What makes San Francisco Mime Troupe the award-winning theatre it is is its amazing work, which is always topical and timely. Its current production, July 1-Sept. 10, “Walls” is no different. Playwright and SF Mime veteran Michael Gene Sullivan’s new work looks at federal immigration policy from George W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The quartet has much in common, each president responsible for policies which criminalize its immigrant population.
Well-known veteran musician and producer Philip Hennen, aka “Phil the Mil(lionaire),” will soon be sharing a different aspect of his immense creativity. On this coming First Friday, May 5, 2017, from 6 to 9 p.m., Philip will showcase his striking “Mood City” photography, at the beautiful Joyce Gordon Gallery in downtown Oakland. Recently, Philip sat down to discuss his artistry with the Bay View’s Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at.
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.
As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
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.
Bernie Sanders’ defeats in the East Coast primaries have triggered a flurry of conversation about what the 25 to 35 percent of Sanders supporters who’ve told pollsters they will not vote for Hillary Clinton will do instead. Seattle-based Socialist Alternative has called for Sanders to run as an independent or join the Green Party ticket. Ann Garrison spoke to Georgia Green Party activist and Black Agenda Report Editor Bruce Dixon.
Burundian insurgents attacked three army bases early Friday morning. Fighting continued through the night and the dead in Burundi’s streets were estimated to be as high as 89 this morning. The government and opposition told conflicting stories about who the dead were and how they died. Two days before the latest attacks, a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee held a hearing on the situation in Burundi. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has this report.
South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are two of the world’s most resource rich and war-torn nations in the world. The U.N. Refugee Agency now reports that fighting between local armed groups and the South Sudanese army in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State has forced more than 4,000 South Sudanese to flee into a remote corner of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
It is amazing how time flies whether one is moving or standing still. One looks up and sees, suddenly it seems, friends celebrating 70 and 75 or 80 or even 90-plus milestones. Wow! What a blessing that is. And while we also see the fullness of time’s passage in the lives of those who have decided to move on, too often we are caught by surprise, our mouths hung open, the words we could have said … deeds left undone.
Over 200 community members, activists, union members, transportation experts, family and friends flocked to Oakland’s New Parish for non-profit leader Lateefah Simon’s kick-off fundraiser for her 2016 campaign to join the BART Board of Directors. Despite running as a first-time candidate, Simon has already built a broad coalition that includes some of the Bay Area’s top elected officials and civic leaders. True to her reputation as a tireless community advocate, Simon spoke passionately about her personal connection to BART and her commitment to transit justice for working people.
This week marked the fifth anniversary of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s arrest and imprisonment in Rwanda. Ingabire attempted to run for president, against incumbent Paul Kagame in 2010, and went to prison instead. Supporters of Ingabire and freedom for all Rwandans and all peoples of the African Great Lakes Region gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for a day of reflection on the meaning of Victoire Ingabire’s heroic sacrifice.
Burundian Foreign Minister Willy Nyamitwe has accused neighboring Rwanda of training rebels to destabilize Burundi with cross border attacks. Rwandan President Paul Kagame responded that the Burundian president was simply trying to distract people from his own problems, but Carina Tertsakian, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Burundi, confirmed the foreign minister’s accusation. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana.
The Burundian army has been engaged by troops near its northern border with Rwanda and this week Aljazeera reported that young men in Rwandan refugee camps are being recruited to join a rebel force to fight in Burundi. Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, speaking to The Voice of America, said that the Burundian government had asked the Rwandan government to prevent any action threatening Burundi’s security.
On Tuesday, June 23, the Richmond City Council vote was 4 to 2. The vote in support of just cause eviction protections and rent control was the culmination of a yearlong effort to fight back against gentrification, greedy landlords and real estate profiteers targeting renters with huge rent increases and 30-day no cause evictions. Just cause eviction protections and rent control already exist in Berkeley, San Francisco, Oakland and other cities in California.
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.
Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has set himself up to be the spokesman for landlords in a campaign against rent control in Richmond. The jump in Richmond rents the past few years, reflecting trends in the Bay Area, has produced new calls for the progressive city council to respond with rent control and “just cause” requirements for eviction. The mayor’s arguments are classic examples of misusing numbers and logic.
Over a 25 year period, 200 women in South LA went missing. Of these missing women, 100 were found dead. All of the women are Black and most were prostitutes. The refusal to let these women’s lives go unacknowledged is due to the work of Black Coalition Fighting Back Against Serial Murders. HBO will broadcast “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” on April 27.
After a WriterCoach Connection volunteer offered words of praise to a Korematsu Middle School seventh grader on a writing assignment, the youngster told the coach, “Nobody has ever said that to me before. Not my teachers, not my parents – nobody. Thank you!” The coach had met the student where he was with his writing process. No judgments. No preset expectations. Just pure encouragement to help him get his voice and views on paper.
A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”
A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.