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Wanda’s Picks for February 2011

On Feb. 18, 7 p.m., at Modern Times Bookstore, Krip-Hop Nation will present an author panel of new books by Black disabled writers and friends, including Toni Hickman of Texas, Adarro Minton of New York, Allen Jones of San Francisco and friends of Krip-Hop Nation, DC Curtis and Bones Kendall of Los Angeles.

The People’s Human Rights and Hip Hop Film Festival

The People’s Human Rights and Hip Hop Film Festival is a four-day event that will be kicking off on Friday, Feb. 11, at the Twinspace, 2111 Mission St. in San Francisco, that captures the aura of the Bay, politics and young people’s art.

Standing on the side of the Black Panthers, not the police

Journalist JR Valrey, who was born in 1978, grew up mostly in Oakland, where the legend of the Black Panther Party was all around him. “A lot of the people around here are Panthers, or knew Panthers or are members of the Black Guerilla Family, which was an organization that Field Marshall George Jackson of the Black Panther Party founded. The revolution is very deep in Oakland. It’s not so cosmetic as it is other places. It’s not just about bandannas and t-shirts and concert throwing and posturing. I think it’s more grassroots here and more ingrained in the spirit of the people.”

From New York’s Basquiat to Oakland’s Eesuu: an interview with visual...

Eesuu is one of my favorite male visual artists in the Bay, and in my opinion he is one of the dopest in the country right next to Malik Seneferu and Jocelyn Goode. I have been a fan of his art for years. I love the themes that he creates from, as well as the vibrant colors that he uses in some of his pieces.

An epidemic of brutality: Oakland filmmaker feels police wrath

Hours after San Francisco Bay Area radio show host JR Valrey screened his documentary film, “Operation Small Axe,” about police brutality at a university in Philadelphia, daily newspapers in that city carried articles about two separate lawsuits filed against Philly police alleging brutality. “Police brutality is definitely not ‘isolated incidents,’ as officials always say after each new killing or beating by police,” said Valrey, host of the Block Report, a program aired on KPFA-FM, the Pacifica station in the Bay Area.

Jury set in historic trial of cop who killed Oscar Grant...

Phyllis Jackson thought “it was a chilling day” for Los Angeles. “Jury selection here banishes all Black people like the recent Equal Justice Initiative report found that Southern courts do, while allowing the jury to be stacked with people who have friends, family and businesses involved with law enforcement,” she said. Everybody out for the Mass Protest for Justice for Oscar Grant Monday, June 14, 8 a.m., at the LA courthouse.

‘Operation Small Axe’ screenings: Bronx & Santa Cruz 5/26, Sacramento 5/28

"People leave feeling alive when they see the film. The brutal police murders that are shown in the film, the drive and motivation of the people of Oakland who organized against all odds to chop down the big trees of terrorism and oppression leave audiences stunned," says Adimu Madyun, director of "Operation Small Axe," winner of the Rise Up Award for Most Motivational Film at the New Orleans Film Festival. Email blockreportradio@gmail.com to arrange a screening.

Wanda’s Picks for May

We lost the great Lena Horne this month on Mother’s Day, May 9. She was 92, her birthday June 17, 1917 – her funeral Friday, May 14. I found out recently that Ms. Horne was at the March on Washington with sisters Mahalia Jackson and Dorothy Height.

Gentrification journalism

In this manifesto that shows why JR Valrey is rightly called the Minister of Information, he exposes "gentrification journalism" as "the public relations team that is put in place to make gentrifiers feel safe," the media's twisting of the murders of Chauncey Bailey and Oscar Grant to demonize Blacks and the hyper-funding of "hyper-local media" as an effort to drown out community media. Everyone who wants to stop the exodus of Blacks from the Bay must read this.

Telling the truth

Oakland rapper DLabrie connects with POCC Minister of Information JR after his relief trip to Haiti and year-long battle in Oakland courts based on false charges. Upcoming events: Haiti Report-backs in Berkeley Thursday, April 8, 7 p.m., hosted by Rev. Sandra Decker, and the big show at the Jazz Heritage Club, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco, on Wednesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. Saturday 2-5 p.m. is the 12th Annual LIL' BOBBY HUTTON DAY at the West Oakland Library, 1805 Adeline St. Be there!

‘Operation Small Axe’: Organizing LA for the trial of cop who...

An organizing meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. at Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood for people interested in monitoring the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who shot Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old Black man, in the back on an Oakland BART platform on Jan. 1, 2009. Mehserle is the first police officer in California ever to be charged with murder.

Defend Minister of Information JR Monday: Rally 8am, Court 9am

The Bay Area is rallying around Minister of Information JR, facing three years in prison for covering the Oakland Rebellion that demanded justice for Oscar Grant and for his courageous coverage of police terrorism known throughout the country. Influential organizations are calling an 8 a.m. rally on Monday, Dec. 7, then to pack Courtroom 11, 1225 Fallon St., Oakland, the courthouse made famous by the many rallies the Black Panther Party held there.

‘Operation Small Axe’ trailer

'Operation Small Axe' takes a raw and unflinching look at life under police terrorism in Oakland through the stories of Oscar Grant and Lovelle Mixon. Now that the trial of killer cop Johannes Mehserle has been moved out of Oakland to LA, 'Operation Small Axe' is also ona move. MOI JR says, 'We will bring the resistance to LA, starting on Saturday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m., at the Kaos Network, 4343 Leimert Blvd, Los Angeles' for a screening and political education class. Spread the word.

Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. returns to the Bay Area

POCC Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. will be hitting Northern Cali Nov. 7-13 for the 40th anniversary of the assassination of his father, Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and Defense Captain Mark Clark. Come out to support Chairman Fred, Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View - 7 events in 7 days, in Oakland, Sonoma, Stanford, Pleasant Hill, Santa Cruz, San Francisco.

Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. Speaking Tour: ‘You Can Kill a Revolutionary...

Prisoners of Conscience Committee Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. will be hitting Northern Cali Nov. 7-13 to talk about the 40th anniversary of the assassination of his father, Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panther Party, and Defense Captain Mark Clark. Come out to support Chairman Fred, Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View!

‘Operation Small Axe’ highlights resistance in Oakland’s occupied territories

The new short film, “Operation Small Axe,” by Prisoners of Conscience Committee Minister of Information JR Valrey, debuted in October at the Eighth Oakland International Film Festival with screenings at Merritt College, Jack London Cinema and the Uptown. The short has been shown at other venues as close as the Rock Paper Scissors Gallery in Oakland to as far away as Cape Town, South Africa.

Tickling the keys: an interview wit’ pianist and rapper Kev Choice

Kev Choice is one of the the dopest young musicians I know in Oakland. And I would have to say that L-Boogie aka Lauryn Hill agrees with me, since she hired this dude to be her band leader. Kev Choice tickles the keys like Herbie, emcees like Posdonous and is a band leader like Duke Ellington. The Kev Choice Ensemble out at Yoshi’s in Oakland on Monday, Oct. 26, at 8 p.m.

California’s mean streak, from Native annihilation to Oscar and Lovelle: Ishmael...

Ishmael Reed is one of the most read writers of his generation, along with Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka, living in America. In 1962, Reed co-founded “East Village Other,” a well known underground publication at the time, and was a member of the Umbra Writers Workshop, which helped to give rise to the Black Arts Movement. He has published nine novels, four collections of poetry, six plays, four collections of essays and a libretto. He currently lives in Oakland, and I approached him one day while he was visiting KPFA’s studios to ask him what he thought about the state of affairs between the police and Oakland’s Black community, with the backdrop of the police murder of Oscar Grant and, in a separate incident, the police murder of Lovelle Mixon, after Mixon allegedly killed four Oakland police officers.

The POCC’s ‘You Can Kill a Revolutionary … But You Can’t...

On July 23 the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC) kicked off the “You Can Kill a Revolutionary ... But You Can’t Kill the Revolution Tour” in Oakland, California, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party.

Casualties of war

Mass imprisonment is a consequence of the war on drugs. It is estimated that over 600,000 of the 2,300,000 people in state and federal prisons are in prison for nonviolent drug offenses. This does not include the other 5 million people who are either confined in county jails or on probation or parole, a majority of whom are nonviolent drug offenders. This means out of a United States population of over 250 million people, over 7 million people are in one way or another under the supervision of the prison system.