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2014 July

Monthly Archives: July 2014

The T-shirt warrior: an interview with Chris Zamani, founder of the Hapo Zamani Za...

Chris Zamani, founder of the Hapo Zamani Za Kale clothing line, is a t-shirt designer who is on the pioneering front of trying to politicize the consciousness in the Black community through changing the kinds of people and messages on the t-shirts we are wearing. He started a line of t-shirts which immortalizes and commemorates revolutionary heroes and sheroes from the African continent, people like Nkrumah, Lumumba, Machel, Nehanda, Asantewaa, Mugabe and more.

‘Mass Incarceration on Trial’

In “Mass Incarceration on Trial,” Jonathan Simon writes, the decisions in Madrid v. Gomez, Coleman v. Wilson, Plata v. Davis, Coleman-Plata v. Schwarzenegger and Brown v. Plata “are legal precedents with ongoing relevance to prison lawyers and officials, but they are also a public sociology text, addressed to all of us, concerning the threat that mass incarceration poses to prisoners, prison officers, and any society with pretensions to decency.”

Oakland City Council postpones vote on WOSP gentrification scheme

On July 29, the Oakland City Council surprised observers by postponing a final vote on the West Oakland Specific Plan (WOSP) without setting a new date. WOSP is a massive redevelopment scheme spearheaded by some wealthy investors planning to gentrify the old Oakland Army Base and major portions of West Oakland that are cynically being called Opportunity Sites, and at first reading on July 15, the City Council voted 7-0 to approve it, with only Desley Brooks abstaining.

BMAGIC to distribute backpacks, uniforms to Bayview kids

In an effort to ensure every student starts school with the tools to succeed, the San Francisco Public Defender’s BMAGIC program will provide backpacks stuffed with school supplies to more than 3,000 youth in the Bayview on Saturday, Aug. 16. The BVHP Annual Back to School Celebration will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the recently renovated Youngblood Coleman Park, 1398 Hudson Ave.

Chess vs. checkers

Life is like a game of chess and checkers. Many of us play checkers. And many of us think we’re playing chess, but, in practice, we’re actually playing checkers. So it should be of no surprise to any of you when I say, most poor people play checkers, prisoners in particular. Now what does this analogy im­ply? Most people make decisions in life without thinking ahead or assessing the ramifications of their decisions, especially prisoners!

The Sandy Agee story, Part Two: We love Treasure Island, but we don’t want...

After working vigilantly to protect her kids from asbestos by moving out of an asbestos-filled home in Bayview Hunters Point onto Treasure Island, Sandy Agee found she had literally jumped from the frying pan into the fire. At this writing, Sandy and two of her children are exhibiting worrisome physical symptoms they developed only after moving to the island. Sandy’s blood tests came back positive for “thyroid problems.”

A new life for Sundial Park

Reclaiming Hilltop Park, better known as Sundial Park, as a neighborhood destination has been a long time coming. Through dedicated local advocacy, an active community of neighbors and productive partnerships, this park will finally be seeing a new life in Bayview Hunters Point. Come to the community meeting on Wednesday, July 30, 6-7:30 p.m., at the Joseph Lee Recreation Center, 1395 Mendell St.

Connecting the dots throughout the world leading to economic empowerment

From now on we are going to connect each and every city and nation that has significant numbers of members of the African Diaspora. We will begin to communicate on a regular basis and plan economic projects to employ more and more workers and build more and more wealth via entrepreneurship. These dots of people of African descent will become the envy of the world. Oh, how resilient we have been. Now we will not only survive but begin to thrive.

Stop the McFarland GEO women’s prison!

On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.

Rally to stop wrongful convictions planned in Louisiana

In reference to my case as told in the June issue of the Bay View, I have connected with Eric Brown, attorney Mummi Ibrahim and Rev. Melvin Slack, who is a candidate to be the next mayor of Shreveport. Slack is about positive change and he promotes Black-on-Black love. Pastor Brown is also supporting my cause, freedom. He is orchestrating a rally to stop wrongful convictions in Louisiana.

Survivors of Black Wall Street race riot still haven’t received any reparations

Some financial observers attribute the Black community’s economic woes to our unwillingness to financially support Black businesses. Well, back in 1921, in a Tulsa, Oklahoma, community named Black Wall Street, a dollar circulated 19 times before leaving the community. That was before a white mob destroyed the town. Given the ferocity of the attack and the complicity of Oklahoma police, one would think that by now survivors would’ve been compensated for what they endured, but they haven’t been.

Medical ‘care’ at Soledad is degrading … and lethal

The people who are housed in this institution, Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad, Calif., are having a lot of issues with medical. It’s very degrading. Doctors are taking convicts off their pain medication, such as morphine, methadone and Gabapetine, known as Neurontin, saying it’s being abused. Correction officers don’t care about us convicts nor do the doctors.

‘Kill Team,’ the mind state imperialism breeds

“Kill Team” is a very well put together documentary about a number of U.S. soldiers based in Afghanistan who were caught being a part of a kill team that would routinely kill innocent civilians. This documentary is for anybody fascinated by the mentality and psychology promoted in the U.S. military to get their paid mercenary soldiers ready to steal resources and control populations on an international level.

Special assignment: George Jackson funeral

I was working at Central Headquarters of the Black Panther Party (BPP) when George Jackson was murdered by guards in San Quentin Prison in 1971. George Jackson was one of the leaders of the developing Prison Rights Movement at the time. He helped develop a new consciousness among prisoners based on political education, service to the community and the destruction of the evil capitalist system.

8th annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair Aug. 9 in Los Angeles

The Leimert Park Village Book Fair, based in South Central Los Angeles, is the main annual literary event for the Black community on the West Coast. A number of authors and screenwriters attend every year to expose the community to their latest work, and thousands of book lovers come to see what all of these writers have cooked up. Check out Leimert Park Village Book Fair founder Cynthia Exum in her own words.

Child refugees: When children are ‘the enemy’

I’ve been watching for days now as media reports display the growing hatred at the arrival of Central American children across the Mexican-U.S. border. American voices crackle with bile as they begin the drumbeat for their immediate deportation. They are refugees from want and war, almost all the result of U.S. interventions in Central America in support of murderous military governments and the mindless drug war.

California’s death penalty is cruel, unusual and ‘arbitrary’

A federal judge issued a stunning decision July 16, holding that the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. As Judge Cormac Carney, a Bush appointee, found, systemic delays result in execution of only a “random few (who) will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.”

Pennsylvania hunger striker: I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light...

I’m from SCI-Smithfield in Pennsylvania and I’m in search of a voice to help me bring light to the struggles that the inmates in this facility face. Now I’ve been on my hunger strike since June 11, 2014, and the reason for my hunger strike is policies being overlooked, harassment from COs, very poor calories on daily trays, refusal of proper medical treatment and denial of the equal protection of the laws and due process.

Umoja African Festival returns

True cultural pan-Africanism has finally crept into the Oakland festival scene with the second annual Umoja African Festival on Aug. 16 at Lowell Park in West Oakland. This festival is a symbol of our self-determination. There will be food, music, vendors and, to top it off, there will be an African soccer tournament for teams from the continent and the diaspora. Check out cofounder of the Umoja African Festival, Effie Tesfahun in her own words.

Free Security Guard Training for Veterans

  Free Security Guard Training for Veterans Swords to Plowshares in Oakland and San Francisco currently has training and employment opportunities for veterans. Qualified veterans may be eligible for sponsored job training in different areas, such as: security guard and forklift...