December 1, 2015
December is a big month for the jail fight. We have got to make our voices heard loud and clear: This jail is bad for our community and ill-informed policy. The mayor and his conservative allies on the Board of Supervisors are under pressure to push the jail plan through as soon as possible. They know we have been gaining strength, and that once January comes, with changes in the board composition, we will have the numbers to defeat this project. Let’s defeat it soundly.
November 28, 2015
Over 200 community members, activists, union members, transportation experts, family and friends flocked to Oakland’s New Parish for non-profit leader Lateefah Simon’s kick-off fundraiser for her 2016 campaign to join the BART Board of Directors. Despite running as a first-time candidate, Simon has already built a broad coalition that includes some of the Bay Area’s top elected officials and civic leaders. True to her reputation as a tireless community advocate, Simon spoke passionately about her personal connection to BART and her commitment to transit justice for working people.
November 20, 2015
Urgency to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of poor people and people of color is growing. The general public’s awareness that it simply does not make sense to lock up people with substance abuse or mental health issues is setting the stage for important reforms to our justice system. With this understanding, California voters passed Proposition 47 “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.”
November 19, 2015
Internationally renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has just published a brilliant 15-page pamphlet about the challenge of the period we’re living in in this country. “To Protect and Serve Who?” is truly a handbook discussing the roots and history of the police in this country, a class and historical analysis of who the police are, and finally a strategy for transforming the role and definition of the police and their power relationships with the people.
September 17, 2015
We were saddened by the news that Yogi was murdered during an alleged “prison riot” at a Sacramento maximum security prison, after Yogi’s release from decades in solitary confinement in the California prison system. Our prison movement grieves at the loss of one of its most respected and beloved foot soldiers within the belly of this fascist beast in our mutual struggles against the common enemy of the human species.
September 17, 2015
Just prior to the visit of Pope Francis to Cuba on Sept. 19, the Cuban government has announced the release of 3,522 people being held in the country’s jails. This humanitarian gesture will include prisoners who are over 60 years of age, younger than 20, those with chronic illnesses, women and those who are close to their release dates. Why couldn’t Obama follow the Cuban example before Pope Francis continues on his tour to the U.S. on Sept. 22?
August 31, 2015
The morning of Dec. 7 (2006) found me traveling through the UPPER AND LOWER NINTH WARD of NEW ORLEANS, where hundreds and thousands of homes were destroyed by the aftermath of HURRICANE KATRINA in August 2005! The storm ripped the hearts and souls of residents who fled the City to other parts of the country now waiting to COME BACK HOME.
July 28, 2015
Third Baptist Church in San Francisco asked a San Francisco Superior Court judge today to stop the landlord of the Frederick Douglass Haynes Gardens – a 104-unit Fillmore development that is home to mostly Section 8 tenants – from selling the building to speculators. The temporary restraining order request asks a judge to provide injunctive relief against what appears to be another case of affordable housing at risk in San Francisco.
July 12, 2015
Are we ready, finally, to have the conversation on race that President Bill Clinton suggested the United States needed? The Saint Andrew’s Cross, which is the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, now known as the Confederate Flag, symbolizes a fact of history that most White Southerners choose to deny: enslavement of Africans forcibly trafficked to this country and their systematic dehumanization while here – sentiments and aspects of which continue to this day.
June 29, 2015
The Coalition on Homelessness Report, “Punishing the Poorest: How the Criminalization of Homelessness Perpetuates Poverty in San Francisco,” details the effects of criminalization on homeless residents of San Francisco. The COH report documents and analyzes the impacts of the rising tide of anti-homeless laws in our era of mass incarceration on those experiencing homelessness in San Francisco.
June 17, 2015
A quarter of a million migrant Haitian workers could be deported tomorrow. Over 2,000 military soldiers have been ordered to patrol the border tomorrow as of 6:00 a.m. A 45-day grace period has been discussed to allow for those ordered to leave to collect their bearings. But make no mistake, they are being ordered to leave. The womb of Hispaniola is in pain and, by tomorrow, could be a war zone. The hate against Haitians in the Dominican Republic has become increasingly alarming. Hate crimes have been very visible, with Haitians being lynched in broad daylight.
June 7, 2015
“Driving While Black” is one of the few comical films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year, yet its subject matter deals with a not-so-funny topic. What I liked most about this film is that is a satirical look at how police of all ethnicities treat young Black men. I sat down and talked to the writers, Dominique Purdy and Paul Sapiano, about how they came up with the concept to write a comedy about police terrorism.
March 25, 2015
Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, known to the African world as “Dr. Ben,” believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it. Perhaps it was because he believed that if his people knew their collective root, their ancient greatness, they would fight for their freedom and achieve it. Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.
March 4, 2015
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
March 4, 2015
California’s minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) have lost the potential equivalent of $1 billion in public contracts because of Proposition 209, according to a report by the Equal Justice Society. EJS released the report Feb. 24 during an informational hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The hearing also heard other testimony related to the impact of Proposition 209 on public contracting.
March 2, 2015
I’ve learned to use the term “visual language,” meaning I try my best to let my art creations speak to the people in a way they’ll feel and deeply understand intuitively just by viewing it. I really hope you like this composition. This art is simply titled “Help Me,” being a composition. You can see everything in it is arranged in relation to each other, especially the pain we endure as people of color.
February 25, 2015
Six years ago, on Jan. 1, 2009, Oscar Grant III, 22, was shot and later died of bullet wounds received when Johannes Mehserle, then a BART police officer, fired his gun at point blank range into Grant’s back – after Grant and his friends had been taunted with racial epithets and assaulted by Mehserle and other BART officers on the scene, while Mehserle’s partner, Tony Pirone, held Grant down with both hands and a knee on his head and neck.
February 17, 2015
The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed Black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence and lie on the witness stand. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge and to discriminate with impunity.
February 2, 2015
Students of the Revolutionary Youth Media Education class at Deecolonize Academy haven been learning, writing and living police terror and resistance as children of Black, Brown and poor parents. On Jan. 19, all of the youth skolaz at Deecolonize Academy and adult poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine began the day marching for MLK, for Black lives and for all of us, followed up by a trip to see the movie “Selma” and ended with a die-in outside the movie theatre in SF.
January 30, 2015
Sin Barras organized the Cages Kill-Freedom Rally to save lives after six people locked up in the Santa Cruz County Jail have died since August 2012. The Jan. 24 rally was endorsed by a wide range of local, statewide, national, and international groups, demonstrating that murder and torture is happening in jails and prisons everywhere, not just in Santa Cruz. Stop the abuse and torture in the Santa Cruz County Jail and jails and prisons everywhere!