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Jan. 1, 2019, marks 10 years since the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. In the lead up to this grim anniversary, a number of articles, multimedia pieces, radio programs and television news segments have been produced to commemorate the occasion. Especially moving are those that give voice to Oscar’s family and friends. But it’s rare to see significant tribute paid to the fact that were it not for the vigor and relentlessness of protesters and activists, Oscar Grant would have received little to no justice.
Ten years ago, Oscar Grant was tragically and needlessly killed by an officer at the Fruitvale BART station. Oscar was a beloved member of our East Bay community. He was a loving father, a loyal friend and a kind neighbor. My heart is with his family, friends and loved ones who are missing him dearly today. Over the last decade, communities like mine have lost far too many Black men to police violence. Since Oscar’s passing, the list of young African American men killed by police officers has grown even longer.
F.A.B. is the voice of the streets, the voice of the voiceless. F.A.B. is the embodiment of the struggle of young Black men growing up in the raw, merciless streets of post-industrial Oakland, California. He is still a young man. However, in these latter years, F.A.B. has used his voice to offer direction, encouragement and advice to young people desiring to stand on the peak of hip-hop stardom next to him. As he grows into O.G. status, that voice of wisdom becomes more pronounced.
On March 15, 2018, Wealth and Disparities in the Black Community – Justice 4 Mario Woods hosted a rare and historic event: a visit by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco to take part in a discussion about police violence and racist policing in the San Francisco Bay Area. The conversation with Attorney General Becerra is part of our ongoing efforts to outreach to elected representatives and bring them into the underserved, historically Black neighborhood.
Coogler’s “Panther” has a terrible counter-revolutionary message. It's overall politic message tells you that since you cannot be the Black Panther character, king of Wakanda, you can be a CIA agent like T’Challa’s right hand man. But before I get into that, let me tell y’all what I think is great about this box office record breaking Disney-Marvel film. The cinematography is phenomenal. The costumes and the colors are on another level. The sets are beautiful.
Comrade TACO, I have been one of your most avid supporters within my organization. But I can no longer associate with you or remain silent. I am asking that you embrace accountability for the good of the Black Riders. To me, accountability means being responsible to myself for my choices and for the consequences of my choices. For me, accountability is an internal skill, not an external process. TACO, nobody can force you to be accountable. And lastly, I will tell you that accountability is a rigorous and difficult process.
I went to San Francisco’s 2017 Dr. King Day celebration riding the same wave that hounded every other participant. As I suspected, a tragic election caused crowd levels to swell significantly compared to a year ago. I’d say at least three times the number of 2016 attendees walked in this year’s march. One ugly cloud loomed: the transfer of federal powers – which finally did arrive four days later – had crept oh so dreadfully near.
Veteran R&B soul singer Michael Marshall and Frisco 5 activist and rapper Equipto address the societal issue of police brutality and injustice in their new song “Tonight We Ride.” “People didn’t believe it for so long. Now we have video showing we weren’t making it up,” said Marshall. The goal of the GOFUNDME campaign is to raise $4,000 for completion of the “Tonight We Ride” video and to create awareness around his new movement R.I.D.E (REACT. INVESTIGATE. DOCUMENT. EXPOSE.).
A young man shown on video in a physical confrontation with BART police has been acquitted of four counts of battery on a police officer, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday, Dec. 16. Jurors deliberated two days before finding Michael Smith, 22, not guilty Wednesday afternoon of the four counts. Jurors deadlocked 9-3 in favor of acquittal on two additional counts of battery on a police officer and one count of resisting arrest. Prosecutors on Friday are expected to announce whether they will dismiss the remaining charges or retry Smith.
From behind the enemy lines of the California State Prison System, from within the “belly of the beast” that is the Amerikan injustice system, I greet you all and call for your full attention to the annual commemoration of Black August and invite all prisoners and families throughout Amerika to join us in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, studying and sharing respect and unity with Panther love and knowledge in the spirit of our fallen comrades.
As police murders accumulate, and police chiefs get fired and replaced because they cannot stop it – as in Oakland and San Francisco – the notion that this represents a political crisis becomes a truism. It is not a “crisis of policing,” which would suggest a situation beyond the capacities of the police. It is the police who have become the crisis.
Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby, aka Cephus Johnson, speaks about the recent police execution of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge and Phil Castile in Minneapolis. We talk about the role of new media in exposing these two cases. He also discusses Obama’s response to the police executions of Black and Brown people and his inaction. We also discuss the Dallas sniper killing a number of police officers last night in response to the rampant police terrorism plaguing the Black communities of the U.S.
Reacting to the most recent wave of shootings of Black men by police officers, thousands of African-American consumers across America are directing their dollars by opening checking and savings accounts in Black-owned banks. A grassroots effort being called a “Spend Movement” found the nation’s Black banks receiving calls and on-line requests to open accounts.
Cleve Bailey has taken the story of his great uncle and aunt, George and Kathy Eames, and created a screenplay entitled “A Small Temporary Inconvenience,” which chronicles the lives of this interracial couple who dedicated their lives to civil rights activism and fighting against racism in the Deep South. I caught up with Cleve, who now lives in the Bay Area in Hayward, to get his take on the film project.
The memorial for Hugo “Yogi” Lyon Antonio Pinell was a beautiful and monumental event that loved ones, comrades and the community came from far and wide to attend. The celebration was held at the African American Art and Culture Complex in San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore district on April 23. Many members of Yogi’s family spoke of their love for him. His daughter Allegra brought the house to tears with her message.
In 2009-10, there were a number of demonstrations and rebellions protesting police terrorism in the Black community of Oakland, after the televised execution of Oscar Grant. The mainstream corporate media started tagging them as “violent” although most of the rage was aimed at cars and buildings, not people.
For us to make sense of the relentless, 400-year-long onslaught of racist violence against New Afrikans and other nationally oppressed people in Amerika and the absence of a collective program of comprehensive self-defense and secure communities among the majority of the New Afrikan population in the U.S., it’s important we first grasp the origin of this contradiction, as all other points of contradiction and irrationality flow from it.
We want to invite every friend of the SF Bay View newspaper to our 40th anniversary party. It’s a free event this Sunday, Feb. 21, 1-5 p.m., at the Main Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco. Come one, come all and let’s celebrate 40 years of the most radical Black newspaper in the country. Enjoy a panel of Bay View writers, a fashion show and performances by the legendary Avotcja, Stoney Creation and Sista Iminah reminding us of the beauty and talent in our community.
On Friday night, Jan. 15, many young people gathered outside of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church for the start of the “Reclaim MLK” weekend, a 96-hour action dedicated to non-violent protest against police terrorism and gentrification. During rush hour, “Reclaim MLK” protesters shut down the major intersection of Geary at Webster in the Fillmore, once San Francisco’s Black heartland.
Both the Richmond and BART Police Departments sent taser advocates to the Oct. 6 Berkeley City Council hearing, but neither is an exemplar of responsible taser use. BART Officer Johannes Mehserle claimed to have mistaken his gun for his taser after he shot and killed Black teenager Oscar Grant, and Richmond officer Kristopher Tong tasered Black teenager Andre Little in the testicles. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Berkeley Copwatch co-founder Andrea Pritchett about the hearing.