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"Town Square” Reading Series at the Minas Gallery, in Baltimore, MD


By BillyClub - Posted on 18 October 2010

“Town Square” Reading Series at the Minas Gallery, in Baltimore, MD from William Hughes on Vimeo.

On Sunday afternoon, Oct. 17, 2010, three contributors to “Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!,” participated in the monthly “Town Square” reading series. The readers were the writer and poet, Sarah Jane Miller; the artist, actor, poet, writer and raconteur, Heck; and the writer/poet William P. Tandy. The latter is also the editor/publisher and a contributing writer for the critically acclaimed, “Smile, Hon, You’re in Baltimore!” The literary happening took place at the Minas Gallery before an SRO audience. The gallery is located in the Hampden area of the city. To learn more about the “Town Square” Reading Series, which are followed by an open mic “for words and tunes,” according to its press release, go to: http://www.eightstonepress.com. Ms. Miller also served as the moderator for the event. (Running time: 57 Minutes, 27 seconds

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"Justice for Oscar Grant! Jail for Killer Cops!
Longshoremen Will Shut Down All Bay Area Ports"

by Jack Heyman, CounterPunch, Oct 18th, 2010

http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m70895

The author is "a working longshoreman, sits on the Executive Board of ILWU Local 10 and the Board of Directors of the John Brown Society", and he has also "been active in all of the union’s struggles mentioned in this article".

Emotions ran high when longshoremen at their July membership meeting were addressed by Cephus Johnson, the uncle of Oscar Grant, the young black man who was killed by a cop at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland on New Year’s Day 2009. Recounting the sidewalk mural in the front of the hiring hall near Fisherman’s Wharf that depicts two strikers lying face down with the inscription: "Two ILA (longshoremen) Shot in the Back, Police Murder", he appealed to the union to support justice for his slain nephew. He said, "That mural shook me because that’s exactly what happened to Oscar".

It got even hotter in the union hall when Jack Bryson took the mike. He is the father of two of Oscar Grant’s friends terrorized by police at the train station as they sat handcuffed and helpless watching their friend die and hearing him moan. Bryson reported that police were calling for a rally the following Monday in the lily-white suburb of Walnut Creek to demanding that Johannes Mehserle the convicted killer cop go free. He asked the union members to join Oscar Grant supporters to protest the cop rally and they did. Outnumbering the 100 or so pro-Mehserle demonstrators by 3 to 1.

The New Year’s Day horror scene was videotaped by other young train passengers and broadcast on YouTube and TV news across the country. Grant, the father of a four year old girl worked as a butcher’s apprentice at Farmer Joe’s supermarket nearby on Fruitvale Avenue. The litany of police killings of innocent young black and Latino men has evoked a public outcry in California. Yet, when it comes to killer cops, especially around election time, with both the Democratic and Republican parties espousing law and order, the mainstream media either expunges or whitewashes the issue.

Angered by the pro-police rallies and news coverage calling for killer cop Mehserle’s freedom, Local 10 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has called for a labor and community rally October 23rd in Oakland to demand justice for Oscar Grant and the jailing of killer cops. Bay Area ports will shut down that day to stand with the black community and others against the scourge of police brutality.

Anthony Leviege, a longshore union rally organizer, said "Many unions, including the San Francisco and Alameda Labor Councils, have endorsed and are mobilizing for the rally. They see the need in the current economic crisis to build unity with the community to defend jobs, public education, health care and housing for all. And unions defending black and brown youth against police brutality is fundamental to that unity

In this race-caste society there’s nothing more controversial than a white cop convicted of killing a young black man like Oscar Grant… or of a black man like Mumia Abu-Jamal, framed by a corrupt and racist judicial system, accused of killing a white police officer when the opposite was the case. Jamal was nearly murdered by the police. His "crime" was that he didn’t die on the spot, as Oscar Grant did. Mumia, the Frederick Douglass of our time, exposes the hypocrisy of democracy in America while fighting for his life on death row in Pennsylvania. His possibly final hearing is set for November 9th. Killer cops belong in jail, their victims (those who survive like Mumia) should go free. But that’s not how justice in capitalist America works. The racist heritage of slavery is still with us.

Despite the election of its first black president, the United States has still not moved beyond the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision, "the negro has no rights which the white man was bound to respect". Just how deeply racism is embedded in the fabric of American society can be seen in President Obama’s "teachable moment" in the case of Harvard professor Henry Gates (arrested by police for "breaking into" his own home!). The president, a friend of Professor Gates, upon hearing of the bizarre arrest called it a stupidity". When police loudly objected, Obama quickly and apologetically retracted his characterization over a photo op with the cop, the professor and him over a friendly beer.

Civil rights activists who were targets of racist attacks used to joke that the KKK wore white at night and blue in the daytime. Killer cop Mehserle was convicted of "involuntary manslaughter", though the videotapes show him shooting Grant as he lay passively face down about to be handcuffed. The media universally has tainted outraged protesters, blaming them for rioting while favoring Mehserle whose sentencing hearing is set for November 5. During a recent Giants’ baseball game in San Francisco Mehersle’s father was sympathetically interviewed on TV. But where is the justice for Oscar Grant’s family and his now 5 year old daughter?

LABOR MUST DEFEND MINORITIES AGAINST RACIST POLICE ATTACKS

The police murder of two strikers provoked the 1934 San Francisco General Strike. Seven maritime workers in all were killed by police in West Coast ports during strike for the union hiring hall. Every July 5, Bloody Thursday, all ports on the West Coast are shut down to honor the labor martyrs. It’s a living legacy that burns deep in the hearts of longshore and other maritime workers.

Some have asked, what’s the connection between unions and the killing of a young black man? Plenty, according to Richard Washington, an Oakland longshoreman. (snip)

(snip)

In 2003, at the start of the U.S. war in Iraq, protesters in the port of Oakland and longshoremen were shot by Oakland riot police with "nonlethal" weapons. The UN Human Rights Commission condemned this police attack as "the most violent" police attack on antiwar demonstrators. (snip)

(snip)

I'd quote the whole article, for the whole is good, of real value, and great information to know about, but will only make the above excerpt to keep the post a little shorter.

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