Monday, August 31, 2009

Maafa 2009: Hurricane Katrina Report Back Fundraiser Sunday, August 30, at Shasamane Restaurant

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wanda's Picks Radio Show

The story of what happened in New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida: the Republic of New Africa, is unfortunately EVERGREEN, always on "PAUSE," the reoccurring "PRESS PLAY" reflected in the disregard for black lives witnessed too often in subtle and catastrophic ways. This nation's continued apathy re: Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent breached levees is evidence that 144 years is not a long time, and that the legacy of slavery, supposedly ended in Dec. 14, 1865 still exists for some citizens in this democratic nation. The term Maafa, references this. "Maafa" is Kiswahili for "great calamity, reoccurring disaster" and it is how African people in the Diaspora have come to speak of the European slave trade. Another term for this illegal transport of black people, African descendants, throughout the world is Black Holocaust, but unlike the events of the fifteenth through nineteenth century which ends legally in this country with passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, the end of the Civil War and the Amendments to the Constitution 13,14, 15, the term Maafa includes events like Katrina, the Tuskegee Experiment, Jim Crow, and Hurricane Katrina.

We will reflect on the Gulf Region, 4 years later on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. We will speak to policy makers and activists, those affected who left and those who now live elsewhere. We will talk about the cultural legacy of New Orleans and the South, what is needed to preserve this legacy and how people can help.

Guests are: 6:00-7:00 AM Carole Bebelle & Viola Johnson: Aché Cultural Center and the New Orleans Rebuild-a-thon, New Orleans natives, Jordan Flaherty, Left-Turn Magazine, CeCe Campbell-Rock, Survivors for Survivors, Antor Ndep, Executive Director, Common Ground Health Clinic, and Malik Rahim, co-founder, Common Ground Relief, Katrina survivor.

7:00-8:00 AM Lolis Elie, Dawn Logdon, director, producer/subject: Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans with Angela Wellman, musician, scholar, founding director, Oakland Public Conservatory of Music. There is a benefit this evening for OPC. Visit

Sunday, August 30, 2009, is "Maafa 2009: Hurricane Katrina," our 5th annual benefit/report back for Common Ground Health Clinic and LIFE of MS, Biloxi site, at Shashamane International Bar & Grill, 2507 Broadway Street in Oakland, (510) 868-4318. Donations for either of these organizations LIFE or CGHC can be sent to P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604. Please make checks out to the organization. We are targeting care for the disabled community and the elderly. We will have poetry, music, and comfort for those directly affected. Please join us.

Robert King, advocate, prison abolitionist, author, was on the air listening--that's technology for you. I didn't see his number and therefore missed his call. King was on my first show a year ago, and has been my most avid supporter. He is also a Katrina survivor in the Diaspora--Austin, TX.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hurricane Katrina Fundraiser/Reportback

It's that time of year again where Oya swings her skirts and sails across the Atlantic to avenge her lost children. Join us at Shashamane Restuarant & Bar, Sunday, August 30, 2009, 5-9 PM for an opportunity to reflect on New Orleans and the gulf region four years after the worst natural and man made disaster to hit America this century: Hurricane Katrina. We will have poet contributors to Words Upon the Waters: Bay Area Poets and Writers Respond to Hurricane Katrina, as well as an art auction, testimony from folks there and ways we can continue to help and force our government to help.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cynthia McKinney

Our sister Cynthia McKinney put a face on Gaza, Palestine I don't think many in the audience had seen before--I'm speaking of African Americans who are not usually the target population of such media focus. The link between Palestine and the African Diaspora is clear, yet until the Honorable Ms. McKinney bought a video camera and took it with her to Gaza where they were apprehended by the Israeli's first and thrown in prison, the plight of these folks was over there...a disconnect she remedied so well. Her tour, which started the day, another one of our sisters, Nadra Foster, was beaten by Berkeley Police when KPFA staff called the police to escort her from the station. The charge was trespassing, when Nadra had been working at KPFA for over ten years. She was restrained after suffering multiple injuries. Today, her hand is paralyzed.

We must not forget this legacy of police violence as another KPFA programmer, JR Valrey appeared in court stemming from a felony charge he was accused of in the January 7, 2009 Oscar Grant Protest March in downtown Oakland. Cynthia McKinney went to court yesterday and shared her impressions on Flash points that afternoon.

The footage of bombed and bulldozed house, schools where McKinney pulled out a child's writing tablet, a can of peanuts, and other everyday objects--stark examples of the craziness propelling this concerted effort to exterminate a people.

In Cairo, she interviews a member of the team which takes aide into Palestine. The person interviewed says how the Israeli government makes the volunteers wait at checkpoints and then refuses to allow chocolate into the Westbank--the policies are he says, "evil." I agree, and would add, mean spirited.

As the camera rolled along the road past demolished apartments and other buildings, a building leaning precariously next to a functional one was were people walking along or driving taking care of their everyday business.

McKinney said that the Israeli interruptions did not stop the resistance nor the Palestinian commitment to moving forward with their lives. She described the society and its government as well-organized and efficient.

The war topography reminded me in the landscape in Kingston, parts of East and West Oakland, North Richmond, and the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. We are so close to the battlefronts...borders connected by philosophical thought process a part. Funny the imperialist divided Africa and the rest of the world, and their exploitation is knitting it back together.

When speaking about her kidnapping and imprisonment, she said, "Prior to this trip, she'd never been imprisoned before." There with Kathy, who was also on stage at the Grand Lake Theatre last night, both McKinney and Kathy said they met so many people from Africa: Sudan, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, and many other places. For information about Israel's immigration policy listen to my interview with the director of the film "Refugees," which was a part of the SFJFF. The Israeli government has a punitive policy which incarcerated entire families for 5-6 years then send them back to the country of origin to often dire consequence.

The Egyptian government supports Israel's policies and kills many immigrants --point blank, as they cross or attempt to cross the border.

McKinney who was capsized when attempting to reach Gaza by boat, I believe a year ago. The Israeli's stirred the water and almost tipped the boat over. She said as she believed her life could end in that moment a strange calm came over her and from that moment forward, she has not feared for her life. She joked with Kathy that every time she joins their effort to take humanitarian aide to Palestine, something untoward happens.

Now that they are released, the two women are banned from Israel for ten years. The reason they were held so long was the government wanted them to confess to entering Israel illegally, but McKinney and Kathy held firm to their claim that the reason they were in Israel was becasue they were kidnapped.

It was a wonderful evening. Cynthia is a great speaker and a wonderful model of fearlessness and commitment to justice and peace. I hope she gets the position as head of Pacifica News Services.

There were presentations by independent candidates for the KPFA local board, along with poetry, updates on the Oscar Grant Movement and trial.

Wanda's Picks Radio August 21, 2009

Here's the plan for this morning, but as with all things, stay loose just in case something changes (smile):Carmen Lundy, composer/singer, "Solamente," 8 AM, Ms. Lundy will be performing at the Culver City Club, lobby --Radisson Hotel, 6161 W.Centinela Avenue, Culver City, CA, Saturday, August 22, 7 PM. The cover is $15. Call (310) 649-1776 x4137. Visit

Next in the studio is Mary Monroe, author of "God Ain't Blind." She will be at Marcus Books in Oakland, 3900 MLK Jr. Way, Tuesday, August 25 at 6:30 PM. Earlier the same day, she will be at the Alexander Book Company. Visit and email her at She answers all mail.

Black August honors the memory of Comrade George Jackson, so this morning his friends, comrades, and admirers, Sundiata Tate, Kiilu Nyasha, Shaka AtThinin, and Nadra Foster, will talk about his legacy and work. Walter Rodney's tribute, piece written 30 years ago sheds light on what happened and puts into then current political and social context:

We close with director Jennifer Grausman, "Pressurer Cooker," the story of a wonderful teacher who cares, Mrs. Stephenson, Culinary Arts faculty, a program she started in 1999, at Frankford High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she has been teaching this and other courses, like the current cheerleading, for the past 40 years. The film director's father founded the C-CAP awards program. Visit

We closed the show with Carmen Lundy's "Move On," from her latest CD Solamente-The Demo Project. Available now. I wanted to play a piece by Steel Pulse: Uncle George Jackson, but the show ended and kicked me out of the studio. I wasn't getting any love this morning, from having difficulty signing on, to programs freezing, to as I said, getting kicked off before I could announce some events this weekend, like AfroSolo's Black Voices, Tracey Chapman, and many others I'll post at shortly.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rashied Ali and Ulysses Owens Jr.

I am on my way to work, running late...but I just wanted to say I had a great show this morning with Ulysses Owens Jr., a wonderfully articulate man who loves the music as much as he loves life and being a change agent in the lives of those he encounters musically on the stage. We played songs from his debut CD, talked about artists who mentored him when he arrived in New York, those he met at Julliard where he was the first graduating class in Jazz Studies, such as Mulgrew Miller and Eric Reed, Russell Malone, not to mention his family and friends who supported his interest in music and in a professional career. The music and the conversation where like an extended solo on a uncut record. Enjoy, it is currently playing now: and visit

This morning we will speak to Ulysses Owens Jr., drummer, about his work and the legacy of Rashied Ali who passed from this life a week ago. Ali played with John Coltrane and Coltrane's late wife, Alice Coltrane. We'll play some of Ulysses' favorite Rashied tracks along with some of my Ulysses's favorites, from his latest, "U.O. Project 'It's Time for U." "It's Time" is a wonderful work featuring vocals as well as instrumental work, all peppered with Owens' distinctive or perhaps the correct term is signature percussion. We'll take calls if you want to share Rashied Ali memories or reflections. We played music from a number of
albums, many from: "No One In Particular" with the Rashied Ali Quintet featuring: Ravi Coltrane on saxes, Gene Ess on guitar, Greg Murphy on piano, Matt Garrison on bass and the unstoppable spirit of Rashied Ali on drums. Visit

Thursday, August 20, we'll have a special broadcast from 1-3 PM. Guests will be from SF Playhouse's current staging of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and perhaps Lolis Eric Elie, the principle or subject of "Faubourg Tremé: The Untold Story of New Orleans." There is a benefit for the Oakland Public Conservatory Saturday, August 29, 2009. The event is scheduled to coincide with the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The event is at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, August 29, at the Kaiser Center Auditorium, 300 Lakeside Drive, 2nd Floor.

On hand to discuss the film with audiences will be its co-producer, co-writer and central narrator, nationally renowned New Orleans newspaperman Lolis Eric Elie. Director Dawn Logsdon and producer Lucie Faulknor will also bring their perspective and expertise to the panel discussion.Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir will make a special appearance. Also featured are the Oakland Public Conservatory Youth Marimba Band and The Frederick Douglass Youth Ensemble. All proceeds benefit the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, the East Bay's leading source for affordable music education and performance for local youth and families. Tickets for the screening are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and can be purchased at

Monday, August 17, 2009


I found this email forwarded to me by a friend three years ago on Marcus Garvey's birthday. He got it from Horace Mansfield.

Today is the birthday of Marcus Garvey. Below you'll find a short bio and related info. Our story is populated with many figures from which we can draw great pride and inspiration. Marcus Garvey is one of those figures. Horace

Marcus Garvey 1887-1940
Black Nationalist, Pan-Africanist; The father of contemporary Black Nationalism.

Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, on August 17, 1887, Marcus Garvey was the youngest of 11 children. Garvey moved to Kingston at the age of 14, found work in a print shop, and became acquainted with the abysmal living conditions of the laboring class. He quickly involved himself in social reform, participating in the first Printers' Union strike in Jamaica in 1907 and in setting up the newspaper The Watchman. Leaving the island to earn money to finance his projects, he visited Central and South America, amassing evidence that black people everywhere were victims of discrimination. He visited the Panama Canal Zone and saw the conditions under which the West Indians lived and worked. He went to Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela. Everywhere, blacks were experiencing great hardships.

Garvey returned to Jamaica distressed at the situation in Central America, and appealed to Jamaica's colonial government to help improve the plight of West Indian workers in Central America. His appeal fell on deaf ears. Garvey also began to lay the groundwork of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, to which he was to devote his life. Undaunted by lack of enthusiasm for his plans, Garvey left for England in 1912 in search of additional financial backing. While there, he met a Sudanese-Egyptian journalist, Duse Mohammed Ali. While working for Ali's publication African Times and Oriental Review, Garvey began to study the history of Africa, particularly, the exploitation of black peoples by colonial powers. He read Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery, which advocated black self-help.

In 1914 Garvey organized the Universal Negro Improvement Association and its coordinating body, the African Communities League. In 1920 the organization held its first convention in New York. The convention opened with a parade down Harlem's Lenox Avenue. That evening, before a crowd of 25,000, Garvey outlined his plan to build an African nation-state. In New York City his ideas attracted popular support, and thousands enrolled in the UNIA. He began publishing the newspaper The Negro World and toured the United States preaching black nationalism to popular audiences. His efforts were successful, and soon, the association boasted over 1,100 branches in more than 40 countries. Most of these branches were located in the United States, which had become the UNIA's base of operations. There were, however, offices in several Caribbean countries, Cuba having the most. Branches also existed in places such as Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Namibia and South Africa. He also launched some ambitious business ventures, notably the Black Star Shipping Line.

In the years following the organization's first convention, the UNIA began to decline in popularity. With the Black Star Line in serious financial difficulties, Garvey promoted two new business organizations — the African Communities League and the Negro Factories Corporation. He also tried to salvage his colonization scheme by sending a delegation to appeal to the League of Nations for transfer to the UNIA of the African colonies taken from Germany during World War I.

Financial betrayal by trusted aides and a host of legal entanglements (based on charges that he had used the U.S. mail to defraud prospective investors) eventually led to Garvey's imprisonment in Atlanta Federal Penitentiary for a five-year term. In 1927 his half-served sentence was commuted, and he was deported to Jamaica by order of President Calvin Coolidge.

Garvey then turned his energies to Jamaican politics, campaigning on a platform of self-government, minimum wage laws, and land and judicial reform. He was soundly defeated at the polls, however, because most of his followers did not have the necessary voting qualifications.

In 1935 Garvey left for England where, in near obscurity, he died on June 10, 1940, in a cottage in West Kensington.

Impact of Marcus Garvey

By Dr. John Henrik Clarke

When Marcus Garvey died in 1940 the role of the British Empire was already being challenged by India and the rising expectations of her African colonies. Marcus Garvey's avocation of African redemption and the restoration of the African state's sovereign political entity in world affairs was still a dream without fulfillment.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941, the United States would enter, in a formal way, what had been up to that date strictly a European conflict. Marcus Garvey's prophesy about the European scramble to maintain dominance over the whole world was now a reality. The people of Africa and Asia had joined in this conflict but with different hopes, different dreams and many misgivings. Africans throughout the colonial world were mounting campaigns against this system which had robbed them of their nation-ness and their basic human-ness. The discovery and the reconsideration of the teachings of the honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey were being rediscovered and reconsidered by a large number of African people as this world conflict deepened.

In 1945, when World War II was drawing to a close the 5th Pan-African Congress was called in Manchester, England. Some of the conventioneers were: George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, W.E.B. Dubois, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya. Up to this time the previous Pan-African Congresses had mainly called for improvements in the educational status of the Africans in the colonies so that they would be prepared for self-rule when independence eventually came.

The Pan-African Congress in Manchester was radically different from all of the other congresses. For the first time Africans from Africa, Africans from the Caribbean and Africans from the United States had come together and designed a program for the future independence of Africa. Those who attended the conference were of many political persuasions and different ideologies, yet the teachings of Marcus Garvey were the main ideological basis for the 5th Pan-African Congress in Manchester, England in 1945.

Some of the conveners of this congress would return to Africa in the ensuing years to eventually lead their respective nations toward independence and beyond. In 1947, a Ghanaian student who had studied ten years in the United States, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah returned to Ghana on the invitation of Joseph B. Danquah, his former schoolmaster. Nkrumah would later become Prime Minister. In his fight for the complete independence for the Gold Coast later to be known as Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah acknowledged his political indebtedness to the political teachings of Marcus Garvey.
On September 7, 1957, Ghana became a free self-governing nation, the first member of the British Commonwealth of Nations to become self-governing. Ghana would later develop a Black Star Line patterned after the maritime dreams of Marcus Garvey. My point here is that the African Independence Explosion, which started with the independence of Ghana, was symbolically and figuratively bringing the hopes of Marcus Garvey alive.

In the Caribbean Islands the concept of Federation and Political union of all the islands was now being looked upon as a realizable possibility. Some constitutional reforms and changing attitudes, born of this awareness, were improving the life of the people of these islands.

In the United States the Supreme Court's decision of 1954, outlawing segregation in school systems was greeted with mixed feelings of hope and skepticism by African-Americans. A year after this decision the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Freedom Rides and the demand for equal pay for Black teachers that subsequently became a demand for equal education for all, would become part of the central force that would set the fight for liberation in motion.

The enemies of Africans, the world over were gathering their counter-forces while a large number of them pretended to be sympathetic to the African's cause. Some of these pretenders, both Black and White, were F.B.I. and other agents of the government whose mission it was to frustrate and destroy the Civil Rights Movement. In a different way the same thing was happening in Africa. The coups and counter-coups kept most African states from developing into the strong independent and sovereign states they had hoped to become.

While the Africans had gained control over their state's apparatus, the colonialist's still controlled the economic apparatus of most African states. Africans were discovering to their amazement that a large number of the Africans, who had studied abroad were a detriment to the aims and goals of their nation. None of them had been trained to rule an African state by the use of the best of African traditional forms and strategies. As a result African states, in the main, became imitations of European states and most of their leaders could justifiably be called Europeans with black faces. They came to power without improving the lot of their people and these elitist governments continue until this day.

In most cases what went wrong was that as these leaders failed to learn the lessons of self-reliance and power preparation as advocated by Marcus Garvey and in different ways by Booker T. Washington, W.E.B Dubois, Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. Africa became infiltrated by foreign agents. Africans had forgotten, if they knew at all, that Africa is the world's richest continent, repository of the greatest mineral wealth in the world. They had not asked themselves nor answered the most critical question. If Africa is the world's richest continent, why is it so full of poor people? Marcus Garvey advocated that Africans control the wealth of Africa. He taught that control, control of resources, control of self, control of nation, requires preparation, Garveyism was about total preparation.

There is still no unified force in Africa calling attention to the need for this kind of preparation. This preparation calls for a new kind of education if Africans are to face the reality of their survival.

Africans in the United States must remember that the slave ships brought no West Indians, no Caribbeans, no Jamaicans or Trinidadians or Barbadians to this hemisphere. The slave ships brought only African people and most of us took the semblance of nationality from the places where slave ships dropped us off. In the 500 year process of oppression the Europeans have displaced our God, our culture, and our traditions. They have violated our women to the extent that they have created a bastard race who is confused as to whether to be loyal to its mother's people or its fathers people and for the most part they remain loyal to neither. I do not think African people can succeed in the world until the hear again Marcus

Garvey's call: AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, THOSE AT HOME AND ABROAD. We must regain our confidence in ourselves as a people and learn again the methods and arts of controlling nations. We must hear again Marcus Garvey calling out to us: UP!UP! YOU MIGHTY RACE! YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH WHAT YOU WILL!

Declaration of Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World
Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL)(1887-1940)

Drafted and adopted at Convention held in New York, 1920, over which Marcus Garvey presided as Chairman, and at which he was elected Provisional President of Africa.


Be it Resolved, That the Negro people of the world, through their chosen representatives in convention assembled in Liberty Hall, in the City of New York and United States of America, from August 1 to August 31, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty, protest against the wrongs and injustices they are suffering at the hands of their white brethren, and state what they deem their fair and just rights, as well as the treatment they propose to demand of all men in the future.

We complain:

I. That nowhere in the world, with few exceptions, are black men accorded equal treatment with white men, although in the same situation and circumstances, but, on the contrary, are discriminated against and denied the common rights due to human beings for no other reason than their race and color.
We are not willingly accepted as guests in the public hotels and inns of the world for no other reason than our race and color.
II. In certain parts of the United States of America our race is denied the right of public trial accorded to other races when accused of crime, but are lynched and burned by mobs, and such brutal and inhuman treatment is even practised upon our women.
III. That European nations have parcelled out among themselves and taken possession of nearly all of the continent of Africa, and the natives are compelled to surrender their lands to aliens and are treated in most instances like slaves.
IV. In the southern portion of the United States of America, although citizens under the Federal Constitution, and in some states almost equal to the whites in population and are qualified land owners and taxpayers, we are, nevertheless, denied all voice in the making and administration of the laws and are taxed without representation by the state governments, and at the same time compelled to do military service in defense of the country.
V. On the public conveyances and common carriers in the Southern portion of the United States we are jim-crowed and compelled to accept separate and inferior accommodations and made to pay the same fare charged for first-class accommodations, and our families are often humiliated and insulted by drunken white men who habitually pass through the jim-crow cars going to the smoking car.
VI. The physicians of our race are denied the right to attend their patients while in the public hospitals of the cities and states where they reside in certain parts of the United States.
Our children are forced to attend inferior separate schools for shorter terms than white children, and the public school funds are unequally divided between the white and colored schools.
VII. We are discriminated against and denied an equal chance to earn wages for the support of our families, and in many instances are refused admission into labor unions, and nearly everywhere are paid smaller wages than white men.
VIII. In Civil Service and departmental offices we are everywhere discriminated against and made to feel that to be a black man in Europe, America and the West Indies is equivalent to being an outcast and a leper among the races of men, no matter what the character and attainments of the black man may be.
IX. In the British and other West Indian Islands and colonies, Negroes are secretly and cunningly discriminated against, and denied those fuller rights in government to which white citizens are appointed, nominated and elected.
X. That our people in those parts are forced to work for lower wages than the average standard of white men and are kept in conditions repugnant to good civilized tastes and customs.
XI. That the many acts of injustice against members of our race before the courts of law in the respective islands and colonies are of such nature as to create disgust and disrespect for the white man's sense of justice.
XII. Against all such inhuman, unchristian and uncivilized treatment we here and now emphatically protest, and invoke the condemnation of all mankind.

In order to encourage our race all over the world and to stimulate it to a higher and grander destiny, we demand and insist on the following Declaration of Rights:

1. Be it known to all men that whereas, all men are created equal and entitled to the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and because of this we, the duly elected representatives of the Negro peoples of the world, invoking the aid of the just and Almighty God do declare all men, women and children of our blood throughout the world free citizens, and do claim them as free citizens of Africa, the Motherland of all Negroes.
2. That we believe in the supreme authority and given to man as a common possession; that there should be an equitable distribution and apportionment of all such things, and in consideration of the fact that as a race we are now deprived of those things that are morally and legally ours, we believe it right that all such things should be acquired and held by whatsoever means possible.
3. That we believe the Negro, like any other race, should be governed by the ethics of civilization, and therefore, should not be deprived of any of those rights or privileges common to other human beings.
4. We declare that Negroes wheresoever they form a community among themselves, should be given the right to elect their own representatives to represent them in legislatures, courts of law, or such institutions as may exercise control over that particular community.
5. We assert that the Negro is entitled to even- handed justice before all courts of law and equity in whatever country he may be found, and when this is denied him on account of his race or color such denial is an insult to the race as a whole and should be resented by the entire body of Negroes.
6. We declare it unfair and prejudicial to the rights of Negroes in communities where they exist in considerable numbers to be tried by a judge and jury composed entirely of an alien race, but in all such cases members of our race are entitled to representation on the jury.
7. We believe that any law or practice that tends to deprive any African of his land or the privileges of free citizenship within his country is unjust and immoral, and no native should respect any such law or practice.
8. We declare taxation without representation unjust and tyrannous, and there should be no obligation on the part of the Negro to obey the levy of a tax by any law-making body from which he is excluded and denied representation on account of his race and color.
9. We believe that any law especially directed against the Negro to his detriment and singling him out because of his race or color is unfair and immoral, and should not be respected.
10. We believe all men entitled to common human respect, and that our race should in no way tolerate any insults that may be interpreted to mean disrespect to our color.
11. We deprecate the use of the term 'nigger' as applied to Negroes, and demand that the word 'Negro' be written with a capital 'N.'
12. We believe that the Negro should adopt every means to protect himself against barbarous practices inflicted upon him because of color.
13. We believe in the freedom of Africa for the Negro people of the world, and by the principle of Europe for the Europeans and Asia for the Asiatics; we also demand Africa for the Africans at home and abroad.
14. We believe in the inherent right of the Negro to possess himself of Africa, and that his possession of same shall not be regarded as an infringement on any claim or purchase made by any race or nation.
15. We strongly condemn the cupidity of those nations of the world who, by open aggression or secret schemes, have seized the territories and inexhaustible natural wealth of Africa, and we place on record our most solemn determination to reclaim the treasures and possession of the vast continent of our forefathers.
16. We believe all men should live in peace one with the other, but when races and nations provoke the ire of other races and nations by attempting to infringe upon their rights, war becomes inevitable, and the attempt in any way to free one's self or protect one's rights or heritage becomes justifiable.
17. Whereas, the lynching, by burning, hanging or any other disgrace to civilization, we therefore declare any country guilty of such atrocities outside the pale of civilization.
18. We protest against the atrocious crime of whipping, flogging and overworking of the native tribes of Africa and Negroes everywhere. These are methods that should be abolished, and all means should be taken to prevent a continuance of such brutal practices.
19. We protest against the atrocious practice of shaving the heads of Africans, especially of African women or individuals of Negro blood, when placed in prison as a punishment for crime by an alien race.
20. We protest against segregated districts, separate public conveyances, industrial discrimination, lynchings and limitations of political privileges of any Negro citizen in any part of the world on account of race, color or creed, and will exert our full influence and power against all such.
21. We protest against any punishment inflicted upon a Negro with severity, as against lighter punishment inflicted upon another of an alien race for like offense, as an act of prejudice and injustice, and should be resented by the entire race.
22. We protest against the system of education in any country where Negroes are denied the same privileges and advantages as other races.
23. We declare it inhuman and unfair to boycott Negroes from industries and labor in any part of the world.
24. We believe in the doctrine of the freedom of the press, and we therefore emphatically protest against the suppression of Negro newspapers and periodicals in various parts of the world, and call upon Negroes everywhere to employ all available means to prevent such suppression.
25. We further demand free speech universally for all men.
26. We hereby protest against the publication of scandalous and inflammatory articles by an alien press tending to create racial strife and the exhibition of picture films showing the Negro as a cannibal.
27. We believe in the self-determination of all peoples.
28. We declare for the freedom of religious worship.
29. With the help of Almighty God, we declare ourselves the sworn protectors of the honor and virtue of our women and children, and pledge our lives for their protection and defense everywhere, and under all circumstances from wrongs and outrages.
30. We demand the right of unlimited and unprejudiced education for ourselves and our posterity forever.
31. We declare that the teaching in any school by alien teachers to our boys and girls, that the alien race is superior to the Negro race, is an insult to the Negro people of the world.
32. Where Negroes form a part of the citizenry of any country, and pass the civil service examination of such country, we declare them entitled to the same consideration as other citizens as to appointments in such civil service.
33. We vigorously protest against the increasingly unfair and unjust treatment accorded Negro travelers on land and sea by the agents and employees of railroad and steamship companies and insist that for equal fare we receive equal privileges with travelers of other races.
34. We declare it unjust for any country, State or nation to enact laws tending to hinder and obstruct the free immigration of Negroes on account of their race and color.
35. That the right of the Negro to travel unmolested throughout the world be not abridged by any person or persons, and all Negroes are called upon to give aid to a fellow Negro when thus molested.
36. We declare that all Negroes are entitled to the same right to travel over the world as other men.
37. We hereby demand that the governments of the world recognize our leader and his representatives chosen by the race to look after the welfare of our people under such governments.
38. We demand complete control of our social institutions without interference by any alien race or races.
39. That the colors, Red, Black and Green, be the colors of the Negro race.
40. Resolved, That the anthem 'Ethiopia, Thou Land of Our Fathers', etc., shall be the anthem of the Negro race.

The Universal Ethiopian Anthem
(Poem by Burrel and Ford.)

I Ethiopia, thou land of our fathers, Thou land where the gods loved to be, As storm cloud at night suddenly gathers Our armies come rushing to thee. We must in the fight be victorious When swords are thrust outward to gleam; For us will the vict'ry be glorious When led by the Red, Black and Green.

Advance, advance to victory, Let Africa be free; Advance to meet the foe With the might Of the Red, the Black and the Green.

Ethiopia, the tyrant's falling, Who smote thee upon thy knees, And thy children are lustily calling From over the distant seas. Jehovah, the Great One has heard us, Has noted our sighs and our tears, With His spirit of Love he has stirred us To be One through the coming years. CHORUS -- Advance, advance, etc.

O Jehovah, thou God of the ages Grant unto our sons that lead The wisdom Thou gave to Thy sages When Israel was sore in need. Thy voice thro' the dim past has spoken, Ethiopia shall stretch forth her hand, By Thee shall all fetters be broken, And Heav'n bless our dear fatherland. CHORUS -- Advance, advance, etc.

41. We believe that any limited liberty which deprives one of the complete rights and prerogatives of full citizenship is but a modified form of slavery.
42. We declare it an injustice to our people and a serious impediment to the health of the race to deny to competent licensed Negro physicians the right to practise in the public hospitals of the communities in which they reside, for no other reason than their race and color.
43. We call upon the various governments of the world to accept and acknowledge Negro representatives who shall be sent to the said governments to represent the general welfare of the Negro peoples of the world.
44. We deplore and protest against the practice of confining juvenile prisoners in prisons with adults, and we recommend that such youthful prisoners be taught gainful trades under humane supervision.
45. Be it further resolved, that we as a race of people declare the League of Nations null and void as far as the Negro is concerned, in that it seeks to deprive Negroes of their liberty.
46. We demand of all men to do unto us as we would do unto them, in the name of justice; and we cheerfully accord to all men all the rights we claim herein for ourselves.
47. We declare that no Negro shall engage himself in battle for an alien race without first obtaining the consent of the leader of the Negro people of the world, except in a matter of national self-defense.
48. We protest against the practice of drafting Negroes and sending them to war with alien forces without proper training, and demand in all cases that Negro soldiers be given the same training as the aliens.
49. We demand that instructions given Negro children in schools include the subject of 'Negro History', to their benefit.
50. We demand a free and unfettered commercial intercourse with all the Negro people of the world.
51. We declare for the absolute freedom of the seas for all peoples.
52. We demand that our duly accredited representatives be given proper recognition in all leagues, conferences, conventions or courts of international arbitration wherever human rights are discussed.
53. We proclaim the 31st day of August of each year to be an international holiday to be observed by all Negroes.
54. We want all men to know we shall maintain and contend for the freedom and equality of every man, woman and child of our race, with our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

These rights we believe to be justly ours and proper for the protection of the Negro race at large, and because of this belief we, on behalf of the four hundred million Negroes of the world, do pledge herein the sacred blood of the race in defense, and we hereby subscribe our names as a guarantee of the truthfulness and faithfulness hereof in the presence of Almighty God, on the 13th day of August, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and twenty.

Marcus Garvey, James D. Brooks, James W. H. Eason, Henrietta Vinton Davis, Lionel Winston Greenidge, Adrion Fitzroy Johnson, Rudolph Ethelbert Brissaac Smith, Charles Augustus Petioni, Thomas H. N. Simon, Richard Hilton Tobitt, George Alexander McGuire, Peter Edward Baston, Reynold R. Felix, Harry Walters Kirby, Sarah Branch, Marie Barrier Houston, George L. O'Brien, F. O. Ogilvie, Arden A. Bryan, Benjamin Dyett, Marie Duchaterlier, John Phillip Hodge, Theophilus H. Saunders, Wilford H. Smith, Gabriel E. Stewart, Arnold Josiah Ford, Lee Crawford, William McCartney, Adina Clem. James, William Musgrave La Motte, John Sydney de Bourg, Arnold S. Cunning, Vernal J. Williams, Frances Wilcome Ellegor, J. Frederick Selkridge, Innis Abel Horsford, Cyril A. Crichlow, Samuel McIntyre, John Thomas Wilkins, Mary Thurston, John G. Befue, William Ware, J. A. Lewis, O. C. Thurston, Venture R. Hamilton, R. H. Hodge, Edward Alfred Taylor, Ellen Wilson, G. W. Wilson, Richard Edward Riley, Nellie Grant Whiting, G. W. Washington, Maldena Miller, Gertrude Davis, James D. Williams, Emily Christmas Kinch, D. D. Lewis, Nettie Clayton, Partheria Hills, Janie Jenkins, John C. Simons, Alphonso A. Jones, Allen Hobbs, Reynold Fitzgerald Austin, James Benjamin Yearwood, Frank O. Raines, Shedrick Williams, John Edward Ivey, Frederick August Toote, Philip Hemmings, F. F. Smith, E. J. Jones, Joseph Josiah Cranston, Frederick Samuel Ricketts, Dugald Augustus Wade, E. E. Nelom, Florida Jenkins, Napoleon J. Francis, Joseph D. Gibson, J. P. Jasper, J. W. Montgomery, David Benjamin, J. Gordon, Harry E. Ford, Carrie M. Ashford, Andrew N. Willis, Lucy Sands, Louise Woodson, George D. Creese, W. A. Wallace, Thomas E. Bagley, James Young, Prince Alfred McConney, John E. Hudson, William Ines, Harry R. Watkins, C. L. Halton, J. T. Bailey, Ira Joseph Touissant Wright, T. H. Golden, Abraham Benjamin Thomas, Richard C. Noble, Walter Green, C. S. Bourne, G. F. Bennett, B. D. Levy, Mary E. Johnson, Lionel Antonio Francis, Carl Roper, E. R. Donawa, Philip Van Putten, I. Brathwaite, Jesse W. Luck, Oliver Kaye, J. W. Hudspeth, C. B. Lovell, William C. Matthews, A. Williams, Ratford E. M. Jack, H. Vinton Plummer, Randolph Phillips, A. I. Bailey, duly elected representatives of the Negro people of the world.

Sworn before me this 15th day of August, 1920.

Notary Public, New York County.
New York County Clerk's No. 378;
New York County Registers No. 12102.
Commission expires March 30, 1922.
Copyright (c) UNIA-ACL. All Rights Reserved

August 17, 2009


"Up! You mighty race, you can accomplish what you will."
--Marcus Mosiah Garvey

Marcus Mosiah Garvey, one of the greatest leaders African people have produced, was born August 17, 1887 in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, and spent his entire life in the service of his people--African people. He was bold; he was uncompromising, and he was one of the most powerful orators on record. He could literally bring his audiences to a state of mass hysteria. Garvey emphasized racial pride. His goal was nothing less that the total and complete redemption and liberation of African people around the planet. His dream was the galvanization of Black people into an unrelenting steamroller that could never be defeated. I consider myself, along with many others, as one of Garvey's children.

As a young man of fourteen, Garvey left school and worked as a printer's apprentice. He participated in Jamaica's earliest nationalist organizations, traveled throughout Central America, and spent time in London, England, where he worked with the Sudanese-Egyptian nationalist Duse Mohamed Ali. In 1916 Garvey was invited by Booker T. Washington to come to the United States in the hopes of establishing an industrial training school, but arrived just after Washington died.

In March 1916, shortly after landing in America, Garvey embarked upon an extended period of travel. When he finally settled down, he organized a chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League. The UNIA & ACL had been formed in Jamaica in 1914. Its motto was "One God, One Aim, One Destiny," and pledged itself to the redemption of Africa and the uplift of Black people everywhere. It aimed at race pride, self-reliance and economic independence.

Within a few years Garvey had become the best-known and most dynamic African leader in the Western Hemisphere and perhaps the entire world. In 1919 Mr. Garvey created an international shipping company called the Black Star Line. By 1920 the UNIA had hundreds of divisions. It hosted elaborate international conventions and published a weekly newspaper entitled the Negro World.

No other organization in modern times has had the prestige and the impact as the UNIA & ACL. During the 1920s UNIA divisions existed throughout North, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe and Australia.

Marcus Garvey & The Vision Of Africa, Edited by John Henrik Clarke
Black Power & The Garvey Movement, by Theodore Vincent

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Diáspora Negra: The African Presence

This weekend La Pena Cultural Center is hosting a wonderful program, La Peña presents: Diáspora Negra: The African Presence in Latin America. I attended the symposium on Friday evening before the show. The guests were: Nancy Ramierez, Bolivia; Monica Rojas, Peru; Jorge Alabe, Brazil (with company member acting as interpreter),and Virgilio Guevara, Columbia.

I'd hosted a show earlier in the day about the weekend series and was interested in finding out more about Diaspora Negra. The symposium was a huge disappointment, though Avotcja acting as emcee filled in many of the gaping negative spaces in the "expert" discourses earlier that evening for Bolivia and Columbia, particular. I don't know if it was the microwave fashion the moderator used to keep the guests on the tight time schedule or the panelists really believing the hype they presented as truth to the gullible or not so gullible audience.

I was up for a few hours when I returned home researching the African presence in Latin America: Columbia, Bolivia and Peru in particular. I am familiar with the African presence in Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico....not so much Uruguay and Paraguay and Argentina.

What I didn't understand in the panel presentation was why the presenters knew so little about the African presence, that is, how the culture reflects the spirituality of the community--it's not just a performance. I wondered if any of them knew the remarkable film, "When the Spirits Danced Mambo." It wasn't just ignorance; it was misinformation. On panelist when asked about the intersection of the sacred and profane in secular performance, said the Africans in Peru were reconstructing a history they didn't know, that they were making it up.

She was challenged by a member of the audience, who didn't claim to be an expert, yet knew many Peruvian songs where Orisha were named. How could this be a coincidence? How is it possible that the singer didn't know the reference, especially when the dance was one the mirrored this deity?

I am on a list-serve for Runoko Rashidi, a scholar and expert on the Global African presence. When I got home and looked at the sky--cloudy, so no visible meteor showers for me...I turned on the computer and did a search for Bolivia and read about eight articles he posted.

I read about an African president of Columbia, Jose Nieto Gil. Not only has he been hidden from sight literally--his portrait was painted over white, he is not in the official line-up of chief executive officers on state walls and except for a few interested scholars, Afro-Bolivins and others are still ignorant about former governor's service as president in 1861. Overlooked in all the history books, unless one subscribes to BBC, a government which suppressed this information for all these years is certainly not going to make PSAs announcing this wonderful information to citizens who have been marginalized and exploited for most, if not all of their sojourn in this nation. See

No one mentioned the first African Bolivian king, Julio Bonifaz Pinedo descendant of Bonifaz, who "was brought to Bolivia as a slave in the 16th Century to work in the silver mines of Potosi. Like most slaves who survived the mines, Bonifaz was later traded to estate owners in the plantations of Los Yungas, where the climate is more akin to sub-Saharan Africa. Today, more than 35,000 Afro-Bolivians continue to feel overlooked in a country that recently approved its first 'multi-ethnic and multicultural' constitution" (Andres Schipani BBC News, Murarata, Los Yungas).

I reread so much information about Peru, from Saint Martin De Porres, the African saint, canonized May 16, 1962, to Runoko's linguistically descriptive jaunts into historic Peruvian civilization and the early African explorers who he says accompanied Spanish invaders as soldiers and translators in the sixteenth century, followed by enslaved Africans in 1550s and slave revolts, a famous one led by Franciso Congo. Most of the Africans in Peru lived on the coast in Lima which developers are trying to take. I haven't even mentioned the famous city, Machu Picchu.

Runoko writes: "Contrary to popular belief, the first Africans to come to Peru did not come as captives, that is enslaved people. Rather, the country that is now called Peru in all likelihood became home to many of the first waves of Blacks who crossed into the Western Hemisphere tens of thousands of years ago. We have already found the bones of these ancient Blacks in Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil. Why would Peru be an exception? And then there is the Moche civilization.

"Peru is probably the most archaeologically rich country in South America and one of the most important phases of its history is the Moche period. The Moche (or Mochica), a militaristic people little known to all but a few of us, erected their empire along the Peruvian coast around 100 C.E. and were not eclipsed for seven hundred years. They built their capital in the middle of the desert around what is now the city of Trujillo. It featured the enormous pyramid temples of the Huaca del Sol and Huaca de la Luna (The temples of the Sun and the Moon). The Temple of the Sun, one of the most impressive adobe structures ever built in the Western Hemisphere, was composed of over a hundred million mud bricks." He also says that Afro-Peruvians are almost invisible in Peruvian society, numbering "about two million people out of a total population of about twenty-three million." Runoko was able to find one black taxi driver, he writes whose English was limited to the words, "black power." Was that a sign (smile).

We are still talking about Diáspora Negra, the point is despite great odds Africans still exist, they are still present in the Latin Diaspora, a place which unlike America, does not even pretend to celebrate African culture. It is amazing that these communities have been able to celebrate life and spirit and their Africanness via dance and music and song.

This context was not completely missing from the discussion, but the context of "greatness" was, that these people are great people whose music and dance are but a reflection of the strength they have to endure despite the odds. It is their spiritual traditions which allow them to exist in a climate --politically and socially and certainly economically which would rather they disappear, vanish, be gone.

I used to love attending Cine Accion in SF because the films would explored aspects of the African Latin Diaspora unexplored previously. I also liked the discussions such films would prompt the audience to explore. I saw a film about Columbia in this festival and it was about these community radio stations which were produced clandestinely--in houses, on rooftops, because the government wanted to shut them down--these DJs were the voice of descent. They bravely told the stories of the black people who didn't have access to jobs, land, or housing. They would report the police brutality, the deaths and also what was going on in the community people should support.

The Afro-Columbians were exiled in the mountains or desolate and poor regions, pushed out away from public view. The comparison would be the favelas in Brazil.

So anyway. I was disappointed in the shallowness of the presentations last night at La Pena. I was also disappointed in the absence of black faces, people who looked like me, people who could not pass the brown paper bag test, people who could not choose to ignore their African descent because they wore it daily and were responded to daily based on that physicality, often negatively.

I would have found it amusing, but the matter is too serious for laughter, espcially when one of the panelists said a movement was underway to invite all Peruvians to acknowledge their African roots even if they are not visible. She joked about her invisible legacy. This policy reminds me of the flawed policy at MoAD: "Everyone is African by origin." It's as if the definition of African or blackness is expanded to include people who had never thought to claim it, because of the skin they are in, then perhaps this inclusion of "other" will make the powers that be, who also look like "other" claim the darker siblings?

I am not holding my breath. The premise is the world is colorblind when of course it is not. I think those of us with means should spend them helping our brothers and sisters in the Americas--here and elsewhere. If the Bolivians are trapped physically in an area of the country, albeit beautiful, cut off from roads and transportation, limited to work in the plantation fields, then African people with means should meet with them and see how we can help them out of poverty. The days of waiting for municipalities to save us are over. Isn't 500 years enough time to realize that the 40 acres are not coming? I am not saying let America off the hook, but none of these western nations, here, in Latin America or elsewhere is giving up anything without a court battle and though it is already happening in the United States, I don't know if there are any cases pending in any courts in the rest of the Americas.

I am going to host another show to talk more about Diáspora Negra (probably in October, Maafa Awareness Month). Runoko will be traveling in this region if all goes according to plan, so maybe I'll have him on in September for a preview.

The radio show Friday was good. My guests were from Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, and Columbia: Diana Suarez, Colombia, Pedro Rosales, Peru, Guido Moscoso, Bolivia, Sandy Perez, Cuba, and artistic director, Gabriela Shiroma.

I enjoyed the conversation, especially, Diana's voice in our discourse, the shift when she began to talk about what was happening in Columbia to the black people. When I've spoken to Pedro in the past he has spoken about the history of African people in Peru and the connection of the music and dance to that experience. I just assumed that the artists would also be the panelist later on. I was mistaken. Gabriela wasn't even on the panel and this is her vision.

I am really interested in how our African legacy is replicated regionally in this hemisphere despite linguistic differences and geographic separation. I think those of us in the western hemisphere have more in common than we differ, more in common with each other than with those Africans on the continent who never left--enslavement was different from colonialism.

Although the two systems are brutal and share other similarities, slavery is to colonialism what house arrest is to incarceration. Those who remained stateside also lost, but they have linguistic access we whose first languages are those of the captor, do not have.

There are places in our consciousness we cannot go unless it is through a rhythm or a melody--a trigger which captures something lost --something inexplicable cognitively, yet so right we catch it like a fleeting memory, a fragrant we want to savor, wear and show off and revisit again and again.

Energy cannot be just changes, it adapts and it keeps on keeping on, so it is with Diáspora Negra: The Global African Presence.

The second, and final day begins at 6:45 p.m. with another panel,this one featuring guests who will speak about Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Sandy will be on the panel, so I know it will be good. I don't know the others. The show starts at 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Buster Williams Quartet

The Buster Williams Quartet was in town for one night, Tuesday, August 11. Although you can't see her, on piano is Patrice Rushen. The others are Buster on acoustic bass, Bennie Maupin on reeds and Cindy Blackman on drums. When I arrived Bennie Maupin was performing a solo on his soprano saxophone, I'd missed the baritone clarinet I decided to stay for the second set. The licorice stick was silent, but I'd heard it Sunday, so I was disappointed but okay.

I'd been reading up on Buster's life...tentatively scheduled interview which I knew wasn't happening as friends and fans lined up to speak to him after his last song. I was seated behind John Handy whom Buster played with. Who hasn't played with the "first call bassist," from age 17 to 20 to now?

Born in Camden, New Jersey, the son of a bassist dad. The eldest of five would practice after school and play for his dad at dinner. Isn't that a great image? His first professional gig was with Jimmy Heath, then Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt just out of high school. A great storyteller, he writes that his parents gave him a bible and told him to always keep enough money to catch a train back home.

He didn't, but it was a nice thought when he was stranded after Gene ran off with the band's money. After studying harmony and theory at Combs College of Music in Philly, Buster was off to Wilmington, Delaware for a gig with the Gerald Price Trio, which led to his first overseas gig with Sarah Vaughn, by way of Betty Carter and Dakota Staton. He was 20, he writes and on the French Rivera in the company of Miles Davis, Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, George Coleman, and Tony Williams.

As I looked at his discography which printed ran about 5-6 pages, I didn't know he was old enough to have played with Illinois Jacquet. He even played with James Brown, Freddie Hubbard, Art Blakey, Art Farmer, Frank Morgan, Carmen McCrae, Dexter Gordon, Chico Freeman, Chick Corea, Cecil Payne, Hank Jones, Herbie Hancock, Houston Pearson, Hilton Ruiz, Mary Lou Williams, Kenny Barron, Jimmy Smith, Shirley Horn, Oliver Lake, Nancy Wilson, Ron Carter, Sonny Fortune, Nnenna Freelon, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Norman Connors, Roy Ayers, Woody Shaw, Chet Baker, Terry Lynn Carrington, Cindy Blackman, Bennie Maupin, Steve Turre, Prince Lasha--yes, I should have known when I saw, Sonny Stitt, Sonny Fortune and Sonny Simmons listed.

He's got movie scores, commercials and a Grammy long ago--1980 for his contribution to the album, "Love for Sale"/The Great Jazz Trio with Hank Jones and Tony Williams, he certainly deserves another and a win this time.

When I met Buster he was performing with Spear, a tribute band celebrating the music of Thelonius Spear Monk. The evening repertoire included the famous work, Epistophy, which Buster defined with an example.

"I looked up epistophy. Does anyone know what it means?"

"To go around in circles." One man said.

"Not quite. Take the Declaration of Independence: For the people, by the people, for the people.... That is an epistophy."

Other songs in the second set were from Greek Myth, a concerto blends, and a esoteric piece called the 9th Wave based on a German painting of these guys floating on a few planks on the ocean, a huge wave rising above them. Will they make it?

The 9th Wave, the 9th Ward...9 lives. Buster said this song is for all those people who have lived to tell the story about riding that wave.

The club was full. It's not every day that one sees Buster as a leader, even though he took the plunge with Something More about about 19 years ago. This present band-I don't know if he calls it...Something More Too, features the powerful Cindy, elegant Patrice and fluid Bennie...with Buster holding down the center--like gravity only not as heavy.

Witty, he played "Toku-Do," a tune written for his son. "Yes, I have a son, and my baby's mama is my wife of 44 years. He must have gotten married at 20-something. He left us with the metaphor and the bow was his closing the ensemble walked off stage. I actually stayed for the second set because I wanted to take a photo of their bow.

Maybe next time. Bennie Maupin and Buster will be back soon.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Francisco Torres: SF8

Once again I had to drive to San Francisco this morning, a late night the prior evening had me moving a bit slower than usual--the San Jose Jazz Festival's closing set with Buster Williams' Quartet featuring: Cindy Blackman on drums, Bennie Maupin on reeds and Patrice Rushen on piano was awesome, but we got out at about 10:00, visited for another half hour and then I had to drop three people off who lived no where near me.

Fatigue and my inability to get myself together: black pants had a tiny hole near the zipper and I couldn't see the eye of the needle to get the thread through the hole--(I need to get my new prescription filled)meant the public transportation option was not an option at 8:30 AM this morning.

Clothes laid out the night before, I'd planned to wear my designer Free the San Francisco 8 t-shirt, which I did. Then there was the problem of which hat to wear. With the increased heat I wanted to protect my eyes and skin. Today was a spare the air day...smog visible on the horizon.

As I said, it was crazy hot...still is and the sun is down. I felt bad that I had to drive today, but I couldn't miss the proceeding. Once we were inside the court, one young woman we'd met in the hallway as we looked for the courtroom said, "That was fast."

I got the impression that she'd expected something exciting to happen, like heated arguments or an acquittal (smile). I'd expected an acquittal. After all, the prosecution said last month when exonerating the four members of the SF8: "there is insufficient evidence to prosecute."

My intention was to walk to BART and conserve energy, but it's good I drove. After the short preliminary hearing, which was postponed until October 9, 9 AM in Room 22 (3rd floor). I ended up giving Elder Freeman, who was hit by a car last year, his left leg injured, Shabaka who uses a cane, and Jahahara who was pooped after walking from the Transbay Terminal, curbside rides back to the East Bay were certainly welcome. I just wish the brothers had given me a tip (smile). Gas is hovering near the $3.00 mark again.

But let me get to the hearing--brief that it was.

When I arrived, Greg and Elena along with a few other comrades were in the security clearance line at 350 Bryant near the doorway, the line snaking its way to the scanner. By the time my turn came to walk through the monitor, Greg, Elena, Claude and everyone else who I recognized, all disappeared into the elevator. When I reached the third floor it was a ghost town.

So I started checking courtrooms. Judge Mascone was not presiding in Rm. 22,and upon further investigation and inquiry of a few people on the floor, I couldn't find where he'd been relocated.

All those people couldn't have disappeared!

I went downstairs as advised by a woman in a suit (she could have been an attorney) and checked with the clerks in Room 101. I was advised that Moscone was in Room 22. OK, maybe I was looking too hard and missed them.

I rode upstairs and checked again.

Nope, nada, not there.

When I went back downstairs and told the clerk he wasn't there, she told me to ask the clerk in Rm. 22 what the new room assignment was...that would have taken more time than I had as the court was full and I couldn't interrupt her, I responded. Tough was the answer and the look.... But a kinder woman told me to check Rm. 24.

I'd run into Jahahara and Charles and another comrade as I was wandering the halls on the third floor. As we boarded the elevator to try Rm. 24, a man getting out said he'd just left the courtroom and that he'd show us where they were.

Immediately when we walked back down the familir hall and Jahahara opened the outer door and I looked through the window, there was Cisco's back to the chamber audience, with his attorney. Kiilu was seated not far from the entrance, three of the SF8 members: Ray, Hank, Richard, and their supporters, many of whom had on Free the SF 8 tee shirts. Hamidyah was there, Javad, Joan, Nelly Wong, Scott Braley, and others.

The turn out was impressive and we filled both sides of the room. The rally earlier had been spirited I heard, with about 70-80 people.

Almost as soon as we sat down Judge Moscone came in. The prosecution said a few words after the judge announced the case number and name, Cisco's attorney asked for a continuance to review the material, the prosecution plans to use for its case. The judge asked if he would have enough time given the volume of material--Cisco's attorney said it was enough time.

There is no new material, no new evidence which is why all the other courts have thrown out the case, which is the reason why this trial and this continued pursuit of these men, formally eight, now Francisco Torres, the United States government, State of California Attorney General's office wastes valuable resources, resources which could be directed towards education, health care, and numerous other programs cut or underfunded as the budget is balanced on the backs of the disenfranchised citizens of this state.

Despite our calls to drop the case last month the state continues its charge to pin a guilty verdict on our brother. Wishful thinking is not sound evidence, yet losers, these losers, three-four time losers seem to think the tea leaves will give them a different outcome.

What is the definition of a crazy person (read crazy corrupt legal system)?

SF8 defendant, Jalil Muntaquim's brother David Brown was there looking a lot better than when his brother plead "no contest" and four SF8 men were exonerated. He said Jalil was in Oklahoma, as of Saturday, August 8. The federal government was trying to decide which New York prison the men (Jalil and co-defendant, Herman Bell) would be relocated to.

I hope the next news will be of the men's parole success. (Listen to an interview with Cisco, his attorney, Hank, Ray, Richard Brown, and Harold in July's archived shows at

Besides Shabaka ji jaga's visit from Memphis, another person in town this weekend with his partner, Saki Hall (Free Speech Radio, Atlanta, GA), was Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots. We hope to speak to him August 29 on Wanda's Picks Radio Special edition, 6-8 AM PST. He will be on the ground in New Orleans. We will have our report back the following day, Sunday, August 30, 5-9 PM at Shashamande Restaurant and Bar on Broadway Street in Oakland.

(I included with Cisco's remarks at the Free the Cuban 5 event August 7, a photo of Alicia, representative for the United States Defense Committee and Carlos, who participated in the program. There is also a shot of the exhibit title. The work of political prisoner Antonio Guerrero's "From My Altitude," is up through August 31 at La Pena Cultural Center in Berkeley. Listen to an interview I had with Alicia and Carlos at Wanda's Picks Radio.)