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Santa Rita Jail retaliates against strikers

This in-custody death would be the 10th this year, and the 43rd in the last five years, a statistic that supports Santa Rita’s reputation as one of the deadliest jails in the state.

Santa Rita Jail prisoners stage hunger strike and work stoppage to...

Homeless detainees are sent to filthy holding cells to sit and lie down in vomit, urine, feces, semen, on food- and dirt-stained floors. Rather than caring for the heroin addict in the infirmary, the detainees are made to tend to the addict, clean up the addict and his messes, and suffer the indignity, smell and infectious disease risks.

Judge Rebecca Hardie allows Contra Costa CPS social worker to commit...

How is it that a social worker was caught committing perjury and yet no one has held her accountable? Where is the oversight of our child welfare system and juvenile courts? Where is the outrage that this is happening and American families are being unnecessarily destroyed in court proceedings that operate under a shroud of secrecy, in court proceedings in which criminal misconduct is covered up and the best interests of children are ignored?

Running Green in a frontline community

Green Party candidates neither seek nor accept corporate money, so fundraising against lavishly bribed Democrats and Republicans is always a challenge. Corporations commonly pour “donations” into both Democratic and Republican coffers to make sure they own a piece of whoever’s elected. We all know it’s going to be tough for California’s three Green Congressional candidates: Laura Wells, Kenneth Mejia nd Rodolfo Cortes Barragan.

Victory over military cop convention

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.

Pregnant prisoners recount horrific jail conditions at Santa Rita in federal...

In a major class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here, conditions at the Alameda County Jail at Santa Rita sound more like they come out of a Charles Dickens novel than a modern day correctional facility. At a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 31, lawyers for pregnant prisoners at Santa Rita claim their clients are being inhumanely mistreated by jail personnel, urged to have abortions and routinely denied medical attention, warm clothing, nutritious food, blankets and even fresh air.

Wanda’s Picks for November 2017

We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.

Defending sanctuary and fighting for abolition: It’s our time to be...

We find ourselves in a moment with a great deal at stake. Our communities are fighting to define and create sanctuary spaces, while enduring a dangerous presidential administration that has emboldened white supremacist and xenophobic action. The Trump agenda has caused increased harassment, fear and even death. In the movement for abolition of policing, imprisonment, surveillance and the entire prison industrial complex, now is our time to be bold.

Why Oakland needs a multi-unit smoke free housing policy

To educate our entire Oakland community, I’m writing to explain why Oakland needs a smoke-free multi-unit housing policy. This is a social justice issue. Smoking and tobacco products kill more African-Americans than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drug use, homicide, suicide and other non-tobacco related cancers. We must educate our youth and communities regarding the dangers of smoking because it is an unhealthy life choice for them.

Following community pressure, SF Supervisors postpone vote on controversial Urban Shield,...

In a small victory for the Stop Urban Shield Coalition earlier today, the Budget and Finance Committee postponed voting on an item to allow San Francisco to apply for federal funding that ultimately goes toward the militarized SWAT training program and weapons expo known as Urban Shield. The program is funded by the Department of Homeland Security through the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI) grant.

Alameda County, deliver on your promise of jobs for people returning...

On Oct. 11, the Justice Reinvestment Coalition of Alameda County held a march and rally calling on Alameda County to fulfill its promise to provide jobs for formerly incarcerated people. In June 2016, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors had voted unanimously (5-0) in favor of a new Re-Entry Hiring Program that aims to provide 1,400 county jobs for people impacted by the criminal justice system and youth in the school-to-prison pipeline in Alameda County.

HUD policies threaten poor, elderly and disabled tenants with eviction

A proposal by HUD and the Obama administration that is allegedly meant to combat segregation and break up concentrations of poverty actually threatens Section 8 renters (Housing Choice Voucher holders) – the elderly, poor and disabled – with higher rents and eviction. It has many Section 8 tenants worried about their future in the Bay Area, New York and elsewhere.

Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 13

All of the ills which have aggravated possibilities for economic growth and development in urban centers throughout the nation are present in Oakland, the focus of our study. As in other core American cities, important demographic changes have ushered in significant alterations in Oakland’s stance concerning housing, employment, health, welfare and business environments of its inhabitants and the dependent populations in the Bay Area.

Black Rifles Matter in Berkeley

On Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, 2015, the Berkeley City Council voted to keep sending officers to the annual Urban Shield war games and weapons expo, even after one vocal citizen held up the expo’s best selling T-shirts and read their inscriptions: “Black Rifles Matter,” “This (barrel of a gun) is my peace symbol” and “Destruction cometh. And they shall seek peace. And there shall be none” (Ezekiel 7:25-27, King James Bible).

Get your Prop 47 convictions reclassified, even if you are not...

Urgency to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of poor people and people of color is growing. The general public’s awareness that it simply does not make sense to lock up people with substance abuse or mental health issues is setting the stage for important reforms to our justice system. With this understanding, California voters passed Proposition 47 “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters questions RAD, calls for more public housing protections

In contrast to the hoopla and razzle dazzle of Mayor Ed Lee and company to hoodwink the public into believing that privatizing public housing is a good thing, an Oct. 7 letter from Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) calls for more protections for public housing and public housing tenants being threatened by the RAD privatization program.

Greening the hood: Is clean energy reaching poor communities?

For Adama Mosley, a resident of the West Oakland neighborhood known as Ghost Town, having solar panels installed on her home was “a dream come true.” Energy advocates say significant challenges lie ahead if affordable renewable energy and widespread adoption of energy efficiency are to become a reality in low-income communities of color.

Wanda’s Picks for November 2013

Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.

Flawed justice: the wrongful conviction of Kerry Baxter Sr.

The Constitution guarantees every American the right to a fair trial and to face his or her accusers. This right has been denied to African Americans, who make up a larger and larger part of the prison population under America’s “New Jim Crow.” In the case of Kerry Baxter Sr., the California Superior Court system here in Alameda County blatantly ignored his rights.

Local hiring success continues under landmark SF jobs ordinance

“The implementation of the Local Hiring Policy for Construction has provided economic and employment opportunities for San Francisco residents,” said Supervisor Avalos. “I look forward to continuing and expanding our partnerships to advance the program to provide good paying jobs to San Franciscans and maximize opportunities for local residents.”

Latest News

Crime, punishment and quality of life

This is the story of the enduring and ineffable bond between a homeless mother and her homeless child and of their noble struggle to survive in a harsh and unforgiving world.

Should UN peacekeepers leave the Democratic Republic of Congo?

The UN troops in DRC are called “peacekeepers,” but MONUSCO’s real mission is managing the “silent violence” in which perpetrators cannot be readily identified, atrocities go unreported, and resources are smuggled out of DRC through Rwanda and Uganda.

Restrictions on First Amendment speech rights warrant congressional investigation – later...

False convictions leading to imprisonment prove to be a transportation of slavery. Left uncorrected while mouthing off about insignificant facts takes the country into the direction of barbarism.

Wanda’s Picks for December 2019

Within the craziness, artists like Cherie Hill, Gabriel Christian and Chibueze Crouch have opened with their work windows into spaces where Blackness – just everyday Blackfolkness – is a ticket or key or pass code into rooms others seated behind us out of sight and mind/full/ness cannot enter.
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To solve multiple crises at once, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez unveil ‘Green...

The 54-page Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, which Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez introduced at a press conference, was co-sponsored in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and endorsed by more than 50 climate and affordable housing organizations.