One year ago, on July 8, 2013, 30,000 California prisoners initiated the largest hunger strike the world has ever seen. Sixty days later, 40 prisoners, who had eaten nothing in all that time, agreed to suspend the strike when state legislators promised to hold hearings on ending solitary confinement, the heart of their demands. The 2013 hunger strike followed two in 2011. In the interim, effective October 2012, the hunger strike leaders, representing all racial groups, issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, which has held with few exceptions throughout the California prison system ever since.
This is a story about music, radio and the connection to the human spirit. The date is Jan. 10, 1992, and Troy Williams and his cellmate at Pelican Bay Prison are using wire to make an antenna for a radio. Williams was looking for something on the radio he was familiar with, but as usual he was greeted by a flurry of country music. This particular night however, Williams and his cellmate were fortunate.
Two women writing to expose abuse that has terrorized them at CIW (California Institution for Women) wish not to reveal their identities for fear of more retaliation. We have no voice. There is no one to help us. PLEASE HELP! How you can help: Contact the CIW warden, Kimberly Hughes, at California Institution for Women, 16756 Chino-Corona Road, Corona, CA 92880, 909-597-1771.
There are hundreds of prisoners who have been falsely validated as members or associates of prison gangs that can viscerally relate to my experience, from living life as an outlaw in society to being prosecuted and convicted to prison, only to be persecuted while in prison, fundamentally for educating oneself by trying to heighten one’s sense of cultural and social awareness.
I hear demagogues go on their vicious attacks about how violent prisoners held in solitary confinement are, yet we are actually the role model prisoners, if there is such a title. Many of us have sat in these tombstones back here under concentrated torture, while correctional officers have violated and disrespected us routinely, subjecting us to physical and psychological torment each day we have been back here.
Dr. Macheo Payne is making his mark in the field of education by focusing on new practices around keeping Black male youth in the classroom. His dissertation, “The Three Commitments: Critical Race Theory and Disproportionate Suspension of Black Males,” challenges classroom teachers and other school site staff to re-examine their approaches to student learning, particularly learning for young Black men.
The inclusion of Assata Shakur on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Terrorists list last month – marking 29 years since her liberation from a New Jersey maximum security prison in 1979 by members of the Black Liberation Army – while aimed at Cuba’s leadership should also be interpreted as a shot across the bow of any internal revolutionary movement or revolutionary activists in the United States.
General measures could move the cultural discussion and peoples’ behaviors in the right direction, whereas a focus on restricting gun ownership – except for people who fit appropriate medico-legal exclusion criteria – will probably worsen our cultural crisis, increase discrimination and police attacks, and increase the danger of greater social violence and chaos.
Policing in our cities is a militarized process, with features quite similar to counter-insurgency in war zones. Just within California, the LAPD trained U.S. soldiers going to Iraq in urban policing, returning soldiers from Afghanistan have trained the Salinas anti-gang squad, and Israeli police and Bahranian military recently trained the Oakland Police and UC-Berkeley police.
We feel it’s important to be a part of this conversation. If there’s a national and international conversation going on against capitalism and imperialism, we need to be a part of that. But folks also gotta undersand that racism needs to be talked about and that white privilege still exists.
Students learned many things about African and African American history, ranging from the classical African civilizations of Kemet (ancient Egypt), Songhai and Mali to the Black Arts Movement and the Harlem Renaissance. The African-centered curriculum is designed to encourage youth to read during the summer while building self-esteem and a strong cultural identity.
Berkeley, Calif.: The most liberal city in America and the world, some say. And yet Berkeley High School, with over 3,500 students and 250 teachers, has only eight Black teachers. Scandalous!
What can po' folks learn from the revolutions in North Africa? Lessons in revolutions not dictated by non-profit industrial complex agendas and philanthro-pimps but revolutions guided by angry mamaz, hungry babies, houseless elders, jobless fathers, profiled and criminalized migrants and gang injunctioned youth of color.
Jazz Hudson is one of the new up and coming poets out of the Bay who has been making a name for herself at poetry readings - one of the most loquacious and passionate young sistas to come out of the concrete jungle of Oakland in a long time.
Bayview Hunters Point is a community not exempt from poverty, violence, racism, police terrorism, gentrification, institutionalized ignorance, displacement and demonizing media coverage. With the Tough House Project, founder Jamal James Modica hopes to give this community a voice.
“Violence is now so pervasive it can no longer be usefully viewed as only a problem of desperate acts by individual offenders.” – C. Everett Koop, M.D., The Surgeon General’s Workshop on Violence and Public Health, 1985
Yes, it was a battle. My first report on this riot gave people a look into the ugly violence and bloodshed. I’ve reported it the way it happened, but nothing is to be glorified or celebrated here. It felt good, though, to be a part of struggle and change, to see solidarity in action.
“This is a critical situation,” says Joe Debro, president of Bay Area Black Builders, a new organization that joins the forces of Black contractors, workers, jobseekers and design professionals to stop the lockout and win contracts and jobs in the construction industry by any means necessary, in an explosive interview broadcast Feb. 12 on CBS5 News.
Using footage from local policing activity in Oakland, intimate interviews with marginalized residents who have been imprisoned or impacted by the imprisonment of close family members, "Oakland Lockdown" brings to light the trauma, destruction and frustration experienced by those who remain repetitively wreaked by the economic, psychological, social and moral stigmatization of criminalization.
On the first of January this year, 2009, Oscar Grant was murdered by a BART police officer. This crime gained national media attention and united a community as people from various walks of life came together to demonstrate, voice their righteous indignation and demand justice. People protested, marched, rallied and attended numerous community meetings. Thirty days later, on Jan. 30, my son was shot 17 times and his friend was murdered. There were no marches. There were no rallies. There were no protests.
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