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Let me be the first to say it: Nia Wilson would be alive today if somebody else had been elected president in 2016! The man arrested for Nia’s murder was not alone. He had an accomplice. The president was not there in person Sunday night, July 22, at the MacArthur BART subway station when Nia Wilson was brutally stabbed to death and her sister viciously attacked, but his spirit was.
Remember when pundits hailed the election of Barack Obama as the beginning of a “post-racial“ America? After the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, it seems like a distant memory. But in 2008, it was the prevailing wisdom among political commentators. Cornell Belcher, a long-time Democratic pollster who worked on both of Obama’s presidential campaigns, started seeing through the mirage of racial harmony well before Trump’s election made it obvious.
Seventy-five percent of the membership of Peoples Temple was African American, and the majority of those who died in Jonestown were African American women. The Jonestown victims have been demonized and marginalized – stripped of agency and, in many respects, humanity. The settlement was envisioned – and promoted – as a kind of “Promised Land,” a racial utopia and antidote to the white supremacist violence and dehumanization Black people experienced in the U.S.
Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.
The Supreme Court is expected to make decisions concerning gay marriage in June 2013. After the decision is made and the gay marriage issue fades away, I wonder if the nation will once again, as Frederick Douglass wrote, “look upon the Negro [...] as an alien.”
On the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it comes to mind that from day one our society and culture have been heavily influenced by film. The recent slavery-related films, “Lincoln,” directed by Steven Spielberg, and “Django Unchained,” directed by Quentin Tarantino, will have a social, economic and psychological impact.
First, be more forceful about appointing federal judges. As a former constitutional law professor, you know better than most the importance of the federal bench. Second, please listen to Paul Krugman on economic policy. He was right early on in the economic crisis when he was adamant about the need to create jobs. Finally, do not abandon the needs of Black people because you will be seen as playing favorites. Black folks are out here on our own. We need you to stand up for us and to advance policies that will help us move upward, “lifting as we climb.”
King’s commitment to non-violence had a purpose larger than non-violence itself. Non-violence was, for King and the movement, a means to a larger end – a tactic meant to topple racism and economic exploitation and lead the world away from cataclysmic warfare.
Universities all over the state of California have erupted into protest over the raising of student fees. In the Bay Area, rebellions have been going down at UC Berkeley and at San Francisco State University regularly; students actually have brought their feelings right to the front door of the chancellor’s house.
Recently the cold war against Cuba was ratcheted up when an acrimonious debate broke out over the issue of racism in Cuba and for the first time the issue of Brazil was thrown into the mix. The brouhaha began when scores of prominent African Americans, many of whom should have known better, put their names to a petition calling upon the Cuban government to release a dissident from prison.
WBOK has come back strong from the severe damage inflicted on its studio, offices, transmitter site and broadcast tower by the flooding in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Now broadcasting over a powerful signal, the station adopted a Black talk format - "Real Talk for Real Times" - on Nov. 1, 2007, after it was purchased and upgraded by Danny Bakewell Sr. on behalf of the Bakewell family.
A time bomb is ticking, waiting to explode in communities of color across the nation. Law enforcement officers have become an occupation force. If we are to have peace, we first must place economic justice at the top of our agenda. The day Lovelle Mixon died, those close to him mentioned two explanations: He dreaded being sent back to prison yet he couldn't find a job.
When the full story is finally told and, though not likely freely admitted by many, deep within the spiritual thinking of numerous African Americans, an emotional candle will be lit in memory of Lovelle Mixon.
My call last month for an end to the lockout of Blacks from construction is catching fire. This month, let's get some work! Everyone who wants to work construction, pack the BART board meeting Thursday, Jan. 8, 9 a.m., Kaiser Center, Third Floor, 344 20th St., Oakland. Dr. King taught us, "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability but comes through continuous struggle."
This is a great time to make a long overdue change. Construction unions are the most racist organizations in the nation. Let's make them integrate.