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1968: The strike at San Francisco State

Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.

Few prisoners strike at San Quentin

Few prisoners, if any, at San Quentin State Prison participated in what was reported to be the largest prisoner-led strike in United States history. There are many reasons for these prisoners’ lack of involvement. Most of the men imprisoned at San Quentin were unaware of the strike and the groups involved with it like Jailhouse Lawyers Speak and the Bay Area National Prison Strike Solidarity Committee.

Hunters Point Shipyard: A few caring people are changing the world

Once upon a time … in a reality far, far away … Amy D.C. Brownell, PE, a licensed professional engineer with the Environmental Division of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH), accepted the mandate to protect human health and the environment as a permanent regulator seated on the Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) of the Hunters Point Shipyard, a federal Superfund site. RABs are democratically elected bodies created by Congress to empower community stakeholders with the opportunity to direct the cleanup and reuse of former military installations.

‘You wash us away, but we’re still here’: Homeless funding initiative...

A white jogger throwing a Black homeless man’s property into Lake Merritt. A well-dressed man kicking a sleeping man’s face so severely he was hospitalized. The owner of a local club circulating death threats to homeless people and chasing a camper with a gun. These are just some of the publicized events. Of course, people forced to live outdoors face this and worse on a regular basis.

Noose at SF highrise reaffirms lockout of Blacks from construction

“Three African-American construction workers said this week that they were targeted by racial slurs and death threats, including black dolls hanging from nooses in the bathroom, while working on the site of a San Francisco high-rise,” reported the New York Times after renowned civil rights attorney John Burris, who’s representing the workers, held a June 21 press conference. That the issue is important enough for a major story in the New York Times will, we hope, catch the attention of the powers that be in San Francisco.

Navy does damage control for Pelosi, Feinstein and Lennar as it...

The U.S. Navy had its annual dog and pony show at the Treasure Island Restoration Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. The previous meeting included a Tetra Tech representative and a loud confrontation, but this time Tetra Tech representatives were not on the panel since there are now two Tetra Tech managers in federal prison for falsifying the cleanup records at Hunters Point and an ongoing grand jury investigation with likely more sealed indictments.

When barbequing while Black becomes a part of the Art of...

Word has it that the first 20 enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown, Virginia, sometime during the month of August in 1619. Wow! That means next year, August 2019 will extend that legacy to exactly 400 years. Look out, Jamestown, here we come to commemorate, commiserate and consummate 400 years of MAAFA! Below is an excerpt from my poem, “The Art of Living Black,” which summarizes those 400 years, opening with an addition of recent local occurrences and indignities that have become a part of the Black Experience.

The strange silence of Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Feinstein over the...

Over $1 billion has been spent by the federal government since 2004 to clean up and remediate one of the most highly toxic and radioactive sites in the U.S., the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco. This Superfund site was home for decades, 1946-1969, to the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory, and large Navy warships were towed there from the Pacific, where they had been placed close to nuclear tests.

Sahleem Tindle’s family demands BART killer cop be charged with murder

Community members and family of Sahleem Tindle, a 28-year-old father of two, killed by a BART Police officer in January, packed a BART meeting March 12 to demand that justice be served. Tindle’s family passionately protested the lack of action by BART following Tindle’s death on Jan. 3 outside the West Oakland BART Station. Tindle’s family and legal team are calling for the city of Oakland to arrest and charge the involved BART officer, Joseph Mateu, with murder.

As San Francisco mayor, London will share power with the poor

One of the seven deadly social sins, recited first by Anglican priest Frederick Lewis Donaldson in 1925 and later by Mahatma Gandhi, is “politics without principle.” That may be the nicest way to describe the injustice that led to London Breed’s ousting as San Francisco’s first Black woman mayor. Breed is a champion of homeless rights, affordable housing and advocacy for dreamers, the candidate with the courage to do the right thing, who is not intimidated by any forces, no matter how powerful.

U.S. budget priorities and healthcare

My column last month reported on the vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to support HR 2810, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018. The vote was 344 Yes and 81 No. Seventy-nine percent of our elected representatives in the House voted for “nearly $30 billion more for core Pentagon operations than President Trump requested,” according to the San Francisco Chronicle, July 15, 2017.

U.S. budget priorities

How much of our defense budget is actually spent on defense? How many U.S. military bases, estimated to be in 150 to 170 countries, do we need to defend ourselves? How much is to protect corporate trade routes or the war for oil? It is important to note that not one other country has a military base on our soil. Since the early 1960s, 50 to 60 percent of discretionary spending has been for the military. 2018 U.S. military spending: $696 billion

Congresswoman Barbara Lee: There is no military solution in Afghanistan

When Congresswoman Barbara Lee released the following statement Aug. 21 opposing President Trump’s announced plan to keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Sixteen years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against authorizing the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan,” and for 16 years she has “waged a lonely crusade to repeal the war resolution.” Her warning that it would lead to “war without end” seems fulfilled by Trump’s announcement he’s sending more troops continue the war.

HUD policies threaten poor, elderly and disabled tenants with eviction

A proposal by HUD and the Obama administration that is allegedly meant to combat segregation and break up concentrations of poverty actually threatens Section 8 renters (Housing Choice Voucher holders) – the elderly, poor and disabled – with higher rents and eviction. It has many Section 8 tenants worried about their future in the Bay Area, New York and elsewhere.

The ‘fundamentalism’ in police operations

As police murders accumulate, and police chiefs get fired and replaced because they cannot stop it – as in Oakland and San Francisco – the notion that this represents a political crisis becomes a truism. It is not a “crisis of policing,” which would suggest a situation beyond the capacities of the police. It is the police who have become the crisis.

Gov. Brown’s parole initiative could free 30-40,000

The California State Supreme Court has re-affirmed its decision allowing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed initiative for changing California’s parole system to begin gathering signatures for the November ballot. The March 9 decision was the second time the court kept Brown’s crime initiative alive by rejecting a request by state prosecutors to halt signature-gathering for the measure.

America, we have a problem: Homelessness is out of control

It’s hard to imagine that the country that controls so much nuclear firepower and drops so many bombs every day is unwilling to educate its children and house its own people. As much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the U.S.

Hands off Coltrane Church! Eviction imminent – sign the petition

The featured front page story in the Feb. 18 San Francisco Chronicle begins, “The St. John Coltrane African Orthodox Church, a uniquely San Franciscan storefront ministry dedicated to the music and preachings of the soulful sax man, is facing eviction and may be gone as soon as Sunday’s sermon ends. Let your voice be heard by signing the petition in full support of the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church remaining in the West Bay Conference Center.”

Jose LaCrosby, stylist to the stars, entrepreneur extraordinaire

Mr. Jose LaCrosby, a nationally-recognized African-American hairdresser in San Francisco, passed away on Jan. 29, 2016, in hospice care at the San Francisco VA Hospital. He was 89 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mr. LaCrosby lived in the Fillmore-Western Addition for 58 years. Black Homes Matter Memorial Rally to honor Mr. Jose La Crosby’s legacy Wednesday, Feb. 10, 4-5 p.m., at Mercy Housing

Tension at New Folsom between Blacks and guards since assassination of...

I am currently in solitary confinement for a “Battery on a Peace Officer,” which took place on Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after the assassination of beloved political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell at New Folsom State Prison B-Facility. Prison officials released a statement to the media that several correctional officers were “ambushed” by a group of Afrikan Amerikan inmates on C-Facility, which in reality is far from the truth.

Letest News

Black History Month in the Fillmore

Black History Month 2019 exploded at the Fillmore Heritage Center with 17 events that celebrated different facets of our very diverse community. There was Fiyah Friday, Fillmore legend LaRon Mayfield’s Aquarius Bash featuring DJ Drama, the weekly Tuesday Bluesday, the Samba Percussion class, a Night of R&Bay featuring DJs DJ 12 and Black Marc, The Global African Experience presentation by the legendary historian Runoko Rashidi, an intimate and epic evening with the Grammy award winning R&B group Tony! Toni! Tone! and the African Diaspora party.

Menthol milestone, the anniversary no one is celebrating

Menthol has been the tobacco industry’s recruitment tool for far too long. It has been added to cigarettes for nearly a century, masking tobacco’s harsh flavor, making the smoke feel smoother and easier to inhale – but that ease comes with a price. The smoothness of menthol allows smokers to inhale more deeply, so harmful particles can settle lower in the lungs. Menthol cigarettes are also harder to stop – people who use menthol cigarettes have a lower rate of successfully quitting.

Celebrate Dr. Hannibal Williams for making a difference – keep his...

Liberation House, the first residential facility for treatment of drug and alcohol addiction that reached out to Afro-American men, is another example of its founder, Dr. Williams, making a difference. During its 30 years of operation, Liberation House was an extremely successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program which successfully helped thousands of men from every walk of life attain their sobriety.

Why we love Jeff Adachi

Jeff Adachi was the only official in this city we could trust to fight for us, the Black and Brown and poor San Franciscans being bulldozed out by a city drunk on its wealth and power. San Francisco’s jails are 57 percent Black, yet Blacks are down to about 3 percent of the population. Those were his clients.

Celebrate Cultural Landmark designation of the Arthur Coleman Medical Center

You’re invited! Please join us at the Coleman Medical Center on Tuesday, March 26, for an open house from 4:30-6:30 p.m., 6301 Third St. (at Ingerson), San Francisco 94124. Visit this landmark center for Black health! Meet the staff and board of the Bayview Hunters Point Clinic. RSVP please to health@bayviewclinic.org. The event is free.