$32.00 donated in past month
The family, friends, co-workers, and congregation of Amos G. Smith gathered in Union City on April 13 for a candlelight vigil to honor the 26-year-old man who was shot and killed on March 2 by officers with the Union City Police Department. Yolanda Smith, Amos' mother, stood with a sign that read "Union City Police Dept. Murders." She said that officers with the Union City Police Department told her very little about what had occurred that night, only that her son pointed a gun at them and that the two officers involved wound up shooting him eight times in the back of the head.
Family and friends at the vigil held signs for Smith including those that read, "Amos Suffered A Cruel Death," "How Do You Explain the Life You Claim," "Shoot to Yield, Not to Kill," "We Need Answers," and "Union City PD Oath...'Serve and Protect' Not Murder!!"
"We as a community are entitled, and deserve to know how this young man met his death far too early, far too soon, and this is something that is repeated far too often," attorney Adante Porter, who is assisting the Smith family, told those at the vigil.
Read More with Photos and Video
On March 23
, the San Jose Black Berets por la Justicia organized a walk through the city of San Jose, in unity and prayer for the love of the community. The walk began at Lincoln High School, site of the first Barrios Unidos conference, with a sunrise ceremony.
The Walk for Peace is a spiritual peace walk continuing the Black Berets' four directions ceremonies, and there were four stops/ceremonies in San Jose. The first was at juvenile hall, then on to Backdesto Park, Plata Arroyo Park, with the final ceremony being held at Mexican Heritage Plaza. The events are organized twice a year, and the idea is to walk in a good way to honor, and hopefully bring some peace, to those that have died through colonization and all of the resulting traumas that afflict the community, including gang violence, alcoholism, violence against women, and more.
"We believe in the power of the people to create positive and lasting change. This is why we call for unity and dialog against violence across all nationalities and cultures," The Black Berets said in a press release for the walk.
Supporters of the Idle No More movement participated in a round dance during the final day of the Azteca Mexica New Year Ceremony and Celebration on March 17 at Emma Prusch Park in San Jose. "We have been using these round dances to call attention to our Earth, and to call for fighting the corporations, fighting our government, and to protect this Earth as indigenous people," Lakota Harden said to the group before the round dance began.
The theme of this year's Azteca Mexica New Year Celebration was Ce Calli, or "One House". Organizers of the Idle No More round dance noted in their event announcement that, "The Prophecy of the 'Eagle and Condor' is only becoming stronger."
"There is another way. We have lived another way for thousands of years, in harmony with our Mother Earth and all living things, and we do not need to destroy them to survive," speaker Paul Flores said before the round dance began.
Read More with Photos and Videos |
Idle No More
Interrupting the normalization of anti-Islamic rhetoric and actions, Bay Area Art Queers Unleashing Power (BAAQUP) and Street Cred continue to alter the latest anti-Islamic ads posted by Pamela Geller's "American Freedom Defense Initiative" on San Francisco MUNI buses. In these remakes, Geller acknowledges that her struggle (jihad) is overcoming her virulent Islamophobia and racism. Geller's original ad was modified to read: "I'm Pamela Geller and I spread Islamophobia. I don't know why, but it's a struggle for me not to."
BAAQUP and Street Cred write:
"Our work addresses an evolving series of campaigns aimed at disrupting the status quo by awakening people's consciousness. We are Advertising for the People. We believe that all public spaces including public transit and should be welcoming and safe for all members of our community. The hate-filled messages purchased by Pamela Geller’s AFDI defame and vilify Muslims and are harmful and offensive to residents and visitors in San Francisco, both Muslim and non-Muslim.
Since the City will not take action against these ads on City buses, we have.... As long as these advertising outrages continue to appear on our streets, we will continue to reconstitute them to reflect something more truthful, just, and ideally fabulous."
Queer Artists Strike Back at Anti-Gay and Anti-Islamic Ads (April 13) |
Why are Bay Area artists editing Pamela Geller's hate graphics? (Mar 26) |
Bay Area Activists Remake Hate Ads on SF Buses (Mar 17) |
Previous Related Indybay Feature:
The People Speak: "Free Speech Not Hate Speech on SF Transit" (Aug 2012)
Last year on May Day, a boisterous but mostly peaceful demonstration promoted by Occupy Oakland and other groups, was attacked by an OPD assault force. As the march, which had surged around the city center and lake, came back to Oscar Grant Plaza to plug back into the rest of the day’s events at around mid-day, the police suddenly rushed the crowd from behind, causing panic. In the ensuing confusion, Oakland police targeted several individuals. In the case of Prince alone, they went the extra step of tasing him.
Now, nearly a year later, Prince has been picked up on a warrant for a charge generated by the arrest. Like so many arrested during actions of civil disobedience and protest, the district attorney has stacked charges on top of the initial ones, and failed to notify the accused of his arraignments. On Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 the Oakland Police Department sent ten officers to Prince’s home to make good on their warrant. With their rifles drawn, the officers surrounded his home before entering and removing him from his bedroom in handcuffs. He was charged with battery on an officer, robbery of an officer, felony obstruction & resisting, and misdemeanor obstruction.
Prince was being held at Santa Rita jail on $25,000 bail. All charges except for the felony obstruction & resisting were dropped at his arraignment on March 21st and supporters were able to raise the bond to free him. With his first child expected to be born within the month, Prince can now be present for the birth.
Read More |
Indybay's Coverage of Occupy Oakland
On March 5, Michael Walker, aka Ghetto Prophet (GP), co-chair of the ONYX Organizing Committee, was arrested at his home by the California Highway Patrol. Police claimed he was in violation of his parole, but GP has been off of parole since August 2012. At no point since then has the state called him, sent him mail or shown up at his door to let him know he failed to report (which according to the parole office is mandatory and common practice before an arrest warrant can be served).
Supporters believe this is a political attack. Earlier in the day on March 5, GP participated in the Justice for Alan Blueford (JAB) Coalition rally at the Alameda County Courthouse. He had at least two verbal altercations with police and gave a fiery speech condemning them. It is also public knowledge that ONYX is launching a strategic and sustainable campaign against police brutality, with plans to launch a literacy program on April 3.
Given his penchant for leadership and his past record, Comrade GP would be viewed as and important (and easy) member of ONYX to attack. As of March 16, Ghetto Prophet is still being held at Santa Rita jail and supporters are asking for donations to help support his family.
Read More |
ONYX Organizing Committee
On February 17, individuals gathered in Monterey for an Idle No More flash mob held in solidarity with First Nations and Chief Theresa Spence. Organizers described the flash mob as an opportunity for "dance and prayer" and to educate the public. Groups represented at the gathering included the Ohlone and the Chumash, as well as a number of others.
The gathering resembled other Idle No More events and flash mobs where participants sing traditional songs and join together in round dancing. Isaac Orozco, who also dances with Amah-Ka-Tura
, an Ohlone group based out of the Pajaro Valley, sang traditional Ohlone songs. In addition to drumming, individuals played clap sticks, which are a traditional instrument of central Californian Indian groups.
The flash mob began in front of the Museum of Monterey, which is located at Custom House Plaza, and is part of Monterey State Historic Park. After a brush with rangers, the group moved in front of the "Old Customhouse" itself, which is the oldest colonial government building in California.
Read More with Photos and Videos |
Idle No More
To show support for the Idle No More movement, on January 26th a statewide rally was held on the steps of the California State Capitol in Sacramento. On the 27th Ohlone and other individuals of Californian Native American ancestry held a flash mob in San Francisco at the Westfield Mall, where activists asked, "What are you going to do, not to idle anymore?"
Solidarity actions to coincide with the Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons were called for January 28th by the founders of the Idle No More movement in Canada, one of whom, Sylvia McAdam, spoke to the group at the capitol building via cell phone. "Our work is not done, because once the waters are contaminated here in my people's territory it will effect the waters of your people where you are because we all share the same water," she said.
"I hope that we will continue this until our indigenous sovereignty is respected and utilized every day, because that is what is going to protect our lands and our waters," McAdams said.
In San Francisco, Corrina Gould spoke after the Idle No More flash mob, asking, "How are we going to stand together not just for their treaty rights, but for ours as well. How do we become people that are recognized on our own land?"
Many California Tribes and Nations Represented at Capitol for Statewide Idle No More Rally | Ohlone Support Idle No More with Flash Mob at San Francisco Mall
On Tuesday, January 15th
, hundreds of community activists from groups including Stop the Injunctions Coalition
and Justice for Alan Blueford
gathered at Oakland's City Council Public Safety Committee meeting to protest Oakland's plans to hire former NYPD and LAPD police chief William Bratton as a consultant to the OPD. Bratton is well known for the implementation of policing tactics known as "zero tolerance" policy which applies aggressive policing such as New York's infamous "stop and frisk" to target minor infractions within the city. The proposed contract with Bratton follows shortly on the heals of the settlement between the City of Oakland and the courts avoiding federal receivership of the Oakland Police Department.
The meeting was packed with those opposed to the contract and 82 community members signed to speak at the
meeting. Recently elected council member, Noel Gallo, who has publicly supported curfews and "stop and frisk" policies,
threatened to eject vociferous members of the audience and demanded police officers to forcibly remove loud protesters. Even though the public safety meeting was well attended by those opposed to the contract, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the city council vote on the proposal.
Public Safety Committee Protest Announcement |
Why Stop the “Super Cop”? |
Unraveling the Fraying Edges of Zero Tolerance
For the second New Year's Eve in a row, nearly two hundred people chose to forgo traditional evening indoor parties and instead demonstrated in the streets of Oakland against the racist prison industrial complex. Gathering in Oscar Grant plaza before marching to Alameda's North County jail, formerly known as the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility, music boomed and speakers included anti-prison advocates from Oakland's latino, black, muslim, and queer communities, Occupy Oakland's Anti-Repression Committee, the Black Riders, and anarchists of color. After a noisy march with a sound system down Broadway, a symbolic attack was made against the jail by a barrage of fireworks shot high into the air towards the jailhouse walls. Inmates responded to the show of light and sound by intermittently blocking the light in the narrow windows of their cells, signaling their recognition of the solidarity action below. Participants marched back to the plaza in time for the midnight count down to 2013, right in the middle of the intersection of 14th & Broadway.
2012 New Year's Eve Block Party announcement
2011 Oakland New Year's Eve Prison Demo & Dance Party announcement
Family and friends remembered Oscar Grant during a January 1st, 2013 vigil at the Fruitvale BART Station where his life was taken New Year's Day 2009. Four years after his murder by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, Oakland has not forgotten Grant. Despite BART's expectations of a small crowd, over 150 people came out in Grant's memory.
Speakers, poets, and singers spoke about the life of Oscar Grant and other victims of police terrorism as the struggle for Justice for Oscar Grant continues. Speakers included Wanda Johnson, Grant's mother, Cephus "Bobby" Johnson, Grant's uncle, Tatiana Mesa, Grant's daughter; activists: Minister Keith Muhammad, Dereca Blackmon, Tony Coleman, and artists: Malika Ubaka, Fly Benzo, Zar the Dip, and Ras Ceylon, and more. Family members of other victims of police terror spoke out, including Denika Chatman, mother of Kenneth Harding, Jr., Adam Blueford, father of Alan Blueford, and Rosemary Duenez, mother of Ernest Duenez, Jr.
Indybay Archive of the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement
On October 30, the family of Derrick Gaines, the 15 year old who was shot and killed by South San Francisco Police Department officer Joshua Cabillo, filed a federal civil rights action against the City of South San Francisco. Family members, who are seeking $10 million in damages, hired Attorney John Burris to represent them in the wrongful death action. Burris says, "This is a clear case of racial profiling that lead to disastrous results."
The press conference was held in front of the South San Francisco Arco gas station where Gaines was killed on June 5, and Rachel Guido Red, Gaines' mother, said she hopes the civil action will lead to a change in police procedures. "These are our kids out there and there's other ways of dealing with them, other than shooting and killing them," she said.
The civil suit was additionally filed on behalf of Derrick Gaines' father, who is also named Derrick Gaines. "Every day I am having a harder time dealing with this....I know how police are, and it's killing me," he said at the press conference. "Not a day goes by I don't miss my baby...that's my only son."
Read More and View Photos and Video
Previous Coverage: Truth Sought in South San Francisco Police Killing of 15-Year-Old Derrick Gaines
Darwin Bond-Graham writes:
"All summer long the slaying of teenager Alan Blueford by a police officer festered in the city of Oakland, a metropolis already stained by its troubled police department which for nearly ten years has been spiraling toward federal receivership due to its institutionalized culture of brutality and misconduct. It was no surprise then that the first meeting of the City Council last night, in its new session after the Summer recess, was met by over one hundred outraged protesters and the family of the young man whose death at the hands of OPD frustratingly remains a mystery, with all known facts indicating an unjustifiable murder. The internal police department investigation of Alan Blueford’s killing drags on, as do virtually any and all other official investigations, studies, and reports intended to bring about transparency and accountability within Oakland’s police department. Nothing seems to be working.
“According to the Coronor’s report, my son’s body was removed at 1:25 in the morning,” said Alan’s father, Adam Blueford, before the council, describing the haste with which the police cleaned up the scene of Alan’s demise. “How can a murder investigation be done in less than one hour?!” he asked incredulously.
The Shooting of Alan Blueford - Searching for Answers to a Police Killing |
OPD continues to slander Alan Blueford in the press |
Racist, violent history of Blueford killer cop revealed |
City Council considers shutting out public, Council and OPD remain unaccountable |
Investigation of Alan Blueford's Death: Still Searching for Answers to a Police Killing |
Family and Community Members Express Anger Over the Murder of Alan Blueford and Cover-up
Occupy Oakland's Chris Morland Faced Trumped Up Charges by OPD After Alan Blueford Event
Justice for Oscar Grant
On August 19th, the Idriss Stelley Foundation (ISF) and the Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation teamed up with POOR Magazine and Peoples Community Medics for a day of solidarity in Bayview/Hunter's Point in order to bring attention to the police accountability movement.
Early in the day, the Kenneth Harding Jr. Foundation held their monthly and largest community feed yet, providing lunch to more than 150 people. Denika Chatman, Kenny's mother, holds "Community Feeds" at the corner of 3rd and Oakdale in Bayview where she and allies give out bagged lunches to San Franciscans in need to raise awareness about the police murder of Kenneth Harding in 2011 for allegedly evading a $2 bus fare.
Later, the Idriss Stelley Foundation held its annual Birthday Cookout to celebrate what would have been Stelley's 35th Birthday. Idriss Stelley was murdered by the SFPD at the Sony Metreon Theater on June 12th, 2001 at only 23-years-old. Stelley's mother, Mesha Monge-Irizarry, an activist before her son's killing, has become one of the leading figures in the police accountability movement.
Read More and View Photos |
Police Victim Idriss Stelley B-earthday ROCKED SF Candlestick Park today !!
SFPD exploits the overkill of Idriss Stelley 9 years ago to "train" its officers!
Days of Justice Remembering Kenneth Harding to Culminate with SF MUNI Shutdown
SFPD Kill Kenneth Harding After Fare Inspection
In July, a federal judge ruled in favor of a well-known anti-Muslim group
known as "The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI)" led by Pamela Geller, giving the group the right to run demeaning and racist advertisements with New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The same day the judge ruled that New York's MTA violated the First Amendment rights of Geller's group, San Francisco's MUNI approved the same ads for its buses, despite a policy against political advertisements. By August 10th, the Islamophobic ads were running on ten San Francisco buses. The ads read: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel (between two stars of David). Defeat Jihad."
After MUNI announced that it would not remove the ads, despite community pressure, local artists took matters into their own hands and modified at least one of them within a week by placing an illustration of a "hate speech" stamp over the ad. By August 19th, several of the advertisements had been modified, more recently by changing the text to read: "In any war between the colonizer and the colonized, support the oppressed. Support the Palestinian right of return. Defeat racism."
Pamela Geller: Bus Ads Inspired by Ayn Rand’s Racist Views of Arabs and Muslims? |
Pro-Israel War Ads on Municipal Buses