Tags Prisoners of Conscience Committee
Tag: Prisoners of Conscience Committee
In 2010, Malcolm Shabazz and I traveled to Chicago to be a part of the annual Chairman Fred Hampton Street Party, celebrating the life of the assassinated Black Panther leader. While on that trip, we were introduced to Prince Amir, the grandson of Imam Malik aka Jeff Fort of the Black P. Stone Nation. Prince Amir and Malcolm hit it off immediately.
The first book I read after I decided to consciously educate myself to be a part of the movement was Sanyika Shakur’s “Monster” in the mid-‘90s. I was inspired by the sharpness of his ideas, his vocabulary and his grasp on history. I respected him in the same way I respected Tupac Shakur. I knew that one day I wanted to be able express myself as articulately as the two of them.
A compilation of JR Valrey’s most interesting interviews, “Block Reportin'” is both revolutionary journalism and candid conversation. Combining straight-up questions and answers with much deeper analysis and inquiry, Valrey provides a forum for discussion in which interviewees have the same opportunity to say what they want. This is rare in a world where so much “journalism” is scripted and controlled.
Journalist JR Valrey, who was born in 1978, grew up mostly in Oakland, where the legend of the Black Panther Party was all around him. “A lot of the people around here are Panthers, or knew Panthers or are members of the Black Guerilla Family, which was an organization that Field Marshall George Jackson of the Black Panther Party founded. The revolution is very deep in Oakland. It’s not so cosmetic as it is other places. It’s not just about bandannas and t-shirts and concert throwing and posturing. I think it’s more grassroots here and more ingrained in the spirit of the people.”
Former Lt. Jon Burge was equipped with a special unit that included individuals such as Joe “Machine Gun” Gorman, who participated in the assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. That is how he got his moniker “Machine Gun.”
On Friday’s Hard Knock Radio and Flashpoints shows on KPFA at 4 and 5 p.m., Minister of Information JR reported straight out of Los Angeles on the first pre-trial hearing since the murder case of Johannes Mehserle, the BART police officer who executed Oscar Grant, was moved there from Oakland.
An organizing meeting has been scheduled for Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. at Chuco’s Justice Center in Inglewood for people interested in monitoring the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer who shot Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old Black man, in the back on an Oakland BART platform on Jan. 1, 2009. Mehserle is the first police officer in California ever to be charged with murder.
A powerful component of 2008 presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney’s five-day San Francisco Bay View newspaper fundraising tour, Aug. 20-24, is the developing bond between Ms. McKinney and a group of young adults in Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area. Several representatives of these young adults spent every waking and sleeping minute with Cynthia.
Ras Ceylon is a very unique artist that lives in the Bay. He's politically active, his family is from Sri Lanka, he reps Rastafarianism and has linked with Askari X, Tajai of Souls of Mischief, Chairman Fred, Stic.man and a whole host of others to create a piece of audio art.
On a windy April 24th, hundreds gathered into Humanist Hall on the periphery of downtown Oakland to celebrate the 55th birthday of Mumia Abu Jamal, a former Black Panther who has been a political prisoner for the last 28 years, as well as celebrate the release of his newest book, "Jailhouse Lawyers," published by City Lights (www.citylights.com).
A lot of artists call themselves "political," "revolutionary" and "conscious" artists but very few, including the internationally known ones, use their art to benefit people's street campaigns, political and social struggles.
Jan. 23 the movement for justice for Oscar Grant III kicked into high gear at the Prisoners of Conscience Committee's Town Bizness Town Hall Meeting. Follow up by packing the courtroom at Johannes Mehserle's bail hearing Friday, Jan. 30, 2 p.m., at 1225 Fallon St., Oakland. Don't let the cops outnumber us.
The only journalist arrested while covering the Jan. 7 rebellion and one of only three protesters charged with a felony was POCC Minister of Information JR. Charged with arson (of a trash can), he is totally innocent. Tell Mayor Dellums, DA Orloff and Rep. Lee to drop all charges against all protesters.
A lot of people who met Tupac Shakur say he was such a one-of-a-kind person that you walked away knowing that he was going to make history. I never met Pac, but I could say the same about Malik Yusef, the Wordsmith, from the Rollin' Hundreds in Chicago.
The Prisoners of Conscience Committee delegation from the United States returned recently from a fact-finding mission in El Salvador. We were in three cities - San Salvador, Suchitoto and Sansonate - and we talked to former combatants, government officials, union leaders, community leaders, members of street organizations, former political prisoners and more. One of my favorite groups that we met was Radio Zurda, a collective of youth who do a political radio show heard in El Salvador and Honduras, targeted towards a youth audience.
On the murky day of Aug. 8, Black Oakland remembered the life of career journalist Chauncey Bailey, who had been murdered the week before on a downtown Oakland street. Hundreds of people filled every place imaginable in the East Oakland Catholic Church of St. Benedict.