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In the 20th century, few names, especially of Black people, ring louder than that of Martin Luther King. His life, his dedication to the civil rights movement and his martyrdom in April 1968 made him a global icon of social justice. Born in 1929, if he were not martyred, he would be enjoying his 90th year of life. But he was martyred and, too, he was considered an enemy of the state. Why?
With heartbreak, yet hope, we reach out to you in the Name of our Lord and Liberator, Jesus, the Christ. It was unsettling and upsetting to witness the meeting with you, our moral leaders, and one of the most amoral persons to ever occupy the White House in the name of discussing prison reform. We are sure it must have been intoxicating to walk the corridors of power and sit at the table of governing authority. Unfortunately, those precincts of power have been infected by White supremacy and moral bankruptcy.
There is a branding within our communities that is honored, praised and promoted – a branding that has been adopted out of ignorance and is more dehumanizing than the word nigger. Yet, this branding has been promoted and ingrained into the psyche of many within our communities to the point that it has been accepted and even worn as a badge of honor, not unlike the derogatory “nigger” terminology. The branding I’m referring to is the mark of a beast, a killer, a robber, a drug dealer or, simply, a criminal.
Slavery has indeed marked this nation. Its soot leaves a residue the best detergent cannot wipe away or wash out. Truth – bitter, the missing ingredient is hard to swallow, let alone see – yet this is what The National Memorial for Peace and Justice and by extension The Legacy Museum: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration demands we face. It is not in your head or imagination that these atrocities to other people reside.
I have always said that if you want to understand the nature of a thing, you must research its origin. I would venture to say that the iconic freedom fighter and servant of the people Malcolm X was the first “Prison Panther,” although he was not known officially as such. However, when Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 at Merritt College in Oakland, California, the legacy of their hero, OUR HERO, Malcolm X was on their mind.
I recently read “Blood in the Fields: Ten Years in the Nuestra Familia Gang” and was taken aback by one of the main characters in the book. Mando was a young guy who grew up in a violent household, joined a gang and ended up committing a murder that would net him a sentence of 29 years to life. I became very sad and thought of one of the young men I met while visiting San Quentin State Prison in California for an educational panel, Efrain.
As we continue to raise awareness and lift up our voices so that we may be heard on the issues of systemic racism and economic exploitation in the criminal justice system, as well as prison slavery and police killings and brutality, we continue to see an evil and determined enemy dig in its heels in the name of White Supremacy. In October 2017, it was reported that the Trump administration is seeking more immigration jails and detention facilities to house more immigrants that they plan to arrest.
Las Vegas cops jumped NFL star Michael Bennett, held a gun to his head and threatened to blow it off. How else could they have chosen the perfect target to prove that the U.S. is a racist police state? How else could their police union have followed up with a letter imploring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett for defaming them by telling his story and claiming that the LVPD had racially profiled him? You can’t make this stuff up.
I went into law school thinking that I wanted to be a civil rights attorney. I wanted to use my law degree to fight the many systems of oppression that plagued and terrorized the communities that mattered to me. It wasn’t until my third year of law school, that I recognized current cannabis policies as a legitimate social justice issue – particularly due to the way marijuana prohibition is enforced.
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
Saturday, June 10, The Father’s Day Celebration, a free event for Black fathers and Black male father figures and their families, will give space for a joyous Father’s Day event for the whole community. The Father’s Day Celebration will begin with family portraits, activities for the kids (Barbers, Books and Bridges), a live DJ spinning tunes perfect for the occasion and a keynote speaker, Adimu Madyun. Dining will be available.
Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) paid the ultimate price for the sins of certain white people of his time who committed damn near every type of crime against humanity upon the indigenous peoples of this country. So much so that many different tribes of indigenous peoples came together, some who were sworn enemies, to fight and defeat their common oppressor. Here in 2016, once again, many different tribes of indigenous peoples, and not just from this country but from around the world, have come together to defeat their common modern day oppressor.
“Race is the Rubicon we have never crossed in this country.” That’s David Billings’ thesis in his provocative new historical memoir, “Deep Denial: The Persistence of White Supremacy in the United States History and Life.” It documents the 400-year racialization of the United States and how people of European descent came to be called “White.” Billings tells us why, despite the Civil Rights Movement and an African-American president, we remain, in his words, “a nation hard-wired by race.”
I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire. My fingers froze on the keys. I could not bring myself to recycle old truths. Something more is required. But what?
It’s personal because your actions against the oppressed were calculating, premeditated and strategically targeting New Afrikans and other oppressed, poor citizens of this nation. Not only did you wickedly abuse the trust of the people who believed in you, but you demonstrated what hatred looks like in policy. Yes! Your charisma, accompanied with your oiled up tongue, allowed you to work your charms on the people while all the time preying on them like a wild, mad predator.
For 24 years Bill and Hillary Clinton have courted Wall Street money with notable success. No other political couple in modern history has enjoyed so much money flowing to them from Wall Street for such a long time – $92.57 million over a quarter century. Because of the Clintons’ romance with Wall Street and their corrupt New Democratic Party, the New York bankers and the Clintons are richer today. Others – betrayed, abandoned, savaged – are not.
The love affair between Black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about Black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.
The current campaign to elect a sheriff for the City and County of San Francisco can and must become San Francisco’s “eyes wide open” opportunity to review what this city and county can and ought to do to identify and promulgate a new path for how it will identify and adopt aspects of the national Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act. The City and County of San Francisco can initiate and begin the effort to deincarcerate San Francisco’s jails and juvenile justice center.
The current campaign to elect a sheriff for the City and County of San Francisco can and must become San Francisco’s “eyes wide open” opportunity to review what it can do to identify and promulgate a new path for the City on how it will create quantifiable change in the San Francisco County Jail and Youth Detention Center’s disproportionate incarceration of African American and Hispanic men, women and youth. Vote for John Robinson for Sheriff on Nov. 3, 2015!
We were saddened by the news that Yogi was murdered during an alleged “prison riot” at a Sacramento maximum security prison, after Yogi’s release from decades in solitary confinement in the California prison system. Our prison movement grieves at the loss of one of its most respected and beloved foot soldiers within the belly of this fascist beast in our mutual struggles against the common enemy of the human species.