December 30, 2017
For the last couple of years in San Francisco, the beginning of December has been marked by a bloody tradition: the murder of Black men by San Francisco police. On Dec. 1, just one day before we were set to gather around the family of Mario Woods to remember his life on the two-year anniversary of his killing, the SFPD shot and killed another of Bayview Hunters Point’s own sons, Keita O’Neil aka Icky. The result of letting Icky’s murder go without response is that another one of us gets killed. They didn’t kill Icky because he was a hustler. They killed Icky because in San Francisco our Black and Brown lives are considered expendable.
December 19, 2017
Journalist and poet Frank Marshall Davis is an important voice who channeled his social convictions through the power of the pen, and proved to be an unsung hero in the struggle for human rights. “Frank Marshall Davis established his reputation as a socially minded poet employing free-verse forms.” His work has been recognized by the National Poetry Foundation, stating on their website: “Davis concerned himself with portraying Black life, protesting racial inequalities, and promoting Black pride.”
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.
September 28, 2017
We are here together to make a more humane, just, compassionate society. To do so we must first dispel the myth about America. Then confront the self-deception and lies we have come to believe as truths. Move from the illusion into the heartbreaking reality that it is. We will be disoriented. “The very time I thought I was lost, my dungeon shook and my chains fell off,” wrote James Baldwin.
September 25, 2017
I love Donald Trump! Yes, of course, I disagree with most everything he says, and his sensibilities remind me of every racist I have ever met; but I love that he is arrogant enough to believe that telling the truth about how and what he feels is somehow a smart thing to do. In his book, “The Prince,” Niccolo Machiavelli suggested that those who wield power should ‘‘be evil but pretend to be good, sincerely believe in the value of sincerity, but never be frank.’’ Apparently Trump didn’t get the memo.
June 2, 2017
Saturday, June 10, The Father’s Day Celebration, a free event for Black fathers and Black male father figures and their families, will give space for a joyous Father’s Day event for the whole community. The Father’s Day Celebration will begin with family portraits, activities for the kids (Barbers, Books and Bridges), a live DJ spinning tunes perfect for the occasion and a keynote speaker, Adimu Madyun. Dining will be available.
May 30, 2017
I left CDCr wondering how PBSP could remain in shambles after 22 years of court oversight. As I started educating myself about prison reform, I stumbled upon Keramet Reiter’s 2016 book, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.” Within those pages, I found validation and some disturbing answers. I wish this book had been available to me before I started working in CDCr.
May 14, 2017
Finally, a filmmaker has come to the forefront to confront the identity question in the post-Obama Trump era. Filmmaker Mtume Gant beautifully asks pertinent questions about what it means to be Black in today’s times in his 20-minute short, an official SF Black Film Festival selection called “White Face.” This political satire, an artsy, comedic drama, is a must see for all the politically minded readers out there. Check out the genius of filmmaker Mtume Gant in this exclusive Q&A.
February 14, 2017
Shola Adisa-Farrar is coming home to debut her new CD, “Lost Myself,” on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, in Oakland and San Francisco. Perhaps you remember her from The Ultimate Hustler reality television show she starred in Oct. 4-Dec. 13, 2005, while she was in New York? Maybe you recall how much fun you had with Shola as guide in the Walking in the Spirit: Black Paris and Beyond tours while there? No?
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.
February 5, 2017
I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave that hounded every other participant. As I suspected, a tragic election caused crowd levels to swell significantly compared to a year ago. I’d say at least three times the number of 2016 attendees walked in this year’s march. One ugly cloud loomed: the transfer of federal powers – which finally did arrive four days later – had crept oh so dreadfully near.
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.
October 10, 2016
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
September 29, 2016
“Kicks,” the first feature for East Bay native Justin Tipping, is a throwback to the harsh brutal ‘80s-’90s, when hip hop was painting landscapes along urban highways. It’s post-everything … urban removal complete – crack, pistols and cars about all that’s left for those who remain. Life is moving fast, so fast boys need their kicks to keep up. The story centers on Brandon, a petite youth who wants to buy a pair of Classic Jordans – Esu-Legba colors.
July 15, 2016
We lost many loved ones this past month, from photographer extraordinaire Kamau Amen Ra to community organizer, prolific writer and longshoreman Brother Cleophus Williams to my dear Sister Monica Pree, not to mention Muhammad Ali. We reflect on Independence Day, a day marked by the blood of African Ancestors of the Middle Passage – the first to die a Black man, Crispus Attucks, on March 3, 1770, in what became known as the Boston Massacre.
July 24, 2015
The most exciting literary event every year for Black people on the West Coast is the Leimert Park Book Fair, held this year on Saturday, Aug. 1. It brings out a lot of community members, community heroes and sheroes, as well as Hollywood celebrities to share in the festivities. Check out the founder of the Leimert Park Book Fair and author Cynthia Exum as she tells us about this year’s Leimert Park Book Fair.
June 11, 2015
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” is a beautiful and tragic look at the life of one of the women who made us proud to be Black. She helped us to transform our minds from the psychology of scared Colored Negroes into being proud Black Africans in America. The film documents some of her thoughts and includes a lot of archival interview footage and footage of her performing.
February 6, 2015
Given the trajectory of 2014 regarding Black lives, perhaps February would be a great time to reflect on what bell hooks calls “the love ethic,” a principle Dr. King embodied and preached. Langston Hughes would have been 116 on Feb. 1 (his mother, Carrie Langston, was born Jan. 22, 1873). Albert Woodfox will be 68 on Feb. 19. Hopefully he will be eating cake under some sunny sky, a freed man by then.
January 13, 2015
This brief introduction to Selma’s bottom up history can help students and others learn valuable lessons for today. As SNCC veteran and filmmaker Judy Richardson said: “If we don’t learn that it was people just like us – our mothers, our uncles, our classmates, our clergy – who made and sustained the modern Civil Rights Movement, then we won’t know we can do it again. And then the other side wins – even before we ever begin the fight.”
August 1, 2014
In the summer of 1963, the KQED Film Unit invited author James Baldwin to investigate racism in San Francisco. Baldwin agreed to be filmed while he scrutinized the liberal, cosmopolitan image projected by the city. Before “Take This Hammer” was televised, KQED’s Board of Directors insisted that 15 minutes of footage had to be removed, which some felt portrayed race relations in an overly negative way.