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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.
Today, May 25, congressional Democrats and a coalition of progressive organizations representing millions of Americans kicked off the long-anticipated infrastructure fight, launching a massive campaign to create millions of new jobs – and invest billions in much-needed projects in African-American communities across the country. The Millions of Jobs Coalition announced grassroots events across the nation next week touting the progressive plan.
When I started Krip-Hop Nation 10 years ago, the first artist I met online and face to face was Rob “Da Noize” Temple of Brooklyn. Since that time, Noize Studio has become a second home for Krip-Hop Nation and the studio that professionally produced and mixed most of my spoken word mixtapes and Krip-Hop Nation’s songs on our six CDs. Now Temple, his studio and family are being evicted as the forces of gentrification are burning and privatizing Brooklyn at a fast pace.
On Feb. 1, scores of men in Delaware’s largest prison, the Vaughn Correctional Center, took over one of the buildings in their facility. The prison, built in 1971 and known for its serious overuse of solitary confinement, is one of the state’s most severely overcrowded and punitive facilities. Hoping to push the state to improve living conditions at Vaughn, the prisoners didn’t just take control of Building C – they also took guards hostage. And to make the public aware of why they were protesting, they called the media.
The people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.
Block Report Radio interviews hunger striker Hassani Bell, one of four hunger strikers who were fighting to preserve and expand the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State. The hunger strikers were Hassani Bell, 18, Julia Retzlaff, 19, Sachiel Rose, 19, and Ahkeel Mestayer, 20, and their organization is called Third World Liberation Front 2016 in homage to the 1968 strike. After 10 days, many of the demands were met by the SF State administration of President Wong, but not all of them. The strike is suspended as the fight continues.
Building after building, block after block from the Bayview to Baltimore and from Sunnydale to East Oakland, the last vestige of so-called public – that is, government owned – housing in the richest country in the world lie dormant. Boarded up, locked, gated and shut – each apartment equipped with two, three and four bedrooms, one or two bathrooms and full kitchens.
When Bill and Hillary Clinton married in 1975, a friend gave them a trip to Haiti for their honeymoon. The Washington Post reported: “Since that honeymoon vacation, the Caribbean island nation has held a life-long allure for the couple, a place they found at once desperate and enchanting, pulling at their emotions throughout his presidency and in her maiden year as secretary of state.”
Five years ago, after the catastrophic Haiti earthquake, the international community – a self-defined “Core Group” under the leadership of former President Bill Clinton – took over Haiti recovery and reconstruction and announced they would “build Haiti back better.” But this was a euphemism for land grabbing, privatization, occupation and imperial plunder. Black lives don’t matter in the United States, much less in Haiti.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.
Hundreds marched in the streets of downtown Detroit on July 18 to protest water services being shut off for thousands of residents too poor to pay their utility bills. Nurses organizing the demonstration declared a public health emergency and called for a moratorium on the water shutoffs, a violation of human rights. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced a brief reprieve.
In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals issued a report which stated in part: “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” This same report stated directly: “No new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”
In March 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced it would begin shutting off water service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers every week if their water bills were not paid. Thousands of families are now without water. A coalition of grassroots groups submitted a report to the United Nations naming these shut-offs as a violation of human rights.
Two decades after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, the ANC-led Tripartite government represents big business’ interests. This has led the government to brutally attack workers who fight back against austerity. Black poverty has worsened. Inequality has worsened. Trade union officials collaborate with employers against workers, youth and the unemployed. Does this sound familiar? Isn’t the situation similar in the U.S.?
Jason “Shake” Anderson is a real progressive community leader who is running for mayor of Oakland in November, because he, like most of us, is tired of the electoral musical chairs charade that is recorded as Oakland’s local elections. With incumbent Mayor Jean Quan re-running, and her leading contender, Dan Siegel, being the law partner of her campaign treasurer, you can see why the residents of Oakland would be corruption-conscious throughout the electoral process.
This wasn’t 1967. This wasn’t Missisippi or Atlanta, South Africa or Argentina. This was San Francisco and this was the new Freedom Ride. We were trying to save another Black family from forced out-migration and eviction to make way for privatization. Eviction of Sabrina Carter and her sons is scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday; call Mayor Ed Lee, 415-554-6141, and ask him to stop the eviction.
In the year 2014, as we recognize this as the centennial year of the Jamaican, Caribbean born Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s (born Aug. 17, 1887, died June 10, 1940) founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in 1914, Pan Africanists need to hold conferences to discuss the conditions of over 1,200,000,000 Africans and people of African descent.
Because the Democrats joined the Republicans in allowing the sequestration budget cuts to continue in the latest political deal known as a “continuing resolution” that ended the government shutdown on Oct. 16, it appears to be a very grim situation for Section 8 voucher holders in cities all across the nation. Housing officials claim that 140,000 voucher holders are at risk of losing their vouchers because of the sequestration budget cuts.
Herman Wallace, stalwart revolutionary for the cause of justice, lies with advanced liver cancer in hospice in a Louisiana state prison. Amazing that even in his final hours, minutes, seconds, days, the Louisiana judicial system which has already conceded to bail will not set it and let the man at least have a taste of freedom. Fill out the petition for Herman Wallace’s immediate release. We also need to rally behind Albert Woodfox and secure his freedom. Send prayers and positive energy to Herman’s friends and family, especially Robert H. King and Albert Woodfox, his brothers.
Ask any San Franciscans of a certain age about Golden Gate Park, and they will wax on about the days when every museum in the park was free and they could spend a day visiting all of them. Over the years, while still receiving public subsidies, every institution has been privatized and the entry fees raised to ludicrous levels. The latest being the semi-privatized Conservatory of Flowers.
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