Monthly Archives: March 2015
Journalists, local newspaper publishers, instructors and students gathered on March 20 at Randy’s Place in the Ingleside to honor Juan Gonzales for his 30 years as a faculty member and chair of the Department of Journalism at City College of San Francisco. The mix of former and current students and colleagues attested to his dedication as they mingled, shot pool and enjoyed spaghetti and drinks in the cozy neighborhood bar.
Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Penn., without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Professor Johanna Fernández, said, “We were told he was in diabetic shock and taken to the hospital.” Listen to an interview with Professor Fernández recorded by Block Report Radio at about 8 a.m., March 31, and an interview with Mumia's brother, Keith Cook, recorded this morning, April 1. This story is being updated frequently.
Frisco filmmaker Kevin Epps is at it again with his weapon of choice, his camera. This time, the “Straight Outta Hunters Point” filmmaker just released his new film, “Solutions Not Suspensions,” which takes a look at who is being suspended from the San Francisco Unified School District and under what circumstance. He is taking a stand on an issue that does not get a lot of attention in our community.
Inspired by President Barack Obama’s “My Brothers Keeper” initiative, AfroSolo will launch Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed II. An anthology entitled “Lighting up the Future: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys,” will be a collection of letters from Black men designed to celebrate, uplift and motivate young Black men and boys to successfully transcend youth to adulthood. We cordially invite your participation.
After a WriterCoach Connection volunteer offered words of praise to a Korematsu Middle School seventh grader on a writing assignment, the youngster told the coach, “Nobody has ever said that to me before. Not my teachers, not my parents – nobody. Thank you!” The coach had met the student where he was with his writing process. No judgments. No preset expectations. Just pure encouragement to help him get his voice and views on paper.
We are sharing our express concerns as the CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Danny Troxell, Antonio Villagrana and George Ruiz – concerning the non-functional operation of Steps 1 through 4 and how we as SHU Step Down Program prisoners are being denied our federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive and procedural due process.
The most important thing you can give any child is your time. This month I will share some activities and outings you can enjoy while sharing time with your children, grandchildren or the children of friends you are fortunate enough to have in your life. Here are a few suggestions of positive ways to spend some moments that will create memories to last long beyond when you and I are gone.
A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”
Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.
Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.
Robert ‘Fleetwood’ Bowden’s ‘Da Cotton Pickas’ to be featured in Oakland International Film Festival
Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden’s “Da Cotton Pickas” is a must see documentary about how slavery did not stop with the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, some people who were sharecropping slaves are still alive today, like Bishop Henry Williams, the subject of this monumental documentary. He worked for over 18 years and was never paid for picking cotton. Fleetwood tells a story of a historical reality with this documentary that most have never heard.
The community of people with disabilities has a different experience of brutality than the ablebodied community. There are of course many similarities. But disability adds another level of difficulty to it all. And being poor, homeless or Black or Brown with a disability makes many of us vulnerable from many additional angles. Disability is glazed over or not recorded in the official police reports.
A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial ... because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.
What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar? If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that. The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us.
The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.
Yosef Alfredo Antonio ben-Jochannan, known to the African world as “Dr. Ben,” believed that education belonged to any member of his race who wanted it. Perhaps it was because he believed that if his people knew their collective root, their ancient greatness, they would fight for their freedom and achieve it. Dr. Ben, one of the founding scholars and lecturers in what is now known as Africana Studies, died last week after a long illness. He was 96.
The following open letter was sent by email to CBS 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager: We, the undersigned, are writing to express our grave concern about the frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent by 60 Minutes. In a series of recent segments from the continent, 60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of Black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible.
The Free Speech Society (FSS) is primarily a movement to defend and preserve the rights of imprisoned activists to inform society of the social contradictions of the prison industrial slave complex in hopes of educating the people not only to the existence of these social ills but their impact on their daily lives. Join us in this historic effort and support the FSS with your time, talent and treasure.
Every morning, young and old African Americans are paraded through courtrooms in San Francisco, dressed in orange jumpsuits not unlike Guantanamo inmates and often shackled in handcuffs or chains. The vast majority of judges and prosecutors are resigned to that daily reality. The City’s jail in 1994 had 4.4 times the proportion of Black inmates as in San Francisco as a whole. By 2012, the jail population was 9.5 times more Black than The City. It is time to address the apartheid-like conditions in the metropolis and stop giving passes to the “liberal” coastal cities like San Francisco.
Mike “Dream” Francisco is one of the first internationally known muralists from Oakland. He was one of the founding members of TDK; a group that started off as some high school trouble makers and grew into a posse that still paints to this day – now they paint legal, commissioned murals. They started off as Those Damn Kids; now they represent the dream kontinuing.