Civil Rights

‘Day of Absence,’ a Drama I Can’t Wait to See

February 25, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just had
one of the nicest experiences
of my lifetime
via a dramatic piece,
“Day of Absence,”
a Douglas Turner Ward
masterpiece
of a play
on Zoom,
each actor
sitting
at their own place
in a room
facing a Mac
or a PC,
scrolling scripts
on a split screen
against a green screen,

Read the full article → 1 comment

Lawsuit Maintains San Diego Police Showed Favoritism towards Trump Supporters During Pacific Beach Protest

February 9, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

A lawsuit was filed Friday, February 5, in federal court against San Diego Police that maintains police showed favoritism toward Trump supporters during a protest in Pacific Beach on January 9.

The suit by two San Diego women alleges police unlawfully cracked down on Black Lives Matter activists and other counterprotesters at the pro-Trump rally, and allowed Trump supporters to continue marching undisturbed.

Plaintiffs Mandy Lien and Erin Smith assert police aggressively dispersed counterprotesters with batons and projectiles at the demonstration – held a mere 3 days after the Trump-incited insurrection at the Capitol – which violated their civil rights and displayed a bias in favor of the mostly White and male supporters of Trump. Police officers even “high-fived and chatted it up” with Trump supporters, the suit says.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Pick Out Your Peak and Climb (Thoughts with Black History on My Mind)

February 5, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Black History Month is in the eye of the beholder it seems, with some saying that it’s too short of a month or that it’s an excuse to give Black folks a cold shoulder the rest of the year.

But to me it’s a month to reminisce about heroes in my personal Black history, people I hold dear.

Like my grandfather who lived the first fourteen years of his life on a sharecropping plantation in Hawkinsville, Georgia, late in the 19th Century, until the attacks on his dignity and his sanity and humanity became more than he could bear to any degree.

Sometimes I can see him in my mind on the day when he decided he had enough, squaring his broad powerful shoulders before snatching a sadistic foreman off his horse and pounding him into the ground unmercifully

Read the full article → 13 comments

February 2021 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

February 1, 2021 by Source

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

February 21st Sunday 12 pm Close Guantanamo Now: A Call to Action Event

February 23 – City Council to review Jen Campbell’s “compromise” on short-term vacation rentals.

February 23rd. Tuesday 5:30 pm – 6:45 pm Jobs in a Green Economy Event by Climate Hub, Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Green New Deal Alliance and Hammond Solutions

February 23rd Tuesday 6:30 pm -7:30 pm Earth Justice

February 24th Wednesday 11 am LIVE with The League | POWER STRUGGLE Event by League of Women Voters of San Diego The franchise agreement with SDG&E is ending and San Diego must decide its energy future. Who should own and operate our municipal power? Join us for a riveting discussion of the different arguments for and against privatization of the city’s gas and electric utilities. More importantly, learn how the different outcomes could impact you and your family for years to come. We are pleased to host science, Environment and Energy Writer MacKenzie Elmer of the Voice of San Diego, Community Organizer and Activist Derek Casady and San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate. More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/915732552336873

February 25th Thursday 5 pm – 6:30 pm A Democracy for All of U.S. – Democracy in America’s Finest City hosted by Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies J

February 26th Friday1 pm – 2:30 pm All About Ebikes Event by San Diego Bike Coalition What are electric bicycles? How do the rules of the road apply to ebikers? Why are these things so popular all the sudden? More info: https://sdbikecoalition.org/event/all-about-ebikes/

And Much More …

Read the full article → 0 comments

Feds Warn Americans About Rising Risk of Attacks By Domestic Terrorists

January 27, 2021 by Staff

On Wednesday, Jan. 27, in an extraordinary warning to the American public, the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert about a growing risk of attacks by domestic terrorists – whom they call, “ideologically-motivated violent extremists.”

No other bulletin in recent years has been issued to alert Americans about violence by domestic extremists. The extremists are agitated about President Biden’s inauguration and “perceived grievances fueled by false narratives.”

In a statement, the department said the purpose of the new bulletin was to warn the public about a “heightened threat environment” across the United States “that is likely to persist over the coming weeks.” The bulletin is a lesser-status warning designed to alert the public about general risks, rather than an imminent attack linked to a specific threat.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Ocean Beach Black Lives Matter Caravan – Sunday, Jan.24

January 22, 2021 by Source

This Sunday, January 24, there will be an Ocean Beach Caravan for Justice for Black Lives Matter.

The two hour event will begin at Old Sea World Drive at 2 pm, when there will be car decorating; the caravan will start at 3 pm.

Read the full article → 0 comments

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

January 18, 2021 by Source

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

Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, “Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?” I would take my mental flight by Egypt and I would watch God’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt through, or rather across the Red Sea, through the wilderness on toward the promised land. And in spite of its magnificence, I wouldn’t stop there.

Read the full article → 4 comments

San Diego’s Right-Wing Extremist Roots, from KKK to QAnon

January 15, 2021 by Source

Hosted by Steve Chiotakis / KCRW / Jan. 14, 2021

The death of military veteran Ashli Babbitt at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 is shining a light on far-right extremism in San Diego County. Family and friends say the Ocean Beach resident was fervent in her beliefs on social media, amplifying QAnon conspiracy theories and anti-immigrant sentiment.

“Our region’s history of reactionary fascism goes back several decades,” says Joel Day, a research fellow at the USC Center for Public Diplomacy who specializes in combating violent extremism and homeland security.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Where Are We With Ideals of Liberty and Justice for All?

January 14, 2021 by Ernie McCray

Where Are We With Ideals of Liberty and Justice for All?

by Ernie McCray

I could only shake my head
as I took in the
storming rampage
of rage
that took place
at “The People’s House,”
the U.S. Capitol Building,
in D.C.,
the other day:

Read the full article → 0 comments

Trump Incites Chaos for Jan. 6, Both Inside and Outside the Capitol

December 31, 2020 by Source

JANUARY 6, the day Congress meets in a joint session to accept the results of the presidential election, should be a testament to America’s enduring democracy.

Yet it may become a demonstration of its poor health. President Trump, along with craven enablers such as Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), is seeking to upend what should be solemn but largely perfunctory proceedings to ratify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden.

The result could be a shameless show of support by numerous congressional Republicans for erasing the votes of millions of Americans — and, perhaps, mayhem incited by the president in the streets of D.C. “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!,” Mr. Trump tweeted earlier this month in an appeal to his supporters to come to the capital to buttress his campaign to overturn the election results.

Read the full article → 0 comments

More Diversified Juries on Deck for California in New Year

December 9, 2020 by Source

By Jerry Wallingford / San Diego Union-Tribune Op-Ed Page / Dec. 3, 2020

A new law that takes effect in California on Jan. 1, 2022 will make it difficult for lawyers trying criminal cases to exclude people of color, or members of other specified groups such as those related to gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation, from sitting on trial juries.

Historically, trial lawyers have been permitted to use a “peremptory challenge” to keep a prospective juror off of a jury, without providing a reason for the exclusion. In the 1970s and 1980s, first the California and then the United States Supreme Courts devised rules known as the Batson rules, which were intended to keep lawyers from using peremptory challenges to strike jurors because of their race.

The Batson rules have been ineffective. A recent study by the UC Berkeley Law School, entitled “Whitewashing the Jury Box,” found that California prosecutors “still disproportionately exercise peremptory challenges to exclude African Americans and Latinx people from juries.”

Read the full article → 0 comments

Helping Black Students Shine

November 30, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Lately I’ve been thinking of Black kids, Black students, specifically. Thinking of all the teachable moments out in the universe that I would call on to help them shine if I were in the classroom during these times.

And the first thought that came to mind is I would turn them on to what it means to be Black at this very time.

We’d talk about what we’d all just seen this past NBA season, superstars flying through the air slamming monstrous dunks and shooting rainbow 3’s with “Black Lives Matter” sewn into their jerseys.

We’d talk about the significance embedded in a Black woman taking on the role of Vice-president of the United States, the first of her gender to serve in such a capacity.

We’d talk about how Black voters showed up in large numbers, essentially rescuing a drowning democracy.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Retail Workers Demand Hazard Pay As Large Companies Reap Record-Breaking Pandemic Profits

November 25, 2020 by Staff

As large corporations like Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger and other major retailers reap record-breaking profits during the pandemic, the money does not trickle down to their front-line workers. And those workers are demanding hazard pay and upgrade safety procedures during the busy holiday shopping season.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), which represents 900,000 ry employees at chains such as Kroger, Safeway and Giant, urged retailers to do more to protect workers from the virus that has sickened more than 12.3 million Americans earlier this week. At least 131 grocery workers have died of covid-19,

Read the full article → 0 comments

My Breakfast with Tom Metzger

November 18, 2020 by Source

By K-B Gressitt / Excuse Me, I’m Writing

Tom Metzger is dead, and I am relieved.

But memories of Tom rumble through the orderly rows of avocado and citrus trees in my Southern California town, stirring up the dirt of our racist history.

When Fallbrook became my home thirty years ago, I dutifully learned its two monikers: Avocado Capital of the World and Fallbrook the Friendly Village. Both were debatable, given the persistent transformation of groves to tract housing, and Tom Metzger’s presence in town.

Back then, Tom was a Fallbrook fixture. A short and stout strutter, he was known for his TV repair skills, his toupee, and a black Stetson and cowboy boots that gave him an extra few inches. He was also known for identifying as a racial separatist, which, according to him, was not at all hateful. “I don’t hate anyone,” he’d say.

Read the full article → 3 comments

New San Diego Ordinances on Regulating Surveillance Win Praise – After Successful Effort by Councilwoman Montgomery Steppe

November 13, 2020 by Staff

On Tuesday, November 10, the San Diego City Council voted unanimously to adopt two ordinances, which are intended to increase accountability within city government and law enforcement. The ordinances regulate the use, acquisition and funding of surveillance technology and establish a Privacy Advisory Board.

City Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe – who led the efforts – stated:

“My council colleagues joined me in taking the necessary next step to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all San Diegans. The city of San Diego has a chance to lead here, and I look forward to the continuous collaboration with community organizations, my colleagues on the council and our city departments to ensure that we do.”

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop. 17 Will Restore Voting Rights to 50,000 Reformed Californians

October 29, 2020 by Source

By Niki Martinez / Times of San Diego / October 29, 2020

Every second of every day since I completed my prison sentence, I have done everything I can to live my life with purpose, to help others, and to make amends for the mistake I made when I was 17 years old.

I work four jobs, helping other formerly incarcerated individuals overcome obstacles we face related to earning a degree, securing a job, or finding housing. I do this because I know how challenging and discouraging these obstacles can become, but also how important they are to our successful reentry to society. But under California law, many of us can’t rejoin society — not fully.

In the eyes of the state, neither best intentions, nor hard work, nor good deeds can earn me back my full citizenship. That’s because of a 19th century law that’s still part of California’s constitution that bars individuals who’ve completed their prison sentence from voting.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Feeling Warm and Sunny

October 22, 2020 by Ernie McCray

Feeling Warm and Sunny

by Ernie McCray

It’s such a warm
and sunny feeling
to sense
human progress
in the air
like the other day
in a Zoom meeting
with a few athletes
at the U of A
about inclusion,
human beings being
valued for who they are,
me sharing
how, in my day,
there was little to no interest
in social
or political change,
how we athletes, in the main,
just played our games.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Internal Police Review Says Officers Justified in Using Force in Arrest of Black Woman in Ocean Beach Last May

October 21, 2020 by Source

Do you recall the May 1 rough arrest of a Black woman walking her dog at the water’s edge in Ocean Beach?

An internal police investigation just determined that officers were justified in using force during her arrest. Not everyone agrees with this result and it actually gives more cause to vote for Measure B which would establish a real police-oversight board. We raised the issue five and a half months ago in our report:

The arrest and rough treatment Friday, May 1, of an African-American woman for walking her dog at Ocean Beach without a leash raises troubling questions.

A video taken of the incident shows a Black woman in a white bathing suit being taken into custody by several San Diego police officers, accompanied by a couple of lifeguard on the shores of Ocean Beach. She apparently had been noticed by lifeguards walking her dog without a leash.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Measure B Gives San Diego Voters Chance to Finally Beef Up Police Oversight

October 21, 2020 by Source

By Claire Trageser / KPBS News / October 21, 2020

San Diego voters will have the opportunity in the November election to create more robust community oversight on the actions of police officers.

Activists wanted a stronger community review board for the police department back in 2016, but settled for Measure G, which made smaller changes.

Then they tried again in 2018, but the City Council did not act quickly enough to put the measure on the ballot.

Now, in 2020, Measure B is asking voters to create a Commission on Police Practices, which would have members appointed by the City Council, its own staff, an independent attorney and the power to subpoena and conduct investigations into police officer misconduct.

The commission would also review complaints against officers and investigate in-custody deaths, shootings by police and other allegations of misconduct. Finally, it would make recommendations on police officer discipline and police policies.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Statue in Absentia

October 20, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Pete Wilson’s statue near Horton Plaza was removed and I feel a little more at ease with my world.

I mean, for a long time, I’ve been tired of looking at his likeness when I’d be out and about downtown to eat or catch a play, or to just stroll and enjoy a beautiful San Diego day.

Every time I came upon that image of him, standing bronzed, smiling, with his hands in his pockets, like he’s your friend, I’d think back on a day in the mid-70’s when he told me “Make yourself in absentia, Mr. McCray” – after I had laid something out I thought he and his City Council should and could do something about.

His response kind of cracked me up, at first, because I had never been dismissed in Latin, but I was deeply disturbed because the mayor asked me to leave just after I had copped a plea for human decency. I wanted our city to join a movement back then that involved taking a stand against South Africa’s institutionalized racist apartheid system of segregation by divesting from corporations doing business there.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Is the American Right Winning the Long War With Amy Coney Barrett?

October 19, 2020 by Jim Miller

Charles Koch’s Big Bet on Barrett Despite GOP’s Potential Big Loss in 2020 Electoral Battle

By Jim Miller

With all the ink spilled and word hoards unleashed on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, perhaps the only person who really clarified the big picture significance of her likely confirmation was Christopher Leonard, the author of Kochland, who put Barrett’s nomination in the context of the billionaire Right’s long war against democracy. In his New York Times column, “Charles Koch’s Big Bet on Barrett,” he explains how:

Since the early 1970s, Mr. Koch has sought to dismantle most federal regulatory institutions, and the federal courts have been central to that battle. In 1974, Mr. Koch gave a blistering speech to a libertarian think tank, called the Institute for Humane Studies, in which he outlined his vision of the American regulatory state, and the strategy he would employ over the ensuing decades to realize that vision.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Will We Ever Breathe Free?

September 28, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

We Black folks
always wonder
if we’ll ever breathe free,
like others of our species,
ever since
we, caught napping,
were snatched
from our homeland
as kidnappees
and stacked
in boats
as contraband
and dumped
in shacks
as un-hired hands,
spending our lives
standing rigidly
for centuries
bent over long cotton sacks

Read the full article → 1 comment

No Justice for Breonna Taylor Results in – Once Again – Angry Protests Coast to Coast

September 24, 2020 by Source

With only one of the police officers involved in the police murder of Breonna Taylor of Louisville indicted – and not for her murder but for shooting into a different apartment – angry protests broke out, once again, coast to coast, in American cities.

From Louisville to Atlanta, to New York City, to Washington DC, to Chicago, to Los Angeles and even to San Diego, thousands of young people marched and demonstrated in the streets.

127 people were arrested overnight in Louisville and two police officers were wounded. Two reporters were among those arrested.

Ten people were arrested near police headquarters in downtown San Diego during the protest Wednesday night. The rally had involved hundreds and began around 7 pm near the corner of 8th and B streets, and protesters marched along Broadway. Around 10:15 p.m San Diego Police declared it an unlawful assembly because of “acts of violence and vandalism … in front of (police) headquarters.” Apparently, someone tried to lower the flags outside the station but officers thwarted that move.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Requiem for the Real American Dream

September 16, 2020 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

There is a time in life when all things that once were new and filled with promise become old and worn out, their shiny surfaces dull and scratched, their presence a mere reminder of the past. These things that once fueled our imaginations, set us in pursuit of impossible goals, drove us to creativity, and embodied cherished values must all be bade farewell when their time has passed.

I noticed today that the American Dream is badly worn.

I do not mean the American Dream of Horatio Alger, that rags-to-riches-if-you-work-hard-and-never-give-up dream. No, that one still lives in our hearts and minds. But it is not the true American Dream, for rags to riches is a story that happens all over the world. Truthfully, it has always been more like winning the lottery, even in this country.

But that didn’t matter, because riches have never been the dream of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Read the full article → 2 comments

School Choice Is a Harmful Fraud

September 16, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Birthed in the bowels of the 1950’s segregationist south, school choice has never been about improving education. It is about white supremacy, profiting off taxpayers, cutting taxes, selling market based solutions and financing religion. School choice ideology has a long dark history of dealing significant harm to public education.

Market Based Ideology

Milton Friedman first recommended school vouchers in a 1955 essay. In 2006, he was asked by a conservative group of legislators what he envisioned back then. PRWatch reports that he said, “It had nothing whatsoever to do with helping ‘indigent’ children; no, he explained to thunderous applause, vouchers were all about ‘abolishing the public school system.”’ [Emphasis added]

Market based ideologues are convinced that business is the superior model for school management. Starting with the infamous Reagan era polemic,

Read the full article → 5 comments

Law Enforcement Blocks Police Reform in Sacramento While Cops Keep Shooting Black People

September 3, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

When the California legislation closed up their session for the year the other night, and after press reporters described the “chaos” at the Capitol, it became clear that state law enforcement had helped block any police reform bills that had been initiated in the shadow of the Black Lives Matter protests. Meanwhile, police keep shooting and killing Black people.

On the day that the legislators ended their business, LA County Sheriffs shot and killed Dijon Kizzee in the South Los Angeles neighborhood of Westmont. Najee Ali, a community activist, was quoted by the LA Times: “The deputies essentially executed a man riding his bicycle.”

“They’ll say he had a gun, but what they won’t say was that he was not armed with the gun. He did not point the gun. … There was no reason for deputies to shoot a running man.”

After the killing, deputies said that Kizzee was riding his bicycle in violation of the vehicle code.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Do We Call On Our Black Anger or Our Black Love?

September 3, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking of how my people have overcome so many things in this country. For centuries.

You name it, we’ve overcome it. But we just can’t overcome the anger that comes with being Black in this society.

It’s a Black anger, if you will, because it’s ours alone, a form of anger that’s always there, beneath the surface, like a low-burning flame that needs a rush of air to get it really going.

And, since it’s usually the actions of angry White folks that gives our anger oxygen, we can’t ever fully relax it because, in our experience, we never know when we might have to react to what a White person has done – to one of us. Or a number of us.

When it’s least expected.

Read the full article → 7 comments

September 2020 Event Calendar From the Ocean Beach Green Center

September 1, 2020 by Source

Events All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

Every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Climate Mobilization Coalition Zoom Meeting. September 5th,12th,19th and 26th
September 1st Tuesday 6 pm – 7pm Project Community Care Hosted by Sunrise Movement San Diego
September 1st Tuesday 7 pm – 9 pm SD Veterans For Peace General Monthly Meeting via ZOOM Hosted by San Diego Veterans For Peace
September 2nd Wednesday – 5th Saturday 10 am – 12 pm Screening and Panel Discussion of the Film “Public Trust – The Fight for America’s Public Lands” Hosted by North County Climate Change Alliance
September 2nd Wednesday 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm No Justice, No Games Petco Park 9th and J Street Vigil (please bring a candle) Let’s join our voices to ask the San Diego Padres to walk off the field in protest for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many more due to the color of their skin.
September 3rd Thursday 6 pm – 7 pm Rooting Out White Supremacy in the US Military: A KPBS News Online Event
September 4th Friday 6 pm – 7:30 pm Intersectionality & Justice Panel Hosted by Andréa N. Agosto and Diversionary Theatre
September 5th Saturday 9 am – 4 pm Black Panthers Fundraiser Yard Sale
September 6th Sunday Rot On Sundays! Hosted by Food2Soil Composting Collective
September 7th Monday 11 am – 1 pm Protest Sea World San Diego – Labor Day

Read the full article → 0 comments

Judge Denies Kumeyaay Injunction to Halt Border Wall on Ancestral Lands

August 28, 2020 by Source

By Kristina Davis / San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 27, 2020

A San Diego federal judge on Thursday denied a motion by a band of the Kumeyaay Nation to halt construction of a border wall being erected on ancestral land.

U.S. District Judge Anthony Battaglia said his decision to deny both a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction falls in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s rulings in a similar border wall case, Trump v. Sierra Club. “I think the Supreme Court doesn’t always give us insight, and here they did,” Battaglia concluded, “and when they speak I think we are obligated to listen.”

The La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians, one of 12 bands of the Kumeyaay people, filed the lawsuit against the Trump administration earlier this month, accusing the government of improperly funding the project and ignoring a duty to formally consult with the tribe on the impact to the land. Tribal members say the construction near Campo is disturbing sacred land where they believe cremated remains of ancestors may be buried.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Thoughts About ‘Being Black in Tucson, AZ’

August 25, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve been a member of our group, “Being Black in Tucson, AZ,” for a little while now, commenting on a thing or two, but I’ve never introduced myself to you.

That being said I’m an 82-year-old dude who spent the first 24 years of his life “Being Black in Tucson, AZ.” Since then I’ve lived in San Diego which is just an hour away by plane and five hours away by car. I didn’t want to go too far. Because I dearly love my hometown.

For its physical beauty and power that make it a spiritual place for me: hiking trails in Sabino Canyon above refreshing pools and streams; powerful Sonoran winds that you can lean against; frightening monsoons that give the Santa Cruz River a chance to roar; majestic saguaros with their lovely blossoms.

For how far it has come since the Jim Crow days of my youth when people like me were limited as to when we could

Read the full article → 7 comments