race & racism

local and national features

Sep 02 2012
Champaign Housing Authority Considers Demolishing a Third Black Neighborhood

A protest was held before the board meeting of the Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC) on Thursday, August 23, 2012 by those questioning plans to demolish Bristol Place, a largely African American neighborhood on the North End in Champaign. This comes on the heels of the demolition two public housing units, Dunbar Court and Joann Dorsey Homes, also largely comprised of black residents. Local authorities have ambitions of eliminating all signs of poverty, while failing to address the basic needs of those less fortunate.

Aug 25 2012
Two Weeks of Actions, Workshops Planned for RNC

The Republican National Convention is set to meet in Tampa on August 27th-30th. The Democratic National Convention is meeting in Charlotte days later: September 4th – 6th. Fifty million dollars has been allocated to both cities for “security” during the conventions. As usual, these conventions will be met by demonstrators who call for putting people and the planet before politics.

In Tampa, a Food Not Bombs World Gathering precedes the convention. Food Not Bombs chapters will be convening in preparation to feed the thousands of expected protesters coming for the convention, but will also be hosting workshops, skillshares, concerts and actions, including an action against weapons manufacturer Raytheon. For a complete list of scheduled events at the Food Not Bombs Gathering click here.

Actions during the convention include a March on the RNC, March for Our Lives, Roving Radical Dance Party, Really Really Free Market, and Fix Shit Up @ the RNC day. Earth First has also put out a call for eco actions during the RNC to highlight environmental destruction and devastation. To see all scheduled events visit ResistRNC’s events page. Immediately following the convention, many plan to caravan to Charlotte to Occupy the DNC.

Coverage from Indybay: Surveillance Cameras, New Laws, Security Fences, and 3500 Police in Place for 2012 RNC

Jul 04 2012
Prolonged Solitary Confinement on Trial -- An interview with law professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

Diverse grassroots movement confronting the widespread use of prolonged solitary confinement in US prisons appears to be gaining momentum. The newly released issue of the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly features an article by Prof. Angela A. Allen-Bell entitled "Perception Profiling & Prolonged Solitary Confinement Viewed Through the Lens of the Angola 3 Case: When Prison Officials Become Judges, Judges Become Visually Challenged and Justice Become Legally Blind.”

We spoke with Bell about why she wrote this piece and what the case of the Angola 3 reveals about the broader human rights nightmare inside US prisons.

Jun 21 2012
Indy TV: Inteview with Yusef Shakur

Rochester Indy TV interviewed nationally recognized, author and activist Yusef Shakur while he was in town for the Indymedia 10 year convergence.  Shakur represents the embodiment of transformation and a revolutionary at heart. Yusef struggled as a misguided youth, eventually being charged with a crime that he did not commit. Despite a nine year sentence, Yusef used this experience as an opportunity for personal growth. While incarcerated, Yusef met the father he never knew, who helped him begin his transformation from a Zone 8 thug to a father & freedom fighter.

Jun 19 2012
No Badge for Johannes Mehserle

On June 8th, the Court of Appeal of the State of California, First Appellate District in San Francisco, ruled that Mehserle's conviction should not be overturned. While the Involuntary Manslaughter conviction was considered grossly unjust, far too lenient and an affront to East Bay residents all too familiar with police violence against communities of color, the denial of Mehserle's appeal comes as something of a relief for Oscar Grant's family and the Oakland community. The conviction prevents Mehserle from ever wearing a badge and a gun again. Read More

Truth Sought in South San Francisco Police Killing of 15-Year-Old Derrick Gaines | Video from "Know Your Rights With Police" Training Sessions: Part 1 & Part 2

May 21 2012
Capt. Reggie Schell: Black Panther (1941-2012)

He built the local chapter into an office that was the pride of the state -- and the bane of the State. It was late summer, 1970, when city police attacked local Black Panther offices in North Philly, West Philly and Germantown in the wee morning hours. [...] The city raids were designed to deter people from attending the Revolutionary Peoples Constitutional Convention (RPCC), when people, mostly activists, would gather together to write a new revolutionary constitution for a new, revolutionary America.

Audio Version from PrisonRadio.org | Philadelphia Tribune Obituary by Ayana Jones

Photo: Reggie Schell (center) with Marcus Schell & Fred Hampton Jr. By Tayon Malik

May 16 2012
Tarek Mehanna Moved to New Federal Holding Facility, Audio of Sentencing Statement Released

Early in the morning of May 12 an anonymously leaked audio recording of Tarek giving his statement at the sentencing hearing was made public and is now being circulated!

Tarek has been transferred again. Now he is in Manhattan at the MCC New York. We have no idea when he will be moved again. Chances are he will be placed in a federal prison, rather than these detention centers, very soon.

Background on the case: Criminalized for Doing the Right Thing [Chicago IMC] | If Tarek Mehanna is Guilty So Am I [commondreams.org] | Mehanna Verdict Compromises First Amendment, Undermines National Security [ACLU].

Apr 18 2012
The Outer Limits of Solitary Confinement -- Video Interview of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox

The event marked 40 years of solitary confinement for Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, by exploring the expansion and overuse of solitary confinement, mobilizing support for the Amnesty International Petition to remove Wallace and Woodfox from solitary confinement (being hand delivered to LA Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday, April 17) and support for the California Hunger Strikers.

The video features solidarity photos from Philadelphia, where the first experiment in solitary confinement in the United States began.

Related: May 5 Launch of Campaign to free RUSSELL MAROON SHOATZ from Solitary Confinement | Call to End the Solitary Confinement Torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz

Apr 04 2012
Decarcerate PA Launches Platform, Prepares for Push

Last night a coalition of over sixty organizations and hundreds of individuals gathered to formally launch an ambitious campaign — to end mass incarceration in Pennsylvania. "Decarcerate PA" was initiated by ex-prisoners, prisoners families, and allies who are convinced that mass incarceration does far more harm than good.
Their 3-point platform outlines how state funds should be redirected from new prison and detention center construction into public schools, jobs and job training, critical safety net services, and non-punitive programs to address the root cause of violence. The coalition held an initial rally in August and plans another rally for April 5th.

Mar 29 2012
"Million Hoodie March" Across the US

Numerous marches, many of them numbering in the thousands, have sprung up over the country to demand justice for Trayvon Martin. United with the name "The Million Hoodie March," marchers protested the fact that the man who shot the 17-year-old has yet to be charged with a crime under the protection of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. The hoodies were a reference to Trayvon Martin's clothes when we was killed as well as Geraldo Rivera's comment that "the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin's death as George Zimmerman was."

On February 26th, Trayvon Martin was shot dead by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman in Sandford, Florida. Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman for killing the unarmed teenager, nor even take physical evidence such as Zimmerman's clothing or the handgun he used that night.

Reports from across the US: NYC | San Francisco | DC | Atlanta | Rochester | Austin

More Info: What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin | Members of NY Legislature Wear Hoodies to Session | Petition to Charge George Zimmerman | More Actions Scheduled.

Mar 24 2012
Thousands flood Union Square to demand justice for Trayvon Martin; Police Clash with Protesters

March 22, 2012, NYC — Occupiers turned out in force last night in response to a call from Occupy The Hood. Their message was to protest racist brutality and to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, a Florida boy who was killed last month by George Zimmerman, a "self-apppointed neighborhood watch leader" with a history of racist behavior. Martin's murder has yet to be prosecuted by local authorities.

After last night's rally, Occupiers were dispersed by police into three marches, while hundreds stayed in the Square to chant and speakout for hours. "I am Trayvon Martin!" and "Who's Next?" were some of the chants. Police closed the subway station around 8:30pm, saying they had found a "suspicious package", and later barricaded and evicted the protesters for the second night in a row. Read More & Roundup | Photo from "I Am Trayvon Martin" Rally in DC | Reports from Bay Area Solidarity Rallies

Mar 10 2012
13-year Old's Essay on Frederick Douglass Earns Her Harassment from Teachers

After writing an essay about Frederick Douglass and drawing comparison between Douglass' experiences and that of Black RCSD students, 13-year-old Jada Williams says she was harassed by teachers who said they were "offended" by her essay.

Photo from Dread Times

Jan 26 2012
King Day on Auburn Ave.

;January 16th, 2011 was Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day in Atlanta and around the country. Atlanta had it's usual parade and speakers, all of which was very nice. But Atlanta Indy Media was interested in what the people had on their mind. What is the current satus of the African American community, is King's Dream still alive, what are the problems African American's are dealing with, and what are their victories? Is life improving for African American's in the age of Obama? This film is a series of interviews with people on Auburn Ave and asks is life getting better for African American's since Obama came into office, what needs to improve and who are the new leaders on the horizon. It runs 45 minutes. VIDEO

Dec 29 2011
Medical Self Defense and the Black Panther Party --An interview with Alondra Nelson

Alondra Nelson, the author of 'Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination,' writes that "the Party's focus on health care was both practical and ideological." On a practical level, the BPP provided free community health care services, including preventative education. Simultaneously, the BPP railed against the medical-industrial complex, declaring that health care was "a right and not a privilege."

One of the lessons that the BPP offers today's activists is that they should be more loyal to the desired outcome than to the tactic. The sit-in came to be associated with the southern civil rights movement just as the mic check is now emblematic of the Occupy movement. But these groups also used other tactics: marching, occupying, sermons, etc. Social movements are dynamic phenomena; circumstances are constantly changing. So too should tactics. Full Report & Interview | www.angola3news.com

Nov 23 2011
Video of Champaign Police Choking Black Youth while in Handcuffs

On June 5, 2011 Champaign police choked a 20 year old African-American man in the back seat of a squad car while he was in handcuffs. His crime? Asking why he had been stopped, roughed up, and pepper sprayed while walking in campus town.   

Here is the video from the squad car of the entire 53 minute incident.

The choking occurs at 2:31:25 am according to the time stamp, although the police begin to profile the man at 2:16:35. At 26:50:00 they pull up to several youth, nearly knocking them with their car. They grab the one youth who does not resist physically. At 2:27:08 they pepper spray him. 2:30:00 the youth continues to ask what he was doing and why he is under arrest.  He explains that he was helping his sister home. At 2:31:25am you hear him say "Do not touch me sir!" after which you can see an officer jump on him, grab him by the throat, and choke him. read more | related: Champaign City Manager Holds a Not Very Newsy Press Conference on Police Violence

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