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WE continue to build support for our relatives, colleagues and All humane beings – from Ayiti (Haiti) to Houston, Puerto Rico to Florida and other areas – suffering in the wake of the corporate-induced climate chaos, environmental disruptions and massive physical destruction (most recently referred to as hurricanes “harvey,” “Irma,” “jose” and “maria”). This is, of course, in the midst of our own necessary preparations for the pending political, military, economic and weather crises that are heading our way.
In these days of tremendous change and social upheaval, it’s good to know that a man of impeccable integrity is back in the public arena. After two and a half years in various Michigan prisons, Rev. Edward Pinkney has returned to his home in Benton Harbor, Mich. A bulldog for social justice, the reverend, who turns 69 this year, shows no sign of slowing. As a fighter for justice, Rev. Pinkney brings many gifts to the table.
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
We are pleased to announce an event on Aug. 16, 2016, to celebrate the union of Marcus Books and the African American Arts and Culture Complex (AAACC) in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. Over the past few months, Marcus Books and the AAACC have been collaborating on the details of their new partnership which will manifest as a bookstore within the first floor lobby of the complex. The event, to be held Tuesday, Aug. 16, 6-9 p.m., on the first floor of the AAACC, is meant to share the exciting plans with the community.
The featured front page story in the Feb. 18 San Francisco Chronicle begins, “The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, a uniquely San Franciscan storefront ministry dedicated to the music and preachings of the soulful sax man, is facing eviction and may be gone as soon as Sunday’s sermon ends. Let your voice be heard by signing the petition in full support of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church remaining in the West Bay Conference Center.”
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” way before the #blm movement.
The Addition, formerly Yoshi’s, closed its doors, 77 people lost their jobs and many will wind up on unemployment. Gussie’s, the Black soul food restaurant diagonally across the street, left a couple of months ago. Rassellas Jazz Club up the street on Fillmore is gone. Will the Fillmore, once rivaled only by Harlem with its 31 restaurants and jazz clubs, die? The City did this! The question is: Did the City do enough to rectify its mistakes?
“I sit up here today, reflecting on where I started, in a public housing unit right down the street, five of us living on $700 a month,” said London Breed in her Board of Supervisors presidential acceptance speech on Jan. 8. “I remember standing in line at church for donated food, and standing in line at the fire house for our Christmas toys. I remember seeing a friend shot dead when I was 12 years old. ... But I had a grandmother who loved me. And early on I learned a lesson that San Francisco should carefully remember today: wealth is nothing without love.”
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 Glide Memorial Church family worked wonders at the celebration of San Francisco native Maya Angelou's life that she requested before she died. They juxtaposed carefully chosen visual moments with prerecorded Maya moments, which made her presence so palatable that the sanctuary lights came under the control of Spirit Maya and played with our collective vision – the room almost dark and the lights flickering off and on.
As a member of the Equity Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission (SFHRC), I learned a lot. It was all bad for The City’s Black community. The SFHRC was formed in 1964 to fight discrimination against Blacks in The City. Today, it is clear to me that this charter commission discriminates against the Black community – with no end in sight.
The undisputed flagship of Black history and literature, Marcus Books, is currently fighting to stay alive in San Francisco, which might now be known as the undisputed pinnacle of wealth-hoarding and displacement. The Johnson family is planning a series of actions to fight this unjust removal, but for now readers can call Royal Cab and tell the Sweis family to sell Marcus Books back to the Johnson family.
This is for the moms and pops in East Oakland or any other urban neighborhood in honor of the African union of Marcus Books, from a prisoner political action committee to being a member of the formerly incarcerated people’s policy academy or the freedom plan of United KAGE Brothers (UKB), from the urban freedom schools focused on real life Block Reportin’ of “Unfinished Business.” This is for my brothers of the NCTT Cor SHU and all supporters of our hunger strike coalition.
Marcus Book Store is in the midst of a grassroots campaign – from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20 – to raise a million dollars in 30 days. Personally I am committed to reaching out to the people directly. The power is still in the people. Exercise your power. KEEP Marcus Books LIT! For the next 30 days we would like everyone to memorize and repeat the mantra, “Please, donate $20 in your own name and HELP ten others do the same! Thank you.”
The Block Report is in a rebuilding phase after being unjustifiably banned from the Pacifica airwaves under a plan engineered by former Pacifica lawyer and current Oakland mayoral candidate Dan Siegel. One of the main campaigns we are working on right now is to expose Siegel’s pro-police history to the left leaning crew that supports him in his Oakland mayoral campaign.
As I read from the July 2013 issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, Marcus Books is in trouble. I would be remiss not to speak up and help prevent this beautiful and beloved landmark from imminent eviction. Hence, I am sending a letter to the president of these United States plus sharing my Marcus Books love story with all.
Raise your voice and the voices of our people – the voice of truth. Until we get the big mikes, we gotta hit a lot of little mikes. Bring back the doo woppers on street corners and concerned citizens speaking on footstools like Malcolm and Black New Yorkers used to do in the ‘60s – and even today. Support your local poetry, spoken word and open mike scenes where – at least there – we still have a voice.
In commemoration of our Black Nation (Independence) Day, WE invite families and our entire community to a “Sacred Gathering and Celebration of Marcus Books” and our new mural – to promote righteous self-determination, self-beauty and self-defense – Saturday, March 30, noon-4 p.m., at Marcus Books, 3900 MLK Jr. Way, Oakland.
In the world of jazz, John Coltrane is viewed as a spiritually driven supremely gifted sax player, one of the greatest horn players to ever live. So when I ran into Gary Golio’s book “Spirit Seeker,” I was interested in seeing if he was trying to exploit our beloved St. John Coltrane or if he was trying to bring another generation into the knowledge of Coltrane’s legacy. He did the latter, masterfully.
It is essential that we lay down the life of crime and turn our focus to our careers as mothers, wives, sisters and comrades. Once we get our priorities in order, we will be able to take our rightful positions in the world and become the leaders we are meant to be!
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