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On August 22, 1974, in the City of Santa Clara, California a beautiful baby girl was born to Lewis Wesley and Linda Joyce Pasters [Dr. Willie Ratcliff’s first-born child] and they named her Tanisha Kamilah Pasters. She was a happy child. Tanisha was the epitome of courage and strength. All throughout her life she was faced with several health challenges. Tanisha never wavered in her faith, nor allowed her infirmities to impede her lifestyle. What a great testimony she had through all of this. We are grateful for the 44 years of life that God loaned her to us.
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the first day of the historic National Prison Strike, Democracy Now interviewed Amani Sawari. The segment began with an excellent interview with Cole Dorsey of IWOC and then suddenly the bright, brilliant, radiant face of 23-year-old Amani filled the screen and a voice of eloquence, inspiration and power filled the room. All it took was host Amy Goodman saying she’s a journalist, and, involuntarily, spontaneously, I pointed at the screen and shouted, “There’s the new Bay View editor!” Amani and I have been talking ever since, and she came to visit Oct. 8-12. What fun we had.
On Sept. 24, our San Francisco Bay View newspaper was recognized as a Legacy Business by the San Francisco Historical Preservation Commission and Small Business Commission. This is quite significant! This status, which honors enterprises with 30 or more years of community service, means additional city and county support, education and promotional assistance to maintain their neighborhood’s traditions and excellence.
His name is Veronza Bowers Jr., a former member and captain of the original Black Panther Party. After more than 44 years in prison, 14 years beyond his mandatory release date, Veronza has faith that with his Freedom Team of top lawyers and the love of multitudes of supporters around the world, he will win his freedom soon. Political prisoners are kept in prison when the “law enforcers” they opposed decades ago carry grudges they pass down the generations, vowing those prisoners will die in prison. But the words of little Pharoah Dawson, who wrote, “Veronza, don’t die in prison!” are more powerful.
The most elegant event we’ve ever attended was the San Francisco Housing Development Corp.’s 30th Anniversary Gala at the wondrous California Academy of Sciences – yes, guests could see the exhibits! – on Friday, May 11. We, Dr. Willlie and Mary Ratcliff, were invited to accept the Power of Words award, and we were thrilled to be presented it by SFHDC Board Member Dorris Vincent, an old friend and a pillar of the Bayview Hunters Point community. These are her remarks:
In our grand traditions of African Liberation Day/Month – and May First/International Workers’ Day – WE remember and honor our Beloved Ancients and Ancestors from yesteryears and yesterday. Recently, super-(s)heroes such as freedom fighters Mama WINNIE MADIKIZELA-MANDELA and KIILU NYASHA made their Spiritual Transformations. Warrior Kiilu is a great inspiration and uncompromising advocate for Power to the People, freeing our political prisoners and abolishing prisons.
Three testimonies from behind enemy lines: When I read your newspaper, it gives me life and sends revolutionary fervor running through my veins... --- Bay View gives me journalism regarding African Americans and the state of racist “lock ‘em up” laws that are laser focused on us... --- I’ve been getting your newspaper for almost a year now and yours is, bar none, the baddest paper on the planet. I’m so glad it found its way to me...
I’m writing this editorial because I want to brag on my husband, Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff, and tell you why he and I have faith that a benefactor, someone with deep pockets who cares, will step forward in time to save the Bay View and keep it in print – an angel who understands how much the Bay View means to a prisoner being tortured and a youngster in the hood being framed. Dr. Ratcliff was that angel, that benefactor, to Gladys Knight in 1975, when she ran out of money in the midst of producing a major film in Valdez, Alaska called “Pipe Dreams.”
My name is Troy Williams. On Monday, Juneteenth, Black Liberation Day, I agreed to be the editor for the Bay View newspaper. It is with great honor, respect and much consideration that I step into this position. I recognize that over the past 40-plus years the Bay View has been a voice for the people. Simply put, we speak truth to power, logic to the illogical, from the perspective of those who seldom have a platform to speak from. The time has come for us to stand together and share our insights in a manner that will continue to strengthen our voices and move us beyond the pitfalls that came before or lie ahead.
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
James Curtis Ratcliff was born on April 29, 1934, in East Liberty in “Deep East” Texas, a community of farmers and ranchers founded over 200 years ago by ancestors of the Ratcliffs and several other families, who still live there. For more than 50 years, he was a driver for Sunset Scavenger and then went to work for his brother, Dr. Willie Ratcliff, who had a contract with Alyeska Pipeline Co. James made his transition on Nov. 30, 2016, after a long illness. He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.
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.
Anthony Ratcliff died on July 23, 2016, after a valiant fight against throat and lung cancer. He was born in Oakland, California, on May 18, 1956, to mother Geneva Cleopatra Draper Ratcliff, a homemaker (now deceased), and father Dr. Willie Ratcliff, a contractor and publisher of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Anthony was greatly beloved and will be sorely missed. His homegoing service is Friday, July 29, 1 p.m., at Common Ground Covenant Church, Sacramento.
Community activist, retired civil service employee and U.S. Navy veteran, we have lost a great man. Michael went on to live with the Lord. His memory and legacy of helping others and claiming their self-worth is immeasurable. For those of us fortunate enough to know Mike, failure was not an option. He never gave up on life, people or family! Michael will forever be missed by those of us he leaves behind.
TODAY, MONDAY, MAY 23, is the LAST DAY TO REGISTER for the June 7 primary election. Rarely in my lifetime has the choice been so clear. As U.S. president, Bernie Sanders would definitely make Black lives better. He is “unbought and unbossed” in the tradition of Shirley Chisholm. A big win in the California primary June 7 could give him the leverage to win the nomination – and the presidency. To vote for Bernie, you must be registered either as a Democrat or No Party Preference, and the last day to register for the primary election is Monday, May 23.
Although we remain conscious of past events described, ... Justice postponed even a second is still justice denied. ... Like the rivers of the Nile, Black blood is constantly flowing ... And it pains me greatly to realize how many of us are still not knowing. ... It is also beautiful to witness my hero Sekou Odinga finally free ... After 33 years in the belly of such an insatiable beast. ... To see him finally liberated physically brings hope to me.
In the mix, during the recent hot Friday early evening, for the PORT OF SAN FRANCISCO RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONY, that included Supervisor SCOTT WIENER, D-8. Local Bayview community members and Port officials, that included Commission President LESLIE KATZ and Commissioner KIMBERLY BRANDON. Special guest GUY JOHNSON, son of the late MAYA ANGELOU, accompanied by his wife, lovely STEPHANIE FLOYD JOHNSON, took part in the celebration.
Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.
For many months here in Texas, Comrade Rashid, our minister of defense, and I have struggled hard to shed light on the heinous acts of barbaric violence perpetrated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees against prisoners of every race, nation and creed. If it was not for Dr. Willie and Sister Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the San Francisco Bay View, revolutionary voices might never be heard by the public at large.
It’s time for Black people to wake up and use the power that set us free. We have not claimed our victory. We can get started on repairing our political power. We all must start turning out to vote. We can’t turn out at 20 percent or less and expect the power structure to meet our demands – or even our most basic needs. Let us show our resolve by getting our community ready to vote, then voting 100 percent in November. Oct. 20 is the last day to register for the Nov. 4 election.
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