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“It takes the hood to save the hood” is the bold quote written on the shirts of the strong male and female organizers involved in United Playaz (UP), a San Francisco based 20-plus-year-old organization founded by Rudy Corpuz with a focus on youth development and violence prevention. UP’s engagement with the community is motivated by the needs of the people. United Playaz is a diamond in our community, shining light through every aspect of its mission at every level.
The contributions that Kelvin Brooks the activist, father, brother, uncle and, as the community refers to him, “OG Legend,” made towards the betterment of BVHP and the City and County of San Francisco are countless. The loss of Kelvin Brooks on Aug. 18 from an asthma attack is ironic as he spent hours in neighborhood meetings addressing the toxins in the air specifically in BVHP. The passing of this great leader will cause a deep void of sadness in the community.
Two-term Richmond City Councilperson Jovanka is a leading contender for the open California State Assembly District 15 seat being contested by a dozen candidates. Jovanka wants “power to change the laws, to change oppressive, corrupt and racist policies … Politics impacts everything … We have to put ourselves at the table. If you’re not at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” She wants your vote and your support June 5 (and again in November) so she can take your causes to Sacramento.
In a historic day of action, more than 800 protests on Saturday urged lawmakers to pass gun control. In Washington, D.C., alone, organizers say up to 800,000 people took part in the March for Our Lives, which was organized by students who survived the Feb. 14 shooting massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In New York, another 150,000 people took to the streets; 85,000 rallied in Chicago; 55,000 marched in Los Angeles. Tens of thousands also rallied in Atlanta and Pittsburgh. And 20,000 people gathered in Parkland, Florida.
On July 6, 2016, Philando Castile was shot driving while Black outside of St. Paul, Minneapolis. Officer Jeronimo Yanez shot him five times. Philando’s murder was witnessed by his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat. Fast forward to June 16, 2017. A Minneapolis jury acquits Officer Yanez of Philando’s murder. On July 15, 2017, barely a month later, Minneapolis police officer Mohammad Noor shoots Justine Damond, a White woman from Australia.
As of 2016, “Love Life” became the City of Oakland’s motto. In early June, Health Through Art, a program of the Health Human Resource Education Center, announced the campaign release of Eric Norberg’s winning artwork piece, “Love Life.” The art will appear on 25 billboards throughout the city of Oakland displaying the slogan “Love Life, Don’t Take Life”. The first billboard, at 24th and Adeline, was dedicated and celebrated on the morning of Monday, June 12.
The African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), a nonprofit consortium of organizations dedicated to research, community collaboration and public engagement, is working to stop the preventable deaths of African Americans due to the consumption of menthol-flavored cigarettes engineered by the tobacco companies to addict Black people and others including Asian, Latino and LGBTQ populations.
Real love and loyalty is everlasting. On Feb. 2, 2015, at the young age of 37, the Bay Area lost The Jacka, one of its most talented and influential artists to ever breathe on a mic. The Jacka’s life was stolen from him when some coward murdered him in East Oakland off 94th and MacArthur. That dreadful day, the Bay Area lost a legend, and, simultaneously, Deltrice lost the love of her life.
Donte Clark, otherwise known on the streets of his hometown of Richmond as Tay, is the subject of a new film called “Romeo is Bleeding,” along with a sista by the name of Harmony. They set out to collectively transform “Romeo and Juliet” into a theater piece depicting the Richmond streets of today. This masterfully told cinematic story will be screening at the Matatu Festival of Stories on Thursday, Sept. 24, 7 p.m., at 645 W. Grand Ave. in Oakland.
Thirteen-year-old Lee Weathersby was the first homicide victim in the city of Oakland of 2014. Three weeks later, his older brother, Lamar Broussard, and his best friend were also shot and killed. No matter if the gun violence is perpetrated by police, or the so-called “gangsta homie,” these murders destroy our families and communities – mostly of color – in every aspect.
Nearly 800 community members, public officials, faith and thought leaders packed the pews of Third Baptist Church on Sunday to hear remarks from Mike Brown Sr., father of the 18-year-old shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. The event comes amid a storm of local protests decrying police brutality that have gained national attention. A somber Brown had little to say, but expressed gratitude to attendees for their support.
Dr. Willie Ratcliff is publisher of the San Francisco Bay View, one of the leading Black newspapers in the U.S. and a treasured source of left news in the Bay Area. In an interview with Michael Chase and Ragina Johnson, Ratcliff, a longtime resident of the city, reflected on the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and its closure, environmental racism and the changes in the Fillmore neighborhood, a historically Black area known as “Harlem West.”
Like the 1963 march, the 2013 march has the potential to become a watershed moment in history. But to make it so, we must do the hard work of building genuine relationships and alliances across the lines of color, nationality, gender and sexual orientation. We must build a grassroots agenda and an organizing strategy. We must leverage the people power represented at the march to effect public opinion and national policies.
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.
President Obama, who has organized, taught and represented this city, knows the situation well. He knows the guns are not made here. He knows Chicago’s tough gun laws are undermined by lax enforcement and lower standards outside the city. He knows that as the guns and drugs are flowing in, the jobs are flowing out.
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
General measures could move the cultural discussion and peoples’ behaviors in the right direction, whereas a focus on restricting gun ownership – except for people who fit appropriate medico-legal exclusion criteria – will probably worsen our cultural crisis, increase discrimination and police attacks, and increase the danger of greater social violence and chaos.