December 3, 2017
Six California prisoners wrote to me in 2015 to ask about the Hepatitis C cure, shortly after the San Francisco Bay View newspaper published my interview with activist attorney Peter Erlinder titled “US prisoners sue for constitutional right to lifesaving Hep C cure.” They’d been able to read it because the Bay View sends a print edition to prisons all over the country every month. I tried and failed to answer those letters and I’ve felt bad about it ever since. I would have swiftly responded to all the prisoners who wrote to me about the Hep C cure if I’d been able to send electronic mail.
October 6, 2017
Folks have probably heard by now that the African American Museum and Library, Oakland (AAMLO), is without a permanent director. While the search is being articulated and mounted, Susan D. Anderson, Bay Area author and founder of Memory House, will act as interim director and chief curator for the next six to nine months as the Oakland Public Library (OPL) mounts a national search to find the right person for the job.
October 14, 2016
Perhaps the reason why Nat Turner is almost completely buried within documented and oral histories is connected to the fear his rebellion caused in the Southampton and by extension the Southern antebellum community. Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation” visits this story as Donald Trump draws a white male constituency very much in keeping philosophically with the angry mob who tear the flesh from the iconic Prophet Nat Turner’s body.
September 10, 2016
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
August 22, 2016
Hurricane Katrina hit 11 years ago. Population of the City of New Orleans is down by over 95,000 people. Almost all this loss of people is in the African American community. The gap between rich and poor in New Orleans is massive, the largest in the country. Despite receiving $76 billion in assistance after Katrina, it is clear that poor and working people in New Orleans, especially African Americans, got very little of that help. Here are the numbers.
March 26, 2016
The brief visit of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Libya in October 2011 was referred to by the media as a “victory lap.” “We came, we saw, he died!” she crowed in a CBS video interview on hearing of the capture and brutal murder of Libyan leader Muammar el-Qaddafi. But the victory lap, write Scott Shane and Jo Becker in the New York Times, was premature. Libya was relegated to the back burner by the State Department.
September 18, 2015
Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced legislation on Thursday, Sept. 17, that promises to ban government contracts for privately run prisons and jails within three years. Implementing such a plan would be an ambitious effort, as it would give authorities more than 100,000 additional inmates to manage – the number held in private facilities as of 2013. The bill’s immigration provisions are similarly bold.
August 17, 2015
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is nothing if not ambitious. Not content with being the Golden State’s top law enforcement officer – a position she has held since 2011, after serving seven years as San Francisco County’s district attorney – she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate and is the clear favorite to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring in November 2016. Harris must not miss this historic opportunity to end solitary confinement in California.
April 12, 2015
If America hadn’t become a nation that excessively incarcerates Black men for minor, nonviolent offenses, Walter Scott’s funeral would not be happening because he’d likely still be alive. That’s the conclusion drawn by Ezekiel Edwards, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project.
April 8, 2015
The bystander who recorded a South Carolina officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man eight times said the cop had control of the situation before he pulled out his gun. “I remember the police had control of the situation,” Feidin Santana said during the interview. “You can hear the sound of a Taser … I believe [Scott] was just trying to get away from the Taser.” Update: Watch a powerful video of the reunion between Santana and Walter Scott’s family.
April 8, 2015
A white South Carolina police officer was arrested and charged with murder Tuesday after video showed him fatally shooting a fleeing, unarmed Black man in the back. North Charleston Police Officer Michael T. Slager, 33, can be seen shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott after a confrontation on Saturday. Slager chases Scott and shoots at him eight times in the video recorded by a passerby
March 19, 2015
The bloody arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson started when a bouncer for a local bar approached him on a sidewalk, Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, said Thursday, March 19. Watkins said his client was never in possession of a fake ID and was simply standing on the sidewalk. The attack against Johnson, a third-year student and member of the UVA’s Honor Council, exposed long-standing racial tensions at one of the country’s most prestigious universities.
February 19, 2015
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in the Dominican Republic, supposedly a paradise of European development, a Haitian man named Henry Claude Jean, known as “Tulile,” a humble shoe shine worker, was found hanging in a park in Santiago, his hands and feet bound. In Haiti, the U.S.-installed Martelly dictatorship and its controlled opposition remain silent about this atrocious lynching.
December 10, 2014
Fahd Ghazy is a Yemeni national who has been detained at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, since February 2002 when he was only 17 years old. One of the last remaining prisoners to have been detained as a juvenile, Fahd was cleared for transfer by President Bush in 2007 and again by the Obama administration in 2009. Now 30 years old, he has spent over one-third of his life in Guantánamo without charge. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.
November 18, 2014
When the Michael Brown verdict is announced, people can expect the police to take at least 10 different illegal actions to prevent people from exercising their constitutional rights. The Ferguson police have been on TV more than others, so people can see how awful they have been acting. But their illegal police tactics are unfortunately quite commonly used by other law enforcement in big protests across the U.S.
September 25, 2014
In March of 2011, I accompanied Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on his trip home to Haiti following years of forced exile in South Africa. I did so in support of Haitian democracy and Aristide’s civil rights, and in protest against my country’s role in illegally removing him from power in 2004 and then preventing him from returning to his native land for seven long years. Today, Haitian democracy and the rights of Aristide are again under threat.
September 16, 2014
The instant that the call on whether to prosecute Brown’s killer, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, would be made by the hard-nosed St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCullough, who has a well-worn record of refusal to prosecute any officers who have been involved in dubious, even outrageous killings of mostly unarmed Black suspects, the screams were loud for a special prosecutor.
August 10, 2014
A local NAACP chapter has called for a federal investigation into the death of a Black teenager who was shot by police in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday, Aug. 9. Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed Saturday afternoon near his grandmother’s house by a Ferguson police officer. St. Louis County police have not given a reason for the shooting, which happened in a predominantly Black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis. After the shooting, a confrontation between police and hundreds of neighborhood residents lasted several hours, with shouts of “kill the police.”
July 25, 2014
In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals issued a report which stated in part: “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” This same report stated directly: “No new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”
May 29, 2014
IRP Solutions was a small, Black-owned software development company with 15-19 employees that competed against big businesses for lucrative, multi-million-dollar government contracts. Looking back on the raid of IRP Solutions’ business, conducted in 2005 by 21 FBI agents, it is apparent that IRP’s direct competitors were not going to let a small, Black-owned company win a substantial and lucrative contract that had been theirs for years.