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Dr. Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory, 84, joined the ancestors Aug. 19, the same day as the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C. A longtime advocate for human rights, Gregory ran for president of the United States, went to Iran to negotiate the release of Americans held hostage, is also known for his Bohemian diet and extensive fasts for human rights. Ten years ago he visited Oakland to honor the lives of the 918 adults and 305 children – including 40 infants – who lost their lives along with U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan and a United Press International film crew.
Actor Dameion Brown, playing the title role in the Marin Shakespeare Company’s production of “Othello,” is getting standing ovations since the production started. Still in previews, Brown has with this role seen a dream come true. Since the MSC production of “Othello” opened Aug. 26 for previews, we learn that Brown is a formerly incarcerated or convicted person (FICP), just released after serving 23 years of a life sentence.
I was armed when I entered the darkened studio room on Yosemite in San Francisco’s Bayview District where Zaccho Dance Theatre resides. When I opened the black curtain and stepped into the darkened room, I stood still for a moment to let my eyes adjust and noticed chairs where a few patrons sat. I decided to wander through the huge open space.
Gina M. Paige explained that the organization, African Ancestry, started with Dr. Rick Kittles, genetic researcher at Howard University who was interested in isolating the gene that caused prostate cancer, one of the leading causes of death in our community. He found this research methodology applicable in other genetic detective research and so in 2003 African Ancestry was founded with Ms. Paige.
I am happy to report that our beloved Elder Ronald Freeman, veteran L.A. Chapter Black Panther Party founding member and deacon in the African Orthodox Church, is doing a lot better. Keep praying for him, ‘cause he wants to go home and get to Cuba. Send him cards at All of Us or None, c/o LSPC, 1540 Market St., Suite 490, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Back when Mumia was a member of the Black Panther Party, he traveled west to work with the Oakland chapter – an important time in his evolution as a radical journalist. Now the story of his life and revolutionary times comes to The New Parkway Theater. Read about it and all of Wanda's Picks for March 2013.
Sometimes one gets tired of living in a place that doesn’t want you there, Zaccho Artistic Director, Joanna Haigood, states at the reception Thursday at the California Historical Society. The only problem is 154 years later, Black people are still unwelcome in San Francisco, which is what “Sailing Away” addresses so eloquently without words.
We give honor to Mother Earth, her birthday celebrated the weekend of April 22 with many great events in the Bay Area, “Love Yo Mama” in East Oakland hosted by Nehanda Imara of Citizens for a Better Environment, one of my favorite community events. My granddaughter and I enjoyed visiting the Tassafaronga Farm.
The Oakland International Film Festival is Friday-Sunday, April 6-8, at the Oakland Museum of California, 10th and Oak Street, Oakland. Visit http://www.oiff.org/2012schedule.pdf. This year’s headliner is one of the most controversial independent films ever made, “The Spook Who Sat by the Door.” Watch it again here.
Happy Mother’s Day to Yuri Kochiyama! I’d like to also wish the women who haven’t seen their children in a long time, some since birth, a special Happy Mother’s Day. Our prayers are with you even if you feel alone at a time when in America prisons systematically separate mothers from their children, often permanently.
Required reading for Americans pre-fireworks and festivities should be an important speech given by abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass, who, in “What to the American Slave is Your Fourth of July?” questions this holiday which took place while citizens were denied their right to justice, freedom and equality. At the Oakland Public Conservatory, Michael Lange and youth wordsmiths Ayinde Webb, the drummer in the Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble, and Jamani Williams will read excerpts.
Shout out to First Lady Michelle Obama, who presented the bust of Queen Mother Sojourner Truth, a woman who experienced first hand the hardships of slavery, yet emerged strong, so strong she had to remind America she too was a woman, a woman deserving all the respect and honor reserved for privileged white women.