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August Wilson, playwright, was very much at home in the SF Bay. I will never forget his workshop production of “Jitney” at Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, where he encouraged a woman who criticized the absence of substantive women characters in his plays to write her own. Wilson said his journey was personal, yet there was room on the stage for multiple voices and perspectives.
Throughout her life, Congresswoman Chisholm broke many barriers while tirelessly advocating for the most vulnerable in our nation and our world. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to her lifetime of work and advocacy. In 1969, Congresswoman Chisholm became the first African American woman to serve in Congress. She was the first major-party African American candidate and first Democratic woman candidate for the U.S. presidency. Shirley Chisholm had guts.
Sunday, Oct. 12, marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
Self-love is the first and most important love that an individual or a community can have. Without it, self-hatred develops. And I believe that our community is crawling out of the cave of self-hatred with more women desiring to do their hair naturally, and more men desiring women who are not afraid of their natural beauty.
Grammy Award winning South African ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo is coming to town March 12 at UC Berkeley.