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2010 March

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Joint report issued on conditions in Haiti’s displaced persons camps

A coalition of lawyers, researchers and statisticians committed to a rights-based approach to earthquake recovery has issued a joint report detailing the dire living conditions in six internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in and around Port au Prince, Haiti, from the perspective of survivors. The report should help U.N. Donors' Conference delegates make wise decisions.

Red Cross under fire! Where’s the money for Haiti?

The latest figures for Haiti are $333 million donated to the Red Cross but only $106 million spent, while thousands of Haitians are dying preventable deaths and only half of the 1.3 million homeless have even a tarp as the rainy season begins. Send YOUR donations to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund at HaitiAction.net! Now, in a video just added to this post, a Haitian journalist reports he can find no evidence that any of the $106 million was actually spent to meet the life and death need in Haiti.

Haiti’s earthquake victims in peril

In the weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, familiar patterns of interference and neglect by the major powers that dominate the country are firmly entrenched. Notwithstanding heroic efforts of ordinary Haitian people, Haitian government officials and agencies and many international organizations, a grave health risk hovers over the people and the direction of Haiti’s reconstruction remains entirely undetermined.

The new Jim Crow: How the war on drugs gave birth to a permanent...

Among many startling findings by legal scholar Michelle Alexander, former director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Project here in the Bay Area, is this: There are more African Americans under correctional control today – in prison or jail, on probation or parole – than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.

Punkin and funkin it out: an interview wit’ Femi of the Punk Funk Mob

The Punk Funk Mob is one of the newest manifestations of eccentricity and talent off of the Bay Area and West Coast scene, one of the country’s innovation hubs for art and culture. The soil that I am talking about gave birth to Tower of Power, Tony Toni Tone, En Vogue, Ledisi and so many more artists who utilize the “1.”

Those who would destroy Haiti would destroy all sovereign peoples

Haiti, your awesome revolt in 1791 against the revolting barbarity of French enslavement of the Africans was preceded by many revolts of the enslaved African-Haitians beginning as early as 1522. You never accepted that Africans at home and in the Diaspora can be enslaved, can be deprived of their property, liberty and humanity with impunity.

Black flight

By the 1980s, the largest population of African Americans in the state of California owned homes, property and businesses in the Bayview Hunters Point district of San Francisco. Now, the BVHP Redevelopment Project threatens to deprive them of their land, historical legacy and culture, fulfilling the United Nations definition of a government sponsored genocidal campaign.

New Orleans’ heart is in Haiti

Many New Orleanians have roots in Haiti. The 500 enslaved people who participated in the 1811 Rebellion to End Slavery – the largest armed uprising against slavery in the U.S. – were directly inspired by the Haitian revolution. We are also linked by first-hand understanding of the ways in which oppression based on race, class and gender interacts with disasters.

Cop pleads guilty to massive murder cover-up during Katrina

Fighters for justice welcomed the guilty plea by a New Orleans police lieutenant Feb. 24 that he spearheaded a massive cover-up of the police shooting of six unarmed Black civilians as they walked across the Danziger Bridge Sept. 4, 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Solidarity and struggle: More on the Jan. 31 riot at Ely State Prison

Yes, it was a battle. My first report on this riot gave people a look into the ugly violence and bloodshed. I’ve reported it the way it happened, but nothing is to be glorified or celebrated here. It felt good, though, to be a part of struggle and change, to see solidarity in action.

‘Rebuilding Haiti’: the sweatshop hoax

Within days of a Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated much of southern Haiti, the New York Times was using the disaster to promote a United Nations plan for drastically expanding the country’s garment assembly industry, which employs low paid workers to stitch apparel for duty-free export, mainly to the U.S. market.

Prisoners forced to submit to radiation experiments for private foreign companies

In Illinois, federal judges have allowed at least two lawsuits to proceed against correctional officials for using full body scanners to reveal the anatomy of both prisoners and visitors without removing their clothing. This is the very same device that airports are seeking to implement on some inbound flights to the United States.

The Census form: Send it back!

It’s time to be counted. Every day, the average American gets 1.7 pieces of direct mail; in March they will get another in the form of the 2010 Census. The 2010 Census is being mailed to more than 130 million households, including America’s 8.5 million Black family households. Fully a third of these households aren’t expected to send their forms back.

Haiti debt relief bill authored by Congresswoman Maxine Waters passes the House

“I am pleased that my bill to cancel Haiti’s debt held by multilateral development institutions is set to become law. Debt relief is essential for Haiti’s future. However, we must also keep in mind the immediate needs of survivors who, without adequate shelter, will be further subjected to the elements and to disease during the upcoming rainy season,” said Congresswoman Waters.

Sistah Mona: ‘Ndoto’ means ‘dream’

A two-hour excursion with Sistah Mona literally erased all my bumps, bruises and pain. The brown-skinned sister with a ponytail works like a jazz musician – freestyling, eyes closed – the body on the table talking to her as she skated along terrain avoiding blind spots, walls and other baggage that comes along the road well traveled.

Educate or incarcerate: why slash schools to keep nonviolent lifers in prison?

California's extremely overcrowded prison system is draining state funds that would normally be used for education. Yet legislators continue to portray non-violent three-strike inmates as dangerous criminals who deserve to serve a life sentence for crimes that would have ordinarily carried six months to one year in the county jail.

California prisons ignore anti-trans fat law

Toxins that were declared by the California Legislature to “have a detrimental impact on a person’s health” and cannot be used in school food service or food facility businesses are contained in food consumed by inmates in California prisons. The bodies of many – if not most – so-called strikers, lifers and other long-term prisoners are too toxic to pass an artery inspection.

China chides U.S. on rights record

The Chinese government responded March 12 to the release of a U.S. human rights report critical of China by issuing its own report criticizing the U.S. human rights record. The report covered issues relating to crime, racial discrimination and poverty and accused the U.S. of using its hegemonic power to continue “trampling” on the sovereignty of other countries while “posing as the world judge of human rights.”

‘Mirrors in Every Corner’ by Chinaka Hodge, directed by Marc Bamuthi Joseph, at Intersection...

The characters’ stories in Chinaka Hodge’s debut as a playwright, “Mirrors in Every Corner,” capture a sense of tragedy lurking near all of us. From Rodney King to Oscar Grant, Loma Pieta to urban removal, one sits on the edge of her seat waiting for the wrecking ball to fall.

Haiti: ‘Disaster capitalism on steroids’

“Two months after the devastating earthquake, the situation in Haiti is downright criminal,” says Robert Roth. According to the spokesperson for the activist network Haiti Action Committee, major Western players such as the U.S. are more interested in defending their own geopolitical interests in Haiti than truly helping the hard hit Caribbean country.