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2015 November

Monthly Archives: November 2015

Shirley Chisholm awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom

Throughout her life, Congresswoman Chisholm broke many barriers while tirelessly advocating for the most vulnerable in our nation and our world. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of work and advocacy. In 1969, Congresswoman Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress. She was the first major-party African American candidate and first Democratic woman candidate for the U.S. presidency. Shirley Chisholm had guts.

Celebrating the life of legendary community organizer Regina Douglas

Regina Douglas was an active participant in her community, and served as a fierce advocate for social change and justice. She passionately championed causes for the elderly as well as for the youth of the Bayview Hunters Point community through a number of organizations. St. James Baptist Church was filled with Regina’s family, friends and fellow activists for her homegoing celebration on Nov. 6.

From solitary confinement at Pelican Bay, Jesse Perez sues his guards for retaliation, wins...

A federal jury in San Francisco awarded $25,000 in damages to Jesse Perez, who sued guards for trashing his cell in retaliation for his lawsuit against the prison and for his stand against solitary confinement. Jesse Perez, 35, imprisoned since age 15, was sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay in December 2003 and was held there for 10 years. He took part in all three hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013, protesting prolonged isolation and demanding human rights for prisoners.

‘To My Unborn Sons and Daughters, I’ll Make You Proud’ author Yakub Bey talks...

Yakub Bey is a very intelligent young writer from Oakland California. He has already authored one book called “To My Unborn Sons and Daughters, I’ll Make You Proud,” and he has a number of book and movie ideas as well as ways to dispel some of the international stereotypes plaguing the true perception of a lot of young Black people in this country. Check out our brotha in his own words.

The ENOUGH Project calls for a conflict-free Black Friday

Earlier this week, the ENOUGH Project to, quote, “end genocide and crimes against humanity,” posted an appeal to consumers titled, “What if Black Friday were conflict-free?” ENOUGH is an NGO operating under the umbrella of the Center for American Progress, a neoliberal Washington D.C.-based Democratic Party think tank. They did not include an appeal to the nation’s weapons manufacturers who require minerals on the U.S. Strategic Minerals list.

‘May your spirit be with us’: Prisoners recall Comrade Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell

This photo of Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was taken in the New Folsom visiting room in early 2014, when he was first released from the Pelican Bay SHU. Derek Anderson says of this man who was a hero and role model to fellow prisoners, “He made it possible for us to walk with our heads held high in this wilderness.”

Win transit justice: Lateefah for BART!

Over 200 community members, activists, union members, transportation experts, family and friends flocked to Oakland’s New Parish for non-profit leader Lateefah Simon’s kick-off fundraiser for her 2016 campaign to join the BART Board of Directors. Despite running as a first-time candidate, Simon has already built a broad coalition that includes some of the Bay Area’s top elected officials and civic leaders. True to her reputation as a tireless community advocate, Simon spoke passionately about her personal connection to BART and her commitment to transit justice for working people.

I had to write on brown paper bags when these rogues came and confiscated...

This is the story that Missouri prisoner Shyheim Deen El-Mu’min wrote on paper bags when guards confiscated the writing paper from him and all the prisoners in his solitary confinement unit. The entire story is one of the longest we’ve ever received, over 10,000 words that filled 14 single-spaced pages when transcribed, so we’ll be presenting it in parts. This is the introduction, addressed to Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff.

The man beaten and choked at a Donald Trump rally tells his story

When activist Mercutio Southall Jr. was curled up on the ground getting kicked, punched and choked by Donald Trump supporters at a campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, he thought: “I can’t die today. I’ve got shit to do. I have little kids. Fuck these people.” Southall told ThinkProgress that he decided to go to Trump’s event with two friends in order to speak out against the frontrunner candidate’s “racist” rhetoric.

Rwanda conscripts Burundian refugees into new ‘rebel force’: an interview with Jeff Drumtra

Western press and officials now warn that the Rwandan massacres of 1994 are close to a replay in Rwanda’s neighbor Burundi, which shares its Hutu-Tutsi-Twa demographic. In “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” a letter to the Washington Post, former U.N. official Jeff Drumtra argues that the Rwandan government’s conscription of Burundian refugees to fight in a new, so-called “rebel force” is a grave danger that the international community should recognize before it’s too late.

Georgia DOC’s Tier II Program, extreme solitary confinement, is dehumanizing torture

I’m writing to you on behalf of myself and ALL of the other brothers who are sharing my same struggle as a captive of the Georgia Department of Oppression. Georgia is a “hate state,” so we have no “progressive” media outlets here in the state and we need to bring attention to our plight with hopes that the publicity will garner us some help in one fashion or another.

Inside prison or out, be a hero today, save a life that might be...

My message is: Take a little time out of your day to check on someone. Listen to your intuition, and observe the world around you. Wherever you are in life at this moment, even if you don’t like it, make use of your time, place and purpose to be a real life hero who saves a life. After all, heroes are not just those that we see on TV; they are everyday people like you and me who take the time to respond to the cry for help from others. Be a hero today.

Black Lives Matter Solidarity Statement from First Nation Peoples on National Day of Mourning...

Just as we know Indigenous Life is Sacred, we know Black Lives Matter. There is a state of emergency. From British Columbia to Ferguson, from the Amazon forest to Oakland, from Alcatraz Island to Minneapolis, we are demanding our freedom. As First Nation people, we understand that OUR justice relies on the respect, appreciation and liberation of Black lives. Because if they can’t get it, we definitely won’t be seeing it. ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter!

‘Big Ole Pretty Girls’ founder Yolanda Y’Netta speaks

Yolanda Y’Netta has been thick all of her life and, in 2012, she took her destiny into her own hands by starting to make clothes she liked that fit her. Women around her were interested in the clothing designs and she later expanded to creating a T-shirt line with positive empowering messages for full figured women. I sat down with Yolanda Y’Netta of “I Love BOPG” to see what makes this entrepreneur tick. Check her out in her own words and check out her line of clothing and T-shirts.

#LaquanMcDonald: As video released, cop charged with murder 1, activists demand Police Supt. McCarthy,...

The City of Chicago has released, under court order, the dashcam video from the brutal killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer – and it’s as bad as we all expected. At the same time as they released the video, the county prosecutor announced she’d be pursuing first degree murder charges against McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke. Unfortunately, these are charges that should have been filed a year ago.

Imprisoned people facing medical neglect and violence: Family members and organizers speak out

On Nov. 11, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and kept without water, food or restrooms for 11 hours. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.

The 1st annual Tahuti’s Ball!

Punctuated by shouts of “Whose ball is it?” “Tahuti’s Ball!” “Whose ball is it?” “Tahuti’s Ball!” in Afrikan call and response tradition, a spiritual, educational, uplifting and formidable global Afrikan community gave thanks, praises and an outpouring of love in tribute to one of its foremost Afrikan suns, the vibrant and illustrious Baba (Elder) Tahuti. Baba Tahuti made his transition on June 18, 2015.

Prisoners, where is thy victory?

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.

Morongo Band of Mission Indians gives over 900 Thanksgiving turkeys to needy in San...

Five San Francisco groups that help provide Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless and less fortunate received more than 900 free turkeys this week from the Morongo Band of Mission Indians near Palm Springs. The turkeys will help feed nearly 14,000 people across San Francisco. Statewide, Morongo donated another 13,000 turkeys this month to mark the 30th anniversary of the tribe’s Thanksgiving Outreach program.

Do Black lives matter behind prison walls?

Does being convicted of a crime forfeit all your rights as a human being? Does being railroaded through a clearly unjust, unequal and racist judicial system forfeit your human rights? Guilty or not, I am still a person. I am a human being. We need people to understand that the struggle for human rights, the struggle to be free and not murdered by the state or its agents doesn’t stop at the prison gates.