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Poor, homeless and disabled scholars are releasing a book sharing their truly innovative solutions to homelessness and poverty and launch a national theatre production on poverty, homelessness and criminalization of poor people. This book and curriculum release will be accompanied by a series of theatre and poetry workshops in community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities.
The new Kevin Hart movie, “Night School,” was about so many things, but like a good artist, as my poverty skola-teacher Mama Dee used to say, Kevin Hart didn’t pound on the table. Through subtle and sketch comedy, pranks, relationship issues, innuendo and character development, he showed an often unseen part of Mans Skoo (as I call it), which is an ableist, racist, classist institution known as Special Education, which so many of us who live with so-called “learning disabilities” know way too much about.
“You were right, Tiny. Interdependence does work for us poor mamas.” My revolutionary poet, fellow welfareQUEEN at POOR Magazine and co-founder of Homefulness and KEXU radio Laure McElroy and I spoke quietly on the phone in the kind of intimacy befitting deep sister comrades like we were and had been for many years of deep struggle and deep resistance. Writing this today is so hard for me between tears and pain. I’m so unsure of how to go on without her love. On Sunday, Sept. 23, we held a multi-nationed tree-planting ceremony in Laure’s honor at Homefulness.
On Friday, Aug. 10, Ronald Muwanga, commonly called Ronnie Ronnie, a member of Krip Hop Nation Worldwide and founder of the Krip Hop chapter in Uganda, was arrested, beaten and tortured with a colleague, Herbert Zziwa, he works with at NTV Uganda, a national television station. The duo was covering the scene where a driver for a Member of Parliament was shot dead by presidential security personnel.
“We are surrounded by Black cops,” said Leroy Moore, with POOR Magazine and Krip Hop Nation, about the 15 Black cops who surrounded us houseless and formerly houseless mamas, uncles, children and elders from the Poor People’s March when we walked humbly into the Washington, D.C., office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to demand our housing back. “We are here to meet with Ben Carson,” we all said.
There we were – the unhoused, the evicted, the displaced, the disabled, Black, Brown, Indigenous, poor white, youth and elders on one accord, all colors, all nations, all cultures, all ages, all abilities. The 2018 Poor Peoples March on Washington was originally launched by impacted poor, houseless and formerly unhoused people from the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign 15 years ago. Poor folks walked in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968.
This is not charity. It is the right to have access to education, not only in the US but all over the world. This was our goal when Krip-Hop Nation of the USA and journalist Ronald Galiwango of Uganda, Africa, teamed up to write about a single father raising two disabled daughters who needed basic things to survive like wheelchairs and help to pay for the oldest daughter to go to school to become “a disabled advocate like Leroy Moore of Krip-Hop Nation!” Eunice Atim told Ronald in a video interview.
“Prison abolition is different from penal abolition. We don’t just want to get rid of the structures; we want to get rid of the whole system that functions to destroy people,” said Ashanti Alston, Black Panther and penal abolitionist. POOR Magazine had the blessing of listening to Ashanti and many more freedom fighters at the 17th International Conference on Penal Abolition held in New Bedford, Mass.
“Hello, we are representing Black, Brown, First Nations and homeless peoples on a Stolen Land Hoarded Resources Tour to share the medicine of redistribution and community reparations.” Aunti Frances Moore, Black Panther, founder of the Self-help Hunger Program of North Oakland and houseless poverty scholar with POOR Magazine and Homefulness, spoke into the security intercom on 745 Park Ave., the first tour stop of the first tour in Lenape Lands of Eastern Turtle Island aka Manhattan.
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.
Eunice Atim and her sister Sarah Atiano are disabled. Their father says it is very expensive to sustain them even in terms of taking them both to school. Eunice’s education had stopped in 2007 and was able to resume in 2014 after getting funding through publishing articles in the San Francisco Bay View and posting on Facebook. With her education, she wants to be an advocate for youth and adults with disabilities in Uganda.
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
Cleve Bailey has taken the story of his great uncle and aunt, George and Kathy Eames, and created a screenplay entitled “A Small Temporary Inconvenience,” which chronicles the lives of this interracial couple who dedicated their lives to civil rights activism and fighting against racism in the Deep South. I caught up with Cleve, who now lives in the Bay Area in Hayward, to get his take on the film project.
Although the courts said we lost, we all know our fight for justice has just begun. Realize the issues of racism, gentrification, poverty and houselessness are all linked and so are we all. So as we continue to fight for the crumbs and bang on the systems that oppress us, we also need to build our own – for Mario, for Sandra, for Alex, for Amilcar, for O’Shaine, for Kenny, for Josiah – for so many more and for all of us.
The activism of the late May Molina can be seen in two young Black disabled activists, Candace Marie and Timotheus Gordon Jr., of Chicago today living in the middle of not only the aftermath and protesting of the police shooting of Laquan McDonald, but also budget cuts in special education and the recent release of a Hollywood film, “Chi-Raq,” that have pointed the spotlight on Chicago.
Hundreds of middle and high school students from Black and Brown low income communities in San Francisco marched together last week in solidarity to protest the execution of Mario Woods. At only 26 years, Mario Woods, a young man with special needs, was gunned down in his own neighborhood by the SFPD. “We are sick and tired of the police killing our homies!” yelled the students as they marched from the corner of 16th and Mission Street to the steps of City Hall.
“Black Kripple Delivers Poetry & Lyrics” is straight up an activist and love book of original poems and song lyrics that have been written and collected for almost two decades. Many poems in this book were first published in 1999 in my chapbook by Poor Magazine’s Poor Press. This book contains poetry and lyrics of songs. Most of the poems and lyrics touch on issues that Black disabled people deal with but only get a little media attention.
I’m used to reading about and advocating for adults with disabilities, but today our Black and Brown youth with disabilities are increasingly targeted for police brutality and incarceration. Everybody cares about kids, so when will disabled and Black community activists focus more on stopping state violence against youth with disabilities and providing programs after the tragedy?
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.