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Wanda’s Picks for April 2012

The Oakland International Film Festival is Friday-Sunday, April 6-8, at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Street, Oakland. Visit http://www.oiff.org/2012schedule.pdf. This year’s headliner is one of the most controversial independent films ever made, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Watch it again here.

Wanda’s Picks for March 2012

When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.

Wanda’s Picks for February 2012

This is the month we wear our Blackness with pride – so walk on, walk on. I want to thank Rhodessa Jones, Shaka Jamal, Pat Jamison, Elaine Lee, Walter Turner, Vera Nobles and Elouise Burrell for your leads and references for South Africa.

Wanda’s Picks for January 2012

Life isn’t fair: Too many kids and not enough food, fat cats bringing in all the money and government services like free hospitals and free education is not free for those who need it because, like everywhere, bureaucracy breeds corruption, whether we are in Madagascar or the United States.

Lack of local services limits prison mom release program

Thousands of mothers currently incarcerated in the California state prison system are now eligible to serve out the end of their sentences at home or in local facilities. To qualify for the program, women must be “primary caregivers” convicted of non-violent, non-serious, non-sexual offenses with remaining prison sentences of less than two years.

Race and Occupy Cal

God could not have sent us a more fitting setting for Occupy Cal at the University of California, Berkeley – the sun rising, yellow and warm. I was going devote today to observing and reporting on the social movement.

Billionaire may buy Berkeley’s occupied public housing

In another step to privatize Berkeley’s 75 occupied public housing town-homes, billionaire Stephen M. Ross, CEO and founder of The Related Companies and 95 percent owner of the Miami Dolphins, is in talks with the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA) to buy Berkeley’s occupied public housing through one of his companies.

Wanda’s Picks for October 2011

October is Maafa Commemoration Month. The term Maafa refers to the Black Holocaust, that period when African people were stolen and traded in the greatest, most widespread cooperative economic venture to date, which resulted in the displacement of human beings as commodities. The Kiswahili term Maafa extends that definition of loss and trauma, that is, PTSD or post-traumatic slave syndrome – the flashbacks, both conscious and unconscious, reoccurring instances of the atrocities 150 years after the end of slavery which have direct association to the brutality of chattel slavery.

12,000 California prisoners on hunger strike

As the renewed prisoner hunger strike enters its second week, the federal receiver’s office reports that at least 12,000 prisoners were participating during the first week. Family members of striking SHU prisoners reported that their visits this weekend were denied by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which is threatening participants with disciplinary action and banning two lawyers who represent the strikers. “Historically, prison officials have used extreme measures, including physical violence to break strikes,” says Dorsey Nunn, a member of the mediation team working on behalf of the strikers.

Buy Black Wednesdays: Money talk

Berkeley, Calif.: The most liberal city in America and the world, some say. And yet Berkeley High School, with over 3,500 students and 250 teachers, has only eight Black teachers. Scandalous!

Wanda’s Picks for August 2011

How well indeed the creator saw fit to have the Muslim population worldwide join the hunger strike started by brothers in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay July 1, which continues in other California prisons, including I heard at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).

Betty McGee: Living for others

Betty McGee, PhD, serves as the Bayview Hunters Point Health and Environmental Resource Center’s (HERC) executive director, working to create a more environmentally just San Francisco.

Sidewalks are still for people, Harvey Milk!

On Sidewalks are for People Day, May 22, the people decided to reclaim San Francisco sidewalks. Then Berkeley folks asked, “Can we do that too?” Then Portland folks were like, “We’ll do something simultaneously.”

Celebrities shine for San Francisco Black Film Festival June 17-19

“The San Francisco Black Film Festival,” June 17-19, opens with the Mario Van Peebles directed film, “Things Fall Apart,” starring Curtis (50 Cent) Jackson III, Ray Liotta and Lynn Whitfield.

Michelle Alexander on California’s ‘cruel and unusual’ prisons

On May 23, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 decision ordering California to release tens of thousands of inmates from its overcrowded prisons on the grounds that their living conditions – including lethally inadequate healthcare – were so intolerable as to be “cruel and unusual punishment.”

Is the increase in baby deaths in the northwest U.S. due...

U.S. babies are dying at an increased rate. While the United States spends billions on medical care, as of 2006, the U.S. ranked 28th in the world in infant mortality, more than twice that of the lowest ranked countries. The recent CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicates that in eight cities in the northwest U.S., infant mortality increased 35 percent in the 10 weeks after the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster.

Oakland gang injunction is deceptive and wrong

At the heart of a gang injunction is usually an overreaching district attorney. Say No to John Russo! Pack the courtroom Friday, June 24, 2 p.m., Department 20, Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland.

Become a star at Black Rep’s Theatrical Day Camp

In Berkeley at the Black Repertory Group’s summer day camp, youth are instructed by our own professional theatrical performance staff and famous Black Rep alumni. “We pride ourselves on developing young stars," says Director Sean Vaughn Scott.

Break the siege on Gaza NOW!

Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human will be leaving from unspecified ports in the Mediterranean in late June to break the siege on Gaza carrying about a thousand journalists, teachers, students, attorneys, human rights activists, members of parliament and others from 22 countries.

Partisan resistance: Anatomy of a takeover at a health care corporation

On Monday, April 11, in San Francisco, I felt it was not a romantic notion that my videographer Scott and I were embedded among partisan guerrillas deep in enemy territory. We were all joined together in a viciously difficult corporate class war.