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Nov. 6 is election day. If you haven’t done it already, register to vote. Encourage others to register and vote. Most of your ballots will be filled with local or state issues and candidates. Voters in the United States need more choices than Democrats and Republicans. If you see the name of a Green Party candidate, I hope you will check them out. Greens believe that people and the health of the planet should be more important than corporate profit.
Dear Mr. President, On behalf of The Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, a memorial and humanitarian project dedicated to preserving the legacy of Malcolm X in New York City, we urgently, though respectfully, implore you to grant executive clemency to Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Veronza Bowers, Leonard Peltier, Oscar Lopez Rivera and posthumously to Marcus Garvey for both humanitarian reasons and in the interests of justice.
We are writing to urge you to commute the sentence of Dr. Mutulu Shakur. He has served more than 30 years in prison for his conviction arising from his participation in the social justice movement of the past century. He is recognized as a leading member of the movement for human rights for African-Americans. Granting Shakur clemency will be an act of grace and healing that is much needed in our racially divided society today.
Imam Jamil, 73, has suffered imprisonment for over 16 years – 12 years in solitary confinement, for no reason. Seven of those years were in the “supermax” federal prison in Florence, Colorado. While in that Administrative Maximum Facility, he had no human contact, no fresh air, nor sunlight. Now that Imam Jamil has been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and the prison has proven unable to provide medical care, please release him to Humanitarian Parole.
While Barack Obama speaks without blushing about the virtues of the North American “democracy” and lectures us on human rights, an innocent man languishes in his cell, totally isolated, awaiting only death or for what the U.S. president alone can, but does not, do. Leonard Peltier, Anishinabe-Lakota, a leader of the American Indian Movement, AIM, writer and poet, has just completed 40 years in prison, and is one of the political prisoners jailed for the longest time in the whole planet.
I have been asked to write a SOLIDARITY statement to everyone about the Camp of the Sacred Stones on Standing Rock. Thank you for this great honor. I must admit it is very difficult for me to even begin this statement, as my eyes get so blurred from tears and my heart swells with pride as chills run up and down my neck and back. I’m so proud of all of you young people and others there.
On Sunday, a small group of National Football League players risked their careers, their endorsements and their livelihoods. They did so through the simple act of refusal. They stood in the proudest tradition of athletes who have used their platforms for social change, and they have already felt a backlash that would ring familiar, almost note-for-note, to anyone acquainted with what that last generation had to endure.
Of the millions of people imprisoned in the U.S., most will return home someday – but to what? Barriers to finding a place to live or earning a living – or merely surviving – surround formerly incarcerated people like prison walls. We’re organizing The Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement 1st National Conference in Oakland to come together and find ways to break down those walls.
Over the past few years, President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, members of both houses of Congress and many other elected officials have expressed the need for criminal justice reform. Much concern has been raised regarding overly harsh penalties for low-level drug offenses and firearms violations. There is, however, one particularly egregious judicial injustice that has not made the headlines, perhaps because it primarily effects only poor African Americans.
The Rwandan Genocide is commemorated in Rwanda and at the United Nations as “the genocide against the Tutsi.” However, it was preceded by the assassination of three Hutu presidents and by the massacre of hundreds of thousands of Hutu civilians in Burundi. There is also ample evidence that hundreds of thousands of Hutus, as well as Tutsis, died in the Rwandan massacres.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the Committee on Financial Services, introduced landmark legislation that would provide significant resources to end homelessness in America. The measure is a bold effort to declare what is really needed to address this crisis. The legislation provides $13.27 billion in new funding over five years to several programs and initiatives that will help the nearly 600,000 Americans who are currently homeless.
Assemblymember Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) honored Ms. Betty Reid Soskin, 94, a Richmond resident and the nation’s oldest full-time park ranger in a ceremony Feb.12. She was honored as an “Unsung Hero” – the Black History Month honoree from Assembly District 15. Assemblymember Thurmond has introduced AB 2054, Summer EBT for Children (SEBTC). The bill would prepare California to implement SEBTC, a model proven to decrease chronic hunger.
The voice of Haiti’s popular movement at this critical period in the country’s history has never been clearer. For the past several months, since the discredited legislative and presidential elections of last August and October, mass, vibrant protests for the right to a free and fair vote and against foreign intervention have been a relentless force, in the face of heavily-armed and well-financed adversaries and mounting repression.
Why did the NBA All Star Game Weekend celebrate Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, who is known to have launched invasions that cost millions of African lives, and to brutally repress his own people? His appearance inspired indignation and headlines in the Toronto press. Ann Garrison spoke with CIUT-Toronto Taylor Report host Phil Taylor to ask what he thought of this and how it happened.
For 40 years, former American Indian Movement (AIM) activist Leonard Peltier has been in the clutches of the U.S. prison system –The Iron House of the whites, as indigenous people call them – on trumped up murder charges. Now, as he suffers poor health and an abdominal aortic aneurism, time is no longer on his side. The aneurism, diagnosed just weeks ago, threatens his very life, so supporters of Leonard are demanding his freedom, so he doesn’t perish in the Iron House.
2015 was a historic political year for the African continent because one of the continent’s most radical anti-imperialist leaders chaired the African Union, and I am talking about President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. I talked with Obi Egbuna, the U.S. correspondent for the Zimbabwean national newspaper, The Herald, about what President Mugabe accomplished leading Zimbabwe and the African Union in 2015. Here is what he had to say.
Just as we know Indigenous Life is Sacred, we know Black Lives Matter. There is a state of emergency. From British Columbia to Ferguson, from the Amazon forest to Oakland, from Alcatraz Island to Minneapolis, we are demanding our freedom. As First Nation people, we understand that OUR justice relies on the respect, appreciation and liberation of Black lives. Because if they can’t get it, we definitely won’t be seeing it. #BlackLivesMatter!
Jesse Perez, a young man buried alive in the Pelican Bay SHU, began advocating for a Prisoner Political Action Committee after the hunger strikes, when attention had turned to legislative action. Now he's suing his jailers for their retaliation, and the judge denied defendants’ summary judgment motion. The trial began Nov. 9 and is expected to continue to Friday, Nov. 20. Pack the courtroom daily (except no court Thursday): Courtroom 4, 17th floor, Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco.
All Of Us Or None applauds President Obama and his administration for “Banning the Box” for federal agencies on Nov. 2. In issuing a federal personnel memorandum, the president directed that the federal government delay inquiries into a job applicant’s conviction history until later on in the hiring process. The president’s memorandum – issued after years of advocacy by All Of Us Or None – marks a historic victory for the campaign.
Few aside from the USA’s military industrial giants have made more money on the Iraq War than California’s U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her husband, Richard Blum. The Blue Angels first came to San Francisco in 1981, when Feinstein was mayor. Will the MSF hospital bombing in Kunduz, Afghanistan, put a damper on San Francisco’s annual celebration of war and militarism? The Blue Angels are San Francisco’s choice. The Pentagon does not force them on San Francisco or any other city.