September 11, 2012
When Andre Ward stood on the ropes and raised his arms in victory after demolishing Chad Dawson, I was reminded of a similar scene when a young Cassius Clay stood next to the ropes with a raised fist after demolishing “Big Bear” Sonny Liston, and said: “I shook up the world. I’m the greatest.” Both tend to beat their opponents psychologically before they get into the ring.
August 11, 2012
As Gabby told the New York Times in June: “I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m Black and no one thinks I’d ever win. Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.” Shine she did. Dominique Dawes, the great African-American gymnast who won team gold in 1996, exclaimed: “I feel like Gabby is my child or something. I am so anxious for her to win. I know it will have an enormous impact on encouraging African-Americans and other minorities to go into the sport of gymnastics.”
August 8, 2012
There are many great programs for youth in the San Francisco Bay Area – among them, AileyCamp at Cal Performances, Destiny Arts, Oaktown Jazz Workshop, Dimensions Extensions and Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, founded by Angela Wellman.
August 7, 2012
Nothing is more dangerous to a system that depends on misinformation than a voice that obeys its own dictates and has the courage to speak out. George Jackson’s imprisonment and further isolation within the prison system were clearly a function of the state’s response to his outspoken opposition to the capitalist structure. George was one of the brilliant minds of the 20th century, passionately involved with liberating not only himself, but all of us.
July 25, 2012
The conclusion of a recent report of a Japanese parliamentary panel that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry “collusion” and thus was “man-made” is mirrored throughout the world. “Regulatory capture” is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
July 20, 2012
George Washington, the first president and one of the founding fathers of the United States, once argued, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led to the slaughter.” Yet in many controversial cases, United States courts have ruled against the First Amendment guarantee to free speech.
June 25, 2012
Rising animosity toward African migrants in Israel has reached a boiling point. People were beaten on the streets, and their businesses were looted amid calls for the banning and deportations of Africans. Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians have likened migrant workers and small businesspeople from Africa to a “cancer” on society. Outside a fire-bombed building where 18 people live, racists had painted, “Get out of the neighborhood.”
June 14, 2012
David Keys departed this plane of existence on May 21, just two weeks shy of his 49th birthday. Thank you, little brother, for your friendship, love and your need to protect your big brother. I miss you every minute of every day.
June 5, 2012
The SAFE California Act to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole will be on the November ballot in California. Here are the perspectives of three men on San Quentin’s death row. Kevin Cooper writes: “Please don’t get me wrong, as I have my say concerning this SAFE California Act. I am not in favor of capital punishment either! But I do know that there has to be a better way to end capital punishment within this state than the SAFE California Act.”
May 27, 2012
On May 22, brave prisoners at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison began a hunger strike. A recently released prisoner discusses torture at Red Onion: “having your fingers broken, being bitten by dogs, being strapped to beds for days, being forced to defecate on yourself – I mean all of this has led to these men demanding to be treated as human beings.”
May 23, 2012
The increase in hunger strikes in state prisons throughout the United States, inspired by the courageous examples of Ohio and California prisoners, show we don’t fear death or persecution, but minimizing losses is a part of wise strategy. We struggle to win. Unnecessarily losing some of our best minds to indeterminate isolation won’t help this purpose.
May 9, 2012
Congolese people have seen an estimated 6 million of their citizens perish in an unjust war. They have witnessed how the perpetrators of these crimes still roam the streets of their country or are given humanitarian awards and accolades. We hope that all justice seekers around the world will join us in working to deliver justice to the Congolese people.
May 5, 2012
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
April 4, 2012
Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.
March 29, 2012
Top CDCR administrators admitted several times during our negotiations that the five core demands made by 12,000 hunger striking prisoners were reasonable and would all be addressed via meaningful, substantive changes. Our rejection of CDCR’s March 1 proposal is based upon its failure to act in good faith. CDCR is asking lawmakers and taxpayers to allow it to continue to violate thousands of prisoners’ human rights, torturing us with impunity. Our counter-proposal will bring this illegal torture to an end.
March 17, 2012
Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) is one of the most revered Black revolutionary leaders from the ‘60s who is alive today. He was a legendary organizer with SNCC and briefly with the Black Panther Party, then later in an Islamic community in the West End of Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of the true fathers of rap music. Atlanta will rally Monday, March 19, 3-5 p.m., at the Georgia Capitol, 206 Washington St., to bring Imam Jamil back to Georgia from federal prison in Florence, Colo.
March 7, 2012
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
February 8, 2012
“We need a knowledge of self in order to counter the negative imagery and influences … People who know their history are in a better position to defend themselves and advance their own interests than people who do not,” says historian Runoko Rashidi, who discusses the strong Black influence on Europe.
January 2, 2012
Congo’s Nov. 28 presidential and legislative elections were fraught with tremendous irregularities and widespread charges of fraud. The opposition categorically rejected the results as fraudulent. Nonetheless, Joseph Kabila was sworn into office on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
December 27, 2011
“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” wrote Dostoyevsky. If what he says is true – and I believe it is – then America, which boasts the largest prison population in the world, is perhaps the most uncivilized country there is. Who better to speak to the reality of prison life than someone who is living the experience?