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The new Kevin Hart movie, “Night School,” was about so many things, but like a good artist, as my poverty skola-teacher Mama Dee used to say, Kevin Hart didn’t pound on the table. Through subtle and sketch comedy, pranks, relationship issues, innuendo and character development, he showed an often unseen part of Mans Skoo (as I call it), which is an ableist, racist, classist institution known as Special Education, which so many of us who live with so-called “learning disabilities” know way too much about.
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
“This is the Black Panthers’ vision, and it’s being evicted,” said Aunti Frances Moore, revolutionary founder of the Self-Help Hunger Program and poverty skola and teacher with POOR Magazine, speaking on the impending eviction from her North Oakland home of eight years and the base of her deep rooted revolutionary community work with the Self-Help Hunger Program at Driver Plaza, a small pocket park at 61st and Adeline, a block away from her apartment.
We youth scholars from Deecolonize Academy and POOR Magazine submitted 14 Freedom of Information Act requests to 14 departments in the City of Oakland, only to receive a series of messages from two of the departments saying, “We have no documents,” and no word from the others. On Jan. 16, we will be making a demand to the City of Oakland and AC Transit that, with the money they received for BRT, they support Oakland residents to be able to stay here as reparations for the millions of dollars they are receiving to displace us out of here.
The rubber sides of the boat were like arms – thick, round, hard. “These are the boats refugees have to travel in. Men sit on the side, the women, children and elders in the middle, sometimes getting splashed and sick with the leaking gasoline from the engine because they are covering miles of ocean to go from one country to another.” The tour guide from Médecins Sans Frontières, known in English as Doctors Without Borders, was narrating the “Forced From Home” traveling exhibit of removal, imperialist wars and NGO and government abuse of indigenous bodies across the Global South.
UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
This was a cop calling me. He had my 13-year-old son, Tibu, who he had “detained” at West Oakland BART for doing nothing wrong – for selling the newspapers that he and his comrades at Deecolonize Academy produced. The cop profiled him as “a runaway” – code for houseless youth. It’s a constitutional right to free speech that Tibu and the other newspaper sellers are exercising, something the youth skolaz are learning right now in their oppressed People’s Herstory class at school.
The snow shined against the afternoon sun. The multicolored flags bearing the images of our ancestors rippled and flapped in the afternoon breeze as the “Po’ Folx Delegation” from POOR Magazine and Decolonize Academy rode in on a rented four-wheel drive car. After a long, harrowing journey from Huchuin, Ohlone (Oakland, California), in two planes and a rental car we finally arrived to find an avenue of flags from hundreds of nations across Mama Earth, including our favorite, where we piled out of the car to take our first picture, the RBG flag of Black liberation.
This country was stolen by hate-filled, manipulative wealth-hoarding colonizers like Trump who raped, abused and murdered first peoples of this land and bought, sold, raped and killed other humans for free labor. Trump is already here. He has been here for 525 years. So realize the work we are all doing is that much more serious now and we all need to stay strong and continue the badass organizing work we are already doing.
“Due to the multitude of lies and stereotypes that permeate our capitalist society about poor people and people of color, we all have collectively bought into the idea that we need to call 911 to be safe,” said Jeremy Miller, organizer and revolutionary family member of POOR Magazine and Idriss Stelley Foundation and co-organizer of the recent How to Not Call the Police EVER workshop.
Today and every day throughout this struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline, I prayed in thanks to the spirit of my orphaned Taino-Boriken mama, the Ohlone relatives of this (Oak)land and so many of our ancestors from all four corners who I pray to every day, as word from Obama came through that he has finally listened to us all and suggested the halting of this corporate desecration called the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“No one in the neighborhood believes that fire was an accident,” continued Donald about the recent tragic three-alarm fire that completely destroyed 10 small and very small thriving businesses on 73rd and BlackArthur. Along with the eradication of people’s long-time rented and owned homes through all means of politrickster moves and paper trails which the youth skolaz reveal in their report, local businesses are under attack.
“I am worried about our drum teacher at Deecolonize Academy, Uncle Val, who, like Master Frohm and so many more, should not have been forced to leave our neighborhood,” said Tiburcio Garcia and Kimo Umu from Deecolonize Academy, who spoke at a recent Oakland City Council meeting which dealt with a proclamation for the powerful Love Life movement and an eviction moratorium.
Although the courts said we lost, we all know our fight for justice has just begun. Realize the issues of racism, gentrification, poverty and houselessness are all linked and so are we all. So as we continue to fight for the crumbs and bang on the systems that oppress us, we also need to build our own – for Mario, for Sandra, for Alex, for Amilcar, for O’Shaine, for Kenny, for Josiah – for so many more and for all of us.
There are so many untold stories of how and why people become un-housed. Loss of a job, a partner, the onset of an illness or a crisis, but most of the time, in the Bay Area, it’s because of a greed-inspired landlord raising rent, evicting for profit so he or she can house the droves of 20-30-something wealthy, mostly white people streaming into town for the tech industry.
Hundreds of students walked out of class Dec. 11 to protest the SFPD murder of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto and other young people. The Dec. 2 firing squad-style execution of Mario has united Black and Brown youth. Young people are deeply affected by police lynchings, wondering, “Am I next?” In city after city, they’re the ones taking the lead in the struggle for justice. Three friends from Deecolonize Academy in Deep East Oakland report on how they are protesting the SFPD murder of Mario Woods. They are Kimo Umu, Tiburcio Gray-Garcia Robles and Tyray Taylor.
The broken windows model of policing uses code words like “disorder” and the metaphor of “broken windows,” focusing on the importance of “fixing,” aka policing, getting rid of, cleaning out broken windows as a way of “preventing” more “serious crime.” The poor, disabled and houseless scholars from POOR Magazine who have experienced the violence of this private policing launched the WeSearch Policy Group in 2013.
Help transform more people from houselessness to Homefulness in East Oakland, where there’s room for four straw-bale houses, the first to be built in any city in the country, but the cost of building permits is sky-high. PG&E wants a total of $42,000, with the first $8,000 due in TWO WEEKS, and East Bay MUD wants $38,000. An effort to persuade the utilities to reduce or waive the fees and “sponsor” this historic project is underway, but the $8,000 must be raised now to keep the project alive. To offer help of any kind, contact Tiny at email@example.com.
I listened as the supervisor at the Housing Authority of Monterey County rattled off a long list of reasons that they thought released their agency from any responsibility for the crisis of Bessie Taylor and her disabled son Devonte, who are now living houselessly in Salinas, California, because the Housing Authority took too long to move on the family’s reasonable accommodation claim, and they subsequently lost their home of 22 years.
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