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Families are being broken down even further, thus setting the perfect circumstances for history to repeat itself. The cycle of incarceration continues, and that’s a major problem.
On June 29, 2018, prisoner Freddie Pickett lost his life here at North Carolina’s supermax facility, Polk Correctional, due to the deliberate indifference shown daily by the miscreants who patrol these concrete fields.
Ten years ago, Oscar Grant was tragically and needlessly killed by an officer at the Fruitvale BART station. Oscar was a beloved member of our East Bay community. He was a loving father, a loyal friend and a kind neighbor. My heart is with his family, friends and loved ones who are missing him dearly today. Over the last decade, communities like mine have lost far too many Black men to police violence. Since Oscar’s passing, the list of young African American men killed by police officers has grown even longer.
Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent the mother of Mr. Chinedu Okobi, the 36-year old African American man who was unarmed and repeatedly tasered and forcefully restrained by San Mateo County sheriff’s deputies until he fell unconscious and later died. He leaves behind a young daughter, grieving mother and a host of family, friends and colleagues.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) has launched U.S. Out of Africa!: Shut Down AFRICOM, a campaign designed to end the U.S. invasion and occupation of Africa. October 1 marked the 10th anniversary of the establishment of AFRICOM, short for U.S. Africa Command. Although U.S. leaders say AFRICOM is “fighting terrorism” on the continent, we believe geopolitical competition with China is the real reason behind AFRICOM’s existence. AFRICOM is a dangerous structure that has only increased militarism.
Community members, formerly incarcerated people and anti-prison activists marched today through downtown Lansing to raise awareness about the 2018 national prisoner strike that began two days ago on Aug. 21, and will continue through Sept. 9. The national action is organized and led by prisoners around the country who have already begun engaging in hunger strikes, work stoppages and other actions to protest their inhumane living conditions. Their demands include “an immediate end to prison slavery” as well as various other demands related to sentencing reform and racism.
With heartbreak, yet hope, we reach out to you in the Name of our Lord and Liberator, Jesus, the Christ. It was unsettling and upsetting to witness the meeting with you, our moral leaders, and one of the most amoral persons to ever occupy the White House in the name of discussing prison reform. We are sure it must have been intoxicating to walk the corridors of power and sit at the table of governing authority. Unfortunately, those precincts of power have been infected by White supremacy and moral bankruptcy.
The bipartisan budget bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump Friday morning marks a new stage in the American ruling class’ drive for social counterrevolution and world military domination. The deal, which reached Trump’s desk only because of support from congressional Democrats, expresses the oligarchic character of American society. Behind the factional mudslinging and mutual recrimination between Democrats, Republicans and Trump, it is the corporations and the military-intelligence agencies that dictate government policy.
Las Vegas cops jumped NFL star Michael Bennett, held a gun to his head and threatened to blow it off. How else could they have chosen the perfect target to prove that the U.S. is a racist police state? How else could their police union have followed up with a letter imploring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett for defaming them by telling his story and claiming that the LVPD had racially profiled him? You can’t make this stuff up.
The video is riveting. A woman is rapt with rage, her voice slow and controlled, as a cop points his gun at her, as her lover bleeds his life away beside her, and her baby daughter looks on in what can only be called wonder. Philando Castile is dying as a discussion goes on, but it isn’t with him, it’s about him. The cop’s gun quivers and quakes, pointed at this woman, as the cop’s voice also quivers and quakes, fear thick in every breath. The cop, Jeronimo Yanez, has just killed Philando.
We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.
On June 20, the Berkeley City Council, only months after being swept in by a progressive majority, rejected the call of hundreds of people to terminate a series of entanglements between local police and the federal security forces of the Donald Trump administration. The resistance failed to resist. In the nation’s heartland of dissent. What went wrong, and why? Petitions, a huge crowd, support from prominent public figures, fact sheets, a city poll dominated by those wanting a pull-out, three hours of public comment with no support for anything other than getting out. None of it mattered.
On April 13, the SF Sounds newspaper made the mistake of publishing an article written by Sarah Burchard, entitled “Bring on the Bayview.” From what we’ve gathered, Sarah Burchard is a white person who is not from San Francisco. As people born and raised in San Francisco and Bayview residents, we find Sarah’s article overtly ignorant and flat-out offensive. The article blatantly disrespects residents and our experiences in the current social, economic and political climate.
On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, was murdered by officers of the Baltimore Police Department while in their custody. An article published in The Atlantic three days after Gray’s death pointed out the historical precedent for this particular kind of state violence. The author wrote, “Black men dying at the hands of the police is of course nothing new.” The “peculiar institution” of this violent and racist system can be better understood by tracing the lineage of the police back in time.
When Chief William Scott had been on the job for just a few weeks, he came to the Joseph Lee Gym in Bayview Hunters Point for a townhall meeting with the community March 9. This first-ever community meeting with the new chief was presented by Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods. Chief Scott said his goal is to “reduce deaths at the hands of police” and asked to be held accountable. Will Chief Scott be a better chief for San Francisco than his predecessor? We don’t know. But we do know that we will, as Scott said, hold him accountable.
As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
Sunday, Oct. 16, was the 48th anniversary of that indelible moment in 1968 when John Carlos and Tommie Smith put their heads down and fists up on the Olympic medal stand as the anthem played, their friend the Australian silver-medalist Peter Norman standing in solidarity with their protest. Forty-eight years later to the day, in Buffalo, New York, Colin Kaepernick made his first start of the 2016 season as his 49ers took on the Bills.
“We are determined to get justice for our children,” said Sala-Haquekyah Chandler as she and other mothers stood outside the San Francisco courthouse where the alleged murderer of her son and three other young African sons in a quadruple homicide Jan. 9, 2015, was being tried. Had it not been for the endless resistance, marching, speaking, praying and fighting on the part of the mothers and families of the four murdered boys, this case would not have gotten this far.
Last week I was alerted to an inflammatory story from Bay Area ABC news reporter Dan Noyes that basically sought to disparage the Black August commemorations. The story noted that “police sources” had leaked an FBI bulletin to him stating that prison guards and police were going to be attacked by members of the Black Guerilla Family in commemoration of Black August. Many found the allegations to be outlandish. Black August is a month that is held to high esteem by many in the Black community who celebrate the resistance movements that have long been a part of our history for the past 300 years.
Four journalists filed official complaints on May 10 against the SF Sheriff’s Department charging they were intimidated and unlawfully roughed up while attempting to report on a May 6 protest inside City Hall that called for the firing of Police Chief Greg Suhr and the resignation of Mayor Ed Lee. Natasha Dangond and Gabriella Angotti-Jones are photographers for the City College campus newspaper, The Guardsman. Joel Angel Juárez photographs for the Mission neighborhood newspaper, El Tecolote. Sana Saleem is a reporter for 48Hills.