Civil Rights

Obama Task Force Calls for Significant Changes to Policing in America

March 5, 2015 by Source

Report recommends that law enforcement report shootings and other incidents of police brutality to federal government

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By Lauren McCauley/ Common Dreams

Rights groups and others are welcoming the release of a report by the president’s policing task force on Monday, saying that the policy recommendations are the best chance the White House has for improving the relationship between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are meant to protect and serve.

The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was established in the wake of recent police killings of people of color in an attempt to build trust between citizens and law enforcement. The Interim Report (pdf) calls for increased transparency around incidents of police brutality, an emphasis on de-escalation, and policies that prohibit police profiling and discrimination of any kind, among other things.

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Darren Wilson Cleared While Racial Bias Found in Ferguson Police Traffic Stops

March 4, 2015 by Source
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Darren Wilson Is Cleared of Rights Violations in Ferguson Shooting

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has cleared a Ferguson, Mo., police officer of civil rights violations in the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager whose death set off racially charged and sometimes violent protests last year. The decision, which was announced on Wednesday, ends a lengthy investigation into the shooting last August, in which Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Mr. Brown in the street. Many witnesses said Mr. Brown had his hands up in surrender when he died, leading to nationwide protest chants of “Hands up, don’t shoot.” … MORE INSIDE …

Justice Department to Fault Ferguson Police, Seeing Racial Bias in Traffic Stops

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has nearly completed a highly critical report accusing the police in Ferguson, Mo., of making discriminatory traffic stops of African-Americans that created years of racial animosity leading up to an officer’s shooting of a black teenager last summer, law enforcement officials said. … MORE INSIDE …

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The Viral Video of LA Cops Shooting Homeless Man

March 3, 2015 by Source
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Here’s the video that has gone viral of Los Angeles police officers firing 5 shots at a homeless man. It definitely has gone viral. When we first watched it on Sunday afternoon, it had 2 million viewers already after being posted only about an hour and a half. Anthony Blackburn originally posted the video on youtube.

COME INSIDE FOR VIDEO

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Snow in Lagunas From Lakeside

March 3, 2015 by Patty Jones
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Check out this fabulous view of snow in Mt Lagunas – taken from the parking lot of where Patty Jones – the tech girl for the OB Rag – works in Lakeside.

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Officer Surwilo Gives ‘the Other Side of the Story’ About Jimmy Maroutis and the Police

February 27, 2015 by Source

By Lois Lane

On Wednesday February 25, Community Relations Officer David Surwilo made his usual presentation of “what’s new” at the OB Town Council meeting.

Always charming and disarming, this time he had a complaint instead of answering them:

The OB Rag had not fairly represented what happened on February 14 when it announced that a well- known-Ocean beach local (Jimmy Maroutis) had been arrested for stabbing a woman in Point Loma.

According to the police, two witnesses had identified Mr. Maroutis as the perpetrator, which precipitated the contact. The assailant had a baby stroller for his possessions, something Maroudis occasionally also uses, and this may have caused what seems to be now a condition of confusion.

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The Origins of Institutionalized Racism – a System to Control Blacks … and Whites

February 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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100 Years Before Lexington and Concord, Bacon’s Armed Rebellion of Whites and Blacks Forced Plantation Elite to Create System of Racial Slavery

By Frank Gormlie

Since the turmoil last year in Ferguson, Missouri, swept in a new civil rights movement, once again America is faced with the reality of its system of institutionalized racism. For Americans with conscience, understanding this system is key to changing it, and it cannot be understood without understanding its origins which trail back, of course, to colonial America.

Confronting a system that predates the very formation of the Republic itself necessitates understanding its raison d’etre – its reason for being. Why is there such a system that has a solid foundation and that has existed all this time, and is so deeply ingrained? Why is there institutionalized racism? If one accepts such a premise, that there is such a thing, then the most obvious answer is that it exists to control blacks, African-Americans. And to control other minorities, Mexican-Americans, Native Americans.

Yet this system is not meant to only control blacks – and other peoples of color – but it also is meant to control white people.

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Part-Time Professors Protest Full-Time Screw Job

February 26, 2015 by Staff

Ocean Beach Professor and Reader Writer at Protest at Grossmont College

Part-time professors and lecturers at college campuses get screwed full time. That’s the message of protests held across San Diego and the rest of the nation on Wednesday, February 25 that were called to raise local and national consciousness to the plight of these part-time teachers who do a lot of the teaching at centers of higher learning.

And local writer, Dave Rice, was there and reported on an event held at Grossmont College in El Cajon for the San Diego Reader. Rice wrote how these adjunct professors and part-timers “often find themselves shuttling between two or three campuses in order to pick up enough classes to eke out a living.”

Dave quoted Ian Duckles, a part-time instructor, who spoke to a gathering of more than a 100 people assembled in front of the student services building at Grossmont College.

“The position that I have is defined as a ‘temporary, part-time instructor. A full-time professor is teaching about five classes a semester. I teach seven or eight, and yet somehow I’m classified as a part-time instructor. I don’t think that accurately reflects the amount of time I spend in the classroom.”

Duckles has 4 part-time positions and it takes quite a lot of time driving back and forth between those jobs at Cuyamaca, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, and USD.

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Firing a Mom Because She Wants to Breastfeed Is Sex Discrimination

February 26, 2015 by Source

Breast feedingBy Galen Sherwin, ACLU Blog of Rights

A few months ago, I posted about Angela Ames, the Nationwide Insurance worker who alleged that she was denied a place to pump breast milk when she returned to work from maternity leave. When she protested, Angela was coerced into resigning by her supervisor, who told her she should “just go home and be with your babies”.

In January, the Supreme Court sent her the same message – go home ­– rejecting her petition for a review of the dismissal of her case. The denial of her petition effectively means the end of the line for her case.

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Why We’re All Becoming Independent Contractors

February 26, 2015 by Source

By Robert Reich

photo courtesy of flickr

GM is worth around $60 billion, and has over 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

Uber is estimated to be worth some $40 billion, and has 850 employees. Uber also has over 163,000 drivers (as of December – the number is expected to double by June), who average $17 an hour in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and $23 an hour in San Francisco and New York.

But Uber doesn’t count these drivers as employees. Uber says they’re “independent contractors.”

What difference does it make? …

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Historic Cottages of Ocean Beach on Display – Photo Gallery

February 20, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Historian Kathy Blavatt and cottage-renovators Jane and Tom Gawronski gave their presentation on the historic cottages of Ocean Beach last night at the OB Historical Society’s standing-room-only monthly event.

With a great slideshow riveting the audience, Kathy led the crowd through a visual display of the wonderful cottages of the village. Many of them have taken advantage of the Mills Act – (and there is more info on it at the OB Historical Society’s website). The Mills Act gives tax advantages to home owners who are able to quality their houses as historic. The historic nature involves the exterior of the house.

Here, what follows, is a photo gallery of the slideshow

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Ocean Beach News and Updates

February 18, 2015 by Staff
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Highlights of O.B.’s Historic Beach Cottages

OBceans Upset with Maroutis’ Arrest

Local Artist David Linton Passes

Two People Rescued by Lifeguards at Sunset Cliffs.

Famosa Slough and Mission Bay Wetlands Walk

Bossman Died of Natural Causes and Hodad’s Opened in 1973 – Not 1969

U-T San Diego Gives Hidden Props to OB Rag and Missed ‘the Roger Hedgecock Scandal’

Local Surf-Rock Legend Recorded on OB Pier

AND MORE – Come inside …

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The Idealism and Vision of the 1976 Campaign Platform for the OB Community Planning Group

February 17, 2015 by Source

OB CPG Broc graf3 The Platform Was a Guide to Making Ocean Beach a Citizens’ Paradise

Editor: The following is the 1976 campaign platform for the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group, the forerunner to today’s OB Planning Board. The OB CGP ran a slate of candidates for the May 4, 1976 election and won 8 of the 14 seats on OB’s very first Planning Board.

COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

CAMPAIGN PLATFORM

• Preamble

Recognizing that all communities have a right to self-determination, we believe that the Community Planning Board is a step toward community self-government.

With this in mind, we believe the Community Planning Board, once elected will have and exercise real decision-making power over the planning decisions that affect Ocean Beach. Planningis more than density limits, traffic designs or height limitations ….

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A Path Chosen in Black History

February 17, 2015 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

When I look back at my own little chapter of Black History, I feel grateful that I found a path that enabled me to survive a society that sought to deny me a life of dignity.

I, unknowingly, set out on this path on my first day of school, when my knuckles were, seemingly, knocked to kingdom come because I had dozed off, as if I had a choice in a room sizzling at 100 and some degrees with a fan (itself struggling to stay awake) blowing across a pail of water as though that could lower the temperature in that room to any degree. I swear I heard that fan wheeze. Talking, Tucson, Arizona, August or September of 1943.

I remember thinking, back then, as I looked at my hands, surprised to see my knuckles still there, “What the hell kind of welcome was that?” And I knew, as much as a five-year old can know such things, that someday I would be a teacher.

I would observe goings on in every school I ever attended, thinking of what I might have done differently if I had been the teacher. I’d imagine how I would have made lessons come alive, or more relevant to students’ lives.

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The San Salvador and Junipero Serra: Celebrating Spanish Catholic Domination

February 17, 2015 by Source
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By Steven Newcomb

Early this year, 2015, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is scheduled to launch a replica of the colonizing Spanish ship called “San Salvador” (“Holy Savior”). That was the ship which Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, in 1542, sailed into the Kumeyaay bay of the Kumeyaay Nation’s territory. As a result of that voyage, the society of the United States now typically calls that bay, and the city adjacent to it, by the Catholic name, “San Diego” (“Saint Diego”).

Cabrillo sailed up the Baja peninsula under a royal commission that the Spanish crown had granted to a vicious and deadly psychopath, a conquistador named Pedro Alvarado. The royal commission authorized Alvarado “to discover and conquer” places he was able to reach by sailing northward along the Baja peninsula. When Alvarado was killed in Guatemala, the Spanish viceroy charged Cabrillo with sailing north on the basis of that royal commission.

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Ocean Beach Activists Join 350.org March in Oakland Urging Gov. Brown to Take Action on Climate Change

February 16, 2015 by Source
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By Kim McGinley

Friday, February 6th at 11:30 p.m. San Diego Activists, including representatives from The Ocean Beach Green Center, began gathering at the Old Town trolley station to hop on board a charter bus heading to California Governor Brown’s neighborhood in Oakland.

The goal was to encourage the Governor to be a “climate leader” …

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San Diego’s Racial Unconscious: History is the Narrative that Hurts

February 16, 2015 by Jim Miller

...the insistence on what one might call “San Diego exceptionalism,” the notion that our city is somehow free of the same troubled history as the rest of the country, is at the heart of our city’s failure to truly serve the needs of all San Diegans.

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By Jim Miller

Last week, the San Diego Free Press – [the online media partner of the OB Rag] posted a story about a new report released by the Equal Justice Institute (EJI) that notes how:

“Capital punishment and ongoing racial injustice in the United States are ‘direct descendants’ of lynching, charges a new study, which found that the pre-World War II practice of ‘racial terrorism’ has had a much more profound impact on race relations in America than previously acknowledged.

This hidden history of racial terrorism in America is far more influential than many of us would prefer to acknowledge.

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Well-Known OB Local, Jimmy Marudas, Arrested by Police for Point Loma Stabbing

February 15, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

NEW UPDATE: Witness: Marudas out and back home by 1:30 pm

A neighbor of Jimmy Maroutes Marudas has reported that he saw Marudas out of police custody and back at his home in Ocean Beach by 1:30 pm. No more details are available, other than to say this neighbor saw Jimmy “cleaning up his garage and side walk area”.

UPDATE: See below

OCEAN BEACH – In a breaking news development, a well-known Ocean Beach local has just been arrested for the stabbing of a woman in Point Loma on Saturday.

Jimmy Marudas Maroutes, who has lived on Voltaire Street for decades, was taken away by San Diego police this morning, Sunday, Feb. 15, at approximately 10 a.m.

We spoke to Marudas’ conservator, Dan Zolezzi, by phone, and he told the OB Rag that he believed that Marudas, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, was arrested by police for the stabbing.

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Ocean Beach Sunday Sunset Clean-Up – Feb. 15

February 13, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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From CIS- OB – Sunday Sunset

Every Sunday locals meet up for a trash clean up. After most weekends, there have been extra guests in town and additional trash left behind. Sunday at 4:40pm – 5:30pm

The objectives are:

  • 1) Making a consistent group effort to clean up our town
  • 2) Catching an awesome sunset that you wish you got out to enjoy more often

The time of the event will be a little different each week so that we can start about 45 minutes before the sunsets.

We will meet up each week at the pier entrance at the end of Niagara Ave.

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Kidnapped Student Teachers in México: An Inside Perspective

February 13, 2015 by Source

via www.zocalopublicsquare.org

By Luis Villanueva Rodríguez / Draft NOtices

For many, the September [kidnappings and] killings of … 43 students from Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College in the Méxican state of Guerrero has been profoundly painful and tragic. My feelings of outrage and despair are also deep because I was educated in one of Ayotzinapa’s sister schools.

What many do not realize is that this crime was perpetrated by the Méxican government against students who had important social justice concerns and who were soon to become activist teachers. These rural teachers’ colleges are known for their progressive beliefs.

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“OB Time” – “Just Be-ing”, Long Hair, Beards and Tats

February 12, 2015 by Source
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Ye Ol’ OB Hippie Writes –

This is my almost weekly rant, man, so don’t be a square, gimme some slack, jack, grab some space and chill.

This is another rap session of “OB Time”.

Just Be-Ing

OB Time? You don’t know what that means? OB Time is more than the “hourly pause that refreshes” due to our overhead friendly skies. It means that OBceans are not bothered by any exact minute or hour. It’s why OB’s Holiday Parade begins at 5 minutes past 5pm and not 5 sharp.

Time is relative, and at times irrelevant. OB Time means we don’t get bothered by the mainstream and establishment requirements of temporal exactness. Nobody cared about the concept of “minutes” until capitalism came into being. Being anxious about minutes takes you away from just “being” – as in “be-ing” – existing for the moment.

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There Are Democratic Elections to Community Planning Boards Because of One Ocean Beach Group in the 1970s

February 11, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Community Planning Group Was the Forerunner to OB’s Planning Board

In one month, on March 10th, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will hold its annual election of Board members. It will take place at the OB Rec Center. Every resident, property owner and business-owner in Ocean Beach is authorized to vote – with ID proving residency.

One of the main reasons that this election is going forward next March – as it has been for the last 39 years – is because of the vision and diligence of a small group that existed back in the 1970s. It was the persistent push over a several year period during the mid-Seventies for an election of this nature – a democratic election – to a neighborhood planning committee by an organization called the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group that was ultimately responsible for this democratic gain for communities.

The forerunner of today’s OB Planning Board, the Community Planning Group (CPG), led a campaign of achieving City authorization for neighborhoods to host elections to their planning committees – elections that even allowed tenants – non-property-owners or non-business people – to vote – in regular grassroots balloting.

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Changing Military Recruitment Policies in Schools: One Phone Call and Email at a Time

February 11, 2015 by Source
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The Experiences of a Santa Barbara Mother in Finding Alternatives Are Inspiring

By Kate Connell / Draft NOtices

In the spring of 2014, I went to observe a career day at Santa Barbara High School, where my son is enrolled. There were a variety of organizations with representatives and literature tables. The Marines and the Navy recruiters were also there. They were soliciting student contact information.

The Marine’s “survey” form included questions such as, “Did you know that the Marine Corps has a $150,000 scholarship?” and “Did you know that the qualifications for the Marine Corps are higher than the standards of UC Santa Barbara?” I told them that under the school’s existing recruiting protocol they were not allowed to get student information directly from students, and that they had to go through the Santa Barbara Unified School District office.

I turned around and saw the school’s career counselor and approached him, reminding him about the school’s recruiter protocol. He didn’t recall that part of the protocol and said he would talk to the military recruiters about it. I asked, “What about the information they have already gathered from students?”

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San Diego Group Receives Energy Dept. Grant to Expand Solar Power to Condos and Apartments

February 11, 2015 by John Lawrence

solar 1By John Lawrence

Everywhere in San Diego you see solar panels being installed atop single family homes and large businesses. But hardly anywhere do you see them going in on the large number of local apartment buildings and condos.

Now the Department of Energy SunShot initiative has made a $712,000 grant to San Diego’s Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) to study the reasons and do a pilot project to implement solar in such projects.

Condos and apartment buildings represent a huge amount of rooftop real estate which could be gathering in the sun’s rays to provide energy to the occupants within.

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Why Not a Youth Party?

February 11, 2015 by Source

politics cartoonBy Bob Dorn / San Diego Free Press

Why not a Youth Party?

Why not?

Call it what you want – Broke, Busted, and Disgusted might be good, or The Undead, or The Disillusioned Party– but a party dedicated to the economic and social interests of the young might brighten life and raise the hopes of the 40% to 45% of us who lately haven’t had a reason to vote.

We need that young party because the other two don’t work anymore. One of them is widely known as “the party of no” and the other one could as easily be called, “I’ll get back to you on that.”

Back in 2012 Pew Research Center found that the number of 18- to 29-year-olds who said they had registered to vote fell to the lowest level in the 16 years since the question was first asked of them.

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Labor Unrest Spreads to Refineries, West Coast Ports, SoCal Edison and Football Stadiums

February 10, 2015 by Doug Porter

Gas refinery strikeSo, why are gas prices going back up?

By Doug Porter

Local gasoline prices have increased by roughly 20% over the past few weeks. Retailers dependent on imported goods are voicing concerns about bottlenecks in supplies coming through west coast ports. And that could be bad news for consumers. There’s more to the story than what you’ve likely seen or heard.

While the factors surrounding both these development are complex, a major element in each are labor unions seeking safe working conditions. In what amounts to a sad commentary on the state of the news media in the U.S. the coverage has been largely one dimensional, leading with management’s pronouncements about wages and benefits.

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Dispatches from the Class War (On You)

February 9, 2015 by Jim Miller

class-warfare-fight-backBy Jim Miller

Last July, after the Harris v. Quinn decision took the first step toward gutting the power of public sector unions in America I noted that case “pretty much guarantees that we’ll see more cases brought to the high court aiming to send American labor into a death spiral.”

As legal observers commented at the time, this Supreme Court usually moves in a two-step process, starting with a narrow decision that then sets the precedent for a broader and more extreme move to the right in a subsequent decision.

Well, the case that will provide the pretext for that radical step has made its way up the food chain and will likely be heard by America’s highest court.

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San Diego Man Faces Life in Prison for … Rapping

February 5, 2015 by Source

Charges are a blatant violation of the 1st amendment, says ACLU

ACLU San Diego & Imperial Counties

prison barsSan Diego prosecutors admit that Brandon Duncan was not at the scene of any one of several shootings in the city, and they have no evidence linking him to those shootings that occurred between May 2013 and February 2014. Still, the District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis charged him for those crimes because…he rapped about them.

Only recently released on bail, Duncan, who performs under the name Tiny Doo, spent eight months in jail on so-called “gang conspiracy charges” arising from those shootings. The San Diego ACLU is filing an amicus brief in court asking the court to dismiss the charges immediately. In a blog post about the case, David Loy, legal director of the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties said that the case was “not only absurd; it is a blatant violation of the First Amendment.”

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How Much Do You Know About Black History?

February 4, 2015 by Source

"Carter G. Woodson. Teacher, Historian, Publisher" by Charles Henry Alston

By Denise Oliver Velez / Daily Kos

Carter G. Woodson, historian and the father of “Negro History Week,” died in 1950, and did not live to see Black History Month, which started at Kent State in 1970 and was signed into law by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

Woodson chose February as the month in which to celebrate because it contained both the births of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and of President Abraham Lincoln. One wonders what Woodson would think of the commemoration today.

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Show’s Not Over at Che Cafe at UCSD – Its Fate Likely Rests on Students

February 3, 2015 by Source
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By Andrea Carter

The struggle continues to keep the historic CHE Café facility open on the University of California San Diego (UCSD) campus. This battle over a rare public, all-ages arts, food, and music venue should concern us all as it represents the canary in the coal mine for additional onslaughts of this nature to follow.

Undergraduate and graduate student government councils, respectively the Associated Students (AS) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) are set to soon issue reports and recommendations to the University as to what they feel should be done as the to the CHE Café, its facility and the other cooperatives at UCSD.

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