“Prison abolition is different from penal abolition. We don’t just want to get rid of the structures; we want to get rid of the whole system that functions to destroy people,” said Ashanti Alston, Black Panther and penal abolitionist. POOR Magazine had the blessing of listening to Ashanti and many more freedom fighters at the 17th International Conference on Penal Abolition held in New Bedford, Mass.
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
“I was born in 1916,” Iris whispered into the camera in her last hours of life. “Peter, I can’t believe you did me like this.” Her eyes were pools of sacred time. Sacred, like a prayer. Sacred like things you hold lightly to protect and dream about and kneel to. Not evict and harass and drag to court and intrude and disrespect and eventually kill. Iris Canada joined the ancestors on Monday, March 27, one month after being evicted. Iris was murdered by the people and the systems that rule this stolen land. Iris was killed by landlord Peter Owens, the sheriff, the DA, the mayor, the judge and everyone who protects them.
The snow shined against the afternoon sun. The multicolored flags bearing the images of our ancestors rippled and flapped in the afternoon breeze as the “Po’ Folx Delegation” from POOR Magazine and Decolonize Academy rode in on a rented four-wheel drive car. After a long, harrowing journey from Huchuin, Ohlone (Oakland, California), in two planes and a rental car we finally arrived to find an avenue of flags from hundreds of nations across Mama Earth, including our favorite, where we piled out of the car to take our first picture, the RBG flag of Black liberation.
Poor, unhoused, barely housed, indigenous, Black, Brown and Red people don’t have presidents. We have prison wardens, police, sheriffs, anti-social workers, landlords, judges, bailiffs, poverty pimps, case manglers, ICE agents, CPS workers and debt collectors. Under Clinton, we lost welfare and the criminalization and incarceration of young people was institutionalized. Poor people don’t have presidents or governors or mayors. We have ourselves.
“No one in the neighborhood believes that fire was an accident,” continued Donald about the recent tragic three-alarm fire that completely destroyed 10 small and very small thriving businesses on 73rd and BlackArthur. Along with the eradication of people’s long-time rented and owned homes through all means of politrickster moves and paper trails which the youth skolaz reveal in their report, local businesses are under attack.
“If this act goes through, it will not just mean the privatization of Oak Flat but of all federal open land all across the U.S.,” said Duke Romero, Indigenous land warrior and member of the Apache Stronghold occupation at the sacred site of Oak Flat, Arizona. The bill will enable a foreign mining company, Resolution Copper, to take over Oak Flat and build the largest copper mine in North America – and it would effectively open up all federal land to corporate desecration.
There are so many untold stories of how and why people become un-housed. Loss of a job, a partner, the onset of an illness or a crisis, but most of the time, in the Bay Area, it’s because of a greed-inspired landlord raising rent, evicting for profit so he or she can house the droves of 20-30-something wealthy, mostly white people streaming into town for the tech industry.
The light from their eyes was missing; in its place was the color of fear. This was the scene at City Hall last week as the people stood up to behemoth developer Forest City, about to build multiple luxury condominium towers and office buildings that will span almost an entire city block in San Francisco’s long-time Filipino community, effectively wiping out the last shred of this working class community of color.
The broken windows model of policing uses code words like “disorder” and the metaphor of “broken windows,” focusing on the importance of “fixing,” aka policing, getting rid of, cleaning out broken windows as a way of “preventing” more “serious crime.” The poor, disabled and houseless scholars from POOR Magazine who have experienced the violence of this private policing launched the WeSearch Policy Group in 2013.
From Oakland to Salinas, from San Francisco to Vallejo, hundreds of Black, Brown, First Nation and Poor people stood together on May 7 and 8 to demand the end of displacement, police terror and criminalization and the increasing apartheidization of this state. We are all connected. Our work and our revolutions can be stronger if we work together and support each other. To add your case to the elder and child abuse cases against speculators or to get involved in the statewide effort to resist a rich-people-only state, contact email@example.com.
Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.
“Whose college? Our College!” The wave of thousands of people’s voices at City Hall rang in our collective ears. If we ever needed to put our bodies in the forefront of this fight, it is now. The fight to save City College comes to Bayview Hunters Point Wednesday, April 3, 6 p.m., Southeast Campus, 1800 Oakdale at Phelps, San Francisco – come learn and get involved.
This powerful event resonated deeply, bringing meaning to the “occupy” movement and showing that its power is to support existent fights and organizing efforts for silenced peoples that have been raging on for years as well as to shed light on the increasingly po’lice controlled state that we all live under.
We sat together: elders, youth, workers, students and folks. We were on our way to a low-paid job, an overpriced university, a pre-gentrified home and a public school. There were laughter and shouts, murmurs and silence. Then suddenly, there were nine heavily armed police officers and fare inspectors walking through the crowded 14 Mission Muni line. One stopped in front of me and my son.
Standing Up for Ours Tours will launch Sunday, June 26, 1-5 p.m., at Middlepoint and West Point in Hunters Point to listen to and support young people of color – plus poetry, food, entertainment and fun. “Hunters Point is home. It’s what’s made me and what nourished me," says Jamal Modica of Tough House Project.
“Police should not be allowed to pick from the ‘poisonous tree,’” said Jeff Adachi, public defender for San Francisco. Adachi explained that the poisonous tree was a legal metaphor used to describe evidence that is obtained illegally.
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