Friday, October 26, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show: The Fountain Project

Lloyd Gregory
Lena Sunday
A Benefit for The Fountain Project: Cure the Blues III with Lloyd Gregory and Lena Sunday is Monday, Oct. 29, 2012, 7 PM at Yoshi's in Oakland. This morning we speak to Ms. Sunday and Mr. Gregory as well as Dr. Erlene Chiang who is one of the founders of The Fountain Project, an organization that offers free medical clinic from both homeopathic and Chinese medicine and the best of western or allopathic modalities ten times a year. The next session is in El Cerrito on Nov. 17. Phone registration is Nov. 16 (510) 524-1057. Visit  For tickets: or (510) 524-1057.
Chris Chen
Desdemona Chiang
We close with an interview with playwright, Christopher Chen and director, Desdemona Chiang re: Chen's Crowded Fire Theater and Playwrights Foundation's  The Hundred Flowers Project which is in previews tonight (pay what you can), opening Saturday and continuing Wed.-Sat. at 8 PM Nov. 1-17, 2012 at The Thick House, 1695 18th Street, in San Francisco. Visit or call (415) 746-9238.  Music: Lloyd Gregory's A Moment in Time; Gentle Warrior and a smidgeon of Haiti (smile).

Michelle Banks & Rick Graham

I signed off accidentally, so I will host a special broadcast tomorrow morning before I head off for OneLife Institute's Spirit Silence Retreat. Visit

The broadcast will feature actress and producer, Michelle Banks and her partner, Richard Graham. They are producing an event which is bringing together deaf and hearing artists in Washington, D.C. for the first time called In-Sight and Sound: Live De(a)f Poetry,  Nov. 11, from 8 PM to 10 Pm at Busboy and Poets in Hyattsville, MD.

They have a kickstarter campaign we want to help them raise $3000.00 by Nov. 1 which means we don't have time to think, we just need to give. No amount is too small, because if they do not raise the minimum, which is $3000, they get nothing and this show next month sounds off the chart. 


The $3,000 will help cover production costs and artists' fees. 

For tickets: for tickets which are $15 dollars in advance, $20 at door, and half price for Veterans. The show is on Veterans Day.

This makes two weeks in a row where I had two one hour interviews rather than four half an hour interviews. Hum. I also planned to play an archived interview with Henry Grimes and Roscoe Mitchell from October 15, 2010, when Mr. Grimes was out here from New York, but time got away from me twice in one morning (smile). 

Mr. Mitchell is performing Sunday evening at Yoshi's in Oakland. They closed the show that Friday. Visit

Artist Bios:
Lloyd Gregory
Lloyd Gregory is a well-established classic jazz guitarist whose style is smooth, soulful, melodic, flowing and immediately likeable. What makes his approach distinctive is that it evokes unique hints of his extensive R&B roots. He is a master of both acoustic and electric guitar which is evident on Gentle Warrior,  Lloyd Gregory’s first album for Stanley Clarke’s label, Roxboro Entertainment Group. “As we grow in time, age, experience, knowledge and wisdom, there comes a time when it’s time to put it all to music and share it with the world,” Gregory states. “For this album, it’s time to make music for my friends.”
Although Gregory has released five critically acclaimed albums of his own, he has also recorded with Martha Reeves, MC Smooth and Freddie Stewart (Sly & The Family Stone); and has performed onstage with Rodney Franklin, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Gerald Albright, Lenny Williams (Tower of Power), Freda Payne, The Dells, and Lowell Fulsom. He spent years touring extensively while serving as the musical director for The Ballads, Natural Four and Jesse James, and performed on their albums. As a studio musician in Los Angeles, Gregory worked with producer Richard Perry and played sessions with top musicians such as Klaus Voorman (The Beatles), Arthur Adams (B.B. King, Quincy Jones), Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, George Benson) and Joe Sample (The Crusaders).
Raised in Cleveland a part of a musical family, Gregory is now primarily based in San Francisco and has been a popular entertainer on the Bay Area music scene for several decades. Minor 7th: Acoustic Music Review says, “Lloyd expertly fuses soul, pop and jazz, forging a hybrid that is both enjoyable and intellectually stimulating.” Visit

Lena Sunday
Lena Sunday born in San Francisco Bay Area. As a child played clarinet, flute while growing up in a large household with 4 siblings. To escape the noise, she'd climb up a tree to write poems created her own way of writing music and melodies. This was her beginning as a writer.  She'd sneak into a room, put a towel under the door to sing to records, usually interrupted by someone yelling, "Mama, Lena is in the room singing again with towel under the door." This was her beginning, as a singer.

While in college she joined the nationally and internationally award winning "Traveling Voices", a Gospel-Jazz Troupe.  In concert, their music spanned the history of America's musical roots, Spirituals to Gospel, branching out to blues and jazz.

As a Mezzo Soprano, she sang both soprano and alto, which contributed in developing her incredible range. Little did she know at that time, that her solo numbers she sang from the "Great American Music Book", would become such a part of who she is as an artist today. While singing with the "Voices" she also performed and wrote songs with a community of fellow singers, musicians and artists.

Her voice got the attention of well known CBS/Sony Jazz Artist and producer, George Duke, who offered her a job as a session singer on his albums, as well as, those he produced, guaranteeing her enough work to make her move to LA. She worked with many legendary and renown artists, such as Stevie Wonder. Her multilevel vocal range came in handy in her getting work as a singer for hire in commercial jingles, voice overs, video games, movie; TV Themes. As a writer she wrote for artists such as jazz legend, Nancy Wilson while touring with legendary artist such as Lou Rawls as a featured singer for four years traveling throughout the country and internationally, playing with symphonies and in jazz festivals.
Lena stepped away from the stage or studio to have a "normal life" saying she'd come back one day.

After surviving cancer she realized the day had come, with music still in her blood, she has returned with a bang! Performing to sold out packed houses, such as, San Francisco Bay Area's premier jazz houses, Yoshi's Oakland, Yoshi's San Francisco, The Rrazz Room, and Berkeley's Jazz School, where she brought audiences to their feet, after taking them on an emotionally charged journey.

Stellar Jazz Artist Ed Reed, 83 years young, who was voted "Male Vocalist Rising Star" in the annual Downbeat Critics Poll (2008, 2009, 2011) and in the annual Downbeat Readers Poll (2011) said,"When I first heard Lena sing I went home and told my wife, that girl reminds me of Billie Holliday. . . she is going places!" 

Lena is working on her debut CD, produced by Ray Obiedo, Jazz and Latin Jazz Artist, Composer and Guitarist, who worked with greats, such as, Herbie Hancock, Julian Priester,George Duke, Lou Rawls, Grover Washington, Johnny "Hammond" Smith, Tower of Power and Andy Narell.

Sunday's CD collaboration with Obiedo is much anticipated especially with both coming from such ecclectic musical backgrounds, which could only deliver something very special. From

The 100 Flowers Project World Premiere this weekend!

Christopher Chen (Playwright) Chen’s plays include Into the Numbers, The Window Age and Aulis: An Act of Nihilism in One Long Act. His work has been produced and developed at Central Works, Beijing Fringe Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Silk Road Theatre Project, Lark Play Development Center, hotINK Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Magic Theatre, Theatre Mu, Fluid Motion, Bay One Acts/Instrumental Theatre, Cutting Ball Theater, Just Theatre, Asian American Theater Company, and Crowded Fire Theater, co-commissioner and producer of The Hundred Flowers Project   with Playwrights Foundation. Honors include 2nd Place in the Belarus Free Theater International Competition of Modern Dramaturgy, a Ford Foundation Emerging Writer of Color Grant, finalist status for the Jerome Fellowship, and the Rella Lossy Playwriting Award (for The Hundred Flowers Project  ). He is a resident playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from S.F. State.

Desdemona Chiang (Director) Chiang is a stage director based in San Francisco and Seattle. She is Associate Artistic Director of Impact Theatre in Berkeley and Co-Founder/Associate Artist of Azeotrope, a Seattle-based artist consortium. She has directed at Crowded Fire Theater, Washington Ensemble Theatre, Balagan Theatre, SIS Productions, and Cornish College of the Arts. Assistant Directing/Dramaturgy: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Playmakers Rep, ACT Seattle, Arizona Theatre Company. Ms. Chiang is a former Drama League Directing Fellow and a TCG Young Leader of Color. She is an Associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and an alumna of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and Directors Lab West. BA, Integrative Biology and Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies: University of California at  Berkeley. MFA Directing: University of Washington School of Drama.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show Special Time

We'd hoped to catch up with Kendra Kimbrough, whose dance company is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this weekend (smile), but we were not. Winou Wakayo, director, Rehoboth Economic Development for Women and Children or "REDWC," whose organization just had its first graduation of its first cohort of women entrepreneurs. Visit

The fundraiser this weekend is a way for the director to support the next class, expand the project and pay for the on-going support for the children whom she is supporting financially.  The fundraiser to support these tenacious women is Saturday Oct 27th the Fund Raiser will be at 2525 8th St (at Dwight) in Studio 12 (the "Sawtooth Building") at 6:30pm EDWC will have a fundraiser for low income women and children in Ethiopia. All proceeds will go directly to the women, and their children, whose tenacity and hope in the face of great adversity is tremendous.

Ms. Wakeyo is cooking delicious Ethiopian Cuisine for her guests (smile). Unique and beautiful quilted hot-pads, made by the REDWC women will be for sale. The event is for all ages.

Next is an interview with Grace C. Stanislaus, Executive Driector, Museum of the African Disapora. She speaks about the current exhibitions: Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection and Tuareg and Anima: Photographs of GRACE by Elisabeth Sunday through Jan. 21, 2013.

We close with a short interview with director Ken Burns and subject in Burn's latest doc. The Central Park 5Raymond Santana. The film is in theatres Dec. 14, 2012. For an ironic twist of fate: New York is suing Burns for footage the investigative team (intentionally) overlooked visit

Music: Amikaeyla's "Dreamer" and "Being in Love."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Special: October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation

Noche Diaz is a young revolutionary who faces years in jail if convicted on unjust charges. He has been arrested five times since October 2011 and has had 11 charges piled on him in four New York City boroughs, all for observing and protesting the illegitimate actions of the New York Police Department.

Noche was one of the first members of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and helped organize protests that kicked off a citywide struggle against stop-and-frisk. He is well known to the people—and to the NYPD—for being a member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrol of Harlem

Noche joins us to talk about the October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. People are asked to wear black in solidarity and/or a black arm band with the name of a friend or loved one killed by police.

Call Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance (212) 335-9000 to protest charges against Noche Diaz and the Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, starting at 9:00 am. at 718 286 6000.  Tell the DA to drop charges from November 19, 2011 on Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Robert Parsons, and Morgan Rhodewalt and of course, Noche Diaz. 

Visit and to learn more about Noche's case visit 

Music: Hunter Poetry: Breath of Life, Leon Williams: The Creator Has a Master Plan.
BE AT THE COURTHOUSE TO make clear to the authorities and all those watching these trials that many are with these defendants and see this prosecution as totally illegitimate.  Cornel West puts the call out on youtube.    We'll be delivering copies of this resolution to DROP the charges on Tuesday.  Please sign it now.
  • Tuesday October 23: Rally 8:45 am Trial 9:30 am Queens Criminal Court, 125-01 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens Queens.
  • Tuesday October 30: Rally 8:45 am Trial 9:30 am 100 Center Street, Manhattan
  • Tuesday October 30: 6:30 pm Raise the Roof on the Legal Defense Fund Party, St. Augustine’s Church 290 Henry Street, Lower East Side.
Trials on outrageous charges against five courageous freedom fighters who put their bodies on the line to end the racist police policy of stop-and-frisk begin on October 23 and October 30. Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Morgan Rhodewalt, Bob Parsons and Noche Diaz could be jailed for 2 to 4+ years.

Make no mistake: what is being put on trial here is nothing less than the ability and right to stand up and say NO MORE to the racist policy of Stop-and-frisk,which terrorizes Black and Brown people throughout the city.

Without mass resistance and the actions of these people and hundreds more who put their bodies on the line in protest, stop-and-frisk would not now be so hotly contested in the city and the courts.  The even more urgent truth is that standing up to defend these freedom fighters has everything to do with putting an end to the crime of stop-and-frisk and the way a whole generation is being condemned to lives of criminalization, marginalization, brutality and the spirit-crushing, human-wasting confinement of the largest prison system in the world.

The authorities want to punish these people for having stood up for justice, and through doing that deliver a message that anyone who resists their criminal injusticewill pay a heavy price.  This must not go down!  If we allow them to be convicted and jailed without a massive fight, the battle against stop-and-frisk and the whole spirit of resistance will be seriously weakened. But if many, many people stand with them in this legal battle, if we beat this back, then the movement will gain further initiative pulling more people into the struggle.

BACKGROUND: Carl Dix is a revolutionary leader who initiated, together with Cornel West, the movement to Stop stop-and-frisk and End Mass Incarceration, including by leading a series of courageous non-violent protests of civil disobedience at police precincts throughout the city. Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Morgan Rhodewalt and Bob Parsons will be on trial in Queens on October 23 facing more than 2 years in jail for the protest in Queens on November 19, 2011.  The Queens District Attorney has piled charges on them, twice adding to the charges they faced months after their arrest.  This DA, who couldn’t or wouldn’t put on an effective case against the cops who murdered Sean Bell in 2006, is vigorously trying to put these freedom fighters in prison.  This makes it even more clear their intent to punish any who dare to stand up. This only underscores the importance of people coming to court to demand the charges be dropped!

On October 30 Noche Diaz, a leader in the movement to end mass incarceration who is known throughout Harlem as a member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrols and across the city’s campuses for speaking in classes against stop-and-frisk, goes on trial in Manhattan,facing more than 4 years in prison for politically calling out police who were brutalizing people.
14 more defendants will be tried in 2 more trials in Queens, and on November 5 and 27 
in Brooklyn, for a November 1, 2011 protest at the 73rd Precinct, which has the highest rate of stop-and-frisk in the city.

What You Can Do: 
  •      Attend the trial Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Check for updates
  •      Monday, CALL the Queens District Attorney, Richard Brown, starting at 9:00 am.  718 286 6000Tell the DA to drop charges from November 19, 2011 on Carl Dix, Jamel Mims, Robert Parsons, and Morgan Rhodewalt.
  •      Monday, October 29, call the Manhattan DA, Cyrus Vance staring at 9:00 am.  212 335 9000.  Tell the DA to drop charges from October 21, 2011 and March 27, 2012 on Noche Diaz.
  • ·         Spread the word on these outrageous prosecutions.
  • ·         Contribute money to help meet the costs legal defense($7000 so far).

The "Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That!" Network is a project of the Alliance for Global Justice, a 501c3 tax-exempt organization.  Tax-deductible contributions accepted, and checks should be made payable to the "Alliance for Global Justice, with "Mass Incarceration Network" in the memo line.  Other forms of contributions also accepted.

"Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That!" Network

c/o P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station
New York City, New York 10002-0900
Phone: 347-979-SMIN (7646)  * Email:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

FIRED UP! at 1 Year

Last night at the Clean Lounge, a Clean and Sober space located in Bayview Hunter's Point in San Francisco, LaSalle at Third Street, which is having its 1 year anniversary early November, was full of FIRED UP! women and supporters, family and friends. There was so much collective healing wisdom in the room. So many our sisters present had suffered tremendous pain and were now on the upswing of their journeys. Samantha Rogers, an original member of FIRED UP! and newest employee at California Coalition for Women Prisoners shared that she is graduating from her sobriety program Monday, October 22. Another woman, announced she is starting a new job Monday, and the woman I gave a lift to BART in Oakland shared with me her wrongful termination from a job as a para transit operator and her decision to go to college and get a degree. 

Much of what many of these women had suffered, and in the repair of their lives on the outside were still suffering, is captured in Joanna Sokolowski's film about LaKeisha Burton, the first juvenile in California sentenced to life imprisonment, Still Time. Released eight years ago, LaKeisha tells her story, not of necessarily the twenty year journey, but of her internal struggle or battle with the physical captivity and then her release. When she was locked up at 15 and sentenced at 16 to life, LaKeisha wasn't the only person affected. One of the beautiful aspects of this film is the parallel story, the cumulative affect of incarceration and how this shows up in LaKeisha's mother's body just as her daughter is about to be released. One also sees the impact on LaKeisha's uncle whom when we meet him is dying from terminal cancer.

LaKeisha's imprisonment seems to shatter her family, which according to her uncle, wasn't that close; and her return seems to bring the splintered edges of this family back together to heal from the trauma her absence caused.

At the event and in the film LaKeisha speaks to the 16 year old inside of herself. She recognizes that to a certain extent this child never had the opportunity to grow up and that she still suffers internally, even if she is no longer in view.  In a series of stills we get glimpses of this LaKeisha, as we also see how important LaKeisha and her mother are to each other.

In real time this is translated again when we see LaKeisha taking care of her mother, who suffered a stroke just before LaKeisha was released and cannot speak.

The stoic, resilient and optimistic LaKeisha in Still Time was multiplied in the room Saturday, October 20, 2012, as women shared their stories of imprisonment. One woman told me that all four of her children (two daughters, a set of twins) were taken by the state and adopted out to three families. She had her last child in prison, a son, and he was taken from her sister, and adopted out too. She told me of falsified records which painted her as a negligent mother, which was not the case. She is 24 years old, her children 4 to 15 months.

I contrast her story with those of other formerly and still incarcerated women compiled in Inside this Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women's Prisons by Robin Levi and Ayelet Waldman, with a forward by Michelle Alexander. The institutionally sanctioned and/or ignored sexual and medical abuse these women experience, quite a few as children, is appalling. These women have no rights "our government is obliged to respect" (1857 Dred Scott case

The mistreatment centered in the Dred Scott case, around the definition of "citizenship" and citizen rights. What Michelle Alexander raises in her book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, is that prisoners have no rights in the US Constitution so the issue is human rights. When one is incarcerated one is still a human being guaranteed certain basic human rights one of them Constitutionally guaranteed, "no cruel of unusual punishment."

When I put these terms in a search engine this came up from

"These exact words 'cruel and unusual punishment' were first used in the English Bill of Rights in 1689, and later were also adopted by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution (1787) and British Slavery Amelioration Act (1798).

"The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution states that 'cruel and unusual punishments [shall not be] inflicted.' The general principles the United States Supreme Court relied on to decide whether or not a particular punishment was cruel and unusual were determined by Justice William Brennan. In Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972), Justice Brennan wrote, 'There are, then, four principles by which we may determine whether a particular punishment is 'cruel and unusual'.'
  • The 'essential predicate' is 'that a punishment must not by its severity be degrading to human dignity,' especially torture.
  • 'A severe punishment that is obviously inflicted in wholly arbitrary fashion.'
  • 'A severe punishment that is clearly and totally rejected throughout society.'
  • 'A severe punishment that is patently unnecessary.'
'And he added: "The function of these principles, after all, is simply to provide means by which a court can determine whether a challenged punishment comports with human dignity. They are, therefore, interrelated, and, in most cases, it will be their convergence that will justify the conclusion that a punishment is 'cruel and unusual.' The test, then, will ordinarily be a cumulative one: if a punishment is unusually severe, if there is a strong probability that it is inflicted arbitrarily, if it is substantially rejected by contemporary society, and if there is no reason to believe that it serves any penal purpose more effectively than some less severe punishment, then the continued infliction of that punishment violates the command of the Clause that the State may not inflict inhuman and uncivilized punishments upon those convicted of crimes.'

Continuing, he wrote that he expected that no state would pass a law obviously violating any one of these principles, so court decisions regarding the Eighth Amendment would involve a 'cumulative' analysis of the implication of each of the four principles. In this way the United States Supreme Court "set the standard that a punishment would be cruel and unusual [,if] it was too severe for the crime, [if] it was arbitrary, if it offended society's sense of justice, or if it was not more effective than a less severe penalty.'"

What gives certain people the right to dismiss the basic needs of others? How does the interjection of state or government power especially when one is looking at the judicial system, translate as abuse? One visits these questions often when one looks at the stories of LaKeisha Burton and Samantha Rogers and other women prisoners and former prisoners who are victims of a judicial system that denies their humanity before they set foot in a court. More than one woman states in Inside this Place, Not of It how she had to first see herself as worthy of humane treatment, to let go of the fear that she might hold that she was not worthy of just and fair treatment behind bars, to be willing to stand up for herself even with allies were few if any.

LaKeisha spoke of how important visits and letters are to women inside, how this acknowledgement of their presence is often what keeps a woman going in a place where every breath is forced, oxygen in limited supply. From the stories of the women compiled and edited by Levi and Waldman, it seems that when there are no outside ears and eyes present in these places, the institution has no oversight and is not held responsible for egregious breaches of these women's human rights. In many of these stories, the women have no options especially when the warden and/or guard target them for punishment. One woman's mail was destroyed and she missed court dates for her release and important communication from her attorney. Still other women were not told of their medical status. One women's ovaries were removed without her permission and she was never told until Prison Focus sued CDCR for her records.

So many women speak of how they felt they deserved to be treated badly or others had been socialized into accepting mistreatment as the norm, like sexual and physical violence. The sentences also reflect poor legal consul and judicial malaise. Many of these women also as children had to take on adult responsibilities because their parents were drug abusers. More than one women interviewed spoke of mothers who gave them to men as sex toys to do what they wanted to them while their parents' watched. 

Despite the child abuse, in retrospect these women prisoners and former prisoners spoke of loving their mothers and understanding why these women did not protect their girls.

Teri Hancock, a child when convicted and whose mother was killed says: "[T]he ADW [or Assistant Deputy Warden at Western Wayne Prison] was stealing my stuff. I was eligible for camp at that time, which meant I was eligible to go outside the gates and work in society. But my papers kept disappearing. It turned out that he'd been shredding my legal mail, and had put a red flag on my file that said I was a problematic prisoner, so they couldn't trasnfer me out of Western Wayne. . . . He was trying to hold me there until my max day--that way he could have what he wanted (97).

"I had bruised all over my body, and he would tear me up. It would make me walk funny, and some of the officers would joke about it. They'd say things like, 'Oh, did you run into the mop bucket again?'

"Finally in 2001, after about a year, [the sexual] abuse got so bad that I decided to say something. I told the counselors, and they had me file a grievance against him, but the warden rejected it. They said I hadn't done it in a timely manner" (98).

The abuse continued and the officers kept targeting Teri for harassment, from "tossing her cell" to not telling her her father died until almost a week had passed and then they would let her use the phone. They told her she'd have to go through the man who was abusing her. He was the one to decide on her mental capacity. "Of course he said [she] was fine" (98).

Teri says "the assaults only ended when [she] wrote a letter to a friend who was at camp. . . . The camp then sent the letter to internal affairs. The ADW had his friends threaten [her] before the investigation. They told [her] that if [she] kept quiet [she] wouldn't be retaliated against. . . .  They said [she] wouldn't be retaliated against, [she] would be left alone. They said [she'd] be able to go home, but if the investigation continued, he'd lose his job, and then everybody would come down on [her]."

So Teri lied to investigators about the ADW, and she was transferred to another facility where she was still the target of harassment. The investigators didn't believe her new story and followed her there where Teri decided to seek legal help. She talks about the first meeting with her attorney which started out with a raid or toss of her room where all her legal notes were torn up and then before she was allowed in the visiting room she was strip searched "in front of everybody in the bathroom, even the male officers, because she'd kept the door open" (99).

This same officer tried to disrespect Teri in front of her attorney, but her attorney "got the attorney general to tell the officers that they couldn't abuse [her], they couldn't come into [her] room without permission, and they couldn't strip [her] without permission, unless [she] was on a visit or [she] was doing a random urine drop" (100). Then when she was transferred once again to the camp beyond the reach of the ADW, seven years after her sentencing she appeared before the judge who was according to Teri, outraged that she's spent so much time behind bars. The judge released her, yet the officers didn't agree.

Free now, Teri talks about her haunting nightmares where she sees the ADW, of how hard it is to look in the mirror, because she sees her mother in her reflection.

She sued the state again once she was released. "The state's answer [to the charges of sexual abuse] was that he's working at a men's facility now, so it's okay. From their point of view, whatever he did to me was all right because I was a convict. That really upsets me. How can a woman bring charges when they're abused, when they know they're just going to be retaliated against? Even the officer who was assigned to help women like me with this kind of case, she was really on the side of the officers. She lost paperwork on purpose and disciplined women who filed charges. Officers stick together, right or wrong" (100-101).

Francesca Salavieri, who suffered from mental illness as well as domestic violence and sexual abuse (both inside and outside prison), says "Today I see a therapist and I am on minimal medication. My belief in myself is what keeps me clean and sober. I'm not garbage. That was a hard lesson to learn. . . . I am not a criminal; I am a person led astray, who didn't have enough confidence to do the right thing. I am now a grown-up, and I take responsibility for my actions. I entered prison at forty-one, but emotionally I was twelve. That girl doesn't exist anymore" (Levi and Waldman 148).

Samantha Rogers says and so many women agree, that prison is not the place for women who are addicts. Prison is not a recovery program; when one gets out if one doesn't get treatment, one ends up right back inside.

FIRED UP!'s first anniversary celebration certainly lifted my spirits even as it pointed to how much work is left to be done. Recently released women were there, lots of women from Walden House and several women paroled this year after serving 20+ years. It's always great seeing the women hugging each other on the outside when the last time they saw each other was on the inside. It is a unique and special moment to witness these survivors of the Prison Industrial Complex, the New Jim Crow Slave Plantations.

Escaping is not a long term option anymore, what is needed are abolition strategies like legislation and lobbying and direct action. Visit and

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wanda's Picks Radio Show: Fired Up! One Year Anniversary

LaKeisha Burton speaking at The Fire Inside 15th Anniversary
(photo credit: Scott Braley)
Wanda Sabir and Deirdre Wilson, hosts of the 15th Anniversary
of the Fire Inside October 2011 (photo credit: Scott Braley)


LaKeisha Burton with Beverly "Chopper" Henry
Photo Credit: Scott Braley

We speak to formerly incarcerated woman prisoners, Samantha Rogers and Deirdre Wilson.  Joanna Sokolowski, filmmaker joins us as well to talk about the 1 year anniversary celebration, Sat., Oct. 20, 2012, of Fired Up! a network of people who have been or are currently behind the walls of San Francisco county jail building community with others who are committed to breaking down the barriers those walls produce. For information email or visit At the event Sokolowski will screen Still Time, a short film chronicling the life of the first juvenile given a life sentence in CA, LaKeisha Burton, who will also be present at the event.

Incarcerated at the age of 15 and released at 35, LaKeisha must start from scratch to rebuild her life, discovering that although being out of prison can be just as unpredictable as life inside, she can still find her way back home. The event tomorrow is from 6-8 p.m. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. The Clean Lounge is located at 1641 LaSalle Avenue, Bayview Hunters Point, San Francisco. There is a $5-20 donation; however, no one will be turned away.  The Clean Lounge is ADA accessible.If anyone needs a ride call (408) 386-8955.

We close with an extended interview with director, Zeinabu irene Davis, a director showcased in the film program currently at UC Berkeley's Pacific Film Archive, LA Rebellion: Creating a New Black Cinema Sept. 6-Oct. 30. Compensation, Davis's film, screens Tues., Oct. 23, 7 PM.

Her feature is proceeded by Iverson White's Dark Exodus which is online at  Zeinabu irene Davis is an independent filmmaker and full Professor of Communication at University of California, San Diego. A veteran of independent film and video, her vision is passionately focused on the depiction of African American women - their hopes, dreams, past and future.


Samantha Rogers

I was born April 5, 1967 to LouElla Hill and Will H. Rogers in El Central,California. I grew up in an okay functional family, at least I thought it was. Lot of trauma happened to me when I was about  4 years old. As I grew up at 15 yrs old I got into a lot of trouble. I ended up on drugs and going to juvie. When I turned18 years old and my juvenile record was closed I began a life of hurt and pain of not knowing why these bad things kept happening to me.

I had got into my addiction really bad and was sent to prison March 12, 1993, and for over 17 years my life was spent behind prison bars until June 14, 2010.

6 months after that I discharged off parole and have been in a drug recovery program in San Francisco and a member of Fired Up!

Deirdre Wilson

Deirdre Wilson is a former prisoner, a program coordinator for CCWP and a mother. She began to work with Free Battered Women /CCWP shortly after she got out of prison because “the whole FBW/CCWP community made me feel honored for surviving my experiences and accepted me just as I was—a rare feeling for people released from prison!” Visit
Joanna Sokolowski
Graduate Student, SocDoc Program

Joanna Sokolowski is an independent documentary filmmaker completing a Master’s degree in Social Documentation at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Joanna was a recent recipient of the UC Berkeley Human Rights Fellowship and a presenter at the UCSC Art Dean’s Leadership Board. Her current project, STILL TIME is a 20 minute documentary film about life after prison, and is in partnership with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Joanna received her B.A. at Portland State University in Community Development with a concentration of Social Organization and Change.

Zeinabu irene Davis

Zeinabu irene Davis' life as a film and video maker began more than thirty years ago when the native Philadelphian visited Kenya as a student. Political unrest shut down the university she attended, but Davis found a mentor in Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o.After observing European filmmakers, who focused their cameras only on African wildlife, the writer told Davis to learn filmmaking herself so that African people could tell their own stories.

Davis did just that, and in the last three decades has made numerous films and videos, in the genre of narrative, documentary and experimental. Her work has questioned the dominant media image of black women, and depicted their political struggles as well as their psychological and spiritual journeys. A selection of her award winning works include a drama about a young slave girl for both children and adults, Mother of the River; a love story set in Afro-Ohio, A Powerful Thang and an experimental narrative exploring the psycho-spiritual journey of a woman as she awaits menses with Cycles. Her best known work, a dramatic feature film entitled Compensation features two inter-related love stories that offer a view of Black Deaf culture. Compensation recently completed its two-year broadcast run on the Sundance and BlackStarz! Cable Channels.  The film was selected for the dramatic competition at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, and was the winner of the Gordon Parks Award for Directing from the Independent Feature Project in 1999.

Davis' most current work is in documentary.  Trumpetistically Clora Bryant, a feature documentary that reveals the life and contributions of a Los Angeles based "trumpetiste" who played for over 50 years played on the festival circuit in 2005.  In 2009, Zeinabu released a short work about a mother and son on an airplane trip, Passengers, now available on Current TV online.  Momentum: A Conversation with Black Women PhDs was recently completed in 2010.  Davis recently became a mother and was inspired by her daughters to work on a video documentary/essay on breastfeeding, Co-Motion: Tales of Breastfeeding Women.  She is also working on a documentary on Spirits of Rebellion – the Los Angeles Rebellion Filmmakers – filmmakers who attended UCLA from the 1960s to the 90s. 

Zeinabu irene Davis holds an undergraduate degree from Brown University, a MA in African Studies and an MFA from UCLA. She frequently writes articles on African American cinema, which have been published in Afterimage, Black Film Review, Cineaste, Wide Angle and Hot Wire. She has also served as a panelist for the Independent Television Service, the Illinois and Ohio Arts Councils and on the editorial committee for the POV series on PBS. She has received fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Illinois and Ohio Arts Councils, the American Film Institute and the National Endowment for the Arts. She currently is a full Professor in the Department of Communication at University of California, San Diego.

At University of California, San Diego she teaches courses across the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, and sits on both Ph.D. and MFA committees.  Ms. Davis teaches a wide variety of courses including documentary production, television studio production, advanced digital editing as well as theory and history courses on Pan African and Black Women's cinema. See

Compensation screenings Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 7 PM
US, 1999, 92 minutes, BW, DVD
Order No. W03816

the first feature by award-winning filmmaker Zeinabu irene Davis (CYCLES and A POWERFUL THANG), presents two unique African-American love stories between a deaf woman and a hearing man. Inspired by a poem written by Paul Laurence Dunbar, this moving narrative shares their struggle to overcome racism, disability and discrimination. An important film on African-American deaf culture, Davis innovatively incorporates silent film techniques (such as title cards and vintage photos) to make the piece accessible to hearing and deaf viewers alike, and to share the vast possibilities of language and communication.

Preceded by Iverson White's Dark Exodus

Dark Exodus, is a narrative film concerned with the migration of African-Americans from the south to the north in the early 1900s, and with the impact of a lynching on one proud family. 16mm, sepia, 28 minutes, 1985:

Cycles Screened October 2, 2012 at PFA
1989, 17 minutes, BW, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99273

Rasheeda Allen is waiting for her period, a state of anticipation familiar to all women. Drawing on Caribbean folklore, this exuberant experimental drama uses animation and live action to discover a film language unique to African American women. The multilayered soundtrack combines a chorus of women's voices with the music of Africa and the diaspora-including Miriam Makeba, acappella singers from Haiti and trumpetiste Clora Bryant.