October 4, 2018
Few prisoners, if any, at San Quentin State Prison participated in what was reported to be the largest prisoner-led strike in United States history. There are many reasons for these prisoners’ lack of involvement. Most of the men imprisoned at San Quentin were unaware of the strike and the groups involved with it like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee.
August 29, 2018
Once upon a time … in a reality far, far away … Amy D.C. Brownell, PE, a licensed professional engineer with the Environmental Division of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), accepted the mandate to protect human health and the environment as a permanent regulator seated on the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) of the Hunters Point Shipyard, a federal Superfund site. RABs are democratically elected bodies created by Congress to empower community stakeholders with the opportunity to direct the cleanup and reuse of former military installations.
August 13, 2018
A white jogger throwing a Black homeless man’s property into Lake Merritt. A well-dressed man kicking a sleeping man’s face so severely he was hospitalized. The owner of a local club circulating death threats to homeless people and chasing a camper with a gun. These are just some of the publicized events. Of course, people forced to live outdoors face this and worse on a regular basis.
July 9, 2018
“Three African-American construction workers said this week that they were targeted by racial slurs and death threats, including black dolls hanging from nooses in the bathroom, while working on the site of a San Francisco high-rise,” reported the New York Times after renowned civil rights attorney John Burris, who’s representing the workers, held a June 21 press conference. That the issue is important enough for a major story in the New York Times will, we hope, catch the attention of the powers that be in San Francisco.
July 5, 2018
The U.S. Navy had its annual dog and pony show at the Treasure Island Restoration Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The previous meeting included a Tetra Tech representative and a loud confrontation, but this time Tetra Tech representatives were not on the panel since there are now two Tetra Tech managers in federal prison for falsifying the cleanup records at Hunters Point and an ongoing grand jury investigation with likely more sealed indictments.
May 29, 2018
Word has it that the first 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, sometime during the month of August in 1619. Wow! That means next year, August 2019 will extend that legacy to exactly 400 years. Look out, Jamestown, here we come to commemorate, commiserate and consummate 400 years of MAAFA! Below is an excerpt from my poem, “The Art of Living Black,” which summarizes those 400 years, opening with an addition of recent local occurrences and indignities that have become a part of the Black Experience.
April 12, 2018
Over $1 billion has been spent by the federal government since 2004 to clean up and remediate one of the most highly toxic and radioactive sites in the U.S., the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. This Superfund site was home for decades, 1946-1969, to the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, and large Navy warships were towed there from the Pacific, where they had been placed close to nuclear tests.
March 31, 2018
Community members and family of Sahleem Tindle, a 28-year-old father of two, killed by a BART Police officer in January, packed a BART meeting March 12 to demand that justice be served. Tindle’s family passionately protested the lack of action by BART following Tindle’s death on Jan. 3 outside the West Oakland BART Station. Tindle’s family and legal team are calling for the city of Oakland to arrest and charge the involved BART officer, Joseph Mateu, with murder.
February 23, 2018
One of the seven deadly social sins, recited first by Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925 and later by Mahatma Gandhi, is “politics without principle.” That may be the nicest way to describe the injustice that led to London Breed’s ousting as San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor. Breed is a champion of homeless rights, affordable housing and advocacy for dreamers, the candidate with the courage to do the right thing, who is not intimidated by any forces, no matter how powerful.
September 24, 2017
My column last month reported on the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to support HR 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The vote was 344 Yes and 81 No. Seventy-nine percent of our elected representatives in the House voted for “nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Trump requested,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2017.
August 31, 2017
How much of our defense budget is actually spent on defense? How many U.S. military bases, estimated to be in 150 to 170 countries, do we need to defend ourselves? How much is to protect corporate trade routes or the war for oil? It is important to note that not one other country has a military base on our soil. Since the early 1960s, 50 to 60 percent of discretionary spending has been for the military. 2018 U.S. military spending: $696 billion
August 28, 2017
When Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement Aug. 21 opposing President Trump’s announced plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” and for 16 years she has “waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution.” Her warning that it would lead to “war without end” seems fulfilled by Trump’s announcement he’s sending more troops continue the war.
August 28, 2016
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.
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.
April 2, 2016
The California State Supreme Court has re-affirmed its decision allowing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed initiative for changing California’s parole system to begin gathering signatures for the November ballot. The March 9 decision was the second time the court kept Brown’s crime initiative alive by rejecting a request by state prosecutors to halt signature-gathering for the measure.
March 28, 2016
It’s hard to imagine that the country that controls so much nuclear firepower and drops so many bombs every day is unwilling to educate its children and house its own people. As much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the U.S.
February 18, 2016
The featured front page story in the Feb. 18 San Francisco Chronicle begins, “The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, a uniquely San Franciscan storefront ministry dedicated to the music and preachings of the soulful sax man, is facing eviction and may be gone as soon as Sunday’s sermon ends. Let your voice be heard by signing the petition in full support of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church remaining in the West Bay Conference Center.”
February 8, 2016
Mr. Jose LaCrosby, a nationally-recognized African-American hairdresser in San Francisco, passed away on Jan. 29, 2016, in hospice care at the San Francisco VA Hospital. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. LaCrosby lived in the Fillmore-Western Addition for 58 years. Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m., at Mercy Housing
December 28, 2015
I am currently in solitary confinement for a “Battery on a Peace Officer,” which took place on Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after the assassination of beloved political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell at New Folsom State Prison B-Facility. Prison officials released a statement to the media that several correctional officers were “ambushed” by a group of Afrikan Amerikan inmates on C-Facility, which in reality is far from the truth.
December 11, 2015
You are invited to the opening reception on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2-4 p.m., in the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library of “I Am San Francisco,” a major exhibit that tells the personal stories of Black San Franciscans at a time when the Black population has been almost entirely forced out and includes a display of historic copies of the San Francisco Bay View, back to 1994, with the headline “We Shall Not Be Moved.”