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The People’s Minister of Information JR talks with reporter and author Thandisizwe Chimurenga about the recent Black female victims of police terrorism in the U.S. including the cases of Sandra Bland, Marlene Pinnock, Natasha McKenna and more. “Natasha died in February in Virginia,” says Thandi. “Why we speak of her is because recently the video of how she died was released and, once you look at the video, you can understand the reason it was held for so long. They used a stun gun on her; she was shot four times. She’d been arrested and charged with assaulting a cop.”
It’s kind of fitting that police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, murderers of Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, were cleared of criminal wrongdoing in the last several weeks. The eruption of protest, activism and organizing in response to the (bad) decisions of legal bodies to not hold these officers accountable for their crimes has occurred at a time of special significance for the legacy of the Black Panther Party.
On Sept. 13, 2014, the most progressive of the Bay Area’s Black and pro-Black journalists came together to celebrate one another and to give awards to a well deserving few. It was also a salute to the real legacy of Black journalism in the United States that was born out of the fight for human rights and self-determination. The night was dedicated to the memory of the recently transitioned journalist and editor Kevin Weston.
From the moment the doors opened on the evening of Sept. 13, it was apparent that the honoring of our global African media would begin its night of empowerment with the tradition of honoring one of the community’s foremost elders. We celebrated the 82 years of life and struggle of Dr. Willie Ratcliff and Dr. Ratcliff’s 22 years of Black media ownership of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. Black Media Appreciation Night 2014 was filled with wisdom, communication and the exchange of knowledge, as well as people receiving awards for life changing, revolutionary work.
Every two years, Block Report Radio and the SF Bay View newspaper get together to sponsor Black Media Appreciation Night, a night when we honor the very best in Black media from around the Bay Area. BMAN 2014 is Saturday, Sept. 13, 7 p.m., at the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC), 762 Fulton, San Francisco. Tickets at EventBrite (click the banner above). Headliners are pianist Kev Choice, comedian Donald E. Lacy, and Phavia Kujichagulia and Ma'at. Read on for the full list of honorees ... and more.
The SF Bay View newspaper is working to gather enough funds to send JR Valrey to the frontlines in Ferguson, Missouri, site of the biggest protests against police terrorism since Oakland rose up to demand justice for Oscar Grant. They started Saturday, when a police officer murdered unarmed Michael Brown, 18, for walking in the roadway with his friend. Most corporate media is working to distort the story and demonize the righteous anger of the people. Michael’s family and friends and the people of Ferguson need the Black press to tell their truth.
Theodore Paul Wafer, 55, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., was convicted of the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride on Thursday, Aug. 7, in downtown Detroit. The jury began deliberations a little before noon on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The Wayne County jury found Wafer guilty of second-degree murder, manslaughter and using a firearm in the commission of a felony in the Nov. 2, 2013, killing of McBride. Wafer was remanded into custody after the trial and will be sentenced Aug. 25 by Judge Dana Margaret Hathaway. He faces a maximum of life in prison.
It has been five years since Oakland was set on fire during the Oakland Rebellions that were a result of the BART police murder of Oscar Grant. Los Angeles based journalist Thandisizwe Chimurenga is set to release her book, “No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant,” in the coming weeks. This book gives a much needed political analysis of what was at work behind the curtains of this monumental police murder case.
As a Black woman, to hear Ron Thomas declare, “What this means is that all of us need to be very afraid now … Police officers everywhere can beat us, kill us, do whatever they want because it was proven here today they can get away with it,” I automatically want to ask him where has he been?
Word reached The Liberator Magazine that revolutionary Black independent media is about to expand with the impending launch of Block Report Radio Station on the internet. So they sought out its founder, Oakland journalist JR Valrey, to ask him why he devotes his life to independent media and what we can expect from the new Block Report Radio Station.
For the second week in a row, one of the largest audiences for any show on KPFA was disappointed not to hear the People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey and his Block Report on the air Wednesday at 8 a.m. Instead we heard an announcement by interim general manager Andrew Phillips that JR has been suspended. Getting punished for doing “too well” happens to Black folks much too often. Sign the two petitions to end the suspension of JR Valrey from KPFA and attend the Town Hall Meeting, Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m. at Laney College. This story is constantly being updated with new signatures and comments.
Christopher Jordan Dorner is dead, but his words and actions will continue to impact the Los Angeles area and beyond for quite some time. The former U.S. Navy lieutenant and Los Angeles police officer who is alleged to have shot and killed four people early in February was the subject of the largest manhunt in Southern California history.
Once again another young Black man has been shot and killed, under highly questionable circumstances, by a representative of law enforcement. Also once again, African Americans and our allies fear that justice will not be served on the perpetrator. Unfortunately, this fear is neither imagined nor an overreaction; it is grounded in concrete reality.
“Take the kinks out of your mind, instead of out of your hair,” said Marcus Garvey. Black women today who strive to take his admonition to heart are in a better position than their sisters of the past. Research focusing on the products used in African-American beauty salons – and homes – is increasing.
A new light rail line through South Los Angeles to the airport that promises thousands of jobs got the green light Sept. 22 from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) board of directors. Now that the project can move into its construction phase, the Black communities the rail line will pass through are asking whether they’ll benefit and who will win the contracts and jobs.
A coalition of unemployed African American laborers gathered in front of California state Sen. Allen Lowenthal's office in Long Beach to demand his support for SB 292, the bill to fast track AEG's Farmers Field project which would create tens of thousands of good jobs.
At least 400 prisoners at Pelican Bay continue to refuse food and thousands more around the state are striking in solidarity, making it the largest hunger strike in the history of the embattled California prison system. “We are urging our state representatives and Gov. Brown to step in and force the CDCR to recognize the prisoners’ demands,” says Manuel La Fontaine.
Because California penal code does not classify involuntary manslaughter as a “violent” or “serious” offense, Johannes Mehserle, the convicted killer of Oscar Grant, could be released as early as mid-June of this year, after serving less than one year behind bars.
A sampling of reactions from small and independent news reporters during the July 8 protest rally called by the Los Angeles Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant is recorded in these videos. The rally was called in response to the involuntary manslaughter verdict handed down by a Los Angeles jury just hours before.
Oscar Grant's family told reporters Saturday that the letter of apology from Mehserle should have come much sooner and should have been directed to them personally. Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, told KGO-TV on Sunday, “I don’t think that when the family remains that hostile and that nasty and mean-spirited that Mr. Mehserle should be out there offering olive branches because they will not be received.”
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