Tag: Lisa Tiny Gray-Garcia
“You were right, Tiny. Interdependence does work for us poor mamas.” My revolutionary poet, fellow welfareQUEEN at POOR Magazine and co-founder of Homefulness and KEXU radio Laure McElroy and I spoke quietly on the phone in the kind of intimacy befitting deep sister comrades like we were and had been for many years of deep struggle and deep resistance. Writing this today is so hard for me between tears and pain. I’m so unsure of how to go on without her love. On Sunday, Sept. 23, we held a multi-nationed tree-planting ceremony in Laure’s honor at Homefulness.
Salt, grease and fried meat filled the air with just a hint of burnt sugar thrown in. My mind wandered to breakfasts past sizzling in a greasy diner. This time, however, I was on my bike, riding past an empty lot in East Oakland at 6:30 a.m. No houses or restaurants were remotely close. And then I saw the smoke and heard the sizzle. It was coming from one of a long line of late model Subarus, Hondas, BMWs, Acura sedans and even a Mercedes.
The violent Separation Nation didn’t begin with this generation --- with these babies --- or their incarceration --- The Separation Nation began with the theft of Turtle Island --- and the humans who lived here and thrived on it. As we grieve, show up, demand and scream for the freedom of these incarcerated babies, please don’t get confused by the blur of this present genocidal history. Take a refresher course with me through the violent herstories that built this stolen land – and continue to assist in the realization and manifestation of the most important aspects of what I call the Separation Nation.
“We are surrounded by Black cops,” said Leroy Moore, with POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation, about the 15 Black cops who surrounded us houseless and formerly houseless mamas, uncles, children and elders from the Poor People’s March when we walked humbly into the Washington, D.C., office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demand our housing back. “We are here to meet with Ben Carson,” we all said.
The rubber sides of the boat were like arms – thick, round, hard. “These are the boats refugees have to travel in. Men sit on the side, the women, children and elders in the middle, sometimes getting splashed and sick with the leaking gasoline from the engine because they are covering miles of ocean to go from one country to another.” The tour guide from Médecins Sans Frontières, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, was narrating the “Forced From Home” traveling exhibit of removal, imperialist wars and NGO and government abuse of indigenous bodies across the Global South.
As the trial over the police murder of Luis Demetrio Gongora Pat, an innocent, unhoused Mayan father, husband, brother and son who was killed 18 months ago on the streets of San Francisco, approaches, the witnesses to his murder are mysteriously dying. One witness, John Visor, died in his single room occupancy (SRO) hotel room on Aug. 11. Last week another person related to the case also died mysteriously in his SRO room in the same hotel. “It is critical that the death of John Visor be examined by an independent agency to uncover any foul play that might have occurred,” said lawyer for the people Adante Pointer.
“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.
“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.
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.
Building after building, block after block from the Bayview to Baltimore and from Sunnydale to East Oakland, the last vestige of so-called public – that is, government owned – housing in the richest country in the world lie dormant. Boarded up, locked, gated and shut – each apartment equipped with two, three and four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and full kitchens.
From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.
“The 16th Strike” will make its San Francisco Bay Area premier in Black August 2013 in Oakland and San Francisco, brought to you by Krip-Hop Nation and the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. The feature-length documentary will be screened Saturday, Aug. 17, 1 p.m., in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. In the words of filmmaker Toni Alika Hickman:
On April 11, a large number of people affiliated with KPFA radio station convened at Laney College in Oakland to discuss a number of issues that have been plaguing the station for decades and are threatening to rip it apart with a race and class civil war. Unaddressed racial and class disparities at KPFA have caused a number of Black broadcasters to abandon ship.
This is but one example of many acts of interdependence, love and revolution achieved by our family of poor and indigenous peoples at POOR Magazine. It is how we walk, live, struggle, dream, activate and revolutionize. It is what launched Homefulness, it is what started POOR Magazine and it is what kept me and my po’ Black-Indian Mama Dee alive.
In 2012 POOR Magazine’s family of landless, indigenous peoples and revolutionary donors took back a small slice of Pachamama to begin the construction of the self-determined housing, education, community garden and art revolution we call HOMEFULNESS. In 2013, with your revolutionary donation to our new Indiegogo Equity Campaign, we can start the building of this global template for change!
Reporting and supporting as a revolutionary poverty journalist, I have done multiple stories on the increasing criminalization suffered by houseless peoples in the U.S. As a daughter raised in a houseless family, I was personally cited, arrested and eventually incarcerated for the act of being houseless and living in the car with my mama.
From the Mission District in San Francisco, to West, North and now East Oakland, several neighborhoods in LA, young Black and Brown men, convening, talking, laughing, being young, are viewed as “dangerous,” “suspect” or criminal. Laws like the gang injunction are instituted and applied, and eventually we are completely wiped away like we were never there.
Unseen scars are what so many of our single parents in poverty are struggling with, living with, pushing through. Add the requisite criminalization of poor parents through welfare systems, child protective services, landlords and school systems and, for immigrant parents, the anti-immigrant hate and racism; it is a constant battlefield.
It had been over 20 years since me and my mama were houseless on the streets of LA, sleeping in our car and facing police harassment for the sole act of being poor and without a roof in the U.S. The only place we could go to get a break was skid row because it was the one place the police seemed to leave us alone. Now I was back, but something was bizarrely wrong.
The story of the violent crime of foreclosure and its roots in capitalist greed has been covered, albeit rarely, in mainstream and independent media. But the never heard voices are those of the thousands of families and disabled elders – majority people of color, like Ms. Galves – who have been literally thrown into the streets post-foreclosure and are now homeless.