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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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The right words can help tear down the prison system

I am a prison abolitionist in my heart. But I’m a prison reformist in the world by virtue of the sad fact that I can’t yet imagine a working society without prisons. I’ve spent every birthday since my 13th in an institution, so I’ve seen only prisons, heard only “prisons.” I want to abolish prisons; I just don’t have the imagination. Part of my failure is a lack of language to describe such a world convincingly. Likewise, a barrier we face trying to dismantle the prison industrial complex is we continue to use the language that helped build it.

Talkin’ with author Devyn Benson about ‘Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished...

“Antiracism in Cuba: The Unfinished Revolution” by author and professor Devyn Benson is an impressive study on the history of racism and Black organizing in Cuba prior to the 1959 revolution and right after it. I talked with author Devyn Benson about racial nuances as we discussed Black Cuban history. Check her out in her own words in this exclusive interview.

Slavery on the new plantation

“Slavery 400 years ago, slavery today. It’s the same, but with a new name. They’re practicing slavery under color of law,” writes Ruchell Cinque Magee. America’s history of prison labor began before slavery ended. After the Civil War, private companies leased prisoners and sold their products for profit. Laws criminalizing harmless activities dramatically increased the number of Blacks in Southern prisons. This set the pattern that today has the prison industry rated #6 of the top 10 fastest growing industries in the U.S.

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Thoughts on ‘Democracy Denied’

During outside recreation, as we all were locked in individual dog cages that are side by side, I initiated a conversation into what we read in “Democracy Denied.”

Human rights team finds US-backed Haitian government culpable in Lasalin massacre

On April 1, 2019, our team went to Lasalin and interviewed survivors and eye-witnesses of the November massacre. The report demonstrates that the Lasalin massacre was in fact an attack facilitated by government officials and directly conducted by Haitian National Police officers working closely with paramilitary elements.

‘State of Black San Francisco’ conference raises questions

Findings of the 2008 State of Black San Francisco public conference predicted our present: "a combination of violence, economics and lack of Black leadership has contributed to a situation that could soon turn SF into a city with only a handful of very rich and very poor African Americans."

Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 20

The old rhyme, so well known in the nether regions of American slums, is certainly apropos to minority business conditions in Oakland: “If you’re white, that’s all right; If you’re yellow, that’s mellow; If you’re brown, you can stick aroun’; But if you’re Black, get the Hell back!”

St. John Coltrane Church celebrates 50th anniversary in San Francisco

Since its inception in 1969, the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church (SJCAOC) has been dedicated to the spiritual artistry of its namesake, the great American jazz musician and composer, whose instrument was the saxophone.