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In the same way that Black dollars matter, our story also matters and we are responsible for holding and sharing our stories and the stories of our ancestors. Often in public education the stories of our ancestors are left out of the curriculum with the more popularized figures crammed into the shortest month of the year. In an attempt to assist with centralizing our story on our collective consciousness I’ve worked with Sincere in Michigan’s Department of Corrections to create OurStory Calendar.
We pour libations for Fats Domino, New Orleans musical legend, who died Oct. 24. He was 89. The Architect of Rock n’ Roll was the child of Haitian Kreyòl plantation workers and the grandson of an enslaved African. And we also pour libations for Dennis Banks, co-founder of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who made his transition Oct. 30. He was 80. Congratulations to Drs. Vera and Wade Nobles on their 50th wedding anniversary this month.
Shola Adisa-Farrar is coming home to debut her new CD, “Lost Myself,” on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 15-16, in Oakland and San Francisco. Perhaps you remember her from The Ultimate Hustler reality television show she starred in Oct. 4-Dec. 13, 2005, while she was in New York? Maybe you recall how much fun you had with Shola as guide in the Walking in the Spirit: Black Paris and Beyond tours while there? No?
This Maafa Commemoration Month we continue to lift “A Love Supreme” as we organize a defense against state violence. Congratulations to Professor Aaliyah Dunn-Salahuddin, whose community vigil and program honored the lives of the Bayview Hunters Point revolutionaries killed 50 years ago when the community rose up after SFPD killed Matthew “Peanut” Johnson and more recently when the community turned out after SFPD killed Mario Woods.
The Saint John Coltrane Church is a historical fixture in the San Francisco Black community and a direct descendant of the work of the late great Marcus Mosiah Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association. One reason the Coltrane Church is important is that it defines for itself who are the saints that are worthy of our praise, instead of basing its doctrine on the philosophy and understanding of god that came out of the Council of Nicea.
By ourselves, we disenfranchised Haitians took down the fake elections and U.S. puppet president, Michel Martelly. He left on Superbowl 50, Feb. 7 – the day Beyoncé set off a politically charged “Formation,” unapologetically Black. America’s most powerful artist dressed her dancers in Afros and Black Panther leather outfits and got in (Malcolm) X formation, Black fists raised up. Banm sèt kout kouto – bring it! she said.
Mr. Jose LaCrosby, a nationally-recognized African-American hairdresser in San Francisco, passed away on Jan. 29, 2016, in hospice care at the San Francisco VA Hospital. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. LaCrosby lived in the Fillmore-Western Addition for 58 years. Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m., at Mercy Housing
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing (“Isis Papers”) made her transition Jan. 2, 2016. She was 80. The psychiatrist who challenged white supremacists on what she called “The Cress Theory of Color Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)” to look at their own melanin deficiency for what it is, “envy,” stirred and continues to stir the waters. She always stated theoretically that “Black lives matter,” way before the #blm movement.
On Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016, in Denver, at approximately 2:20 pm Houston father, activist, radio station owner and musician Zin aka Anthony Mills, 42, and Jonathan Nichols, 29, lost their lives in a four-car collision. Akua Holt, a good friend and radio comrade of Zin, worked with him on KPFT and in the community. I talked to her about the power of our productive and constructive brother who lost his life far too soon.
“Twenty Years of Speaking Truth to Power” is the theme for CCWP’s 20th anniversary gala, on Saturday, Nov. 7, 7 p.m., at the Women’s Building 3543 18th St., San Francisco. For information, call 415-255-7036, ext. 4, and if you’d like to volunteer at the event, visit womenprisoners.org. Featured guests include Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter; Jayda Rasberry, organizer with Dignity and Power Now; Thao Nguyen, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down; and the Heiwa Taiko Drummers.
“Asni,” a documentary about the legendary, controversial and provocative Ethiopian musician and actress who was at her height in the ‘50s-‘60s in Addis Abba, Asnaketch Worku, will be screening on Friday, Sept. 25, 8-10 p.m., Starline Social Club, located at 645 W. Grand Ave. in Oakland. Check out filmmaker Rachel Samuels as she speaks on her majestic cinematic portrait of the great Ethiopian musician and thespian Asknaketch Worku.
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.
“What Happened, Miss Simone?” is a beautiful and tragic look at the life of one of the women who made us proud to be Black. She helped us to transform our minds from the psychology of scared Colored Negroes into being proud Black Africans in America. The film documents some of her thoughts and includes a lot of archival interview footage and footage of her performing.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, 1-3 p.m., to kick off Black History Month, she will be giving a lecture called “Racism and All That Jazz” on African American classical music, aka Jazz, in the Koret Auditorium at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin St. “I’m honored to have the fabulous Yemanya Napue, percussionists Val Serrant and Sosu Ayansolo and visual artist Duane Deterville collaborate with me on this presentation,” she says.
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
The Glide Memorial Church family worked wonders at the celebration of San Francisco native Maya Angelou's life that she requested before she died. They juxtaposed carefully chosen visual moments with prerecorded Maya moments, which made her presence so palatable that the sanctuary lights came under the control of Spirit Maya and played with our collective vision – the room almost dark and the lights flickering off and on.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
In a stunning turn of events, Chokwe defeated Jackson’s three-term incumbent and first African American mayor, Harvey Johnson, the white Republican-financed young Black businessman Jonathan Lee, and others to win leadership of the city with the second highest percentage of Black people in the United States.
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
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