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Steve Bloom, a comrade and veteran activist, asked me several questions regarding my contribution to “Look for Me in the Whirlwind.” The questions delve into aspects of our political struggle against oppression back in the 1960s and ‘70s and are still pressing concerns. My story is closer to what untold numbers of highly motivated 1960s and 1970s “revolutionaries” usually don’t write about or discuss nowadays. I believe I have answered comrade Steve Bloom’s questions.
We write to ask your assistance in securing compassionate release from prison for an elderly, disabled prisoner in poor health. Richard (Mafundi) Lake is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in an Alabama state prison – the mandatory term under the state’s “three strikes and you’re out” policy. Now 76, Mafundi is in poor health in an overcrowded prison that is inadequately heated during the cold weather and without air conditioning in the stifling Alabama summers.
In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.
By the late 1940s, after the war, virtually every young Black youth in San Francisco had a chance to attend City College, for free. We now need another generation of K-12 Black students to gain that chance. Now, the challenge for an entire community of Black people is how to ignite the interest of young Blacks to compete for the education they need – as Malcolm X once stated, “by any means necessary.”
As the nation celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, the 50th anniversary holds a special place in the life of the Rev. Dr. Amos Brown, senior pastor at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco and president of the San Francisco NAACP. Fifty years ago, Brown was at the March on Washington as a student from Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Martin King said as long as there is economic inequality, there will be racial inequality.The lack of economic empowerment in our community comes from economic dysfunction that is a result of – let’s be real – racism as it relates to how this country has been structured so that the classes, in a real sense, exploit the masses, and especially people of color and, without a doubt, African Americans.
Oakland may seem like a local anomaly with its big increase in homicides in 2011-12 and the anti-crime hysteria which now engulfs it. But Oakland is just a prime example of the intertwining of crime and criminalization under capitalism, in which the ruling class divides working people one from another and targets particular groups for victimization.
Lynne Stewart is one of the last of a dying breed of political lawyers who represent victims of government tyranny as her quest in life. Now she is one of America’s newest political prisoners. She represented people like Larry Davis and members of the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, among other high profile cases.