Aug. 8, the day after getting the news that Kali O’Ray, director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, passed away, came the news that my cousin’s cousin “Cuban Pete” was murdered in Oakland in a different incident, and my comrade Chester from the Black Panther Commemoration Committee was also shot in a separate incident still. This was in addition to a dreaded text from a life-long friend that her sons had been shot.
Without question, we who represent the most negatively impacted communities are committed to upending policing as we know it: This is the call of the moment – and the mandate of my life.
Aswad “Baldhead” Muhommed started the Struggle to Bubble Movement, a homeless empowerment community survival program to feed his soul – not for a non-profit grant, not for a tax write-off, not because he is running for office or trying to sell an album, and not for a status symbol – but possibly for the transformation it has been for many.
Just released by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton is a report from the Human Rights Commission (HRC) quantifying the intention to redirect funding from the police department into the African-American community, with recommendations heard directly from community members, particularly those most impacted by systemic racism, through a process facilitated by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
The founder and CEO of Heart and Soul Communities, Ericka Tillis, is a pioneer in the senior-assisted living industry in Oakland and San Leandro. That pioneering vision has kept her facilities and residents unscathed by the COVID-19 epidemic while the virus has been running unbridled through the senior community and the Black and Latino communities of Alameda County.
“We are marching in solidarity and trying to make change. My first march was on the school system. We were protesting Berkeley High school, because we don’t have enough resources for Black students,” said Shayla Avery, a 16-year-old Berkeley High senior due to graduate this upcoming school year.
The COVID-19 pandemic summer has changed society in ways that would not have been imaginable a year ago. One of the big adjustments that the Black community has to deal with is education, now that “distance learning” and “social distancing” has become the norm.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools to close across the world. As an educator, I know firsthand the disparities that exist in the classroom. When the pandemic began, I recognized how inequities in education would manifest themselves as distance education unfolded.
The failure of both Congress and state legislatures to respond to the murder of George Floyd with any meaningful action reminds us that our nation’s attempts at reform can often amount to nothing. We need to look elsewhere for reform – to local prosecutors.
Prop 16 and Prop 17 give notice that we are taking ownership of our fate. While Prop 16 calls for Afro and Latino Americans to have a fair shot at a level playing field, Prop 17 demands that if you’ve already paid your dues in the criminal justice system, you should also have a voice on election day.
Many residents of the Bayview, Tenderloin and Mission report not being counted in the census, some because they didn’t have time or had a fear of the Census Bureau not upholding privacy rules. Some have language barriers, and for many, their address changes frequently.
This Sunday, protest the execution of our incarcerated brothers, sisters and siblings by Governor Newsom's and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) complete failure to mitigate the pandemic within the prison and jail system. As of July 29, 2020, CDCR COVID-19 deaths are at 47; deaths in San Quentin are at 19.
“Steven was a 33-year-old San Leandro resident. At the time of the incident with police, Steven was struggling with homelessness and mental health. He was experiencing a mental health crisis in Walmart when the police were called, when Steven Taylor was murdered on April 18 inside Walmart, at 15555 Hesperian Blvd in San Leandro.”
San Francisco – Healthcare workers sent an open letter with over 750 signatories to California Gov. Gavin Newsom on the morning of July 27 urging immediate action to reduce the state prison population to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The signers condemn the recent COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin State Prison as a “public health crisis that impacts not only those Californians who are currently experiencing incarceration, but all of us.”
“I learned how to jailbreak iPhones through a lot of different YouTube tutorials. My mom was worried at the time because it was something unfamiliar and taboo, but my peers at school were so intrigued after seeing what iPhones are truly capable of that they started to pay to get their phones broken and customized by me,” said George Hofstetter.
Fourteen arrests at Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mansion in Fair Oaks, outside Sacramento, where protestors, organized as the California Liberation Collective, continue to demand the governor use his power to end COVID-19 deaths and suffering in the prisons and detention centers. No more testing the water – swim the river.
History teaches us that the people who govern the United States have no regard for the health of Black people and in this case Black children. The Oakland Unified School District faces the looming ‘20-‘21 school year, beginning Aug. 10 and Black parents are rightfully terrified for their children’s safety faced with the federal push to carelessly open schools amid COVID spiking in Alameda County and new lockdown orders.
The East Oakland Youth Development Center aka EOYDC is a deep anchor in the Deep East Oakland community, helping Black and Brown families navigate the uncertainties of the historic COVID pandemic. Regina Jackson and staff have sustained this community lifeline and shined a light on the creative choices possible when critical disruption occurs.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter, well-known community activist from Hunters Point, is helping people get their stimulus checks by signing them up with his pop-up help clinics happening every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.