December 2, 2016
A call for a national work stoppage was issued for Sept. 9, 2016, to inmates all across America to bring an end to the “exception” – the slavery clause – in the U.S. Constitution’s 13th Amendment upholding slavery for prisoners. Sadly, I, along with a very small sprinkle of inmates here and there on “the farm” (a reference to Angola, a former slave plantation turned into the largest prison in the country) answered the call.
July 27, 2016
As police murders accumulate, and police chiefs get fired and replaced because they cannot stop it – as in Oakland and San Francisco – the notion that this represents a political crisis becomes a truism. It is not a “crisis of policing,” which would suggest a situation beyond the capacities of the police. It is the police who have become the crisis.
May 3, 2016
Five hunger strikers dubbed the Frisco 5 – angered by new police murders of Black and Brown people – have been occupying half the sidewalk in front of Mission Police Station since April 21. It’s Day 13 of their liquid-only fast and they’re losing weight, but they vow to keep it up until SF Police Chief Greg Suhr resigns or is fired. The Frisco 5 hunger strikers are Maria Cristina Gutierrez, 66, Ilyich “Equipto” Sato, 42, Selassie Blackwell, 39, Ike Pinkston, 42, and Edwin Lindo, 29.
March 27, 2016
San Francisco’s Black and Latino/a communities came together March 18 on the steps of City Hall to launch a united campaign to end police impunity in the officer-involved murders of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and Amilcar Pérez López. The new Black and Brown United Coalition coalesced after the shocking March 10 exoneration of police in a federal civil trial in the killing of Alex Nieto, 28, by a jury on which no Blacks or Latinas or Latinos had been selected to serve.
November 26, 2015
The City of Chicago has released, under court order, the dashcam video from the brutal killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer – and it’s as bad as we all expected. At the same time as they released the video, the county prosecutor announced she’d be pursuing first degree murder charges against McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke. Unfortunately, these are charges that should have been filed a year ago.
October 29, 2015
Leading Black women across the nation are expressing outrage this week over the videotaped violent incident showing a White police officer in Columbia, S.C., grabbing a Black 16-year-old female high school student around her neck, flipping her desk, then dragging her across the floor and tossing her across the classroom. Many fear the growth of such incidents unless corrective action is taken.
June 25, 2015
Police kill a lot of unarmed people. So far in 2015, as many as 100 unarmed people have been killed by police. So far in 2015, there have been around 400 fatal police shootings; one in six of those killings, 16 percent, was of unarmed people, 49 had no weapon at all and 13 had toys, according to the Washington Post. Here are 15 of the most outrageous reasons given by police to justify killing unarmed people in the last 12 months.
May 20, 2015
Local barbershop owner Derrick Jones was shot and killed by two Oakland police officers on Nov. 8, 2010. Five years later, this case is finally on the conveyor belt of cases to be heard at the federal appellate court on June 10. Attorney Ayanna L. Jenkins Toney will be arguing the case on behalf of the Derrick Jones estate. Here is what she had to say about the Derrick Jones case and the rampant police killings that are going on around the U.S. currently.
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.
February 1, 2015
There is a trick that the California prison administration pulls on African Americans in prison. It is to charge them with gang activity if they refer to “George Jackson” or any of his writings or ideas or to the “Republic of New Afrika” or the politics of New Afrikans. Thousands of people, mostly Black and Brown, have been held in solitary confinement for years and even decades, because “gang activity” constitutes a “security threat to the prison,” according to the Administration.
January 8, 2015
In May 2014, President Obama told graduating West Point army cadets, “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being.” One area in which the U.S. is unquestionably exceptional is the level of state violence directed against African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and working and poor people of all nationalities. U.S. police killings outnumber those in other developed capitalist countries by as much as 100-1!
December 30, 2014
Today we are proud to stand with our brothers and sisters across the United States and around the world in response to the recent police killings of Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless other victims of state violence to say that “Black lives matter.” While it should be implicit that all lives matter, communities in recent days have risen up to reinforce the fact that Black and Brown human beings have an equal place on this earth, because often times it feels that we do not.
December 1, 2014
On so-called Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., members of the Blackout Collective and their allies obstructed BART trains on both sides of the track from moving out of the West Oakland BART station in an economic protest to the systemic wanton killing of Black people in this country, most recently symbolized by the police murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.
June 9, 2013
On April 4, 2013, the Oakland Film Festival premiered the long anticipated documentary “Crimes of Police,” directed by Ansar El Muhammad and produced by Derrick Bowman. Now the documentary has been chosen for the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well, screening Saturday, June 15, 5:45 p.m., at the Jazz Heritage Center, 1320 Fillmore St., San Francisco.
April 27, 2013
Perhaps you’ve heard or read the name Raheim Brown Jr. He’s the 20-year-old Black man who was beaten then shot and killed by Oakland School Police Department Sgt. Bhatt. What real justification can there be for officers – who were hired to secure a school dance on a school campus – to venture from their assigned duty posts and beat, shoot and kill innocent youth?
March 8, 2013
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
May 2, 2012
The ink was barely dry on the convictions and plea bargains of 10 members of the New Orleans Police Department in the Danziger Bridge murders and coverup, when NOPD police gunned down Justin Sipp and unarmed Wendell Allen. Hundreds marched in protest of ongoing police murders of Black youth. The African American community is beginning to fight back.
September 2, 2011
With the current wave of uprisings across England … and the insurgence of flash mobs across the United States … it is appropriate to call on the history of rebellions by our people. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, riot is the language of the unheard; and so it comes as no surprise that the language of our underclass is of the same dialect that it has been for decades and even centuries …
January 11, 2010
It has been one year since Oscar Grant was brutally murdered by BART policeman Johannes Mehserle. The power of the people of Oakland and the Bay Area has ensured that he is standing trial for murder and not getting away unscathed as is the normal practice in police killings and brutality of our community members.
September 1, 2009
Next month the most important item on my agenda is Maafa Commemoration Month to reflect on the legacy of slavery and how everyone benefited from this human rights travesty except those who did the work. We began Aug. 30 with a successful Maafa 2009: Hurricane Katrina Fundraiser and Reportback, thanks to all the poets and the visual artists who donated art for the silent auction and of course to Tess and Yeme, the proprietors of Shashamane Bar and Grill.