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On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the first day of the historic National Prison Strike, Democracy Now interviewed Amani Sawari. The segment began with an excellent interview with Cole Dorsey of IWOC and then suddenly the bright, brilliant, radiant face of 23-year-old Amani filled the screen and a voice of eloquence, inspiration and power filled the room. All it took was host Amy Goodman saying she’s a journalist, and, involuntarily, spontaneously, I pointed at the screen and shouted, “There’s the new Bay View editor!” Amani and I have been talking ever since, and she came to visit Oct. 8-12. What fun we had.
On May 4, former Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald agreed to a five-year denial of parole instead of insisting on a parole hearing, even though he has served more time than any former Black Panther still behind bars: 49 years. Chip is now 67 years old and living with the consequences of a stroke; his friends and family fear he will die in prison. He has been moved from one state prison to another over the years and is currently in the California State Prison-Los Angeles. I spoke to his lawyer, Charles Carbone, whose office is in San Francisco.
Black Panther in a nouveaux peacock chair making deals with the CIA! I am like hold up?! Are you out of your mind? This must be a slapstick thrown in to distract and confuse the audience who do not know their history and who probably believe it’s OK to share secrets with the U.S. government. Like Okoyo, the CIA is all about meddling in international affairs that threaten white supremacy and its economic and military dominance. Wakanda has a seat in the U.N. Council.
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
As we salute and celebrate the noble legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, it is worth noting the influence of the Black Panthers on Black peoples and organizations around the world in places many of us might not be aware of. For example, in my early days of research and exploration, I found out about the Dalit Panthers of India and the Aboriginal Australian Black Panther Party.
This upcoming Friday, activist and rapper Sellassie of the Frisco 5 will be interviewing Bobby Seale, the co-founder and chairman of the Black Panther Party, in front of an audience. I hooked up this Q&A with Sellassie so he could talk about his experiences with the Frisco 5’s hunger strike as well as his upcoming event with Bobby Seale. Stay tuned.
Although we remain conscious of past events described, ... Justice postponed even a second is still justice denied. ... Like the rivers of the Nile, Black blood is constantly flowing ... And it pains me greatly to realize how many of us are still not knowing. ... It is also beautiful to witness my hero Sekou Odinga finally free ... After 33 years in the belly of such an insatiable beast. ... To see him finally liberated physically brings hope to me.
Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in general population in nearly every California prison. Current prison organizing continues a historic legacy of struggle.
Support for the now-suspended New Jersey teacher who allowed her third-graders to write get-well letters to former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal was undeniable at the fateful Orange Public School Board meeting April 14. Supporters flanking both sides of Marylin Zuniga called for her reinstatement while she appealed to the board to allow her to continue teaching after the highly-criticized writing activity.
The Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition announced her passing on the afternoon of Dec. 17: “It is with deep sadness that we share the news about the transition of Goldii. From a daughter’s perspective, she was a dynamic spokesperson, speaking stirringly of the impact incarceration has on children and families. She was also a staunch advocate on behalf of her father’s innocence."
In African lore, rain means good fortune. So when Chokwe Antar Lumumba announced that he was running to fill his father’s mayoral seat on a rainy day in March, it was reassurance that The People’s Movement would forge ahead. Still grieving for his father, Chokwe Antar strapped a city, a people, The People, on his back and vowed to fight for the progress set into motion by Chokwe Lumumba and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement. And though Chokwe Antar lost the mayoral election in a close run-off on April 22, he understands, just as his father before him, that one battle does not decide the war.
By now millions of Americans have heard about COINTELPRO. COINTELPRO was the FBI’s evil and illegal system of spying, lying, telephone wire taps, frame-ups and assassination that violated the constitutional and human rights that they claim to uphold. I was recently asked, while doing a Black Panther Party historical tour in Oakland, how COINTELPRO affected me personally. Here is one of my stories.
The ethnic cleansing of Black and Brown broadcasters off the airwaves this year claimed not only the careers of Luke Stewart, formerly of Washington, D.C.’s WPFW, Weyland Southon, formerly of the Bay Area’s KPFA, and myself, formerly of KPFA, but it also claimed one of its most talented producers, Dr. Jared Ball of WPFW.
Crooked laws, crooked cops – they all need 2 be stopped. It’s a shame, a shame how they getting away wit’ murder, wit’ no blame. RIP Kenneth Harding, James Earl Rivera, Derrick Gaines, Oscar Grant, Alan Blueford, Jason Smith, Kendrec McDade, Christian Gomez and all the brothas and sistas who have lost their precious lives to this rotten system and their minions. You are not forgotten.
Beginning with a rally held on the capitol steps, it was an emotional day for many, especially for family members of those suffering in the SHUs and prison survivors. The voices of those in the SHU were powerfully present, both in stories told by family members as well as statements they had sent for the occasion. The hearing provided an opportunity for legislators to hear representatives of CDCR present their new policies and weigh the truth of their claims. At the end there was a scant 20 minutes for public input.
You may think that you know something about solitary, but you don’t. You may have a loved one in prison who has experienced it and told you about it. But still I say, you don’t know it. For, as you know the word torture, you don’t know how it feels. For solitary is torture. State torture. Official torture. Government sanctioned torture.
The fiery writing of JR Valrey began appearing in the Bay View a dozen years ago. JR made our original vision for the Bay View reality: to inspire Black youth to build a powerful Black community. As the Bay View’s associate editor and one of KPFA’s most popular programmers with his provocative Block Report Radio shows, JR and the youth who grew up on his empowering words and pictures are growing in influence, making a difference every day – and they’re just getting started.
The new book by Manning Marable, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” will help us to get a deeper understanding of Malcolm X and the times we’re living in now. This will not be a direct result of what Marable has done, but rather of what needs to happen now because of what he has done.
Haiti, once the colonial-era "Pearl of the Antilles" (Caribbean), then the "Mother of Revolutions," has suffered for nearly two centuries for daring to fight for - and win - its freedom from European colonialism, slavery and plunder. If it hadn't been bled and exploited for centuries, Haiti would've had the wherewithal to protect its people.
"From the very beginning, U.S. assistance to Haiti has looked to me more like an invasion than a humanitarian relief operation," says McKinney. The SF Bay View, Block Report Radio, POCC and Haiti Action Committee are preparing to send a media-medical team to Haiti to serve the people most in need. Come to the fundraiser Sunday, Jan. 24, 7 p.m., at the Black Dot Café, 1195 Pine St. in West Oakland. Bring medical supplies. Spread the word!
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