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Youth of color: Watched and shot

Trayvon Martin and Mumia Abu-Jamal. One is dead. One languished on death row for 30 years. They are separated in age by a generation, separated by different locations and different life-histories, but their stories of being under surveillance, watched and shot, intersect strikingly with each other and with many other people.

Memories of Maroon

His name is almost legendary: Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, an affiliate of the Black Panther Party, activist and Black revolutionary.

Fly Benzo is free, so why is Mendell Plaza a no...

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.

The mass incarceration of the Black community: an interview with Michelle...

Professor Michelle Alexander’s new book “The New Jim Crow” is a monumental, well researched piece of work that presents documented facts in down to earth English about the mass incarceration of Black people within the United States’ national concentration camp system. At one point in “The New Jim Crow,” Professor Alexander presents evidence that more Black people are enslaved behind bars today than were enslaved on the plantations in 1850, before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed.

The Prison

Brother Mumia is a shining light for those of us in the belly of the beast who are in a struggle against a wicked system. He has demonstrated to us that even on Death Row, one can still educate, inspire and motivate – some of the same things that he was doing at the time of his arrest.

Prisons: California’s concrete empire

In 1978 California began building a concrete empire of jails and prisons across the state. After the building was completed, a new California Gold Rush began – a feeding frenzy for all the jobs in city, county and state law enforcement agencies.

Carl Ray’s HBCU tours motivate students to succeed

Arriving at Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport from cities throughout America, aspiring college students were excited. The tour would visit Spelman College, Morehouse College and Clark-Atlanta University in Atlanta, also Alabama State University and Tuskegee University in Alabama.

Crime and punishment

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” wrote Dostoyevsky. If what he says is true – and I believe it is – then America, which boasts the largest prison population in the world, is perhaps the most uncivilized country there is. Who better to speak to the reality of prison life than someone who is living the experience?

Should Africa be an ally of the West or China? The...

The past 12 months were very intense on the African continent. Some important elections stirred up a whole lot of interests. Shared zones of influence are being renegotiated between the old powers of the world, the Western powers, and the new power, China.

The 1966 Hunters Point rebellion: The fight must go on

With the current wave of uprisings across England ... and the insurgence of flash mobs across the United States ... it is appropriate to call on the history of rebellions by our people. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, riot is the language of the unheard; and so it comes as no surprise that the language of our underclass is of the same dialect that it has been for decades and even centuries ...

Rattled mayor Boris Johnson in hot water over riots

On a post-riots walkabout in south London, guess who I bumped into? None other than goldilocks London Mayor Boris Johnson, whose summer holiday to America was so rudely interrupted by looters.

Farrakhan condemns war on Libya

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a scathing statement on the relentless bombing of Libya by NATO forces at a press conference held at United Nations Plaza Hotel Millennium in New York City on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

Buy Black Wednesdays: Cooperative economics the ancient African way

Thank you for supporting Buy Black Wednesdays. This new wave of “cooperative economics” is spreading across America and pan-Africa like a red, black and green tsunami of Black empowerment.

Black lawyers call on Obama administration to free all U.S. political...

The United States has no moral authority to chastise other governments for human rights violations until it addresses its human rights violations, including the atrocious treatment of political prisoners.

Anatomy of a murder: How NATO killed Qaddafi family members

I visited the residence of the Qaddafi family, bombed to smithereens by NATO. For a leader, the house seemed small in comparison, say, to the former Clinton family home in Chappaqua or the Obama family home. It was a small house in a typical residential area in Tripoli, surrounded by dozens of other family homes.

‘King Arthur’ Abraham dethroned according to Ward’s rules

Armenian-born “King Arthur” Abraham’s prevailing thoughts going into the Super Six World Boxing Classic were that he couldn’t “win on points in America,” so his game plan was to attempt to knock “Son of God” Andre Ward out. But Andre Ward proved his mettle by out-punching Abraham’s heavy hands.

China denounces America’s treatment of Afro-descendants

In a scathing report, China condemned America’s treatment of its Afro-descendants and other minorities and cited America’s numerous human rights violations. China charges that human rights reports issued by the U.S. are full of distortions and accusations about the human rights situation in China and elsewhere.

Coming home: Revelations from former prisoners

Transitioning from a prisoner number to an adult person expected to take on adult responsibilities can be overwhelming for many ex-inmates, particularly those who were incarcerated for long periods of time. Each day many of us will share space with someone who has spent a significant portion of his life in a cage. Every one of us should be concerned because these men and women are of us and will be returning to us, our communities, many to our own families.

We the people are the enemy

We the people are the enemy ... “we” meaning the poor and the middle class. Black folks need no convincing, because racism and discrimination are continual indicators that their perceived enemy status is indeed real.

Wanda’s Picks for April 2011

When Martin Luther King was killed in Memphis, he was about to join the sanitation workers in their protest for a union and more decent wages. The movement for civil rights was taking hold in the North and America didn’t like it – so off with King’s head.

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