Civil Rights

San Diego’s Surveillance Technology Now Under City Council Oversight

August 5, 2022 by Source

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday, August 2, gave final approval in an unanimous vote to a new privacy and technology ordinance that will place the City’s surveillance technology under the Council’s oversight.

The passage of the “Transparent and Responsible Use of Surveillance Technology” ordinance was the result of a long three year effort by more than 30 community organizations that make up a coalition called TRUST SD (Transparent and Responsible Use of Surveillance Technology San Diego). Members of the Coalition wrote and proposed the ordinance after they sounded alarm bells about the dangers of the City’s surveillance technology deployments.

Work on an ordinance began after residents learned in 2019 that the city had installed a network of about 3,000 cameras on streetlights

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All Men Are ‘Real’

August 4, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

“Gay Black men
are not ‘real’ men”
I heard a brother say
and all I know about him
is he’s ensnared in naivete
because some of the “realist” people I know
happened to be gay,
as there’s nothing
more “real”
than Langston Hughes’ poetry
in opposition
to the injustice and oppression
of Africans trapped in America,

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New Settlement Will Protect People from San Diego Police’s Unreasonable, Prolonged Cell Phone Seizures

July 13, 2022 by Source

Today, Wednesday, July 13, the local ACLU announced a settlement with the City of San Diego in a federal lawsuit that challenged the San Diego Police Department’s cell phone seizure practices, and their prolonged seizure of the cell phone of a client of one of the law firms involved.

The federal lawsuit was filed after San Diego police officers seized Christina Griffin-Jones’ cell phone when she was arrested during an anti-police violence demonstration on Sept. 23, 2020. Although she was released the following day, SDPD refused to return her phone for months.

Griffin-Jones was participating in the demonstration inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement calling attention to police officers’ use of deadly force against Black people across the nation,

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‘A Dark Day for Our Nation’: Right-Wing Supreme Court Ends Constitutional Right to Abortion

June 24, 2022 by Source

“With this decision, the Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing supermajority has struck a tremendous blow to our fundamental freedoms.”

The right-wing majority of the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade on Friday, ending the constitutional right to abortion and imperiling access to reproductive healthcare nationwide.

“A right-wing Supreme Court has stripped women and people seeking abortions of their long-held rights to control their bodies.” The 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was issued along ideological lines, with all three liberal justices in opposition.

“With sorrow—for this court, but more, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection—we dissent,” wrote Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, and Stephen Breyer in their dissent.

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LGBTQ+ Pride and YIMBY Prejudice

June 23, 2022 by Source

By Mat Wahlstrom

June is Pride Month, commemorating the Stonewall riots in June 1969, when lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender nonconforming (LGBTQ+) persons fought back against police violence and state oppression.

Considered the formal beginning of the ‘gay rights’ movement, Pride is first and foremost about visibility — which is why the main event of every Pride celebration is a parade.

But since everything gets co-opted under capitalism, June is also the month when corporations post rainbow versions of their logos, in the hopes that this gesture will get them noticed, and hopefully translate into more sales or favorable brand awareness.

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No More Homophobia: What a World That Would Be                   

June 22, 2022 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

As an educator,
I can’t imagine
a more hateful idea
than banning the use of the word gay
in schools,
as there can be no better world
if children don’t have a basic understanding
of the world they’re presently in,
what it’s like
and how it became what it is.

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Jan. 6 Panel to Focus on Trump, Insurrectionists During Live Prime-Time Hearings Beginning Thursday, June 9

June 9, 2022 by Source

A Public Service Announcement

With never-seen video, new audio and a mass of evidence, the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol will attempt to show the “harrowing story” of the deadly violence that erupted that day and also a chilling backstory as the defeated president, Donald Trump, tried to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.

Thursday’s prime-time hearing will open with eyewitness testimony from the first police officer pummeled in the mob riot and from a documentary filmmaker tracking the extremist Proud Boys, who prepared to fight for Trump immediately after the election and led the storming of the Capitol.

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June 2022 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

June 6, 2022 by Source

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday 10:30 am. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting June 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.
June: Join Solidarity Farm SD at their free Summer Farmer Training
June 8th Wednesday 9 am – 12 pm Connecting Housing and Energy: I
June 8th Wednesday 12 pm – 2 pm Stop Sempra from Fracking Our Future and Polluting Our Communities!

June 8th Wednesday 6 pm – 7 pm Expanding EV Infrastructure

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How We Treat Different Refugees Exposes Our Racist Tendencies

March 23, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I see
two
displaced groups of refugees
seeking asylum in
the Land of the Free.

One group hails from Ukraine.
The other from Haiti.
The Ukrainians are
running frantically
from the ravages of war,
bombings and such,
into our country’s open arms,

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San Diego Must Halt its Land-Use Policies Restricting Cannabis Retail in ‘Minority’ Communities

March 23, 2022 by Source

By Terrie Best, San Diego Chapter Americans for Safe Access

In this era of social justice most non-profits who advocate for marginalized people began to look for the most vulnerable within the marginalized people they serve.

Illness societies would find their most in need are likely BIPOC and those living in poverty. All nonprofits should try to reach those people within who are less able to gather resources as successfully as others due to barriers of race, language or economics.

Over a decade ago, when the medical cannabis patient advocacy group I volunteer for, San Diego Americans for Safe Access, was pleading for access to medical cannabis and San Diego City and County were struggling to regulate medical cannabis retail outlets, SDASA should have looked at BIPOC and marginalized neighborhoods with much more care.

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Dorothy Smith – a Woman Who Epitomized the Rising of a People

February 23, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Dorothy Smith,
a friend
and hero of mine
passed away the other day,
leaving me wishing,
in my sadness,
that she could have seen
“Still, We Rise,”
a poetry and jazz show
featuring Yolanda Franklin
a brilliant local thespian,
and I
reading our poems
and those of
Amanda Gorman
who mesmerized a nation

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White People Have Noting to Fear About Critical Race Theory

February 22, 2022 by Source

By Joni Halpern

Today there is a raging controversy, especially on the part of White Americans, about “critical race theory.” There seems to be a belief commonly held among White Americans that critical race theory is being taught in K-12 schools, or that teachers who might have learned about it in the course of their academic education are going to use it to make White children feel guilty about their race and culture.

People who believe this do not know what critical race theory is. They are wrapped in rage without understanding the theory. In the process, they are making school boards and teachers afraid to engage in any legitimate teaching about the racial history of this country. The unfortunate truth is, most people who oppose critical race theory don’t even know what it is or how it came about.

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The Winds of Change Will Still Blow

February 11, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Here we stand today.
Black folks in the USA.
Still dealing with the same old same old.
Everyday.
It’s like a form of employment,
a job with very little pay.

But the winds of change will still blow.

Even with such as
the “N” word episodes
on a popular podcast show,
the winds of change will still blow.

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How Many Studies Do We Need that Show Racial Bias in Stops By San Diego Police?

January 25, 2022 by Frank Gormlie

As the trial begins for three former Minneapolis Police officers who helped Derek Chauvin restrain George Floyd in May 2020, San Diegans can use the trial as a mirror to hold up and examine our own city’s legacy in police stops of African-Americans. And that legacy ain’t pretty – but we knew that because of all the reports and studies that have been made on racial disparities in San Diego police stops.

There have been many recent studies, and here’s a report on them by local media. A report of the studies, the many studies. The many, many studies.

In fact, how many studies do we need?

Recently, the San Diego Union-Tribune published a report based on a statistical analysis of reported crimes and San Diego Police stops officers made from 2019 through June 2021. It found:

Overall, police conducted more traffic and pedestrian stops per reported crime in areas where non-Whites make up the majority of the population.

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A Letter to Sister Fannie Lou Hamer (My Voting Rights Hero)

January 24, 2022 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Dear Fannie Lou.

You don’t know me.
But I know you.
You’ve been a hero of mine
for a mighty-long time.

I couldn’t help but think of you the other day, after a clown in the Senate tried to make it sound like voting was easy in the USA, that Blacks voted as much as “Americans.”

He laid that nonsense down, knowing full well, being from Kentucky, that voting in America for Black folks and other dark folks has been hell ever since the 15th Amendment gave us the right to vote.

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‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ : The Last Speech of Martin Luther King – The Full Text

January 14, 2022 by Source

(Originally posted here on Jan 15, 2018)

The day before Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, he gave his final speech, known as ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech. Here’s the full text.

By The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., MEMPHIS, Tenn./ April 3, 1968

Thank you very kindly, my friends. As I listened to Ralph Abernathy and his eloquent and generous introduction and then thought about myself, I wondered who he was talking about. It’s always good to have your closest friend and associate to say something good about you. And Ralph Abernathy is the best friend that I have in the world. I’m delighted to see each of you here tonight in spite of a storm warning. You reveal that you are determined to go on anyhow.

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At Least 5 Capitol Insurrectionists Were at Violent Pacific Beach Clash

December 9, 2021 by Source

From the Appeal

Right-wingers and ultranationalists convened in San Diego and Pacific Beach days after the Washington insurrection, but the police crackdown that day fell on counterprotesters.

At least five people involved in the Capitol rally on Jan. 6 attended a violent pro-Trump “Patriot March” in San Diego just three days after the democracy-shaking event. But police declared an unlawful assembly that only applied to anti-fascist counterprotesters.

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Que Vivan Las Mujeres!

December 3, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

As I listened to
my friend and hero,
Berenice Badillo,
talk about her art
in Chicano Park
a few days ago,
her mural,
“No Human Being is Illegal,”
that was born in her soul,
I hadn’t expected to
hear about
the plight of women
in the Chicano movement

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We’ve Got a Long Haul, If We Really Want Liberty and Justice for All

November 30, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

“Liberty and Justice for All.”
That just might be America’s biggest lie
of all.
I mean
a young man,
a White teen,
with a rifle
that looks like
an AR-15,
appears on a scene
where people,
in spite
of some folks
acting crazy and obscene,
were peacefully
chanting and singing,

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Someone San Diegans Should Know: The Ranting White Supremacist of Ocean Beach

November 16, 2021 by Staff

Here is someone San Diegans – and OBceans — should know: the ranting White supremacist of Ocean Beach. Meet Nathaniel Maloney, an OB resident.

Maloney was identified as the white man shouting verbal threats and racial slurs at an African-American woman neighbor, who shot a video of the incident on a street in Ocean Beach. The incident reportedly occurred on Monday, November 15.The vid circulated widely on social media.

The woman was walking to her car in her driveway when Maloney ran up to her, spit on her and then assaulted her by screaming the N-word at her over and over. He even tried to call the cops on her, claiming she had assaulted him.

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A Plaque Isn’t Enough for LGBTQ History in Hillcrest

November 15, 2021 by Source

From SOHO Newsletter – November/December 2021

By Dr. Lillian Faderman, Charles Kaminski and Bruce Coons

LGBTQ+ history, like the history of other underrepresented communities, has been frequently overlooked. That history has not been considered worthy of consideration or important in the development of our nation and our city. This is because historically, “homosexuals” were deemed criminals and deviants to the law, sinners to the church, mentally ill to the medical profession and often rejected by our own families. But in LGBTQ+ spaces we not only found a home and a new family, we also formed a community that made it possible for us to wage our successful fight for the civil rights due to all Americans.

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A Video Regarding the Direction I’d Like to See the World Go

October 25, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

The other day,
in my backyard
on my patio,
I got to read a poem,
and say a few things
on a video,
regarding the direction
I’d like to see the world go.
Young folks,
my favorite folks,
were in the back of my mind
as I spoke,

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City Council to Finally Consider a Hillcrest Historic District

October 25, 2021 by Source

By Mat Wahlstrom

This Wednesday, 10/27, at 2:00 PM, the San Diego City Council Rules Committee will hold its first ever hearing on implementing the Hillcrest historic district. Should it clear this first hurdle, it could go either to the full council for a vote or be on the ballot in the June 7, 2022 election.

The implementation of a historic district for Hillcrest is important for all San Diegans.

Although originally proposed in 1981 and recommended in the 1988 Uptown Plan, a Hillcrest historic district has never been docketed by the council for consideration.

Flash forward to June 2015, and the draft Uptown update of the 1988 Plan clearly defined

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Video: Ernie McCray in His Own Words

October 19, 2021 by Ernie McCray

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Occupy Wall Street Came to San Diego 10 Years Ago – Share Your Memories and Thoughts

October 6, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

It was ten years ago this week that Occupy Wall Street came to San Diego. Many San Diegans – and OBceans – were involved in the movement over the months, and the OB Rag gave extended, in-depth coverage.

So, this is an open thread where you, dear reader, can share any memories and / or thoughts of the Occupy movement.

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Sky Didn’t Fall On U.S. Military After ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ Repealed

September 27, 2021 by Source

By Joseph C. Rocha / Times of San Diego / September 23, 2021

Ten years ago this week, the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy was repealed, finally lifting the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in our armed forces.

From that morning, I most vividly remember two things. First, all the courageous veterans and servicemembers who had shared their stories. And second, that the sky hadn’t fallen.

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Ageism: The Last Acceptable Bias

September 20, 2021 by Source

By Mat Wahlstrom

The past few years have seen long overdue attention drawn to issues of systemic discrimination. From the #MeToo movement to #BlackLivesMatter to even concern for personal pronouns, we as a society are facing up to the ways in which we fall short of our egalitarian ideals to provide equality of opportunity.

But in what appears to also be a recent development, we’re seeing the exact opposite happening with regard to age. Usually only referenced in connection with employment law, age discrimination as a social phenomenon is being treated as innocuous, with replies of ‘OK, Boomer’ not only allowed to go unchallenged but treated as acceptable.

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1960 Winter Olympics Site Changes Racist, Sexist Name

September 15, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Once in a while, a news story about a change comes along that resonates, and here is one that does. I personally have been championing this specific change for some 20 years now. And it has finally happened.

The site of the 1960 Winter Olympics near Lake Tahoe is having its name changed. Its owners have decided that the old name that rhythms with “fall” is offensive to Indigenous women. The new name is Palisades Tahoe. Historically, it’s also been called Olympic Valley.

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Fact Check: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Misleading Remarks on the State’s Abortion Law

September 8, 2021 by Source

By Rachel Treisman / NPR / September 8, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is again under fire for his state’s restrictive new abortion law, after falsely claiming it does not force victims of rape or incest to give birth even though it prohibits abortions at about six weeks — which is before many people even know they’re pregnant.

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Sotomayor’s Defiant Dissent

September 3, 2021 by Source

In her blistering dissent, the Supreme Court justice calls out her conservative colleagues’ breathtaking disregard of precedent and the Constitution.

By Justice Sonia Sotomayor / The Nation / September 3, 2021

The Court’s order is stunning. Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand.

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