Civil Rights

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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,

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Tribute to a Warrior for Her Community

August 24, 2020 by Source

By Joni Halpern

As a resident of San Diego County, you should be introduced to a woman more important than the President of the United States, more relevant than any celebrity, more powerful than any person of riches.

Her vast talents could not be purchased. Her dedication to excellence, even in the smallest of tasks, was relentless. Her loyalty could only be earned. But if you were the target of injustice, the person who suffered from the unwarranted, heedless acts of those who thought you had no advocates, she was the best friend you could ever have.

She came from humble beginnings, a little place near Guadalajara, working from youth in a home-operated business preparing the foods her mother sold. She had a keen intellect, but she was never allowed to proceed very far in school. Instead, she went to work, turning over her earnings to her mother, keeping only enough for transportation and a few necessities. She could see her future, dismal and uninterrupted by even the smallest surprise of opportunity young people crave. She married, and only months after the birth of her first child, necessity forced the new family to enter the United States without papers.

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Congressional Candidates and Voters Sue to Stop Trump’s Sabotage of the Post Office

August 19, 2020 by Source

By Marjorie Cohen / TruthOut / August 19, 2020

A lawsuit that promises to be one of many was filed yesterday to stop Donald Trump’s sabotage of the mail leading up to the presidential election.

Mondaire Jones et al. v. U.S. Postal Service, Postmaster General, and Donald Trump was brought by Democratic candidates for national and state congressional seats, as well as voters who cast mail ballots to protect themselves against the COVID-19 pandemic. Several state attorneys general are expected to file litigation this week.

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Kumeyaay Sue Trump Administration to Block Border Wall that Desecrates Sacred Burial Sites

August 14, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The La Posta Band of Diegueno Mission Indians filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the Trump administration in an effort to block construction of the border wall section that the band says will desecrate their sacred burial sites. The tribe’s ancestral lands cross the US-Mexico border.

The suit asks for an injunction to halt – at least temporarily – the erection of a tall, metal wall until the tribe can protect its cultural sacred areas. The La Posta band – one of 12 bands of the Kumeyaay people – also wants to monitor the installation work and be able to interrupt it if human remains and cultural artifacts are found.

The lawsuit was filed against President Donald Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who oversaw military funds diverted for the border wall; acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf; and Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is in charge of building the wall.

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Trump Opposes Funding for the Post Office Because of Mail-In Voting

August 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Ellie Kaufman, Marshall Cohen, Jason Hoffman and Nicky Robertson / CNN / August 13, 2020

President Donald Trump said Thursday that he opposes much-needed funding for the United States Postal Service because he doesn’t want to see it used for mail-in voting this November.

By directly linking USPS funding to mail-in voting, Trump is fueling allegations that he is trying to manipulate the postal system for political gain. The pandemic has led to record-shattering levels of voting-by-mail, but Trump has tried to restrict the voting method because he says it will hurt his re-election and Republicans across the board.

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School Choice and White Supremacy Like Two Peas in a Pod

August 11, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / August 9, 2020

In Overturning Brown, – as in the US Supreme Court case “Brown v Board of Education” – , Steve Suitts provides overwhelming evidence for the segregationist legacy of “school choice.” He shows that “Brown v Board” has been effectively gutted and “choice” proved to be the white supremacists’ most potent strategy to defeat it. In the 21st century, that same strategy is being wielded to maintain segregation while destroying the separation of church and state. (Note: In this article references to Overturning Brown given as Suitts page#.)

Defeating Brown

On May 17 1954, the United States Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in the case of Brown versus the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. Chief Justice Earl Warren stated, “In the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” He added it is “inherently unequal” and plaintiffs were “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.”

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‘If You’re Not Terrified about Facebook, You Haven’t Been Paying Attention’

July 28, 2020 by Source

By Carole Cadwalladr / The Guardian / July 26, 2020

In 2016, we didn’t know. We were innocent. We still believed social media connected us and that connections were good. That technology equaled progress. And progress equaled better.

Four years on, we know too much. And yet, it turns out, we understand nothing. We know social media is a bin fire and that the world is burning. But it’s like the pandemic. We understand in outline how bad things could get. But we remain hopelessly human. Relentlessly optimistic. Of course, we believe there’ll be a vaccine. Because there has to be, doesn’t there?

In Facebook’s case, the worst has already happened. We’ve just failed to acknowledge it. Failed to reckon with it. And there’s no vaccine coming to the rescue. In 2016 everything changed. As for 2020… well, we will see.

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Trump Threatens to Send Federal Law Enforcement to More (Democratic) Cities in Election Ploy

July 21, 2020 by Source

By David Smith / The Guardian / July 21, 2020

Donald Trump has vowed to send federal officers to several American cities led by Democrats in what critics say is an attempt to play the “law and order” card to boost his bid for re-election.

The president’s threat came after a federal crackdown on anti-racism protests in Portland, Oregon, that involved unmarked cars and unidentified forces in camouflage.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday, Trump identified New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as places in need of federal agents, describing those cities’ mayors as “liberal Democrats”.

“We’re sending law enforcement,” he said. “We can’t let this happen to the cities.”

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Federal Agents Using Gestapo Tactics in Pulling Americans Off the Streets in Portland, Oregon

July 17, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Federal officers from the U.S. Marshals Service and Department of Homeland Security have stormed Portland’s streets as part of President Trump’s promised strong response to ongoing protests. These officers drive around in unmarked vehicles, storm out in camouflage uniforms, with no name-tags and a generic “police” patch, grab American citizens right off the streets, cover their heads without explanation – clearly gestapo tactics.

It’s becoming so out of control in Portland that local political leaders have called for the federal agents to leave town. Those calls intensified since agents severely wounded a peaceful protester on Saturday, July 11.

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General Strike in Support of Black Lives Matter Planned for Monday, July 20

July 17, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

A nationwide general strike has been called by a raft of labor unions and racial and social justice groups in support of Black Lives Matter for this upcoming Monday, July 20. Called “Strike for Black Lives”, it’s expected that tens of thousands of working people in 25 cities will walk off their jobs as part of a nationwide walkout to confront systemic racism in America.

Fast-food, nursing home, rideshare and other workers will go on strike Monday and will be joined by thousands more who will walk off their jobs for eight minutes, 46 seconds to remember George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain and other Black people killed by police.

The protests represent actions to demand corporations and governments do something to confront what’s called the “triple threat of white supremacy, public health emergency, and broken economy.” Some of the sponsoring organization include:

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800 Hate Incidents Against Asian Americans in California During Pandemic

July 8, 2020 by Source

by Chris Jennewein / Times of San Diego / July 5, 2020

Asian Americans in California have reported 832 incidents of discrimination and harassment in the last three months as the coronavirus stoked racial tension, according to a summary by the coalition Stop AAPI Hate (Stop Asian American Pacific Islander Hate).

The incidents listed in the study released last week were self-reported and included 81 assaults and 64 potential civil rights violations.

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Genocide in California’s History

July 6, 2020 by Source

Junipero Serra1Originally published on August 15, 2008

by gjohnsit / DailyKos / August 14, 2008

What do you think of when someone says “California”? Beaches? Sunshine? Hollywood?

How about the largest act of genocide in American history?

“The idea, strange as it may appear, never occurred to them (the Indians) that they were suffering for the great cause of civilization, which, in the natural course of things, must exterminate Indians.”
– Special Agent J. Ross Browne, Indian Affairs

California was one of the last areas of the New World to be colonized. It wasn’t until 1769 that the first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was built.

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San Diego Black Panther on Current Black Lives Matter Protests

July 1, 2020 by Source

By Beth Accomando / KPBS / June 30, 2020

San Diego Black Panther Party chairman Henry Lee Wallace V looks to the 1960s to provide context for today’s protests.

If you grew up in the 1960s like I did, then the image of young Black men in black leather jackets and berets, and carrying guns and chanting “Power to the People” was a powerful image that you don’t forget. It was also an image that scared a lot of mainstream white America and immediately got the attention of those in power who wanted to maintain the status quo.

But what was even scarier to someone like the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover was the way the Black Panther Party focused on providing free meals to kids and education that could help people in the Black community become self-reliant.

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Kumeyaay Tribe Blocks Border Blasting in Burial Grounds

July 1, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Monday, June 29, members and supporters of the Kumeyaay Nation in Campo blocked construction of the border wall by standing in front of an area where pre-construction blasting was scheduled to take place.

Community members sang and chanted peacefully to express their concerns about explosives planned to be used to blast away portions of the old border fence.

Construction contractors working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were scheduled to begin Monday, blasting the old portions of the border fence to clear the way for the construction of new sections of the border wall, a project championed by the Trump administration. The planned construction area is located along the U.S.-Mexico border in far east San Diego County, about 75 miles from the city of San Diego.

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