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Congratulations, San Francisco! We did it. We began with our Black History Month Kickoff Reception, which was held at our local CBS-KPIX Main Studios on Jan. 31, where celebrities enjoyed mixing it up with our community. City Hall followed by launching their own impressive venue to celebrate Black History on Feb. 2. It was a huge success because of speakers like London Breed and Malia Cohen. We also rocked the house at our own Southeast Community Center with the celebration of Dr. Espanola Jackson Day.
Standing Rock has caught the imagination of the world: A resurgent Indigenous movement, which has been leading many battles in the U.S. and Canada; a fighting veterans’ movement, re-emerging as a powerful force; a large contingent of young people of many colors from all over, selflessly devoting themselves to the struggle; networks being activated around the country and the world – all coming together in a coalition that, in the context of the global economic and financial crisis, just might be able to take on a powerful oil company that is threatening to poison the water and defeat it.
Of all the labels and titles that could rightfully be appended to Bond – activist, politician, lecturer, commentator, professor – he wished to be remembered most as a “race man”: “A race man is an expression that’s not used anymore, but it used to describe a man – usually a man, could have been a woman too – who was a good defender of the race, who didn’t dislike White people, but who stood up for Black people, who fought for Black people. I’d want people to say that about me.”
A week ago Sunday, five St. Louis Rams professional football players entered a game with their hands up, protesting the killing of Michael Brown. They stand in the lineage of John Carlos and Tommie Smith, of Muhammad Ali, identifying with the pain in their communities and turning protest into power. The gesture turned to chants – “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” – in demonstrations across the country.
They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, ... all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.
About 25 people came out in Chicago to stand firmly with the Menard hunger strikers today. At least four formerly incarcerated were among the demonstrators in Chicago, and a couple of us had both long and bitter experience with being held in solitary confinement for many years and being on hunger strike ourselves.
Dr. King led a movement that issued a stirring call for justice. Lyndon Johnson used his remarkable skills to drive an unprecedented response to that call. The prophet and the president were both remarkable leaders. We may not look on their like again. But even so, one thing is still clear: When we build the demand for change, leaders will arise to offer the response.
Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”
Fifty years ago, on a cold day in Dallas, Nov. 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. To my mind, what is extraordinary about the Kennedy assassination is that the haters did not win. Instead, crucifixion led to resurrection. As a result, for decades, African-American homes across the nation featured pictures of three people: Jesus Christ, Dr. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.
President Comandante Hugo Chavez Frias will be remembered for his efforts in the transformation of Venezuela and Latin America away from the dominance of United States imperialism. Chavez championed socialism, national liberation and international solidarity. He reaffirmed the indigenous and African roots of Venezuelan and Latin American culture and society.
Robert Chrisman and the internationally acclaimed The Black Scholar journal (TBS) are principle beacons of achievement and hope within the movement to create Black Studies departments and ultimately Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies departments. Chrisman and The Black Scholar occupied the vanguard of the struggle for recognition of Black Studies as a serious academic endeavor.
In oral arguments before the Supreme Court on the Voting Rights Act, Justice Antonin Scalia slandered the act as a “racial entitlement,” arguing, “whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes.” The justice proved once more that he is not a neutral arbiter of the Constitution but a right-wing activist with an agenda to enforce.
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.
Contradictions in White America’s treatment of Blacks, which were exposed by the Black Power Movement, fashioned another side of King, according to his last speech and his writings. A side that began to embrace Black nationalist tactics and strategies as a means to achieve freedom, justice and equality for Black people. A side that accelerated Dr. Kings’ assassination.
Why do imaginary phantoms terrify, while real-life horrors seem normal? Why do our elected representatives act in ways that trample the values of those who elected them? Consider the current debate in Washington. The city is in full uproar about the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the deep cuts in spending and hikes in taxes scheduled to take place at the end of the year. Don’t fall for the hype.
“We’re going to JAB the City of Oakland Police Department in the ass until they do what they’re supposed to do.” – Jeralyn Blueford, Nov. 10, 2012, on the steps of Oakland Police Department headquarters. On Tuesday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., join Angela Davis and Alan’s parents for ‘Honoring Alan Blueford’ on what should be his 19th birthday: Laney College Theater, 900 Fallon, Oakland
African Americans continue to be held at a disadvantage when it comes to learning English, partially due to their natural disposition to Ebonics and partially due to the discrimination and the indifference of America’s public school system. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 barred discrimination; however, Blacks have been yet to benefit from Title IV, which prevents discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds.
Hundreds of people gathered in Benton Harbor Wednesday, April 27, to protest the emergency manager law that has stripped power from the local government. Leading the march and rally, Rev. Pinkney decried the hostile takeover of Benton Harbor by the emergency financial manager, intensifying the racist influence by Whirlpool that has grabbed much of the city’s priceless lakefront, including a large portion of Jean Klock Park, dedicated in perpetuity to the children of Benton Harbor. He invites everyone to Benton Harbor Saturday, May 7, to protest Gov. Snyder when he comes to town as grand marshall of the Blossomtime Parade.
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