Tags Mary Ratcliff
Tag: Mary Ratcliff
I celebrated my 100th birthday on June 11, 2016, with family members, friends and community members at the brand new Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center. On June 12, my church, Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, honored me with a wonderful birthday celebration after the church service. And at our June meeting of the Network for Elders in the Bayview, Network members had a very special birthday party for me!
I spend countless hours reading and scanning alternative newspapers, journals and magazines that provide a platform for prisoners who write. I don’t see many revolutionary essays or articles being written by female Texas prisoners. I know you all can’t be content with the conditions you are being housed under, and I know for a fact you are not being given the dignity and respect you deserve. So I must ask: “Why aren’t we hearing from you?”
Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview newspaper, later renamed San Francisco Bay View, in 1976 and turned it over to the Ratcliffs in late 1991. So in 2016, we’re excited to be celebrating the newspaper’s 40th anniversary, beginning on Sunday, Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. You’ll hear Muhammad, a panel consisting of writers associated with the Bay View in different eras, a fashion show and musicians reminding us of the beauty and talent within our community. We’ll serve food, too – and it’s all FREE. Spread the word!
Regina Douglas was an active participant in her community, and served as a fierce advocate for social change and justice. She passionately championed causes for the elderly as well as for the youth of the Bayview Hunters Point community through a number of organizations. St. James Baptist Church was filled with Regina’s family, friends and fellow activists for her homegoing celebration on Nov. 6.
Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.
Margaret Stroud Block, long time civil rights activist, passed away June 20 in Cleveland, Mississippi, where she was born and raised. She lectured at universities and organizations throughout the U.S., particularly in the eastern part of the country, on civil rights and current education policies. Margaret was a dear friend. We met each other in the mid-‘80s when Proposition J was proposed.
At first glance the question, What is solitary confinement? appears to be rhetorical, if not insulting, but you would be surprised, if not incredulous, how many prison rights activists are at a loss when I pose it to them. Even more perplexing, many prisoners are only able to provide the standard but antiquated response, which is: a prisoner in a cell behind a solid door, in which he/she is isolated from other prisoners and human contact.
Robert Fuentes was an award-winning poet and essayist. PEN America awarded him the Dawson Prize in fiction in the 2010 Prison Writing Contest for a piece titled “Lessons,” which begins: “Well, I originally contemplated about trying to sugarcoat what I had to say; but in the end, I arrived to the conclusion that it was best to not mince words and to just say things as they are … prison life is fucked up.”
HOW SWEET IT WAS! DR. WILLIE RATCLIFF, our beloved Publisher, a VIRGO MAN, celebrated his 82nd birthday surrounded by his lovely wife MARY RATCLIFF, charming in a blue dress, staff and friends at a reception held in the lobby of the African American Art and Cultural Complex, prior to the BLACK MEDIA APPRECIATION NIGHT affair, sponsored by SF BAY VIEW, to HONOR UNSUNG HEROES who do not get their PROPER due for their outstanding work.
This is for the moms and pops in East Oakland or any other urban neighborhood in honor of the African union of Marcus Books, from a prisoner political action committee to being a member of the formerly incarcerated people’s policy academy or the freedom plan of United KAGE Brothers (UKB), from the urban freedom schools focused on real life Block Reportin’ of “Unfinished Business.” This is for my brothers of the NCTT Cor SHU and all supporters of our hunger strike coalition.
Abdul Olugbala Shakur (s/n James Harvey) has been condemned to solitary confinement for over 30 years. In the aftermath of the latest hunger strike, which he participated in for the entire 60 days, his heart may have been permanently damaged, but he can’t be sure because the medical staff at Pelican Bay refuses to run the tests. Now he reports an even more alarming health threat: poisoning.
The deplorable beatings you’re witnessing occurred on New Year’s Eve, just before midnight, on Dec. 31, 2010. It’s taken two years and nearly eight months for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to release this video. A very persistent family member of one of the victims finally persuaded them to give it to her, and Rev. Kenneth Glasgow, a strong advocate for justice for prisoners, posted it to YouTube for the world to see.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech resonates with renewed urgency as a national coalition prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. The Realize the Dream March and Rally for Jobs, Justice and Freedom will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Check out the cartoon world renowned political cartoonist Mark Fiore sent to the Chronicle today. Beneath the video, Mark Fiore wrote: “I know it’s sacrilege to mess with this song, but the days of Johnny Cash playing concerts in California prisons are over, replaced by Gov. Jerry Brown whining about federal judges sticking their noses in our prisons. Never mind the deaths, sterilizations and lack of clean water, among other things.”
On the first day of the latest round of the epic hunger and work strike called by prisoners in California’s most notorious prison, the Security Housing Unit – or SHU – at Pelican Bay State Prison, Los Angeles Times staff writer Paige St. John, who specializes in prison news, wrote in part: “California officials Monday said 30,000 inmates refused meals at the start of what could be the largest prison protest in state history."
Malcolm Shabazz, 28, died tragically in Mexico on Thursday. His funeral will be held in Oakland later this coming week. The Bay Area has much love for young Malcolm, as this is where he began to become an outstanding speaker, known as El Hajj Malcolm El Shabazz for his stirring accounts of his pilgrimage to Mecca. The Bay View was honored to sponsor him on speaking tours arranged by Bay View associate editor and the People’s Minister of Information JR, his close comrade over the past several years.
“We must leverage our athletic success for economic development in our community,” says Magic Johnson. Everett L. Glenn, president of the National Sports Authority, a division of ESP Education & Leadership Institute, is applying that principle to construction of the 49ers’ new stadium under construction in Santa Clara.
Fascist repression can only flourish when the voices of its victims have been brutally silenced and isolated within the concrete confines of a man-made construct where the scrutiny of the media cannot transcend the walls. But contrary to the fascist intent, the voices of resistance reverberated within the depths of this concrete hell as New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners since our arrival have refused to remain silent and have waged a continuous campaign to put an end to this racial injustice. And for over 20 years the San Francisco Bay View has played a critical role in allowing our voices to be heard.
For the second week in a row, one of the largest audiences for any show on KPFA was disappointed not to hear the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and his Block Report on the air Wednesday at 8 a.m. Instead we heard an announcement by interim general manager Andrew Phillips that JR has been suspended. Getting punished for doing “too well” happens to Black folks much too often. Sign the two petitions to end the suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA and attend the Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m. at Laney College. This story is constantly being updated with new signatures and comments.
I have learned profound lessons from Zaharibu in the short three months I have known him. In hearing more about his story and the horrendous conditions he lives under, I have been driven to learn more about solitary confinement, why it must be abolished and the resistance against it. I have also been moved to become a part of that resistance in any way I can.