December 6, 2013
The house was packed for the San Francisco NAACP Freedom Fund Gala, “We Shall Not Be Moved Until Justice Rolls Down Like a Mighty Stream,” at the Union Square Hilton on Saturday, Nov. 9, when Tavis Smiley, named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People” by TIME magazine, broadcaster, author of 16 books, publisher, advocate and philanthropist, took the mic. Beginning with excerpts from his introduction by San Francisco NAACP President Dr. Amos C. Brown, here is Tavis’ provocative and profoundly moving address:
November 27, 2013
Protests and raised fists have come to life to San Jose State University. For those who have not heard, three white students at San Jose State University have been charged with hate crimes – and a fourth has been suspended – after their African-American roommate was subjected to a series of racist torments that have shocked the entire community.
September 5, 2013
Gov. Jerry Brown’s just-proposed plan to ease overcrowding in California prisons without releasing inmates early has drawn quick opposition from prison reform activists across the state and has spawned an alternative approach from a contingent of moderate and liberal Democrats in the state legislature, creating an unusual rift among senior Democrats in the age-old incarceration-rehabilitation divide.
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.
March 2, 2013
Ida B. Wells was a fiery crusader for African American justice at a time when angry white men indulged in lynching as acceptable behavior. Her determination, courage, ambition and refusal to back down helped change the course of history. Her talents as an investigative reporter, successful writer and newspaper owner were unbeatable weapons.
February 23, 2013
“Claudia Jones: Beyond Containment” (2011) is a collection of writings by Jones herself. The book makes a tremendous contribution to the literature on left, feminist and Pan-African struggles during the 20th century. A new generation of activists and organizers will benefit immensely from Jones’ writings on the most pressing and burning issues of the period.
February 21, 2013
Feb. 4, 2013, marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Louise MaCauley Parks in Tuskegee, Alabama. Parks was born in the segregated South, where African Americans were subjected to daily humiliations aimed at maintaining the system of exploitation and national oppression which grew out of slavery and the failure of reconstruction.
February 17, 2013
It has taken a Dorner manifesto and several targeted deaths to get LAPD to take notice. If you ask Sgt. Randy Franklin what he thinks of the LAPD today, he will tell you, “They lack integrity, honor, dignity, discipline, reverence for the law and respect for the people they swore to serve.” This comes straight from someone who believes that the greatest mistake in his life was joining the LAPD.
January 21, 2013
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
December 30, 2012
Just as organizations like the NAACP denounced conservative-revisionist textbooks in Texas in 2010, they should denounce liberal-bent historical accounts that either ignorantly or deliberately fail to concede that “Abraham Lincoln did the right thing for the wrong reasons.” Or as Lerone Bennett aptly conveyed in the title of his book, Lincoln was in effect “Forced Into Glory.”
December 17, 2012
The Bayview, which was once 70 percent Black, has been increasingly fighting a high rate of foreclosures that is resulting in yet another form of gentrification. Wells Fargo Bank has been responsible for many of the foreclosures in the community. Help your neighbors by joining the Stop the Wells Fargo 27 Holiday Foreclosure and Evictions campaign.
October 3, 2012
Our nation’s democracy is in a crisis. We are facing the biggest challenge to our nation since its inception. No, there is not an armed rebellion going on, but, oh, is there a war – a silent, insidious, invidious, nefarious, absolutely downright ugly war. And the war is on the right to vote for American citizens. – Barbara Arnwine, July 2012
September 2, 2012
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of Black August, the annual commemoration of the liberation struggle of African people inside the United States. The month of celebration and reflection was initiated by political prisoners, many of whom were members of the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa, two of the main revolutionary organizations that emerged during the late 1960s.
July 13, 2012
The parody currently on stage at American Conservatory Theater, “The Scottsboro Boys,” staged by director-choreographer Susan Stroman (“The Producers”), through July 22, 2012, takes a historic tragedy in American history and recasts it as buffoonery. Black America should not be surprised. Classic guilt is always re-envisioned in this paradigm. The boogeyman is always Black and male.
July 5, 2012
On May 11, 2012, Marissa Alexander was sentenced to 20 years in prison, because she fired a warning shot to halt her abusive husband from trying to kill her. In her defense, her lawyers cited the Florida “stand your ground” law, which months earlier made national headlines when it was cited by George Zimmerman’s defense team, after he killed unarmed Black teenager Trayvon Martin.
July 2, 2012
Since June 10 an undetermined number of Georgia prisoners have been on a hunger strike. Some of these men are the Jackson State prison strikers. After two weeks, according to the families of Miguel Jackson and Preston Whiting, they are weak from hunger and subject to fainting spells. But they seem to believe they have little to lose. They are, a letter from one of them asserts, “starving for change.” We must demand justice for Miguel Jackson and other Georgia state prisoners who are being targeted and brutalized for exposing their inhumane conditions and standing up for their most basic human rights.
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 15, 2012
On June 12, family members held a memorial for Derrick Gaines, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed by an officer with the South San Francisco Police Department on the evening of June 5. Police claim that Gaines, who was walking with a friend near an Arco gas station, was engaging in “suspicious behavior.”
February 15, 2012
We are the ones who refused to be captured in Afrika without a fight, who staged daring raids on enemy supply lines and brought our nationals back to freedom. We are the ones the enemy calls, “criminals,” “terrorists,” “gangs,” “militants,” “leftists,” “separatists,” “radicals,” “feminists,” “worst of the worst,” “America’s Most Wanted” and enemy combatants.
February 4, 2012
This is the month we wear our Blackness with pride – so walk on, walk on. I want to thank Rhodessa Jones, Shaka Jamal, Pat Jamison, Elaine Lee, Walter Turner, Vera Nobles and Elouise Burrell for your leads and references for South Africa.