June 23, 2017
Great news when Theresa May’s Conservative Party lost their Parliamentary majority in the U.K.’s June 8 snap election and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party surged, adding 30 seats to their total. Pollsters, who predicted a Conservative Party victory, were way off, but for what it’s worth, they’ve since reported that Corbyn’s popularity continues to rise.
June 1, 2017
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
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.
April 30, 2017
A confident, unified workers’ movement – that’s who was marching here on the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spearheading the march were militants of United Service Workers West (USWW-SEIU) – the janitors, airport employees and other mainly low-wage workers playing a leading role in building for May Day general strike actions in California.
April 30, 2017
Working towards the success of the Millions for Prisoners March has been a central theme of the Amend the 13th’s agenda since the outset. In a movement dedicated to not only abolishing legal slavery in Amerika, but transforming the nature and structure of unequal social, political and economic relationships upon which mass incarceration is based, support for the March is of course an obvious priority – but what is not so obvious is why this march is vital to the very future of progressive social change in Amerika.
February 10, 2017
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.
January 29, 2017
The Concerned Network of Women partnered with the United Council of Human Services, governed by Gwendolyn Westbrook and Dr. Betty McGee, to issue hand warmers and hot chili to homeless people. On New Year’s Eve, we visited the homeless living under the Cesar Chavez Freeway exit. While under the freeway, we witnessed an eviction notice dated Dec. 29, 2016. Evicting the homeless serves little purpose, other than further implying that homeless people have no human and/or civil rights. Here is one solution: Bring services to the encampment, not locks and chains.
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 15, 2017
Homeless people and their allies will be honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign and Resurrection City on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 12:00-2:30 p.m., at Civic Center Plaza. They are gathering as part of Martin Luther King Day protests occurring across the West Coast, including Denver, Sacramento, Salinas, Oakland and Portland, to highlight increased criminalization of homeless people and to protect the rights of poor people, along with the Reclaim MLK Day 120 Hours of Action.
December 1, 2016
Death came to the old revolutionary – put out what was left of his cigar – leaving him his military cap – so they would not place laurels – that would bother him. It is no little thing to confront the empire – & survive its rage of a mad dog – from which a bone is taken. Oh Cuba of the bitter history, – of palms, dances, songs, – of the drums of Alegba and Yamayá, – of the cane made sweet by blood and sweat – mourn and remember, sing, dance, work – for justice and never return to slavery. © Rafael Jesús González 2016
August 27, 2016
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
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.
June 30, 2016
The budget signed June 27 by Gov. Jerry Brown reflects Sacramento’s relentless reliance on incarceration. Although the budget includes some repairs to the social safety net, it nonetheless aggressively builds up California’s system of imprisonment, adding another $270 million to the state’s large-scale jail construction program, extending contracts for private prisons, increasing the number of prison guards and funding construction on a dilapidated prison in Norco.
June 28, 2016
She was born Alice Faye Williams in the dusty little town of Lumberton, North Carolina, on Jan. 10, 1947, a dimpled little Black girl, who grew into a petite young revolutionary known as Afeni Shakur, mother of a young rap icon and actor, Tupac Amaru Shakur. Like many country people – and far too many Black people – she looked down on herself for years, as not smart enough, not pretty enough – you know: too Black. Afeni Shakur, after 69 springs, returns to the infinite.
June 1, 2016
I am interviewing Equipto of the Frisco 5 Hunger Strike about the history of their movement, as well as his feelings on the resignation of Police Chief Suhr in San Francisco, after the police murder of Jessica Williams-Nelson. M.O.I. JR: What prompted you to organize the collective that eventually became known as the Frisco 5? Equipto: It was just a group of people that came together and decided to go on a hunger strike. The movement just sprouted from that basically.
May 23, 2016
It’s personal because your actions against the oppressed were calculating, premeditated and strategically targeting New Afrikans and other oppressed, poor citizens of this nation. Not only did you wickedly abuse the trust of the people who believed in you, but you demonstrated what hatred looks like in policy. Yes! Your charisma, accompanied with your oiled up tongue, allowed you to work your charms on the people while all the time preying on them like a wild, mad predator.
May 3, 2016
The Land Action 4 are four people who were arrested after actively reclaiming neglected property. I was made aware of this case by housing activist Tim Killings, who organizes around housing rights in Oakland. I conversed with one of the members of the Land Action 4, Patrick Xu, about their case, their beliefs, human rights and the history of reclaiming property internationally. Check out Patrick Xu in his own words, and support the dropping of charges for the Land Action 4.
March 28, 2016
It’s hard to imagine that the country that controls so much nuclear firepower and drops so many bombs every day is unwilling to educate its children and house its own people. As much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the U.S.
February 19, 2016
Yesterday at the opening of the so-named “Grim Sleeper” trial, prosecutor Beth Silverman laid out what seemed like a strong case against the suspect. But in her opening statement, Silverman painted the victims as “prostitutes” and “crack addicts,” racist and sexist stereotypes that the Black Coalition has had to continuously object to when the police and media used them to dismiss the fact that human beings were being murdered.
December 9, 2015
Aaron Peskin becomes the District 3 supervisor on Dec. 8 and will then join his colleagues in rejecting the planned new jail for San Francisco. There likely was a board majority against the current jail plan even without Peskin’s vote, since London Breed’s district is against it and she is up for re-election, but his replacement of Julie Christensen ensures the jail’s defeat.