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This is California Men’s Colony, built in 1954; it houses over 4,000 prisoners. According to Capital Engineering Consultants and Soltek Pacific Construction, they completed a new 50-bed mental health crisis facility there in 2012.

Nurse Paul Spector blows the whistle on torture in a California prison

For decades, prisoners in California have protested the torturous conditions they are subjected to. Now a nurse has come forward who worked in a California prison and can speak to personally witnessing some of these horrors perpetrated by some of his colleagues at the California Men’s Colony State Prison in San Luis Obispo. Paul Spector was fired from his job for speaking out. Check him out in his own words …

Behind Enemy Lines

Prison artist uses ‘visual language’ to inspire his brothers

Mar 2, 2015

I’ve learned to use the term “visual language,” meaning I try my best to let my art creations speak to the people in a way they’ll feel and deeply understand intuitively just by viewing it. I really hope you like this composition. This art is simply titled “Help Me,” being a composition. You can see everything in it is arranged in relation to each other, especially the pain we endure as people of color.

On leaving solitary confinement after 26 years, I salute all the advocates of progressive positive change

Mar 1, 2015

Today, Jan. 23, 2015, I appeared before the Director’s Review Board and I was granted release from PBSP SHU (Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit) after 26 years in solitary confinement. I’m to be transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison, where I’ll be able to have human contact and new experiences and hopefully be able to re-meet my family.

To Hunters Point

Feb 28, 2015

This is a bigger giant that we all must come together and fight. There’s too many young men warring with each other and not with the real enemy. The true enemy is the one who’s telling your mothers, grandmothers, fathers, baby mothers, kids, friends to pack up their things and move, while the police ride around victimize us because of our skin colors. They even go as far as killing us just because of someone videoing them doing their job in a vicious way.

My safari from Pelikkkan Bay

Feb 27, 2015
As the prisoners leave Pelican Bay State Prison, they probably catch a glimpse of the town it lies in, Crescent City. Not ugly and barren like the prison, it was a pretty little fishing and logging town before it became a prison town. This view of the town is from the picturesque lighthouse just offshore.

On Jan. 29, 2015, my travels began with a wakeup call at 2:30 a.m. I was told by the first watch unit officer to be ready in 30 minutes. Myself and a total of 17 prisoners were all rounded up like chattel slaves and placed in the SHU’s C-Facility visiting room holding cells ‘til we boarded the bus at 6 a.m. In hitting the highway, my sensibilities immediately went through the whirlwind cycle of “shock and awe” via the vivid reminder of what freedom used to entail.

Losing lives while gaining profit: 4 deaths in 2 months is business as usual for CCA prison

Feb 26, 2015
“Fight Mass Containment” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore, G-02296, HDSP Z-168, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville CA 96127.

In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.

Amplify the voices these prisons try to silence: Fight censorship from California to Pennsylvania
The value of Black life in America, Part 1
Hundreds of South Carolina prisoners sent to solitary confinement over Facebook
Judge approves expanding class action suit against solitary confinement to include prisoners transferred out of Pelican Bay
The Black Guerrilla Family and human freedom
Mission Statement of the Free Speech Society
Prisons, gangs, witchhunts and white supremacy
What would compel a man to try to cut his own face off?
If Black lives matter – A message to the youth from behind enemy lines
Prisoner Human Rights Movement: Agreement to End Hostilities has changed the face of race relations without any help from CDCr
Pattern of practice: Centuries of racist oppression culminating in mass incarceration
The way forward to end solitary confinement torture: Where’s the army?
The voice of a slave who is not afraid to speak out against Alabama’s wickedness and corruption
Humanity indicted for our silence in the face of torture
Phil Africa of MOVE dies under suspicious circumstances in Pennsylvania prison

News & Views

One billion in potential contract dollars lost annually by businesses owned by women and people of color due to Proposition 209

Mar 4, 2015

California’s minority and women business enterprises (MWBEs) have lost the potential equivalent of $1 billion in public contracts because of Proposition 209, according to a report by the Equal Justice Society. EJS released the report Feb. 24 during an informational hearing by the California State Assembly Committee on Judiciary. The hearing also heard other testimony related to the impact of Proposition 209 on public contracting.

‘Drum Beat Journey’: an interview wit’ organizer and filmmaker Elilta Tewelde

Mar 3, 2015
The local children wanted their picture taken with the four young Chicago bucket drummers – here they’ve been loaned African drums – on the beach in Senegal.

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.

Chicago shows love to torture survivors

Mar 3, 2015
Banners with the names of 118 Jon Burge torture victims were displayed in the freezing cold on Valentine’s Day by supporters who filled an entire block. For some, the torture hasn’t stopped. Aaron Patterson, after being exonerated, was soon re-imprisoned when he spent his settlement freeing other victims. – Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee

The national protests catalyzed by the killing of Mike Brown in Ferguson last August continue even as many have moved on. In Chicago, many have used the energy and opening created by these ongoing protests to re-animate existing long-term anti-police violence campaigns. On Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people gathered at the Chicago Temple to show our love for police torture survivors on the day after Jon Burge was released from house arrest.

#JusiceForMyMy

Mar 2, 2015
MyMy funeral program cover 0814

On the night of Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, MiYana “MyMy” Gregory was leaving the movie theatre on Fourth and Mission with her aunt Loyresha Gage and her twin brother. As they walked across the street, MyMy was struck and killed by a car described as a white 1990s style Lexus, Honda or Camry type vehicle with a black bumper and black rims. This vehicle’s mismatched bumper is distinct, which is why it shouldn’t take this long or be this difficult to locate it.

Cops kill every 8 hours in 2015

Mar 1, 2015

As of Feb. 13, U.S. police have killed at least 131 people in 2015, an average of three per day, the vast majority by gunfire. The glorification of the police by the corporate media and politicians, the exaggeration of the dangers they face, and the high pay most receive are all due to the role the police play as the protectors, not of the people but of a system based on capitalist exploitation and national oppression.

With general strikes and marches, Haitians demand government by the people
Joe Debro on racism in construction, Part 10
Video: SFPD officer strikes, pepper sprays homeless man
Graduate students host teach-in to address institutionalized racism at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare
Rwanda: Free Victoire! international webcast
Congresswoman Waters calls for HUD to fulfill its mission, meet nation’s housing needs
Centuries of rage: The murder of Oscar Grant III
At 91, President Mugabe leads Zimbabwe, SADC and African Union – with vigor
Black Lives Matter activists shut down Emeryville Home Depot for 5 hours, demand answers in police murder of Yuvette Henderson
Rwanda: Deplorable prison conditions for Victoire Ingabire
Haitian man lynched in Dominican Republic park
Loretta Lynch’s Rwanda ‘credential’
Does Richmond, California, have a progressive majority?
Repression and a green light for murder: The government ‘shout out to the Africans out there’!
Richmond residents to Chevron: Get your dirty money out of politics

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

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Third Street Stroll …

Mar 3, 2015
Keynoter Rochelle Metcalfe holds a historic copy of the Sun Reporter turned to her “I Heard That,” a must-read in the Black community for 32 years, as she chats with San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society President Al Williams at the Society’s popular annual Black History Month reception, held this year on Feb. 20.

The evening of Friday, Feb. 20, honored to be the keynote speaker at the San Francisco African American Historical and Cultural Society’s Black History Exhibit Opening and Reception. 2015 celebrates the Society’s 60th anniversary, that embraced the theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture: 1915-2015.” BILL HOSKINS, Executive Director and Curator, AL WILLIAMS, President and Chair, Black History Committee.

13th Annual Oakland International Film Festival April 2-5

Mar 2, 2015
'Melvin and Jean An American Story' graphic

The Oakland International Film Fest is one of the premiere events annually in the Bay Area. The 2015 showcase of films highlights a plethora of genres from all over the world. This year, some of the headlining films are: “Melvin and Jean: An American Story,” “M Cream” and “The Shop.” To introduce this year’s activities we reached out to the co-founder and director of the Oakland International Film Fest, the one and only David Roach, for a Q&A.

‘Hard Times/Good Times’: an interview wit’ rapper T-Rydah

Feb 28, 2015
T-Rydah, cropped

T-Rydah, one third of the Black Panther Fugitives rap group, is gearing up to release a solo album, produced solely by Jamil, another member of the group, this spring called “Hard Times/Good Times.” Today you can find T-Rydah, Jamil and their Red Camera shooting videos, recording vocals or listening to some of Jamil’s beats. Check out T-Rydah speaking for himself.

Swanson Youth Foundation hosts 1st scholarship gala

Feb 27, 2015

The Sandré R. Swanson Youth Foundation held its First Annual Black and White 2015 Scholarship Gala Saturday, Feb. 21. The event celebrated Swanson’s 50 years of community service and raised funds for scholarships to benefit underserved youth. Event highlights included a jazz reception and silent auction followed by a dinner and awards presentation with live performances from Bay Area recording artist Lenny Williams.

The Jacka remembered: an interview wit’ his producer, Rob Lo

Feb 25, 2015
'the Jacka Mob Figaz' cover

On Feb. 2, 2015, underground Bay Area rap king the Jacka was murdered on 94th and MacArthur in East Oakland, in the prime of his career. At 37 years old, Jack had been rhyming for over 20 years. In rememberance of my potna, my comrade, and my brotha, I wanted to interview producer Rob Lo, the Mob Figaz’ and the Jacka’s main producer, about the man and his music behind the glamour and glitz. Check Rob Lo out in his own words.

David Johnson: Modern day griot
Jambalaya in my soul: A tribute to Pat Parker
‘The Diary of Malcolm X’: Champion of Pan-African liberation in his own words
‘The Book of Negroes’: Role of British imperialism in the Atlantic slave trade highlighted in TV series opening Feb. 16
Daguerreotypist Augustus Washington and John Brown’s body
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