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.

Jasiri X - "American Workers vs. Multi-Billionaires" - Music Monday

This Week with Jasiri X, after creating an Egyptian solidarity track, "We All Shall be Free" with M-1 from dead prez, Jasiri reports live from Wisconsin where workers are fighting corporate stooges.

The track, "American Workers Vs. Multi-Billionaires" is needed when banks have been bailed out while workers are asked to take pay cuts and increased health and retirement costs.

"Our latest video "American Workers Vs Multi-Billionaires" was filmed on location in Madison, Wisconsin, where thousands of hard working Americans came together in unity to fight back against a Governor bought and paid for by Billionaires to break up Unions and deny workers collective bargaining and a living wage," according to OneHood.

"American Workers Vs Multi-Billionaires" was produced by Cynik Lethal and directed by Paradise Gray.

Black Equality (Still) We Have a Long Way to Go

This op-ed was published in the Daily Californian, the student newspaper at UC Berkeley last February.

By Stephan Moutouth
Special to

When I think of Black History Month, I think of celebrating the accomplishments of the African American people that preceded us in history. We celebrate the progress we have made as a result of the people who fought and died for change. We saw that progress come together on Nov. 4, 2008 with the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America. However, history does not stop with the Obama's election.

Yes, we have made great progress since slavery. Yes, we have come a long way since the segregated public areas. But we still have a lot of work to do and we still have a long way to go. Civil rights are still a struggle for many people of different races, genders, classes and sexual orientation to this day.

Many people like to say that we live in post-racial society, citing the election of President Obama as proof. But we are not in a post-racial society when we have students at UCSD making a mockery of so-called black behavior and culture.

For those of you who are not aware of what happened at UCSD, some members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity on that campus planned a party called the "Compton Cookout" in which the invitation encouraged everyone to act like black people which, in their eyes, became synonymous with being "ghetto," wearing clothing like jerseys, Baby Phat and White Tees XXXL, starting fights and curse, and making loud noises and grunts.

The invitation also stated that they would be serving 40's (40 oz. beer bottles), Kool-Aid, watermelon and chicken as if this was an accurate characterization of the things all black people eat.

They went further into disrespect by stating that "ghetto chicks" have short, nappy hair and because they have a "limited vocabulary" they make up for it by forming new words or "cursing persistently." This mockery was said to be in honor of Black History Month. The behavior attributed to black people in this invitation is not the way all black people behave. And the way someone speaks, looks or eats should not be viewed as anything negative or "ghetto."

The biggest problem is not that the planners are members of a historically white fraternity, but rather the way they have portrayed the behavior of black people while silently implicating people of color everywhere as "the negative other." And the fact that the University of California has not taken any serious action in this matter is mind boggling. Many people-black, white, Hispanic and people of all races, genders, classes and sexual orientation-have expressed outrage towards this incident.

The university must take action in order to make a statement that everyone deserves a space where they can receive a quality education without feeling unsafe or threatened by hate. Something needs to be done to protect students from ALL kinds of hate: racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

I will not stand for this and I refuse to allow this unacceptable incident to pass. Black communities across the state are mobilizing in protest of such acts of clear disrespect, discrimination and disgrace. We will not allow people misrepresent and desecrate black culture and accomplishments in the name of Black History Month.

Some do not believe it is a big deal. My question to them is when is enough enough? I am tired of black people being depicted as ghetto and low class, while despite being shut out of jobs and education, still managing to earn great accomplishments. I am tired of black people being called ignorant and only good for starting fights and making trouble. I am tired of our black culture being degraded. I am tired of black people being disrespected and dehumanized. And I am tired of the underrepresentation of black students on this campus.

We cannot just let this pass. I understand that we cannot let these things breaks us, however that does not mean we have to stay silent about it. By tolerating this type of behavior, we are encouraging it.

One thing that I have learned from Black History Month over the years is that we as a people never quit no matter how hard things get.

Did Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quit after every time he was thrown in jail? Did Nelson Mandela quit when he was arrested for his involvement in the anti-apartheid protests in South Africa and spent 29 years in prison? We need to stand in solidarity condemning the actions by the members of Pi Kappa Alpha at UCSD and demand that further action be taken.

This is not about revenge or retribution. This is about standing up for what we believe in and demanding the respect that every person in this world deserves.

Below is a link to a petition in protest of the UCSD's "Compton Cookout." To show your support, please sign the petition.

Stefan Moutouth is a UC Berkeley Political Science major, and currently serves as a CalSERVE Senator on ASUC, the Associated Students of the University of California, at Berkeley (CAL).

'Dig Deep' features dance, storytelling, film at EastSide Arts

The EastSide Arts Alliance is holding, "Dig Deep" on Saturday, February 26 in Oakland.
Dig Deep is a multidisciplinary evening of dance, storytelling, food and film featuring Amara Tabor Smith & Traci Bartlow.

Amara Tabor-Smith presents excerpts of Our Daily Bread; a dance theater piece celebrating food, it's folklore and how it shapes our cultural identity. Traci Bartlow's work in progress, Rich Fertile Soil, is a multi-media theater piece explores connections to family, farming and the entrepreneurial spirit.

The event takes place at p.m. at the EastSide Cultural Center located at 2277 International Blvd in Oakland. For more info, visit

Black College Expo returns to Oakland

The Black College Expo is coming back to Oakland. On Saturday, February 26, colleges and universities will be at the Oakland Marriott from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m..

Students should bring their transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, seminars for students and parents, and could possibly get scholarships and admissions "On the Spot." There will be a Step Show and Dance Competition from 3-5p.m. Admissions is $8 online, or $10 at the door. Visit for more info.

Oakland Museum celebrates sounds of West Africa

On Friday, February 25, the Oakland Museum of California is hosting, "O ZONE: Soundtrack—The Drum." The six-hour event celebrates the "power and resilience of the drum from West Africa to California!"

Performers include: Lagos Roots Afrobeat Ensemble (featuring members of Fela Kuti & the Afrika 70, Sonny Okosuns); master drummer CK Ladzekpo and famed composer Anthony Brown; hambone player Derique McGee, and more. There will also be a presentation by Duane Deterville on California's history of resistance in jazz and the role of jazz in visual art.

The event takes place from 5-11:45 at the Oakland Museum, located on Oak St between 10th and 11th Street across from Laney College.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan hosts Black History Month event

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan is hosting a Black History Month celebration on Friday, February 25 at the African American Museum and Library of Oakland featuring emcee and pianist Kev Choice.

The purpose of the event is to attract mentors for Oakland youth, and raise funds for her proposed mentoring program. Quan wants 2,000 Oaklanders to mentor the city's youth.

The event takes place from 6-8 pm at AAMLO, located at 14th St and Jefferson, and is being co-sponsored by 100 Black Men of the Bay Area, Black Women Organized for Political Action (BWOPA) and the First Fridays group. A $15 donation is requested to support the initiative.

Laney College hosts Youth Health Fair

Assembly Member Sandre Swanson is teaming up with his alma mater Laney College to host a Youth Health Fair on Saturday, February 26 from 10a.m.-3p.m.. The event is free.

The Youth Health Fair includes free screenings for obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol and asthma, and free vision and dental examinations. There will also be referrals to local health providers, assistance with obtaining health insurance, free hair cuts and even free food.

Those interested in enrolling in state and county benefit programs should bring proof of citizenship and identification (original birth certificate and CA identification/driver's license).

The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Laney College Gym at 900 Fallon St in Oakland.

Malcolm X - "No Sell Out" - Music Monday

The Bay Area celebrates the life of El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X, in many ways. Oakland has the Malcolm X Jazz Arts Festival each May. The Peralta Colleges designated Malcolm's birthday as a holiday, while Laney Colleges students and members of Club Knowledge held the Malcolm X Consciousness Conference from 2003-2005, while the Laney Black Student Union recently held the Malcolm X Summit in 2010.

But each of these focus on Malcolm's birthday of May 19. In honor of the day Malcolm X was martyred, February 21, here's a special Music Monday dedicated to Malcolm.

No Sell Out by Keith LeBlanc was a 12" put out in 1983 with the approval of Malcolm's widow, Betty Shabazz. It features quotes from Malcolm over a funky, electro rap beat.

Supervisor Carson Presents 'Family Journeys,' celebrating African American families, Bay Area Black History

Are Blacks leaving the Bay Area? San Francisco's Black population has dropped to 3.9 percent, according to recent Census data.

The Bay Area is a vital aspect of our collective history, yet many youth are not familiar with the story of their ancestors. Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson is organizing a unique Black History Month event on Saturday, February 19 at the Black Repertory Theater in Berkeley.

Family Journeys: The Migration of African Americans to the Bay Area and Intergenerational Dialogue will feature an informative panel discussion where audience members will learn about the Great Migration and the contributions of African Americans to the Bay Area. They will hear the stories of the men and women who arrived to work in the shipyards and stayed to raise families, worship and create a flourishing and diverse community and Bay Area history.

Panelists include: Professor Dr. Oba T'Shaka, former Chair of the Africana Studies Department at San Francisco State University; Pastor Dr. Martha Taylor, Elmhurst Presbyterian Church; and Betty Reid Soskin, Outreach Specialist at Rosie the Riveter WWII/Home Front National Historical Park. The panel will be moderated by Davey D of Hard Knock Radio.

Following the panel, audience members will have the opportunity to participate in an intergenerational breakout session in which youth and elders will listen to each other and absorb knowledge about family histories and African American culture. Youth participants have been invited from the Berkeley High School African American Studies Department, McClymonds High School Culture Keepers, Beyond Emancipation, Berkeley Youth Alternatives, East Oakland Youth Development Center and Leadership Excellence.

In addition to the discussion, the goal is to make certain that African Americans in Alameda County receive the resources and information they need to research and create their own family tree. Audience members will learn about the Regional Family Resource Center and how to research their own ancestry online, with genealogy software, at libraries and with County resources.

The Family Journeys event will kick off a semester-long project that will introduce high school youth to the study of genealogy and get them excited about documenting their own family histories. With the help of experts from the African American Genealogy Society of Northern California, the youth will learn about research tools and resources, interviewing their relatives, and documenting their findings with web and video tools. Each student will produce their own family tree and tell the story of their ancestors through pictures, documents and video. The results will be presented in a final event in May that will showcase the youth projects front and center.

Family Journeys is being sponsored by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, The Socially Responsible Network, The California NAACP and The Oakland Black Firefighters Association.

Images: Top, Safero; right, Flickr user Omega418.

Jasiri X & M1 of dead prez "We all Shall be Free" - Music Monday

Jasiri X and M1 of dead prez teamed up for timely track in solidarity with the people of North Africa, "We All Shall be Free!"

Rise by Rashondra Angelle - Music Monday

This week's Music Monday is the debut video for Long Beach-based artist, poet, educator and singer Rashondra Angelle. "Rise" has an inspiring, smooth, laid back groove that makes you want to move. Or, better yet, rise!

Check out Rashondra Angelle at Or, you can check out her live performance of Rise at the KRST Center in Los Angeles.

Black clergy, officials strategize to address crime, violence in Oakland, Berkeley, beyond

Black elected officials, religious leaders gather in Oakland with law enforcement officials to strategize on crime reduction.

By Reginald James

Elected officials and clergy gathered in Oakland on Wednesday to strategize and share best-practices on crime prevention. The breakfast meeting, hosted by the Black Elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay and chaired by Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, featured a policy expert and four Bay Area police chiefs.

“We have every one of these programs operating in our community but we need to use all the resources in a systematic and coordinated way."
Junious Williams
Urban Strategies Council
Oakland has many violence prevention programs, including street outreach workers—community members with information about job opportunities, substance abuse services and health resources. There are also vocational training programs, conflict resolution and youth leadership and mentoring programs. Because of a lack of coordinated effort, the overall impact to the community has not been maximized, panelist said.

“We have every one of these programs operating in our community but we need to use all the resources in a systematic and coordinated way,” said Junious Williams of the Urban Strategies Council. He added that there was also a need to bolster efforts to get neighbors and families to know one another. “The lack of social connection in neighborhoods has created a whole culture about snitching that makes it impossible for law enforcement to intervene when violence has occurred.”

Police chiefs agreed, adding that budget cuts have pitted services against each other, making it difficult to decide how to prioritize spending. Despite the need for increased public safety, more community involvement was needed.

“We need to move from locking people up to community engagement,” said Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts. Besides intervention, there’s a need for prevention, he argued. “We have to make a difference in people’s lives before people are in the system,” Batts said.

Other panelists include Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan, San Leandro Police Chief Sandra Spagnoli and BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey.
With reduced budgets and police layoffs, law enforcement said the need for community involvement was greater than ever.
“I tell my people all the time, ‘There is no more help coming. It’s only us’,” said BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey. “But ‘us’ is not just police. When we work together, there [are] so many more of us than them.”
The meeting’s topic struck a deep chord with the group as one of its founding members, Berresford “Berry” Bingham, was found dead Tuesday. Police have not said how Bingham was killed, but are investigating his death as a homicide.

“Many of you knew him as an active member of SEIU, and from founding this organization nine years ago,” Carson said at the beginning of the presentation. “It’s sad that a person who epitomized public service found himself dying in a way he dedicated his life to overturning.”

Despite this most recent tragedy, both panelists and attendees were optimistic about the potential to prevent crime, but said more coordinated, community involvement was needed.

Before the meeting ended, attendees were encouraged to get involved with a number of youth-serving and violence prevention organizations, including The Mentoring Center, Youth Alive, and the Alameda County Public Health Department. Recently, a faith-based group, Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) pledged to rally every Saturday between 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at sites where murders occurred in Oakland the week before.

Visit the Facebook page of the Black elected Officials and Faith Based Leaders of the East Bay for more information about the group.

Disclosure: Reginald James is the New Media Specialist for Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson.

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More