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2018 December

Monthly Archives: December 2018

‘I love my Black daddy,’ no matter what white society and Obama say!

I LOVE MY BLACK DADDY! I LOVE MY BLACK DADDY! I LOVE MY BLACK DADDY! I’m telling you, I’m telling you, I’m telling you … Woke up in the Fourth Watch of the night, Nov. 13, 2018, a couple of days after Veterans Day, thinking about what Anh Lê, a freelance writer in San Francisco, had asked me about my Father, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., of the 114th Aviation Company of the U.S. Army, whose last mission in Viet Nam was March 9, 1964, as an Honor Guard for then Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. I LOVE THAT MAN, My Dad!

Merten, mercenaries, marionettes and the media blackout on Haiti

“What is wrong with Haiti?” is provocatively offered as a question, along with apologies to the great essayist, G.K. Chesterton. The answer to what is wrong with Haiti is that the hand wringers, meaning those of goodwill who profess undying love for the tiny island nation never seem to ask what is right. Nor do they attempt to discern the source of wrongdoing. For over two centuries, Haiti has balanced on a fulcrum. Heaven and hell hang in the balance and only God knows the outcome.

Khalfani Khaldun: Abuse of power at Wabash Valley Prison

My name is Mr. Leonard McQuay, No. 874304, known and honored as Brother Khalfani Malik Khaldun. I am currently in my 31st year incarcerated inside the Indiana Department of Corrections. There was a very serious need for me to compile this complaint and report to inform you of the many violations existing inside Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, with the hope that you will call for an investigation to substantiate the allegations of violations being exposed to you in my complaint. Immediate outside oversight and intervention from you is being requested by me with this complaint and report. Please read the following with an objective eye and an understanding heart, because we need your help.

Building power for California’s kids

Whether you ask a parent, a teacher or even a college student like me, creating a better world for kids is the top priority. If that’s the case, then why aren’t Pro-Kid values reflected in California’s public policy? A recent study ranked California 36th out of 50 states in children’s wellbeing. Being pro-kid means more than just not being anti-kid, it means embracing the idea that children need to be supported across all sectors to live a safe, happy and healthy childhood. Yet in the state of California, the metrics for crucial indicators of child well-being are far lower than they should be, especially when broken down by race.

‘The Execution of X-Raided’: The power of redemption

Our support of X-Raided shows support for the power of redemption in validating his decision to convey a meaningful message over those catchy repetitive rhymes that promote death and idiotic behavior. Today many artists aren’t communicating ideas purposefully. The ideas that they’re spreading, some not even written by themselves, aren’t intentional and have no goal beyond the beats and rhymes. X-Raided’s first concert, The Execution of X-Raided, will be Jan. 18, 2019, at the Fillmore Heritage Center.
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Mumia Abu-Jamal granted new rights to appeal

On Dec. 27, 2018, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia’s petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of “progressive DA” Larry Krasner. This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia’s favor since he was arrested on Dec. 9, 1981. In his decision, Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the district attorney during Mumia’s first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, “created the appearance of bias and impropriety” in the appeal process when he didn’t recuse himself from participating in Mumia’s appeals.

Psychiatrist Mariposa McCall on mentally ill in solitary: ‘Change is possible!’

I am calling on colleagues and professional organizations to recognize publicly and use our influence to bring an end to prolonged solitary confinement in American jails, prisons and detention centers. Not only is there is a great need for solidarity among individuals and organizations to uphold human rights and ethical principles but also to reduce reprisals against any whistleblower. Considering that 95 percent of those incarcerated will be released back to the community, bringing with them the negative health consequences of their confinement, the conditions and traumas they face while incarcerated should concern us all.

Non-unanimous jury scheme: The men at Angola State Penitentiary take a stand

Until Louisiana’s state Constitution was amended in the November 2018 election, Louisiana was the only state in the union where a person could be condemned to a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole by a non-unanimous jury vote of 10 out of 12 jurors voting to convict – also known as a 10-2 verdict. This practice not only undermines justice by violating the standard of proof of beyond reasonable doubt, which accounts for Louisiana being a leading state in exonerations, but its origin is a direct violation of our guaranteed 14th Amendment right to equal protection of law under the United States Constitution.

About Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) and the 1968 Olympic protest: An interview with...

October 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the historic and remarkable organizing initiative to boycott the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Dr. Harry Edwards led the boycott efforts, as well as the creation of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, in which he involved countless Black activists from throughout the country, including H. Rap Brown. On Oct. 21, 2018, I was fortunate to interview Dr. Edwards about his 1968 organizing efforts and his affiliation with H. Rap Brown (now Jamil Al-Amin) who also played a leading and inspirational role in this historic 1968 event.

1968: The strike at San Francisco State

Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.

Alachua County is first in Florida to end prison slave labor

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Alachua County Commission unanimously voted to become the first elected authority in Florida to end the use of slave contracts from the Department of Corrections (FDOC). The Gainesville branch of the Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee (IWOC) applauds Alachua County for leading the state in ending the use of slave labor and calls on the City of Gainesville and the University of Florida to follow suit.

Derrick Gibson exposes Pennsylvania’s inhumanity at SCI Forest Retreat

I’m a published writer, author of “Before Orange was the New Black: The Camp Hill Story.” What I’ve written could be the motivation for the excessive brutality aimed at me lately. Since October of 2017 I have endured the worst, most cruel, inhumane conditions on the highest level, from beatings to excessive force and misuse of authority. I filed complaints on several occasions. My complaints have not been taken into consideration. I’m speaking out on such conditions not only for myself but also for inmates who have endured similar or worse conditions that may not have a voice or support.

Studying Black identity in South Africa transformed my worldview

Of the more than 330,000 U.S. students studying abroad, only 6.1 percent are African American and 10 percent are Latino. This is one in a series of articles by students of color who are breaking down barriers by studying abroad thanks to the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, which awards 10 full scholarships a year to students at minority serving institutions. These students will periodically share their stories, hopefully inspiring others to apply. My name is Chiagoziem “Sylvester” Agu.

The prospective gassing of human beings in Alabama is an abomination

When, in October 2016, I wrote, “Death row inmates in Alabama are human guinea pigs” because the state’s capital punishment regime – specifically its barbaric, often bungled lethal injection protocol – is already so dark, so depraved, so outrageously cloaked in lies and officious secrecy, I never could have predicted the situation could get worse. But it has. Plans are now underway for Alabama to develop a protocol to execute death row prisoners with nitrogen gas.

A product of the Nigga Factory: Glorifying relational dysfunction

One of the most glorified celebrity couples in hip hop right now represents a symptom of a much larger issue in our community, especially in relation to promiscuity, commitment and self-control. When Cardi B and Offset’s relationship began, it sprouted out of a bed of confusion. Their public engagement was quickly followed with a baby. As fans were anticipating a wedding, the couple surprisingly revealed that they had already been married. The short marriage has been tremulous thus far with infidelity sprinkled throughout. Now the couple are already separated.

Solitary confinement is an unjust system

When I attended the Society for Neuroscientists annual conference in San Diego last month, I expected to be doused in information regarding the field’s newest knowledge and innovations. Designed to bring together 30,000 of the world’s top neuroscientists, I was so excited to be engaged in this enriching environment for the first time. I never would have expected that I would be encompassed by emotions as I listened to the story of a man named Robert King during a roundtable discussion on contemporary social issues.

Secret Santa: The hidden history of jolly old St. Nicholas and his ‘elves’

While doing seemingly unrelated research on the web some years ago, I got an unexpected clue from an old Russian painting that we don’t know even half as much about St. Nicholas (aka Santa Claus) in America as we think we do. Never in a million cups of spiked eggnog would I have guessed that, in the much older holiday customs of the Dutch, St. Nicholas has, instead of elves, an African sidekick – who’s Muslim to boot! And you could’ve knocked me over with a snowflake when I learned how in the old icons of Italy, Russia, Spain and elsewhere, even the patron saint of Christmas himself is pictured as a grandfatherly-looking Black man.

Separate can be equal: OurStory Matters, Black Dollars Matter

In the same way that Black dollars matter, our story also matters and we are responsible for holding and sharing our stories and the stories of our ancestors. Often in public education the stories of our ancestors are left out of the curriculum with the more popularized figures crammed into the shortest month of the year. In an attempt to assist with centralizing our story on our collective consciousness I’ve worked with Sincere in Michigan’s Department of Corrections to create OurStory Calendar.

Benny Wenda: The Indonesian president must immediately withdraw the Indonesian military from West Papua

As chairman of the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), I hereby call upon Indonesian President Joko Widodo to immediately withdraw all Indonesian military personnel from West Papua. The world is currently witnessing the escalating crisis in the Nduga region as just one example of the deteriorating human rights situation in West Papua. It is time for the Indonesian president to show real leadership and genuine concern for human rights by withdrawing the Indonesian military from all corners of West Papua, a country under illegal Indonesian occupation.

Shaka Shakur: Reawakening a sleeping giant

In the ‘70s and ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s there was a strong progressive revolutionary prison movement throughout the state of Indiana. The two dominant and often competing political lines or ideologies were Revolutionary Nationalism or New Afrikan Communism as represented by the New Afrikan Independence Movement (NAIM) and Afrikan Internationalism as represented by the Afrikan People’s Socialist Party (APSP). Other tendencies were represented by Anarchists, Marxists and Maoists.