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At the Women’s March on Washington, Sen. Kamala Harris told constituents, she “had our backs,” and since she has been in office Sen. Harris has certainly been a vocal and active participant in standing up for the constitutional rights for her constituents in California against presidential legislation which undermines core human rights and values. Her track record in providing a safety net for the most vulnerable in our community is unparalleled.
A group of civil rights era activists have passed the torch to a younger generation, so to speak. One week after the Movement for Black Lives released a wide-ranging, and long-awaited, policy platform, the activists’ vision for change has also earned an endorsement from delegates of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a famed student organizing group that formed in the 1960s.
Fifty years ago, on June 16, 1966, in Greenwood, Mississippi, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Chair Kwame Ture, then known as Stokely Carmichael, addressed a crowd of youthful demonstrators and the media covering the militant March Against Fear and forcefully re-echoed our millennial and generational demand for “Black Power.”
Just five days after the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Watts Rebellion erupted, lasting several days. Today urban rebellion remains a key element in the struggle of the African American people against national oppression and economic exploitation. Since 2012, with the vigilante killing of Trayvon Martin and the resultant acquittal of George Zimmerman, a rising consciousness and intolerance for racism has been rapidly accelerating.
Who can question whether President Barack Obama is a master when it comes to speeches? Such a quality literally put him on the map when he mesmerized a crowd at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. He did it again in the Selma, Alabama’s 50th anniversary at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. His central message: No one can doubt things are better since Selma. No one. His speech, delivered with quiet passion, was a master work. And yet … and yet.
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.”
Political Prisoner Imam Jamil Al Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, is in critical medical condition and in desperate need of our urgent action. Imam Jamil was a dominant and influential figure in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements of the 1960s. He served as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later as Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party.
The fiery H. Rap Brown, chairperson of SNCC, minister of justice for the Black Panther Party and one of the original four targets of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO to neutralize Black power, is presently entombed in the federal prison at Florence, Colorado, one of the world’s 10 worst prisons. Pursued relentlessly since the ‘60s, he was wrongfully convicted in 2002 – the prosecutor bragging that they finally got him after trying for 24 years. His wife, attorney Karima Al-Amin, tells his story on the Block Report.
Funeral services were held in Detroit on April 25 for Mrs. Mabel Robinson Williams, the widow of African American revolutionary Robert F. Williams. The Williams served as leaders of the Monroe, North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP during the 1950s until early 1961, when they were targeted by local authorities and the FBI. The civil rights organizers became advocates of armed self-defense against racist violence perpetuated by the Ku Klux Klan and law-enforcement personnel in the city.
On the 20th anniversary of the demise of my father, Fred Ali Batin Sr., the 18th anniversary of the Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area – the Ritual Sunday is Oct. 13, 2013; see http://maafasfbayarea.com/ – and approximately the 60th day of the hunger strike to end the inhuman conditions in California’s Security Housing Units or SHUs, I just want to pause and reflect.
Monday, Nov. 26, at the Bay Area Black Media Awards event hosted by Greg Bridges and sponsored by the San Francisco Bay View and Block Report Radio, it was so wonderful to see all the media friends and family for an evening of celebration. KPOO, KPFA, New California Media/Pacific News Service, Wanda’s Picks Radio, Oakland Post, Globe, Poor News Network, Oakland International Film Festival, Black Panther newspaper alumni and others were in the house as “Best” this and “Best” that were saluted.
Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) is one of the most revered Black revolutionary leaders from the ‘60s who is alive today. He was a legendary organizer with SNCC and briefly with the Black Panther Party, then later in an Islamic community in the West End of Atlanta, Georgia. This is one of the true fathers of rap music. Atlanta will rally Monday, March 19, 3-5 p.m., at the Georgia Capitol, 206 Washington St., to bring Imam Jamil back to Georgia from federal prison in Florence, Colo.
I am pleased to stand with my colleagues today who are outraged at Nobel Peace Laureate President Obama’s decision to wage war on Africa in Libya. At the outset, let me state that Libya is home to tens of thousands of foreign students and guest workers. The students come from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia. The messages I have received from concerned Africans state that these young, innocent people, inaccurately labeled by the U.S. press as “Black mercenaries,” have been trapped in hostile territory and are hated by the U.S.-allied Al Qaeda insurgents.