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Congratulations to Brothers in Pen for a fantastic book party and reading Oct. 20 at San Quentin State Prison. The work, whether fiction or poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir or dramatic lit, is stellar and the huge panel afterward, where the writers shared their creative process and the importance of art in their lives, was equally valuable and enlightening. That such beauty is possible behind bars is testament to the power of art to light darkness.
We lost Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin on Aug. 16 (March 25, 1942-Aug. 16, 2018). We also lost Kofi Annan (April 8, 1938, to Aug. 18, 2018), the seventh United Nations Secretary General and the first from Sub-Saharan African to lead the International organization. When we think about Black women and their navigation of public spaces, we remember the recent deaths of Nia Wilson, 18, and Jessica St. Louis, 26, who were not safe when they should have been #safehername.
Let me be the first to say it: Nia Wilson would be alive today if somebody else had been elected president in 2016! The man arrested for Nia’s murder was not alone. He had an accomplice. The president was not there in person Sunday night, July 22, at the MacArthur BART subway station when Nia Wilson was brutally stabbed to death and her sister viciously attacked, but his spirit was.
With our planetary situation worsening – from massive flooding in India to Bangladesh, fire-nados raging out of control from Siberia to California and record high temperatures in Scandinavia and the Arctic, etc. – you and your organization are encouraged to join the worldwide RISE FOR CLIMATE JOBS & JUSTICE on Saturday, 8 September. In our region, the march will convene at the Embarcadero in San Francisco, at 10 a.m. This major people’s mobilization precedes the so-called “Global Climate Summit.”
Hundreds of anti-fascists confronted a coalition of far-right extremist bullies in Seattle on Aug. 18. The fascist event was part of the “National March Against Far-Left Violence” that was scheduled to take place in several cities one week after “Unite the Right II” in Washington, D.C. In Seattle, the far-right event was only confirmed two weeks prior. A local coalition came together quickly and called for a “unified, militant and orderly” counter-protest at City Hall with the theme of “Unite against fascism: Remember those lost to far-right violence.”
On this day we relived the death of Nia Wilson when we attended a rally in Oakland protesting some of the news coverage of her murder on BART. She was only 18 when she and her sister were getting off a BART train at the MacArthur station and were both stabbed by a white man. Nia’s sister Latifah survived. Her family has had to relive that evening’s horror over and over again. The first time was when her family learned her throat had been slit. The second time when it hit the news.