View of Alcatraz, approaching by ferry

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.

Courtesy of Free Burma Action Committee.

S.F. Organizer Sees Repetition of Brutal History in Myanmar Military Coup

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.

Anti-Asian Violence Resurfaces Narratives Shaped by White Supremacy

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.

Photo courtesy of Tongo Eisen-Martin

SF Poet Laureate Tongo Eisen-Martin on Poetry as Revolution

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.

Activists, including Cat Brooks with the Anti Police-Terror Project, announced their plans for a weekend of virtual training and ceremonies and a car caravan on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at a virtual press conference Friday.

Oakland Activists Lead Car Caravan, Virtual Events Inspired by Teachings of MLK

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.

Kyra Kyles, left, and Erianna Jiles. Photos courtesy of YR Media.

In 2020, Youth Media Engaged With Election, Pandemic, Racial Reckoning

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.

A registered nurse with the Florida Department of Health explains the process of specimen collection to a nursing home resident in Northeast Florida, May 1, 2020.

Senior, Disability Advocates Mobilize to Ensure Care Facility Residents Vote

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.

Workplace Inclusion Expert Reflects on Federal Diversity Training Ban

In September, news broke that diversity and inclusion trainings at two research labs in the Bay Area were being suspended at the direction of the White House. President Trump issued an executive order characterizing trainings about racism, sexism and white privilege as anti-American propaganda. Federal employees and contractors, including researchers at federally funded labs and immigration judges, are now prohibited from engaging in that kind of training. Lauren Aguilar, who holds a PhD in social psychology and is president and founder of the inclusion and diversity practice at the consulting group Forshay, described the language in the executive order as Orwellian and said the ban ignores evidence that everyone has biases which influence decisions about workplace diversity and inclusivity. Eliminating workplace programs designed to address those biases, Aguilar said, can result in highly skilled employees leaving their workplace, or their field entirely, when discriminatory work environments are allowed to persist. 

“In the federal government’s eyes, unconscious bias is like a dirty word.