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.
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.
The new documentary “The Boys Who Said NO!” shows how young draft resisters built a massive movement with a commitment to nonviolence that followed in the footsteps of civil rights organizers. Hundreds of thousands of people ultimately refused to be drafted into the military.
AIDS2020: Virtual, the biannual conference of the International AIDS Society, held in early July, marked a turning point for long-term HIV/AIDS survivors — and not a good one. Five of us in San Francisco who have been on the front lines of the fight for our LGBTQ and HIV communities from the very beginning, left the event feeling sidelined and fed up. So, we met to discuss the myriad issues confronted by us long-term survivors. The result: The San Francisco Principles 2020, which we hope will be the seed for a new movement.
At a march planned for Thursday evening in San Francisco, activists say they will demand that the Board of Supervisors put forward a budget with deep enough cuts to the city’s police and sheriff departments to reduce the number of officers in the city by 200.
In response to the disproportionate law enforcement violence against people with mental illness and amid ongoing calls to defund or reform police, activists with the Anti Police-Terror Project on Friday night will launch an initiative in Oakland designed to offer an alternative to calling the police in mental health crises. The initiative, called M.H. First Oakland, will begin operations as a hotline with the number (510) 999-9MH1.
This year the census, a constitutionally mandated count of every person in the country every 10 years, is being conducted primarily online for the first time. While the shift offered convenience to the digitally connected, many communities already considered “hard to count” include people with limited digital tools or literacy that put the digital questionnaire out of reach. With the coronavirus pandemic and confusing federal directives, the in-person enumeration most likely to document them has been delayed and cut short.