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The following is a transcript of Stacey Abrams’ Feb. 5 statement, as prepared by The New York Times: Good evening my fellow Americans and happy Lunar New Year. I’m Stacey Abrams and I’m honored to join the conversation about the state of our union. ...
As incarcerated people across the country began a three-week series of protests, a contingent of physicians, health professions students and other allied health professionals expressed their solidarity with the protestors. More than 125 students and healthcare providers signed an open letter endorsing the National Prison Strike, with many participating in local solidarity actions or making phone calls to prisons to show support for the strikers’ demands.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has officially signed into law the Definition of Moral Turpitude Act, giving many convicted felons, both incarcerated and formerly incarcerated, the right to vote. Previously, the state barred some felons from voting. This measure was part of the Constitution of Alabama of 1901. I encourage all prisoners in Alabama who are eligible to step up and register now. Contact Secretary of State John Merrill and the Board of Registrars in the county where you currently reside.
At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.
The following is a compilation of two breaking news reports that have come in from Haiti within the past two days. Even as we speak, bullets are flying and people are dying in the streets. The presidential elections in Haiti on Sunday, Nov. 20, were a repeat of the October 2015 fraudulent elections in favor of Jovenel Moise, the candidate supported by former Duvalierist president Martelly. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP/KEP) carried out their electoral coup d’etat giving him a 55 percent win.
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow was one of roughly 500 people who convened in Oakland, California, last weekend for the first national conference of the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement. Hailing from more than 30 states, it was a shared fact of life among participants that the change they need – including fundamental civil rights – will not simply be handed to them by people in power. They must fight for it themselves.
The voice of Haiti’s popular movement at this critical period in the country’s history has never been clearer. For the past several months, since the discredited legislative and presidential elections of last August and October, mass, vibrant protests for the right to a free and fair vote and against foreign intervention have been a relentless force, in the face of heavily-armed and well-financed adversaries and mounting repression.
Bay Area All of Us or None (AOUON) members drove across the country this past weekend to Selma, Alabama, to attend the 50th anniversary commemoration of Bloody Sunday, which included a speech by President Obama and a reenactment of the historical march. They went to speak out about voting rights for formerly incarcerated people as well as the need for an executive order to Ban the Box for federal contractors.
After winning their freedom in the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history, Blacks were in many cases and places denied basic human, civil and political rights, literally forcing New Afrikans back into slavery by denying them a right to life. Over the years the government declared and waged war on the New Afrikan communities - war on unemployed "vagrants,' war on crime, war on drugs, war on gangs - culminating in mass incarceration.
As more and more white unions gained entrance into the AFL, more and more Negroes lost jobs and the opportunity to enter others. Astute observers of the time noted that Negroes were being excluded from occupations which they once held under slavery, that Negroes were being segregated into separate locals in trades where whites and Blacks formerly worked side by side, and that the economic plight of the Black was growing worse while unionism advanced.
For the past four years, community activists and civil rights leaders in the Houston area have been fighting hard to establish a civilian review board with prosecutorial power over local police. The board would oversee the activities of a Houston Police Department (HPD) which has had a “love affair” with the use of excessive and lethal force on Houstonians. The problem with HPD is much larger than it appears and affects everyone in Houston.
On Feb. 11, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urged states to repeal laws that prohibit people who were formerly incarcerated from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to millions. This timely announcement does not just address officials in states such as Florida or Mississippi, but has implications here at home. California is currently facing its own disenfranchisement crisis.
As the nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 50th anniversary holds a special place in the life of the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, senior pastor at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and president of the San Francisco NAACP. Fifty years ago, Brown was at the March on Washington as a student from Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Like the 1963 march, the 2013 march has the potential to become a watershed moment in history. But to make it so, we must do the hard work of building genuine relationships and alliances across the lines of color, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. We must build a grassroots agenda and an organizing strategy. We must leverage the people power represented at the march to effect public opinion and national policies.
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
Our nation’s democracy is in a crisis. We are facing the biggest challenge to our nation since its inception. No, there is not an armed rebellion going on, but, oh, is there a war – a silent, insidious, invidious, nefarious, absolutely downright ugly war. And the war is on the right to vote for American citizens. – Barbara Arnwine, July 2012
Nicolas Rossier conducted an exclusive interview with former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in forced exile in Johannesburg. Aristide concludes: "We are poor – worse than poor because we are living in abject poverty and misery. But based on that collective dignity rooted in our forefathers, I do believe we have to continue fighting in a peaceful way for our self-determination, and if we do that, history will pay tribute to our generation." Rally for democracy in Haiti and Aristide's return Wednesday, Nov. 17, 5 p.m., Montgomery & Market, San Francisco.
DeWitt Lacy, who has made defending poor people his career, writes: “I need your vote to make sure we finally get our fair share of city services and resources (and) to put a voice in office that will not cave in or crumble under the many political pressures of City Hall.” If you live in San Francisco's District 10, the Bay View strongly urges you to vote for DeWitt Lacy as your No. 1 choice. If you're in District 6, make James Keys your No. 1 choice. They will open doors to the many who have been locked out. VOTE 100% on Election Day, this Tuesday, Nov. 2!