Race & Racism (News)
When: Saturday, October 23
Where: Oakland City Hall, 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland
What: Rally for justice for Oscar Grant
Oscar Grant was shot in the back by BART Policeman Johannes Mehserle while lying face down on a BART platform. Mehserle will be sentenced on November 5th and we need to get out on the 23rd to show the sentencing judge that we mean business. It took video evidence AND a massive outpouring in downtown Oakland to even get the District Attorney to charge Mehserle. It will take people in the streets to get the killer cop jailed.
Like many African American families, Mary “Peace” Head and her brood migrated to the Bay Area from Louisiana just before WWII in search of work and opportunity.
She would go on to work as a welder in the Richmond shipyards during the war. Head, who is now 83, later became one of the early residents of Parchester Village. She’s been a leader in this small housing development since the 1950s, playing an instrumental role in securing funding for a neighborhood community center and acting as a quasi-guardian to generations of local kids.
She is called “Mary Peace” by neighbors and others throughout the city, a name she earned by flashing her customary “peace sign” with her right index and middle fingers.
In 1950, Parchester Village, named for wealthy developer Fred Parr, opened on land beyond the border of northwest Richmond.
It was billed as a community for “All Americans,” but the idea was ahead of its time.
Standing Up with the Aboriginal Blackmen United: The rabble-rousers of the ABU have helped to achieve local hiring goals.
In San Francisco, a battle starts every morning on a street corner in the Bayview, where a crowd of people gathers around a white pickup. On a Thursday in June, there are about 15 people there, mostly black men, with a handful of women and Latinos. They're waiting for James Richards to give them the morning pep talk. He calls it "the breakfast of champions."
Richards is a big man in his 60s, eyes inscrutable, though seldom seen behind his sunglasses. There's a marijuana bud on his gold front tooth. In conversation, Richards' voice can be soft, his responses vague. But when it's time to make a speech, he can preach social justice with the fire of a Civil Rights–era crusader, railing against chickenshit unions and lying politicians."What I hear," Richards begins, slowly, "is you all were acting like real warriors."
Richards is the leader of the Aboriginal Blackmen United, a group that's part direct-action organization, part job placement agency, and all business when its members think employers are abusing their right to work. Its only headquarters is this street corner in front of the Double Rock Baptist Church. Nearly everyone here, including Richards himself, is jobless — not surprising in a neighborhood where the unemployment rate during the Great Recession is thought to be 50 percent higher than that of the rest of the city, and an estimated one in every 3.5 African-Americans is out of work.
The poll, which asks state residents their perspectives on a wide range of environmental issues, found that ethnic Californians were more likely than whites to perceive air pollution and climate change as serious threats, and favor a role for government in fixing the problems. The survey was conducted in English, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), Vietnamese and Korean.
New America Media
Is BART the most racist transit agency in the nation?
That’s a question Bay Area residents should be asking after the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday that it was opening an investigation into the transit agency’s handling of BART police officer Johannes Mehserle’s fatal shooting of Oscar Grant. The investigation, which the Justice Department confirms is being launched together with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco. But it is not the first effort by the Obama administration to rein in BART over civil rights.
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) has called for a thorough and expeditious review of the Johannes Mehserle murder trial by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ). Mehserle, a former Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter on Thursday in the Jan. 1, 2009 shooting death of Oscar Grant III.
In a press conference outside the Los Angeles courthouse immediately after the verdict was announced, Oscar Grant's family spoke out about the verdict, calling it a "great disappointment." Oscar Grant's mother Wanda Johnson said ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle's conviction of involuntary manslaughter felt like being "slapped in the face by a system that has denied us true justice."
Johnson spoke unexpectedly, adding her thoughts at the close of the family's press conference. "My son was murdered. He was murdered. He was murdered. He was murdered," she said, calm but forceful, enunciating every word and looking straight into the dozens of news cameras that had gathered outside the courthouse.
On New Year's Day 2009, Mehserle shot the 22-year-old Oscar Grant in the back while he lay face down on a BART train platform. Grant, who had his arms behind his back when Mehserle shot him, was unarmed.
A project isn't "shovel-ready" until it is fair. Agencies receiving federal funds are legally obligated to ensure that low-income and diverse communities share fairly in the benefits of that funding. To do so requires analysis and community involvement. BART failed to live up to these responsibilities.
The first American metropolises emerged after World War II, the result of a publicly subsidized mass exodus of white populations that coincided with the migration of blacks from the cotton and sugar fields of the American South to the cities of the North and West. Over the years, segregation in housing and in education increased, and today the nation’s public schools are more segregated than they were decades ago.