African arts showcase at UC Berkeley

The spirit of Africa was alive at the African Arts Society's "Showcase" on November 20 at UC Berkeley.

Ready to Learn Fun Fair

Children enjoyed face painting, legos and storytelling at the Ready to Learn Fun Fair at Peralta Elementary School in Oakland.

Occupy Oakland calls for West Coast Port Shutdown

Organizers say Port owners are "1%." Port begs to keep the Ports Open for 99% workers.

Oakland Labor Day BBQ hosts good time for 'fam bam'

The "I am Oakland" collective hosted the Labor Day Fam Bam BBQ at Mosswood Park on September 6.

Protest against censorship of Palestinian Children's Art

In response to censorship of Palestinian children's art by an Oakland art museum, dozens came out to protest in Oakland.

RIP Peabo Wellington

College of Alameda student Jepeabo Wellington was murdered days before the school year began.

Students gain college acceptance at Black College Fair

Hundreds of young people attended the third annual Black College Fair at Laney College, the second year the Oakland community college has hosted the event.

TBH News: Former BART cops gets bail

Former BART police officer killed unarmed Oscar Grant, III on New Year's DayProtestors enraged, nine arrested
Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who killed the unarmed Oscar Grant III, meant to fire his taser and not his gun, according to his defense attorney who convinced a judge to set bail Jan. 30. He remained in jail through Friday night, according to the County Sheriff's Department, despite reports that he was released.

A few dozen people packed the Alameda County Courthouse lobby Friday afternoon for the bail hearing's 43 available seats while hundreds more protested outside the courthouse. Inside the courtroom, the front rows were reserved for the families of both Grant and Mehserle.

For complete story, visit

TBH Music: Wake Yo Game Up

New Oakland's (Beeda Weeda, J-Stalin and Mistah Fab) Voter Mobilization Anthem "Wake Yo Game Up." From the "Wake Yo Game Up" album produced by Charles Johnson and the Town Business Network. For more info visit

January Program Information

The Black Hour Internet Radio Show (Live on 9th Floor Radio)

January 2009 Program Information

On January 16, THE BLACK HOUR Radio Show aired live on 9th Floor Radio. The show primarily centered around the recent murder of 22-year old Oscar Grant III by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

To listen to the show, visit THE BLACK HOUR

To learn more about our guests, artists whose music was featured, check out the links below.

Jumoke Hinton Hodge, Oakland Unified School District




TBH Events: Blue Moon Thursday at Holla Back

The Black Hour host Brother Reggie hosts Holla Back Jan. 29

Brother Reggie, host of The Black Hour, will host Blue Moon Thursday at Holla Back Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. The event will feature poetry, Hip Hop and more.

Holla Back is every Thursday at the Eastside Cultural Center, 2277 International Blvd in Oakland. For more information, visit

TBH Photos: Jimmie Reign's Video and Record Release Party

Photos from Jimmie Reign's Record Release Party

R&B Soulstress and the "First Lady of the Bay" Jimmie Reign held her video and album release party Jan. 27 at the Air Lounge in Oakland. The event was hosted by DC from BayUp TV and Prentice Powell from HotWater Cornbread.

Check out exclusive photos by THE BLACK HOUR above.
For more info on Jimmie Reign, check her out at

TBH Video: This Week with Jasiri X -Our Defining Moment

For more Jasiri X, visit

Peaceful march for Oscar Grant on Martin Luther King holiday

Hundreds marched and rallied in Oakland on Martin Luther King Day to protest police terrorism and call for justice for Oscar Grant.

Leaders from the Black Power Movement and the growing resistance of the African community in the form of leaders young and old were present," Uhuru Solidarity reports. "A significant outpouring of solidarity from Mexican, Asian and white people for the struggle for African liberation as we marched through the historic African community of West Oakland, past the Oakland headquarters of the Marcus Garvey movement to the sites where Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton was assassinated by the government to Li'l Bobby Hutton Park, recognizing the government's brutal attack on the African freedom struggle and the strength of the organized resistance of the freedom fighters in the struggle."

Oscar Grant was murdered by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year's Day. There are have been a number of protests in response to the execution style slaying. Mehserle was arrested earlier this month.

The march, held on the holiday of freedom fighter Martin Luther King, Jr., was organized by the Uhuru House of Oakland. Uhuru has called for a "Tribunal to charge the city and other officials with crimes of genocide against the African community" on Saturday, January 31. The "People's Court" will take place at the Uhuru House located at 7911 MacArthur Blvd in East Oakland.

Smothering the Oscar Grant Movement

By JR Valrey
Special to
Editor's Note: Block Report Radio producer JR Valrey was the only journalist arrested during the January 7 uprising following the murder of Oscar Grant by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle.

Wednesday evening, there was a rally in downtown Oakland calling for justice for Oscar Grant III, the 22-year-old unarmed Black man who was being restrained by two BART police officers when he was shot in the back at point blank range on New Year’s morning in front of dozens of witnesses who caught it on camera.

The rally was called by members of a newly formed organization called CAPE (Coalition Against Police Executions), which organized itself in response to the murder of Oscar Grant III. The question that I have about the name is do people have to be executed by the police for this coalition to look into their case? – because some are just terrorized and not killed.

Would the police terrorism suffered at KPFA radio station in August by Nadra Foster, who was unarmed and slammed to the ground, kicked between the legs, kicked in the head and restrained in a type of strait-jacket by the Berkeley police for allegedly using the phone to make a personal call from an institution that she had volunteered at for over 10 years qualify for attention?

What about the case of Antoine “Soda Pop” Goff and John Tennision, who were framed for a murder that they did not commit by former San Francisco Chief of Police Earl Sanders and his former partner, Napoleon Hendrix, and ended up doing 13 years – would CAPE take this up?

Or what about the case of unarmed 15-year-old Laronte Studesville, who was shot in the back by Oakland police in 2007? Although he lived and this cannot be considered an execution, would this be important enough for CAPE to take up?

The rally started on the steps of City Hall in downtown Oakland, which is the exact location where a week earlier, a rebellion against police terrorism broke out, with 105 people being arrested mostly on trumped up charges. Cameras and cell phones were confiscated by the Oakland police and thousands of dollars in property was damaged in response to the inaction of city officials and BART officials responsible for investigating the murder of Oscar Grant.

This rally seemed to be more of a prayer vigil slash Kum-by-yah festival, starting off with prayers and shouting on the mic every few minutes that “we need to be peaceful.” I started to wonder if the organizers saw the same footage that I saw, because “we” did not shoot Oscar Grant; police officers in uniform did.

How can anybody ask for peace before they ask for justice? That gave me a weird feeling when the event first started.

The event came to a climax at City Hall when the organizers let the mayor, Ron Dellums, speak. Less than 24 hours before this rally/vigil/festival, sheriffs in Nevada allegedly arrested the trigger-pulling officer for murder. The problem is the camera shows four other officers aiding Johannes Mehserle, the cop who pulled the trigger. Why have not they been arrested? If I was caught on tape killing anybody, me and everybody who was with me at the moment would have been arrested, whether or not they knew what I was going to do.

Why did the CAPE organizers let the mayor speak, as if he was some kind of hero or something? Consequently, the mayor was questioned by the people during his speech about why the other four cops involved are not under arrest. He ignored the questions and continued to try and look like Dr. King when he spoke.

Pissed off and frustrated with unprincipled behavior, I asked the stage manager, the local singer Jennifer Johns, why was the mayor speaking at a protest at City Hall. If we were not protesting the mayor at City Hall, who were we protesting?

I then asked if the protesters who were arrested in the rebellion a week earlier would have a chance to speak to get support for our upcoming trials. Johns told me, “You should have come to the meeting.” I told her that I was at the doctor and meeting with potential lawyers at the times of these meetings. Her arrogant attitude personified the class contradictions that were evident between the organizers of this rally and the young people who risked their freedom to rebel in the streets.

Let me remind you that it was the rebellion and threat of another one that got the cop arrested.

To add insult to injury, Oakland rapper Too Short was allowed to speak. He has never been a part of a community struggle to my knowledge, but the people who were out in the streets during the rebellion, risking their freedom at the moment and jail time in the future, including those who did not commit any crimes but were peacefully protesting – we were not given a chance to speak on the mic, our cases were not talked about, and CAPE co-founder Dereca Blackmon’s promise to collect donations for our defense did not happen at any time, according to what I saw and heard.

My personal highlight from the day was Minister Keith Muhammad of the Nation of Islam calling for the resignation or recall of DA Tom Orloff, who hesitantly arrested one of the cops and still has not arrested the other four that were directly involved in the incident that cost the 22-year-old father, Oscar Grant, his life.

My personal highlight from the day was Minister Keith Muhammad of the Nation of Islam calling for the resignation or recall of DA Tom Orloff, who hesitantly arrested one of the cops and still has not arrested the other four that were directly involved in the incident that cost the 22-year-old father, Oscar Grant, his life.

This Week with Jasiri X - 17

Obama's Inauguration

President-elect Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. will be sworn in today as the 44th President of the United States of America. He will be the nation's first African American President.
Click here to watch the Inauguration live with CNN/FacebookIs this what an Obama Inauguration would look like?

TBH Photos: "I am Oscar Grant"

Check out the "I am Oscar Grant" photos on Facebook.

TBH Video: Betta B Ready by Ras Ceylon

Check out more Ras Ceylon at Myspace.

Oakland Journalist's account of Oscar Grant 'rebellion'

Only when Oakland’s rage over the execution of Oscar Grant broke out into a full rebellion on Wednesday, Jan. 7, did authorities, after nearly a week of silence, take this police murder seriously. Still, Oakland youth took the brunt as police used military equipment such as this tank-like hummer to put down the rebellion – while Mayor Ron Dellums promised police restraint. – Photo: Brooke Anderson, IndyBay

Oakland rebellion: Eyewitness report

Don’t miss these upcoming events

  • The arrested protesters’ next hearing is this Friday, Jan. 16, 9 a.m., in Department 112 of the Wiley M. Manuel Courthouse, 661 Washington St. in downtown Oakland. Strong support from the community will help win justice for Oscar Grant and for the protesters.
  • You could hear from the family of Oscar Grant and from protesters, community leaders and artists at the “Town Bizness Townhall Meeting - Against Police Terrorism” on Friday, Jan. 23, at the legendary Black Dot Café, 1195 Pine St. in West Oakland at 6 p.m. It is free. All are invited. For more information, you could hit up and
  • Thanks to the generous support of Black Repertory Group Theater producer Sean Vaughn Scott, the matinee performance of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf” on Saturday, Feb. 7, will benefit my legal defense fund and Block Report Radio. Doors will open at noon for a talk by Prisoners of Conscience Committee Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., and the play will follow.
by POCC Minister of Information JR
Special to

During the first Wednesday of 2009, downtown Oakland was physically rocked by the justified fury that the rebellions brought out in response to the police killing of 22-year-old unarmed Black male Oscar Grant, who was fatally shot at the Fruitvale BART station while he was face down, being restrained by two officers, in front of dozens of witnesses New Year’s morning.

For me, that day of protesting started at the Fruitvale BART station with a peaceful rally that was organized by members of the Bay Area’s activist community. Speakers included Crea Gomez, a community non-profit advocate, local rappers like Zion of Zion I and Mistah FAB, as well as concerned community members like myself who were appalled at the police murder. I was there as a member of the Black community demanding justice for the police murder of Oscar Grant, as well as I was in attendance as a journalist on assignment.

When I arrived a little bit after the protest started, I witnessed at least 200-300 people who were demanding justice for Oscar Grant’s family at the BART station. BART had shut down the station so that it would slow the pace of protesters who could have used the BART to get to the rally but had to rely on Oakland’s slow ass bus system to make their voices heard. People of all nationalities, ages, classes and religions were chanting angry slogans led by the speakers: “Fuck the police!” “No justice, no peace!” “Justice for Oscar Grant!”

One of the things that struck me most about this rally was the fact that it was so many people who were moved to protest in East Oakland, which is rare during a workday. The question that I asked on the microphone when it was my turn to speak was, “Why didn’t people come out when Bay Area police officers murdered unarmed Terrence Mearis, unarmed Casper Banjo, unarmed Anita Gaye, unarmed Gary King, unarmed Gus Rugley, unarmed Cammerin Boyd, unarmed Idriss Stelley or when the police terrorized 15-year-old unarmed Laronte Studesville, unarmed Randy Murphy or unarmed Nadra Foster? Is it because these cases were not caught on camera?”

These children, a racial cross-section of Oakland, seem determined to stop the police’ open season on young men of color before it’s their turn. The sign on the left reads, “Sunset 2008-90 RIP Oscar Grant III, Casper Banjo, Jose Luis Buenrostro, Jody Woodfox, Gary King Jr., Andrew Moppin and others at the hands of Oakland police.”
Photo: Demondre Ward

It seemed to me that people have to see police atrocities on television to believe that they happen in the Black community, when young Black males in the Bay Area and all over the country know from experience that the police have a legal license to kill you, severely beat you or frame you with no repercussions. An example of this is the Oscar Grant case, where he was unarmed and shot point blank, while being restrained by two officers and surrounded by at least three more, yet no one was charged with murder, manslaughter or as an accessory to murder. After a few hours, this demonstration ended peacefully, with the remaining protesters marching to downtown Oakland.

I left and went and hung out with some of my friends that were at the Fruitvale BART protest. About an hour later, I got a call telling me that I needed to cover what was going on in the streets of downtown. When I got there, I saw dozens of police in a huge circle on 14th and Broadway, occupying the intersection in front of City Hall. The Oakland hummer, the tank-like armored vehicle that was shown on the news, had just shown up.

On one block, the militant activists were shouting slogans face to face with police. Behind them, a few bands broken up into racial groups were smashing car windshields and storefronts on 14th, using their feet and their skateboards. Many of the white protesters, who had their faces covered up, were involved in setting cars on fire. I was photographing this historic time, where the people’s patience ran short on city officials, including the mayor, who refused to indict any of the officers involved.

Since this day, I have seen many reports talking about white invaders taking over the rebellion, which is b.s. Yes, they played a part, but so did everyone else. They didn’t take over anything, and the Black, Brown and Asian youth involved were taking leadership from themselves, not the white people.

I’ve also heard some criticisms of the rebels, because of the fact that they tore up innocent people’s property. But the reality is that the peaceful protest outside of Fruitvale BART as well as the meeting of ministers, reverends and local politicians that took place that morning demanding an explanation from the D.A. did not put the mayor, police and city officials on notice nor did those actions have the energy behind them to make the police execution of Oscar Grant a national story.

The rebellion did. As a matter of fact, during the rebellion, Mayor Dellums had a secret meeting with many of these suit-types, then proceeded to walk through the rebellion like Black Jesus, with about 50 primarily Black people in suits following him across Broadway to City Hall, where he held a press conference. Needless to say, the protesters he was talking to demanded that he indict all of the officers involved, but the mayor clouded the issue with words like “respect” and “civility” while the city was burning and being trashed in the backdrop due to his negligence in dealing with a police force that has a notorious history of terrorism in the Black community - as if it had not been police who shot an unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, a week prior

Once the mayor was booed and run off from his press conference, Round 2 of the rebellion began, claiming Broadway and 17th. This was at about 9 p.m. The Oakland police escalated their attacks on protesters by six or seven of them at one time breaking ranks from the other dozens of officers they were originally standing with to tackle and arrest anyone in the vicinity. Another tactic utilized by the OPD was to roll up to an intersection in a hummer with about 10 pigs hanging off of it, and the cops would jump off, brutally arresting everyone in reach.

I was arrested in front of the Ron Dellums Federal Building, after at least two officers broke out running after me for no reason, tackled me to the cement, injuring my left leg, and bouncing my camera off of the ground. I was charged with the trumped up charge of felony arson. Luckily, a few legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild saw the whole episode.

After I was arrested and in the paddy wagon, I heard a dispatcher say that the police needed to confiscate all cameras and camera phones from arrestees, which they did, so that they could use this info as evidence in different cases. To add to their reasoning, they also wanted to cover up and slow down the amount of information that could be posted, broadcast and published that was live from the street rebellion in Oakland, where protesters were being routinely roughed up and beaten by the Oakland police, while the mayor, who was on the scene, refused to act in this case, as well as in the case of Oscar Grant. A week later, I still don’t have my camera, which I use daily to bring in an income to support myself and feed my family.

When I got locked up, the solidarity was amazing. Blacks, Latinos, Asians and whites were in North County being booked on misdemeanor charges like “inciting a riot,” “vandalism” and “failure to disperse.” I was reportedly one of three or four who were charged with a felony directly related to the case. A guy that I got booked into Santa Rita with, a Black Puerto Rican, was charged with “felony vandalism.”

Now the truth of the matter is that most people arrested were cited out, but the felony charges were saved for Blacks and Latinos. Me and the brotha were the only ones on our bus to Santa Rita who had to put on the “Yellows,” which represent violent inmates, while the rest of the people on the bus with us put on “Blues,” which designate a prisoner as general population.

“This guy was walking with a group of friends about a half block past McDonald’s on 14th when police targeted just him and chased him in a circle back around the McDonald’s. He then ran across the street and once he saw there were cops running at him from both sides, he just stopped and stood there. Cops pushed him down and immediately began tasering him as he lay there not resisting. They may have tasered him for close to a full minute. Since when did using tasers become a standard part of handcuffing someone?” writes the photographer. – Photo: David Id, IndyBay
Behind enemy lines, the inmates at Santa Rita put their fists in the air, smiled, cheered and gave us dap when we told them that we were being held captive because we were in the streets during the rebellion. Mexicans were congratulating Blacks, Blacks were congratulating whites, Norteños (a Latino street organization) were congratulating Bloods (a Southern Cali street organization), who are their rivals, for their participation in fighting the police and the city for justice against police terrorism.

"I’m proud of Oakland people in general and youngstas specifically for standing up to the occupying army in our community: the police and the city officials that support the system that lets the police kill us wantonly."
When it is all said and done, I’m proud of Oakland people in general and youngstas specifically for standing up to the occupying army in our community: the police and the city officials that support the system that lets the police kill us wantonly. Like what was being said in the streets of the rebellion, “Oscar Grant is not Sean Bell, and New York is not Oakland.” In other words, we are not just taking this police murder sitting down, like other big cities have in recent years.

The rebellion was just the beginning of a longer political education class in Amerikkkan politics and how it fails to meet the needs of its Black and Brown low income dwellers. I will continue to cover how the cops who were involved in the shooting of Oscar Grant are handled by the city, how the protesters who caught charges in the rebellion are handled, as well as see how the police are handled after they were brutally beating people up, framing people at the rebellion and stealing their cameras and telephones without warrants to build cases against people.

Photos: Brooke Anderson/, Demontre Ward, Dave Id/

This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Bay View newspaper

TBH History: MLK's Birthday

A riot is the language of the unheard.
-Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Revolutionary Pastor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King

TBH Events: Saturday, January 17

BART protest damage exaggerated

Last week's uprising (see: riots) in response to the murder of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer was not as "violent" as previously reported.

The Associated Press reports:
  • Oakland officials say the number of businesses damaged in last week's protest of an officer-involved shooting of an unarmed black man is much lower than initially estimated.

    Officials originally said as many as 300 businesses were damaged when a peaceful demonstration over the New Year's Day death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant turned violent. Some were arrested for various acts of vandalism, including breaking windows and setting fires.

    Now officials say less than 45 businesses suffered damage.

    Gregory Hunter, Oakland's deputy director of Economic Development and Redevelopment, says his office has been in contact with 34 businesses so far. He says only a few more may still come forward.

    Hunter cites confusion in the immediate aftermath of the demonstration and says it was "a bad number to put out there."

Former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, who resigned from the force after refusing to cooperate with investigators, has yet to be charged for murdering Grant. The shooting was captured on cell phone video.

Community confronts BART Board after shooting of Oscar Grant

Nearly two weeks ago, an unarmed man was gunned down execution style by a BART police officer. The officer, Johannes Mehserle did not file a police report and invoked his miranda Rights. The victim, 22 year old father Oscar Grant, was lying face down with his hands behind his back.

After a January 7 uprising in Oakland, followed by a six hour hearing at a BART Board meeting, a community hearing was held January 11 at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) headquarters.

BART was confronted by community members and Black elected officials about their mishandling of the murder of Oscar Grant.

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson upset with BART Board of Directors at January 11, 2009 meeting

Oakland City Councilmember Desley Brooks takes on BART Board of Directors at January 11, 2009 meeting

After Supervisor Keith Carson asked why the community meeting was scheduled on a Sunday, when many Black folks will be in church. Here's Carole Ward-Allen's response:

Carole Ward Allen responds to Keith Carson

Gary Gee responds to question from Laney College student Paula Parker who asked why Johannes Mehserle did not file a police report after he shot and killed Oscar Grant.

Gary Gee responds to question about why BART police officer Johannes Mehserle did not file a police report

This Week with Jasiri X -Tribute to Oscar Grant

For more info on Jasiri X, go to Jasiri X

For more info on Davey D, go to Davey D
R.I.P. Oscar Grant

Drea MoS' Thoughts on BART Shooting and Downtown Riot

Witness to a New Day

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