Monthly Archives: May 2018
Dear Gov. Rauner: We, the Stateville Debate Team, write this letter to implore you to reverse Assistant Director Gladyse Taylor’s (and thus the IDOC’s) unjustified decision to terminate the Stateville Debate Team and class and reverse the unjustified ban of our teacher, Katrina Burlet, from Stateville Correctional Center and other IDOC (Illinois Department of Corrections) facilities.
I’m sending out the most important press release that it has been my prayerful blessing to accomplish as a clarion call to Black Family Amerika to take a stand. To Black MegaChurch Amerika to take a stand. No more playing the do-nothingism game while expecting great change to occur. The Black family’s path forward is known as “ethno-aggregation,” found in two textbooks by Dr. Claud Anderson, “PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America” and “A Black History Reader: 101 Questions You Never Thought to Ask.”
Why do Black folks catch more hell in San Francisco than just about anywhere else? Why has a larger portion of the Black population been pushed out of San Francisco than any U.S. city? We detect the reason is Black Power, which used to be wielded skillfully by community leaders back in the day. With London Breed, a Black woman born and raised in the projects – someone who understands us as we understand her – leading the mayor’s race, this election is our opportunity to rebuild our Black Power by making up our minds to VOTE 100%!
Community members and clergy from the Black, Latino, and Pacific Islander communities gathered in Southeast San Francisco on May 12 to ask candidates for Mayor what they plan to do about the city’s stark achievement gap for low-income students. Candidates Angela Alioto, Richie Greenberg, Amy Farrah Weiss and Ellen Lee Zhou heard from parents who spoke of their frustration with the lack of opportunities afforded to their children and the inequities of the current school system.
A number of hardy souls ventured to Sacramento on May 18 to a federal court hearing on CDCr’s motion to dismiss Jorge Rico’s suit opposing the every-half-hour Guard One “security/welfare checks” that take place in isolation units throughout the state. With Guard One, guards press a metal baton into a metal receiver positioned either in or beside cell doors, making a loud disruptive noise in most cases, waking prisoners up every 30 minutes and causing sleep deprivation.
Rent control and just cause eviction protections are the only fair and humane ways to slow down greedy landlords and profiteering realtors and developers from gouging renters with never ending rent increases and unjust evictions, displacing renters from their communities and adding to the already dire affordable housing crisis in California. During late April of 2018, the campaign to repeal Costa-Hawkins submitted over 565,000 signatures to place the Affordable Housing Act on the November 2018 ballot, which, if passed, would repeal the draconian Costa-Hawkins Act.
Despite strong and unequivocal opposition by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Northern California, which has been consistent for more than 10 years, San Francisco Public Library plans to install what the two organizations, and others, consider to be privacy-threatening RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology into books and other materials that patrons use and borrow.
What I have discovered is that the state of Texas has conspired with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to downplay and cover up toxic and contaminated water supplies in state-run prisons as well as the rural communities which have found themselves in close proximity to these toxic sites. It is not just the prisoners in Texas who are suffering the ill effects. I have also discovered that what is happening in Texas is not unique.
On April 12, two Black men, Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, were arrested for trespassing at a Philadelphia Starbucks while sitting at a table waiting for a business partner. Starbucks responded by making plans to close 8,000 stores on May 29 for racial bias training. The incident prompted consumers and activists to #BoycottStarbucks and consider alternatives like Oakland-based Red Bay Coffee. Owned by Black entrepreneur Keba Konte, Red Bay Coffee’s staff is composed entirely of women, people of color and the formerly incarcerated.
Word has it that the first 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, sometime during the month of August in 1619. Wow! That means next year, August 2019 will extend that legacy to exactly 400 years. Look out, Jamestown, here we come to commemorate, commiserate and consummate 400 years of MAAFA! Below is an excerpt from my poem, “The Art of Living Black,” which summarizes those 400 years, opening with an addition of recent local occurrences and indignities that have become a part of the Black Experience.
The story of how the Richmond Progressive Alliance took power – as of November 2016 with 5 of 7 seats on a weak-mayor city council – is eloquently and lucidly described by veteran trade unionist and labor journalist Steve Early. Early moved to Richmond late in life, but has now produced a compelling work that describes the halting process of holding Chevron and the real estate lobby accountable for its frequent misdeeds by building a dynamic multiracial coalition that eschews traditional party politics.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival is celebrating its 20-year milestone this year with a myriad of magnificent and majestic films from all over the Black world. Kali O’Ray, the SF Black Film Festival director and son of festival founder Ave Montague sat with me as he does every year to explain the happenings and expected high points of this year’s festivities. For the 20th anniversary, we’re applying the theme 20/20, which is 20 years forward and 20 years back.
For the past year, we have been working to organize and grow the Prison Lives Matter Campaign in an attempt to rebuild and strengthen the prison movement in this kkkountry. We must continue this momentum following last years’ PLM demonstration in Indianapolis and the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C., by mobilizing all of our leading prison abolition, revolutionary and anti-imperialist activist formations from across the kkkountry to stand in solidarity this summer.
Doctors and parents today declared a “candy flavored tobacco epidemic” in San Francisco and vowed to smash candy-flavored tobacco companies like SF-based JUUL that target kids with their addictive tobacco products. The declaration comes as R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Corporation is spending nearly $12 million in an effort to attack Proposition E, which upholds San Francisco’s restriction on the sales of candy flavored tobacco products.
On April 9, school founder Terrence Davis and a founding team of parents and community leaders submitted a petition to open Mary L. Booker Leadership Academy to the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). The new free public school hopes to open its doors in the Bayview in the fall of 2019 with grades 6-8 and will eventually serve grades 6-12, pending approval by SFUSD.
On Jan. 21, 2018, our loved elder, revolutionary leader and teacher Hon. Richard “Mafundi” Lake joined the Ancestors. For the many of us who had the privilege of being in the classroom of life with Ancestor Mafundi, let his transition serve as yet another lesson to us of the immediacy of our situation behind these walls and serve as a reminder of why we can’t wait to commit our all to the struggle to end slavery in America. We are, without any doubt, still slaves and chattel here in America for no reason other than the color of our skin.
Your words, which sprang ... From your keen, razor-sharp steel-trap mind, ... Dancing to life from your sashaying fingers ... Across desktop computer keyboard ... Onto the bright screen before you, ... Across typewriter keys ... Onto held-down paper, ... Were to support ... The freedom of captives: ... That is, brothers & sisters ... In the racial, political, mental senses ... Captured by government agents, ... Confined to penitentiaries because ... Black Liberation & self-determination ... Are too dangerous for this system to take –
Businesses asked the city to “do something” about the encampments. Perhaps it’s up to the businesses to work out something with the homeless. The solution to the conflict between the business and the homeless is not simply to evict the people. They will not find a solution to the conflict without talking directly to the homeless people. At these discussions, the homeless must be respected and treated equally. They must be treated like citizens with their own needs, not as problems. Businesses could benefit from such discussions.
As we know who read the Bay View newspaper, Bay View is one of the baddest grassroots newspapers on the planet. Now just think for one fleeting moment that the Bay View news did not exist or was taken away. I feel yo’ soul; it’s not a pretty picture. Of course, we must do our share to support this great grassroots Bay View news, but we must start demanding of those we support that they must support us by any means necessary.