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Low-wage workers gathered in a town hall meeting in Bayview Hunters Point on June 29 to denounce the growing income inequality in the Bay Area and declare that if their wages did not increase they would be forced to leave their jobs. The workers, who came together in the Alex Pitcher Community Room in the Southeast Campus of City College, were meeting to discuss proposed amendments to the Minimum Compensation Ordinance.
A 23-year-old African American male is accused and convicted of murder in the second degree. Sadly, there is a higher chance of that happening with our young Black men than any other ethnic group in the U.S. Even when evidence favors a Black defendant, the verdict of guilty is handed down to Black males between the ages of 18 through 35 at four times the rate for whites. Take Aljerwon Moran, for instance.
Patrick Thomas’ short film “Cut My Hair, Barber” is a powerful portrayal of a father and son relationship that is disturbing and extremely dysfunctional, yet familiar. It is a story that many single Black mothers and Black young and old men, especially, could relate to in our communities. I got a chance to interview filmmaker Patrick Thomas about his cinematic creation, “Cut My Hair, Barber.” Check it out.
As I write these words with tears in my eyes, my chest is so heavy and it aches like I’m living those days again. I relive the nightmare every day of being told my boys were shot. I live this every day. A mother should never have to hear those words or, even worse, be told that their child has died. My heart goes out to the families that have lost a loved one to this madness. I want justice for my sons Bryson and André.
The love affair between Black folks and the Clintons has been going on for a long time. It began back in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running for president. What have the Clintons done to earn such devotion? Did they take extreme political risks to defend the rights of African Americans? Did they courageously stand up to right-wing demagoguery about Black communities? Did they help usher in a new era of hope and prosperity for neighborhoods devastated by deindustrialization, globalization and the disappearance of work? No. Quite the opposite.
Once a killer cop, always a killer cop! Black San Francisco is demanding that Mayor Ed Lee face the music and fire Chief Greg Suhr, as well as the five officers involved in the execution of Mario Woods, a young man with special needs who was gunned down by five gang members of the SFPD. Records reveal that many of the officers involved had used deadly force on unarmed individuals in the past.
“The Talk” or “How to survive while Black” is given at one point or another to all young Black men. It is filled with different pointers and suggestions on how to handle police encounters when you are walking, driving or just breathing while being an African American. My mother gave my younger brother and me the talk several years ago when we turned 12, and 15 years later I gave it to my “little brother” M, a young man that I am mentoring.
“Driving While Black” is one of the few comical films in the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year, yet its subject matter deals with a not-so-funny topic. What I liked most about this film is that is a satirical look at how police of all ethnicities treat young Black men. I sat down and talked to the writers, Dominique Purdy and Paul Sapiano, about how they came up with the concept to write a comedy about police terrorism.
Ever since I have known Elita Tewelde, she has been a Pan African organizer in one way, shape or form, teaching Africans born in the Americas about our brothas and sistas from the continent, and vice versa. She recently took a group of young Black male bucket drummers from the hood to Senegal, West Africa. She filmed the whole experience and is fundraising to get the documentary, “Drum Beat Journey,” made.
Given the trajectory of 2014 regarding Black lives, perhaps February would be a great time to reflect on what bell hooks calls “the love ethic,” a principle Dr. King embodied and preached. Langston Hughes would have been 116 on Feb. 1 (his mother, Carrie Langston, was born Jan. 22, 1873). Albert Woodfox will be 68 on Feb. 19. Hopefully he will be eating cake under some sunny sky, a freed man by then.
For many months here in Texas, Comrade Rashid, our minister of defense, and I have struggled hard to shed light on the heinous acts of barbaric violence perpetrated by Texas Department of Criminal Justice employees against prisoners of every race, nation and creed. If it was not for Dr. Willie and Sister Mary Ratcliff, publisher and editor of the San Francisco Bay View, revolutionary voices might never be heard by the public at large.
They’re like, “Fuck it. I can die out here for nothing going at these cats from the other side or I could die for justice tonight with these police.” They’re fearless – they’re ready to be a martyr. Now all of this money that it must cost to bring all these cops in, ... all y’all had to do was put one man in jail. That’s it! A thousand police officers are going to be here in St. Louis and for what? To go out and kill another unarmed Black kid in the streets and then leave him there for four hours? I think that the ripple effect of this is going to rock the whole nation. It could be the tipping point for race relations in America when it comes to policing.
Thespian, comedian, humanitarian, radio broadcaster and father would all be words to describe this Bay Area renaissance man who has been putting his stamp on Oakland and the Bay Area’s culture for decades. Donald Lacy will be performing his world renowned play, “Color Struck,” on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3 and 4, at Laney College, 900 Fallon St., at 8 p.m. Check out this Oakland legend as he speaks to us about his history and thoughts.
They call themselves a “circle of fathers,” a group made up of people who know first-hand what Michael Brown’s family is experiencing. The young man’s shooting death by a Ferguson police officer has brought them together – again. The “circle of fathers” hopes some powerful new, young leaders will be formed by these experiences. From the activity on the streets around the country and online, I believe that’s already happening.
On June 24, 2103, an SUV pulled up near a Muni shelter at West Point Road and Middle Point Road in Hunters Point. According to video images later collected by the police, someone got out of the vehicle and, standing near the rear of it, fired 23 shots with a 9 millimeter gun into the shelter, killing Jaquan Rice, 19, and injuring his 17-year-old girlfriend.
As we continue to struggle with the verdict in this murder case – as the only juror of color states that George Zimmerman “got away with murder” and as the nation lurches through yet another tragic episode that forces us to deal with our racial legacy – new ways of viewing race are surfacing. Social scientists have been studying these issues for decades. Unconscious bias. Implicit bias.
There are not a lot of films where young Black men, throughout all of our tribulations with the police, the streets and society’s stereotypes, are able to be seen as protectors and providers for their family. “Fruitvale Station” is a great movie that people should go see, especially young Black males, because it is our story and it is told in such a delicate way, where you realize there are no angels and demons.
Mass incarceration is deeply racialized, as one third of young Black men are in the criminal justice system. Prisoner resistance and political action has been sharply repressed. Solitary confinement is a mechanism of torture, from Palestine to Pelican Bay to Guantanamo, and we stand in solidarity with the courageous prisoners who challenge isolation and oppression.
Jimon Clark, a young bright Black male, 13 years old, was executed on the mean streets of East Oakland on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. His execution was a one-day news story. His young life was so much more. We need police who are trusted by the East Oakland community.