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When I attended the Society for Neuroscientists annual conference in San Diego last month, I expected to be doused in information regarding the field’s newest knowledge and innovations. Designed to bring together 30,000 of the world’s top neuroscientists, I was so excited to be engaged in this enriching environment for the first time. I never would have expected that I would be encompassed by emotions as I listened to the story of a man named Robert King during a roundtable discussion on contemporary social issues.
The Coalition to Restore Public Trust and the Contra Costa Coalition for Racial Justice call for the immediate resignation of District Attorney Mark Peterson. Elected in 2010, DA Peterson has violated the public trust. According to charges pending before the California Fair Political Practices Commission, over a five-year period, DA Peterson used more than $66,000 of campaign contribution money for his personal expenses.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.
I regard Paul Robeson as my hero and one of the greatest men who has ever lived. His words have a relevance that continues to inspire us, decades after his utterance. Of his art, he said: “[It] is a weapon in the struggle for my people’s freedom and for the freedom of all people.”