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At his March 26 press conference, Public Defender Jeff Adachi plays the recording of his interview with Ricardo Palikiko Garcia, a 150-pound Hawaiian and Filipino man, the smallest and only Asian in his pod at San Francisco County Jail, who was forced into gladiator fights with Stanly Harris, a 350-pound African-American man, the largest man in the pod, though neither wanted to fight. Garcia believes the deputies’ intent in forcing the fights was not only to entertain themselves as they gambled but to stir up racial animosity among prisoners. – Photo: Santiago Mejia, SF Chronicle

SF County Jail prisoners forced into interracial gladiator-style fights

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of forcing inmates to fight in gladiator-style matches while he and his colleagues bet on the outcomes, San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi announced Thursday. One of the men forced to fight told Adachi, “I feel like they’re trying to stir (up) something racial … because I’m the only one of Asian descent” in an otherwise all-Black pod. Staged fights between prisoners of different races to aggravate interracial antagonism is reminiscent of the gladiator fights scandal in the California state prison system that made international headlines in the 1990s.

Behind Enemy Lines

Gov. Jerry Brown, AG Kamala Harris and CDCr officials, you have the power to stop torture in California prisons

Mar 29, 2015
This imaginative sign appeared at the Oakland action on March 23.

We are sharing our express concerns as the CCI Prisoner Human Rights Movement Local Council – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa (Dewberry), Danny Troxell, Antonio Villagrana and George Ruiz – concerning the non-functional operation of Steps 1 through 4 and how we as SHU Step Down Program prisoners are being denied our federal and state constitutional rights to equal protection and substantive and procedural due process.

SHU-shifting: An update on and overview of the Ashker v. Brown class action

Mar 28, 2015

Some nine months after allowing certification of two classes in Ashker v. Brown, Judge Claudia Wilken issued her written order granting Plaintiffs’ Motion for Leave to File a Supplementary Complaint on March 9, 2015. Pursuant to the order, a supplemental class of plaintiffs – those who’ve spent 10 years or more in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU but have recently been transferred to other California SHUs – may proceed with their Eighth Amendment claims as class representatives.

Free Speech Society: Forum for prison activists inside and out

Mar 25, 2015

The Free Speech Society (FSS) is primarily a movement to defend and preserve the rights of imprisoned activists to inform society of the social contradictions of the prison industrial slave complex in hopes of educating the people not only to the existence of these social ills but their impact on their daily lives. Join us in this historic effort and support the FSS with your time, talent and treasure.

The criminality of solitary confinement

Mar 21, 2015
“Trapped, Isolated” – Art: Roger “Rab” Moore (address above)

In this series of articles, we have traced the various mechanisms whereby the prison procedures of “gang validation” are used to deny the civil rights, the human rights and even the humanity of the prisoners. These procedures mark the criminality of the prison administration. The real crime problem in the U.S. is the prison system itself and its judicial machine. Together they are making justice and democracy practically impossible.

Grant ‘Strategic Release’ to Abdul Olugbala Shakur

Mar 20, 2015
Abdul Olugbala Shakur

A petition for Strategic Release, a groundbreaking initiative to free prisoners with a record of service to their communities, will for the first time be presented to the Parole Board April 2, 2015, on behalf of Abdul Olugbala Shakur. A two-sided petition form to print out, sign and circulate is posted below. Signed petitions must be returned in time to send them to the Parole Board by April 2. An online petition is also available.

Successful motion in court strengthens California prisoners’ case against solitary
Prison artist uses ‘visual language’ to inspire his brothers
On leaving solitary confinement after 26 years, I salute all the advocates of progressive positive change
To Hunters Point
Nurse Paul Spector blows the whistle on torture in a California prison
My safari from Pelikkkan Bay
Losing lives while gaining profit: 4 deaths in 2 months is business as usual for CCA prison
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?

News & Views

The people’s investigation into the San Francisco police killing of Asa B. Sullivan

Mar 29, 2015
Asa Sullivan – Art: Nomy Lamm

A collective of community folks organized with the family of Asa Benjamin Sullivan recently launched a people’s investigation into the killing of Asa by San Francisco police in 2006. Asa Sullivan was killed when SFPD responded to a “well-being check” at his residence then tracked him into an attic and shot him 17 times.* Police cannot be allowed to kill people and then claim that person was responsible for his own death and call it “suicide by cop.”

The first monthly Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement held March 23

Mar 28, 2015
Oakland’s action was in Oscar Grant Plaza, 14th and Broadway, the scene of many, many struggles for justice in recent years. Readers are urged to come out in droves on April 23 and the 23rd of every month. We may not be able to rid the world of all evils, but we CAN end solitary confinement!

Statewide Coordinated Actions to End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) began March 23, 2015. Actions were held in California from San Diego to Arcata (Arcata-Eureka, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, Santa Cruz) and Philadelphia, Penn. Activists in more locations will be joining in on April 23 and the 23rd of each month. Below is a report from just one locality, Santa Cruz, which took a creative approach.

Making money with solar

Mar 26, 2015
This man decided to make installing solar panels on his roof a do-it-yourself project.

What is the fastest way to shift our economy from oil to solar? If a city passes a local law that requires each house sold to be required to install 10 or more solar panels after the sale, this will shift 1 million homes to solar in 2015. Think about that. The Solar Justice affinity group meets every Sunday, 3 p.m., at 2940 16th St. at Mission, San Francisco. Join us.

A durable and sustainable plan: Reducing corrections spending in California

Mar 26, 2015
Common sense says support SB 224, the Elder Parole Program, to reduce the prison population and corrections spending and get people back to their families and communities. – Photo courtesy of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

The month of March marked the beginning of state budget hearings that will set next year’s fiscal priorities for the welfare of Californians. The first version of the state budget shows no clear plan to provide adequate relief for people living in poverty, fails to make restorative investments to the social safety net, and continues to increase corrections spending.

How does Africa get reported? A letter of concern to 60 Minutes

Mar 25, 2015
In the 60 Minutes story “The Ebola Hot Zone,” broadcast Nov. 9, 2014, Lara Logan watches as American virologist Joseph Fair instructs Liberian gravediggers at a graveyard adjacent to an Ebola treatment unit. No African voice is heard in the 15-minute segment except that of the African American doctor who heads the clinic and speaks a few words. – Photo: 60 Minutes screenshot

The following open letter was sent by email to CBS 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager: We, the undersigned, are writing to express our grave concern about the frequent and recurring misrepresentation of the African continent by 60 Minutes. In a series of recent segments from the continent, 60 Minutes has managed, quite extraordinarily, to render people of Black African ancestry voiceless and all but invisible.

Jim Crow San Francisco
Community shuts down Mission Station, puts police on trial on anniversary of Alex Nieto’s SFPD murder
Bay Area air quality regulator to refineries: Refine more crude
UC Berkeley Black Student Union wants Barrows Hall renamed for Assata Shakur as one of 10 demands
Viciously beaten University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson did not have a fake ID, attorney says
AIDS group’s Castro billboards with Dr. King’s image have whites-only feel
Tensions remain high in Ferguson
UK Foreign Office calls on Rwanda to restore BBC Gahuza
Bay Area residents hold Air District accountable for protecting health and climate from refinery pollution
Public defender releases racial justice recommendations, finds up to 1,000 cases may be tainted by bigoted officers
A terrorist under every bed in Canada
Venezuela a threat to US national security?
Port Chicago: Who were those men?
Mumia Abu Jamal: Unsaid at Selma
Democracy or hypocrisy: Why do we dare to call it genocide?

Culture Currents

Upcoming Events

 » Full event list and descriptions
PRESS CONFERENCE: Justice For O'Shaine Evans! Mar 30 9:30 AM Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant St., San Francisco O'Shaine Evans was shot and killed by SFPD Officer David more>> ---------------
Congresswoman Speier to Host Panel on Alzheimer’s: A Women’s Health Issue Mar 30 12:00 PM San Mateo Council Chambers, 330 20th Ave., San Mateo Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will host a panel more>> ---------------

Dear Black men: Help us save the lives of young Black men and boys by simply writing a letter!

Mar 30, 2015
AfroSolo Empowerment Hands, web

Inspired by President Barack Obama’s “My Brothers Keeper” initiative, AfroSolo will launch Project Empowerment: The Audacity to Succeed II. An anthology entitled “Lighting up the Future: Letters From Black Men to Young Black Men and Boys,” will be a collection of letters from Black men designed to celebrate, uplift and motivate young Black men and boys to successfully transcend youth to adulthood. We cordially invite your participation.

Writer coaches make a positive social impact!

Mar 30, 2015

After a WriterCoach Connection volunteer offered words of praise to a Korematsu Middle School seventh grader on a writing assignment, the youngster told the coach, “Nobody has ever said that to me before. Not my teachers, not my parents – nobody. Thank you!” The coach had met the student where he was with his writing process. No judgments. No preset expectations. Just pure encouragement to help him get his voice and views on paper.

Grandfatherhood: Part 3

Mar 29, 2015

The most important thing you can give any child is your time. This month I will share some activities and outings you can enjoy while sharing time with your children, grandchildren or the children of friends you are fortunate enough to have in your life. Here are a few suggestions of positive ways to spend some moments that will create memories to last long beyond when you and I are gone.

Robert ‘Fleetwood’ Bowden’s ‘Da Cotton Pickas’ to be featured in Oakland International Film Festival

Mar 28, 2015
Sharecroppers

Robert “Fleetwood” Bowden’s “Da Cotton Pickas” is a must see documentary about how slavery did not stop with the Emancipation Proclamation. In fact, some people who were sharecropping slaves are still alive today, like Bishop Henry Williams, the subject of this monumental documentary. He worked for over 18 years and was never paid for picking cotton. Fleetwood tells a story of a historical reality with this documentary that most have never heard.

Does the disability community need a documentary on police brutality from a retired disabled Black cop?

Mar 27, 2015
Emmitt Thrower

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.

An appreciation: Dr. Ben, legendary Egypt scholar, dean of Harlem Street University
Filmmaker Pendarvis Harshaw talks about graf legend Mike Dream in ‘Dream Kontinues’ doc
Performing Arts Workshop’s Beats of the Bayview coming Friday at 3rd on Third
Manager PK remembers the Jacka
Wanda’s Picks for March 2015
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