More than half a century after they occupied the island in a monthslong protest for indigenous sovereignty, Native American activists gathered on Alcatraz on Saturday to watch the nation’s first indigenous secretary of the interior commemorate the occasion.
The Rev. Amos Brown, senior pastor at Third Baptist Church of San Francisco and president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP, is on both committees. He discussed with “Civic” California’s legacy of racism and what form reparations could take in this state and city.
Photo Essay — Return to Alcatraz: National Park Service Honors Native American Occupation 50th Anniversary
With the help of the original occupiers, indigenous rights activists, photojournalists and historians, the National Park Service installed a prominent exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the island occupation — “Red Power on Alcatraz Perspectives: 50 Years Later.”
Return to Alcatraz: 50 Years After Native American Occupation, National Park Service Considers Permanent Cultural Center
As California reopens to tourism, Alcatraz is once again drawing visitors from around the world and featuring an exhibit celebrating the 19-month-long Native American occupation of the island 50 years ago. And in a dramatic, if delayed, response to the occupation, the National Park Service is contemplating the installation of a permanent Native American cultural center on Alcatraz in collaboration with a group that formed with that as one of its key objectives more than 50 years ago.
When Ko Ko Lay has managed to speak to his 86-year-old mother living in Myanmar under a military regime, she has told him she cannot sleep through the night. Like many civilians, she fears armed nighttime raids. “They are so worried about one day some security forces will come and will break through their door, and and they’re going to torture, and they’re going to kill,” Lay said.
On Feb. 1, after a democratic election, Myanmar military forces seized control of the government and declared a year-long state of emergency. Civilians have been protesting that takeover, and the military has responded with deadly use of force, killing hundreds, including at least 40 children.
“Law enforcement budgets are like the weeds that choke out all other spending,” said James Burch, policy director for the Anti Police-Terror Project and the Justice Teams Network and president of the National Lawyers Guild Bay Area. Burch spoke with “Civic” about the trial and the movement to defund law enforcement.
Jeff Chang, author of several books including “Who We Be: The Colorization of America and We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation,” has written extensively about this history and talked with “Civic” about the legacy of white supremacy and how it has influenced the discussion of recent anti-Asian violence: quietly rather than overtly.
San Francisco’s new poet laureate, Tongo Eisen-Martin, is a city native raised by local organizers, and his work is deeply political. On “Civic,” Eisen-Martin reflected on national politics in the wake of the summer uprisings against police brutality and racism, the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and the presidential inauguration.
Organizers with the Anti Police-Terror Project every year mark Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with demonstrations that underscore King’s revolutionary teachings — the ones that made him a target of political criticism and law enforcement.
This year the activists have adapted their events to the pandemic, hosting virtual training and ceremonies. Their three days of events were to culminate in a car caravan from the Port of Oakland to the Eastmont Mall at noon Monday.
Newsrooms across the country have been in overdrive most of this year, covering a global pandemic, a primary and a presidential election and protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Contributors with YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists, many of them people of color, have been covering the events of 2020 with reporting and perspectives that are rarely afforded space and attention in national or corporate outlets.
The coronavirus pandemic has transformed elections, and for people who live in residential care facilities like nursing homes, that may be creating barriers to participation. Last week, organizers with Senior and Disability Action called together advocates and experts to lay out what rights these residents have and how to ensure they are able to exercise them.