Race & Racism (News)

Oakland: How I Really Got This Black Eye

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 3:05pm

Last year, when I told friends I was moving to the Bay Area, they would all respond with equal parts joy and jealousy. "The Bay? Man, you're going to love it. The weather, the culture, the politics -- they've got all that." When I told them I was going to be living in Oakland specifically, the responses started to sound a little different. "Oh shit, The Town? You better watch your back." While folks were still down with the left-leaning, hip-hyphy, biracial baby that is the city of Oakland, they also made sure to tell me that this baby would jack me for my stroller if I wasn't smart.

But those were just scare stories. Right? Growing up in Washington, DC in the mid-90s, I'd seen both the reality and the exaggerated stereotype of the "murder capital." Violence at my high school and in some neighborhoods was all too real, but it was also an excuse for suburban commuters and absentee politicians (in this case, Congress, which controls DC's purse-strings) to disinvest from those same schools and neighborhoods, creating further inequality and violence.

West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure

Submitted by admin on Fri, 07/24/2009 - 4:32pm
West Oakland Family Fights Foreclosure Photo: © 2009  Oakland Post/ Gene Hazzard

By Ken A. Epstein

Tosha Alberty, holding back the tears, stood in front of her West Oakland house Tuesday, explaining how she, her chil- dren and grandchildren had been evicted that morning from their home by the Alame- da County Sheriff’s Depart- ment.

“I’m here, standing by the grace of God, doing all I can to keep this home,” said Alber- ty, who was born and raised in West Oakland and had bought the home at the corner of 10th and Willow streets in 2005. “Who are they helping with all the (bank bailout) money?” she asked. ”I need the money. I’m a worker, and I’m trying to raise my children.”

The sheriffs had forced their way into the home at 8 a.m. while Alberty was at work. The children were moved out onto the street, with many of their possessions still inside the home. The locks were changed and the windows boarded up. She has the organized back- ing of Oakland ACORN, as well as help from the offi ce of County Supervisor Keith Carson and City Councilmem- bers Rebecca Kaplan, Desley Brooks and Nancy Nadel.

At the time of this week’s eviction, with the backing of ACORN she had headed off two previous eviction attempts, and she was under the assump- tion that negotiations with the bank were still under way. When Alberty originally purchased the home, she paid $550,000 and had monthly payments of $3,800. Though she was unemployed at the time, a real estate broker ar- ranged a loan and told her that she would be able to refi nance in six months, she said. The family struggled to make their payments. Alberty found a good job – as a union employee working for the county – where she continues to work today. For two years, despite how high the payments were, she paid her mortgage on time and never missed a pay- ment.

Then her payments went up about $1,000 a month more, and she and her family could no longer pay. The mortgage Alberty called the bank to ask for help but was told there was nothing they could do, she said.

Luke Cole - Environmental Justice Lawyer Dies

Submitted by admin on Tue, 06/09/2009 - 5:24pm

Luke Cole, a San Francisco attorney who was one of the pioneers in the field of environmental justice - filing lawsuits for poor plaintiffs or people of color whose communities were being ravaged by corporate polluters - died in a head-on car crash Saturday in Uganda. He was 46.


Court: Abu Ghraib Victims Can Sue Torturers

Submitted by News Desk on Mon, 05/04/2009 - 11:07am

By William Fisher
A federal court has ruled that four men who were tortured and released without charge can sue CACI, the U.S. contractor hired to do interrogation

NEW YORK, Apr 16 (IPS) -- In a ruling that could have widespread implications for government contractors overseas, a federal court has concluded that four former Abu Ghraib detainees, who were tortured and later released without charge, can sue the U.S. military contractor who was involved in conducting prisoner interrogations for the Pentagon in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1998, denied a motion to dismiss the detainees' claims by the contractor, CACI International. The Arlington, Virginia-based company is a major contractor to the Defense Department.

Report Challenges Negative Image of Immigrant Elders

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 05/01/2009 - 5:02pm

Editor’s Note: Six million older immigrants live in the United States, a figure projected to triple by 2030. Advocates for these elders have set out to bring their voices –- and new respect for them as community contributors –- to the public and agency decision makers, who often dismiss them as mere clients seeking benefits.

If treated as partners, rather than mere users of public services, immigrant elders can help cash-strapped agencies solve problems in their communities, according to a new report.

AC Transit riders' claim of funding bias tossed

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 05/01/2009 - 4:58pm

A federal magistrate has dismissed a suit by AC Transit riders who accused the Bay Area's transportation funding agency of racial discrimination by steering state and federal money to trains with a relatively higher proportion of affluent white riders and away from buses that carry more poor and nonwhite passengers.



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