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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.
The Oakland International Film Festival is an opportunity for Oakland to shine – its artists the polish and vehicle. From its inception 15 years ago, when the City of Oakland was one of the only cities in the nation with a film office, sadly eliminated an administration ago, this festival has maintained its focus – on Oakland and its diversity of talent: directors, writers, actors, technicians – famous and up and coming. The festival is on April 4-8. To learn more and get tickets, visit http://www.oiff.org and https://oaklandroots40th.info/.
“I’ll tell you … they really wanted that building to burn down,” said by one of elder survivors of the West Oakland apartment building fire, at 2551 San Pablo, which has taken four precious lives, hospitalized several people and displaced over 100 residents – disabled elders, community members and families with children – on a dark and cold morning on Monday, March 27, at 5:40 a.m.
Oakland, like several other cities around the country, is currently studying the feasibility of establishing a public bank. This type of banking offers enormous benefits for our local economy. We should move ahead with founding the Public Bank of Oakland as rapidly as possible. The Public Bank of Oakland will serve the people of Oakland by retaining the bank’s profits as public property to be used for our common good. Through public banking, we can help our own communities thrive rather than enrich the shareholders of Chase, where Oakland’s monies are now deposited, and other private banks. Learn all about public banking at a public forum Thursday, Feb. 9, 6pm, Oakland City Hall.
At 4 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, a network of Oakland community members took over Marcus Garvey Park, moving in small homes, a hot shower, a healing clinic and other services – declaring it a people’s encampment for those who need housing and basic services. The group, which includes folks living on Oakland streets, activists from #FeedthePeople and #Asians4BlackLives and individuals from the community, said the move-in demonstrates their ability to provide what the City of Oakland cannot to its most vulnerable residents.
2017 marks the centennial of the nation’s bloodiest race riot in the 20th century in East St. Louis, Illinois. Migrant Black people were hired to work as miners to replace striking white workers at the Aluminum Ore Co. The white workers stormed City Hall demanding redress from the mayor. Shortly thereafter, news of an attempted robbery of a white man by an armed Black man set off the reign of terror in downtown East St. Louis in which unarmed Black men, women and children were pulled from trollies and street cars and beaten and shot down in the street.
The Auset Movement: Loving Humanity into Wholeness reluctantly celebrated its one year anniversary today, Sunday, Dec. 25. The group, made up of concerned citizens, have been serving hot meals once a month since Christmas last year. If there is a holiday, we show up that day with hot breakfast, today, the menu was Wanda Ravernell’s homefries, Jovelyn’s delight – fresh greens, Tobaji’s beans and rice, Kwalin’s sausage and pumpkin spice bread.
“Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” is a love story that offers a frank examination of family life in the inner-city as it intersects mass incarceration, poor access to health care, religious taboos and struggles under the burden of imposed tropes of man and womanhood. The Lower Bottom Playaz traditionally offer works that interrogate the experience of being human through the lens of the North American African experience. “Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” follows this tradition.
In my opinion, if there ever was a murderous conspiracy committed by a city governing body, Oakland is it. Building and Fire Codes, Health Codes and Fire and Safety Regulations mean nothing to building owners, law enforcement and agencies designed to protect residents. Oakland city government members are elected, charged with and paid to see that code enforcement is being carried out in all public and private buildings in its zones. As a result of a monstrous dereliction of their duties, 36 young people have lost their lives in the most horrific way one can imagine. They were burned alive and/or killed by smoke inhalation, trapped in a flaming inferno with no warning and no means of escape.
Oakland needs the motto “Love Life” as a way of spreading brotherly-sisterly love to everyone. To put it differently, “love thy neighbor,” even if you live in a luxury apartment and your neighbor lives in an encampment. Oakland had a visible homeless community even before people started calling it the “new” Oakland. Treating people like trash and clearing homeless encampments are acts of violence because they violate someone’s humanity – no matter what excuse is used to justify it.
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
On Monday, June 27, the Oakland City Council voted to approve an ordinance that would ban coal from being handled and stored in the City of Oakland, including a resolution to apply the ordinance to the proposed Oakland Bulk and Oversized Terminal. The council will hold a second vote on that ordinance at their July 19 meeting. Community members and advocacy groups applauded the council’s action.
Oakland City Council President Lynette McElhaney discusses the most recent sex scandal sweeping OPD and other Bay Area law enforcement agencies, where over two dozen officers and agents had sex or inappropriate dealings with the same underage girl. Councilwoman McElhaney equates sex work with slavery. She also stresses the need for the community to help organizations that support women and girls who have been abused by the sex industry.
Elaine Brown’s “A Taste of Power,” a memoir which chronicles her leadership of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense when co-founder Huey P. Newton is imprisoned, still resonates with me. The idea that a Black woman is nominated to the leadership position of the most powerful civic organization in the country at that time is still remarkable and speaks to what Kathleen Cleaver calls revolutionary imagination.
A 1968 book-length report, titled “A Study of the Manpower Implications of Small Business Financing: A Survey of 149 Minority and 202 Anglo-Owned Small Businesses in Oakland, California,” was sent to the Bay View by its author, Joseph Debro, prior to his death in November 2013, and his family has kindly permitted the Bay View to publish it. This is Part 14 of the report.
“Dr. Mutulu Is Welcome Here” is the title of the campaign and the program Malcolm X Grassroots Movement hosted Easter Sunday, Resurrection Day, in Oakland. As we walked into Sole Space, a venue that also sells shoes and art and is a part of the corner building that houses Oakstop, we were invited to pose with a photo of Dr. Shakur. Mama Ayanna, seated at the door, welcomes and greets comrades and friends of friends as other members of MXGM host the program.
The Just Chamia show is a locally produced television talk show that is formatted in much the same way as the Queen Latifah and the Wendy Williams show. Local flavor is what makes the Just Chamia show stand out to me. She interviews interesting people, some whom I have never heard of, as well as well known figures with mass appeal. Check out Miss Chamia LaRae, on her YouTube channel as well as in this exclusive Q&A ...
On Tuesday evening, Dec. 17, 2015, the Berkeley City Council voted to keep sending officers to the annual Urban Shield war games and weapons expo, even after one vocal citizen held up the expo’s best selling T-shirts and read their inscriptions: “Black Rifles Matter,” “This (barrel of a gun) is my peace symbol” and “Destruction cometh. And they shall seek peace. And there shall be none” (Ezekiel 7:25-27, King James Bible).
Moments into the second round, it was evident that Andre “Son of God” Ward would demolish Paul “The Real Gone Kid” Smith. Smith can now return to England and let them know first hand that Andre Ward is a really dangerous man in the ring. In a decision that was unanimously in his favor even before his opponent threw in the towel, Mr. Ward easily picked apart the defenses of Paul Smith.
The thrill isn’t gone, but certainly without BB King (Sept. 16, 1925-May 14, 2015) singing it, living it, being an example of it, well – the world without him and his faithful Lucille will not be quite the same any longer. Good times? Well, they are on “pause” presently. And then there is Michael Lange, our Malcolm X. Michael made his transition May 20. Michael’s Memorial Celebration is Saturday, May 30, 12 noon, at St. Columba Catholic Church.