Archive for December, 2014

Bay Area Hanukkah March in Solidarity with Rising Protests

Hanukkah march

By Josh Healey

Over 300 Jews, joined by a few non-Jews, marked the first night of Hanukkah, the holiday of liberation, by taking over the streets of downtown San Francisco, marching, praying, laughing, and shouting for justice to ensure that Black Lives Matter

It was pouring rain when marcher started at the Yerba Buena Gardens, singing the new freedom song: “I can hear my neighbor crying ‘ can’t breathe’ / Now I’m in the struggle and I can’t leave…”

They sang the Hebrew peace song Lo Yisa Goy. And then, when it was time to march, the sky cleared and the rain stopped.

They marched over to Powell and Market, a 10-year- old girl leading the chant: “From Ferguson to ‘Frisco: Black Lives Matter!” Her name was Alana, and she was there with her grandmother.

In the middle of Market Street, a group of rabbis led the crowd in the Mourner’s Kaddish for all the Black and Brown men and women killed by police and vigilantes. They took turns reading the names, and everyone repeated them back.

They recited the Kaddish. They said a prayer for those whose lives have been stolen by racist violence. “Yitgadal v’yitkadash…”

And the rabbi closed by saying, “This is only the beginning.”

The march in San Francisco was one of 10 similar actions.

City Council Calls Public Hearing Jan. 24 to Seek Ways to Protect Black and Latino Lives in Oakland

Oscar grant protest

By Post Staff

The Oakland City Council is calling a meeting in January to discuss the meaning of the Black Lives Matter movement for Oakland and what reforms the city must make to protect the human rights of its Black and Latino residents.

The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m., location to be announced. Councilmembers Lynette McElhaney and Larry Reid submitted the resolution calling for the meeting.

“The recent protests are an indication of the desperation and frustration of members of our community who feel their needs are ignored by their government,” said McElhaney.

“Every 28 hours a Black citizen dies from contact with law enforcement or vigilantes. Oaklanders don’t have to look to Ferguson or New York. We know this pain in our own borders.”

McElhaney says that the council is encouraged by the fact that OPD has gone 18 months without an officer-involved shooting, “But it is time that Oakland lead the nation in restoring public confidence in the judicial system and law enforcement. This will make both officers and community more safe,” she said.

“We’ve been fighting for justice a long time,” says Vice Mayor Reid. “I love my people. And, I love the officers who serve this community. But this forum is necessary to bring about the respectful dialogue needed to heal.”

The special meeting will focus on actions the council can take to address racial inequality in economic and justice systems, what the city can do to address the trauma caused by exposure to violence and preventing the tragic loss of black lives to homicide.

Representatives of Oakland Police Department and the City Administrator will be on hand to address concerns. Leaders and organizations dedicated to the work of racial justice will be asked to speak and share information.

Councilmember Desley Brooks recently authored a resolution, unanimously passed by the council, calling for charges to be filed against Officer Darrin Wilson of Ferguson and “Recognizing Our Collective Responsibility to Advance Racial Equity.”

Brooks, while in New York City, marched with the protesters as they called on people throughout the country to speak up and stop the senseless killings of unarmed African Americans by police.

Councilmember Dan Kalb, writing in his newsletter to constituents, backed the concerns raised by the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“Obviously, the core of the problem is the continuing racism that exists in our country,” he wrote, but “there are other related factors as well, including … an informal culture of mistrust and cover-up that may still pervade some police departments.”

For more information on the council’s public hearing contact Brigitte Cook (510) 238-7245.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, Dec. 20, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

Alameda County Public Defenders Rally for “Black Lives Matter”

Photo by Ashley Chambers

Protest at Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland. Photo by Ashley Chambers.

By Ashley Chambers

Attorneys in the Alameda County Public Defender’s Office held a rally on Thursday outside of the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland to show their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

More than 250 lawyers, law students and others supportive of the #BlackLivesMatter movement against police brutality staged a “die-in” on the steps of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles Tuesday.

More than 250 lawyers, law students and others supportive of the #BlackLivesMatter movement against police brutality staged a “die-in” on the steps of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Downtown Los Angeles Tuesday.

The lawyers wore t-shirts with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” and black gloves to signify “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” the chant that has been repeated at demonstrations throughout the nation.

At least 100 public defenders stood on the steps of the courthouse and observed four and a half minutes of silence to honor Michael Brown, whose body remained on the street in Ferguson for four and a half hours after he was shot and killed.

“We see that one out of three African American men will go to state or federal prison,” said Alameda County Public Defender Brendon Woods during the rally.

“Today, when we leave here and we go into those courtrooms, we’re going to take a message with us” – to the judges, to the DA’s, to the Sheriff’s, to the police, to the members of the community in the court, to our clients – “and that message is going to be that Black lives matter,” he said.

Los Angeles attrorneys protest.

Los Angeles attorneys protest.

Other rallies were held by public defenders in Contra Costa, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties on Thursday. Los Angeles lawyers held a die-in this week to protest police killings of unarmed people.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, December 20, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

Churches in Berkeley March for “Black Lives Matter Sunday”

 Pastor Michael McBride speaks over a crowd of people who staged a die-in on University Ave. in Berkeley symbolizing the fight against police brutality and injustice in the killings of unarmed Black men. Photo by Laura Wong.

Pastor Michael McBride speaks over a crowd of people who staged a die-in on University Ave. in Berkeley symbolizing the fight against police brutality and injustice in the killings of unarmed Black men. Photos by Laura Wong.

By Ashley Chambers

A large group of community members, faith leaders marched down University Avenue in Berkeley on Dec. 14 – recognized as “Black Lives Matter Sunday” in churches across the country – with signs that read, “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe,” and “People of Faith Respond.”

Filled with passion and anguish over the recent grand jury decisions to not indict the police officers that killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown and continued racial injustice, the group was led by Pastor Michael McBride of The Way Christian Center and many other clergy leaders of different faiths.black lives matter sunday dec. 14

Called a “pilgrimage of lament,” the march started at First Congregational Church on Channing Way and ended at The Way Christian Center on University Ave. where a crowd of people staged a die-in, symbolic of the 4-and-a-half hours that Michael Brown’s lifeless body was left in the street in Ferguson.

“We’re here to declare that all Black lives matter and all Black lives deserve to be protected under the Constitution that says that we are all created with inalienable rights; the right to be safe, the right to live and pursue happiness,” said McBride, director of PICO National Network’s Live Free Campaign.

The event was intended to create a space for communities to mourn the Black lives lost to systemic racial injustice.

“I can’t keep up with the genocide. And we move and we organize, and we scream and we yell, and we’re fighting back, but I black lives matter berkeley dec. 14can’t keep up,” said Eniola Abioye, a senior at UC Berkley who led a peaceful protest from Sproul Hall at the university to the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland on Dec. 13.

A member of the UC Berkeley Black Student Union, she organized the protest after witnessing cardboard cutouts of Black bodies hanging from Sather Gate on campus.

“I don’t like the idea that although I feel like I have a lot to bring to the table in the way I look at the world, that I can still be seen as a threat,” said Mack McGhee Jr., a student at Laney College. “I don’t like the idea of my little brother growing up and having the looming fear of the people who are supposed to protect him.”

Among the churches that participated were The Way Christian Center, McGee Baptist Church, Congregation Netivot Shalom, The Church Without Walls and others.

Courtesy of the Post News Group. December 20, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

Historic Meeting Brings Together Civil Rights Leaders with Execs of Verizon, Google, Facebook, Intel

  Jesse Jackson and Rainbow Push Coalition hosted a Tech Diversity and Tech Forum Dec. 10 at Intel, where Jackson addressed an audience of 300 on changing the face of the tech industry to reflect society. Photo By Carla Thomas.

Jesse Jackson and Rainbow Push Coalition hosted a Tech Diversity and Tech Forum Dec. 10 at Intel, where Jackson addressed an audience of 300 on changing the face of the tech industry to reflect society. Photo By Carla Thomas.

By Carla Thomas

In an unprecedented move, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition brought together 25 tech companies, civil rights organizations, venture capitalists, non-profits, entrepreneurs and U.S. Department of Labor office at Intel in Santa Clara on Dec. 10.

“(This) is the result of conversations to bring about collaborative efforts to make a change in the tech industry,” said Jackson, who has pressured a number of the largest tech companies to share their workforce demographic data.

Billed as an adversity and inclusion forum, the event featured African American leaders work at the tech titans Google, HP, Intel, Facebook, Verizon, and Cisco, among others. The forum was coordinated by Rainbow Push Communications Director Butch Wing and Executive Director Glenda Gill.

“Tech industry has demonstrated that it can solve the most complex and challenging problems in the world – inclusion is a complex problem that can be solved,” said Jackson.

Among the panelists were Intel Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Rosalind Hudnell, Intel Supplier Diversity Manager Minea Moore; Pandora Diversity Program Manager Lisa Lee, and HP Chief Diversity Officer Brian Tippens.

Other panelists included HP Strategic Procurement Manager, InMichael McQuarry; Google Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Yolanda Mangolini; Cisco Chief Collaboration and Inclusion Officer Shari Slate; Microsoft General Manager of Global Diversity and Inclusion Gwen Houston; Google Head of Diversity Markets Chris Genteel; and Verizon Vice President of Entertainment and Tech Policy Eric Reed.

“There’s a whole body of people who qualify to be on boards, in C-suites and employed in the tech industry and Black, Brown and women are underrepresented,” said Jackson.

“These companies get government contracts and government taxes and have every obligation to open up the marketplace responsibly,” he said.

Jackson suggested corporations reveal the deficits in diversity and set goals and timelines for change. He also proposed making a deal with the government to provide 10 percent of the $5 trillion in offshore tax monies.

“If you took 10 percent and made a deal with the government, labor and corporations and customers to reinvest to build an infrastructure for purposes and money set aside for capital…there’s enough money to be used for diversifying a

Jackson made reference to the needs of two students he had met at the Oakland Emiliano Zapata Street Academy. “Every city should have a STEM high school, and all schools should have studies relevant to the future created in Oakland, San Jose, Memphis, etc,” said Jackson.

Courtesy of the Post News Group, December 20, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

Michael Brown Sr. Tells SF: “Stand Strong and Fight.”

Mike Brown’s father speaks at Third Baptist Church and Mission High School

Michael Brown Sr. speaks at Third Baptist Church in SF. Photo courtesy of NBC.

Michael Brown Sr. speaks at Third Baptist Church in SF. Photo courtesy of NBC.

By Kia Croom and news reports

Nearly 800 community members and faith leaders packed into the pews of Third Baptist Church on Sunday to hear remarks from Mike Brown Sr. father of the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer, sparking a national movement against police impunity.

Speaking briefly, Brown expressed gratitude to people for their support.

“I’m tired. But I’ll sleep when it’s over. Enough is enough,” he said before taking his seat.

The audience applauded wildly. Cries and groans were heard throughout the sanctuary from community members overcome with grief and sorrow for all those who are bereaved by loved ones lost to gun violence.

Pastor Amos Brown of Third Baptist issued a “love offering” collecting donations, 100 percent of went to the Brown family for travel and other expenses.

Brown visited the church as part of a multi-faith, multi-racial assembly organized by Christian leaders and the Nation of Islam to denounce the excessive force perpetrated by police and resulting in the recent deaths of Brown, Eric Gartner and closer to home Oscar Grant. It ignited spirited discussions on the need for improved community-police relations in San Francisco and nationally.

“The police should be proportionately representative of the community that they police, and the image of the police needs to be changed,” said Pastor Brown.

Michael Brown Senior, father of the 18-year-old Mike Brown who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson this summer, sits alongside Oscar Grant's Uncle Bobby while San Francisco high school students ask them questions. Photo coutesy of Andra Cernavskis, Missionlocal.com.

Michael Brown Senior, father of the 18-year-old Mike Brown who was shot by a police officer in Ferguson this summer, sits alongside Oscar Grant’s Uncle Bobby while San Francisco high school students ask them questions. Photo coutesy of Andra Cernavskis, Missionlocal.com.

“It is time this city listen to these speakers who have come today presenting a work plan to put San Francisco in therapy so that she may be made whole,” he said.

The program brought testimonies from mothers of males killed by gun violence. Mattie Scott, whose son George C. Scott was shot and killed in 1996, gave emotional address.

“This is a national health epidemic, and we need to do something about it. We shouldn’t have this many people standing because they’ve lost someone due to senseless gun violence,” she said.

Added District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen, “To the protestors, thank you for being the disruption that you’ve been. Thank you for being the conscience we need.

On Monday evening, Brown Sr. met with hundreds of San Francisco high school students from across the city at Mission High School. .

Also speaking were Rev. Amos Brown and Cepheus Johnson, “ Uncle Bobby,” uncle of Oscar Grant III, who was shot and killed by police in Oakland at the Frutivale BART station on New Year’s Day 2009.

Mission High’s Black Student Union organized the event, which was not open to the public but rather meant for students as a means to support the family of Michael Brown and discuss race and society with other students from across the district.

Students who attended came from many schools including Mission, Balboa, Lincoln, Galileo, Burton, City College and San Francisco State University.

Courtesy of the Post News Group, Decembr 20, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

High School Students Walk Out, Saying: “Graduations Not Funerals”

OUSD students protest 12/16/14

By Ken Epstein

Wanting their voices to be heard in the growing protests against police impunity, high school students walked out of school and protested Wednesday in front of the office building at 1000 Broadway where the Oakland school district headquarters is located.

Among the protesters were students from Oakland Technical High, Bunche Academy, MetWest and Dewey Academy. The students were predominately African American, Latino and a few Pacific islanders.high school protest 12/17/14

“The students have a voice. We don’t agree with police not being indicted,” said Mishel, a 12th grader at MetWest.

Students chanted: “Indict! Convict! Send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Handmade protest signs said: “Save Lives – Don’t End them;” “Graduations, Not Funerals” and “Protect Us Too.”

Some protesters emphasized that this demonstration marked just the beginning of high school student activism.

“You’ll be seeing us a lot,” said Toa, a Tongan student who goes to Bunche Academy. “I’m doing this for the Polynesians. We need justice, too.”

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, December 19, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

East Bay Town Hall Meeting Seeks Solutions to Police Impunity

Speakers lined up at two microphones Wednesday evening to express their views at the thown hall meeting organized by Black Elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay. Photos by Ken Epstein

Speakers lined up at two microphones Wednesday evening to express their views at the thown hall meeting organized by Black Elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay. Photos by Ken Epstein

By Ken Epstein

A town hall meeting seeking solutions to the “strained relations between law enforcement and our communities” was held Wednesday night, hosted by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson and Black Elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of The East Bay.

A large crowed turned out to listen and speak at the town hall, held at Beebe Memorial Cathedral at 3900 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.

Wanda Johnson

Wanda Johnson

Attending were public officials and leaders of police from various cities in the East Bay.

Some people raised concerns that many of the youth and organizations that have been participating and leading protests in the streets and blocking “business as usual” were not at the meeting.

One speaker who talked about solutions was Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, the young man who was killed by BART police at Fruitvale Station.

Officers should not be “living 40 or 50 miles away” but should be “living in the community” where they work,” she said.

“Take off your uniforms and talk with people in the community,” she said. “(You) don’t know how young people act in the community.”

Police should have sensitivity training, said Johnson, reflecting a recurring demand raised by many speakers. “We who have lost loved ones, mothers like myself, should be able to go into the police stations and share our stores.”

She also supported another solution raised by many speakers, a citizens police oversight commission with teeth. The community has to be able to “police the police,” so that something is done about all the complaints that are received, she said.

Volunters took notes on speakers' proposals.

Volunters took notes on speakers’ proposals.

Other demands raised by speakers: “Jail the killer cops;” “Overhaul or repeal the Police Bill of Rights,” which allows officers to hide from public scrutiny; and a demand for the right to peacefully protest – “These are our streets.”

“Those folks out there in the streets aren’t here in the room right now, and that’s a travesty,” said another speaker. “You can’t have a

Cephus, "Uncle Bobby," Johnson

Cephus, “Uncle Bobby,” Johnson

conversation without them.”

Others like activist Robbie Clark and Cepheus Johnson,Uncle Bobby,” Oscar Grant’s uncle, tied police violence to gentrification, the lack of spending for education and affordable house and the billions of dollars that are spent to militarize the police.

“Its’ very obvious how much of a police state is being built right here in Oakland and Alameda County,” said Clark.

Instead of building schools and hiring teachers, “They are arming the police that are killing our children –the system is broken,” said Johnson.

Attorney John Burris, Oakland Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf, Post Publisher Paul Cobb.

Attorney John Burris, Oakland Mayor-elect Libby Schaaf, Post Publisher Paul Cobb.

“If by chance we get by the grand jury, we have to deal with the district attorney. And then we to deal with jury and judge,” before justice is done. “We have a system in its entirety that is broken,” he said.

Courtesy of the Oakland Post, December 19, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

 

Berkeley City Council Hears Police Abuse Claims, Fails to Act

By Judith Scherr

More than 100 people came to a raucous Berkeley City Council meeting Tuesday to vent their anger at what they said was police use of excessive force at Dec. 6 protests against the grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Mo and Eric Garner in Staten Island.

Maria Moore

Maria Moore

But many of those lining up to speak, had hoped for more than an opportunity to vent. They wanted city council action.

Council action on urgency issues not on the agenda requires a two-thirds vote. The three progressives,  Councilmembers Kriss Worthington, Jesse Arreguin and Max Anderson, urged the council to do so, in order to discuss a Police Review Commission recommendation to temporarily ban police use of tear gas, over the shoulder baton strikes and firing projectiles.

Police used all three against protesters Dec. 6, contending that they were the object of bricks and bottles thrown by protesters.

The council refused to address the recommendation and also turned down a separate motion calling for a council meeting within a week on the issue.

Willie Phillips: Willie Phillips addressed the issue of accountability saying, in Berkeley, “we don’t know if there are issues around profiling because we don’t keep records of that.” Photos by Judith Scherr.

Willie Phillips: Willie Phillips addressed the issue of accountability saying, in Berkeley, “we don’t know if there are issues around profiling because we don’t keep records of that.” Photos by Judith Scherr.

Mayor Tom Bates, loudly heckled by the crowd, instead called a meeting for Jan. 17, where he said “experts” would discuss relevant issues.

But Anderson argued, “These are urgent matters. If someone on this dais is hoping that passions will cool (by Jan. 17) and things will go away, you’ve got another think coming. If we don’t act with expeditious intent then people will be justified in making the judgment that we’re shirking our responsibilities.”

Speakers addressed what they said was excessive force.

African American activist Moni Law said she was protesting peacefully on Dec. 6. when she was “punched in the back with a Billy club.”

Stephan (with an S) Elgstrand showed the council a projectile police shot at protesters.

Stephan (with an S) Elgstrand showed the council a projectile police shot at protesters.

“I’m not against police,” Law said.. “I’m against brutality.”

Another speaker was Maria Moore, sister of Kayla Moore, the African American transgender schizophrenic woman who died in police custody in 2013, after friends had called for help due to Moore’s bizarre, but not threatening, behavior.

“We live in a culture where individuals of color suspected of minor crimes are met with a police presence that leads to lethal force,” Maria Moore said. “Police blame the victims. Eric Garner chocked to death – that was his fault – he resisted; Michael Brown was a thug, he had it coming; Kayla Moore was mentally ill.”

Moni Law

Moni Law

Barbara White, vice president of the Berkeley NAACP, also linked Ferguson and Berkeley. Berkeley has failed to implement a program to collect data on the race of people stopped by police. She said the issue is bigger than the “appalling” deaths of Brown and Garner.

“It’s structural racism in America that’s not being addressed,” White said. “Black lives matter. They matter all the time in every area of life. We want to eat. We want a job. We want housing. We want our kids to be educated. And certainly, we want to go out in the street and not be killed.”

Courtesy of the Post New Group, December 19, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)

Families, Children and High School Students Hold Vigil at Lake Merritt

High school students and families with children held a vigil at Lake Merritt in Oakland Monday night, creating a circle of candlelight around the lake to support  the Black Lives Matter movement.

Photo courtesy of KTVU.

Photo courtesy of KTVU.

Groups gathered at about 5 p.m. at the lake in three separate meeting areas.

Some of the children as young as 5 or 6 years old – came from various elementary schools to be part of the protest.

One of the Oakland parents there was Frolayne Carlos-Wallace, who brought her daughter Sarah and another young girl.

“To teach them that this is your opportunity, this is your voice that needs to be heard. And this is one of the first family-friendly actions,” Carlos-Wallace said.

The vigil was joined by large group of high school students and other community members. “Nobody’s going to change the world for me. I have to go out and do it myself. And if that means marching in the rain, making posters or signs, I just have to do it because I can’t wait anymore,” said San Leandro High School student Hassani Bell.

High School students walk out and protest at Fruitvale BART in East Oakland. Photo courtesy Doug Sovern/CBS.

High School students walk out and protest at Fruitvale BART in East Oakland. Photo courtesy Doug Sovern/CBS.

“I’m happy that it’s student-run, because we are the future,” said Raje Lee, another San Leandro High School student, “I feel like a lot of adults and people, they forget that we are the future. So I feel like that the change has to come from us.”

The group of some 300 high school students met before the candlelight vigil at the Fruitvale BART station about 3 p.m. Some of the protestors briefly shut down the BART station.

Others lay down, blocking the AC Transit bus lanes.

“When I was younger, the police busted someone else, no reason at all pointing guns at me and my siblings. We were five, six years old,” said Demarion Carson, an Oakland MetWest High School student.

student protest“I feel people are fed up, but there’s other ways to show your anger and it doesn’t have to lead to violence,” said Oakland MetWest High School junior Kiah Killens.

Earlier in the day at least four Oakland high schools staged a walkout over police killings, joining the rally Monday afternoon at the Fruitvale BART station, in memory of the Oscar Grant, who was killed by BART police.

Students at Oakland High School walked out between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. and students at Oakland Technical High School walked out at 2:30 p.m. Also participating were students from Skyline High School and MetWest High School

 

Published December 19, 2014