Civil Rights

White Supremacists Playing the ‘Race Card’

August 4, 2021 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Occasionally
if I write something
along the lines
of, say, a little Mexican girl
curled up in her fears
of what’s happening
in her world
as she’s housed
in a cage,
or of a Black man
dying from
a racist policeman’s rage,
his knee on the brotha’s neck,
someone says
I’m playing the “race card’
and I agree
since, in America,
race cards
are the only cards in the deck.

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Thoughts Prompted by a Book by a Hollywood Star

July 27, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’m thinking about Frank Cruz.

He’s an old junior and senior high classmate of mine who wrote a book, a memoir, Straight Out of Barrio Hollywood, a nice story of his journey from “the other side of town” in Tucson to co-founding Telemundo, a television network that broadcasts nationally and across the sea.

Before he pulled that off, he was a much loved and highly appreciated college professor of Chicano History and a well-known L.A. TV personality. A true transition from Barrio Hollywood, a Tucson ghetto, to “Hollywood” where the stars glow.

I felt so proud to have known him as I read of his accomplishments, the significant news he covered, and the celebrated names he dropped.

I couldn’t help but think of how he and I, in 1951, were part of our hometown’s history, how we ended up at the same school when Tucson desegregated its campuses. Before then Latinos, Mexican Americans, in Frank’s neighborhood were considered White although they were treated otherwise.

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How San Diego Incubates White Extremism with One America News

July 26, 2021 by Source

By Jean Guerrero / Los Angeles Times / July 22, 2021

The pro-Trump cable propaganda network One America News is headquartered in a sandy-colored building in the San Diego sun.

It doesn’t look like the epicenter of a collective delusion in which Trump remains president, the COVID-19 vaccine is deadly and “illegal aliens” are destroying the country.

But OAN, launched in 2013 by Louisiana-born technology magnate Robert Herring, is the latest chapter in San Diego’s history as a hotbed of white paranoid extremism. The network has become Trump’s favorite Big Lie megaphone about the “stolen” presidential election. In March, Pearson Sharp, one of its star correspondents, said in a report, “There’s still serious doubts about who’s actually president.” In another, he suggested COVID-19 vaccines are causing mass deaths..”

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Voters’ Suppression Is Real – Voting Laws Roundup, July 2021

July 22, 2021 by Source

Voting Laws Roundup: July 2021: Eighteen states have already enacted 30 laws this year that will make it harder for Americans to vote.

From Brennan Center for Justice/ July 22, 2021

As many state legislatures conclude their regular sessions, the full impact of efforts to suppress the vote in 2021 is coming into view.

Between January 1 and July 14, 2021, at least 18 states enacted 30 laws that restrict access to the vote. These laws make mail voting and early voting more difficult, impose harsher voter ID requirements, and make faulty voter purges more likely, among other things. More than 400 bills with provisions that restrict voting access have been introduced in 49 states in the 2021 legislative sessions.

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Hey, America, Stop Tampering With Our Right to Vote

July 19, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

America.
I’ve so had it with
your evil ways,
especially the way
you make us Black folks
slave away
to just prevent you
from taking our right to vote away,
over-and-over-again
ad nauseam.

And what pisses
me off the most
about this is

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Legislation Introduced in Senate to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana

July 15, 2021 by Source

By Eugene Scott / San Diego Union-Tribune – Washington Post / July 15, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., introduced legislation Wednesday to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, vowing to use his clout as majority leader toward reversing policies and laws that he says have caused significant harm to the lives of thousands of Americans. The draft bill, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Cory’ Booker, D-N.J., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would remove federal penalties associated with cannabis, expunge nonviolent federal cannabis-related criminal records and begin regulating and taxing the drug.

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Democracy’s Refugees: Offer Them Sanctuary

July 13, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

What a time to be alive. Wake up early and pay attention.

Tuesday offers all manner of news about chaos; pandemics, culture feuds, cyber-terrorism, domestic terrorism, racial and sexual cruelties, financial and food insecurities, raging fires, and devastating drought, alongside a couple billionaires blasting into space.

Forget the World Soccer Cup matches that unleashed hideous social network racism against Black players on England’s losing team; or the nail-biting (and history-making) Wimbledon finals or even the coming fan-less Tokyo Olympics.

The most riveting political spectacle (with massive consequences for the future of democracy) is Tuesday’s duel between Texas and Washington, D.C. 67 Democrats in the Texas legislature, flew to D.C. on Monday,

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California’s Inmate Firefighters Still Denied Visitors, Unlike Prisons

July 9, 2021 by Source

by Jill Castellano / inewsource / July 1, 2021

Hundreds of California inmates will charge to the front lines of rapidly spreading wildfires this summer, risking injury and death in exchange for shorter sentences and a few dollars a day.

When the flames recede, they will return to their living quarters at one of 35 low security camps, where picnic tables and barbecues once bustled with families — a perk that higher security prisons don’t allow.

Now, the inmates have the grounds to themselves.

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50 Years Ago, Voting Age Lowered to 18 Due to Youth Protests

July 6, 2021 by Source

From today’s San Diego Union-Tribune

In July 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution became law. The amendment, which had passed through Congress and been ratified by the states, lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

An estimated 11 million young Americans between 18 and 21 became eligible under the new age limit.

The youth vote had a noticeable effect in San Diego.

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Some Critical Thinking About Race

July 1, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

It never ceases to amaze me how we Americans continue to resist discussing the number one problem in our country ever since it came to be: racism.

That resistance has never been more evident than when San Diego City Schools decided to provide students with ethnic studies and anti-racism education and some parents freaked out and decried having CRT, “critical race theory,” taught to their children.

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Want to Improve Police Stop Disparities? Hold the Chief Responsible for Addressing Them.

June 24, 2021 by Source

By Chris Brewster / Voice of San Diego / June 23, 2021

If the mayor and City Council are serious about police reform, they should make clear that the expectation is that the police chief must meaningfully bring police stops into alignment with the makeup of the population, or spell out clearly why doing so isn’t desirable.

The San Diego Police Department’s leadership has been ineffective over many years at ensuring equity in police stops.

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An Invite to STILL, WE RISE

June 14, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

STILL, WE RISE.
We, being my people,
Black folks.
Folks out here
living lives of
forever trying
to just be Americans,
free,
de-colonialized,
so to speak.
But, hey,
STILL, WE RISE.

And STILL, WE RISE happens to be a show of poetry and jazz that I put together with some friends: actor extraordinaire,

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A Retraction

June 4, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I owe an apology to L. Todd Wood.

I wrote about an article he had written in my recent OB Rag piece, “Wishing a Classmate Would Say ‘No to Racism.’”

His essay was sent to me via email by a high school classmate of mine who, as I wrote, is always trying to prove me wrong regarding race issues Black people face in America.

Apparently, my old school chum added information at the end of Wood’s writing that wasn’t the author’s.

Now, Mr. Wood wrote a lot about Black people that was alarming and concerning to me but he hadn’t written any of the things that I attributed to him after I wrote that he had brought “his rant to an end with an assessment of the benefits to our society if Blacks suddenly upped and left.”

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What Progressives Are Saying About This Dangerous Moment in American History – As The Insurrection Continues

June 3, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Many progressive pundits, politicians, civil rights advocates and observers are calling this moment America finds itself in, a very dangerous one.

For instance, Robert Reich says:

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party. … American democracy is at an inflection point.

Then there is this statement from over 100 scholars who express their deep concern regarding the assault on democracy:

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Wishing a Classmate Would Say “No to Racism” 

June 2, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I got an email from an old high school classmate that read: “Here’s a really good look at the problem of race in America today” in reference to an essay written by L. Todd Wood.

I seriously doubted that it would be a “good look” at racial matters as my old school chum finds pleasure, for some reason, in sending me articles that “prove” how Black people go about trying to fit into American society in the “wrong way” – and every way we try is the wrong way.

But I read the writing anyway, a bit curious as to what an ex-special forces helicopter pilot with a degree from the Air Force Academy had to say. And right-away I could see where this man was heading

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Police Reform in San Diego One Year After George Floyd’s Death

May 27, 2021 by Source

By Cristina Kim / KPBS / May 26, 2021

One year ago today, George Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Bystanders caught the murder on video and the world was able to see how Chauvin placed and held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds.

The result was a global movement as people from all backgrounds took to the streets to call for greater racial justice and demand that communities reimagine policing.

San Diego was no exception.

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A Scholarly Masterpiece: ‘William Frantz Public School’

May 26, 2021 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

My wonderful friend from New Orleans, Mercedes Schneider, said of this meticulously researched book, “Intense, captivating, and horrible in its reality, William Frantz Public School is a story overdue for the telling – a must read for those seeking to understand New Orleans’ history and the lingering impact of White racial superiority upon the Black community and city infrastructure.” I concur. It is a captivating read.

At its 1938 founding, speakers proclaimed the new William Frantz Public School (WFPS) a “protection for democracy” and a “fortification against encroachment of those terrible ‘isms.’” (WFPS page 3)

However, racism did not just encroach; it dominated.

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The Year of George Floyd

May 25, 2021 by Staff

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America Not Racist?

May 17, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

To the premise at America is not racist
I can hear my mother say
“You could have fooled me”
with all that
sweeping and dusting
and mopping
she did at AT&T
with her Howard University
college degree,
around 66 years
after slavery,
Jim Crow
then at the helm
of Black folk’s
not mattering,
a complaint
still alive today
in the USA.

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San Diego Police De-Escalation Policy Goes Into Effect

May 14, 2021 by Staff

See story about this incident where a Black, homeless man was taken down for public urination, at today’s San Diego Union-Tribune.

See Nicole Bansal’s video here.

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Feeling Langston

May 11, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Feeling Langston.
Mr. Hughes.
Feeling how he could piece together
a rhyme
that gives you the blues
or string a line of words
sweet
as the floral taste
of late summer
honeydew,
making
Black folk’s hearts
sing
like a bird,
once caged,

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County Supervisors Repeal Ban on San Diego Tribal Land Expansions

May 6, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Wednesday, May 5, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to repeal policies that basically stopped any expansion by Native American tribal governments.

Federal policy requires Native People’s tribal governments to secure land they own for their reservations under a fee-to-trust process. In turn, tribes are allowed to build housing and energy projects on the land and also access natural resources. But in March 1994, the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a policy

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Liberty and Justice for All at Our Beck and Call

May 6, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Hints of “Liberty and Justice for All” have come upon us suddenly like waters rushing from a broken dam, washing away long held resistance to social and political change.

How else can one explain a shift from disparaging notions such as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” as well, to where a man can marry a man, and a woman a woman.

Legally. All across the country.

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Derek Chauvin Found Guilty on All 3 Counts of Murdering George Floyd

April 20, 2021 by Staff

OBcean present in Minneapolis while verdict was read.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury Tuesday for his role in the murder of George Floyd last May outside of a local convenience store.

Floyd’s death, and the video that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes, became a catalyst for the country’s racial and social justice movement last summer.

A jury of six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors deliberated nine hours over two days — five hours on Monday; four hours Tuesday — before rendering a verdict.

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Chelsea Handler Wants to Skip Trial for Derek Chauvin

April 15, 2021 by Source

By Edwin Decker

It’s rather shocking to me that someone of comedian Chelsea Handler’s age and experience considers the idea of fair trials for all as being “pathetic.”

It’d be one thing if it was some dung-brained undergraduate majoring in Neotraditional Jazz Puppetry spouting this nonsense to their dorm-mates, but we’re talking about a 41-year-old woman here. She has traveled the world as a successful producer, writer, actor, TV host, comedian, activist and drunk. She should know some stuff! But this? This is dumb.

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April 2021 Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

April 1, 2021 by Source

The Ocean Beach Green Center will be celebrating our 32nd Anniversary on Earth Day April 22nd. We can’t have our usual celebration this year but we will be open from 12:30 to 6:30 with Covid-19 protocols if you want to drop by and say hi! We will have a donation jar available if you are so inclined to make a small donation. Do not feel obligated as we know a lot of people are having a hard time. Your presence is our present. Happy Earth Day

A lot is happening this month. Because it is Earth Day Month environmental events dominate the calendar. Peace and Social Justice highlighted events are listed but check out our list of all P & SJ groups for more of their events. Go to http://www.oceanbeachgreencenter.org/get-involved.html for their links

April Events From the Ocean Beach Green Center

All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.

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Assault on American Democracy Continues at State Capitols – 250 Bills Introduced by Republicans in 43 States to Restrict Voting

March 31, 2021 by Source

By Amy Gardner, Kate Rabinowitz and Harry Stevens / Washington Post

The GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new election restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans, potentially amounting to the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men, a Washington Post analysis has found.

In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws

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The Color of Authority: San Diego Police and Sheriff’s Disproportionately Target Minorities

March 29, 2021 by Source

Data Shows Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans Bear Brunt of Racial Biases in Local Policing

Long before protests erupted across San Diego County over the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died last May after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, community leaders have called on local law enforcement officials to address persistent racial disparities in policing.

For years, study after study has shown that people of color — especially Blacks — are stopped, searched and arrested at higher rates than their White counterparts.

A new analysis by The San Diego Union-Tribune of nearly 500,000 stops of drivers and pedestrians made by San Diego police and sheriff’s deputies

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New COVID Strains Show Need for Bold Strategies in Addressing Public Health in America

March 8, 2021 by Source

By Roberto “Rob” Camacho

In the unprecedented global crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States has been forced to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge societal ills and inequities which unattended have festered for decades.

Over the past twelve months COVID presented a chance to reimagine things such as housing, education, wage increases, access to technology, healthcare, and more. However, due to the actions of the economic elite, and a stubbornly complicit legislature, the lives of everyday people have been crushed to ensure that even in the midst of a deadly pandemic, the status quo has remained the same at all costs. Including the lives of more than half a million people in the U.S. who have died of COVID over the past twelve months.

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‘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,

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