April 7, 2018
On March 27, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition claimed victory in its four-year battle to stop Urban Shield, a war games and weapons convention for cops held in Alameda County every year since 2007. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-facilitator of Oakland Privacy, a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment. She has worked with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition since 2014.
November 2, 2017
Activists, business owners and community members argued that victims of the War on Drugs should be given consideration as the city of San Francisco develops licensing policy for its fledgling recreational marijuana industry at a community forum on Oct. 21. The forum, which was held at the historic Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater and called by San Francisco Supervisor Malia Cohen, was designed to engage community members in discussion regarding the cannabis industry.
October 2, 2017
Speech delivered at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in Washington, D.C.: Let me tell you what’s going on here today. This is the largest gathering of slavery abolitionists in the history of the United States, happening right here today. In 16 cities across America, they are marching in unison with us and in solidarity with us, and they’re not doing it to end mass incarceration. They’re doing it to end what? (Slavery!) Slavery.
September 5, 2017
Aug. 19 at 11:00 a.m., courageous and loving folks in San Jose, Calif., joined with sister marches and rallies throughout the country in support of prisoners’ human rights and amending the 13th. Their courage is found in the rejection of an institution so prevalent and insidious that any criticism can bring a mountain of ridicule and judgment. It is an institution shielded by a centuries old narrative that tells people, “They are not like us,” and consequently, “they” are undeserving of our humanity.
August 31, 2017
I went into law school thinking that I wanted to be a civil rights attorney. I wanted to use my law degree to fight the many systems of oppression that plagued and terrorized the communities that mattered to me. It wasn’t until my third year of law school, that I recognized current cannabis policies as a legitimate social justice issue – particularly due to the way marijuana prohibition is enforced.
August 1, 2017
Let’s touch upon the phrase, I AM WE. It is an ancient African saying. To me it means: What affects you affects me. It means: We are together; we are one. I AM WE means that with unity, solidarity and agape love for one another, we can overcome any obstacle and achieve any goal! By applying I AM WE, together we can crush imperialism, eradicate white supremacy, destroy patriarchy, change misogynistic attitudes and save our planet!
August 1, 2017
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
July 13, 2017
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
March 29, 2017
All across this kkkountry we are hearing and seeing the masses exclaim, “Black lives matter!” We heard Obama counter that by telling the people, “All lives matter” and “Police lives matter.” But what about the more than 2 million lives being held captive across this kkkountry in amerikkka’s kkkoncentration kkkamps (jails and prisons)? So we must raise the questions needed to spark the discussion so many fail to acknowledge: Do prison lives matter?
January 13, 2017
Coming of age in the ‘60s was a trying time for young African American men whose taste of power made it hard to relinquish their dreams of equality and true democracy shortly thereafter in the ‘70s during the Reagan years with the war on Black people, disguised as a war on drugs. Nonetheless Glen Upshaw did not let fear mitigate or guide his behavior. A peacemaker or violence interrupter, his job is to de-escalate situations before they happen or restore peace and safety in situations where violence has taken place.
December 19, 2016
Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
September 9, 2016
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
September 1, 2016
These prison profiteers and imperialist oppressors aren’t feeling the recent show of power and solidarity among prisoners throughout AmeriKKKa. In the same manner, the FBI’s COINTELPRO sought to thwart the emergence of a Black Messiah, mass incarceration in Amerika seeks to sabotage the emergence of any movement which challenges the capitalist-imperialist plan to lock up, exploit, disenfranchise, poison and in some cases even kill the poorest cross-section of Amerikan society.
July 31, 2016
Join us Sunday, Sept. 25, 1-3 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 27, 3-5 p.m., at the Linda Brooks Burton Library, 5075 Third St., at Revere, San Francisco, to honor the life of the many Black men and women whose lives were taken too soon and to learn more about the 1966 Hunters Point Uprising. We must, as Arthur Schomburg challenges Black Americans, “dig up our past in order to remake our future.”
May 23, 2016
It’s personal because your actions against the oppressed were calculating, premeditated and strategically targeting New Afrikans and other oppressed, poor citizens of this nation. Not only did you wickedly abuse the trust of the people who believed in you, but you demonstrated what hatred looks like in policy. Yes! Your charisma, accompanied with your oiled up tongue, allowed you to work your charms on the people while all the time preying on them like a wild, mad predator.
May 15, 2016
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
March 28, 2016
The Community Coalition Concerned for Black Life convened a town hall-style meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the historic Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Cleveland’s majority Black east side on Saturday, March 5. Organizers said that the overall purpose of the meeting at Olivet was to discuss issues affecting the Black community and how Sanders would address such issues if ultimately elected president.
February 11, 2016
In Texas we know that we are being exploited, mistreated, degraded and abused. Many prisoners in Texas are content with the modern day slave plantation system, which is managed and operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, many prisoners are not content; in fact they are frustrated and angry. The strategies utilized by prisoners in other states that have similar conditions to Texas don’t necessarily apply here.
February 7, 2016
A United Nations panel of human rights activists has urged the United States’ government to pay reparations to the descendants of Africans who were brought to the U.S. as slaves. The committee blamed slavery for the plight of African-Americans today. The U.N. Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent’s preliminary report follows a year of aggravated racial tensions in the United States that saw the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.
January 31, 2016
With California voters likely to decide by ballot initiative this year whether to become the fifth state to legalize recreational use of marijuana, the state chapter of the NAACP saw an opportunity to address related civil rights issues it has been concerned with for years. After successfully voicing their concerns, the state’s NAACP chapter endorsed the ballot initiative.