January 31, 2014
New Orleans teachers who lost their jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were wrongfully terminated and deserve two to three years of back pay, an appeals court ruled Jan. 16. The ruling affects more than 7,000 teachers who were fired and comes after years of legal wrangling, The Times-Picayune reported. Katrina catalyzed the ground-up remaking of the New Orleans public school system, of which the mass layoffs of thousands of teachers was just one part. The layoffs also destabilized neighborhoods.
September 2, 2013
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
August 29, 2013
Eight years after Katrina, nearly a 100,000 people never got back to New Orleans, the city remains incredibly poor, jobs and income vary dramatically by race, rents are up, public transportation is down, traditional public housing is gone, life expectancy differs dramatically by race and place, and most public education has been converted into charter schools.
August 2, 2013
The revolutionary Hugo Chavez was a political giant in the Western Hemisphere until his untimely death from cancer. We must continue to learn from the people of Venezuela about the revolutionary process that they have enacted. Check out Drexel University professor and author George Ciccariello-Maher as he discusses Venezuela, the late great Hugo Chavez and his new book, “We Created Chavez.”
July 1, 2013
Bibliotheque Parrainage, a New Orleans based non-profit, is working to rebuild libraries in Haiti. During the July 4th weekend in New Orleans, Bibliotheque Parrainage is hosting a fundraising bus tour of the Louisiana 1811 Slave Revolt, the largest slave revolt in the United States. Funds raised from this July 4th weekend adventure will be used for assistance to the Nationale Bibliotheque in Haiti.
March 4, 2013
One morning after Mass at the Poor Claire Monastery, Maria Victoire, a volunteer with the Fourth World Movement, broached the idea of a collaborative book written by extremely poor New Orleaneans scattered to the winds after Hurricane Katrina. She was asking my opinion as an author about what to do with the 50 or so interviews she had conducted and how to get them published as a book.
February 2, 2013
On Jan. 31 CITGO Petroleum Corp. President and CEO Alejandro Granado and Citizens Energy Corp. Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II launched the eighth annual CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program with the first heating oil delivery of this winter’s initiative. The program has become a humanitarian symbol of unity between the people of Venezuela and those in need in the United States.
January 29, 2013
A federal appeals court in New Orleans has overturned the conviction of former New Orleans police officer David Warren, one of the former cops tried and convicted of an assortment of charges related to the murder of Henry Glover, who was shot by police and later burned in an abandoned car by cops just days after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans more than seven years ago.
September 7, 2012
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
August 30, 2012
New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.
July 19, 2012
The red carpet at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities was teeming with elegant, poised, radiant young HBO stars, ready to introduce the film about them, The Rethinkers, and discuss it. Inside it was standing room only, and barely that. “The Great Cafeteria Takeover” was premiering this night as part of the HBO series, “The Weight of the Nation.”
June 18, 2012
On the morning of Tuesday, June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is having an important public hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement.” This Senate hearing comes on the heels of widespread prisoner hunger strikes that have made the use of solitary confinement a central issue.
June 17, 2012
The New York Times Magazine recently ran a story on my home, the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, a place one of the most powerful newspapers in the world insensitively dubbed a “Jungleland.” Contrary to the article, residents don’t live in an untamed mess of overgrowth or in a forgotten wasteland. We are not resigned to anything; we are fighting to revive our community.
May 7, 2012
On April 20, 2010, a reckless attitude towards the safety of the Gulf Coast by BP caused a well to blow out 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. “People should be aware that the oil is still there,” says Wilma Subra, a chemist who travels widely across the Gulf. The reality she is seeing on the ground contrasts sharply with the image painted by BP.
September 7, 2011
Six years ago, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast. The impact of Katrina and government bungling continue to inflict major pain on the people left behind. It is impossible to understand what happened and what still remains without considering race, gender and poverty. The following offer some hints of what remains.
August 17, 2011
New Orleans – Black homeowners and two civil rights organizations announced July 7 a settlement in a post-Hurricane Katrina housing discrimination lawsuit brought against the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the state of Louisiana regarding the “Road Home” program.
August 12, 2011
Since the beginning of the seizure of police stations and army depots by the “peaceful” protesters in Libya, Africa, in February, who were then armed to the teeth and terrorized the population of many cities in Libya, the British government has supported them, calling them “rebels,” and even in the last few days recognize them as the “official government of Libya.”
July 12, 2011
Powwah and his family are some of the people that I check in with when I am in the Memphis area. Besides being one of the most politically educated entrepreneurs that I know, Powwah makes music. His new album, “In tha Wind,” is Southern conscious rap at its finest with precise lyrical content and the type of production that we traditionally think of when we think of bar-b-cues and Southern Comfort.
April 4, 2011
On March 31, a federal judge sentenced two former New Orleans police officers for killing Henry Glover and incinerating his body during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One got 25 years for shooting Glover with an assault rifle and the other got 17 years for torching the man’s corpse.
March 13, 2011
Bay Area journalist JR Valrey, the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and associate editor of SF Bay View, known as the Minister of Information, reports vital news about the struggle against oppression. In the 31 interviews in his new book, “Block Reportin’,” he shows what he calls the “big gap between what is going on in the world and what is being reported. I want to inspire people to become their own media and to truly speak on behalf of the people.” Meet JR at his first book signing Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m., at Marcus Books, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.