Yearly Archives: 2019
Jan. 1, 2019, marks 10 years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. In the lead up to this grim anniversary, a number of articles, multimedia pieces, radio programs and television news segments have been produced to commemorate the occasion. Especially moving are those that give voice to Oscar’s family and friends. But it’s rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for the vigor and relentlessness of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice.
Haiti Action Committee is honored to circulate this statement from Fanmi Lavalas, the people’s party in Haiti. Fanmi Lavalas issued the statement in solidarity with the massive upsurge of protest against the corrupt regime of Haiti’s current president, Jovenel Moise. The statement comes in the wake of violent state repression, including the horrific massacre of over 60 people in Lasalin, a center of popular grassroots activism. This Dec. 16 was the 28th anniversary of the election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as Haiti’s first democratically elected president. The date was marked in Haiti with continued mobilizations for democracy and an end to the brutal attacks on the population.
On Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, teachers and support staff from Oakland Technical High School will join together with educators from across Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) in a one-day work action. This work action will significantly impact the school day, and we expect that a large majority of educators at Oakland Tech will participate. This “Day Without Educators” will give a small preview of what an actual, open-ended strike would feel like.
The Washington Post last week wrote one of a series of articles about the federal shutdown that focused on the criminal justice system. The reporters included the obligatory interviews with prison guards talking about how overworked and understaffed they are, which is likely true. But the article was inflammatory – not because of the interviews with the guards, but because the Post reported that while the poor guards were suffering, the prisoners were eating meals fit for a king. The purpose of the articles was to outrage the public. How can these criminals eat like this while the hard-working guards are suffering? But it’s all nonsense.
Black Genius built the pyramids, not slave labor. Black hands have built pyramids all over the world. In Afraka, Asia, Amerika and, apparently, even ancient Atlantis! I mention this because there are some very schizophrenic people out there who can’t make up their minds whether or not to try and steal the credit from Black people about who built the pyramids or to condemn Black people for using slave labor to build the pyramids.
Ten years ago, Oscar Grant was tragically and needlessly killed by an officer at the Fruitvale BART station. Oscar was a beloved member of our East Bay community. He was a loving father, a loyal friend and a kind neighbor. My heart is with his family, friends and loved ones who are missing him dearly today. Over the last decade, communities like mine have lost far too many Black men to police violence. Since Oscar’s passing, the list of young African American men killed by police officers has grown even longer.
As white fists swung at me and dirty cheap boots kicked me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fred Hampton, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser and many other influential Black figures flashed across my mind. It was like a revelation or a spiritual awakening advising me that this racially motivated attack by white cowards, as Black cowards shielded witnesses from seeing the volley of punches thrown, is how agents of repression respond to resistance.
Eddy & Taylor Family Housing; 222 Taylor Street; San Francisco, CA 94102 14 Studios, 7 one-bedroom, 47 two-bedroom & 3 three-bedroom Affordable Rental Units available at...
Most UN Security Council (UNSC) meetings are so stuffy that they’re hard to watch without wishing someone would open a window, turn on the ventilator or take the august ambassadors off life support. Norman Finkelstein couldn’t have been more apt than when he called Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a “comatose puppet of the United States.” I went through an entire pot of strong coffee just listening to last week’s three-hour UNSC meeting about the Dec. 30 election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The ambassadors spoke in code, without naming key players and perpetrators.
Four hundred years, 5859-6259 AAC (1619-2019 JC-PG): ‘James-town,’ the ‘13 colonies,’ ucptsa and Africans’...
In 6259 (2019), WE acknowledge 400 years since the first known kidnapped African prisoners of war were enslaved in what became the “13 European colonies” and what i call the united capitalist prison terrorist states of america (ucptsa). According to several sources, these Africans were brought to and “sold” in what became the colony of “james-town, virginia” in August of 1619, on a European-English en$lavement ship called the “white lion.” Going forward, look for a number of special events, publications and art commemorating this 400-year event in the coming months.
On Friday, Jan. 18, 2019, teachers from Fremont High School, along with teachers all across Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), will be holding another “sick-out.” Just like the last sick-out, this will look like multiple teachers from multiple schools calling in “sick” on Friday morning. We the teachers demand that OUSD prioritize public education for all of our students in the district. Friday will be a small taste of what OUSD teachers on strike will look like at the end of this month or early next month, in February. Yes, OUSD teachers are strike ready!
On Dec. 10, 2018, dozens of people, mostly high school and college students, held a protest at the busy intersection of San Antonio Road and El Camino Avenue in Mountain View, California, to condemn the corruption, brutality and killings by the U.S.-backed regime of Jovenel Moise in Haiti. Protesters made and carried enlarged posters of unarmed Haitian students who have been killed by the Haitian police. The demands of the protest were straightforward: Stop the repression and killings of student activists in Haiti! Stop U.S. support for the corrupt regime of Jovenel Moise! Support the struggle of the Haitian people for education, human rights, and democracy!
I have been thinking a lot recently about restorative justice practices and violence – physical, psychological and emotional violence and the harm to persons, immediate and long term, as well as the harm to their associate families and communities. Not much attention is paid to the survivors of violence unless the violence is by the state, yet every day people are making choices which harm innocent people. Why is the activist community silent when it comes to advocacy for these silenced survivors?
On the front page of USA Today for Dec. 27, 2018, we saw a shocking headline: “Grave discovery unearths legacy of Black convict labor.” The unmarked graves of 95 “prison slaves” were found on a construction site in Sugar Land, Texas. These Black men, ages 14 to 70 years old, were our ancestors and the first victims of what we have come to know as prison slavery in Amerika! These contract convict laborers were subjected to this form of slavery because the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still allows slavery. Only the name has been changed. Slavery is still alive!
Amani Sawari awarded a 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship to develop Right2Vote Campaign for Jailhouse Lawyers...
I’m thrilled to share that I will be joining 19 other activists and changemakers for the 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship! Jailhouse Lawyers Speak’s Right2Vote (R2V) Campaign is being recognized for the direct impact on civil rights in the United States. The Roddenberry Fellowship supports 20 activists, organizers, leaders and changemakers who are working to make the U.S. a more inclusive and equitable place to live. Fellows’ projects focus on one of four issues: Civil Rights, Immigration and Refugee Rights, LGBTQIA and Women’s Rights, Environmental Protection.
In 2018, the town of Paradise, and much more, burned to the ground. In California, large, devastating fires are being called the new normal. “The world’s leading climate scientists have warned there is only a dozen years for global warming to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which even half a degree will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people,” reports the Guardian. Twelve years! How will we respond?
Jailhouse lawyers murdered by medical neglect: The California Medical Facility administrators have blood on...
The California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Section 3350 (b) (1) defines the standard of care that prisoners are entitled to: “Medically Necessary means health care services that are determined by the attending physician to be reasonable and necessary to protect life, prevent significant illness or disability, or alleviate severe pain, and are supported by health outcome data as being effective medical care.” However, since my arrival to CMF on Sept. 5, 2017, I have witnessed everything but the protection of life, as it relates to the prisoner class.
Over the past 14 years, Living Jazz has provided FREE music education to Oakland public elementary schools serving high percentages of low-income families (Title One) through the Living Jazz Children’s Project (LJCP). Over 4,500 second and third graders have now benefited from LJCP and, as a result, have had the life changing opportunity to perform as the opening act at “In the Name of Love,” Oakland’s only non-denominational musical tribute honoring Dr. King, one of the many programs Living Jazz has produced since 1984. This year’s MLK Musical Tribute will be on Sunday, Jan. 20, 7 p.m., at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center.
As San Francisco Public Utilities Commission officials focus on developing a new property at Evans Avenue and Third Street in the Bayview, its facility at 1800 Oakdale Ave. sits in virtual suspense, putting in jeopardy the hard-won benefits intended to compensate for expanding sewage treatment facilities in the neighborhood since the 1970s. The handsome building at 1800 Oakdale, opened in 1987, exists only because community leaders demanded it be built in exchange for the community’s reluctant agreement to the City’s plan to treat 80 percent of San Francisco’s sewage in its Blackest neighborhood.