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2017 January

Monthly Archives: January 2017

Hubert Harrison: Growing appreciation for this giant of Black history

Hubert Harrison (1883-1927), the “father of Harlem radicalism” and founder of the militant “New Negro Movement,” is a giant of our history. He was extremely important in his day and his significant contributions and influence are attracting increased study and discussion today. In this 90th year since his death in 1927, let us all make a commitment to learn more about the important struggles that he and others waged. Let us also commit to share this knowledge with others.

City should reject Homeland Security SWAT training

As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.

Pennsylvania prisoner shackled, gassed, beaten

On April 7, 2016, while housed in the Special Management Unit at SCI Fayette on a nine-day hunger strike, confined to the infirmary, I was assaulted by a three-man team of officers with a total of five cans of OC spray. Then again by a seven-man team with another can of OC spray – a sixth can. I was then placed face down inside a shower stall with an officer and shield laying on top of me. I was handcuffed behind my back and shackled, then savagely beaten with fists, batons and open handcuffs.

Third Street poles get red, black & green stripes in honor of Bayview’s Black...

Sunday morning, Jan. 29, San Francisco Public Works began a Bay beautification initiative, painting the poles along the Third Street commercial corridor, from Evans to Jamestown avenues, with red, black and green stripes to celebrate the neighborhood’s African-American heritage. The project was spearheaded by District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, who issued a statement explaining the reasoning behind the painting.

Hedda Gabler: Britney Frazier stars in Cutting Ball’s stunning Ibsen classic

Britney Frazier is stunning as Hedda Gabler in Cutting Ball Theatre’s current production of 19th-century Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s classic. Hedda is a spoiled girl who settles on husband Jorgen Tesman because he demands, she says, the least emotionally from her. Francisco Arcila’s Tesman, a scholar, remains preoccupied with his work, yet delights in his wife’s choice of him. The story is deceptively simple, but then so is much of life.

Custer died for their sins

Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) paid the ultimate price for the sins of certain white people of his time who committed damn near every type of crime against humanity upon the indigenous peoples of this country. So much so that many different tribes of indigenous peoples came together, some who were sworn enemies, to fight and defeat their common oppressor. Here in 2016, once again, many different tribes of indigenous peoples, and not just from this country but from around the world, have come together to defeat their common modern day oppressor.

Resistance builds against social media ban in Texas prisons

When Texas correctional officials earlier this month saw an article by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson online that said they had gassed him and ransacked his cell in December, they punished him – again. In April, Texas became the latest to join a trend of states banning people in prisons, who do not have access to the internet, from having a social media account, saying it could be a threat to security. Civil rights leaders have blasted the decision and maintain that it is a violation of the First Amendment.

In search of human rights: Is homelessness a crime punishable by lockouts?

The Concerned Network of Women partnered with the United Council of Human Services, governed by Gwendolyn Westbrook and Dr. Betty McGee, to issue hand warmers and hot chili to homeless people. On New Year’s Eve, we visited the homeless living under the Cesar Chavez Freeway exit. While under the freeway, we witnessed an eviction notice dated Dec. 29, 2016. Evicting the homeless serves little purpose, other than further implying that homeless people have no human and/or civil rights. Here is one solution: Bring services to the encampment, not locks and chains.

‘Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in United States History and Life’ by...

“Race is the Rubicon we have never crossed in this country.” That’s David Billings’ thesis in his provocative new historical memoir, “Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in the United States History and Life.” It documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called “White.” Billings tells us why, despite the Civil Rights Movement and an African-American president, we remain, in his words, “a nation hard-wired by race.”

Berkeley: Toying with police accountability

It was the first time I’d ever attended a Police Review Commission meeting in Berkeley. Together with nine other community members, we went to express our opposition to three terrible policies of the city government and its police department: 1. Repeated police raids on homeless encampments, 2. City participation in the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center and its domestic spying operation, and 3. City participation in the Urban Areas Security Initiative.

Yogi schooled me and gave me hope

I hope all will know and embrace the true reality that I among millions stand strong and firm with the true and raw teachings of a real dedicated man, Yogi – yeah, Hugo Pinell. Yogi, the many moments and years I personally shared with you will never ever fade or be forgotten even as I pass away. We rocked together, sang together and even played b-ball together. Brother, you schooled me when I was mentally blinded with hate, stupidity and ignorance.

Californians urged to sign up for health insurance as Jan. 31 enrollment deadline nears

You still have time. That’s the message Covered California officials are broadcasting across the state, encouraging residents to apply for health insurance before open enrollment ends Jan. 31. “We’re still open for business, and we want every eligible Californian to enjoy the protection and security that comes with having health insurance for themselves and their families,” Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said.

‘Mama at Twilight’: Can love kill?

Ayodele Nzinga’s “Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” is a haunting look at a family crippled by circumstances. How does a man prepare for adult responsibilities when his father is nowhere around? When a young Marie-Rose meets Mario Jefferson at 15 doing community service at her father’s church, she knows he is the man she wants to spend her life with. Three grown children later, Mama still loves the man she fell in love with and has no regrets over its costly price or the raised eyebrows and whispers that sought to sanction her.

Two young Ivorian inventors light up the night for rural Africa so students can...

According to the United Nations, 700 million Africans don’t have access to electricity most of the time in rural regions, far from urban zones. The “Fondation Energie,” founded by French political personality Jean-Louis Borloo, and the “Energy for Africa” project sponsored by Guinea President Alpha Conde are inspiring inventors to solve the problem. During 2016, two young Africans, Evariste Akoumian and Delphine Oulai, presented their responses.

Take a stand and ride with Michael Marshall and Equipto against police brutality

Veteran R&B soul singer ​Michael Marshall​ and ​Frisco 5​ activist and rapper ​Equipto​ address the societal issue of police brutality and injustice in their new song “Tonight We Ride.” “People didn’t believe it for so long. Now we have video showing we weren’t making it up,” said Marshall. The goal of the ​GOFUNDME campaign​ is to raise $4,000 for completion of the “Tonight We Ride” video and to create awareness around his new movement R.I.D.E (REACT. INVESTIGATE. DOCUMENT. EXPOSE.).

Marcus Garvey Park in Oakland reclaimed for community housing and services by homeless residents,...

At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.

Why I had mixed emotions about the Women’s March

Millions turned out on Saturday for the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches around the world. I wasn’t one of them. I very much recognized the need for the united front against a new administration whose policies stand to infringe upon the rights of women, people of color, immigrants, the disabled and members of the LGBTQ community. And yet, I still had deeply complex feelings about how I, as a Black immigrant woman, fit into the equation.

Fleeing family or teen dating violence? Here’s A Safe Place for you

A Safe Place is Oakland’s oldest domestic violence agency and Oakland’s only shelter for those who are suffering from intimate partner violence. The mission at A Safe Place is to end domestic violence by providing battered victims and their children with a safe shelter and resources to break the cycle through outreach and education. We also have a burgeoning Teen Program in which we hope to provide education and preventative services to youth about teen dating violence and family violence.

Jay Z calls for Rikers Jail to be closed

Today marks the first anniversary of President Obama ending juvenile solitary in the federal prison system in response to the case of New York City teenager Kalief Browder, who committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 22. In 2010, when Kalief was just 16, he was sent to Rikers Island, without trial, on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He always maintained his innocence and demanded a trial. Instead, he spent the next nearly three years at Rikers – nearly 800 days of that time in solitary confinement.

Following community pressure, SF Supervisors postpone vote on controversial Urban Shield, citing concerns of...

In a small victory for the Stop Urban Shield Coalition earlier today, the Budget and Finance Committee postponed voting on an item to allow San Francisco to apply for federal funding that ultimately goes toward the militarized SWAT training program and weapons expo known as Urban Shield. The program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant.