December 29, 2016
It is very important that you all clearly understand the depth of human torture to which I was subjected for 30-plus years by CDCr and CCPOA.* The torture was directed at me and similarly situated women and men prisoners held in California’s solitary confinement locations throughout CDCr, with the approval and sanctioning of California governors, CDCr secretaries and directors, attorneys general, along with the California Legislature for the past 40 years.
October 10, 2016
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
January 12, 2015
I’ve finally seen “Selma” and can report it is a proper civil rights movie. By that I mean it takes few chances either thematically or aesthetically. The icons remain intact and the movement free from revisionist recriminations. This cautious strategy is understandable in a risk-averse Hollywood. Although boxed in by those kinds of commercial expectations, “Selma” delivers even more than it should.
January 10, 2015
“Selma” gives a window into the turbulent three-month voting rights campaign, a series of pivotal protest marches in 1965 that culminated with President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The movie offers a lens into King and imperiled activists’ attempts to travel a 54-mile highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital, Montgomery, in the face of blatant racism, brutality and de facto segregation.
January 1, 2015
Happy New Year! Happy Birthday to my granddaughter Brianna, niece Wilda and friend Fred T. I am still smiling about America’s new relationship with Cuba and the freed Cuban 5. If you are in New Orleans (NOLA), don’t miss “Prospect 3: Notes for Now,” the biennial there being celebrated throughout the city through Jan. 25.
August 29, 2014
Of all the hundreds of police murders of young Black men in recent years, the two that sparked the strongest resistance and the largest rebellions were the BART police murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland on New Year’s Day, 2009, and now the Ferguson, Missouri, police murder of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014. Today we’re going to Ferguson, Missouri, to check in with the uncle of Oscar Grant, Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson. Uncle Bobby is live on the ground in Ferguson.
June 5, 2014
This year at the SF Indiefest’s 13th Anual Docfest, June 5-19, at multiple venues on both sides of the Bay, quite a number of films look at sexual exploitation of youth, crimes of poverty and profiles of superheroes – ordinary citizens with tenacity and inner fortitude and great love for their community, like the Honorable Michael Tubbs, central character in Kevin Gordon’s “True Son.”
May 25, 2014
Last week, rather than allow Marcus Books family members to relocate after evicting them, the Sweis family stole all of the books and used sledge hammers to smash the book shelves and furniture. To the Black community, this is a repeat of history, where invaders come in time and time again to smash the symbols and evidence of a people’s greatness. This will NOT be tolerated. Will you stand with us and DEMAND the Sweises respect our history? We need to pressure the Sweises to do the decent thing.
February 20, 2014
“The Black Arts Movement and Its Influences” conference will be going down with a host of legendary Black artists who have contributed to the liberation of our minds over the last 50 years. People like Askia Toure, Umar Bin Hasan of the Last Poets, Emory Douglas, the Minister of Culture of the Black Panther Party, Avotcja, Ayodele Nzinga, Ras Baraka and Ishmael Reed, to name a few, will be participating.
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.
September 2, 2013
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
October 5, 2012
We need more business owners working from their apartments, vans or cars, vacant lots, and boarded up shops and storefronts. Keep in mind on your journey down the entrepreneur road, that wealth originates from within, first. To gain access to cash, sometimes you have to look to untraditional sources online which give artists and entrepreneurs a helping hand.
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.
August 30, 2012
New Orleans has become a national laboratory for government reforms. But the process through which those experiments have been carried out rarely has been transparent or democratic. The results have been divisive, pitting new residents against those who grew up here, rich against poor, and white against Black.
August 12, 2011
In an historic verdict with national implications, five New Orleans police officers were convicted on Friday of civil rights violations for killing unarmed African Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and could face life in prison when sentenced later this year.
June 4, 2011
This June 19, millions of Americans, particularly African Americans, will celebrate Juneteenth. Yet slavery’s abolishment, under the 13th Amendment, didn’t really end slavery, as many people believe. The 13th Amendment merely codified America’s “peculiar institution” under penal statutes.
June 19, 2010
All out to Washington, D.C., Monday, June 21, for the the Gray-Haired Witnesses Fast for Justice: 10 a.m. Department of Justice, 12 noon White House press conference, 1-9 p.m. Lafayette Square Park! We need your support in bringing national attention to the case of the Scott Sisters and all other women who have been incarcerated wrongly and egregiously over-sentenced, punishing and destroying our families and children.
December 31, 2009
Bay Area native Paul Mooney is one of the most legendary comedians in this country to touch a mic, not just because he can make his audience laugh, but because intertwined in his jokes there is a certain amount of political commentary and social criticism. Just like his buddy, the late great Richard Pryor, his pro-Black perspective and wittiness can never be deemed irrelevant.
November 10, 2009
Love has everything to do with it, and “Precious” shows us that where there is love, there is no intent to harm or cause pain. Precious’ life was the antithesis of love; how many children and adults confuse pain for love until they learn better?
September 15, 2009
Rebuilding efforts in St. Bernard Parish, a small community just outside New Orleans, have recently gotten a major boost. One nonprofit focused on rebuilding in the area has received the endorsement of CNN, Alice Walker the touring production of the play “The Color Purple” and even President Obama. But an alliance of Gulf Coast and national organizations are now raising questions about the cause these high profile names are supporting.