Civil Rights

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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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.

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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

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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