Tag: Civil Rights
As incarcerated people across the country began a three-week series of protests, a contingent of physicians, health professions students and other allied health professionals expressed their solidarity with the protestors. More than 125 students and healthcare providers signed an open letter endorsing the National Prison Strike, with many participating in local solidarity actions or making phone calls to prisons to show support for the strikers’ demands.
With heartbreak, yet hope, we reach out to you in the Name of our Lord and Liberator, Jesus, the Christ. It was unsettling and upsetting to witness the meeting with you, our moral leaders, and one of the most amoral persons to ever occupy the White House in the name of discussing prison reform. We are sure it must have been intoxicating to walk the corridors of power and sit at the table of governing authority. Unfortunately, those precincts of power have been infected by White supremacy and moral bankruptcy.
The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
The problems with Alan Dershowitz’s position regarding Obama’s taking a picture with Farrakhan are two-fold. First, by associating Obama with Farrakhan’s views, he is painting with too broad a brush. The second problem with Alan Dershowitz’s complaint is the static nature of his worldview. We can love our allies, and still have a concern that they do not speak against our interest when our interests diverge from theirs. Alan Dershowitz and others of our allies must come to understand this.
Acting Mayor London Breed, San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor, issued the following statement on Jan. 15, the birthday and federal holiday of Martin Luther King Jr.: “Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a time for solemn reflection and commemoration of the life and legacy of one of our country’s most distinguished leaders. It is a time for us to remember and think critically about the values he stood for: social and racial justice, service and equality."
Journalist and poet Frank Marshall Davis is an important voice who channeled his social convictions through the power of the pen, and proved to be an unsung hero in the struggle for human rights. "Frank Marshall Davis established his reputation as a socially minded poet employing free-verse forms.” His work has been recognized by the National Poetry Foundation, stating on their website: “Davis concerned himself with portraying Black life, protesting racial inequalities, and promoting Black pride.”
My life began in the Jim Crow South, in Houston, Texas. I remember the segregated world I was born into … the separate water fountains, the back of the bus, the going around to the back door of Mr. Fontnoe’s grocery store to buy milk for my mother and grandmother. I recall the segregated section of the movie theaters – and the long, seemingly endless net partitioning the giant sandy beaches, separating the “Colored” folks from the “Whites.” Can you imagine that it once was a reality, a segregated beach!
His name was Richard Claxton Gregory, born Oct. 12, 1932, in St. Louis, Missouri. But the world knew him as Dick Gregory, comedian, human rights activist, social critic and presidential candidate. As a young man, he won an athletic scholarship as a runner, which took him to college. But he really hit his mark as a comedian who told sidesplitting jokes about American segregation and racism. The great civil rights activist Dick Gregory died this week.
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.
Since September, over three hundred Black Jews have announced their intention to refuse any military order to report for reserve duty, accusing the Israeli government of state-sponsored racism against citizens of Ethiopian origin. The soldiers, who include fighters from all Israel Defense Forces infantry brigades, as well as some of its most specialized commando units, say that as long as the state does not respect their civil rights, they will in turn refrain from fulfilling their civic obligations.
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.
After one frustrating year of union bargaining, AFT 2121 faculty at City College of San Francisco conducted a one-day unfair labor practice strike “of all classes at all 11 campuses” on April 27 because the administration has not been bargaining in good faith as it proposes “to shrink classes by 26 percent and lay off more than a quarter of the faculty.” These cuts are staggering.
For over 500 years, African people have been fighting enslavement and genocide against white and Arab slavery. Billions of lives later, we are still fighting for self-determination and reparations today. Long time people’s warrior Jahahara Alkebulan has written a book on the subject titled “Afrikans Deserve Reparations!” that we all need to take the time and analyze. Check him out in his own words.
As an African American, I have struggled to understand why so many of my Black brothers and sisters seem to prefer Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s record on civil rights is indeed extensive, albeit inconsistent and often ignoble. By contrast, Bernie has a long, proud, consistent record on fighting inequality – often far ahead of the Democratic Party in this regard – and always far, far ahead of Hillary Clinton.
Beneath the banner “Justice or Else,” this march appeared different from the Oct. 20, 1995, event. Minister Louis Farrakhan called for an end to police violence against African Americans and demanded a halt to Black-on-Black crime, which kills more inner-city men than all other causes combined. The Nation of Islam leader used the occasion of the 20th anniversary commemoration of the Million Man March at the steps of the U.S. Capitol to condemn the loss of life of Blacks.
Leading Black women across the nation are expressing outrage this week over the videotaped violent incident showing a White police officer in Columbia, S.C., grabbing a Black 16-year-old female high school student around her neck, flipping her desk, then dragging her across the floor and tossing her across the classroom. Many fear the growth of such incidents unless corrective action is taken.
Gordon Roger Alexander Buchanan Parks (1912 – 2006), pre-eminent photographer, musician, activist, filmmaker and writer, would have been 103 years old this year. This is not as outlandish a figure as it might seem, given that there have recently been a flood of centenarians living well into the turn of the next century. But did you know that he was born dead? Watch the wonderful documentary, “Half Past Autumn: The Life and work of Gordon Parks,” to find out more!
The uprising in Baltimore has delivered an unmistakable and powerful message that the time is over when people will tolerate the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police. The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing – and the ongoing, infuriating lies and coverup – is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S., from North Charleston, S.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, from Pasco, Washington, to New York City and beyond – THIS MUST STOP!
Students of the Revolutionary Youth Media Education class at Deecolonize Academy haven been learning, writing and living police terror and resistance as children of Black, Brown and poor parents. On Jan. 19, all of the youth skolaz at Deecolonize Academy and adult poverty skolaz at POOR Magazine began the day marching for MLK, for Black lives and for all of us, followed up by a trip to see the movie “Selma” and ended with a die-in outside the movie theatre in SF.
I encourage all men and women prisoners to continue to press onward with our Agreement to End Hostilities through all corridors of state and county facilities. We are fighting for human justice. We call on all citizens to get involved with social change now. We shall not allow even Gov. Brown to destroy our faith in humanity. The Prisoner Human Rights Movement shall stand as ONE clenched fist in solidarity against CDCr oppression.