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.
On Dec. 15 in Oakland, a protest was planned, held and led by students on the issue of police brutality. It was held at the Fruitvale BART Station where Oscar Grant had unfortunately lost his life at the hands of BART police officers. Over 200 students gathered to have their voices heard – and they would not take no for an answer. Youths who are angry with what is happening made hardcore and inspiring speeches.
I thought of my son who was at the Homefulness Revolutionary Youth Summer Camp and the soon to open DEECOLONIZE Academy school launching in September and felt so much gratitude for conscious programs and revolutionary schools like this. They exist so that our children can grow up aware with a revolutionary state of mind. The world needs what Homefulness is so graciously and unapologetically offering.
In March 2014, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department announced it would begin shutting off water service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers every week if their water bills were not paid. Thousands of families are now without water. A coalition of grassroots groups submitted a report to the United Nations naming these shut-offs as a violation of human rights.
Maya Angelou had to be the name of a poet. It is too perfect, too lyrical to fit any other personality. She blazed an incandescent streak across the heavens as the voice of memory – as poet, actress, author and activist. She taught generations of students as an honored professor of literature. As a young woman, she struck the boards as an African dancer. And she was a close friend and colleague of Malcolm X.
For us po’ people from Oakland to the Bronx caught in the struggle of survival economies, we rarely if ever have the time, energy or resources to stop and examine the system that is criminalizing, incarcerating and gentrifying us out of our own neighborhoods, barrios and communities. But we must, ‘cause if we don’t de-gentrify, if we don’t decolonize, our hoods will die. And we can’t de-colonize without understanding the beast we have been forced to be a part of.
Last month’s Community Newsroom at POOR was in honor of Black History Month – even though we know at POOR Magazine that every month is Black history. One of our guest speakers, Kinara Sankofa, blew the crowd away. Being that I graduated from an Africana Studies program, his name automatically intrigued me because Sankofa is an important part of Black history.
As the corporate domination of our food, land, air and water continues and the resistance heats up to the monster known as Monsanto, it must be said that in the U.S. it’s us po’ folks of all cultures and ages that are getting the worst of it. Some obvious, most not. And no one is really speaking for us. “The poor people’s plate is rooted in capitalist hate for the three job working mamaz caught in the welfare state.”
In 2012 POOR Magazine’s family of landless, indigenous peoples and revolutionary donors took back a small slice of Pachamama to begin the construction of the self-determined housing, education, community garden and art revolution we call HOMEFULNESS. In 2013, with your revolutionary donation to our new Indiegogo Equity Campaign, we can start the building of this global template for change!
Reporting and supporting as a revolutionary poverty journalist, I have done multiple stories on the increasing criminalization suffered by houseless peoples in the U.S. As a daughter raised in a houseless family, I was personally cited, arrested and eventually incarcerated for the act of being houseless and living in the car with my mama.
From the Mission District in San Francisco, to West, North and now East Oakland, several neighborhoods in LA, young Black and Brown men, convening, talking, laughing, being young, are viewed as “dangerous,” “suspect” or criminal. Laws like the gang injunction are instituted and applied, and eventually we are completely wiped away like we were never there.
Unseen scars are what so many of our single parents in poverty are struggling with, living with, pushing through. Add the requisite criminalization of poor parents through welfare systems, child protective services, landlords and school systems and, for immigrant parents, the anti-immigrant hate and racism; it is a constant battlefield.
It had been over 20 years since me and my mama were houseless on the streets of LA, sleeping in our car and facing police harassment for the sole act of being poor and without a roof in the U.S. The only place we could go to get a break was skid row because it was the one place the police seemed to leave us alone. Now I was back, but something was bizarrely wrong.
From Philly to New Jersey, from the South Bronx to Haiti, us po’ folks don’t need Hurricane Sandy to have a crisis, ‘cause we already in Hurricane Survival. Between gentriFUKation, removal, violence, poverty and struggle just to be housed and clothed and fed and safe, the crisis called Sandy is just one more thing to deal with in an already impossible situation.
Glen Cove was a large village and ceremonial grounds that was used by many different tribes throughout the Bay Area. This area has been deemed, declared and even federally recognized as sacred to indigenous peoples. Many Natives alive today have ties to ancestors buried there.
From removal to reparations ... from houselessness to HOMEFULNESS...From indigenous lands stolen to budget crumbs throw-en