What began as a pebble dropped into the water, rippled life force into infinity. Formerly incarcerated, BL Shirelle unfolds the story of rediscovering her creativity, her passion to write songs and music that released the shackles and revealed the path to freedom, not only for herself, but for others, as well. BL Shirelle is proud to be back in prison.
The number of unhoused people dying on the street in San Francisco is triple the number who died last year at this time. During this pandemic Mayor Breed called for the shelter in place order ahead of other cities and even ahead of Gov. Newsom. She understood the deadly nature of the virus and her responsibility to protect the people of her city.
Ajit Pai is a serious enemy to the masses. He heads the FCC. He led the charge to strip the internet of net neutrality protections, and you will soon see drastic changes that will disenfranchise and strip power from millions of people who depend upon on the internet. Net neutrality is what makes the Internet such a powerful platform. It’s a democratizing aspect. We are all one click away for any user wishing to access our material. The million-dollar company and the poor blogger are accessible by all. The excuse to end net neutrality is that we should not have regulations. The long term impact is to keep the ability to communicate to the masses in the hands of a few who are rich, powerful and in position to afford full access.
We are all upset about United Airlines as we should be, but that’s low hanging fruit. It’s easy to smash down on the airlines – and, again, they deserve the backlash. But the actual brutality was carried out by officers from one department and backed up by a blatant lie issued by officers from another – which is under a federal consent decree. Let that sink in for a minute and let’s see if accountability will really happen beyond a paid suspension. Let’s see if accountability will happen over the lie told by Chicago Police. Let’s not overlook the larger picture in play around this horrific incident with United Airlines.
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
Since May 2016, citizens of the Bay Area have been shocked and appalled by revelations of abuse of power by police officers in six different law enforcement agencies. The central figure caught in the eye of the storm is a teenage girl, who says that she has lived in the Bay Area’s commercial sexual exploitation marketplace since she was 12. This photo is who she really is and how she looked when she was just 13 years old.
West Coast Hip Hop is going through a renaissance of new voices with people like Trill Youngins, Anderson Paak, Vince Staples, Nef the Pharoh, Cousin Fik and Oakland’s DB Tha General. I became aware of DB Tha General because the streets was talking, but I heard his music for the first time when my cousin Smock pulled up “Mac Blast” on YouTube and told me that this was one of the coldest battle/diss records ever produced from out of the Bay.
Weeks ago, few had even heard the name Mario Woods. However, the sight of his shooting by officers of the San Francisco Police Department, brought to the world courtesy of YouTube, has made his name a rallying cry against police brutality in Northern California. Cries for justice thundered in the halls of San Francisco City Hall, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. Community members and activists filled the hearing room and later the overflow room.
The honorable bronze statues at Birmingham, Alabama’s Kelly Ingram Park show a display of courageous youth who refused to be silent and stood up for justice. Dear children, do not continue to be distracted by the ways of the world and its falsehoods. Your great legacies are at stake, and THAT is worth fighting for. And one day my grandchildren will visit your statues of courage in beautiful parks because you, too, like our ancestors, are not afraid.
The community of people with disabilities has a different experience of brutality than the ablebodied community. There are of course many similarities. But disability adds another level of difficulty to it all. And being poor, homeless or Black or Brown with a disability makes many of us vulnerable from many additional angles. Disability is glazed over or not recorded in the official police reports.
In the South Carolina prison system, accessing Facebook is an offense on par with murder, rape, rioting, escape and hostage-taking. Back in 2012, the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) made “Creating and/or Assisting With a Social Networking Site” a Level 1 offense, a category reserved for the most violent violations of prison conduct policies. It’s one of the most common Level 1 offense charges brought against inmates.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Vaytus, owned by Aniefre Essien and Brandon Sledge-Mellon, is a Black-owned music streaming provider. “Vaytus is a word that we made up from the words ‘elevate us.’ Music is powerful, and we believe good music elevates people,” says Aniefre about the unusual name. These brothas have a mission that is bigger than just filling their pockets. Their business pays artists fair rates for their music.
More than 23 years after the videotape release of White uniformed LAPD officers beating unarmed Black motorist Rodney King in 1991 – which sparked civil unrest in Los Angeles and throughout the country in 1992 – the savage beating of 51-year-old African American woman Marlene Pinnock by a yet to be named White California Highway Patrol officer on the Santa Monica Freeway on July 1 was captured by cell phone video. A community is outraged, civil rights and community leaders are planning a protest and the victim’s attorney is demanding justice.
On Dec. 12, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office cleared Manteca police officer John Moody of any wrongdoing for the shooting death of Ernest Duenez Jr. on June 8, 2011. Moody fired 13 times, with 11 bullets hitting Duenez as he struggled to exit a truck parked in his own yard. Moody is back on the job, free to continue terrorizing the people of Manteca.
My youngest of two sons was diagnosed with Down syndrome. I’ve been advocating through projects for over seven years. “Then You Stand”, a play on Down syndrome starring an all-Black cast, is a production that anyone will be able to relate to. I hope people walk away with the feeling that no matter what they face in life, they can and will rise above it.
“It’s time for the killing, brutality, terrorizing and occupation of our communities by the police to stop,” writes Denika Chatman, mother of Kenneth Harding Jr., murdered by SFPD last July. Since then police attacks on the community, especially his supporters, have intensified. Denika is calling everyone to make a dramatic demand for justice by surrounding Candlestick Stadium during the NFC championship game Sunday, Jan. 22. Gather at noon at Third & Palou, Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco.
Minutes after the outrageous police killing of 19-year-old Kenneth Harding a stone’s throw from my home and office, I joined the crowd and for two hours listened to the witnesses, shared the anger and echoed the calls for unity. Let us demand the right to “own and operate and control the economy of our community,” as Brother Malcolm advised. Now – right now – is the time for us to prove that it’s not the police, it’s not the prison guards or the big developers who have the power to impoverish and enslave us and drive us off our land. The ultimate power belongs to the people, and we will use it.
On the heels of the San Francisco Police Department killing of alleged bus-fare-evader Kenneth Harding, KPFA devoted the entire morning program – the Morning Mix – on Wednesday, July 20, to police terrorism aka “excessive use of force.”
Why would Voice of the Cape, the Islamic community radio station of rural South Africa, be blocked on Facebook? The feature story that day was about the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, but there were stories all over my friends’ Facebook pages about the Gaza Flotilla that day. When Voice of the Cape was still banned two days later on July 6, I scanned the featured stories on its home page.
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