The fight to save City College is taking place on two levels. We’re winning one but losing the other. Many elected and appointed city and state leaders have taken action to preserve City College as an accredited, accessible, community-friendly institution that serves all of San Francisco. But on another level, the fight to save City College has taken a terrible toll. Enrollment has dropped from 100,000 students in 2008 to 65,000 this year. The fight to save City College is also the fight to save San Francisco as a truly diverse city, not just a gentrified and overwhelmingly white enclave.
A large group took to the streets in Oakland for several hours Saturday evening to demonstrate in solidarity with Charlottesville. The diverse crowd of approximately 1,000 people managed to shut down all eight lanes of Highway 580. The freeway shutdown was brief but boisterous. Protesters vacated the freeway voluntarily and in a celebratory mood.
With a banner reading “From the Mission District to the whole Bay Area – Stop Racist Police Brutality,” over 300 community members rallied against the most recent case of police violence in San Francisco. The event was prompted by a video that became widespread showing 18-year-old City College student Kevin Clark being brutalized by two San Francisco police officers.
Kev seemed almost immortal to me. Two weeks before he passed, I went to hang out with him at his house. I could see the sickness visibly eating at him, but when he opened the door, his eyes lit up, and he smiled like in the old days. I believe wholeheartedly that Lateefah’s love kept his immune system intact as long as it was. I had to write this so his family could know the giant that Kevin Weston was to me. Salute to one of the greatest editors that I know. Salute also to Lateefah for giving Kev a love he’d never seen before and for showing that there is still such a thing as Black love.
Oakland was experiencing unprecedented heat the weekend of Sept. 2, 2017. Yet, many in the East Oakland community still came out of the comfort of their homes and gathered at the Rainbow Community Center. Rainbow Community Center was hosting the first annual Celebrity Basketball Game and Backpack Giveaway. The event was made possible through the collaboration of local rappers and non-profit organizations.
Auntie Francis is a woman who all of us at Deecolonize Academy’s Revolutionary Youth Media Education Program hold close to our heart. She started a program called Auntie Francis Love Mission Self-Help Hunger Program where she feeds her community every Tuesday at Driver Plaza in North Oakland. People really appreciate the love and the effort that she puts into making sure that they are taken care of and well fed.
Like David fighting Goliath, the faculty of City College of San Francisco are in a pitched battle to protect their union, their students and their school from destruction. They are up against big-business forces pushing to downsize or close community colleges so that profit-making schools can take over. Union members are crucial to building the fight. AFT’s battle for a good contract is a front in the whole fight for public education.
“While we expected that this funding would likely be tied up in litigation due to the legal uncertainty, this is one way to make some of the funding available sooner rather than later,” said Mayor Breed. “In the meantime, we are moving forward with my shelter crisis legislation and my plan to open 1,000 new shelter beds by the end of next year.”
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.
Once again, a family is left grief stricken after the police are called regarding a mental health emergency. On Saturday, Oct. 8, 2012, Fremont police officers shot and killed DeJuan Eaton, age 37. When police are called in to deal with mental health situations, all too often the outcome is the loss of a loved one. Use of deadly force is not an acceptable resolution.
Mayor Gavin Newsom claims the most important item on his agenda is the revitalization of Bayview Hunters Point. Illustrating his editorial is this picture of a Black woman laborer. She is likely to be the only Black worker on any Hunters Point construction if things do not change. I propose an anti-gentrification subsidy of affordable housing and jobs for all residents displaced or in danger of displacement.
On Jan. 22, 20-year-old Raheim Brown was shot and killed by the Oakland Unified School District’s police force outside Skyline High School. Calling the killing an “assassination,” Raheim's mother, Lori Davis, was horrified by the excessive use of force.
Board of Supervisors president and candidate for mayor London Breed is urging first-time voters to register for the upcoming June 5th election. Sunday, she hosted a rally for her #500forLondon voter registration drive, which coincided with the grand opening of her Bayview campaign office. “We need to make sure that every eligible San Francisco voter has a voice in this election,” said President Breed to a throng of supporters.
Supporters of killer cop Johannes Mehserle rallied in San Jose Aug. 2 with no counter-demonstrators. KTVU was there and last week presented two features on Mehserle’s life story, presumably intended to soften his public image and engender sympathy for him as the Nov. 5 sentencing date approaches. Justice for Oscar Grant supporters will protest in the parking lot outside KTVU on Thursday, Aug. 12, 12:30 p.m., at 2 Jack London Square, Oakland. Be there to honor Black August! And Oscar Grant supporters are asked to demand the maximum sentence for Mehserle.
On Dec. 21, 2011, St. Charles Borromeo School, the Archdiocese of San Francisco, Principal Dean, Superintendent Maureen Huntington and others were named as parties in a civil rights lawsuit filed in California’s Superior Court on behalf of Mildred Kayondo and her son, who is now 14, yet still suffers from the appalling, repeated abuse and indifference he experienced at St. Charles Borromeo. The jury trial – after nearly two years of litigation by attorneys Richard L. Richardson and Joel Siegal – is now set for July 14.
Last week, the Richmond City Council voted in favor of a city ordinance that will increase the local minimum wage from $8 to $12.30 an hour by 2017. The increase will be phased in over three years and positions Richmond to have the highest minimum wage of any city in California. “I wish it could be more, but it showcases that Richmond has the political will to move forward,” said Mayor McLaughlin.
On March 27, the San Francisco Bay Area’s Stop Urban Shield Coalition claimed victory in its four-year battle to stop Urban Shield, a war games and weapons convention for cops held in Alameda County every year since 2007. I spoke to Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of Media Alliance and co-facilitator of Oakland Privacy, a citizen’s coalition that works regionally to defend the right to privacy and enhance public transparency and oversight regarding the use of surveillance techniques and equipment. She has worked with the Stop Urban Shield Coalition since 2014.
In the wake of the brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California state Attorney General Kamala Harris? She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.
The powerless are always at the mercy of the powerful. In San Francisco, voters would not knowingly allow the poor to be pushed out of the city. Those who have the votes, but not the information, often buy the explanation that gentrification is an economic issue. It is an economic issue but not the reason that causes the community of the poor to be displaced.