White people did not bring civilization to the Americas, nor did Black history begin with slavery. Runoko Rashidi is a world class historian. He will be making a historical tribute to Dr. Ivan Van Sertima and examining the early African presence in the Americas – before Columbus – in downtown Oakland at Geoffrey’s, 410 14th St., on Sunday, Oct. 14, from 1-4 p.m.
Word has just reached us that Steve Champion, a prisoner on San Quentin’s death row well known as an inspirational advocate for justice and as one of the trio with Stanley Tookie Williams and Anthony Ross, began a hunger strike last Thursday, Oct. 4. His demands – still unmet – are listed in “The struggle never stops,” published in the July Bay View and reprinted here, and he asks that all who believe in justice flood the San Quentin warden and Corrections Department (CDCR) spokespersons with calls and emails.
Paul S. Flores’ new play, “Placas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo,” is riveting. I was sitting on the edge of my seat all through intermission; the drama was that intense and unsettling. Fausto, Edgar’s father, spends nine years in prison and upon release decides to have his tattoos removed for his son, whom he doesn’t want to follow in his footsteps.
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
As Gabby told the New York Times in June: “I have an advantage because I’m the underdog and I’m Black and no one thinks I’d ever win. Well, I’m going to inspire so many people. Everybody will be talking about, how did she come up so fast? But I’m ready to shine.” Shine she did. Dominique Dawes, the great African-American gymnast who won team gold in 1996, exclaimed: “I feel like Gabby is my child or something. I am so anxious for her to win. I know it will have an enormous impact on encouraging African-Americans and other minorities to go into the sport of gymnastics.”
When we, Black America’s trillion dollar nation, start circulating our dollars within the community more, more of us will have more dollars in our pockets and purses, and as a result there will be less crime, less violence and a dwindling homicide rate. Happy, prosperous people don’t commit crimes, steal and kill.
The people must be enabled to go into business or expand their businesses so as to employ our youth and unemployed. Truly opening up economic opportunity could resolve previous injustices – with justice. The problem with crime in the community can be traced to lack of employment opportunities for young adults.
The history of racist violence, of lynchings, of state violence, or a complicit media and systemic injustice remain a reality despite our purportedly post-racial moment. In the first six months of 2012, the police, security guards and vigilantes have killed 120 African Americans, one every 36 hours. The media, political “leaders” and citizens alike ignore and justify these killings by blaming the victims.
The police line was hard, boot to boot, helmet to helmet, unmoving, bringing the threat of death with each gaze. The opposing line was a circle and it was moving, with resistance. And strength and people power. We were mamaz, uncles, daddys, sisters and brothers in solidarity, and we won’t stop fighting, we won’t stop walking, we won’t stop speaking until this ongoing police murder of our babies is over. “Our children are being stalked and murdered in cold blood, and it cannot continue,” said Oscar Grant's Uncle Bobby.
When Kenneth Harding, 19, couldn’t show police a Muni transfer to prove he’d paid his $2 fare on July 16, 2011, he ran, they shot him in the back and for an agonizing half hour, instead of trying to save his life, they trained their guns on Kenneth and the crowd while the young man slowly bled to death and the crowd screamed in horror. Knowing that the police murder of Kenneth Harding was the outcome of the routine, though unofficial, police practice of stopping and frisking young men of color, why would San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, a former civil rights attorney, consider importing New York City’s disastrous stop-and-frisk policy?
Storytelling is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment – before radio, television, paper and cinema. Ayodele “Wordslanger” Nzinga is one of the Bay Area’s most talented griots who tells stories of the past through her West Oakland-based theater company, The Lower Bottom Playaz. The legendary August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” opens July 13.
Early Tuesday morning, the 18th day of the Lakeview Elementary Sit-In and 12th day of the People’s School, the OUSD police and other police forces raided the encampment and school. The People's School will continue, and a community-labor alliance and picket sanctioned by the Alameda Labor Council will block the move-in of administrative offices at Lakeview.
Parents, young students, teachers, families and community members have seized Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland in response to the Oakland Unified School District’s decision to proceed with closure. Lakeview was recognized for having low suspension rates of Black boys. In theory, OUSD has shown interest in interrupting the school-to-prison pipeline, but in practice, the school closures push our youth out of the schools and into the streets. Visit the People's School and protest to Supt. Tony Smith!
Thanks to all who called Wells Fargo or went to City Hall on behalf of Archbishop and Marina King. Wells Fargo removed the home from the auction list on the morning of June 21, several hours before the public auction. Wells Fargo is currently reviewing the Kings' case for modification a second time. Until a real agreement can be reached, the Kings and their supporters are planning to block the auction July 20 at City Hall. Call Grace Martinez at ACCE for more information at (415) 377-6872.
“African American young men are assets that we can’t afford to lose and, when they earn college degrees, the economic and social benefits impact all of us,” said Cedric Brown, CEO of the Kapor Foundation. “All too often, these young men and their accomplishments are overlooked and dismissed.”
Shontrice Williamson and Adrienne Wilson graduated from San Francisco State University - Shontrice receiving her degree in Africana studies and Adrienne a master’s in public health. Both were also chosen to represent their fellow graduates at commencement by wearing the symbolic hood of their colleges. Only seven graduating students were selected for this honor.
On June 12, family members held a memorial for Derrick Gaines, a 15-year-old who was shot and killed by an officer with the South San Francisco Police Department on the evening of June 5. Police claim that Gaines, who was walking with a friend near an Arco gas station, was engaging in “suspicious behavior.”
On Thursday, May 31, the Stockton, Calif., families of James Earl Rivera and Luther (Champ) Brown hosted a rally co-sponsored by Occupy Stockton and Oakland. The purpose of the Stockton rally was to protest the police murders of James Rivera, age 16, and of Luther Brown, age 32.
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity (PHSS) will be organizing community actions to commemorate the one year anniversary of the California prisoners’ hunger strike, which began on July 1, 2011. As a part of these community actions, we plan to have some visual images that express aspects of what it means to be in solitary confinement.
He was born Richard Reginald Schell, but most people knew him as Reggie, and those who worked with him called him “Cap” – short for Captain, the rank he held in the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party. He was a patient and wise teacher and looked out for younger Panthers, including this writer.