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.
February 5, 2014
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
December 2, 2013
This season we have lost two pillars of our San Francisco Bay Area community, Samuel Fredericks and Upesi Mtambuzi. Cedar Walton, pianist, also made his transition this year, along with Donald Duck Bailey, drummer, both men beautiful human beings. Upesi, Samuel, Cedar and Donald all brightened our world. Their unique hues and shapes and sounds will be missed … that last live jam.
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.
September 23, 2013
The San Francisco Housing Commission meeting of Sept. 4 on a new acronym called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), code for selling public housing to private investors, was still. Still like a grave. A grave for all us poor people destroyed by the massive privatization of our public housing. Us unprioritized and barely housed, the forgotten elders and disabled folks, the very poor, the displaced, now houseless and rarely remembered.
August 3, 2013
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement Thursday urging CDCR to meet with prisoner hunger strike mediators and work toward meeting the prisoners’ demands. Prisoners throughout California have been on hunger strike for 25 days. Demonstrators demanded that the CDCR and governor negotiate with strikers immediately and end any and all retaliations against their protest.
July 30, 2013
Chokwe Lumumba, a veteran of the Black Liberation and New African Independence movements, was elected mayor of Jackson on June 2, 2013. Jackson is the capital of Mississippi and is a city that is over 85 percent Black. If the election of Obama to the presidency of the United States constituted the alleged end of the Black Liberation Movement, the election of Chokwe Lumumba must then represent its resurrection.
April 5, 2013
When the leaders of the National Bankers Association, an organization of 37 mostly Black-owned banks, began pondering prospective recipients of their annual “Beyond the Call of Duty Award,” its president says they did not have to look very far. No question, it was Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration, he said.
February 4, 2013
Much hullabaloo has been made recently about slavery as entertainment in movies like “Django Unchained.” But lost in the discussion is slavery as history. Though sadistic and macabre, the plain truth is that slavery was an unprecedented economic juggernaut whose impact is still lived by each of us daily. Here’s my top-10 list of things everyone should know about the economic roots of slavery.
January 28, 2013
For 16 and a half years, I fought with every breath in my body to prove my innocence. On Oct. 5, 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my life sentence on the grounds of “insufficient evidence,” which is equal to a not guilty verdict, barring a retrial. Under the appeal issue on which my conviction was overturned, I was eligible for immediate release.
November 26, 2012
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.
November 15, 2012
Welcome to the climate crisis. There’s nothing abstract about it. It isn’t some apocalypse decades away or an event that comes down like one big hurricane to wipe us all out. It’s Hurricane Sandy. It’s all the economic, political and social conditions that were already in place. And it’s the opportunity for forces of profit and repression to push their agenda forward in the aftermath. But guess what: The climate justice movement isn’t so abstract either. This is it. It’s dedicated organizers recognizing how their work can be aligned across issues. It’s relief providers and hard-working volunteers transforming into activists and community leaders.
November 14, 2012
This morning Israel ended an effective truce with armed groups in Gaza and carried out the extrajudicial execution of Ahmed al-Jabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas. Israeli attacks today killed at least seven people, including two young girls in Gaza. Defense Minister Avi Dichter calls for “Defensive Shield”-like devastation and killing.
October 5, 2012
Judith Jamison looked regal on stage with Farai Chideya last month in The Forum Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her message seemed to be one of preparedness and presence – being, as our sister Ayana Vanzant says, in spirit. Muslims call this the sirata-l-mustaqim or the path of the rightly guided.
September 30, 2012
The Black community is in a world of trouble. And President Obama alone cannot fix it. This is where real leadership is needed: real, un-bought, unbiased leadership. Black America’s biggest challenge, truth be told, is itself. And Black pastors are at the center of the issue. If we can get our leaders to the table – political, business, academic and community – we could create our own salvation.
August 8, 2012
There are many great programs for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area – among them, AileyCamp at Cal Performances, Destiny Arts, Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Dimensions Extensions and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, founded by Angela Wellman.
July 18, 2012
City College of San Francisco will train former prisoners to be community health workers to help chronically ill patients released from prison navigate the care system, find primary care and other medical and social services, and coach them in chronic disease management.
June 13, 2012
The latest Hollywood brouhaha over Gwyneth Paltrow’s decision to tweet the caption “ni**as in Paris for real” to accompany a picture of her with friends Jay-Z and Beyoncé while in Paris doesn’t compare to the new evidence of “fraud upon the court” that has emerged in a largely unnoticed civil rights case that very well should be reopened after being unfairly dismissed six years ago.
June 9, 2012
Summertime in the Bay Area is nothing without all of the music, food and film festivals. If you missed the Oakland International Film Festival, there is still time for you to catch the Bay’s biggest Black film festival, the San Francisco Black Film Festival, which runs June 15-17 at a number of theaters around San Francisco. This year Leo Sullivan will be in attendance. He is one of the cartoon visionaries who created Fat Albert and Looney Tunes. Digital Underground will also be a part of this year’s festivities, as well as Black Panther Party co-founder and chairman Bobby Seale.
May 28, 2012
Bayview Hunters Point might consider investing Lennar’s “community benefits” in a scholarship fund, a community development group, and a credit union that can pool the funds with residents’ own deposits and loan them for higher education, buying or improving a home, and founding or expanding a business to residents who have long been redlined and betrayed by banks.