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The recent police murders of Stephon Clark, a 22 year-old shot and killed on the evening of March 18 by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department in Sacramento, and Saheed Vassell, 34, murdered by Brooklyn police in New York on April 7, again reminds us that Black Lives have never mattered to state-sanctioned organizations popularly known as police departments. The mass responses to the murders of the two young Black men will initiate a familiar and repeated mass ritual that we have become accustomed to.
On April 15, tax day, we think about money. If we follow the money, we find the root of the rot. That is the unifying theme of 66 incisive interviews with Dennis J. Bernstein on his Pacifica Radio Network KPFA Flashpoints program, in a just-released book, “Follow the Money: Radio Voices for Peace and Justice,” selected, transcribed and edited by Riva Enteen. The interviews, all during the Obama administration, are the writing on the wall that foreshadowed a Trump presidency.
Dr. Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, 84, joined the ancestors Aug. 19, the same day as the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. A longtime advocate for human rights, Gregory ran for president of the United States, went to Iran to negotiate the release of Americans held hostage, is also known for his Bohemian diet and extensive fasts for human rights. Ten years ago he visited Oakland to honor the lives of the 918 adults and 305 children – including 40 infants – who lost their lives along with U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a United Press International film crew.
After days of costly preparation and heated contention, followed by sudden venue and schedule changes, the much-anticipated Patriot Prayer rally never happened in San Francisco Saturday. What actually did occur in that vacuum was a historical show of resistance across the city in several counterprotest gatherings that drew combined crowds rivaling the numbers of people that turned out to protest the presidential inauguration in November. Joey Gibson of the alt-right Patriot Prayer group was nowhere to be found at Alamo Square Saturday, but counter demonstrators and hundreds of SF police officers showed up in full force.
Coyote Acabo caught a felony assault case in July of 2015 during a Black Lives Matter protest while defending a comrade who was put in a chokehold by a white inebriated man enraged that his good time country music show was interrupted by a group of cacophonous, banner-bearing protesters. The Bay View met Coyote years ago when he was locked up in Nevada and sent us one of his brilliant commentaries on the evils of imprisonment. We rejoiced with him when he was released and ask readers to support him now as he’s locked up for doing the right thing. Donate what you can at https://rally.org/supportcoyoteacabo.
Fifty years ago, on June 16, 1966, in Greenwood, Mississippi, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chair Kwame Ture, then known as Stokely Carmichael, addressed a crowd of youthful demonstrators and the media covering the militant March Against Fear and forcefully re-echoed our millennial and generational demand for “Black Power.”
Artist Eugene White hails from southwestern Arkansas but has worked quietly in his studio and gallery along the 21-Hayes line for over 50 years. Lately, he’s had some overdue attention as one of the few remaining Black artists to live and work in San Francisco: He’s featured in an installation at the newly redesigned Buchanan Mall, where he’s honored with a portrait and a listening station delivering his untold story.
“An American Nightmare: Black Labor and Liberation” will be transformed from paper to the screen with a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a seven-part film series co-produced by Deep Dish TV and Cooperation Jackson and directed by Kali Akuno. Please go to Kickstarter and donate as generously as you can before Nov. 7. The theme: 150 years since an end to chattel slavery, anti-Black racism is still a virulent force in the U.S. The cause? The path to liberation?
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
Given the trajectory of 2014 regarding Black lives, perhaps February would be a great time to reflect on what bell hooks calls “the love ethic,” a principle Dr. King embodied and preached. Langston Hughes would have been 116 on Feb. 1 (his mother, Carrie Langston, was born Jan. 22, 1873). Albert Woodfox will be 68 on Feb. 19. Hopefully he will be eating cake under some sunny sky, a freed man by then.
A Black West Oakland family is set to be forcefully thrown out of their home in days by NationStar Bank. Annette Miller and her family have lived in their home for the last 60 years and are among the oldest Black homeowners in a quickly gentrifying West Oakland. “They’ve foreclosed on a lot of people around here.” Neighbors have pledged to fight back to keep this home in the hands of the Miller family.
From a bombed NAACP office in Colorado to the decimated town of Baga, Nigeria, acts of terrorism against Black people and institutions have failed to generate much attention in the United States this past week. Most of the Western world and its political leaders have, instead, turned their eyes to Paris, France – the location of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. While the world holds its arms out in sympathy for Charlie Hebdo, we who believe in freedom must seek justice for Black people around the world – including for the victims of Boko Haram. We must continue to say that all Black lives matter, even when the world refuses to see it.