Monthly Archives: May 2015
Allensworth State Park Festival July 11: Celebrating and elevating the pioneering spirit of African...
Allensworth is the first town in California founded by an ex-slave and is the only Black historical park in California. The Allensworth Volunteer Community Association, the Friends of Allensworth and the We Can Foundation invite you to attend our Women’s Celebration. It will be held on Saturday, July 11, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the Black historical township and park of Allensworth in Delano, California.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson is continuing his discussion on Blacks in tech, but on May 27, instead of talking to tech executives, he spoke to students during an assembly at Oakland Technical High School. He discussed the Intel and OUSD’s partnership, which includes a $5 million pledge to expand STEM programming at the Oakland Tech and McClymonds high school campuses. He encouraged students to embrace STEM education and the job potential in Silicon Valley.
Ms. Verlie Mae Pickens will be celebrating her 99th birthday on June 11, 2015! A resident of San Francisco for 66 years and a community leader in the Bayview and throughout San Francisco, Ms. Pickens serves as an inspiring role model for all of us. Ms. Verlie Mae Pickens, we in Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco and the nation and world deeply honor you and wish you a happy 99th birthday! We salute you!
BRING EM’ ON! HOW SWEET IT IS! The GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS are making their FIRST NBA Finals appearance in 40 years, beating The Rockets, advance to FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP series since 1975, ready to beat LEBRON JAMES and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last time Warriors’ great AL ATTLES led the team, AND live to see the day the young Warriors are destined to repeat history!
Support for the now-suspended New Jersey teacher who allowed her third-graders to write get-well letters to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal was undeniable at the fateful Orange Public School Board meeting April 14. Supporters flanking both sides of Marylin Zuniga called for her reinstatement while she appealed to the board to allow her to continue teaching after the highly-criticized writing activity.
The California department of prisons threatened, muzzled and defamed a top medical officer at San Quentin for blowing the whistle on its shoddy mental health care, the doctor claims in court. Dr. Christopher S. Wadsworth, former chief psychiatrist and medical director of San Quentin State Prison, claims the state and 10 prison officials retaliated against him for a March 2014 memo on constitutionally inadequate conditions that continue today.
Few musicians have had such an everlasting impression on the music of the 20th century internationally as the legendary Reggae and Dub producer and vocalist Lee “Scratch” Perry. “Vision of Paradise” is a new documentary that Scratch is the subject of as well as an executive producer along with Volker Schaner, who we contacted in Germany to get this exclusive interview.
The film is in French with English subtitles and is set primarily in France, beginning in 1963. Two children from Reunion Island, a French colony that lies east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, were among 1,600 children from the island brought to France for forced adoptions by farmers to repopulate the countryside. Their mother gave them to a white couple who promised her they would make them doctors but in the end enslaved them.
In the documentary “Farming a Legacy,” I learned that since the Emancipation Proclamation, one of the biggest fights that Blacks have had in this country was and is to own and retain farmland. In the 1920s, there were 1,000,000 Black owned farms in the United States. By 2013, that number had dropped to 18,000. “Farming a Legacy” is a majestic cinematic look at the day to day life and family history of a third generation farmer named Dale Jones.
The 38-minute short film “Hagereseb” is a rare cinematic treat, and it will be making its Bay Area debut during the San Francisco Black Film Festival on Saturday, June 13. It is not a foreign film but has the feeling of one because it is about two 10-year-old second generation Eritrean friends, who live in the Yesler Terrace housing project in Seattle, Washington, which was built in the ‘40s as the first integrated housing project in the U.S.
The deadline to comment on new – and unacceptable – rules for prison visiting is Friday, June 5! Issued by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) supposedly to keep drugs and cell phones from being smuggled into the prisons – contraband most often brought in by guards for sale to prisoners – the new rules call for strip searching any visitor singled out by sniffing dogs. But only visitors have to submit to a strip search. All others entering are only subject to an airport type pat-down search. Please send in your comments by June 5 and in addition, everyone is urged to sign the petition described herein.
Earlier this week, California Congresswoman Karen Bass and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith heard testimony and queried witnesses in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. relations with Rwanda. The central question under consideration was whether or not the U.S. should be supporting the Rwandan government with foreign aid and military assistance despite allegations of egregious human rights violations.
The thrill isn’t gone, but certainly without BB King (Sept. 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) singing it, living it, being an example of it, well – the world without him and his faithful Lucille will not be quite the same any longer. Good times? Well, they are on “pause” presently. And then there is Michael Lange, our Malcolm X. Michael made his transition May 20. Michael’s Memorial Celebration is Saturday, May 30, 12 noon, at St. Columba Catholic Church.
Our Formerly Incarcerated Quest for Democracy (Q4D) Day continues to grow and evolve. This year we had over 250 committed people. We had around 30 teams advocating on legislation relevant to formerly incarcerated people and our communities. Grassroots co-sponsors got a chance to educate community members about their bills. And Sen. Holly Mitchell as well as Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Autumn Burke addressed participants.
On May 20, 2015, the Du Bois Review published “Racial Inequalities in Connectedness to Imprisoned Individuals in the United States,” a groundbreaking article exposing the devastating effects of mass incarceration on the women who are so often left behind to pick up the pieces. The article reports that one in four women in the United States currently has an imprisoned family member.
Her name was Eslanda Cardozo Goode Robeson, and she was brilliant! But what is perturbing is that evidence of her enormous body of work as a photographer has vanished, as though she did not exist! But exist she very much did indeed! Eslanda Robeson lived and made an impact in the world. She was a writer, storyteller, intellectual, adventurer, scientist, anthropologist, political analyst, artist, anti-colonialist activist and a woman of principle.
On May 23, Cuyahoga County Judge John P. O’Donnell found Officer Michael Brelo not guilty of felony involuntary manslaughter in the killing deaths of Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell. Williams and Russell were killed in November 2012 after Cleveland police officers unleashed 137 gunshots into the couple’s car following a police pursuit. The family of Timothy Ray Russell released the following statement in response.
As activists across the United States struggle to keep the topic of systemic discrimination against Black people on the national agenda, African communities in Israel are also increasingly speaking out against state racism. For the last month, Ethiopian-Israelis – Jewish citizens of African descent – have rallied across the country, demanding an end to racial profiling and police brutality.
Food is routinely used by U.S. prison officials to summarily punish, torture, abuse and retaliate against prisoners. This happens with especial frequency in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) where prisoners are confined inside locked cells all day every day and must have all meals delivered by guards. Under such circumstances, we remain at guards’ total mercy “to eat or not to eat.”
More than 70 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, sent a letter to President Obama on May 21 to adopt a federal fair chance hiring policy. This effort was co-led by Congressmen Conyers, Scott and Davis and Congresswoman Jackson Lee and supported by various groups including Policy Link, the ACLU, National Employment Law Project, PICO Network’s LIVE FREE Campaign, and All Of Us or None.