Low-wage workers gathered in a town hall meeting in Bayview Hunters Point on June 29 to denounce the growing income inequality in the Bay Area and declare that if their wages did not increase they would be forced to leave their jobs. The workers, who came together in the Alex Pitcher Community Room in the Southeast Campus of City College, were meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the Minimum Compensation Ordinance.
What makes San Francisco Mime Troupe the award-winning theatre it is is its amazing work, which is always topical and timely. Its current production, July 1-Sept. 10, “Walls” is no different. Playwright and SF Mime veteran Michael Gene Sullivan’s new work looks at federal immigration policy from George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The quartet has much in common, each president responsible for policies which criminalize its immigrant population.
To educate our entire Oakland community, I’m writing to explain why Oakland needs a smoke-free multi-unit housing policy. This is a social justice issue. Smoking and tobacco products kill more African-Americans than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide and other non-tobacco related cancers. We must educate our youth and communities regarding the dangers of smoking because it is an unhealthy life choice for them.
Renter protections will be on the November ballot in six cities in the Bay Area. No matter how hard the landlords and the California Apartment Association try to stop the renters movement, tenant advocates across the Bay Area are urging renters to vote on strong renter protections in Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Burlingame, San Mateo and Mountain View. They urge people to vote “no” against any weak proposals placed on the ballot by the city councils in Alameda and Mountain View.
A proposal by HUD and the Obama administration that is allegedly meant to combat segregation and break up concentrations of poverty actually threatens Section 8 renters (Housing Choice Voucher holders) – the elderly, poor and disabled – with higher rents and eviction. It has many Section 8 tenants worried about their future in the Bay Area, New York and elsewhere.
The air has gotten worse, not better. So these are some of the things that are caused by the dust, the construction and the latent chemicals they have not cleaned up since World War II – plus the current concentration of light industry just outside our neighborhood that all blows into our neighborhood. Yet currently less than 1 percent of African Americans who live in Bayview work in that area and reap the economic benefits. All we get is the pollution and death.
On March 3, the same day that Oakland tenant activists filed a ballot initiative to strengthen renter protections called the “Renters Upgrade,” the California Apartment Association (CAA) announced that they were keeping an eye on things and are coming up with their own plan to counter the tenant’s movement efforts somehow, including in Richmond and Alameda.
It is amazing how time flies whether one is moving or standing still. One looks up and sees, suddenly it seems, friends celebrating 70 and 75 or 80 or even 90-plus milestones. Wow! What a blessing that is. And while we also see the fullness of time’s passage in the lives of those who have decided to move on, too often we are caught by surprise, our mouths hung open, the words we could have said … deeds left undone.
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.
A quarter of a million people in Richmond and West Contra Costa County, a majority people of color community, will be without a community hospital as a result of the decision made last Thursday to phase down and finally close the doors of Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in San Pablo by April 21, 2015. To not provide a full service hospital in West Contra Costa County is an example of environmental and institutional racism.
Over a 25 year period, 200 women in South LA went missing. Of these missing women, 100 were found dead. All of the women are Black and most were prostitutes. The refusal to let these women’s lives go unacknowledged is due to the work of Black Coalition Fighting Back Against Serial Murders. HBO will broadcast “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” on April 27.
After a WriterCoach Connection volunteer offered words of praise to a Korematsu Middle School seventh grader on a writing assignment, the youngster told the coach, “Nobody has ever said that to me before. Not my teachers, not my parents – nobody. Thank you!” The coach had met the student where he was with his writing process. No judgments. No preset expectations. Just pure encouragement to help him get his voice and views on paper.
Mike “Dream” Francisco is one of the first internationally known muralists from Oakland. He was one of the founding members of TDK; a group that started off as some high school trouble makers and grew into a posse that still paints to this day – now they paint legal, commissioned murals. They started off as Those Damn Kids; now they represent the dream kontinuing.
Communities across the region’s oil belt stood up to industry pressure to demand that air officials clean up refinery pollution instead of letting it worsen. “Communities and workers are fighting to protect our health, safety and climate from dirtier oil projects that our Air District should be stopping instead of proposing to allow,” said Andrés Soto.
Public housing is home to over 1.2 million families across the nation, mostly the elderly, disabled and low-income women with children. The Bay Area is home to thousands of them. In an effort to save public housing in Oakland, Richmond, San Francisco and nationwide, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., wrote a letter to President Obama on Dec. 10 condemning the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD.
As gentrification increases in the Bay Area, low- and moderate-income renters are finding it increasingly difficult to find housing at affordable rents. Renters, including young professionals who can no longer afford to live in San Francisco, are steadily moving to the East Bay. The inevitable result is, of course, increased demand for rental units and increased rents to renters.
In my 29 years of incarceration, I had never seen what I would witness on Sept. 24, 2013, on our way back to Pelican Bay State Prison’s solitary confinement torture chambers after our temporary transfer during the hunger strike. CDCR created a clear opportunity for the majority to attack the non-majority.
“Fruitvale,” the award-winning movie about the last 24 hours in the life of Oscar Grant, is set to debut in mid-June in Los Angeles. I caught up with the Bay Area’s own Ryan Coogler to talk about the film. I had some questions about why this film did not include the life and death of Lovelle Mixon and would it be able to be used as a weapon against police terrorism. Read Ryan Coogler’s answers in his own words.
Massive spending cuts to the nation’s federal housing programs are scheduled to go into effect on March 1, 2013, threatening thousands of low-income families in Oakland and other Bay Area cities with higher rent than they can pay. Additionally, several hundred thousand or more low-income families all across the nation could lose their vouchers.
Instead of throwing another quarter million dollars away on a gimmick, the City of Oakland should turn to its own Bay Area neighbors in Richmond to see what they’re doing right and why their homicide and violent crime rates have so radically dropped. I imagine that Richmond’s crime fighting team would consult with Oakland’s at little or no cost, considering the mutual benefit of reducing crime in the San Francisco Bay Area.