Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
For decades while under solitary confinement, I was one of numerous New Afrikan subjects who was trapped in oblivion, while the world outside of solitary confinement was constantly changing. We survived by feeding off the imagination of a past movement that had died away several decades ago. It wasn’t that we couldn’t let go of the past. We simply refused to surrender to institutionalized racism.
On Black Friday 2014, 14 Black activists chained themselves together on a BART transit platform “to prevent trains from moving at the West Oakland station, in response to the seemingly unending war against Black communities.” The 14, a majority of them women, faced criminal charges. Now, after a year-long campaign by the Black Friday14 and a broad coalition of allies, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley has dropped all the charges.
Institutionally racist and classist U.S. adoption and foster care agencies, along with county-run child protective services agencies, are all established with a core mission that includes the goal to “protect” children in need, which is a good goal. But it becomes problematic when the concept of “in need” is judged through a Western, Eurocentric lens.