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“We are surrounded by Black cops,” said Leroy Moore, with POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation, about the 15 Black cops who surrounded us houseless and formerly houseless mamas, uncles, children and elders from the Poor People’s March when we walked humbly into the Washington, D.C., office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demand our housing back. “We are here to meet with Ben Carson,” we all said.
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
Since September, over three hundred Black Jews have announced their intention to refuse any military order to report for reserve duty, accusing the Israeli government of state-sponsored racism against citizens of Ethiopian origin. The soldiers, who include fighters from all Israel Defense Forces infantry brigades, as well as some of its most specialized commando units, say that as long as the state does not respect their civil rights, they will in turn refrain from fulfilling their civic obligations.
There are so many untold stories of how and why people become un-housed. Loss of a job, a partner, the onset of an illness or a crisis, but most of the time, in the Bay Area, it’s because of a greed-inspired landlord raising rent, evicting for profit so he or she can house the droves of 20-30-something wealthy, mostly white people streaming into town for the tech industry.
Help transform more people from houselessness to Homefulness in East Oakland, where there’s room for four straw-bale houses, the first to be built in any city in the country, but the cost of building permits is sky-high. PG&E wants a total of $42,000, with the first $8,000 due in TWO WEEKS, and East Bay MUD wants $38,000. An effort to persuade the utilities to reduce or waive the fees and “sponsor” this historic project is underway, but the $8,000 must be raised now to keep the project alive. To offer help of any kind, contact Tiny at email@example.com.
“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.
In what increasingly appears to be a concerted whitewash of the Oct. 22 shooting of 13-year old Andy Lopez by Deputy Sheriff Erick Gelhaus, DA Jill Ravitch and the Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) continued to maintain an impenetrable cloak of silence blanketing the “investigative report” into Deputy Gelhaus’ murder of toy gun touting Andy Lopez.
Folks all over the Bay Area have grown weary of brutality by out of control police, from the murder of unarmed 13-year-old Andy Lopez last month in Santa Rosa to Alan Blueford in Oakland to 61-year-old disabled Andrea Naharro, shot this past weekend in San Jose. Valencia Gardens is in the historic Mission District, currently undergoing massive gentrification. As more white folks have been moving in, many Black and Brown folks are being profiled and stopped by police.
Whack, tap, crack – the sound of the steel police flashlight on a car window is like no other, and it always had the same effect on homeless me and mama: blood-curdling fear. I thought about our constant police harassment, abuse and eventual arrest for the sole act of being houseless in Amerikkka when I heard about South Carolina’s “new” law that officially made it illegal to be homeless in downtown Columbia, S.C.
The Blueford family and the Justice 4 Alan Blueford coalition (JAB) held a vigil for Alan on the one-year anniversary of his murder by Oakland police officer Miguel Masso. JAB has based itself deep within the Afrikan community that birthed it and has brought together many organizations and individuals to fight for justice for Alan and to stop continued police violence.
Hundreds turned out for Oakland City Council's Public Safety Committee meeting on Jan. 15, 2013, to oppose paying $250,000 to bring “supercop” William Bratton and his "stop and frisk" and other zero tolerance police policies to Oakland. The bid for Bratton’s consult seems to be simply Oakland throwing good money after bad.
Reporting and supporting as a revolutionary poverty journalist, I have done multiple stories on the increasing criminalization suffered by houseless peoples in the U.S. As a daughter raised in a houseless family, I was personally cited, arrested and eventually incarcerated for the act of being houseless and living in the car with my mama.
From the Mission District in San Francisco, to West, North and now East Oakland, several neighborhoods in LA, young Black and Brown men, convening, talking, laughing, being young, are viewed as “dangerous,” “suspect” or criminal. Laws like the gang injunction are instituted and applied, and eventually we are completely wiped away like we were never there.
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.
Denise, Marilyn, Anna and I, with Harriett at the wheel, left West Oakland BART in the second carpool wave for Sacramento Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 9:30 a.m. to attend a pre-rally for the historic California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement.
Powwah and his family are some of the people that I check in with when I am in the Memphis area. Besides being one of the most politically educated entrepreneurs that I know, Powwah makes music. His new album, “In tha Wind,” is Southern conscious rap at its finest with precise lyrical content and the type of production that we traditionally think of when we think of bar-b-cues and Southern Comfort.
Labeled a crime fighting tool, gang injunctions are ineffective, counter-productive and further strain the relationship between residents and police. Pack the courtroom Friday, May 6, 2 p.m., 1225 Fallon, Dept. 20, Oakland, for a hearing on the Fruitvale gang injunction.
At a community town hall on May 8, the discussion is expected to generate ideas for building community responses against violence that don’t involve police. The town hall will take place from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at Oakland City Council chambers, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. No gang injunctions!