Illusion and fantasy are comfortable, but there is no room for comfort or gray areas when one is trying to stop the madness in Eritrea and Ethiopia of their people being raped, slaughtered, disappeared, displaced and starved to death, with the pain made worse by the actions of those who deny, don’t want to see or feel the madness.
Oct. 12 is the birthday of one of the most talented and promising young men martyred in the massive state repression against the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter. Unlike Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver and George Jackson, Carter has almost been forgotten from the history of Africans in America except for diehards. Carter, then 26 (born Oct. 12, 1942), was assassinated on Jan. 17, 1969 in a Campbell Hall classroom at UCLA in Los Angeles.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
In the year 2014, as we recognize this as the centennial year of the Jamaican, Caribbean born Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s (born Aug. 17, 1887, died June 10, 1940) founding of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League in 1914, Pan Africanists need to hold conferences to discuss the conditions of over 1,200,000,000 Africans and people of African descent.
African and African American women face an infant and maternal mortality crisis in America! Infants and maternal mortality rates in these communities are twice as high as the rates for white women in the U.S. The African Women’s Development Fund USA (AWDF USA) has launched an awareness campaign, Saving Our Future, to educate community members and organize the leadership in hopes of changing the pattern.
Six term congresswoman, ‘08 Green Party presidential candidate and international peace activist Cynthia McKinney has been willing to risk her life to represent for Black people, fearlessly investigating such hot issues as Katrina, Haiti, the Congo, Libya and more. Currently she is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on President Hugo Chavez and attended his recent funeral in Caracas. Meet this warm and courageous woman at Bay View fundraisers Wednesday, April 24, at the Laney College Forum, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, at 6:30 p.m., and on Thursday, April 25, at the Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa, at 7 p.m.
“Former political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahad recently penned an excellent essay breaking down what’s going on in Mali, Congo and the Middle East. He also challenged the type of stances many of us have taken with respect to these regions that are embroiled in conflict. To support his essay, we interviewed him so he can expand upon his analysis. In true form, Dhoruba pulled no punches. Peep what he has to say.”
Much hullabaloo has been made recently about slavery as entertainment in movies like “Django Unchained.” But lost in the discussion is slavery as history. Though sadistic and macabre, the plain truth is that slavery was an unprecedented economic juggernaut whose impact is still lived by each of us daily. Here’s my top-10 list of things everyone should know about the economic roots of slavery.
White people did not bring civilization to the Americas, nor did Black history begin with slavery. Runoko Rashidi is a world class historian. He will be making a historical tribute to Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and examining the early African presence in the Americas – before Columbus – in downtown Oakland at Geoffrey’s, 410 14th St., on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 1-4 p.m.
The people must be enabled to go into business or expand their businesses so as to employ our youth and unemployed. Truly opening up economic opportunity could resolve previous injustices – with justice. The problem with crime in the community can be traced to lack of employment opportunities for young adults.
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment – before radio, television, paper and cinema. Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is one of the Bay Area’s most talented griots who tells stories of the past through her West Oakland-based theater company, The Lower Bottom Playaz. The legendary August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opens July 13.
DeBray “Fly Benzo” Carpenter. He was busted on Oct. 18, 2011, by two of SFPD’s finest, John Norment and Joshua Fry, for (gasp!) participating in a community organized rally while playing a boom box in Mendell Plaza in the heart of Bayview Hunters Point. For speaking out against police brutality, especially the SFPD murder of Kenneth Harding last July, he was brutally arrested, tried and now is barred from Mendell Plaza by order of Judge Jerome T. Benson.
"I was at his (President Aristide's) house, we heard a roar of shouts of joy, and then over the walls people started coming in, pouring into the courtyard of the house when they saw the car. People were accompanying the car as many as three miles from the airport to his house," relates Pierre Labossiere of the jubilant welcome that greeted the Aristides on their return to Haiti ending seven long years of exile for them and brutal repression of the people they had to leave behind. Pierre tells the story of the Haitian people and how their never-say-die spirit continues to inspire the world.
I am pleased to stand with my colleagues today who are outraged at Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama’s decision to wage war on Africa in Libya. At the outset, let me state that Libya is home to tens of thousands of foreign students and guest workers. The students come from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The messages I have received from concerned Africans state that these young, innocent people, inaccurately labeled by the U.S. press as “Black mercenaries,” have been trapped in hostile territory and are hated by the U.S.-allied Al Qaeda insurgents.
Bay Area journalist JR Valrey, the voice behind Block Report Radio on KPFA and associate editor of SF Bay View, known as the Minister of Information, reports vital news about the struggle against oppression. In the 31 interviews in his new book, "Block Reportin'," he shows what he calls the "big gap between what is going on in the world and what is being reported. I want to inspire people to become their own media and to truly speak on behalf of the people." Meet JR at his first book signing Saturday, March 19, 6:30 p.m., at Marcus Books, 3900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.
Those of us who fought so hard in the 1960s for change, revolutionary change, are watching the clock turn backwards. No other group can claim to have fought longer or harder in the forefront of progressive and revolutionary struggles than Black folks. The most oppressed will lead any revolution since they have the least to lose and the most to gain from a change.
One hundred years ago, a global outrage surrounding the death of an estimated 10 million Congolese resulted in the end of King Leopold II of Belgium’s rule in the Congo. Ordinary people around the world from all walks of life stood at the side of the Congolese and demanded the end of the first recorded Congolese holocaust. A century later, the world finds itself facing the same issue, where the Congolese people are subjected to unimaginable suffering.
Black British filmmaker Ishmahil Blagrove was aboard Free Gaza's Spirit of Humanity, abducted by the Israeli Navy and, like Cynthia McKinney, one of the Free Gaza 21 imprisoned in an Israeli jail. He reports: "The prison population in Israel is 90 percent Black, which is why I was so welcomed by fellow inmates. There are thousands upon thousands of Africans inside the Israeli prisons."