Monthly Archives: April 2016
Burundi’s 1972 Hutu genocide, in which hundreds of thousands of Burundian Hutu people were massacred by the country’s Tutsi army, was commemorated in Burundi on April 30. Commemorations were also held in other parts of the world, including one on the state capitol grounds in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival Kali O’Ray has already showed me a number of potential films that are in the running to be selected to be for this year’s festival; great films like “Codigo Color” about colorism in Cuba, “Hustler’s Convention” about some of the greatest protest poets of the last 50 years, the legendary Last Poets, “Tear the Roof Off,” the untold story of Parliament Funkadellic, and “Blackboard,” a movie about Black professional skateboarders.
What began in 1991, thanks largely to the tenacious work of some women lawyers, eliminated the need for parents or guardian to panic when faced with the dilemma of having to do business in a San Francisco courthouse without childcare. The Children’s Waiting Room is open and free for all who have court business in a San Francisco courthouse. They provide a safe place for infants, children and teens to have fun while their parents or guardian are doing business in the building.
I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from my brotha Yogi and the honor of having him call me his “mwenzi” (Swahili for “comrade”). They hated my brotha Yogi because they were unable to break him after years of trying. What I know and hold to be true continues to afford all people a better way of improving their way of life and also our day for justice!
Kwasi Turner, who just happens to be my son, served as co-producer for the film, “Do They Fit?” which will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France this May. The film, written and produced by DeForest Mapp, was co-produced by Stefan Gonzalez and is a romantic dramady to be showcased in the Short Film Corner of the festival. The featured actors include Erric Thompson, Afi Ayanna, Christine Waller and Jasania Deshong.
The great Black activist and artist Paul Robeson in 1958, in Carnegie Hall, sang the gospel song, “Balm in Gilead”: “♪There is a balm in Gilead, ♪To make the wounded whooole♪ ….” These words in song sprang back from over half a century, when the news emerged of a big pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences, Inc., buying the drug Sofosbuvir – and then tripling its preferred price – to treat hundreds of thousands of people suffering from Hepatitis C.
For more than two decades, California’s Three Strikes Law has been criticized for being unfair, excessively punitive and in many ways strikingly irrational. There have been several measures implemented by Californians to fix this law, but it still remains unfair and excessive. Now, California voters have a chance to bring fairness to criminal justice policy along with making some common sense investments towards our future with The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016.
Bashi Rose is an East coast filmmaker. He recently worked on two flicks that greatly inspired me. One is about the legendary George Jackson’s politics and ideas called “George Jackson: Releasing the Dragon (A Video Mixtape).” The other film is called “Until Them Whores Get Locked Up,” which is about the police murder of Freddie Gray and the people in the recent rebellion. Check out filmmaker Bashi Rose in his own words.
Environmental injustices are forced upon people of color and disadvantaged minorities. This is a fact and not a subjective feeling or statement. Prison officials and ACA inspectors attempt to cover up and downplay the fact that numerous Texas prisons have contaminated water supplies and Texas Correctional Industries employees force prisoners to work in toxic environments. Does anyone think the U.S. government will intercede on our behalf?
After one frustrating year of union bargaining, AFT 2121 faculty at City College of San Francisco conducted a one-day unfair labor practice strike “of all classes at all 11 campuses” on April 27 because the administration has not been bargaining in good faith as it proposes “to shrink classes by 26 percent and lay off more than a quarter of the faculty.” These cuts are staggering.
The latest front in the fight to fire SFPD Chief Suhr is a hunger strike outside the Mission Police Station led by rapper Equipto and his mother, Maria Cristina Gutierrez, whose idea it was back in 2014 when Alex Nieto was executed by SFPD. She says, “Enough is enough. I cannot live in this city anymore. I will not eat until the chief of police is gone.” Rapper Selassie is another of the Frisco 5, the moniker the press has given the hunger strikers, who have starved themselves for over a week.
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is proposing to relocate the Southeast Community Facility Commission building at 1800 Oakdale Ave., the decades-long home of the Southeast Campus of City College, to the corner of Third Street and Evans Avenue. On April 19, SFPUC hosted a Taco Tuesday for neighborhood residents to view two different proposals, plans for what the new Evans building could look like and another of a remodeled 1800 Oakdale Ave. building.
Luis Valenzuela Rodriguez left this mortal world on Thursday April 14, 2016, at 7:28 p.m., surrounded by his family and friends. He was 60 years old. Songs and prayers were offered to honor him from the four directions. Luis was innocent. He fought with determination to prove his innocence for 37 years. Lies were told about him; in the media, in the courtroom. Many let him down and betrayed him, but many more loved him and stood by him.
For over 500 years, African people have been fighting enslavement and genocide against white and Arab slavery. Billions of lives later, we are still fighting for self-determination and reparations today. Long time people’s warrior Jahahara Alkebulan has written a book on the subject titled “Afrikans Deserve Reparations!” that we all need to take the time and analyze. Check him out in his own words.
As an African American, I have struggled to understand why so many of my Black brothers and sisters seem to prefer Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s record on civil rights is indeed extensive, albeit inconsistent and often ignoble. By contrast, Bernie has a long, proud, consistent record on fighting inequality – often far ahead of the Democratic Party in this regard – and always far, far ahead of Hillary Clinton.
For us to make sense of the relentless, 400-year-long onslaught of racist violence against New Afrikans and other nationally oppressed people in Amerika and the absence of a collective program of comprehensive self-defense and secure communities among the majority of the New Afrikan population in the U.S., it’s important we first grasp the origin of this contradiction, as all other points of contradiction and irrationality flow from it.
Block Report Radio interviews Wil B about the charges that can land him in prison for eight and a half years after being arrested at an anti-police terrorism rally a year ago in Los Angeles. Some of Wil’s 13 codefendants have taken plea deals, but he says that he will fight the charges until the end and declare his innocence. Please read the attached letter to the faith community calling for folks to contact LA Prosecutor Mike Feuer and ask him to DROP THESE CHARGES.
The people of San Francisco are outraged by the ongoing misconduct and mismanagement of the San Francisco Police Department by Police Chief Gregory P. Suhr. His history of breaking the laws he is sworn to uphold, along with his consistent refusal to discipline officers for their brutality and crimes against residents, has created a crisis in the city. We will accept no more. It is time for Suhr to go.
During the Rwandan Genocide in 1994, President Bill Clinton and members of his administration pushed for the reduction of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda from over 2,500 troops to 270, with the remaining troops’ mandate being reduced to a mere observer’s role. The U.S. government evacuated foreign – read: White – personnel from Rwanda and pretty much ensured the total success of the 100-day slaughter that occurred when peacekeepers were also pulled.
The New Times of Rwanda, one of several state sanctioned media outlets, reports that a monument has been built on the banks of the River Nyabarongo “in memory of victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsis who were dumped into the waters.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison reports that the story is disputed with evidence that the victims were actually Hutus rather than Tutsis.