Monthly Archives: April 2017
A confident, unified workers’ movement – that’s who was marching here on the April 4 anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spearheading the march were militants of United Service Workers West (USWW-SEIU) – the janitors, airport employees and other mainly low-wage workers playing a leading role in building for May Day general strike actions in California.
Well-known veteran musician and producer Philip Hennen, aka “Phil the Mil(lionaire),” will soon be sharing a different aspect of his immense creativity. On this coming First Friday, May 5, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m., Philip will showcase his striking “Mood City” photography, at the beautiful Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland. Recently, Philip sat down to discuss his artistry with the Bay View’s Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at.
Working towards the success of the Millions for Prisoners March has been a central theme of the Amend the 13th’s agenda since the outset. In a movement dedicated to not only abolishing legal slavery in Amerika, but transforming the nature and structure of unequal social, political and economic relationships upon which mass incarceration is based, support for the March is of course an obvious priority – but what is not so obvious is why this march is vital to the very future of progressive social change in Amerika.
Mollie Mae Claretta Hooey Bagwell was born to the union of John Neely Hooey, a minister, and Blanche Hooey, a missionary, on Aug. 12, 1916. Very early in life she was trained as a pianist and played for her father’s church. Mollie became a licensed beautician, practicing her craft for many years. She studied organ and became an organist. In spite of great pain, she loved life and lived over 100 years, serving as an inspiration for many, not least her family.
To educate our entire Oakland community, I’m writing to explain why Oakland needs a smoke-free multi-unit housing policy. This is a social justice issue. Smoking and tobacco products kill more African-Americans than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide and other non-tobacco related cancers. We must educate our youth and communities regarding the dangers of smoking because it is an unhealthy life choice for them.
My 67-year-old friend is not violent, but California would beg to differ. At his sentencing, the judge told him, “You are a Vietnam trained killer,” and then sentenced him to 68 years to life. His crime? One day my friend broke into an unoccupied house. After he was caught and tried, he was convicted of burglary and sentenced under California’s Three-Strikes law. We call him Cadillac. He was really excited by the passage of Proposition 57 last November.
The film written by Arthur Walls, “A Hundred Blocks,” was sold out at the Oakland International Film Festival screening a few weeks ago, with some of Oakland’s top athletes in attendance, including boxing champion Andre Ward and the legendary running back and newly signed Raider Marshawn Lynch. It will be screened next at the San Francisco Black Film Festival. Check out Arthur Walls in his own words.
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On April 19, 2015, Freddie Gray of Baltimore, Maryland, was murdered by officers of the Baltimore Police Department while in their custody. An article published in The Atlantic three days after Gray’s death pointed out the historical precedent for this particular kind of state violence. The author wrote, “Black men dying at the hands of the police is of course nothing new.” The “peculiar institution” of this violent and racist system can be better understood by tracing the lineage of the police back in time.
A new day has dawned, pregnant with opportunity. For the first time, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has granted the status of “pilot program” to a prisoner-created, prisoner-run rehabilitation and reentry program, effectively offering prisoners an opportunity to control their own destiny. For many of us who have spent decades in federal prison, the Young Men Incorporated (YMI) program is a reality few could have imagined.
Saturday morning, April 15, Humboldt State University student David Lawson was stabbed at an off-campus party and died as a result of his injuries. David Lawson, a young Black man, was a sophomore at HSU studying criminology. Elijah Chandler, a friend of David who was present at the scene, gives a chilling recount to reporters of what happened. What is most alarming is the ways in which Chandler describes how the police handled the situation. Humboldt State University, the Arcata Police Department and the community surrounding HSU have blood on their hands and there is no denying it.
The Greenlining Institute brought its 24th annual Economic Summit to the organization’s new hometown of Oakland April 14. At a moment when communities of color are under attack nationwide, the Summit – which brings together community leaders and grassroots organizers from California and around the U.S. – felt surprisingly like a celebration: a celebration of defiance, resistance and persistence in the face of threats to our communities.
I would like to bring to the cognizance of the people the atrocious treatment of prisoners by a company called Prison Transportation Services of America (PTSA). This is a private company based out of Tennessee that transports prisoners being extradited across the country. The conditions in which the prisoners are transported are most arduous and inhumane with no consideration for the safety or well-being of the prisoners.
The 60-day notification deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) re-designation is rapidly approaching, on May 23, 2017, for Haitian nationals. If re-designation is not granted, as many as 50,000 Haitians living across the United States will be stripped of work authorization and will be prioritized for ICE removal. ICE is currently removing over 4,000 Somalis residing in the United States, according to Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s U.S. ambassador.
Attorney John Burris and his law firm have been retained to represent Nandi Cain, the 24-year-old African American man who, according to Burris, is the “most recent victim of racial profiling by Sacramento Police Department.” Burris said that, “Mr. Cain’s only real crime was ‘walking while Black.’” The victim, Nandi Cain. explains that this ordeal made him feel “degraded, less than a man, ashamed, depressed and humiliated.” Mr. Cain feels that “all the involved officers should be fired” and that he “hopes no one ever has to go through anything like this again.”
“Oakland in Blue” is a short movie that was made by locally grown, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Robbin Rae and selected to be in both the Oakland International Film Festival, which just passed, and the upcoming San Francisco Black Film Festival. The cinematography, the lighting, the script, the acting and the message were all on point. Robbin Rae is a name we will hear more of, mark my words.
Twenty-two years ago, on April 22, 1995, Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Army massacred between 4,000 and 8,000 Hutu men, women and children at the Kibeho Camp for internal refugees in southern Rwanda. I spoke to Rene Mugenzi, a Rwandan refugee, British citizen and human rights activist, who continues to seek acknowledgment and indictment for the crimes against humanity and, arguably, genocide committed at Kibeho in 1995.
We are within our fifth year of the August 2012 historical document, the “Agreement to End Hostilities.” Its release was followed by the Prisoner Human Rights Movement’s third and largest hunger strike in the state of California and larger than any prison hunger strike in history in either the federal or state prison systems in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world. At its peak, 30,000 prisoners here in California participated – prisoners in solitary confinement and the general population.
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