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Gov. Newsom’s executive order halts death penalty. Now let’s drop LWOP!

Our hope is that Gov. Newsom will extend the equity and justice informed lens that brought him to stop the death penalty as he moves forward examining other forms of extreme sentencing in California, including Life Without the Possibility of Parole.

Keith Tharpe and the death penalty’s racist roots

Unacceptable racial bias is at the root of capital punishment; it is an ignominious bloody stain running deep, with terribly tragic results, in the frayed fabric of our country.

Poor People’s Campaign

The Poor People’s Campaign is all about the oppressed citizens of this nation – making the connection between the working proletariat and the lumpen proletariat. This will close the gap between the working poor and the non-working poor, who share common interests, such as affordable housing, affordable health care, adequate educational institutions, adequate wages that provide a standard of living that’s suitable for a human being. Once we bring the lower class together by successfully campaigning around our shared human rights, then we can bring an end to such exploitations as mass incarceration, the death penalty, homelessness and poverty.

Retaliation against Ohio prison strikers: Poisoning food, cutting off contact with...

I answered the call Aug. 21, 2018, and put together a hunger strike team. My name was released on the local WTOL News as one of the protesters with the Nation of Islam, who showed their support by hitting the parking lot entrance with banners to protest mass incarceration and prison slavery. A plot to kill me and poison my food by an officer was exposed. But I’m hard to kill. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

Cal Shakes’ stunning ‘War of the Roses’ closes Sept. 15

Cal Shakes’ stunning production of “The War of the Roses” by Eric Ting and Philippa Kelly, directed by Eric Ting, continues through Sept. 15. It is an amazing adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Henry VI trilogy and Richard III. I was not intimidated when I learned that the show was about four hours long. However, I did approach my seat cautiously and, at intermission, when I looked at my watch, I could hardly believe two hours had passed. I loved it. The time literally flew by.

Former Black Panther Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald will remain behind bars

On May 4, former Black Panther Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald agreed to a five-year denial of parole instead of insisting on a parole hearing, even though he has served more time than any former Black Panther still behind bars: 49 years. Chip is now 67 years old and living with the consequences of a stroke; his friends and family fear he will die in prison. He has been moved from one state prison to another over the years and is currently in the California State Prison-Los Angeles. I spoke to his lawyer, Charles Carbone, whose office is in San Francisco.

Former Black Panther Romaine ‘Chip’ Fitzgerald seeks parole after 49 years...

On April 26, former Black Panther Herman Bell was released from prison in New York State after 45 years. That leaves at least 10 surviving members of the Black Panther Party behind bars, including Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, who is currently held at the California State Prison-Los Angeles. His next parole hearing is scheduled for May 4. I spoke to his friend Arthur League, a former Panther who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Prisoners United for Human Rights: A new era of sentencing reform...

Most of the dialogue regarding sentencing reform centers on nonviolent offenses. Yet it is not necessary to limit reforms to those convicted of nonviolent or minor offenses. In order to truly address our nation’s prison problem, policymakers should also substantially revise policies affecting those serving long sentences, including life with and without parole. There are important legal, moral, fiscal and public safety reasons to do so.

LWOP (Life in Prison Without Parole): Dreams derailed or deferred

Imagine for a moment the faces, emotions and mind-set of teenagers and/or young adults from all walks of life who suddenly find, as I had, that because you are closely associated with someone or provided something to someone who committed murder, you too, under the law, are now just as responsible for capital murder without ever having such intent or a clue that anyone would be seriously injured or killed.

DeWayne Ewing and the abomination of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death...

In 2017, Federal District Court Judge Charles Breyer denied the habeas appeal of DeWayne Ewing, an innocent man, based on the timeliness of his appeal rather than on the facts of the case, because of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), passed in 1996 – the Senate voted 91-8 – and signed by Bill Clinton. Part of the way Congress tried to make the death penalty “more effective” was to limit the ability of prisoners to appeal, especially to have multiple appeals.

Operation PUSH: Prison work stoppage called for MLK Day

The following message is from a group of prisoners who are spread throughout the Florida Department of Corrections. It was sent anonymously and compiled from a series of letters received on Nov. 26 and 27. According to their statement, these prisoners plan to initiate a work stoppage or “laydown” beginning Monday, Jan. 15, coinciding with Martin Luther King Day, in nonviolent protest of conditions in Florida prisons. They are calling it Operation PUSH.

They say the police said I was a snitch, but what...

So tell your little neo-fascist friends – who have no life outside of what revolves around these prison plantations – that they’re right. As long as we have sick individuals who have lost touch with their own sense of humanity, who play with and destroy our lives, who refuse to see us as human beings deserving of respect, I’m going to keep on so-called snitching! Now, go tell, gossip, chat about that!

Wiping the stain of capital punishment clean

Soon the Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a case with the potential to end this nation’s abominably long and freakish experimentation with the death penalty. That’s right, drum roll, please. Because, if it grants certiorari in Hidalgo v. Arizona – a case Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe describes as emblematic of “the problems with our [country’s] current capital punishment regimes” – America’s broken and vile “machinery of death” can finally be trashed in the junkyard of our dark, wayward humanity. Implore the Supreme Court to wipe capital punishment’s bloody stain away. Forever.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is punishing a prosecutor for opposing the...

The top prosecutor in Orlando, Florida, took to a podium outside the Orange County courthouse last week to outline a new policy: Her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any capital case. The prosecutor, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, told assembled reporters that seeking the death penalty is “not in the best interests of this community or in the interest of justice.” Ayala’s decision to stop seeking the death penalty was bound to be controversial. But the announcement has kicked off a fire storm.

‘Without Mercy’ review: What to do when your daughter is murdered?

When a person dies, the living find it hard sometimes to carry on. The loss of a loved one is something one never gets over, and when the death is violent and the victim young, the bitterness is that much harder to swallow. In Patricia Milton’s new play, “Without Mercy,” closing this weekend, Thursday-Saturday, March 23 and 25, 8 p.m., at the Off Broadway West Theatre Company, we meet a grieving mother and daughter, Joanna Parks and Bethany Matthews.

ArtReach: Exhibition of artwork and poetry by 20 men on San...

Last June, an inspiring and thought provoking art exhibition took place in London, in the UK. From June 24 to July 6, 2016, approximately 20 inmates from San Quentin’s death row showcased their work alongside mine; I make collages and sculptures from discarded objects I pick up along the banks of the River Thames. The name of the exhibition was ArtReach (reaching out with art), and the aim of it was to enable prisoners to share their work with the outside world.

Strike the punishment clause from the 13th Amendment

In a society where peaceful resistance is purported to be the correct method of protest, we must ask ourselves why these thousands of prisoners, engaging in peaceful methods of protest, are being retaliated against and punished in the most brutal and inhumane ways? The answer is simple. The actions of these courageous prisoners – however peaceful – are not constitutionally protected.

The movement inside Texas prisons will not be complete until the...

I spend countless hours reading and scanning alternative newspapers, journals and magazines that provide a platform for prisoners who write. I don’t see many revolutionary essays or articles being written by female Texas prisoners. I know you all can’t be content with the conditions you are being housed under, and I know for a fact you are not being given the dignity and respect you deserve. So I must ask: “Why aren’t we hearing from you?”

Bernie Sanders speaks to Cleveland’s Black community at Olivet Baptist Church

The Community Coalition Concerned for Black Life convened a town hall-style meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the historic Olivet Institutional Baptist Church on Cleveland’s majority Black east side on Saturday, March 5. Organizers said that the overall purpose of the meeting at Olivet was to discuss issues affecting the Black community and how Sanders would address such issues if ultimately elected president.

Where is Kamala Harris on this Mario Woods killing?

In the wake of the brutal police execution of Mario Woods by San Francisco police in Bayview Hunters Point, many are asking where is California state Attorney General Kamala Harris? She was elected with the hope and expectation, naive as it may be, that she of all people would be out there weighing in and demanding justice for Mario. Sadly Harris has thus far been pretty much absent from the fight.

Letest News

Black History Month in the Fillmore

Black History Month 2019 exploded at the Fillmore Heritage Center with 17 events that celebrated different facets of our very diverse community. There was Fiyah Friday, Fillmore legend LaRon Mayfield’s Aquarius Bash featuring DJ Drama, the weekly Tuesday Bluesday, the Samba Percussion class, a Night of R&Bay featuring DJs DJ 12 and Black Marc, The Global African Experience presentation by the legendary historian Runoko Rashidi, an intimate and epic evening with the Grammy award winning R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! and the African Diaspora party.

Menthol milestone, the anniversary no one is celebrating

Menthol has been the tobacco industry’s recruitment tool for far too long. It has been added to cigarettes for nearly a century, masking tobacco’s harsh flavor, making the smoke feel smoother and easier to inhale – but that ease comes with a price. The smoothness of menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply, so harmful particles can settle lower in the lungs. Menthol cigarettes are also harder to stop – people who use menthol cigarettes have a lower rate of successfully quitting.

Celebrate Dr. Hannibal Williams for making a difference – keep his...

Liberation House, the first residential facility for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction that reached out to Afro-American men, is another example of its founder, Dr. Williams, making a difference. During its 30 years of operation, Liberation House was an extremely successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program which successfully helped thousands of men from every walk of life attain their sobriety.

Why we love Jeff Adachi

Jeff Adachi was the only official in this city we could trust to fight for us, the Black and Brown and poor San Franciscans being bulldozed out by a city drunk on its wealth and power. San Francisco’s jails are 57 percent Black, yet Blacks are down to about 3 percent of the population. Those were his clients.

Celebrate Cultural Landmark designation of the Arthur Coleman Medical Center

You’re invited! Please join us at the Coleman Medical Center on Tuesday, March 26, for an open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m., 6301 Third St. (at Ingerson), San Francisco 94124. Visit this landmark center for Black health! Meet the staff and board of the Bayview Hunters Point Clinic. RSVP please to health@bayviewclinic.org. The event is free.