Saturday, December 29, 2007

Obama is Our Best Chance to "Keep Hope Alive" in 2008

Like longtime electoral and cultural activist Eddie Wong over 2 decades ago I was inspired by and became a part of the historic Rainbow Coalition campaigns in 1984 and 88. And I too have become active in the Obama '08 campaign with some of the same hopes as we had 20 years ago when our Jesse Jackson for President campaign won some seven million popular votes and registered 2 million new voters.

But most importantly, we used the rainbow coalition campaigns to:

1) Build a broader and more diverse base of support for progressive issues and our movements at the local level
2) Win concrete issues and influence public policy from the bottom-up
3) Use the electoral arena more strategically to build an ongoing multiracial organization and to open up political space for grassroots organizations
4) Successfully utilize media access and exposure for mass public education around social and economic justice issues. [For more see Applied Research Center's Multiracial Formations].
I think the intense Rainbow Coalition work of the 1980's also paved the way for many grassroots electoral activists and politicians like me. But the level of grassroots involvement and infrastructure to hold us accountable to our communities is much weaker today.

Though Obama has nowhere near the grassroots field campaign, or progressive vision/politics as Jackson had in the 80's, I believe his campaign gives our movements another historic opportunity, as Wong states, to "build bridges across constituencies and generations" and "for (progressive) change, for hope and for a better America."

Wong, a leader in the Asian American and Pacific Islander Leadership Council for the Obama campaign, comments in his Asian Week commentary The Man And The Moment:

Twenty years ago, as I stood in the bitter cold in a parking lot in Sioux City, Iowa, I saw a sight I thought I’d never see. A crowd of white meat-packers, big beefy men and their wives and children, shuffled their feet in quiet anticipation. They shielded their eyes against the low winter sun, stamping their feet for warmth on the frozen ground. They were waiting to hear my boss, the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
No one knew what to expect from this unlikely meeting of the Southern-born civil rights veteran and these heartland folk who had been on strike for months and were now down to their last savings. As Jackson began to speak, I could see heads nodding as he told them that their sacrifice was redemptive, and that they were not alone in their fight for fair wages and safe working conditions. He took their strike and cast it against the larger economic violence that came out of President Reagan’s
union-busting practices, and the failures of a trickle-down economy that brought wealth to the rich and poverty to the working poor. As Jackson spoke, he ignited a sense of pride and dignity in these men and women. He brought them to their feet with tears in their eyes with the cry, “Keep hope alive!”
Now, Senator Barack Obama is standing with the workers, farmers, students, elderly and others in Iowa, preaching a similar message of hope and offering a new way forward for our country. Just as Jackson offered a break from Reaganomics and repression, Obama would take us away from the destruction of Bush’s war policies and restore our democracy. Just as Jackson offered a message of hope across racial and class divides, Obama is building a bridge across generations and constituencies.
Obama is the new messenger of hope, justice and equality. His call for ordinary people to take back their government from the lobbyists and big business clients, who have reaped mega-profits through backroom deals, is exactly what we need at this critical moment when economic inequality is at an all-time high. His pledge to engage directly with foreign leaders who oppose us and with allies who should be our partners in solving intractable conflicts is exactly what we need. We need to build bridges and tear down walls.
This moment in United States history poses a turning point that can set the course
for decades. The crises posed by global warming, a protracted struggle against Islamic extremists, the deepening inequality in our country, our deteriorating infrastructure and declining educational system, and our tarnished international reputation cry out for new answers and new approaches. Obama is the best person to meet the challenges of this historical moment. He has shown a deep grasp of issues and, more importantly, exhibited the ability to listen to other points of view and find ways to build alliances across historic barriers.
Obama is the man with the vision, clarity and ability to meet the challenges of our times. He is the man, and this is the moment — for change, for hope, for a better

Eddie Wong is a member of the Asian American and Pacific Islander Leadership Council for Senator Obama. He was the national field director of the 1988 Jesse Jackson for President campaign. He is a media and political consultant based in Oakland, Calif.

More on Obama

The argument that Obama is an example of color blindness is not consistent with the campaign. While I respect the opinion of Angela Davis on many issues, there is a problem here. We should look at the actual campaign and the actual programs.
Also see Shelby Steele, of all people, on this topic in Time Magazine.
Rather than dismissing Obama, or relying upon others views, I urge readers to look at what he is actually saying. His campaign, for example, is far from color blind. It is not “beyond race” at all.
There are important articles from the campaign and about the campaign on my blog;
Also, there are articles for and against at our electoral activism blog at

Duane Campbell

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Obama Effect

Angela Davis quoted by Gary Younge in the December 31 issue of the Nation.

"[Obama] is being consumed as the embodiment of color blindness," says Angela Davis, professor of history of consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "It's the notion that we have moved beyond racism by not taking race into account. That's what makes him conceivable as a presidential candidate. He's become the model of diversity in this period...a model of diversity as the difference that makes no difference. The change that brings no change."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

'Count Me In' Campaign Victory at UC Campuses - Asian and Pacific Islander Students Counter the Model Minority Image

Photo from Pacific Citizen
Bravo to Asian and Pacific Islander students from UCLA and throughout California in their "Count Me In" Campaign victory for educational equity for Pacific Islander and South East Asian students in the University of California system.

After a year-long advocacy campaign, including rallies and a day of action where they delivered 2000 postcards in late October to the UC Regents, UCLA's Asian Pacific Coalition and supporters have succeeded in convincing the UC system to begin more accurately considering Asian and Pacific Islander applicants to the UC system by expanding categories of Asian and Pacific Islanders from 8 to 23 different ethnic groups.

At a November 19th conference on the UCLA campus UC VP of Student Affairs Judy Sakaki announced at the conference that, starting in 2008, the UC system will begin disaggregating the data for Asian and Pacific Islander applicants, so students can choose a more specific category for their ethnicity. The new application will also split the Pacific Islander category completely from Asian American.

UCLA's Asian Pacific Coalition [APC] is made up of 21 Asian American-Pacific Islander student organizations such as the Association of Hmong Students, the Pacific Islands Student Association and United Khmer Students. The APC serves as the main political voice of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities at UCLA. The organization acts as an advocacy group for Asian American and Pacific Islander student groups, and brings together the diverse communities to address educational, social, cultural, and political issues.
The APC is working also with other groups and state officials as well to improve access to higher education for low income and underrepresented students of color. Members of the APC promoted their "Count Me In" campaign and State Assemblyman Ted Lieu’s, D-Los Angeles, Assembly Bill 295 in a press conference at UCLA on May 31.
According to the UCLA Bruin, Lieu’s bill calls for state agencies that collect demographic data on ethnic origin, not including the University of California, to further separate categories for Asian and Pacific Islander groups. In addition to the existing groups of Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese, agencies would include 10 more Asian American groups such as Bangladeshi, Fijian and Hmong. The proposed divisions would mirror the method used by the United States Census.
While the enrollment numbers for some Asian ethnic groups are low and access to resources are limited, organizers of the campaign said such issues are ignored because the groups are widely identified as “Asian” and assumed to be academically and financially successful, victims of the "model minority stereotype."
UCLA's APC began their campaign in late 2006 as the direct response to anti-Asian sentiment expressed at UCLA and a student newspaper column that blamed APA students for lowered numbers of African American and Hispanic admits. The APC immediately hosted a forum to dispel the misconception and from there, the Count Me In! campaign was born, according to Pacific Citizen Asst Editor Lynda Lin.
Following UC VP Judy Sakaki's announcement of the UC changes Matt Krupick of the Contra Costa Times wrote:

Next year's [UC undergraduate] application will expand the number of Asian-American and Pacific Islander categories to 23 -- a nearly threefold increase from the current eight categories. The ethnic identification will continue to be optional and will not figure into admissions decisions, administrators said.
The 10-campus university adopted the change after thousands of students sent postcards to UC leaders as part of the "Count Me In" campaign, said William Kidder, a UC administrator who has studied Asian-American students. The effort will help the university track groups that have not been adequately studied, such as Hmong and Samoan students, he said.
...The number of Asian- Americans has surpassed white students in the UC system. ...But the numbers belie disparities within those groups, failing to illustrate the paucity of
students from certain countries. A UCLA study last year revealed that among adults 25 and older, 15 percent of Pacific Islanders had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 17 percent of African-Americans, 30 percent of whites and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.
The traditional statistical grouping of Pacific Islanders with Asians has made it difficult to improve college-going rates, Kidder said. Many Americans assume all Asian and Pacific Islander students share the high success rates of Chinese, Korean and Japanese students, he said.
"The 'model minority' myth ... has tended to make some of the differences harder to
see," he said. "It's rendered disadvantaged groups invisible."

Studies have shown that students from several southeast Asian countries -- including Laos and
Cambodia -- are not as likely to attend college as those from Asian countries with more developed higher-education systems.
"Southeast Asians are not getting their needs specifically met," said Muang Saephan, a youth counselor with the Oakland-based organization Lao Family Community Development. "You have some families who just got here and are barely aware of what college is."
Many southeast Asian students come from families that fled war-torn countries, said Aline Xayasouk, a third-year UC Berkeley student of Laotian descent. The Laotian students from Richmond she tutors often live in poverty and do not fit in with the Asian stereotypes of their classmates, she said.
"They always feel that people don't understand them and why they're failing," Xayasouk said.
The new UC application will include Asian categories of Chinese, Taiwanese, Asian Indian, Pakistani, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, Hmong, Thai, Cambodian, Laotian, Bangladeshi, Indonesian, Malaysian, Sri Lankan and other Asian applicants.
Pacific Islander categories will include Native Hawaiian, Guamanian/Chamorro, Samoan, Tongan, Fijian and others.
Lumping the groups together has prevented Pacific Islander groups from making the case for better funding for outreach programs, said Michael Tun'cap, a UC Berkeley doctoral student who grew up in Guam.
"It's long overdue for Pacific Islanders," he said. "The U.S. Census Bureau split the two groups eight years ago."

See Lynda Lin's excellent article from Pacific Citizen for more background.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

SF - On Thanksgiving Day - Celebrate Native and Indigenous People's Resistance and Give Thanks for Survival and Social Justice

See Monthly Review for the full story [An Occupation Worth Supporting] of the November 20, 1969 takeover of Alcatraz off San Francisco's Bay.
International Indian Treaty Council presents
33rd Annual Alcatraz Island Sunrise Gathering
To Celebrate our Resistance and Give Thanks for our Survival
- A special tribute and honoring of the Shell Mound Walkers, Elders, and the Veterans of Alcatraz.
THURSDAY - 11/22/07
UnThanksgiving Indian Ceremony
Date/Time: Thu., November 22
Price: free-$12
Contact Info: Event Website

Special guests, speakers and performances include:
MC: Bill Means, IITC Board Member
(Oglala Lakota), Mike Flores, IITC Board Member
(Tohono O’Odham), Ann Marie Sayers
(Ohlone); Radley Davis, Iss-Ahwi (Pitt -River);
Pomo Dancers; Shingle Springs Rancheria
Miwok Dancers; Aztec Dancers; Arigon Starr
(Kickapoo); Goodshield (Lakota); One Struggle;
and the All Nations Singers.
Tickets $12 per person, children 5 and under
free. Advanced tickets can be purchased online
at or by phone at 415-
981-7625. They can also be purchased the day
of the event at the Pier 33 Ticket Booth. This
event is wheel chair accessible. All are welcome.

• 4:00 am Alcatraz Cruises ticket office opens.
• 4:45 am First boat departure.
• 5:00 am Boat departure.
• 5:15 am Boat departure.
• 5:30 am Boat departure.
• 5:45 am Boat departure.
• 6:00 am Final boat departure.
• 8:00 am Boats begin return

About the 1969 Occupation, Mickey Z of Monthly Review writes:
"The occupiers," writes Ben Winton in the Fall 1999 issue of Native Peoples magazine, "were an unlikely mix of Indian college activists, families with children fresh off reservations and urban dwellers disenchanted with what they called the U.S. government's economic, social and political neglect."

"We hold The Rock," proclaimed Richard Oakes, a Mohawk from New York. Oakes became the occupiers' spokesman . . . and his words became their motto. "The occupation of Alcatraz was about human rights," said Winton. "It was an effort to restore the dignity of the more than 554 American Indian nations in the United States."
Over the course of the occupation, over 5,600 American Indians took part -- some for a day, some for the entire 18 months. Twenty-three year-old John Trudell, a Santee Sioux from San Bernardino, California heard about the occupation, packed a sleeping bag, and headed to Frisco. "He became the voice of Radio Free Alcatraz, a pirate station that broadcast from the island with the help of local stations" explains Winton. "When he hit the airwaves, the response was often overwhelming. Boxes of food and money poured in from everywhere-from rock groups such as The Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival (who staged a concert on a boat off Alcatraz and then donated the boat), Jane Fonda, Marlon Brando, city politicians, and everyday folks." For the first time in modern American history, the plight of Native Americans was making headlines.
The fledgling American Indian Movement (AIM) visited the occupiers and soon began a series of their own occupations across America. AIM would soon become a powerful multi-tribal protest organization . . . just one of the many important outcomes of the Alcatraz takeover. More.

From the SF Weekly -

They Fought the Law
By Silke TudorIn 1969, a group of young Native Americans led by charismatic SFSU activist Richard Oakes successfully occupied and held Alcatraz Island for 18 long months, citing the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty which stated that abandoned federal land must be ceded to Native peoples.
Initial attempts to starve the activists off the Island failed because mainland supporters risked arrest by rowing out supplies under cover of darkness. By the time the activists were forced off Alcatraz, public awareness had been raised and US policy toward indigenous people had been affected. It was a start. For 33 years, the Indigenous People's Thanksgiving Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz has commemorated its occupation (radical graffiti from the time can still be found on the island). Often referred to as the "Unthanksgiving Ceremony," indigenous spokespeople will readily dispel any myths you may have been fed as a child (according to John Two-Hawks, the first official day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop in 1637 to celebrate the safe return of his men from a massacre of Pequot) but the Sunrise Ceremony will not be wrapped in a fog of resentment. The transition from night to morning on this rugged outcrop is far too inspiring; as the sun rises over the water, the Native tribes will offer music, dance, and prayers of thanks to the wind. This year, with the recent adoption of the "Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" by the United Nations General Assembly, there might be a little something to be thankful for.

More - here and here on Indigenous People, Self-Determination and Solidarity.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Achievement Gap Summit: limits

November 13.
The California Dept. of Education and Jack O'Connell are hosting a major conference on the Achievement Gap at the Sacramento Convention Center on Nov.13 and 14. There is a wide diversity of speakers. Attendees, like myself, have a great deal of choice.
Perhaps I am just picking poorly. But, after the first day I observe that there are a great number of presenters claiming to be experts, each with a fix, and very few teachers making presentations.
Here is a part of the problem. You can not reform schools without bringing teachers along in the reform. Most speakers agreed that there is little evidence of improved scores in California.
So, 14 years of standards based reform. And, 14 years of test based reform. Little or no improvement in scores. Russlynn Ali of Ed trust west provided again the data.
If you want to influence teachers you will have to listen to teachers. You will have to know their views well.
So far, I have seen endless panels of experts and very few teachers. That is a part of the problem.

I recognize that this may be only a selection bias. Perhaps I just picked the wrong presentations. I tried to get into one panel described as teacher centered but it was full.
It was a good choice to have a debate between Chester Finn and Richard Rothstein.

Duane Campbell
The Achievement Gap Summit has spurred some media commentary on the problems of the schools. The letters to the Sacramento Bee were mostly people responding with their solutions without listening to the problems. This was a pattern at the summit also.
I have a solution, now where is the problem.
I attended the event and went to a number of presentations.
In a Morning Report on Capitol Public Radio this morning I heard Jack O’Connel say that perhaps the first step forward might be racial sensitivity training for all California teachers. This is another example of applying the solution without knowing what is the problem.
Perhaps for the hundreds of superintendents and associate superintendents and principals, racial sensitivity training would help. They need to learn to pay attention to the real problems.
However, for teachers, this is poor direction. California teachers since at least the early 1990’s have taken one or more courses in multicultural education and one or more courses in assisting English Language learners. Of course the quality of the courses varied. I have taught these and other courses.
A basic truth is future teachers want to do well, they want to teach kids and be successful. And then the data on NAEP, state tests, etc. show an achievement gap.
As pointed out by Russylnn Ali at the conference, most California kids do poorly. We rank at the bottom of the states in reading and near the bottom in math. This data was widely shared at the conference and accepted by almost all. It is up on the web sites of the conference.
Teachers, particularly new teachers, need a support in creating a positive productive classroom environment. This requires resources, time, support networks, and sufficient counselors in the schools. And, they need coaches who are successful teachers and experts in helping kids such as English Language learners. New teachers have non of these. Instead they enter a failing system, try to do well, get frustrated, fail more, and become less effective and more defensive. Richard Rothstein spoke to the resources failure. Lack of resources is a political failure.
Sensitivity training for teachers will not resolve any of these issues.
Next post: some limits to the white privilege argument.
Duane Campbell : Sacramento

Sunday, November 04, 2007

U.S. Senate puts off NCLB: apparently

Associated Press -- November 2, 2007
by Nancy Zuckerbrod

Washington -- The top two lawmakers on the Senate Education Committee are putting off consideration of a new No Child Left Behind law until next year, congressional aides said Friday.

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., have decided that there's not enough time this year to complete work on the legislation, which has not yet been formally introduced.

The five-year-old law, up for a scheduled rewrite, requires math and reading tests in grades three through eight, and once in high school. Schools that miss testing benchmarks face increasingly stiff sanctions. The law, originally passed in 2001, is among President Bush's top domestic policy priorities.

Kennedy, the panel's chairman, had previously said he wanted a bill before the Senate this year. He now is aiming, however, to bring a bill up for consideration early next year, the aides said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because negotiations over the content of the legislation are ongoing and sensitive.

It may be even more difficult to pass a rewritten No Child bill next year because it is a presidential election year. It is harder to get the bipartisan consensus needed to pass major legislation against the backdrop of an intense presidential campaign.

House lawmakers have not decided whether to keep trying to bring a bill to the floor in what little time is left in this calendar year. They, too, say time is running out.

``It is growing less likely that we will get a bill off the House floor in 2007,'' said Tom Kiley, a spokesman for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., the chairman of the House education committee. ``We continue to work hard on the bill. Discussions with Republicans and education organizations continue.''

Lawmakers in both parties - along with the Bush administration - are pushing for important revisions to the law. If the law isn't revised by Congress, the existing law stands.

There is broad agreement that the law should be changed to encourage schools to measure individual student progress over time instead of using snapshot comparisons of certain grade levels.

There is consensus, as well, that the law should be changed so that schools that miss progress goals by a little don't face the same consequences as schools that miss them by a lot.

Deep divisions remain over some proposed changes, including merit pay for teachers and whether schools should be judged based on test scores in subjects other than reading and math.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Building our Movements with Popular Education! - New Race, Poverty & the Environment Issue Features Grassroots Organizations

One of the privileges of being on a big city school board is my ability to meet with and learn from organizers, leaders and ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things in times of crisis.
And, our public school system in SF is definitely in a time of crisis today as the draconian No Child Left Behind law is being reauthorized in the next weeks with even more punitive changes like 'pay for performance' for teachers and a continuation of the high stakes testing system that is destroying education as we know it and furthering the opportunity gap for low income kids of color.
It's also a crisis because of the ongoing de-funding of the public education system while President Bush backed by House Democrats this week have appropriated $46 billion more for the war and the occupation of Iraq. [Hopefully our October 27th Anti-war demonstrations around the country help to counter this]
On the bright side, the 'extraordinary things' going on include many grassroots organizing campaigns and efforts highlighted in the new issue of the incredible journal Race Poverty and the Environment which is published by the Oakland-based Urban Habitat.
SF Freedom School founder Kathy Emery and I contributed a piece on "Democratizing the Public School System" with lessons from our work in the San Francisco Unified School District and our histories as teachers and activists in using popular education to build our people's movements for social change.
The articles are all online but editor extraodinaire Ben Jesse Clark would kill us if we didn't encourage folks to subscribe and support the Race Poverty and the Environment Journal and Urban Habitat's important and strategic work to deepen our understanding of social issues and help build stronger movements for our future.
This past Wednesday night, Kathy and I and my 7 year daughter Jade had the pleasure of sharing food and dialogue with teachers, students, parents and longtime community organizers at the Urban Habitat offices in downtown Oakland to celebrate the new issue. When I am feeling 'beaten down' by No Child Left Behind, Bush's War Spending, and my own teaching load and worsening working conditions, it's community gatherings and anti-war marches that keep me inspired and moving forward.

Monday, October 22, 2007

concert this saturday

Francisco Herrera in concert: "Honor Migrante/Migrante Honor"
Francisco Herrera's new concert is a tribute to working people around the world who enrich their host country with their work and culture. This saturday 10/27 at 8 pm (theater opens at 7), at Teatro Brava Theater Center, 2781 24th st., SF. "We will take this concert wherever people are interested in working with us," affirms the singer-songwriter and veteran organizer. for more info please write: to order your tickets or call 415-643-9362. Tickets 15.00.

Friday, October 19, 2007

SF Chinatown Educational Justice Victory - new community college campus

Early this morning many students, teachers, parents, Chinatown and other immigrant communities celebrated a major victory in our 30 year fight for a high quality community college campus in Chinatown.
With other SF State and City College teachers, students and leaders, my colleagues from the Chinese Progressive Association and Chinese for Affirmative Action and the SF Labor Council, I waited along with dozens of my SF State students for the outcome of the long college board meeting which began at 6pm at the Chinatown/Northbeach campus. At 1:30am the college board finally voted
to approve construction of a permanent City College Campus in Chinatown! Key to the victory was massive community support: over 25,000 petition signatures, 10,000 individually completed postcards, and 3,500 emails sent in three days.
The new Chinatown/North Beach Community College campus will be constructed next door to the historic I-Hotel site which was rebuilt in 2005. We just celebrated the 30 year struggle to rebuild the I-Hotel and the Manilatown Center. So, the new Chinatown College Campus which is scheduled to open in 2010 will be a nice addition to our community.
Summarizing last night's victory Keith Kamisugi of the Equal Justice Society
This represents a major win for a broad coalition, coordinated by Vin Pan and Susan [Hsieh] at CAA, of over 100 community organizations and leaders in support of the campus has collected over 23,000 petition signatures and over 10,000 individual postcards demanding appoval last night.

For over 30 years, the San Francisco Chinatown community has fought for a permanent campus to provide generations of immigrant students with equal access to educational opportunities, such as learning English, preparing for citizenship exams, and acquiring job skills. Classrooms are currently scattered throughout a dozen deteriorating and inconvenient spaces, and at the primary location, students and faculty suffer debris falling on their heads and are forced to use child-size toilets.

Unfortunately, owners of the nearby Hilton Hotel, desperate to preserve their guest-room views, continued to dispatch high-priced lawyers and lobbyists in a ruthless campaign of opposition. Long on cash and short on scruples, they proclaimed “support” for a campus, while at the same time financing endless schemes to derail its progress.

While many longtime activists were involved in the coalition like Henry Der and Ling-Chi [power to the people] Wang, I developed tremendous admiration and respect for City College leaders in the CCSF Asian Coalition and folks like Prof. Minh-Hoa Ta and Andrew Hom for their tremendous leadership as well.

More info: Friends of Educational Opportunity in Chinatown

FEOC has a Good Media List of Articles on the issues .

Also see: Chinatown Campus – One Building or 2 Buildings? Samson Wong Asian Week 10/12/07

CAA Director Vincent Pan – from the SF Chronicle 7/30/07

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Immigrant communities respond to massive sweeps - 1,300 are arrested as Immigration Agents target immigrants in Southern California

Arnoldo Garcia of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights [see also their blog at] says that massive immigration sweeps over the past week are causing terror in many immigrant communities in the Southern California area.

The LA Times reports that massive ICE sweeps are resulting in the deportation of thousands

Federal officers in Southern California over the last two weeks have arrested more than 1,300 immigrants, most of whom either have criminal records or have failed to abide by deportation orders -- part of an intensifying but controversial effort across the nation to remove such violators.Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which plans to announce the operation at a news conference in Los Angeles today, called the sweep the largest of its kind in the U.S.
Nearly 600 of those arrested at homes, workplaces and in jails have already been deported."Where these laws may not have been enforced in the past, that has changed," said Jim Hayes, Los Angeles field office director for ICE...

Officers arrested 530 immigrants in their homes and workplaces and took custody of nearly 800 others from jails in Los Angeles , Orange , Ventura , Riverside and San Bernardino counties.The 1,327 arrests surpassed the 1,297 undocumented immigrants arrested by ICE agents at meat processing plants in six states last December, part of an investigation into identity theft.
The enforcement is the latest example of the how some local law enforcement agencies are cooperating with federal authorities to ensure that criminals are identified and deported, rather than simply released from jail. ..
"The arrests break up families and create an unfair and inaccurate impression of the immigrant community, which is by and large law-abiding, said Reshma Shamasunder, director of the California Immigrant Policy Center. Enforcement actions also cause fear in immigrant neighborhoods and families that may include U.S. citizens.
"It directs public attention away from the real need to reform the immigration system overall," she said. "This is not going to solve our problems. . . . This is just one narrow-minded, mean-spirited way of trying to fix the immigration problem."
NNIRR has a great KNOW YOUR RIGHTS handout for immigrant communities and supporters.
Garcia and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights are planning emergency responses and a national conference for immigrant & refugee rights [Una conferencia nacional paralos derechos de inmigrantes y refugiados] for January in Houston.

More information and conference registration will be available October 15, 2007 at
Bringing together immigrant and refugee community leaders and organizations, activists, organizers, advocates and allies to strategize on directions and priorities for an immigrant and refugee rights movement based on justice & dignity.
Help build a shared "Immigrant Rights Platform" for the 2008 elections and beyond!
Limited travel scholarships will be available.

Tentative Workshops, Tracks & Topics:* Border and interior immigration law enforcement* Globalization and Migration* Alliance Building* Promoting the Human Rights of Im/Migrants* Addressing "Root Causes"* Immigration, Labor and Workers Rights* Immigration Policy and Legislation* Organizing Skills Development* Popular Education for Transformative Community Organizing* Immigration, Immigrant Rights and the 2008 Elections* Racism and Immigration* Open Space and Global Cafe/Caucuses

For more information email:

Friday, September 28, 2007

We Stand on Their Shoulders - 9/29 Sat Celebrate Bill Sorro's life - Horace Mann Middle School, Mission District, SF

[ 2004 Pilipino Mural @ SF State University - Bill Sorro is the dude in the top right hand corner with the bullhorn speaking truth to power!]
Please join us to celebrate Bill Sorro's life and contributions to so many of our people's movements! He was a Balboa High School graduate and a proud parent of children that attended Horace Mann Middle School, Burton High School, City College and SF State.
Bill was a master teacher - he taught us how to believe in ourselves, to speak from our hearts, to speak truth to power, to fight for what is right, to love ourselves, our families, and our communities.
Bill used to love to say with his scratchy but warm voice, POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with Bill [and his family] to learn from him about struggle [MAKIBAKA!] and how to make a better world for everyone. Though he has passed on, the beautiful spirit of Bill Sorro will always live on in our people's movements.

Saturday, September 29th, 2007 - 2pm to 5pm - Horace Mann Middle School, 3351 23rd Street (at Valencia, near 24th Street BART; Free Parking, Enter lot through Barlett St. Near 24th Street BARTstation)
"Labor and community activist Bill Sorro passed away on August 27 after a long fight against cancer. A native San Franciscan, father of 7, grandfather of 13, Bill tirelessly dedicated his life as an activist for social and economic justice. His passion, humor andhumility inspired people of all ages, ethnicities and sectors of the community.
Bill made history by believing in and nurturing the leadership of others, by supporting the wisdom and creativity of everyday people. He believed power truly existed in the people themselves; they need not look outwards for salvation, only into the mirror. Bill made society’s most discarded people-the elderly, the homeless, the immigrant, queer and transgendered people, individuals with substance abuse issues, youth of color-count and believe in themselves. "

Donations in memory of Bill Sorro will be given to the causes close to his heart-affordable housing groups, Manilatown Center, youth organizations, United Playaz, etc. Checks (in lue of flowers) in Bill's memory to: St. John's-Bill Sorro Mail to:St. John the Evangelist Church1661 15th StreetSan Francisco, CA. 94103 Contributions will be distributed equally among the following: Affordable housing groups, youth groups and the Manilatown Heritage Foundation.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Students Rising Up in SF and East Bay to Support the Jena 6 in Louisiana

Incredible photos by Felix of the Revolutionary Worker which capture the militancy of students from Berkeley High School and San Francisco schools yesterday who joined the more than 60,000 in Jena, Louisiana and hundreds of thousands around the country to demand justice for the Jena 6. See the Teachers for Social Justice, NYCORE, and T4SJ Chicago lesson plans for teachers and students on the Jena 6 and the struggle for racial justice in the US.

See/hear/view also the independent media coverage at and Democracy Now.

Over 20,000 people from across the country gathered in Jena, Louisiana on Thursday, September 20th, from across the country to protest the pending charges against six African American high school students (Protest Details). The six students were charged with felonies after a fight that started after nooses were hung outside their high school. Protests were also held in cities across the United States. At UC Berkeley, over 1,000 protesters gathered in Sproul Plaza at 12pm. In San Francisco, over 200 people rallied at Powell and Market.
Last week the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of 17 year old Mychal Bell. The court ruled that he should not have been tried as an adult. Bell was supposed to have been sentenced for attempted second-degree battery this Thursday.
Mychal Bell and five other students were arrested for beating a white student during a schoolyard fight last year. The fight occurred after white students hung three nooses on a tree in the schoolyard. Bell has been jailed since January unable to meet his $90,000 bond. As of this morning he remains in prison waiting for his new bond to be posted. The District Attorney plans to appeal Bell's overturned conviction at the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Felix's photos from UC Berkeley and San Francisco protests.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Teachers Support Justice for the Jena 6 - Six young black men are headed for 20+ year prison sentences in a clear case of Jim Crow "justice"

Thursday 9/20 is a national day of action in solidarity with the Jena 6 in Louisiana.
According to, the lives of six young black men are being ruined by Jim Crow justice in Jena, Louisiana. The District Attorney has refused to protect the rights of Jena's Black population and has turned the police and courts into instruments of intimidation and oppression.

SF's Teachers for Social Justice has joined the New York Collective of Radical Educators (NYCoRE) and Teachers for Social Justice in Chicago (TSJ) in a joint project to support the Jena 6 - REVEALING RACIST ROOTS - Jena 6 Resource Guide for Educators. NYC and Chicago put a lot of work into this. Please use the materials and help FREE THE JENA Six!
From the Guide:
The COLOR OF CHANGE site has put together a petition and letter that can be sent to Gov. Blanco and D.A. Walters. Students can craft their own letters and personal statements, sharing what they have learned. Students can investigate the use of petitions and other forms of activism in order to combat institutionalized racism.
FRIENDS OF JUSTICE provides information about local activism, provides updates, and suggests possible actions.
This ZMAG report documents some of the initial grassroots work performed by the Jena community, showing a history of activism in small towns that connects students to other social movements.
THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER has joined to struggle to free the Jena 6, as this article describes.
NOLA.COM provides a description of how other communities, in this case New Orleans, are responding to the situation in Jena. This report can give educators and students a look into ways they might be able to do similar consciousness raising work in their own communities.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fighting Lennar Development and Environmental Racism in SF Schools and Hunters Point Community

Photos from SF Bayview Newspaper
Environmental racism and health inequality for the lowest income communities of color in San Francisco are clear structural barriers to educational equality in our school district. The largely African American Hunters Point community in the Southeast region of San Francisco has been organizing for almost a year now to stop the 'ethnic cleansing' of SF's Black community there.

Over the past decade big business developers and city politicians have gradually 'pushed out' African American families from Bay View Hunters Point and other Southeast areas of the City. But the most dramatic displacement is going on right now with Lennar Corporation's Hunters Point Shipyard development that is threatening the neighborhood with some 1500-1600 new condos. The School Board has been working with neighborhood and environmental justice groups, parents, students and social justice organizations to halt the Lennar Development until a thorough independent health study can be conducted to ensure the health of the community's children and families.

Here's the resolution the San Francisco Board of Education is scheduled to vote on at our school board meeting on Tuesday 9/25 at 6pm:

San Francisco Board of Education Resolution
In Opposition to Lennar Corporation’s Hunters Point Naval Shipyard Development and In Support of the Community’s Demand for a Temporary Stoppage and an Independent Health and Safety Assessment to Protect Our Students and Their Families

- Commissioners Eric Mar and Kim-Shree Maufas
[will move to suspend the rules to vote on First Reading 9/25]

WHEREAS: Patterns of environmental racism, inequity and injustice exist within San Francisco, where schools in communities like Bayview Hunters Point bear the brunt of environmental health problems; and
WHEREAS: Since October 2006, when a young worker blew the whistle on Lennar Corporation’s Hunters Point Naval Shipyard development, large numbers of students, teachers, educators, workers, and families of the Bayview Hunters Point area have been voicing their concerns about the construction-related dust at the Hunters Point Shipyard site and the dangerous health impact that the dust and toxics in it, including asbestos, heavy metals and other inorganics, are having on our SFUSD students, staff and members of the community; and
WHEREAS: Lennar Corporation is a Florida-based Fortune 500 company which reportedly had revenues of $16.3 billion in 2006 from development projects throughout the country like the 1500-unit condominium development planned for Hunters Point; and
WHEREAS: Lennar Bayview Hunters Point LLC was involved in large scale grading that reportedly caused untold amounts of toxic dust and Asbestos Structures to migrate over its boundary and into areas were children and families live, work and play; and
WHEREAS: In response to these health dangers and conerns, a broad grassroots coalition of Bayview Hunters Point and social justice community organizations has been demanding a temporary stoppage in Lennar Corporation’s construction so that an independent health assessment can be conducted; and
WHEREAS: There has been a history of problems with implementing the City’s dust-mitigation plan since the soil grading and disposal process began that has included: an absence of air monitoring for the first four months of the project during heavy grading; malfunctioning air monitors; a Notice of Violation from the Air Quality Management District; and when the monitors started working, routine exceedances of the agreed-upon allowance of asbestos prevalence in the air – 16,000 structures per cubic meter [SF Department of Health Regulations, Article 31] including 9 exceedances in June alone; and very poor communication of these exceedances to adjacent neighbors; and
WHEREAS: Numerous studies have documented that Bayview Hunter's Point and other communities in Southeast San Francisco are overburdened with the cumulative impacts of a multitude of environmental health threats that impact the health and well-being of children and other residents who are overwhelmingly African American and other people of color. These impacts include exposure to toxic air pollution, carcinogens, and other inorganic substances from industrial facilities, power plants, sewage treatment and solid and hazardous waste facilities and diesel particulate from trucks, trains and other vehicles. Additionally, these impacted children and residents are more vulnerable to environmental toxics due to their limited access to quality health care and healthy foods and other social and cultural factors. And, this disproportionate impact has a damaging effect on our students academic achievement and opportunities for success in school and in their lives; and

WHEREAS: San Francisco public schools such as Malcolm X Academy, George Washington Carver, Bret Harte, and Dr. Charles Drew College Prep Academy, other schools, childcare centers, and playgrounds are in the immediate vicinity of the Lennar development site; and
WHEREAS: Three African American employees of Lennar Corporation filed a whistle blower lawsuit in SF Superior Court on March 16, 2007, alleging that they suffered retaliation after reporting asbestos dust exposure and racial discrimination and that the company failed to contain asbestos dust while drilling into the Shipyard site, endangering the local community, including the school children of the neighboring Muslim University;
WHEREAS: The World Health Organization reports that there is no evidence for a threshold for the carcinogenic effect of asbestos and that increased cancer risks have been observed in populations exposed to very low levels of asbestos; However, there are tests for lead, chromium, radon, arsenic, etc., which are toxic chemicals that are present in the dirt on the affected site; and

WHEREAS: The ‘Precautionary Principle’ has been adopted by a growing number of cities, including San Francisco, as well as the Los Angeles Unified School District, as a proactive approach to promote the safest, lowest risk approach to protecting people’s health, the environment, and property; and

WHEREAS: The Precautionary Principle as adopted by the City and County of San Francisco includes the following “essential elements:” :

Anticipatory Action: There is a duty to take anticipatory action to prevent harm. Government, business, and community groups, as well as the general public, share this responsibility.
Right to Know: The community has a right to know complete and accurate information on potential human health and environmental impacts associated with the selection of products, services, operations or plans. The burden to supply this information lies with the proponent, not with the general public.
Alternatives Assessment: An obligation exists to examine a full range of alternatives and select the alternative with the least potential impact on human health and the environment including the alternative of doing nothing.
Full Cost Accounting: When evaluating potential alternatives, there is a duty to consider all the reasonably foreseeable costs, including raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, use, cleanup, eventual disposal, and health costs even if such costs are not reflected in the initial price.
Short-and long-term benefits and time thresholds should be considered when making decisions.
Participatory Decision Process: Decisions applying the Precautionary Principle must be transparent, participatory, and informed by the best available information. (City of San Francisco, Precautionary Principle Ordinance, Section 101, August 2003,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District believes that the Precautionary Principle as adopted by the City and County of San Francisco requires the Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Redevelopment Agency, Department of Public Health, Board of Supervisors, and other agencies accountable to our communities to take “anticipatory action” to prevent harm and through exploration and careful analysis of courses of action in order to present the least threat to the students, families and staff of the schools in the vicinity of the Hunters Point development; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District calls on the Mayor, Board of Supervisors, Redevelopment Agency, Department of Public Health and other relevant City agencies to require an immediate halt of Lennar Corporation’s development of Parcel A in the Hunter’s Point Shipyard until an immediate and independent health and safety assessment can be conducted in coordination with the Superintendent and the School District’s School Health Programs Office and relevant community organizations and City task forces like the SF Asthma Task Force; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Board directs the Superintendent to coordinate with City officials to ensure the health of our students and their families in the affected area and report back to the full Board with an environmental safety action plan and timelines to ensure the safety of our students and their families no later than the Board’s October 23rd meeting.
For more info on how you can support the Bayview Hunters Point community -

Thursday, September 13, 2007

SF's Richmond District Activism stops STARBUCKS in our Neighborhood

For the past few months I have been working with a number of small business owners, and anti-chain store activists in trying to stop the STARBUCKs multinational corporation from opening their 81st store in SF in our neighborhood, the Inner Richmond District. And last night our work paid off when we successfully urged the SF Board of Supervisors to reject the STARBUCKS in our community. Previously activists like Tess Manalo Ventresca in the Sunset District and other activists in the Hayes Valley and Japantown Districts had kept the chain out of their areas. But we were unsure when some of us first learned of the STARBUCKS proposal in July that we could build the momentum we needed to keep STARBUCKS out.
This was my post to the blog I set up with the other activists -
Thank you so much to everyone who wrote, called, rallied and spoke out at the 9/11 Board of Supervisors meeting to stop the Starbucks in the Inner Richmond District.
The SF Examiner and SF Chronicle coverage didn't adequately acknowlege the tremendous groundswell of support we built from our Richmond District community and other neighboring communities to stop the STARBUCKS:

Starbucks' effort to flood San Francisco with coffee shops ground to a halt Tuesday when the Board of Supervisors blocked a new outlet in the Richmond District under chain store regulations passed by voters last fall.
The board voted 9-1 to overturn the Planning Commission's June approval of a Starbucks at the corner of Geary Boulevard and Fifth Avenue, killing the proposal.
Jesse Fink, who has owned a nearby cafe for 25 years, filed the appeal on behalf of the Clement Street Merchants Association, which represents approximately 30 merchants in the area.
"I don't want San Francisco to lose its character and become a city of strip malls. ... That's what Starbucks is all about," Fink said in a hearing before the board.
Kudos especially to organizer extraodinaire Bryan McKeon, Toy Boat's Jesse Fink and his family, and Meg Lynch of Velo Rogue Cafe and the many richmond district small business folks that supported and built this campaign from 2 people to over 4700 united voices in a few weeks. Thanks also to David Tornheim, Dean Preston -, Eric Brooks -, Kathryn Roberts, and planning commissioner Christina Olague and others that provided key strategic advice. And Sue Hestor and Steve Williams for their legal advice as well.

Most of us were worried going into the 9/11 hearing, but by the time the Supervisors were deliberating we knew we had won. My 7 year old daughter Jade joined in the celebration last night too, not only because she thought there might be free ice cream from Toy Boat. I told her 'this is what democracy looks like' - and it's better than ice cream.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Excellent posting from Duane

Duane Campbell has an awesome blog if you are interested in what is happening to education from the CA state legislature point of view. Check out his commentary following his posting of the Sac Bee article about new teachers.

Thursday, September 06, 2007
The California Legislature usually gets it wrong on public education

Sunday, September 09, 2007

9/29/07 Celebration for Bill Sorro @ Horace Mann Middle School

[Photo of Bill Sorro [center] with Belvin Louie, Giulio Sorro and Al Robles from Asian Week, article by former editor Neela Banerjee]
The details for the 9/29 Bill Sorro 'Celebration' are listed below. Unfortunately I will be in Atlanta @ a Civil Rights Movement 40th Anniversary event. But hundreds are expected to celebrate Bill's life and the movements he helped build. He was a Horace Mann Middle School parent as well years ago and the school, in the heart of the Mission District, is a regular spot for economic and social justice summits and gatherings in our communities.

From Lilian Galledo, director of Filipinos for Affirmative Action:
A Celebration of Bill Sorro's life

"...Bill wanted a celebration/ party as opposed to a memorial."

The celebration will take place Saturday, September 29, 2007, from 1pm to 5pm at
Horace Mann School, 3351 – 23rd St @ Bartlett, San Francisco, CA. Available in the school's parking lot off Barlett Street. But the school is just a couple of blocks from the 24th St. BART station.

Mabuhay Bill Sorro!

Friday, September 07, 2007

More Tributes to Bill Sorro and his legacy in building the "other San Francisco"

Photo of MAC founder Eric Quezada, a community leader and organizer running for District 9 Supervisor - SF Nov. 08 .
From our friends at the Center for Political Education on Bill Sorro's legacy. He and his partner Huli helped build the Center and its predecessor organizations. The article by my SF State Ethnic Studies colleague Jason Ferreira and longtime Mission District activist Eric Quezada is the unedited version of the SF Bay Guardian piece they did this week:

We at CPE honor and celebrate the life of Bill Sorro, a comrade that will truly be missed.
Bill Sorro, Presente!
By Jason Ferreira and Eric Quezada
San Francisco has lost a precious treasure. Not the San Francisco of downtown business interests, or of the dot-com craze, or of the waves of "young urban professionals" moving into the city's overpriced live-work lofts or condominiums. No, we're talking of the San Francisco struggling, on a day-to-day basis, to maintain its very existence: of Pilipino families and elderly in South of Market, of African American residents in the Fillmore, of tenants in SRO hotels, and of immigrant Latina/o workers in the Mission. In the early morning hours of Monday, August 27th, this San Francisco lost veteran activist Bill Sorro.
Bill passionately fought for this "other" San Francisco.
Born in 1939, Bill Sorro grew up in San Francisco's working class and predominantly African American Fillmore District, long before working class folk were pushed out by Justin Herman's notorious redevelopment schemes. Coming from a family that suffered as a result of anti-miscegenation laws [his Pilipino father was arrested and jailed for marrying a white woman], Bill consistently sought to connect the struggle against class exploitation to that of racial oppression.
Nowadays people in progressive circles often discuss ways to decrease ones footprint in the world; it can truthfully be said, however, that Bill Sorro left a tremendous footprint in peoples' lives and in their collective struggles.
Recently, he became an inspirational anchor for a growing housing justice movement in San Francisco, from the Mission Anti-displacement Coalition to the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN).
Compañero Bill, however, leaves a much deeper and longer legacy: most obviously, for Pilipinos (as a leader of the famed International Hotel struggle, as a member of the Kalayaan Collective and, later, of KDP-the Union of Democratic Pilipinos, as a founder of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation, and as mentor for countless Pilipino youth), but equally for communities of color in general, for the working class in particular (as a long-time union activist and committed socialist), and ultimately for all that suffer and struggle against the indignities of oppression and exploitation ... whether it be here in the belly of the beast or across the globe. Standing in solidarity with anyone fighting for justice, Bill embodied the often-quoted, but rarely lived, notion that the essence of any true revolutionary is a profound love for the people! And, man, Bill loved the people! Right on, brother! All Power to the People!
He stands in that long tradition of individuals like Philip Vera Cruz, Paul Robeson, Dolores Huerta, and many others who made enormous contributions to history. But Bill made history by believing in and nurturing the leadership of others, by supporting the insights and wisdom, the creativity and resourcefulness of everyday people. He believed power truly existed in the people themselves; they need not look outwards for salvation, only into the mirror. Bill made societies most discarded people-the elderly, the homeless, the immigrant, queer and transgendered people, individuals with substance abuse issues, youth of color-count and believe in themselves.
Bill leaves behind a tight knit family-his wife Giuliana, who he met on the 2nd Venceremos Brigade to Cuba and subsequently married at the I-Hotel, and children Desu, Daphne, Danae, Django, Giulio, Joachin, and Jordan-as well as one that expands to include literally hundreds of community activists and friends, all who feel a part of the Sorro family. This broader family-one that includes many who may never have even met him-continue to organize and fight to realize Bill's dream: a world in which people matter more than profit and property. And we collectively dedicate ourselves to fight for that future described in Bill's favorite song: Donny Hathaway's "Someday We'll All Be Free."
By Jason Ferreira, Assistant Professor, College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University; and
Eric Quezada, Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition, and Executive Director, Dolores Street Community Services.

The Center for Political Education: Dedicated to building strong movements and the left through education, analysis, theory, dialogue and activism

Thursday, September 06, 2007

9/10 SF forum - Chip Smith's The cost of privilege; taking on the system of white supremacy and racism; 9/23 Forum on Revolutionary Art

Monday 9/10 @ Galeria de la Raza - SF - join me and other activists and organizers in discussing our decades of work in challenging white supremacy and institutional racism in America. And, pick up Chip Smith's great new book - The Cost of Privilege: Taking On the System of White Supremacy and Racism

Sunday 9/23 @ the Ctr for Political Education - join the SF Print Collective in celebrating the revolutionary art of Emory Douglas and others.


The Cost of Privilege: Join us for a discussion on the fight against white supremacy
with author Chip Smith, Alisa Bierria (INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence), Rachel Jackson, Eric Mar (SF State Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies faculty and member of the San Francisco Board of Education), and Molly McClure (Catalyst Project)
Monday, September 10th
7-9:30 PM
2851 24th St., Galería de la Raza Studio 24 Space
on the corner of 24th and Bryant in San Francisco, wheelchair accessible*

The Cost of Privilege: Taking on the System of White Supremacy and Racism, published in February 2007, will be the catalyst for a discussion amongst the author and Bay Area activists and organizers about:
* historical development of white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism
* histories of resistance and what we can draw from them for today's struggles
* building an intersectional approach around race, class, gender and sexuality into our activism and organizing
The book takes readers from the creation of the white race over three centuries ago to the present-day myth of a colorblind society; from the intersections of class, gender and race to the concrete benefits-and harsh underside-of the privileges white people experience every day; from the victories when people ally across the color line to the failures of some of those alliances to hold; from personal transformations to international struggles.
$5-$10 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Co-sponsored by the Catalyst Project, the Center for Political Education and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Organización Socialista del Camino para la Libertad.
For more information call or e-mail, 415-431-1918 or
*Galería de la Raza is wheelchair accessible, unfortunately the bathroom at the gallery is not.
Chip Smith has given us a powerful weapon for the battle against white supremacy. It combines an in-depth look at the long history of this profoundly rooted plague with an enlightening, up-do-date review of the many efforts to end it. We have here much more than a brilliant analysis of past and present, the author dares to outline a bold program of revolutionary action that lays out both the challenges to be faced and how to confront them. Who could ask for more?
--Elizabeth (Betita) Martínez, Chicana author, activist and director of the Institute for MultiRacial Justice

This is a path-breaking study of the sometimes baffling dynamics of racial oppression in the United States. In fact, this is the most comprehensive and clear analysis of racism and national oppression that I've seen. It is recommended reading for any serious activist fighting for social justice in our time. Not just theory, but a guide to action!
--Komozi Woodard, Professor of History, Public Policy and Africana Studies, Sarah Lawrence College


REVOLUTIONARY ART: New work from the SF Print Collective with presentation and book signing with artist Emory Douglas
ONE DAY ONLY - Sunday, September 23, 2007
Exhibit 4 - 7 pm, Emory Douglas @ 5 pm
Located at the Center for Political Education, 522 Valencia Street at 16th St.
An exhibition of posters from the San Francisco Print Collective's Silkscreen Postermaking workshop. We will feature a talk, slideshow and Q&A with former minister of culture for the Black Panther Party Emory Douglas, signing his new book, Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas. This event will also raise funds to Free the San Francisco-8, former Black Panthers and community leaders arrested in January on 36-year old charges, based on confessions extracted by torture.
As a primer for public artists, SFPC's Silkscreen Postermaking workshop teaches students how to use the mass media for activist organizing with a focus on guerrilla art, graphic design, and legal defense. Participating artists include: Fiona Glas, Allison Lum, Davis DeBard, Arla Ertz, Ellen Frances, Ly Mai Hoang, Serena Huang, Stacy Kono, Harris Kornstein, John Lewis, Fernando Marti, Gabe Martinez, Jennifer Miller, Nicole Rivera, Suzanne Shaffer, Melanie Ann Tom, Amy Vanderwarker, Debra Walker, and David Shih-chun Wu.
$5-$100, sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds.
Sangria, beer and non-alcoholic drinks and snacks!
Sponsored by the Center for Political Education and the SF Print Collective. This space is not wheelchair accessible.
For more information, contact or
_______________________________________________________________________________ The SFPC is a printmaking collective that uses graphic art to support social justice organizing. We make public art to challenge the mass media and broadcast progressive politics directly to the streets. For more info. or to get involved in the next silkscreen postermaking class, contact or
Center for Political Education: Dedicated to building strong movements and the left through education, analysis, theory, dialogue and activism
522 Valencia,
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 431-1918;

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Remembering Bill Sorro and the I-Hotel Struggle

I dug up a couple of photos I took of the late Bill Sorro at the I-Hotel commemoration in August 2004, before the 2005 re-opening of the I-Hotel Senior Housing and Manilatown Center site in 2005. See my commentary this morning in

From Beyond Chron: One of San Francisco’s most beloved community leaders Bill Sorro passed away on August 27th. Bill was a fierce activist in many labor, social justice, housing rights, and neighborhood struggles for many decades but is best known as a leader in the struggle to save and rebuild SF’s International Hotel (‘I-Hotel.') He was one of the warmest and most positive people I have ever met, who worked tirelessly nurturing younger activists like me and generations of others in our movements....

Bill’s family and friends are organizing a memorial sometime on the weekend of September 29th. Details will be announced shortly. Until then, please honor Bill by visiting the Manilatown Center exhibit entitled ‘A Serving of Love: The Passion of Bill Sorro,’ a gallery exhibition featuring the interviews, photographs and other historical material from his life - on display through October 6 at the Maniltaown Heritage Foundation, 868 Kearny Street, SF. Bill and his family are also featured in KQED's American Family Portraits: The Sorros.

More Reflections on Bill and his life -

Manilatown Heritage Foundation

Eric Quezada and Jason Fereira from the SF Bay Guardian

Rona Fernandez's Random Rants and Reflections

Tony Robles and Tiny gray-Garcia - Poor Magazine

Robert Haaland - Left in SF - Long Live Bill Sorro's Fighting Spirit

Robyn Takayama/NoNoGirl Radio

Wayie Ly/APEX - KPFA 94.1fm

Tony Osumi & Jenni Kuida on Bill's views of 911

Robyn Takeyama: on 'A Serving of Love' and other projects on Bill's life, cultural work and internationalism and Bill Sorro: His Life and Activism from CA Council for the Humanities

Asian American Movement Ezine

Monday, September 03, 2007

Progressive Forum: Sacramento

The Crisis in our Democracy:
Sacramento Progressive Forum
9 Am- 4 PM.
October 4, 2007. CSU-Sacramento. University Union

All of us together know more than any one of us alone.

Join us for a dialogue on current issues facing the progressive movements and their allies in our region. The Progressive Forum seeks to bring together scholars, students, social justice and union activists, and policy makers. The forum is created to nurture a new kind of conversation from within the campus and the social movements. We seek to move beyond the overly fragmented movements each competing with each other to find ways to cooperate and support each others work.
This gathering aims to enhance personal and organizational ties between those engaged in ongoing workplace and community organizing efforts, issues organizing and students and scholars.. The forum should become a place where the diverse movements gathers their energies and where activists learn from internal dialogue. This is an initial step toward elaborating, discussing and debating our visions and ours strategies.
The key thematic areas for the Fall 2007 Forum will include:
The War
Democratic Party
Media and democracy
Crisis in public education
Race/ ethnicity and the political organizing .
Corporatization of University/ decline of public universities
Women’s work: Women’s issues
Working class life and culture
The state of our unions
Bilingual/multicultural education. CSU-Sacramento
Peace and Conflict Resolution Studies
Democratic Socialists of America
Sacramento Progressive Alliance
Student Progressive Alliance
Teach Peace Foundation
Ethnic Studies Department
Labor Studies: CSU-Sacramento

A blog for the forum has been set up at

Friday, August 31, 2007

Stop Richmond District Starbucks - send letters now!

This might be a little off topic - but I am working with other Richmond District activists and small business folks to stop another Starbucks from coming into the inner Richmond where I live.
click here to send an email letter to the SF Board of Supervisors now!
And tell your friends and neighbors - pack SF City Hall Tuesday 9/11 at 4:30pm for the hearing to decide on the issue. Or contact us is there are other ways you can help! [Thanks to for their support]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bill Sorro Presente! Longtime San Francisco Movement Leader Leaves Tremendous Legacy of Struggle

Longtime Bernal Heights community activist Bill Sorro, a leader in the International Hotel Struggle 30 years ago, passed away early Monday morning, according to his family.
Bill was a mentor to many of us in the Chinese Progressive Association, the labor movement, anti-displacement movements, and affordable housing struggles. He leaves an incredible legacy [see the current exhibit at the Manilatown Center in the I-Hotel site] of struggle and radicalism in the Asian American and progressive communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Strength to Bill's partner Huli, and his children Desu, Daphne, Django, Giulio and Joachin and the family that Bill and Huli built. We will make sure your legacy and spirit live on - Long Live the International Hotel and the Fighting Spirit of Bill Sorro!

Monday, August 27, 2007

SF Teachers & Board of Education Reach Tentative Contract Agreement After Grueling round-the-clock bargaining

After numerous bargaining meetings, several closed session Board of Education meetings over the past few weeks, mediation, and a grueling 17-hour session this weekend, our district and United Educators of San Francisco have announced a tentative settlement. This is big. It means that on the first day of class, our teachers and paras will not be in labor actions challenging the district for a fair contract, as was anticipated. Congratulations to UESF - United Educators of SF- and new Superintendent Carlos Garcia for hammering out the details this weekend. Now we can all get to work building community support for adequate funding for our schools and a sorely-needed School Parcel Tax on the February 2008 San Francisco Ballot.
Here's today's statement from UESF President Dennis Kelly 
The United Educators of San Francisco and the San Francisco
Unified School District have reached a tentative agreement
on the contracts of the certificated (teacher) and
classified (paraprofessional) bargaining units. The
agreement came after a seventeen hour round-the-clock
mediated bargaining session that started at 6pm on Friday.
There will be a joint union/district press conference on
Monday at 4:30 at 555 Franklin Street.
Ratification procedures are still being discussed for the
My personal gratitude to all those who supported the
Bargaining Team and the team members themselves who
demonstrated creativity, tenacity and endurance in seeing
that these contracts were settled before the students
crossed the threshold to begin the new school year.
Dennis Kelly

We revealed today that the agreement includes a 3% raise starting in January, 2008, for teachers and paraprofessionals. In addition, teachers will receive a $225 classroom supply budget this year and paraprofessionals will receive an additional paid professional development day this year and next. The educators will also receive additional support for dependent healthcare coverage.

contains changes in several areas of the contract, including increased dependent health benefits, class size articulation for the child development program, and increased training in special education. The Board of Education and the Union also agreed that the district could have the ability to hire teachers year round for hard-to-staff schools and hard to fill subject areas.

UESF Members will be meeting in the next few weeks to discuss the details of their proposed contract and are expected to take a vote shortly thereafter. The Board of Education will also meet to vote on the tentative contract as well.