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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.
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.
A few things we should all be thinking about: A young man named Justin Carr (his name was initially reported as Cantrell) was shot in the head Sept. 21, the second night’s demonstrations in Charlotte. The first accounts came from clergy and other eyewitnesses. This is what one of them penned on his Facebook page. “Been in Uptown Charlotte with the protesters since 7:30. It was peaceful. Then for some reason, riot cops showed up. And within 5 mins (no exaggeration) a dude lay bleeding on the ground. After the young man went down, it became chaos. The police started this though. Remember that. Don’t let the news lie to you. Don’t let CMPD lie.”
A lot of activists in the U.S. joke during election times or when things get hot that they will move to Canada, but Canada is no utopia and can be rough living especially for people of color with disabilities, just like the U.S. There have been several cases of police brutality against people with disabilities, especially in Toronto. I spoke with Somali-Canadian singer and activist Sulekha Ali about her autistic brother’s run-in with the police on June 3, 2015, in Ottawa.
On April 18, Wesley Burton was killed by a hit and run driver on Martin Luther King and 60th Street in North Oakland in the early morning hours after his show, Side Show Radio. This father, radio man, music producer, friend and comrade meant a lot to a lot of people. I wanted to talk with Davey D about his thoughts on Wesley Burton, who he has known for at least the last 20 years. Here’s Davey D in his own words.
On Sept. 13, 2014, the most progressive of the Bay Area’s Black and pro-Black journalists came together to celebrate one another and to give awards to a well deserving few. It was also a salute to the real legacy of Black journalism in the United States that was born out of the fight for human rights and self-determination. The night was dedicated to the memory of the recently transitioned journalist and editor Kevin Weston.
The internet, founded by the U.S. government, was made accessible to the masses in the mid ‘90s. It has revolutionized how people access information and how quickly they can get information on almost anything from sources internationally. Now there is a battle going on between grassroots people across the country, small media organizations and media activists against a major attack on that speedy access by giant telecom and media conglomerates.
First it was being a rapper, then an author. Now the Bay Area-based renaissance man known as Fleetwood, aka Robert Bowden, has taken it to the next level with his new documentary, “I Just Wanna Ball,” which has been selected to play at the San Francisco Black Film Festival on Saturday, June 14, 4 p.m., at the Lush Life Gallery, 1320 Fillmore St. in the Jazz Heritage Center, San Francisco.
Greg Bridges is one of the Black broadcasting giants on the airwaves of the Bay Area. He was recently named “Announcer of the Year” by KCSM, yet ironically his show, Transitions on Traditions, faces an uncertain future at KPFA and Pacifica Radio, which has been mired in racism and discriminatory towards Black and other broadcasters of color from coast to coast.
Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance, an action and resource organization in Oakland advocating just, accountable and diverse media. She has been a listener representative on the KPFA Local Station Board since 2007 and a member of the Pacifica National Board of Directors since 2010. We asked her to comment on the situation from her perch as an insider. Here’s what we talked about.
Ever since the George Zimmerman verdict was read finding him “not guilty” and justice for a murdered Trayvon Martin was denied, there’s been a nationwide outcry for us as a country to sit down and have a serious conversation about race. President Obama encouraged us to have these conversations on race locally at home, amongst friends, at church and amongst our colleagues at work.
On April 11, a large number of people affiliated with KPFA radio station convened at Laney College in Oakland to discuss a number of issues that have been plaguing the station for decades and are threatening to rip it apart with a race and class civil war. Unaddressed racial and class disparities at KPFA have caused a number of Black broadcasters to abandon ship.
For the second week in a row, one of the largest audiences for any show on KPFA was disappointed not to hear the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and his Block Report on the air Wednesday at 8 a.m. Instead we heard an announcement by interim general manager Andrew Phillips that JR has been suspended. Getting punished for doing “too well” happens to Black folks much too often. Sign the two petitions to end the suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA and attend the Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m. at Laney College. This story is constantly being updated with new signatures and comments.
The fiery writing of JR Valrey began appearing in the Bay View a dozen years ago. JR made our original vision for the Bay View reality: to inspire Black youth to build a powerful Black community. As the Bay View’s associate editor and one of KPFA’s most popular programmers with his provocative Block Report Radio shows, JR and the youth who grew up on his empowering words and pictures are growing in influence, making a difference every day – and they’re just getting started.
It is time for all the staff and listeners to embrace the democratic victory that was won for us in legal and street battles of 1999-2001 and by the people who formed the original “Save KPFA” in the mid-1990s. KPFA was not sold from under us, and thanks to their efforts, it never will be. It is time to bring peace to KPFA and Pacifica and help strengthen this priceless resource.
The New York Times published a piece called “Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America” that pretty much had everyone in Oakland scratching their heads and mouthing a collective WTF? Is Oakland the last refuge for radicalism where outsiders are invading the city? No, Oakland is a city where people are not shy about fighting for and demanding justice.
Davey D, host of KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio and a well known and respected community activist and advocate, will headline the Homeboy Hotline's first annual fundraiser celebration on Saturday, June 23, 2-4 p.m., at Hibiscus Restaurant, located at 1745 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. Donations raised will fund the work of HBH, a nonprofit organization that provides support, resources and hope to the formerly incarcerated.
There’s more mischief underway at community radio station KPFA. KPFA subscribers will soon be receiving ballots in the mail asking them to vote on whether media activist Tracy Rosenberg should be recalled from her seat on the KPFA board. This swiftboat-style attack on the station’s hardest working board member must be defeated!
In honoring Ms. Houston, will we talk about it or remain addicted to painting rosy pictures and acting like we aren’t touched by the scourge of addictions that’s systemic in our society? If we wanna honor Whitney, , how about helping put an end to the demons that plagued her and so many others? How about us having a honest, impactful and earnest discussion about addictions and mental health so we can spare future generations this pain.
We get criminalized in Bayview Hunters Point on the T-Train, and the police chase people down because they don’t have a transfer. I spoke before the Board of Supervisors, and a couple of days later Kenneth Harding was shot down over a $2 transfer. African American youth in San Francisco have a 70 percent unemployment rate, so our population is rapidly decreasing. It’s going to continue to decrease when the police are criminalizing our poverty. When I tried to videotape a cop, they put me under arrest, they beat me up. I was hospitalized, and I was put in jail. They gave me $95,000 bail.