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Recently us United Kings Against Genocidal Environments (KAGE) refused to settle and dismiss our 42 U.S.C. §1983 suit for the infringement of our First and 14th Amendment rights, as well as violations of our Religious Land Use Institutional Persons Act (RLUIPA) rights. Pelikkkan Bay State Prison officials have failed or refused to eradicate the implicit racial bias imposed upon New Afrikans, or Blacks – those of us who petitioned and structured the PEACE programs with an ancient Egyptian yoga focal point.
UC Berkeley’s New Media might be new, but the racism is old. “Our-Race Bias” (ORB) happens thousands of times a day in America, but it is not podcast or uploaded to digital media. The Starbucks coffee house racism incident is the tip of the iceberg in universities across the country. But as one passes through the classrooms in UC Berkeley’s New Media and Media Studies, he rarely sees any African American students in the classrooms, to say nothing of Black faculty.
The recent deaths of Alton Sterling, 37, and Philando Castile, 32, at the hands of state-sanctioned violence are additional tragedies in an endless list of Black victims, and a reminder that premature Black death continues to take center stage in the Black narrative. With our heads in our hands and our eyes swollen, we keep asking, when will Black lives matter? White silence about these atrocities is almost as dangerous as the hand that pulls the trigger.
The Blue Ribbon Panel on Transparency, Accountability, and Fairness in Law Enforcement has released its final report detailing its year-long investigation into issues of potential bias in the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD). The panel found that the SFPD is in need of greater transparency, lacks robust oversight, must rebuild trust with the communities it serves, and should pay greater attention to the potential for bias against people of color, with respect to both its own police officers and members of the public.
On Aug. 12, 2015, within the walls of New Folsom Prison, freedom fighter and political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell of the San Quentin 6 was assassinated on the prison yard by members of the Aryan Brotherhood, with the assistance of the guards. Seven months later, the community who loves him is coming together to remember his life and contribution to the Black struggle for self-determination and human rights. We will be celebrating his life on Saturday, April 23, 1-5 p.m., at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. in San Francisco. Any and everybody from the community is invited.
San Francisco is touted by conservative detractors and liberal boosters alike as the nation’s most progressive city. This is still true in many ways, even amidst towering symbols of gentrification. But, in particular, when it comes to holding police accountable for use of excessive force against communities of color, the City by the Bay is no different from the New Yorks, Chicagos, Baltimores or Fergusons of this country, where cops literally get away with murder. Think this is an exaggeration? Read on.
I was the founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party. Our first organizing tactic was to legally observe the police in our Oakland and Berkeley Black communities. During those hard core late 1960s racist, fascist times, we took a big chance with our lives patrolling the police. It was a time of rampant vicious police brutality and murder of Black people by police that was 10 times worse than today.
This brief introduction to Selma’s bottom up history can help students and others learn valuable lessons for today. As SNCC veteran and filmmaker Judy Richardson said: “If we don’t learn that it was people just like us – our mothers, our uncles, our classmates, our clergy – who made and sustained the modern Civil Rights Movement, then we won’t know we can do it again. And then the other side wins – even before we ever begin the fight.”
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.
There was a sense of shock and disbelief when news was released about the death of Thomas Eric Duncan on Oct. 8 at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The Liberian-born 42-year-old was the first reported case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which emerged in the U.S. and resulted in death. Reports during the week of Oct. 6 mentioned that Duncan’s medical condition was worsening and that he was “fighting for his life.”
On Wednesday, March 5, the full U.S. Senate failed on a procedural vote to support the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be the next assistant attorney general for civil rights. According to an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Adegbile’s representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal when he headed the NAACP LDF is reason enough to derail his nomination.
“Our nation is moving toward two societies, one Black, and one white – separate and unequal.” And, unless immediate corrective action is taken, “large scale and continuing violence could result, followed by white retaliation, and, ultimately, the separation of the two communities into a garrison state.” These are words from the much publicized and relatively blunt report of the President’s Commission on Civil Disorders.
As we continue to struggle with the verdict in this murder case – as the only juror of color states that George Zimmerman “got away with murder” and as the nation lurches through yet another tragic episode that forces us to deal with our racial legacy – new ways of viewing race are surfacing. Social scientists have been studying these issues for decades. Unconscious bias. Implicit bias.
First, be more forceful about appointing federal judges. As a former constitutional law professor, you know better than most the importance of the federal bench. Second, please listen to Paul Krugman on economic policy. He was right early on in the economic crisis when he was adamant about the need to create jobs. Finally, do not abandon the needs of Black people because you will be seen as playing favorites. Black folks are out here on our own. We need you to stand up for us and to advance policies that will help us move upward, “lifting as we climb.”
In a precedent-setting decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the state of Washington’s law barring felons from voting on Jan. 5, just in time to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, for whom the issue of voting rights for the disenfranchised was a top priority. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the law violates the federal Voting Rights Act.