Tuesday, January 21, 2014
"No More Prisons" by William "Upski" Wimsatt, is one of my favorite books. The first time I picked up this book I was 15 years old, and it was the first time I felt like I was being told the truth. Many of the social study books I was being given at school, only reflected one side of history; the rich Anglo-saxon story. Even as a young middle class mixed kid I knew that there were pieces missing, and I was searching for answers as to why all my high school was talking about was cutting art based classes and sports. I couldn't understand why the school wouldn't want to invest in their students. "No More Prisons," connected the dots for me, giving me a larger perspective of where the system had come from and where it was heading.
I loved this book because "Upski" didn't shy away from his privilege as a middle/ upper middle class white guy, his integrity relied on facts. I definitely still recommend this book to any one and would love to see it being taught it schools.
Please listen to the youtube link below, it's an excerpt from "No More Prisons"
Monday, January 13, 2014
The first time I met Young Panch was in a workshop I was guest speaking at. Panch had something magnetic about his personality, the type that makes you want to pay attention when he speaks, his analysis and reflection on the priority of education for urban life was clear, he told me there is no priority, he said, even tho' the OG's would tell him to go to school he would still see them on the block making money "easy money," and the folks from the hood that went to school and "made something of themselves," would never come back to the hood, posing the question what are the youngsters in his community supposed to aspire too?
After further conversation, Panch's ability to play with words became more clear and I began connecting dots in my head. My homie Heat (the one that I did the Die-Hard and Home Video for) had been boasting about the skills of a youngsta he used to work with named Panch... and Fillmore rapper J.Davinci has been telling me about a young MC he has been working with under Thorobred. So, when I added young Panch on I/G @thorobredpanch it finally became more clear.
Young Panch is one of the emerging voices out of the city, if you don't know about him learn about him. Start following him today. Below is his latest video called "Living in Hell."
Thursday, December 19, 2013
My name is Leah Weitz a.k.a Nina Parks and I'm TAKING A STAND FOR SF because I believe that everyone has the right to a safe and healthy quality of life no matter what tax bracket you fall in. I've witnessed too many injustices and and observed a extreme lack of value placed on "people of color" and San Francisco natives by authorities in San Francisco.
The "Taking a Stand For SF" movement IS growing and gaining support world wide, as a conscious member of my community and as someone who is outreaching for support for the cause I realize that I have a responsibility to make my intentions and position transparent.
On November 15th, the same day that, big money and SFPD turned Downtown SF into Gotham City to fulfill the wish of ONE boy to be "Bat Kid" for a day, FOUR young men were beat up by under cover police officers, in the Valencia Garden's housing complex. The reason for the act of violence between DJ William, the first young man that was assaulted, and undercover officers was reported to have be a "vehicle violation."
So, in other words, DJ was riding his bike on the sidewalk coming up to his family's apartment, when he was stopped by officers in plan clothes; approaching him for reasons he was oblivious to. DJ tried to go in the house, and was accused with resisting and the undercover officers decided to address the situation with extreme force. Then when residence realized what was happening, three more young men seeing the violence being used on their family, came to DJ's aid, unfortunately they all met the same destiny as DJ and got beat up as well. The Valencia 4 were detained and eventually released with all the charges dropped, after a PEACEful display of outrage from their community.
Please watch the video bellow to hear and see what happened from a residence perspective.
My Personal Connection:
Watching this video and attending the rallies, re-stimulated feelings of outrage from my own experience with SFPD, from being a youth growing up in the city and more recently as a Community Worker, for the entire summer of 2009 beat officers from Ingleside station, claiming to be implementing "community policing" methods, would chase and pull youth out of the center for things as small as littering, J-walking and smoking weed on people's stairs.
I've witnessed undercover officers pushing past elderly people during peek hours at our food pantry, chasing a young man onto a rooftop pulling guns on him, walk him into the middle of the street with his pants down by his ankles and send 4 officers to tackle his girlfriend as she attempts to pull up her boyfriend's pants. While I held back his younger brother from running up on the police to (this of one of many incidents)
I could not sit silently by I had to try to do something. As a Case Manager at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, I became involved in organizing with youth to give input to a document that is suppose to guide the practices of all police officers. That document is called "Department General Order 1.08" or "Community Policing General Order."
The general order was approved in September 2011, yet everyone I've talked about it with has been completely ignorant to it's existence.
DGO 1.08 lays out a foundation for SFPD to shift it's paradigm. I've linked the document please do your own research.
I'm taking a stand against abuse of power, I'm taking a stand for the youth that think that they don't have a voice. I'm taking a stand for healing trauma and I'm taking a stand for improving the educational opportunities of public school youth.
And I ask you, what do you take a stand for?
I was able to help bring awareness to recent injustices through this photo campaign. But it is not enough and it is up to the rest of you to take a stand to speak up and organize and collaborate with each other if you want to see change in SF.
So again I ask, how can we take a stand for SF? Are you ready to take a stand for what you believe in?