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 4, 2012
This is the month we wear our Blackness with pride – so walk on, walk on. I want to thank Rhodessa Jones, Shaka Jamal, Pat Jamison, Elaine Lee, Walter Turner, Vera Nobles and Elouise Burrell for your leads and references for South Africa.
January 5, 2012
Life isn’t fair: Too many kids and not enough food, fat cats bringing in all the money and government services like free hospitals and free education is not free for those who need it because, like everywhere, bureaucracy breeds corruption, whether we are in Madagascar or the United States.
December 3, 2011
Sobonfu Somé, West African healer, says that when people die and become ancestors, they get smarter and often try to repair any damage they may have made while in this physical form. Ancestors want to be busy making our lives better. She said we can call on them to intercede on our behalf when we are troubled.
October 4, 2011
October is Maafa Commemoration Month. The term Maafa refers to the Black Holocaust, that period when African people were stolen and traded in the greatest, most widespread cooperative economic venture to date, which resulted in the displacement of human beings as commodities. The Kiswahili term Maafa extends that definition of loss and trauma, that is, PTSD or post-traumatic slave syndrome – the flashbacks, both conscious and unconscious, reoccurring instances of the atrocities 150 years after the end of slavery which have direct association to the brutality of chattel slavery.
September 20, 2011
In August 2010, I met Cassandre, a young woman who had been raped. Her father had been putting her through university, so when he was killed, her dreams died too. Kamau Amen Ra volunteered to support her in her dream to become an accountant. Now she, her mother and grandmother need help to move from their tent camp to an apartment.
September 4, 2011
Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011, was the opening of August Wilson’s play, “Seven Guitars,” directed by Kent Gash, at the Marin Theatre Company. I hadn’t seen the play in about 15 years. Wilson was alive then and he was work-shopping his latest – play five in the eventual 10-play cycle – at ACT-SF with the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre in a co-production.
September 1, 2011
Denise, Marilyn, Anna and I, with Harriett at the wheel, left West Oakland BART in the second carpool wave for Sacramento Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 9:30 a.m. to attend a pre-rally for the historic California Assembly Hearing on Solitary Confinement.
August 4, 2011
How well indeed the creator saw fit to have the Muslim population worldwide join the hunger strike started by brothers in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay July 1, which continues in other California prisons, including I heard at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).
June 29, 2011
A number of trees have fallen in the forest this past month and we want to acknowledge the huge spaces their absence brings: Geronimo ji jaga Pratt, Black Panther, decorated veteran of multiple wars …
June 29, 2011
A recent evening at the African American Museum and Library in Oakland was special. The line wrapped around the corner of 14th Street at Martin Luther King Jr. Way as people lined up to hear Isabel Wilkerson talk about her book, “The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration.”
May 4, 2011
Happy Mother’s Day to Yuri Kochiyama! I’d like to also wish the women who haven’t seen their children in a long time, some since birth, a special Happy Mother’s Day. Our prayers are with you even if you feel alone at a time when in America prisons systematically separate mothers from their children, often permanently.
April 14, 2011
Saturday, April 9, the Allen Temple Community Room was overflowing with individuals interested in the crisis on Oakland streets, especially a street many had to cross that morning upon arrival, International Boulevard with its sex trafficking of mostly Black and Brown girls.
April 10, 2011
When Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis, he was about to join the sanitation workers in their protest for a union and more decent wages. The movement for civil rights was taking hold in the North and America didn’t like it – so off with King’s head.
March 16, 2011
It is not often one sees a play written and directed by Black women, the director, Liesl Tommy, from Cape Town, South Africa. Only a fine writer like Lynn Nottage could take such tragedy and make us smile and laugh between the tears.
March 5, 2011
I highly recommend “Jar the Floor.” It illustrates the Sankofa concept that permeates African Diaspora culture. Shows are 8 p.m. tonight and 3 p.m. tomorrow, March 5 and 6, at the Mexican Heritage Plaza Pavilion, 1700 Alum Rock Ave., San Jose.
March 3, 2011
Women’s History Month and the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day March 8, 2011 – what a great month to toast the New Year. The name itself is an action, a call to action: MARCH – Move!
February 12, 2011
Jazz Hudson is one of the new up and coming poets out of the Bay who has been making a name for herself at poetry readings – one of the most loquacious and passionate young sistas to come out of the concrete jungle of Oakland in a long time.
February 10, 2011
On Feb. 18, 7 p.m., at Modern Times Bookstore, Krip-Hop Nation will present an author panel of new books by Black disabled writers and friends, including Toni Hickman of Texas, Adarro Minton of New York, Allen Jones of San Francisco and friends of Krip-Hop Nation, DC Curtis and Bones Kendall of Los Angeles.
December 22, 2010
My nephew was shot and killed by Oakland police Monday afternoon, Dec. 20. Aba was 19. On the street, young Black men fear and are feared. We have to rescue our kids. Like our youngsters, the police also make choices, and theirs is to shoot to kill.