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2013 September

Monthly Archives: September 2013

RAD public housing privatization: Stealing our last acre and our one remaining mule

The San Francisco Housing Commission meeting of Sept. 4 on a new acronym called Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), code for selling public housing to private investors, was still. Still like a grave. A grave for all us poor people destroyed by the massive privatization of our public housing. Us unprioritized and barely housed, the forgotten elders and disabled folks, the very poor, the displaced, now houseless and rarely remembered.

Museveni as mediator between M23 and DR Congo?

Yesterday the Southern Africa Development Community, a regional body, issued a statement of concern about the deployment of Rwandan troops along Rwanda’s common border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressing the hope that Rwanda will not invade and is not thinking about invading. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

America’s Cup action on the waters and in the courts

One team from North Carolina, African Diaspora Maritime (ADM), will not be competing. A few weeks ago, ADM’s suit against the SF Golden Gate Yacht Club to compete in the America’s Cup was dismissed and with it a chance for the super African American sailors to shine. This also stagnates opportunity for an ADM pavilion, which would have anchored a place for American Africans to generate money during the Cup competition.

Hunger striker considers where we go from here, wonders, ‘Will the Legislature dupe us...

The reality right now is that Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano have basically said that there has to be change. Now the people have to get behind these two politicians and make sure that they are empowered to make that change possible: Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.

To serve the people: Black Riders Liberation Party, new generation Black Panther Party for...

The next screening of the Black Riders documentary, ‘Let Um Hear Ya Coming,’ is Thursday, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m., at La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. The event also features the Conscious Roots Music Showcase, with performances by E Da Ref, Askari Mwari, Jah Wave, Fly Benzo and Ms. Incredible, Audiomatic, DJ 8 and DJ Cuba.

Heightened security: White Citizens Council bans popular KPFA host JR Valrey from Pacifica radio...

Who is this terrorist, this big bad JR Valrey who poses some sort of threat to the whole Pacifica network of five major radio stations around the country? First, he’s my friend and comrade at the Bay View, where we’ve worked together for over a dozen years, all his adult life. JR is our associate editor. During the same period, he’s also volunteered at KPFA radio, where his hard and highly acclaimed work finally won him a prime time show – Wednesdays at 8-9 a.m. – starting in May 2011. Immediately, listeners flocked to KPFA to hear this exciting new show.

Rwandan opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda in peril after prison hunger strike

Rwandan opposition leader Bernard Ntaganda is reported to be in perilous condition after going on a hunger strike to protest inhumane conditions in Rwanda’s Mpanga Prison, which is also known as Rwanda’s Guantanamo. Rwanda has been a close ally and military partner of the U.S. since President Kagame and his Rwandan Patriotic Front seized power in 1994.

Richmond homeowners beat Wall Street bullies 4-3

Tuesday night, Sept. 10, the Richmond, California, City Council held a meeting packed with hundreds of community members who rallied to defend the Richmond CARES principal reduction plan that has inspired hope nationwide and a Wall Street-led campaign of threats, litigation and a deceptive election-style effort to sway public opinion. The City Council voted 4-3 to form a Joint Powers Authority to enact local principal reduction.

The ‘compassion’ of empire: Herman and Lynne await

Several years ago, the global human rights group Amnesty International issued an extraordinary appeal to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to grant compassionate release to 72-year-old former Black Panther and political prisoner Herman Wallace, who has recently been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, after losing some 50 pounds in less than six months.

Miracles still happen: A huge law firm is representing the Bay View on censorship...

On Aug. 14 we signed an engagement letter with Bryan Cave, one of the largest law firms in the world, to represent the Bay View in our fight against censorship at Pelican Bay. This miracle was set in motion by an amazing little law office, Bayview Hunters Point Community Legal, that some young, idealistic lawyers opened in a storefront in our hood to help the many of us here who can’t afford legal help.

Testimony of Everett D. Allen, M.D., former chief physician and surgeon at Pelican Bay...

I am very familiar with the serious medical issues involved with the long term and short term care of these SHU patients in solitary confinement that are both very deleterious to human health and not very visible to people who are not insiders and familiar with this environment at PBSP. Many of these issues have not penetrated the ongoing public discussion of the ongoing and created health care consequences of solitary confinement in the SHU at PBSP.

Split parenting: Making it work

Unresolved issues between adults can greatly affect the state of mind of the children in a “split parented” family. Children of all ages, including babies, are extremely perceptive and able to recognize feelings of love, comfort and safety as well as tension, frustration and anger. It is critical that both parents talk about these issues and think about how they will impact the children well before there is any visitation scheduled.

Pelican Bay hunger strikers denied newspapers, even denied food when they asked for it

Sadly, things haven’t gotten any better as far as this prison giving us your newspaper. I never did receive your April or May issue. On Aug. 1, they gave me your June and July issues. Now they’re also holding your August issue. Out of frustration about this and CDCR’s refusal to negotiate with the representatives, I went back on hunger strike for the second time on Aug. 12 and went through all kinds of madness.

Fighting spirit: a message from Herman Wallace

Only a handful of prisoners globally have withstood the duration of years of harsh and solitary confinement that Albert and myself have. The state may have stolen my life, but my spirit will continue to struggle along with Albert and the many comrades that have joined us along the way here in the belly of the beast. I want to thank all of you, my devoted supporters, for being with me to the end.

LA advocates decry governor’s prison expansion compromise, moving prisoners to private prisons out of...

On Wednesday, faith, health and human services, housing, education and criminal justice reform advocates will have a press conference and rally at the State Building, 300 South Spring St., calling on the Legislature to immediately reduce the prison population and invest tax dollars in programs that create healthy and safe communities.

Holding Brown accountable: 60-hour fast held outside Gov. Brown’s condo in solidarity with prison...

Congratulations to our two intrepid hunger strike solidarity peeps who successfully completed their 60-hour fast at 11:59:59 Saturday night, Sept. 7, in support of the prisoners’ 60-day hunger strike and their five core demands. The fast took place outside of Gov. Jerry Brown’s condo on Telegraph Avenue at 27th Street in uptown Oakland.

The Texas Department of Cowboy Justice: A case of lawless law enforcement

It’s been made quite clear that I’m here in Texas in direct response to my having brought undesired public scrutiny to Oregon’s and Virginia’s prisons. This is an account of what I’ve experienced and witnessed in just a couple of weeks here, which can only be described as Cowboy Justice – as lawless as the Wild West. It is also an appeal to public support and activism.

Marcus Garvey Building – Liberty Hall: National Historic West Oakland Landmark saved by community...

It is the collective mission of the organizations who now own Liberty Hall and will do their work there – Overcomers With Hope, Bay Area Black Nurses Association and Healthy Communities – to keep the legacy of service and communal collaboration alive in the African American community of West Oakland and Oakland as a whole.

My friend Todd Ashker

Todd Ashker is on hunger strike in Pelican Bay. I know him as a thoughtful human being who has dedicated his life to peaceful change, to helping his fellow prisoners by learning the law and sharing his knowledge. He was not that way 30 years ago when he first went to prison. He admits that. But any brain scientist will tell you that no man in his 40s is the same man he was in his teens or early 20s.

Remembering Attica

Sept. 9, 2013, marks the 42th anniversary of the prison uprising at the Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Forty-two men, mostly inmates, were killed in the armed retaking of the prison under the orders of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller. I was there, as one of the “observers” specifically requested by the inmates. We tried to negotiate a peaceful, non-violent settlement of the dispute.