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2012 June

Monthly Archives: June 2012

Trayvon, Christian, Jason, Gerardo, Kendrec and nine children in Afghanistan: a discussion of race,...

In the past year we have witnessed a succession of murderous assaults reflecting a common character structure: The authoritarian psychology: Jason Smith beaten to death by racists in Louisiana; Trayvon Martin murdered by a racist vigilante in Florida; Christian Gomez allowed to die on hunger strike by prison guards in California; 17 people, nine of them children, slaughtered in Afghanistan; Kendrec McDade slain by racist police in California; Gerardo Perez-Ruiz murdered by border vigilantes in Arizona.

Derrick Gaines, 15, his life stolen by SSF police, is beloved by family and...

Derrick Louis-Lamar Gaines was born on Sept. 20, 1996, in San Francisco, Calif. He died on June 5, 2012, in South San Francisco at the age of 15, at the hands of the South San Francisco Police Department. His family is trying to raise funds to celebrate his life. Donations can be made at any Wells Fargo Bank to the Derrick Gaines Memorial Fund account, No. 1636477653.

Lessons from Lakeview: Families and students of color in crisis

Parents, young students, teachers, families and community members have seized Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland in response to the Oakland Unified School District’s decision to proceed with closure. Lakeview was recognized for having low suspension rates of Black boys. In theory, OUSD has shown interest in interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, but in practice, the school closures push our youth out of the schools and into the streets. Visit the People's School and protest to Supt. Tony Smith!

Support the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talks

In 1989 the California Department of Corrections opened Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Their primary stated reason for its construction was to reduce prison violence by isolating “alleged” gang leaders and members, but contrary to their stated purpose, prison violence has both rapidly and dramatically increased. California prisons are more violent now than before the opening of Pelican Bay.

Africans in Israel attacked by Zionist government and racist mobs

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.”

Getting smart on surety bonds

I was dumb enough to quit a lifetime-guaranteed job with the government to start my own business. I was dumb enough to think, as an African American woman, I could compete with huge corporations for government contracts. Turns out I was smart enough after all. Smart enough to get contracts and smart enough to find people who knew what I did not know.

Mississippi, stand up!

Among the 215 convicted felons pardoned by Gov. Haley Barbour last January were people charged with murder and rape. The citizens of Mississippi were flabbergasted. For people who are unfamiliar with the Mississippi justice system, these pardons may seem insane. For those of us lost in the system, they are a blessing and a hope.

‘Panther Baby’

Jamal Joseph’s “Panther Baby: A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention” is a story of love, revolution, rage and redemption. Joseph’s brilliant, honest, insightful narrative of his coming of age in New York City in the late 1960s at the height of the Black Power movement is so riveting that I had a hard time putting it down, even to sleep. And when I did, it invaded my dreams.”

A voice from within

The Pelican Bay SHU is a desolate and dreary place, where one is locked in a windowless cell, or better yet a “TOMB,” 24/7 for years on end. This type of solitary confinement and sensory deprivation can and does weigh heavily on a person’s mind, body and soul. - Sonny Trujillo. This story is illustrated with a scale drawing of a SHU cell by another Pelican Bay prisoner, F. Alejandrez.

A Celebration of Transformation: A fundraiser for the Homeboy Hotline

Davey D, host of KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio and a well known and respected community activist and advocate, will headline the Homeboy Hotline's first annual fundraiser celebration on Saturday, June 23, 2-4 p.m., at Hibiscus Restaurant, located at 1745 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. Donations raised will fund the work of HBH, a nonprofit organization that provides support, resources and hope to the formerly incarcerated.

Wells Fargo threatens foreclosure leader Archbishop King’s home – auction postponed again to July...

Thanks to all who called Wells Fargo or went to City Hall on behalf of Archbishop and Marina King. Wells Fargo removed the home from the auction list on the morning of June 21, several hours before the public auction. Wells Fargo is currently reviewing the Kings' case for modification a second time. Until a real agreement can be reached, the Kings and their supporters are planning to block the auction July 20 at City Hall. Call Grace Martinez at ACCE for more information at (415) 377-6872.

Monster Kody: an interview wit’ author Sanyika Shakur

The first book I read after I decided to consciously educate myself to be a part of the movement was Sanyika Shakur’s “Monster” in the mid-‘90s. I was inspired by the sharpness of his ideas, his vocabulary and his grasp on history. I respected him in the same way I respected Tupac Shakur. I knew that one day I wanted to be able express myself as articulately as the two of them.

Angola 3: Time for justice is now!

Robert King writes that “standing on the State Capitol steps on Tuesday, 17 April, I felt the power of the people, of 65,000 people and more – all those who have supported the Angola 3 over the years were also with us. We could not be ignored – the media were there and wanted to report on this; organizations stood by our side in support. Amnesty’s presence was felt.”

Solitary confinement on trial: an interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

On the morning of Tuesday, June 19, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights is having an important public hearing on “Reassessing Solitary Confinement.” This Senate hearing comes on the heels of widespread prisoner hunger strikes that have made the use of solitary confinement a central issue.

Prison destroys 4,250 prisoners’ letters

I got a letter from the attorneys Rosen, Bien, Galvan telling me they just learned that 4,250 letters intended to be sent out by prisoners at my prison “between 2009 and 2012” were never processed by mail room staff, and both legal mail and personal mail were affected. The CDCR internal affairs and the U.S. Postal Service are investigating the mail problem cover-up.

Reassessing the use of solitary confinement in America’s prisons

In testimony submitted to the first-ever congressional hearing on solitary confinement June 19, Dolores Canales wrote: "I am a mother of a Pelican Bay SHU prisoner, and since the hunger strike it has been my goal and passion to bring an end to such inhumane and torturous conditions going on right here in America – land of the free and home of the brave! When Americans are held in solitary confinement in other countries, it is considered barbaric and a form of torture, Sen. John McCain himself being one of those Americans."

Families of California prisoners respond to controversial solitary confinement reform proposal

We are the families of thousands of loved ones who have been incarcerated indefinitely – some for decades – in California’s “supermax” segregated and administrative housing units. Solitary confinement, even for short periods, has been known for centuries to cause irreparable physical and psychological damage: torture. Yet California continues to condone this practice.

Mitchell Kapor Foundation celebrates college bound African American young men in the San Francisco...

“African American young men are assets that we can’t afford to lose and, when they earn college degrees, the economic and social benefits impact all of us,” said Cedric Brown, CEO of the Kapor Foundation. “All too often, these young men and their accomplishments are overlooked and dismissed.”

Congratulations, graduates!

Shontrice Williamson and Adrienne Wilson graduated from San Francisco State University - Shontrice receiving her degree in Africana studies and Adrienne a master’s in public health. Both were also chosen to represent their fellow graduates at commencement by wearing the symbolic hood of their colleges. Only seven graduating students were selected for this honor.

Bayview resident is making a difference

Meet Ngozi Ogbonna. Ngozi has lived in the Bayview her whole life. Graduating from Immaculate Conception Academy in 2011, she now attends San Francisco State University. Ngozi attributes her appreciation of education and her job success largely to ICA: “ICA teaches girls to be independent while also learning how to make a difference in the world.”