are additional tragedies in an endless list of Black victims, and a reminder that premature Black death continues to take center stage in the Black narrative. With our heads in our hands and our eyes swollen, we keep asking, when will Black lives matter? White silence about these atrocities is almost as dangerous as the hand that pulls the trigger.
June 23, 2016
There are concerns cited by the 2015-2016 Grand Jury report about my representation of the community’s concerns with a proposed development adjacent to my home. Prior to my election to office, an out of town investor purchased a historic Victorian house next to my home with the stated intention to rehabilitate it. The neighbors welcomed the promised renovation of the home and volunteered to keep watch over the site.