July 9, 2014
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.
April 14, 2014
Following a mass hunger strike by prisoners in California last year, some state legislators promised to reform the use of Security Housing Units (SHU). This week, Assembly Bill 1652, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee. It now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If the bill becomes law, prisoners would only be sent to SHU for specific serious rules violations that come with determinate SHU sentences.
March 3, 2014
I am a new found political prisoner within the grips of one of CCA’s slave camps, Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, here in Tutwiler, Mississippi. CCA, especially here at TCCF, has mastered the art of purchasing two slaves for the price of one – the two slaves being the inmate residents and the bottom rung correctional officers, providing cheap labor at minimum wage.
February 26, 2014
On Feb. 11, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urged states to repeal laws that prohibit people who were formerly incarcerated from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to millions. This timely announcement does not just address officials in states such as Florida or Mississippi, but has implications here at home. California is currently facing its own disenfranchisement crisis.
October 31, 2013
Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.
October 22, 2013
Solitary confinement does little or nothing to promote public safety or prison safety. It is not only harmful but unnecessary and incredibly costly. Violence levels plummeted by 70 percent of previous levels when the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections reduced the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement by 85 percent.
August 4, 2013
I saw nothing in the Zimmerman case that surprised me. The system worked as it was intended. Zimmerman, a White man, was tried by a White justice system for killing a Black boy. The outcome was predictable. Many White people saw this as a non-racial event. As an angry old Black man I have seen the diminution of racism in my lifetime. We are not there yet. It is unlikely that we will get there in the lifetime of my grandchildren.
August 1, 2013
The original plan for the 1963 March was for a militant mass shut-down of the nation’s capital in order to compel the Kennedy administration and the U.S. Congress to enact immediate federal legislation to end the practices connected with segregation throughout the United States at that time. This proposal had come from the youth wing of the Civil Rights Movement, in particular those grouped in and around the SNCC.
May 25, 2013
The Scottsboro Boys have been vindicated, but there are many more waiting in the wings – waiting for justice. It is often said that justice delayed is justice denied. Many years have passed in so many unresolved civil rights crimes and injustices. And if no one is prepared to step up and pursue these cases, we must wonder if justice will ever come.
May 19, 2013
The mayoral contest in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, is now widely reported to be very close as it heads for a conclusion on Tuesday, May 21. Jackson’s population is majority Black and Democratic, so Tuesday’s Democratic primary run-off, between Black Democrat Chokwe Lumumba and Black Democrat Jonathan Lee, will effectively determine who the city’s next mayor will be.
March 15, 2013
Scalia has made it clear why this case is before the Court – it’s about race and white “race entitlement.” The Voting Rights Act was passed because no group is going to “apportion themselves out of power.” If the Court rules in favor of Shelby County in the face of its racist record, it will be doing nothing more than validating white power and racism.
February 2, 2013
The steady rise of ethnic nationalism over the past decade, the replacing of history with mendacious and sanitized versions of lost glory, is part of the moral decay that infects a dying culture. It is a frightening attempt, by those who are desperate and trapped, to escape through invented history their despair, impoverishment and hopelessness.
December 31, 2012
To our Black youth and men of essence who call themselves men with character and integrity, I am calling you out to take a stand, to stand for something. What will your “something” be? Whatever it may be, allow yourself to empower, enhance and impact someone’s life for the better. You can start with your own children.
October 11, 2012
When Hurricane Isaac hit the shores of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, Operation People for Peace was able to take a truckload of supplies donated by Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., to Pearlington and Gulfport. Additionally, we visited Plaquemines Parish and LaPlace, La., passing out cleaning supplies, food and personal items to those in need.
October 5, 2012
As a descendant of former slaves and as an immigrant from the South, I have a unique perspective on segregation. My parents migrated to Oakland from Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. In Jackson there were signs which posted the segregation policies. In California there were segregation policies, but no signs.
September 21, 2012
Sometimes one gets tired of living in a place that doesn’t want you there, Zaccho Artistic Director, Joanna Haigood, states at the reception Thursday at the California Historical Society. The only problem is 154 years later, Black people are still unwelcome in San Francisco, which is what “Sailing Away” addresses so eloquently without words.
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.
June 22, 2012
Among the 215 convicted felons pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour last January were people charged with murder and rape. The citizens of Mississippi were flabbergasted. For people who are unfamiliar with the Mississippi justice system, these pardons may seem insane. For those of us lost in the system, they are a blessing and a hope.
May 5, 2012
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
December 30, 2011
God could not have sent us a more fitting setting for Occupy Cal at the University of California, Berkeley – the sun rising, yellow and warm. I was going devote today to observing and reporting on the social movement.