"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
View Kathy Emery, PhD's LinkedIn profileView Kathy Emery, PhD's profile

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Western Workers Labor Hertiage Festival

Western Workers Labor Heritage Festival
Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s contribution
to the civil rights and labor movements
A weekend of solidarity in an era of war, racism, and hard times. 

Fri-Sun January 13-15, 2012
Local 1781 of the I.A.M.,
1511 Rollins Road, Burlingame, CA map

$65 for weekend, $40 for Saturday only. Concert $15-25,
sliding scale. No one turned away for lack of funds.
Mail to: WWLHF, P.O. Box 7184, Santa Cruz, CA 95061
Conference registration form - pdf

YouTube of previous festival video highlights here.


Facing History - Freedom Riders Workshop

Freedom Riders: Democracy in Action
Event Date:01/26/2012Event Fee:No Fee
Event Time:4:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Location:Everett Middle School, 450 Church Street
San Francisco, CA


 Included in Program, Freedom Riders Mimi Real and Elizabeth Hirshfeld

From May until December, 1961, more than 400 black and white Americans risked their lives by simply traveling together through the Deep South. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way. Facing History is an educational partner for this PBS American Experience film. Workshop participants will learn more about southern segregation laws and models of political resistance during the civil rights movement.

Occupy West Coast Ports - December 12

The whole point of STRATEGIC direct action is to 
  1. dramatize the injustice to a larger audience 
  2. gain the sympathy of a larger audience to the point they want to join you and 
  3. provide a VARIETY of ways in which they can support you. 
For example, I am not willing to go out and get arrested, but I can give food and money. How do I do that? IS THE OCCUPY WALL STREET MOVEMENT  building an infrastructure to recruit people like make it obvious where I can contribute?

It is also crucial that activists understand the difference between organizing and mobilizing.  
READ BELOW AND DECIDE for yourself what is the degree to which the Occupy Ports succeeded in keeping the movement MOVING. and what needs to happen next...  MY EMPHASIS ADDED.

FROM   An Open Letter from America’s Port Truck Drivers on Occupy the Ports
We are the front-line workers who haul container rigs full of imported and exported goods to and from the docks and warehouses every day....We are inspired that a non-violent democratic movement that insists on basic economic fairness is capturing the hearts and minds of so many working people. Thank you “99 Percenters” for hearing our call for justice. We are humbled and overwhelmed by recent attention. Normally we are invisible.

Today’s demonstrations will impact us. While we cannot officially speak for every worker who shares our occupation, we can use this opportunity to reveal what it’s like to walk a day in our shoes for the 110,000 of us in America whose job it is to be a port truck driver. It may be tempting for media to ask questions about whether we support a shutdown, but there are no easy answers. Instead, we ask you, are you willing to listen and learn why a one-word response is impossible?....

It may be difficult to comprehend the complex issues and nature of our employment. For us too. When businesses disguise workers like us as contractors, the Department of Labor calls it misclassification. We call it illegal. Those who profit from global trade and goods movement are getting away with it because everyone is doing it. One journalist took the time to talk to us this week and she explains it very well to outsiders. We hope you will read the enclosed articleHow Goldman Sachs and Other Companies Exploit Port Truck Drivers.”....
But we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12. Our friends in the Coalition for Clean & Safe Ports created a pledge you can sign to support us here

...Long the most militant Occupy branch, Occupy Oakland has continued to push the movement’s campaign against the wealthiest 1 percent even after losing its perch in front of City Hall. It spearheaded a one-day action on Monday in which thousands of protesters rallied at West Coast ports from San Diego to Anchorage, effectively closing the Ports of Portland and Longview, Wash., and largely shutting the Port of Oakland. ...

Several labor leaders criticized the plan to disrupt the ports, which cost many longshoremen and truck drivers a day’s pay. And union officials were irked by Occupy Oakland’s claim that it was advancing the cause of port workers even though several unions opposed the protests. For example, several days before the disruptions, Robert McEllrath, president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, issued a statement warning: “Support is one thing. Organizing from outside groups attempting to co-opt our struggle in order to advance a broader agenda is quite another.” Organizers at Occupy Oakland shrugged off the criticism, saying many union leaders are afraid of bold action. The Occupy movement, they say, is doing more for working people than some unions and union leaders are. ...

The Oakland protesters also made regular visits to the longshore union’s hiring hall in San Francisco to gather support from rank-and-file workers. They printed 50,000 fliers about the protest and went to the Oakland port, one of the nation’s busiest, to distribute them and talk to nonunion truck drivers.  ...

But the Occupy planners also knew that they had chosen a target that was symbolic of multinational corporations, including the investment bank Goldman Sachs, which owns a major interest in a company that operates many port terminals. They also figured that disrupting ports was relatively easy and likely to bring them lots of attention. ...

While praising the Occupy movement’s goal of helping the 99 percent, Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association, faulted the protesters’ tactics, saying, “I don’t know how you call a strike without involving the union or the workers.” But the Occupy activists said unions were too timid about pushing the interests of workers. 

“The 1 percent has been able to write and pass labor laws that are designed to restrict the amount of action that can legally be taken by a union. Most union officials today refuse to challenge those laws,” Occupy organizers wrote on a Web site explaining the port shutdown. “It is the responsibility of rank-and-file workers and their allies to escalate the labor struggle. Occupy can spearhead this movement.” 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Movie about Daisy Bates (Civil Rights Hero)

DAISY BATES: As a black woman who was a feminist before the term was invented, Daisy Bates refused to accept her assigned place in society. Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock tells the story of her life and public support of nine black students who registered to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, which culminated in a constitutional crisis — pitting a president against a governor and a community against itself. You can watch a short trailer and read a short synopsis here:
Presented by ITVS, KQED,
The San Francisco Public Library and HandsOn Bay Area

Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Doors Open @ 5:15pm | Screening @ 5:45pm 
Please note: the film is 60 minutes. 
Post-­‐screening discussion will follow.

San Francisc Main Public Library, Koret Auditorium
100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA
(nearest BART station is Civic Center)

Screening is FREE and Open to the Public

For more information, email

Community Cinema, the national engagement program of Independent Television Service (ITVS), is hosting a community screening in San Francisco on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 5:45pm for the film, Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock. The film is premiering on PBS in February 2012.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Update - Dec 7, 2011

They call it the Robin Hood tax — a tiny levy on trades in the financial markets that would take money from the banks and give it to the world’s poor. And like the mythical hero of Sherwood Forest, it is beginning to capture the public’s imagination.  Driven by populist anger at bankers as well as government needs for more revenue, the idea of a tax on trades of stocks, bonds and other financial instruments has attracted an array of influential champions, including the leaders of France and Germany, the billionaire philanthropists Bill Gates and George Soros, former Vice President Al Gore, the consumer activist Ralph Nader, Pope Benedict XVI and the archbishop of Canterbury.
Recent Developments (nytimes)
  • Dec. 6 Occupy Wall Street Protesters move into Senate Offices in Washington DC
  • Dec. 4 Police arrested 31 people and tore down a barnlike building that Occupy D.C. protesters had begun to erect that morning in a park two blocks from the White House where they had been camping out.
  • Dec. 1 A judge in Boston said that the Occupy Boston encampment in Dewey Square could stay for the time being, extending a temporary restraining order barring the city from removing tents or protesters from the area without a court order.
  • Nov. 30 In the pre-dawn hours, Occupy encampments in Los Angeles and Philadelphia were cleared from public parks. 

Other noticeable effects of OWS movement:
Consider David Brook's article on December 6th:
According to data collected by the Center for Progressive Reforms, 62 percent of the people who met with the White House office in charge of reviewing regulations were representatives of industry, while only 16 percent represented activist groups. At these meetings, business representatives outnumbered activists by more than 4 to 1.
Compare that to an article on the same day reporting on Obama's meeting with College Presidents:
In a private meeting on Monday, President Obama and his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, conferred with a dozen college presidents, mostly from public institutions, and leaders of two nonprofit education organizations, about how to curb the rising cost of college and improve graduation rates. “It was an unusually interesting meeting, and not your usual list of college presidents,” said Jane Wellman, founder and director of the nonprofit Delta Project, which studies college costs. . . . In recent months, the cost of higher education has become a central issue of the Occupy movement, and one that arouses bipartisan concern.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

John Carlos at Mission High School!!! Dec. 2

Olympic/Civil Rights Icon John Carlos w/ Dave Zirin in SF 
Friday, December 2, 2011 
from 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM (PT) 
Mission High School Auditorium 
3750 18th St  
San Francisco, CA 94114


"John Carlos is one of the grand figures of the 20th century. His incredible political courage, indisputable athletic excellence and indestructible spiritual fortitude set him apart from most contemporary celebrities. In fact, his fame derives from his courage, excellence and fortitude. Yet it is only in this powerful and poignant memoir that we learn of what and who made him who he is."
--Cornel West, from the Foreword to The John Carlos Story

See the book trailer for the The John Carlos Story

About the authors

John Carlos ( is an African American former track and field athlete and professional football player, and a founding member of the Olympic Project for Human Rights. He won the bronze-medal in the 200 meters race at the 1968 Summer Olympics, where his Black Power salute on the podium with Tommie Smith caused much political controversy. He went on to equal the world record in the 100 yard dash and beat the 200 meters world record. After his track career, he enjoyed brief stints in the National Football League and Canadian Football League but retired due to injury. He became involved with the United States Olympic Committee and helped to organize the 1984 Summer Olympics. He later became a track coach at a high school in Palm Springs, where he now resides. He was inducted into the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame in 2003.

Dave Zirin ( was named one of the "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Our World" by Utne Magazine. He writes about the politics of sports for the Nation magazine, and is their first sports writer in 150 years of existence. Zirin is also the host of Sirius XM satellite's popular weekly show, "Edge of Sports Radio," as well as a columnist for SLAM Magazine, the Progressive, and a regular op-ed writer for the Los Angeles Times. Zirin's other titles are What's My Name, Fool? Sports and Resistance in the United States; Welcome to the Terrordome: The Pain, Politics, and Promise of Sports; The Muhammad Ali Handbook; A People's History of Sports in the United States; and Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love.

About the book:

Price: $22.95
ISBN: 9781608461271
Published: October 2011
Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Haymarket Books

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Peace/Civil Rights Veterans speak out on Occupy Wall Street

thanks Lucille!!!  for sending this to me!!
James Lawson: "movements must be intergenerational!"

thanks Wade!!! for sending this to me!!!

by Paul K. Chappell
October 31, 2011
Paul ChappellI graduated from West Point in 2002, served in the army for seven years, and was deployed to Baghdad in 2006. I left active duty in 2009 as a captain, and I am currently serving as the Peace Leadership Director for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, where I work to empower people with the skills and ideals that allow us to effectively wage peace.

If we compare how much the average twenty-two-year-old army officer knows about waging war and how much the average twenty-two-year-old activist knows about waging peace, there is a big difference. Although I admire their deep commitment to waging peace, many activists have not had enough training in the nonviolent methods that lead to positive change. Many activists have not thoroughly studied the brilliant techniques of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Susan B. Anthony, and other peace warriors.

Good intentions are simply not enough. If they were enough, then war, injustice, and oppression would have ended many years ago. To solve our national and global problems, we need more than just good intentions. We must also be disciplined, strategic, and well trained. Civil Rights leader James Lawson, whom Martin Luther King Jr. called “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world,” said, “The difficulty with nonviolent people and efforts is that they don’t recognize the necessity of fierce discipline and training, and strategizing, and planning, and recruiting.”    READ MORE

[In 1959, King sent Lawson to Nashville, TN, where Lawson trained students from the four black colleges there in the history, philosophy, strategy and discipline of nonviolent direct action.  These students -- among whom became the leaders of the Southern Freedom Movement such as Diane Nash, John Lewis, Bernard Lafayette -- formed the critical leadership of the Nashville Movement.  The Nashville sit-ins have been captured in a 30 minute documentary called, appropriately enough, WHEN WE WERE WARRIORS.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Then and Now

Eerily similar or different?
What do you think?

For the record, the UCDavis police clearly broke the law as per:

California Penal Code Section 12403.7 (a) (8)

(g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment, except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2, engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.

It is crazy to shrug at this even if you don't care about the students it's happening to or because you don't believe in the occupy movement. This is a crime. If anyone other than the police was doing this they would be thrown in jail.It's sad to see comments all over the internet that are modern day echos of the past: "Oh look, they're using hoses on black people and stupid yankee college kids who disobey clear police orders to move out of the street. It's so funny! And it's just water, anyway. Not like they're using machine guns on these idiots."

And just for the record, I have in my life been both hosed down with a fire hose (shellback hazing as I crossed the equator for my first time on a US Naval Ship) as well as pepper sprayed (Marine Corps training for riot control). They are both painful in very different ways but I still feel they are comparable to one another. As a disclaimer, I do feel there is a big difference between the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy but the general principle of Non Violence in the face of blatant police brutality remains the same.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Effects

From DailyKos
Fri Nov 11, 2011 at 10:31 AM PST

Ten stories of people moving their money, despite bank efforts to stop them

Banks are shrugging off the (at least) 700,000 accounts they've lost the last six weeks and claim they don't want your business:

[T]he banks are going to be better off because they are getting rid of their least-profitable or not profitable clients. It helps them stem this tsunami of cash that’s been flowing in that they don’t know what to do with.
But not only do they relentlessly advertise for new business on billboards, TV, direct mail and other places, but they fight tooth and nail to prevent people from closing their accounts. The Daily Kos community and others have chronicled many such efforts, so follow me below the fold for ten of these awesome stories.


From Stephen Colbert

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Occupy U.C. Berkeley
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive


Monday, November 14, 2011

Protest song -- neccesary variable for a social movement!

Songs like this need to be sung at every protest site  --

The songs. [during the Southern Freedom Movement]
      The songs elevated our courage,
           The songs bonded us together,
                The songs forged our discipline,
                     The songs shielded us from hate,
                           The songs protected us from danger,
                              And the songs kept us sane.


Saturday Dialogues - for white racial justice activists

WHAT: Bay Area Saturday Dialogue for white racial justice activists
Here's a little about what we'll be doing at our November event:
Guest facilitator Holly Fulton will be joining us to talk about The Healing Process in our Journeys Around White Awareness, and sharing examples from her experiences with "Traces of the Trade" and "Coming to the Table." Coming to the Table is a program addressing the legacies and aftermaths of slavery by facing history, healing wounds, making connections and taking action.
WHO:  White-Identified People 
  • who want to talk about issues of race, racism, privilege, white identity and liberationist ideas! 
  • who want a community of white racial justice activists!                  
  • who want to invite other white folx to join in conversations about racial justice!

  Saturday, November 19, 2011 1:00pm to 4:00pm

WHERE: Niebyl Proctor Library [wheelchair accessible]
          6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609-1113
  • Bring our anti-racism work into a collaborative community.  
  • Discuss whiteness and our role as white people in the fight against racism. 
  • Build awareness and personal skills to support our racial justice work

FOR MORE INFO or to RSVP to save your spot at

We appreciate your support of this work and welcome your donations to help sustain our development.

P.S. The December 8th Book Group has been postponed.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Occupy Oakland and the Port of Oakland

After watching USA Today news videos of the Occupy Oakland Movement, I am disappointed that the "message" I get from these videos is:  Shut down the Port "to shut down capitalism!" ?????????????????

I would think the better message would be

Shut the port until the port pays its fair share of taxes to the city of Oakland; mitigate it's pollution footprint; and stop making real estate deals that harm the public good

Read an excellent analysis of all the issues surrounding the Port of Oakland by Urban Habitat
Dawn Phillips, organizer for Just Cause Oakland, points out that the Port isn’t looking out for the interests of Oakland residents. “The Port represents one of the less accessible and less accountable institutions, even by the generally low standards of Oakland government.” All too often, Port developments lead to “a net loss of jobs, a net loss of small, local, people of color–owned businesses in Oakland.”
Urban Strategies’ Smith point out that, “There [are] several hundred million dollars in reserve accounts over at the Port. And if we’re… looking at a revenue shortfall in the city of around $30 million… we need to think about getting the Port to give the money to the city to solve that problem.”

Ports around the country have varied relationships to their cities. Some, like Oakland, are semi-autonomous; others pay city taxes. Given Oakland’s current budget problems, there is no reason why old laws cannot be changed, say Oakland community activists. The Port, after all, is located on public land, and the pollution it creates is a public hazard. The community would like to see the Port be more of a city asset and less of a private business.

“[The Port] isn’t a business, it’s a public agency,” says Smith of Urban Strategies. “When someone in city [government] says, ‘Boy we’d really like to access some of that money to fix the fiscal crisis but there’s nothing we can do,’ they are wrong. There is something they can do. They can change the charter. And they can enter into agreements with the Port.”
Just Cause’s Phillips says, “The City Council and the Mayor lack the political will to take the Port on.   It will take community, labor, and neighborhood residents organizing vocal and strong challenges: demonstrations, media work, and legal suits. This isn’t an institution that is going to go quietly.”