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Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney writes that this statement, found after Dedon Kamathi’s death earlier this month, is a “letter that Dedon wrote in the case of his demise during the trip that he and I took together to Syria while it was under attack from U.S. imperial forces. This letter, I believe, is critical to understand who Dedon was and how committed he was to his community. He was ready to give his life for his beliefs and for us.”
Dedon Kamathi, a former Black Panther and Central Committee member of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party, passed away at the end of August after suffering a stroke. I first spoke with Dedon way back in the 1980s when I was arranging to bring Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) to speak in my then hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii. Dedon was one of the first revolutionary Black internationalists I was to get to know and work with, and his loss hit me hard.
July 13 marks two years since #BlackLivesMatter was created. The #BlackLivesMatter movement has pushed to ensure that all Black lives are seen as an important part of an overall movement for social transformation. We have much to lose if we negate that all Black lives are central to the most well being for all of us. We must not rest until all of us are free.
The cherry blossoms with a bullet in its pit because its roots have been watered by the muffled screams of slaves hanging from its branches ... A child plants a prayer in the garden of his mother’s mind next to his father’s broken dreams; she raises him on bitter milk and cold cereal: a meal she deems fitting to prepare him for the world. I sometimes wonder if Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant are in heaven writing an epistle to the people on the same bullet?
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially those dads who stayed the course, when walking away would have been so much easier, even expected. Happy Father’s Day to the OGs who have grown more responsible with age. It is never too late to do better, even if you missed a generation – grace is that second chance. Congrats to all the May-June graduates, especially my niece and nephew Wilda Batin and Wilfred Batin.
It’s now a century after the founding of Mother’s Day, and our sons are still being taken from us. Society has not disarmed, but instead has militarized to the teeth. Mothers’ sons everywhere are still killing and being killed. Police militarization has ripped apart the fabric of our communities. Armed with military-grade vehicles and weapons, warrior cops cultivate an atmosphere of tension and fear, exacerbating conflicts instead of resolving them. We all know we’re going to die one day, but it certainly shouldn’t be at the hands of a public servant who’s supposed to serve and protect us. Mothers are powerful; if we come together, we can be unstoppable.
Activists locked down entrances to the Emeryville Home Depot to demand answers about the murder of Yuvette Henderson, a 38-year-old Black mother of two children who was shot and killed by the Emeryville Police Department on Feb. 3, 2015, allegedly accused by the store of shoplifting. Activists chained themselves to multiple store doors as supporters rallied outside. Protesters shut down the store for five hours, the amount of time Yuvette Henderson lay in the street after being shot by police.
The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed Black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence and lie on the witness stand. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge and to discriminate with impunity.
Tribute to the Jacka TODAY, Sunday, Feb. 8, 3-7 p.m., on KPOO 89.5FM or kpoo.com , hosted by The People’s Minister of Information JR. On Monday, Feb. 2, ‘15, one of the Bay Area’s most beloved and well known rappers was killed in East Oakland. In 2009, the Jacka told me in an interview: “They don’t want us here. You just gotta do whatever you gotta do to get that positivity in while you’re on the planet and while you’re breathin’, man, and get it right, because you never know what’s going to happen. They got a plan for us. They tryin’ to take us out.”
I approach 2015 with mixed emotions but remain hopeful. Our economy is improving from the collapse of 2008. Our stock market has rebounded, employment rates are on the rise – yet, the issue of racial inequity in this country is magnified more than ever. The ongoing protests of the deaths of unarmed Black men by law enforcement has drawn attention to the issues of inequality in the treatment of people of color by law enforcement.
Rebellion is a fire that spreads quickly, can’t be controlled and illuminates paths mired in darkness. As children we are taught not to play with fire. Fire is dangerous. It will burn you. While the obvious consequences of being burned will not be questioned here, the recent burning of a few buildings in Mexico and the U.S. have been central in exposing the inherent violence and contradictions of the state and capitalism.
Nearly 800 community members, public officials, faith and thought leaders packed the pews of Third Baptist Church on Sunday to hear remarks from Mike Brown Sr., father of the 18-year-old shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer. The event comes amid a storm of local protests decrying police brutality that have gained national attention. A somber Brown had little to say, but expressed gratitude to attendees for their support.
On Dec. 15 in Oakland, a protest was planned, held and led by students on the issue of police brutality. It was held at the Fruitvale BART Station where Oscar Grant had unfortunately lost his life at the hands of BART police officers. Over 200 students gathered to have their voices heard – and they would not take no for an answer. Youths who are angry with what is happening made hardcore and inspiring speeches.
More than 200 public defenders and allies held a protest Dec. 18 on the steps of San Francisco’s criminal courthouse to show support for racial justice and stand in solidarity with protesters around the country. At least 200 public defenders walked off their jobs in Brooklyn on Dec. 17, staging a march and “die-in” to highlight the pervasiveness of racial inequality in the criminal justice system
At approximately 7:30 Monday morning, the Oakland Police Department Headquarters was blockaded by protesters demanding an end to racist violence against the Black community. One person climbed the flagpole directly in front of the OPD Headquarters to fly a banner in honor of Black people murdered by police. Minutes later, a group of about 30 Black protesters occupied the space in front of the police department and called for an immediate end to the war on Black people.
Three weeks after the initial public promise to repost Urban Dreams and stop police control of Oakland school curriculum, Urban Dreams had still not been posted, ostensibly for aesthetic reasons. Two and a half hours after the following letter to Oakland Superintendent Antwan Wilson was sent – detailing OUSD’s official role in covering up the murder of Raheim Brown by school district police – Urban Dreams reappeared.
Wait. Patience. Stay Calm. We’ve been waiting for dozens, hundreds, thousands of indictments and convictions. Every death hurts. Every exonerated cop, security guard or vigilante enrages. The grand jury’s decision doesn’t surprise most Black people because we are not waiting for an indictment. We are waiting for justice – or more precisely, struggling for justice. The young people of Ferguson continue to struggle with ferocity.
On so-called Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year in the U.S., members of the Blackout Collective and their allies obstructed BART trains on both sides of the track from moving out of the West Oakland BART station in an economic protest to the systemic wanton killing of Black people in this country, most recently symbolized by the police murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner.
In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords totally transformed the psychology of people in the United States with their survival programs, their muti-layered platforms, their fight for human rights against capitalism and imperialism, and their armed self-defense against the police. On Oct. 24, “Party People,” a play developed and directed by Liesl Tommy, premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theater.
October 22nd, National Day of Action – after weeks of planning, the day had finally arrived. Today we would gather in groups big and small all around the country to speak truth to power: “Black lives matter!” “Stop killing us off!” “We demand a stop to police violence and police brutality!” “We demand an end to mass incarceration!” My National Day of Action started in San Francisco.