Sunday, December 28, 2008

City of Oakland's War on the African Community

The city of Oakland, like other cities across the U.S. has a fat budget to carry out the war on the African community. Hundreds of young African people die every year through the U.S. imposed drug economy that justifies military occupation in East and West Oakland. The Oakland Police Department tramples on the rights of the African and Mexican communities with the full sanction of the mayor and city council. 

This week the East Bay Express published an article with some outrageous facts about neocolonial mayor here in Oakland, who was the darling of white liberals but who covers for the brutal war on African people that has killed at least seven people this year at the hands of his police department.

In a city that, like many others, faces a serious budget crisis, Dellums works, at most, three short days a week, coming in sometimes for a Monday meeting for a couple hours and occasionally attending evening and weekend events - roughly 25 hours a week while getting paid $184,000 a year.  

Dellums is also chauffeured to and from work in a Lincoln Town car that is leased by the City of Oakland for $70,000 a year, which includes the driver's fee.

This is in a city where the New York Times reported that one in five households live on less than $5,000 a year. Dellums makes as much 37 of these families at the bottom 20% of Oakland's population.  14 families attempt to survive on what Dellums pays out to be driven to city hall three or four times a week. 

This is in the context of a city that has bloated its budget with an overpaid police department. 
According to this report by the UC Berkeley School of Journalism several years ago, Oakland police officers make nearly $138,000 a year in overtime pay. The Oakland Police Department's own web site lists the salary range between $69,162 to $87,172 annual salary range "plus shift differential." 

The Uhuru Movement understands that this city money going to Dellums and going to the police department is being used to carry out an assault on the oppressed African community, the same community that rose up to build independent programs and was known internationally for its stand against police violence, poverty and injustice. This was the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

Under Dellums, African and other oppressed communities continue to be driven out of Oakland through massive foreclosures. Communities in East and West Oakland live under an imposed illegal drug economy that never seems to go away but justifies martial law where cops run roughshod over peoples' rights.  and homicides and police killings that continue with little, if any, public outcry. 

We in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement demand an end to the police killings, a end to the policy of police containment and call for economic development from the city.

Come out to Oakland City Council on the first meeting on the year to speak out:

Tuesday, Jan 6, 6pm, Oakland City Council Meeting, One Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland (near 14th and Broadway), 12th ST. Bart station. Get there at 5:30pm to fill out a speaker card or do it online .

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yes We Can! Change the Conditions of War, Violence and Injustice

Two Events This Week!
Slide Presentation & Discussion

Saturday, December 13th, 6 to 8pm
Louden Nelson 301 Center St, Santa Cruz

Monday, December 15th, 7 to 9pm
Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St., Oakland

Come out to watch a slide presentation on "The Collapse of the Parasitic U.S. Economy"
presented by Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People's Solidarity Committee, providing an analysis of the current economic downturn, its origins and the way forward.

Bakari Olatunji, local organizer with the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement
will give a statement about the growing movement of African people in the U.S. for justice and reparations.

Wall Street criminals stole billions from African and Latino people through the subprime mortgage and support an economy of war, prisons, military and police terror.
Only a movement for real hope and change will make Obama work for the benefit of the people
Find out how you can participate in the work of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and Uhuru Pies.

(510) 625-1106

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Struggle for Justice for Jody Woodfox Continues!

Tonight, Robin Glenn, the aunt of Jody "Mack" Woodfox III, along with members of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement spoke out on the open forum portion of the Oakland City Council meeting.

The demands are clear;
1. Jail killer cop Hector Jimenez for the shooting deaths of Woodfox and 20 year old Andrew Moppin.
2 Reparations to the families of Woodfox and Moppin.
3. Economic development, not police containment of the African and oppressed communities in Oakland.

During the meeting, the city council honored the 38 new police officers added to the force, making it the largest in the department's history.

Robin Glenn just wanted to know what they were going to do about this police officer still being on the force who had killed two people. 

City council member Desley Brooks later told Uhuru Movement organizers that the issue of the police officer's killings could not be on the city council agenda because there was an investigation pending.

How much investigating do they need to do when Jody "Mack" Woodfox was shot six times in the back according to their own records?  How can a police department rife with rights violations and police brutality lawsuits filed against it, investigate itself with any objectivity? 

This is a war mongering city council that profits from the U.S. counterinsurgency war carried out by the Oakland Police Department against the African community, just like the U.S. counterinsurgency being carried out by the U.S. military in Iraq.  The city of Oakland, whose budget is in crisis, can not continue to pay a murderer his salary (Officer Hector Jimenez is on paid administrative leave).  Just as we should not support the bailout of the Wall Street crooks, we should not support the continued payment of the criminal city council and mayor for their rule without regard for law and their complete disdain for the African and oppressed communities. 

More police will not solve the problem of crime in Oakland, but economic development will. 
Stand on the side of economic justice and reparations to the African community!
Come out to the Sunday meeting of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement on Sunday, November 23rd at the Uhuru House at 4pm, 7911 MacArthur Blvd in East Oakland. 
For more information, call 510-569-9620.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Uhuru Pies November & December 2008

Order Your Uhuru Pies at

Uhuru Holiday Pies Funds Programs from West Oakland to West Africa

Since 1981, Uhuru Foods has coordinated a fundraiser selling thousands of pies throughout the Bay Area during the November and December holidays.

States Maureen Wagener, coordinator of the local fundraiser, "Conditions in Oakland speak to the need for programs that benefit the African community, which already experienced an economic crisis and is most impacted by the current economic downtrend.. Bringing an Uhuru Pie to your holiday dinner is a easy way to start talking about serious issues."

Continues Wagener, "The Alameda County Department of Health published a report this year citing the economic and environmental apartheid that exists in our city. Born in West Oakland, a black child can expect to die 15 years earlier than a white person born in the Oakland hills due to environmental and economic stresses and lack of access to healthy food and clean air."

The Uhuru Holiday Pies 2008 fundraising campaign will take this message out to thousands of people this holiday season with the call to support the programs of the Uhuru Movement to unite African people across borders to transform these conditions of poverty and oppression.

Whether it’s selling pies in the office, in front of the local Safeway or baking in the kitchen, anyone can participate in the Uhuru Holiday Pies fundraiser. Volunteer coordinator Bill Canada speaks to the wide range of people and groups involved in the campaign. “We are excited to be working with groups like Building with Books, an organization that empowers high school students to get involved in changing the world. Other groups on board this season are Alpha Phi Omega of Cal State East Bay as well as Key Clubs and Excel Clubs from Oakland high schools. We have families and individuals, young and old, who get involved every year. People love to sell our pies because they are so delicious.”

Uhuru Pies are handcrafted and are made from high quality ingredients. This year’s flavors include the signature sweet potato pie, using the authentic spice recipe, pecan, apple, pumpkin and vegan blackberry and pumpkin.

Uhuru Foods stands for solidarity with red, black and green -- sustainability and self-determination for African people everywhere. For more information about the Uhuru Movement or to order, sell or help bake Uhuru Pies this season, visit or call (510) 625-1106.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Speak Out at Oakland City Council Tues, Oct 21st!

Speak on Open Forum Before Oakland City Council on Tuesday, October 21st, 2008; Arrive at 5:45pm and Speak at 6pm
WHERE: Oakland City Council, Frank Ogawa Plaza, 3rd Floor on 14th St near Broadway
RSVP: Respond to this email and/or call Wendy at 510-295-7834 to coordinate submitting a speaker's card (we need to submit them at the same time in order to be able to speak in succession as a group).

Seven to a dozen Oakland police officers were exposed recently as lying to obtain search warrants to carry out police raids of homes in East Oakland and to "bust down the doors of suspected small time drug dealers," according to the Oakland Tribune.

We are calling for all the cases to be dismissed and for the officers in question to be fired. This is one exposed instance of the egregious attacks being carried out on the African community, criminalized by a system that itself has no regard for law, evidence or real justice.

This year alone, the Oakland Police Department has killed Casper Banjo, Jose Luis Buenrostro, Jody Woodfox and others. In recent years, the "Oakland Riders" made international news as four police officers who lied, fabricated evidence and beat and harassed the African community of West Oakland. The police brutality, containment and repression of the African community. We demand an end to the war and militarized repression and call for economic development and social justice for the African and oppressed communities in Oakland!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Events with Diop Olugbala

As heard on NPR and seen on CNN, Diop Olugbala, the International Organizer for the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, who challenged Barack Obama in front of the eyes of the world, will be in Oakland next week for two events:

Mon, Sept 8th, 7pm, Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St, Oakland
Thurs, Sept 11th, 7pm, Uhuru House, 7911 MacArthur Blvd, Oakland

Come out, bring your friends and family, find out about the growing movement of African people to transform their conditions of poverty, prisons, police violence to one of justice and self-determination.
Call (510) 569-9620 or email to find out more about the events building up to the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement convention on September 27th and 28th in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Friday, August 22, 2008

Oakland Police Kill Another Man

Early this morning, Oakland police officers killed a man who they say was attempting to "speed away from arrest with an officer in his car" downtown at 14th and Jefferson. The officer who killed the driver was placed "on routine paid administrative leave pending investigations by Oakland police and the Alameda County district attorney's office." The police had approached the car, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, because "the officer smelled marijuana."

The Uhuru Movement has always challenged the police violence against the African community throughout this country that is carried out under the guise of a "war on drugs" and a "war on crime." Although we don't have the details about the background of the man who was killed. It is highly likely that he was African. How many white people in Oakland are arrested for smelling like marijuana?

It is time now for us to have the courage in the white community to stop supporting and silently participating in this violence and stand up for economic development and justice for the African community!

Think of Casper Banjo, a 70 year old African man, famous in the Black Arts Movement, who was shot dead by OPD in front of his home while having an epileptic seizure in March of this year. Remember young Jose Luis Buenrostro Gonzalez who didn't have a chance, killed while only 16 years old near his home in East Oakland while on spring break from school. He had dreams of being an airplane mechanic. What about Jody Woodfox, whose two children will grow up without their father because Oakland Officer Hector Jimenez made the decision to shoot Woodfox in the back while he was running away? And what about Andrew Moppin, also killed while running AWAY from the same police officer who killed Woodfox and was shot dead on New Year's Eve of last year. He was a teenager.

This type of police violence is rampant against the African community through the U.S. Think of Sean Bell murdered on the night before his wedding by New York City cops. Just google "police shootings,"wrongful death" +police, "taser deaths," just to see how many African people have been brutalized or killed by the police.

The Uhuru Movement has been waging a campaign called Justice for Javon. Javon Dawson killed on June 7th of this year while attending a graduation party. Dawson was killed by St. Petersburg police officer Tom Nemeth, having just come from committing crimes against the Iraqi people through his military service in Iraq. On last week, August 11th, a Grand Jury under the State Attorney Bernie McCabe, acquitted Nemeth of all charges. The Uhuru Movement upped the ante and took the case to Florida Governor Charlie Crist in the form of a demonstration in Tallahassee. As a result of the pressure from the campaign, which includes family and friends of Javon Dawson, the governor has called for a review of the State Attorney's findings. This is the kind of campaign and action we need here in Oakland. Join the Uhuru Movement!
Come to our Uhuru Solidarity Movement rally to build the events with Diop Olugbala coming up on September 8th and 11th, "What About the Black Community, Obama?" this Monday, August 25th from 6 to 7:30pm at the Temescal Library Community Room at 5205 Telegraph Ave in Oakland. For more info, call Wendy at 510-295-7834

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Justice for Jody Woodfox!

I just posted a YouTube video with footage from the demonstration held a couple weeks ago to protest the killing of Jody Woodfox on July 25th by Oakland police officer Hector Jimenez. This police officer also killed Andrew Mopin, a 20 year old Native American man.

Both young men were pulled over in a traffic stop. Both men were running away from the police. In both instances, Jimenez thought the victim had a gun.

The conditions in the African and oppressed communities of Oakland are deplorable and the press and media just wants to cover the "takeover" robberies and the problem of "crime" in Oakland. Well the problem of crime is the problem of poverty!
The police run roughshod over the African and Mexican communities of East and West Oakland. Meanwhile, Rockridge, Temescal, Montclair, Grand Lake, other neighborhoods pretend that we can simply enjoy our lifestyles with the poverty that exists right night to us and we ask for more police to protect us from the crisis!

Come to a meeting on Monday to stand for economic development, not police containment of the African and Mexican communities in Oakland. We are building for two events with International Organizer, Diop Olugbala, who raised the question to Barack Obama on August 1st, "What About the Black Community?"

Our meeting on Monday, August 25th will be at 6pm at the Temescal Community Room at 5205 Telegraph Ave, Oakland.
Let's build solidarity with the African community struggle for justice!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Uhuru Solidarity Movement Meeting on Mon, Aug 25th

"What about the Black community, Obama?"
Uhuru Solidarity Movement Event
Monday, August 25th, 6 to 7:30pm
Temescal Community Room, 5205 Telegraph Ave, Oakland
You saw the Uhuru Movement challenge Obama with "What about the Black community?" - the question heard around the world. Until the real truth about race in America is dealt with, there can be no peace and unity. Debunking the myth of "post-racial America".
Presenting video from the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, facts about Obama's backers and policy positions and what it will take to make social change.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"What about the black community, Obama?" Uhuru Movement challenges Obama on unwillingness to speak to African community interests


ST. PETERSBURG, FL — On Friday, August 1, the Barack Obama presidential campaign hit a serious bump in a St. Petersburg, Florida town hall meeting as members of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) challenged Obama on his unwillingness to speak to the interests of the African community.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Oakland's Racial Divide: Build the Uhuru Solidarity Movement!

Come to the Uhuru Solidarity Rally to Build Our Organization!
Oakland's Racial Divide
Presentation & Discussion
Monday, July 28th, 7 to 9pm
Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St., Oakland

In the midst of the wealth and affluence of the Bay Area, African and other oppressed communities live under deep poverty and oppression.

* One out of five households in Oakland live on less than $15,000 a year
* An African child in West Oakland can expect to die 15 years earlier than a white child in the Oakland hills
* In Alameda County, Africans are sentenced to prison for drug offenses at a rate 34 times higher than that of whites even though they use drugs at about the same rate
* In 1990 African people made up nearly 50% of the population of Oakland and now make up around 25% due to gentrification

Join the work of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and Uhuru Foods supporting the African community led Uhuru Movement campaigns to transform conditions of poverty, massive imprisonment, police violence and gentrification and to unite African people in a struggle for the unification of their land and resources and to build a truly sustainable future. The Uhuru Movement is calling for all allies to join in solidarity!
With Bakari Olatunji of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, Wendy Snyder of the African People's Solidarity Committee

Contact the Uhuru Solidarity Movement at or call Wendy at 510-295-7834

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Uhuru Furniture Calls for Economic Development

This incident happened two months ago, but I wanted to post it here. It is a very relevant analysis of the question of crime in Oakland:

Grand Avenue merchant latest target in robberies of Oakland businesses.
Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles calls for economic development instead of increased police as response.

On the afternoon of Sunday, May 4th, 2008, customers and staff at Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles on Grand Avenue experienced what several businesses in the area have experienced, a daytime robbery during open hours.

We recognize that this robbery, and the increased number of such robberies in Oakland, is taking place within the context of a sharp escalation in the already desperate poverty of Oakland’s black community.

Although we deplore the robbery, we know that more police is not a solution. We believe that true security will come from an economic development strategy in which the African community owns and controls the economy, property, profits and development in their own community.

Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles is a nonprofit economic development project of the African People’s Education and Defense Fund (APEDF). APEDF is an African-led organization whose mission is to develop and institutionalize programs to defend the human and civil rights of the African community, and to address the grave disparities in education, health, healthcare, and economic development faced by the African community. These disparities are at the core of the robberies.
- The New York Times reported in March that one in five Oakland households lives on less than $15,000 a year. Those are poverty wages! African people with multiple college degrees cannot find employment in Oakland.
- Many news sources are reporting that the housing collapse has devastated African home ownership due to racist, predatory lenders who targeted black people of all income levels.
- The Oakland Tribune reported in March that black people consistently receive poorer hospital care than whites. The average life expectancy in the Oakland Hills is seventeen years longer than in the majority black flatlands. Black infants are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than white infants in the same city.
- The public schools are failing African people. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that 52% of Oakland students drop out. 68% of the 50,400 public school students are poor enough to qualify for the federal lunch program.
- Disproportionate and discriminatory sentencing is a historic and well-documented American practice. Although African people make up only 6% of California’s population, they make up 29% of the state’s prison population.
- Where is the Community Development Block Grant money in Oakland? One city official reported that 75% of it is used to pay for department infrastructure. Much of the remaining 25% is snatched up by non-Oakland residents or used in ways that don’t benefit or improve the quality of life for Oakland’s poorest residents.

Police, politicians, business leaders and average citizens all know and acknowledge that poverty and crime go together. Some, like Representative Kernighan and Mayor Dellums even acknowledge privately and in town hall meetings that slavery, Jim Crow and colonialism are at the root of the immiseration of the black community. Still, they proclaim that there is no money for economic development for the black community. But they had no trouble finding 7.7 million dollars for more police in March of this year!

Uhuru Furniture also opposes vigilantism as a solution. Last year, the thuggish Guardian Angels were hired to patrol Grand Avenue resulting in the harassment of innocent African people. The vigilante mentality has even emboldened one man to run for Oakland city government in 2008 based on a repugnant belief that his having shot an unarmed black teenager represents a stand against crime.

These policies cannot work! We can see other places in the world in which whole communities are walled off – both physically and militarily – creating poverty and depravation. This can never lead to a decrease in crime, but rather to an escalation of tension, explosion and catastrophe from which none of us are immune.

The African People’s Education and Defense Fund is committed to addressing the conditions of poverty faced by the African community. The robbery at Uhuru Furniture was an attack on an institution for economic development for the African community. By robbing Uhuru Furniture, this individual was attacking the black community itself.

We at Uhuru Furniture stand with all those who recognize that genuine economic development for Oakland’s impoverished African community is the true road forward. Those of us who want to see genuine peace must demand from our city government an immediate transformation in the living conditions for the impoverished people of our city – social justice and economic development.

The solution lies with us on the grass roots level. We will either move forward together as one city or continue down the present road of violence and instability. Nobody is going to come and save us – not the police, the governor, Congress nor a current or future president.

In the aftermath of this armed takeover assault on Uhuru Furniture & Collectibles, APEDF is calling for:
1. real, transformative economic development in which the African community owns and controls the economy, property, profits and development in their community
2. a massive infusion of capital into the impoverished African community
3. African owned businesses, not imported corporations
4. grants and loans for African businesses to start or expand
5. jobs and contracts for any development in Oakland be given to African residents, contractors and businesses
6. a comprehensive, city-sponsored promotions campaign providing Oakland’s residents and businesses with the information and means to access economic development money
7. creation of job opportunities and businesses for everyone that will raise the pay scale for all workers by making black labor more competitive

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Take a Stand Against White on Black Violence in Oakland

Another weekend has passed and two more young African men have been shot and killed in Oakland. Out of the 127 people murdered last year and the 71 killed this year, the majority are young African and Mexican men. 27 year old Deshon Barker and 26 year old Jarvis Hodges were killed on Saturday evening, July 5th, while sitting in the 900 block of Adeline St. in West Oakland.  The media use these terrible violent deaths to further criminalize the African community, but we must have the courage to look at the reality behind the headlines and to reject the fact that this reality is maintained for our benefit.

The African community of East and West Oakland lives under deep poverty and oppression in the midst of the greatest wealth and affluence in the country and perhaps the world. It is hard to ignore that this reality has its legacy in the slavery and genocide that built the U.S. Conditions are so desperate that there is no future for young Africans growing up in West or East Oakland to look forward to except early death, prison or the pennyante drug trade. Here are some of the facts:
  • One out of five households in Oakland live on less than $15,000 a year
  • An African child in West Oakland can expect to die 15 years earlier than a white child in the Oakland hills
  • In Alameda County, Africans are sentenced to prison for drug offenses at a rate 34 times higher than that of whites even though they use drugs at about the same rate
  • In 1990 African people made up nearly 50% of the population of Oakland and now make up around 25% due to gentrification
Given these conditions, we should be able to see clearly that the notions of integration and diversity are myths and that this is a community under occupation. This is a colonial occupation much like the U.S. military occupation of Iraq. 

In a country whose wealth is built on the enslavement of African people and the genocide of the Indigenous people, African workers were brought to Oakland from the south in 1940s as reserve labor to build ships for Kaiser. This short-lived economy contributed to African community home ownership and the ability to build their own economic centers in West Oakland, along with the Filmore and Hunter's POint in San Francisco. Through the government's attack on the black movement of the 60s and decades of "urban renewal" and
gentrification jobs, homes and African community economic and cultural centers have long disappeared. 

The African community has been criminalized by the drug economy and has become fuel for a gargantuan prison economy.  As was proven by journalist Gary Webb more than a decade ago, drugs were first brought by the U.S. government into the African communities on the West Coast. Entire communities have been devastated by drugs and yet the African community has clearly not benefitted from the drug economy. Like the Iraqi people, the African community is being forced out of Oakland and other cities across the United States to make way for white development and investment.

We in the Uhuru Solidarity Movement support the movement of African people to challenge the deadly drug and prison economy and to struggle for a future where African people will benefit from their the land and resources of Africa, which now feeds the white and imperialist world. We invite other white people and all people who want to align themselves with justice to call on the city of Oakland to put $7.7 million into economic development, not police containment and military style raids of the African community. 

Join us for an Uhuru Solidarity Movement study and discussion on Monday, July 14th at 7pm at Espresso Roma at the corner of Ashby and College Avenues at the Oakland-Berkeley border. We will be holding an Uhuru Solidarity Movement rally on Monday, July 28th at 7pm at the Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St. in Oakland.  Email for more info. Participate in the work of Uhuru Foods this summer -

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Creative Loafing Article Interviewing Omali Yeshitela

Who? Omali Yeshitela, founder of the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement

Sphere of influence: Since Yeshitela (formerly Joe Waller) tore down a racist mural in St. Petersburg's City Hall, he has earned the respect (and ire) of St. Petersburg residents both black and white. Though once praised by high-profile politicians, he has distanced himself from City Hall and prominent African-American organizations in recent years. He continues to remain active in promoting African self-determination in other U.S. cities and Africa.

How he makes a difference: Some historians credit Yeshitela for ushering in the civil-rights movement in St. Pete, and even some white politicians admit he has empowered the city's black community. Through the Uhuru Movement, he has helped create retail stores, a gym, sports leagues and a radio station. Whenever there is an issue involving African-Americans and police, he becomes involved; a day after the shooting death of Javon Dawson by a St. Petersburg police officer earlier this month, he called a press conference condemning the shooting and telling witnesses that they could talk to a lawyer representing Dawson's mother.

CL: Describe to me what led you to tearing down the City Hall painting in the 1960s. Was it a turning point for you?

Yeshitela: I don't think tearing the mural down was a turning point for me. I had already come to a turning point. That's why I was down there. I was with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). I had made a clear choice that was the organization I would be associated with because of its black power demand, and because of its boldness and willingness to take on struggle where traditional civil rights organizations seemed unable to go.
We had been involved in letter-writing campaigns to the mayor about that mural, because the mural was horrible. It was an 8-by-4-foot display in the center of city power. It represented to us a relationship. It was like locking this relationship that they perceived as one between the African and white community that should exist forever. It was a caricature of black people. It wasn't a caricature of all the people; it was black people that were caricatured on there.

So after a series of letter writings and a number of marches down to City Hall, on one occasion, I walked into City Hall with five other Africans and tore it from the wall. I'll never forget this nice woman who was standing upstairs and she says, "You black bastard!" And we walked out with the painting.

This was where the whole concept of black power was still exciting to a lot of people around the world and police were unaccustomed to dealing with forces like us. So we started marching down the street carrying the mural. We made it to Central [Avenue] -- I don't remember how far on Central -- and this cop grabbed me. I'll never forget he was trembling. He grabbed me, and he was literally trembling. Others pulled me away and I ended up running down the street, dragging the mural behind me. I got to the back parking lot of Webb City and was stopped and arrested and went to jail.

It was an uproar. It was media from everywhere. They held some of the longest court hearings that went on late into the night. They were historic in terms of their duration into the night. I was charged with I think 11 offenses: disturbing the peace, inciting a riot, resisting arrest with violence, resisting arrest without violence, destruction of public property, just a whole array of charges were thrown at me. I think I was tried for disturbing the peace and probably destruction of public property and sentenced on one of those to six months. I spent a lot of time in the city jail first. They used to keep me isolated, because if I was with other black prisoners it created a problem for them. So they put me in this basement that they had in the city jail and on occasion they would bring little white students through on tours through the jail. And they would bring them down to the hole to see me.

It was an alarming thing for the city officials, and for the state as well, because what happened is it mobilized citizens throughout the state of Florida. Because it was kind of direct action that was talked about a lot philosophically at that time in the civil rights movement.
What was the turning point for you?

I used to -- before there were sit ins and things like this, before Rosa Parks, when there was the little yellow line in the back of the city buses here -- I refused to go behind the yellow line when my mother wasn't with me, to her dismay. I'm the guy who would go to Webb City and would refuse to drink out of the colored water fountains and would go on the fourth floor, where they had the snack bar. Africans on the first floor could eat as long as we were standing, but we could not eat at the snack bar where they sit down. I would go and do it and sit down and they'd kick me out and what have you. Until my high school English teacher learned what I was doing and sort of intervened to stop me from doing that.

It seems like there's been a history of sorts. In fact, one of the reasons I left high school -- I quit high school in my senior year because I was in one of these special classes that's supposedly for bright people and I had this professor who was well recognized as being a top notch professor. He made the statement in class one day that Africans would have to earn the respect of white people and I had a serious disagreement. ... We had struggles around that.

My text for learning how to read was the St. Petersburg Times, and I could read while I was still in diapers. And the stories I grew up reading were of lynchings and other terrible things happening to African people. So it was something that I was always conscious of and to the dismay of my parents, never comfortable with, and always struggled against.

Since Mayor Baker began his Midtown initiatives, have things gotten better in Midtown?
Worse. In the sense that what Baker has done is he co-opted much of the apparent leadership in this community. I don't have to mention Darryl Rouson, but one figure that was of great significance to this community was Goliath Davis. Because he did a tremendous job of containing that terrible police organization temporarily and because of that created a lot of hostility in certain sectors of the white community and certain ideological components of that community. This was an aspect of the city that Baker needed to win as well. To pacify that community without alienating the African community, he kicked Goliath Davis upstairs. I say "kicked upstairs" but I think it was like an elevator because Goliath didn't seem to mind it too much, this concept of deputy mayor. Without a budget. We've seen this kind of thing happen and the conditions of the community continue to deteriorate.

The Hope Six thing that got rid of Jordan Park proper in the name of helping the people. Now only half the people that were there are now there. We can't even trace the others because it wasn't required for them to know what happened to other people. In this community, the white guys in pick-up trucks and clipboards coming through, this massive gentrification where so many people have lost their homes and been kicked out, all in the name of helping us.
And in helping us, the Sweetbay along with other things they have done to help us, raised the value of the property, hence the property taxes, makes it difficult for these old women who have been left now to pay the property taxes and some of that has resulted in loss of their homes. So it hasn't been better at all, it's been worse.

And now you have more return to the policing. What the guy whose there now -- Chuck Harmon -- he brought the [Pinellas County] Sheriff's Department back in. And the sheriff's department has a reputation for rabid anti-African sentiments in that department. They did terrible things in this community following the rebellions that happened here. The sheriff's department is notorious in their brutality. Where as Goliath had told them to keep out, Harmon brought them back in. So after eight years -- they had gone eight years without a single African being killed by a cop -- the first was killed by the sheriff's department, two were killed by the sheriff's department, and now this thing with Javon by the [St. Petersburg] Police Department.

The city reminds me of a heart patient. It has a heart attack, and promises the doctor "I'm going to change my ways, and I'm going to live differently now," and then forget and go back to the same things that started it. That's what this city reminds me of. So it's worse than it was before.
What's the answer to economic development in Midtown?

It is something the city cannot do, that is one thing I'm aware of. They cannot participate in it; it would go against interests of some very entrenched economic forces here. The significance of the African population here is that it is a tremendously important kind of labor reserve for us. And it's cheap labor. And at the point that this community can fend for itself then its labor becomes competitive in terms of what has to be paid for it, and it won't ever happen.

African people are going to have make revolution to be free. We are going to have to be a self-determining people, a people that do not have to rely on the goodwill of anybody else. There are no people on the planet Earth that has ever been able to change their circumstances because of somebody else's good will and that's never happened for us. The thing is that the more one learns about one's condition as an African, the more it becomes clear that the conditions I'm suffering from in St. Petersburg are not separate and distinct from the suffering in Haiti or in Jamaica or in Nigeria or in Sudan. The same historical process is responsible for it and part of it is an attack of Africa, dispersal of African people, a separation of African people from each other and from our resources. That is the resolution there is no other resolution.
Something that may have seemed far fetched just a little while ago, is becoming clearer every day to the point that even pundits tied to the ruling class are raising the question of whether the empire is in decline now. And, of course it is. It is in decline as part of a process that sees other peoples around the world whose resources were necessary for the wealth of the empire. And as people rise up everywhere, the empire is in a state of decline and African people will have to rise up and take back our resources before we'll be free. I don't expect, in the final analysis, any meaningful solutions within the context of the existing system. I'm capable of struggling for certain kinds of reform that contribute to positioning the population and enhancing its capacity to resist and transform our condition. But America can't solve our problems.

But on the same token, the Uhuru Movement seems to have lost influence over the last few years.
You talk about influence. I just read an editorial in the St. Petersburg Times that says nobody will talk to the police. Nobody in the African community. There were 200 and some odd people, they said, where they murdered Javon Dawson, but nobody would talk to the police because of Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru movement. That's what they said. When this crisis happens you will see the person who heads up the Justice For Javon Dawson committee is his stepmother and his cousins and other folks who are members of this organization. We're
 not as influential as we'd like to be, and we don't have the numbers that we'd like to have.

Have you heard from any witnesses on what exactly happened?
We've heard people. We've also watched Channel 9. I want to mention this because they talk about Omali Yeshitela won't turn over witnesses, they should subpoena Channel 9. Because I saw people on Channel 9, young people, who are saying the boy didn't have a gun. Yes, I have heard people say that they were there and didn't have a gun. I heard one person go further stating that her daughter who was with him earlier on had actually patted him down and there was no weapon in his pockets.

And this whole thing about how we won't let anybody testify is just nonsense, and it's a way to change the subject, because the real deal is that you have a 17-year-old youngster with no criminal history. And the thing that's really interesting about this is every time the police kills somebody in this community, the next day the first thing you see in the newspaper is a mugshot, and the implication there is that the killing was justified because this person has a record. Now, the media that has so much respect for criminal records, in this instance when they can't find a mugshot, they don't say "There's something wrong here. This kid doesn't have a record. That he's never committed a crime in his life, but he decides on this night the first criminal act he's going to engage in is point a gun at the police, and after pointing the gun at police, they find a way to shoot him, though he's shooting at them, twice in the back." Not only is that strange, but the fact is that we've got a 24-year-old kid that's just back from Iraq, from another occupation, who kills him. That's not even a story. The story is the mysterious witnesses that Omali Yeshitela and the Uhuru movement won't produce. What about those witnesses that Channel 9 won't produce?

So they create this thing that somehow we're responsible for anybody talking to the police. They have a problem, and the problem is it doesn't make sense the boy was shot in the back, not in the side, in the back.

There's a lawyer now that's working with the family. Her name is Maura Kiefer, and she is trying to interview witnesses that people give to her so that she can have an approach of taking these witnesses, so these youngsters won't have to face the same cops they saw gun down this boy, their parents can be there and this is a condition that she is trying to establish with the state's attorney when she goes to them. We have nothing to do with keeping witnesses from testifying at all.

Would this be as big of an issue with you if this was an African-American cop that shot Javon Dawson?
It'd be more of an issue. His young brother had gone to try and help his brother, and I'm told it was a black cop that told him to "get back or you can get shot too" or something to that effect.
The state is the state, and you know people who work for that institution are just as capable. The police is a military organization. Its job is an occupation force in this community. Just like you got Iraqis who work with the U.S. to occupy their country, there are black people who do it here. Just like you had Indian scouts that helped the calvary to track down the indigenous peoples here and wiped them out, we got Africans that will do the same thing.
It would be just as serious for us, and in some ways it would be more serious if it were an African that did it.

But it is worth noting that in every instance these shootings have happened up until now, they've been white cops that have done it.
I think you had a cop that was afraid. He might have even flashed back to Iraq. You know, that's their job to subdue communities. You're in Fallujah again. You've got all these people who know nothing about, in a community about which you know nothing. Listen, when police were called they were called because of too many youngsters in the street and noise from a party. They weren't called to it because of a robbery, mugging, a rape or a killing; they were called because of too much noise at a party. You could send a social worker to take care of that. But they sent the Save Summer guys out there, and one of them knew what occupation really meant and killed that boy.

How come you and the Uhuru don't come out more strongly against black-on-black crime?
We do. We just don't call it black-on-black crime. Most of what you call black-on-black crime is white-on-black crime. It's a fa├žade.

I mean, it's a thing we're concerned about. On a regular basis we challenge the community about violence, but we have a relationship with the people. We're not the police working against the people and preaching at the people; we work with the people to try to change from within. The solution is not the police and not the church. The solution is organizing people to change their circumstances, that's a long and difficult thing. But believe me when I tell you that we challenge this community in a serious way.

If you had the opportunity to move with me in this community, you would see the relationship that we have with young people and the respect that is there with young people. And the fact is if people thought we were in the vicinity where something illegal or violence against somebody else was about to happen, they would cease and desist. We have that kind of respect, because we struggle against it. But we don't call the newspaper. We don't work like that.

It's like Barack Obama suddenly discovering that fathers need to take care of their children. That was his Sister Souljah moment. That was his way to speak to the so-called white social conservatives. I ain't speaking to white social conservatives, I ain't speaking at city hall or the police department. My discussion happens in this community. ... Our attempt is not to have that discussion with white folk, it's to have that discussion inside our community.

We don't want violence in this community; in fact, we have campaigns and programs that say if a brother kills another, you are the police. You are working with the police, you are doing the very same thing they are doing. We have produced DVDs that are not only distributed here against that kind of stuff but all around the world, but we place the violence in the proper context. ... It's pandering. It's pandering to a racist, colonialist assumptions about this community. It's pandering, and it's contributing to this whole notion of the need to have this external force to control our community. it liquidates the contradictions inside this community caused by policies outside this community. so this whole discussion as it would happen on black-on-black crime places the onus of responsibility for the conditions of existence on its victims. So we won't participate with that. We won't participate with that.

Do you agree with the "no snitching" code?
I think it exists in the police department. In fact, they've done movies on it. they call it the code of silence. I haven't heard any report yet of cops saying what happened that night, just this one cop.

When you talk about a code of snitching ... I believe that what this country does is what they cursed the Nazis for doing. They would have an informant on every corner just snitching on people inside their community for the benefit of the state. If it's bad when Nazis do it, it's bad when African people do it. You can't have it both ways. You can't say it's bad to turn a community into a community of informers and snitches when it comes to white people, and it's good when it comes to African people, that somehow we're supposed to be the informers.
The bigger question is this: Why is it that the police department has so alienated the African community that you have to be worried about a code of snitching? That ain't our problem. That's something wrong in the relationship that exists between the police department and the African community. The question really needs to be asked -- why is it that there is such an animosity existing between the community and the police department that people seem to have a problem talking to them?

Do you worry that sometimes talk of socialism and revolution may turn off younger people from your ideas?
It doesn't worry me. the majority of people we come into contact with don't relate to us because of communism, socialism or capitalism. They relate to us because of the pain this system imposes on them. I think most people can relate to goodness, to try and make things better. So most people who we hear that discussion from, like some middle class folk. Ordinary people aren't debating that question. They're trying to feed their children and get them off to school safety and things like that. But I will tell you this -- what we are discovering is daily young people, I n particular, are demanding revolution. They don't want some milquetoast reformist agenda. Young people are demanding revolutionary transformation. Again, it's not just here. All over other world that's our experience. Because we've been reformed out. For example, how many civil rights bills do you think will ever happen. It's not going to happen anymore and what has been the consequence of the last one, except for the middle class? Nothing.

For an organization for African-American self-determination, there seems to be a lot of white people in your group. What's up with that?
Let me tell you this. [Laughs.] It's an interesting question. We're called black nationalists by some folk, and then they see the white people they say, "Well, there's so many white people that something's wrong with them." I have integrationists, who in an attempt to slander me, spread the word that I'm married to a white woman. And I have the same integrationists who say they hate me because I'm for black power and this and that.
When the Nicaraguan revolution took off, before they got to Managua in July of '79, I didn't even know a Nicaraguan. But I went to find some, so we could put all of our organization resources at their disposal, because we could support the struggle of the Nicaraguan people. We did not require that they abdicate their struggle for self-determination. We did not require that they develop a taste for Ray Charles or anything like that. We were in solidarity with that movement.
We have a movement that anybody who wants to express solidarity with can join, but it is a movement for self-determination. And white people can actually join a movement that supports self-determination for black people. There's really no mystery to it.
The problem that we have is this whole racially-based politic that makes the assumption, somehow, that if there are white people or black people who are working in the same process that somehow it must be some kind of integrationist process, or it must be some process that white people are leading. That's usually how the thought process works.
There are white people that have tremendous solidarity. There have been people who have been in the movement 30 years or more. White people in solidarity with the struggle of African people.
Beyond that, most of the resources of the peoples of the world are located in a white community somewhere and genuine solidarity by white folk is required for us to repossess some of our resources. Some of these are material resources and some are human resources. It's a legitimate thing for white people to work in solidarity with the struggle of African people.

How do you feel about Barack Obama?
He's a wonderful representative for white power. I think that his role in part is at a time of tremendous crisis for this whole system that Barack Obama is a neo-colonial ploy. He is a white power in black face. At a time when Africans would be looking for alternatives to the system, he's dragging Africans into the safe embrace of the Democratic Party and the system. He cleans up the image of America throughout the whole world. He becomes an apologist for white nationalism, I'm not just talking about America but white nationalism proper. He condemns anything that comes from this community. he talks about a post-racial America. He is an apologist for the relationship black people have to this country. It's an interesting situation because a lot of black people follow Obama because they think he stands for black power and a alit of white people follow him because they know he doesn't. I think it's a really interesting situation.

How did you come to meet [hip-hop group] Dead Prez?
They were in our organization. They were in Tallahassee. They joined our organization. One of them used to run our New York office.

Do you know if they are going to tour here any time soon?
I don't [laughs].

Friday, June 6, 2008

Come have Breakfast with us Saturday, June 21st!

Saturday, June 21st, 9am to 2pm
Uhuru Foods Special Summer Solstice Booth
We are back on Saturday, June 21st at the Grand Lake Farmers Market kicking off the summer season!

Come out to have breakfast or volunteer with us!  Experience our delicious omelette and scrambled egg platters served with home fried potatoes and vegan cornbread and our always popular breakfast wraps. 

We will also have our Planet Uhuru t-shirts, bags & DVDS for sale and info about the current struggle in Sierra Leone, the campaign for Justice for Javon Dawson and the local campaign in Oakland for economic development, not police containment of the African community.

All proceeds benefit the Uhuru House Development Fund and the campaign for red, black and green, sustainability for Africa and African People! Volunteer with us!

For more info, email

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Campaign Victory: McCullough Thoroughly Defeated!

On Tuesday, June 3, 2008, everyone in Oakland who believes in justice and real unity won a victory! Voters in Oakland city council district 1 overwhelmingly defeated Patrick McCullough, neighborhood vigilante and self-proclaimed “anti-crime activist” who three years ago shot and wounded his 16 year old neighbor, Melvin McHenry.

The campaign to expose and defeat McCullough as a front man for the interests of property and gentrification moving at the expense of the African community was initiated by the black-led International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) with the support of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement.

The Uhuru Movement campaign, along with all justice-loving voters in district 1, successfully pushed back McCullough and his backers. Voters rejected McCullough who ran on a platform criminalizing the African community and justifying self-enrichment and gentrification at the expense of black residents.

The InPDUM campaign forced the media and others to acknowledge that McCullough was a violent vigilante terrorizing African youth and neighbors who did not meet the approval of the white neighborhood association.

The efforts to defeat McCullough called for a recognition of the profound poverty experienced by African people Oakland. The Uhuru Movement is uniting Oaklanders in demanding the only real solutions to the deep divisions in our town today: genuine economic development to bring shared prosperity, not martial law, increased heavy-handed policing and vigilante violence.

The campaign successfully distributed thousands of door hangers to households in Bushrod Park, the Shattuck Corridor, Temescal and Rockridge neighborhoods. Campaigners talked to the public at the Temescal farmers market on Sundays during the campaign, spoke out at candidates’ forums and circulated posters in district 1.

The overwhelming response to the Uhuru Movement-led campaign was positive and appreciative. The campaign opened up a deeper discussion about how to bring about real peace to Oakland, where the divisions mirror the racial divide throughout America, a country built on the enslavement of African people and the theft of the land of the Indigenous population.

The campaign drew out the stark disparities in a city where one in five households live on less than $15,000 a year in the middle of the Bay Area, which is home to the most millionaires per capita in the U.S.

The Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough galvanized Oakland residents to work for positive, African-led solutions to the deep poverty and oppression that African and other communities face. It gave voice to the white community efforts to break from the public policies of police containment and law and order violence against the African community, policies which are used as vehicles for white gentrification.

Defeating Patrick McCullough proves that Oakland can move together as one only through shared prosperity, no one group at the expense of another.

We have much work to do to push for economic development, not police containment in the city of Oakland, but we have won a victory in defeating Patrick McCullough! Join the Uhuru Movement and join your neighbors in building real hope and change right here!

Join the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement!
Come to the Forum on Thursday, June 5th - "Black People Under Attack: Organize to Fight Back!" at 7pm at the Uhuru House, 7911 MacArthur Blvd in Oakland

Monday, June 2, 2008

Be a Part of the African Liberation Movement!

From the African People's Solidarity Committee School in January 

On this Thursday, June 5th at 7pm, we invite white people and all allies of the African liberation struggle to come out to the Uhuru House in Oakland to hear another  presentation by Diop Olugbala, International organizer with the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement and participate in a community forum to build organization in Oakland.

The forum is taking place at 7911 MacArthur Blvd in East Oakland. Rides can be arranged by emailing

The dynamism of Diop represents a growing trend of young African people taking on the leadership and responsibility to build organization that will solve the problems of African people. We believe that the problems that African people face will be solved through the transformation of the social system that we live in. All the problems and contradictions that we face as white people - women's oppression, gay and lesbian oppression, oppression as workers, tenants, etc. stem from a system that must be overturned at its base. That's what where the African liberation struggle comes in.

As white people who actively participate in the Uhuru Movement, we have embraced the strategy of the African People's Socialist Party as a way to be a part of transforming the current world situation. We see that the African revolution is at the cornerstone of the struggle of oppressed peoples around the world. Our role is to organize other white people to understand the deeply parasitic nature of the social system that we live in and to look at the hard truth about the complicity of white society in the genocide and enslavement of African and other oppressed peoples.

The African People’s Solidarity Committee (APSC) was formed and is led by the African People’s Socialist Party, which leads the Uhuru Movement working for the liberation of African people inside the U.S. and around the world.

Based on the strategy and campaigns of the African People’s Socialist Party, APSC organizes in the white communities. We call on white people to unite with our true human interest in recognizing that the struggle of African people for liberation and justice has a relationship to the fact that our lifestyle rests on a pedestal of African oppression. APSC organizes forums, demonstrations, studies and events to educate other white people about the true history of this country, founded on slavery and genocide, and what we can do to support the struggle of African people.

APSC is active in bringing campaigns of the Uhuru Movement into the white communities on local and national levels. Campaigns in support of African community demands for an end to police brutality and massive imprisonment, and for economic development, reparations and justice for African people everywhere, are key to APSC’s work.

APSC raises resources for the work of the African People’s Socialist Party based on the reality that the white world lives on the pedestal of African oppression.

APSC’s fundraising programs include Uhuru Foods, a food concession, staffed by volunteers, with booths at major street fairs, events and farmer’s markets in Northern California and Florida. In addition APSC coordinates an annual holiday pie campaign, tours and direct donor campaigns to raise funds for the African Liberation Movement.

APSC takes part in the African People’s Education and Defense Fund’s Uhuru Furniture stores based in Oakland, Philadelphia and St. Petersburg as institutions building an economic structure led by and for the benefit of the African working class community.

In order for white people to understand the issues and demands raised by African, Indigenous, Arab and other oppressed peoples here and around the world, we believe that it is necessary for us to see the world as they experience it.

The African People's Solidarity Committee (APSC) is an organization of white people formed by the African People's Socialist Party as part of its strategy to win the liberation and unification of Africa and all African people worldwide.

The African People's Solidarity Committee is the front of the African Liberation Movement inside white society.

APSC embraces the African People's Socialist Party theory, African Internationalism, as our own. African Internationalism goes to the root of the causes of the political crisis that the capitalist system is experiencing today.

By taking on African Internationalism as our own worldview we begin to see the world through the eyes of African and oppressed peoples, instead of through the viewpoint of white power.

Come out on Thursday!
Donate your tax stimulus check to the Uhuru House Development Fund!

Come out on June 21st and 22nd for special fundraisers at the Grand Lake Farmers Market (Saturday) and a special Temescal brunch on Sunday. More info to come. Uhuru means freedom!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Community Forum & Election Rally

Wealth, Poverty & Crime in Oakland:
What's Going on?
Community Forum & Election Rally

Thursday, May 29th, 7pm, 
Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St., Oakland

Featuring Diop Olugbala, International Organizer with the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement
Diop organized the International Tribunal for Justice for Sean Bell in New York City. He has led efforts to support the Jena 6 and other victims of attacks on the African community. Diop has also built organizations on the ground in Sierra Leone and Ghana as part of uniting African people all over the world facing the same colonial conditions to take back control over their own lives and to challenge the imposition of poverty and violence.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Defeat Patrick McCullough for City Council June 3rd!

Vigilante McCullough shot 16-year-old black neighbor; Fronts for white gentrification in Bushrod, Would deepen division, inequity, insecurity in Oakland
Written by Penny Hess, the leader of the African People's Solidarity Committee

(left, Patrick McCullough in 2005, being given a party by a Rockridge family following the shooting of 16 year old Melvin McHenry)

In 2003 George Bush led the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. It is a war that many now agree is an unjust assault on an oil-rich nation that has left massive death, displacement and destruction in a vain attempt to maintain cheap and plentiful gas for the U.S.

In 2005 Patrick McCullough shot his unarmed 16 year old teenaged neighbor, Melvin McHenry as he was coming home from school.

As a black man fronting for the interests of property and white gentrification in the long-standing African community of Bushrod, McCullough’s assault on an African child could be compared on a neighborhood scale to Bush’s aggression against the people of Iraq.

Like the U.S. war, the stance upheld by McCullough represents the arrogant assumption that the “haves” can forever ramrod their interests over the “have-nots” regardless of the human and societal price to the victims.

Like the Bush government’s attempt to seize other people’s oil resources, McCullough represents the white community drive for real estate in what many up until recently believed to be an endless Bay Area housing boom.

As the low interest rates of the early 2000’s fueled a frenzied housing bubble, many white people who were priced out of the trendier Oakland neighborhoods found “bargains” in West and North Oakland areas that have long been African communities.

As the white people move in with renovations, privacy fences and landscaping, they set up vigilante and police organizations such as neighborhood watch to push out and contain the African community, whose incomes are often way below those of the new homeowners.
If the gentrifiers can find a black man like Patrick McCullough to front for this community invasion, all the better.

In Oakland the gap between the more affluent white and the impoverished African communities has deepened and intensified over the past few years. While the top 20 percent of Oakland lives on nearly $100,000 a year, a recent article in the New York Times stated that one fifth of Oakland subsists on less and $15,000, well below the federal poverty level.

While most white children in Oakland expect to go to college and find meaningful and gainful employment, an African child born in Oakland today faces the high probability of poverty, joblessness, prison or early death. There are no bright futures for thousands of Oakland residents on the other end of the gentrification equation.

In the face of the recent “invasion” robberies –the result of deepening poverty and desperation, some politicians are pushing for more and more police.

Clearly, the ever-growing resistance in Iraq should show us that oppression, martial law and containment policies will never make Oakland more secure.

As long as one community continues to live at the expense of another there will be no security, safety or peace in our town. McCullough’s campaign for City Council represents the same oppressive approach as America’s failed war against the Iraqi people.

For security, peace and prosperity in Oakland we need genuine and massive economic development to uplift and stimulate the conditions faced by the entire African community, to give a future to all children and the opportunity to develop their talents, skills and abilities.

Say no to Patrick McCullough, gentrification and injustice on June 3rd.

Say yes to peace the only way peace ever works—peace built on a foundation of social and economic justice and true community solidarity, no one community at the expense of another.

Join the Uhuru Movement, an African working-class led movement for liberation, self-determination and economic and political development for African people in Oakland and worldwide.

Uhuru Solidarity Movement provides and opportunity for white people to come together to participate in righting these long-standing historical wrongs in a country whose wealth is built on slavery and genocide. USM is for white people who find living at the expense of African and oppressed people intolerable.

Oakland must not be the command center for the war against the African community. Let’s make it a model community for the world to emulate.

Election Rally and Community Forum on Thursday, May 29th, 7pm
Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St., Oakland

For more info 510-625-1106

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Walk the District 1 Blocks Saturday

This Saturday, May 17th, walk the block to put up door hangers to Defeat Patrick McCullough for District 1 City Council in Oakland.

Meet at 1pm at BakeSale Betty's.
Go out for two or more hours.

Support Economic Development and Social Justice, Not Vigilante Actions and Police Containment!

Candidates Forums This Week:
Come out to ask questions of McCullough and show support for economic development, not police containment!
Wednesday, May 14th - Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement Association, 7:30pm, Piedmont Gardens, 110 - 41st St., 11th floor Sky Room

Thursday, May 15th - Rockridge Community Planning Council, 7:30pm, College Avenue Presbyterian Church, 5951 College Avenue

For more info on the Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough, see earlier post.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Join the Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough!

Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough!
Get active in the last month of the campaign. Please contact if you are able to participate in any of the following activities leading up to the June 3rd elections:

Door Hangering:
Walk the blocks in District 1 to put fliers on peoples' doorknobs to inform them about what McCullough really represents!
Saturdays May 10th, 17th, 24th and 31st from 1 to 5pm. Meet at Bakesale Betty's at 1pm on 51st and Telegraph.

Candidates Forums
Come out to ask questions of  McCullough and show support for economic development, not police containment!
  • Wednesday, May 14th - Piedmont Avenue Neighborhood Improvement Association, 7:30pm, Piedmont Gardens, 110 - 41st St., 11th floor Sky Room
  • Thursday, May 15th - Rockridge Community Planning Council, 7:30pm, College Avenue Presbyterian Church, 5951 College Avenue
Thursday, May 29th Event: Defeat Patrick McCullough, Support Economic Development Not Police Containment of the African Community!, 7pm, Humanist Hall, 390 - 27th St., Oakland

Monday, May 5, 2008

Campaign Update: Defeat Patrick McCullough for Oakland District 1!

It's been too long since I have updated this blog on the Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough. 

Listen to our first attempt at a Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough YouTube video from the campaign. There is more to come!

Here is a recap of the work that we have done in the past month:

Outreach at the Temescal Farmer's Market
We have done outreach on six consecutive Sundays at the Temescal Farmer's Market in the DMV parking lot on Claremont in North Oakland. Many people have already gotten the information and every week we meet folks who were thinking about voting for McCullough and who are rethinking their positions!  We have been set up right next to McCullough himself, so the campaign has been quite lively!  One the first day out, McCullough told one of our members that she "was going to lose her house."  Last Sunday, McCullough, after taking pictures of our table, said that he would "see us in court!"

Candidates Forums
We have attended four different candidates forums - the April 5th forum sponsored by the League of Women Voter's at Oakland City Hall, the April 19th forum in Temescal sponsored by STAND, the April 28th forum sponsored by Black Women United for Political Action and the May 2nd forum sponsored by United Seniors at St. Mary's off of San Pablo Ave.

We reached hundreds of people through leafletting at these forums and have had success in putting McCullough on the spot.  At the STAND forum, he admitted to shooting 15 year old Melvin McHenry. Before the forum, one of his campaigners took one of our leaflets, crumpled it up and threw it on the ground.  (A similar tactic used by McCullough's "security coordinator" Kevin Thomas at the Temescal Farmer's Market.)  At the forum sponsored by Black Women United for Political Action, McCullough lashed out at our questions saying we were "brainwashed" and that these were "falsehoods" (the fact that he has been part of gentrifying Bushrod Park). He also got personal and said to an Uhuru Movement member, "I bet you are not even registered to vote."

People who are still wondering where they stand on McCullough should check the mainstream press. Numerous articles talk about McCullough's actions. Is this the kind of representation you want on your city council? Sure, he has now schooled himself in presenting a more "respectable" face and can quote MLK and Malcolm X at the forums, but the fact is that he shot a child and was put forward as a hero!  He blatantly lies about what happened on that day back in February in 2005. 

The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement is struggling for leadership that addresses the deep economic and social divisions in Oakland through economic development and social justice, not a "Fix Oakland" platform that continues the criminalization of the African and oppressed communities. McCullough caters to the white community's fears of takeover robberies (which are a reality) and muggings. We aim to look at the fundamental causes of the deep poverty in Oakland that are driving people to desperation. We encourage people to do the same and not settle for the status quo which can only deepen the fear-mongering, oppression, injustice and polarization between the haves and the have-nots in Oakland.  

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Outreach Sunday at the Temescal Farmers Market

On Sunday, March 30th, members of the Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough spent four hours speaking to shoppers at the farmers market in the DMV parking lot on Claremont, giving them a different perspective on "crime" and poverty in Oakland. 

Patrick McCullough is running in District 1, which covers areas of North Oakland, for the city council seat. His claim to fame is when in 2005 he shot 15 year old Melvin McHenry in the back and was upheld by the city and white residents for his courage in standing up to "crime."

Shortly after we arrived and set up our table, McCullough himself arrived and set up right next to us. He was visibly panicked by our presence and immediately got on the phone and summoned his "security coordinator" Kevin Thomas.  An hour or so later, several North Americans showed up who are McCullough friends and supporters. McCullough and Thomas opportunistically played on the fears of the mostly white Temescal and Rockridge residents' fears of armed robberies, muggings and perceived lack of police protection. Because of our presence, McCullough was forced to address his shooting of Melvin McHenry and did so by slandering the African teenager. We also overheard him slandering Jose Luis Buenrostro Gonzalez, the 15 year Mexican high school student shot and killed by Oakland police offers on March 19th, calling him a "gang banger."

McCullough was definitely put on the defensive. We were able to get the word out to even people not wanting to stop by saying, "We are from the Campaign to Defeat Patrick McCullough who is running in this district for city council. He shot a black teenager three years ago and has been the point person for gentrifying the historically black neighborhood of Bushrod Park. We don't want that on our city council! "

Many people were interested in hearing our perspective that peace and unity in Oakland can only come through social justice and economic development. Many people were also concerned about the police murders. They didn't buy the police and media versions of the killings and wanted to have a deeper understanding of what was going on. Most people did not seem to be aware of the fact that one fifth of Oakland's households live on less than $15,000 a year. 

People thanked us for the information and were reminded of what McCullough did. One woman told us, "That guy is running? Oh no, I won't be voting for him!"

McCullough kept referring to us saying, "I'm the bogeyman that they are talking about." His camp acted extremely unprofessional towards us. One North American from their camp was taking pictures of us and said "we were going to be sued for slander."  Another guy who later was hugging McCullough told me to "go to hell."  The outreach was effective in pushing them back and showing the people the illegitimacy of his candidacy!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Defeat Patrick McCullough in Oakland District 1!

No vigilantes and attempted child murderers on Oakland's city council!
$7.7 million for economic development for the African community, not more police!
Economic development for the African community, not police violence and murder!

In 2005, self-appointed Bushrod neighborhood vigilante Patrick McCullough shot his neighbor, unarmed 16 year old  Melvin McHenry as he was running away from McCullough. 

McCullough was not charged or jailed for his crime. He was praised as a hero by police, city officials, the media and white people who are gentrifying the historically black Bushrod neighborhood.  

Now McCullough is running for city council for North Oakland's district one on a platform of law and order violence targetting the African community.

McCullough is a black man who acts as a convenient front from all those intent on dealing with Oakland's deep social and economic problems with a military solution similar to Israel's genocidal assault on the Palestinian people of Gaza.

Oakland just granted $7.7 million of tax payers' money for more police and has launched an aggressive recruitment drive for the OPD with base salaries over $87,000 a year and up to $244,000 with overtime.

Since the police budget was allocated in March, already two people have been killed within a few days by the OPD. Casper Banjo, 71, a well-known and respected African artist was gunned down on March 14th by police. On Wednesday, March 19th, 15 year old Jose Luis Buenrostro-Gonzalez was murdered by police. Both took place in East Oakland.

This is the murderous climated advocated by McCullough. Remember that just reported in the New York Times was the fact that in Oakland, one in every five families live on less than $15,000 and the poorest 20 percent live on $7600 annually. Oakland is a city of deep disparities: crushing African poverty while the Bay Area has the highest rate of millionaires in the country.

California has the world's sixth largest economy and the third largest prison population. The black population in California is 7 percent but makes up 32 percent of the California prison population, a growth industry that pumps billions of dollars into the state's economy.

In 1996, Gary Webb from the San Jose Mercury News exposed that the U.S. government was responsible for the massive influx of crack cocaine into Oakland. This came in the wake of COINTELPRO, the Counterintelligence Program that destroyed the Black Power Movement of the 1960s and that was responsible for the assassination of L'il Bobby Hutton right here in Oakland. 

Urban renewal and gentrification destroyed the economy of the African community where today it is estimated that half of young black people face unemployment. Sometimes just to put food on the table African people are forced into a government and corporate-controlled economy that studies show pay minimum wage for young street workers but make millions of dollars for banks and Wall Street.

In a city where white people are snatching up deals on houses and lofts at the expense of the lives of an impoverished African community the question is, "Who is the real criminal?"

The problem is poverty, oppression and public policies of police containment of the African community.

For peace and unity in Oakland, we need genuine economic development to transform the conditions of the African and other impoverished communities.  We need an end to police containment and violence against African and Mexican people. We need people like Patrick McCullough to pay a political price for their white-backed terror against the African community. 

Defeat Patrick McCullough in Oakand District 1!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

No Police State in Our City!

The time has come for those of us who oppose what is going on in our city to speak out and ask other people to do so as well!

We want to introduce into the blogosphere a different voice in Oakland politics. This blog is the work of myself, Another Mother for Peace through Justice (a soon to be email group), and is part of the work of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, under the leadership of the African working class-led Uhuru Movement, organizing for white solidarity, not charity with the African liberation movement.

We think there are many others in our city who oppose Mayor Ronald Dellums' recent approval of $7.7 million for more police officers on the streets of Oakland. The New York Times published an article two weeks ago stating that one in five families in Oakland live on less than $15,000 a year! Where is the $7.7 million for economic development for the African and other impoverished communities of Oakland?

How can we talk about what the U.S. is doing in Iraq and around the world and yet agree to put millions of dollars into more police which are deadly in the African community and will put more African people in prison? Although only 6% of the state’s population, African people make up 29% of the prison population in California!

It is outrageous that all over the country it is just accepted, even in so-called progressive places like the Bay Area, that the solution to the economic crisis that African and oppressed peoples face is more police. We are calling for genuine economic development to uplift the living conditions of the entire impoverished African community, not brutal, heavy-handed police containment policies and prison for youth faced with no future!

We are gearing up for an incredible campaign led by the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement to get this message out and also to defeat Patrick McCullough, a man in his fifties who shot an unarmed teenager in the back three years ago on 59th St and Shattuck Ave and who is now running for city council, District 1! McCullough has served as the point person for the gentrification of Oakland’s historically black neighborhoods, including Bushrod, pushing African working people out of the city. He plays a role in criminalizing African youth in Oakland. In fact, after McCullough shot young Melvin McHenry, he was given a party and money by the city, police and some white residents. This is unacceptable!

African people have been pushed out of Oakland increasingly over the past decade. Starting when African people were brought by the thousands to work to build a ship a day for the Kaiser corporation, Oakland was a majority black city. Over one third of the black population has been pushed out of Oakland since the 1990’s through gentrification.

Dellums' plan is a military solution to an economic problem serving the interests of white developers and business and deepening the poverty and gentrification of the African community. The rise in crime is the result of the economic crisis felt sharply by communities in East and West Oakland made worse by the deadly drug economy. Illegal drug sales create enormous profits to those on top while those at the street level face death at an early age or the billion dollar prison system. For decades these communities have experienced police violence and repression in their daily lives under this “war on drugs.”

Police containment of the African community continues the legacy of white domination that has kept the majority of African people impoverished for hundreds of years and maintained wealth in the white community. As long as the white community lives at the expense of the African community there will never be peace. The answer is not more militarized police but genuine economic development – massive infusions of capital equal to what goes into the white communities.

We call on the white community to stand in solidarity with the African community’s struggle for a solution that involves economic justice, reparations and control over their own lives.