Blacks Disappearing From California University Campuses

Even at African American Studies classes at UC Berkeley, it is now rare that Black students are a majority of the class,” said Yvette Felarca, one of the protesters that briefly occupied the Registrar’s office. African American enrollment has dropped to 3 percent since passage of Proposition 2009, the referendum that outlawed affirmative action in state higher education in 1996. A federal appeals court recently upheld the ban. George Washington, a lawyer for Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), calls the law “a direct attack on the political rights of Black and Latino people. Every other citizen of the state of California can say they want a special admissions program” – except racial and ethnic minorities.

Look at Dick and Jane. See Their Privileges

Dick and Jane,” the old picture book primer, taught post-World War Two Americans that lily white suburban lives were the ones “that need to be protected from criminal Others like Trayvon Martin when they enter into gated communities,” said scholar and activist Sikivu Hutchinson. “This whole paradigm was really constructed upon the Othering of African Americans and other families of color.”

Occupy the Justice Department

The U.S. criminal justice system will be put on trial, on April 24, when demonstrators “Occupy” the U.S. Justice Department, in Washington.Benjamin Woods, of Students Against Mass Incarceration, hopes to put “prison abolition back on the table, as opposed to just prison ‘reform’ and ‘stop these brutalities.’” The Howard University doctoral candidate said the questions must be posed: “What is an alternative to prison? How can we transform society so that prisons are no longer necessary?”

California Prisoners Take Torture Case to the UN

Peter Schey, of the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, has filed petitions asking the United Nations to intervene in California’s draconian prison solitary confinement practices. “The majority are placed in solitary confinement” – for years and even decades – “based on mere gang membership or association with gangs,” said Schey. His clients want the UN to issue a report stating that California’s policies “constitute torture in violation of international law.”

The Rich, and Their Children, Get Richer

The Senate should pass a bill that would restore taxes on inherited wealth to levels that would raise half a trillion dollars over the next ten years, said Tim Sullivan, of United for a Fair Economy, part of Americans for a Fair Estate Tax. “The concentrated wealth we are seeing right now is at epidemic proportions, the worst it has been since before the Great Depression, and the Estate Tax is near its weakest level since it was put into place 100 years ago,” said Sullivan.

U.S. Hands Off Mali!

The Tuareg rebellion that has cut the West African nation of Mali in two is the result of colonial boundaries and decisions that “left out a nomadic people without any kind of land base of their own,” said Anna Edwards, of Defenders of Freedom, Justice and Equality, in Richmond, Virginia. The “destabilization of Libya” by the U.S. and NATO left thousands of Malian Tuaregs jobless. Peace activists should demand that the U.S. not intervene in the conflict, said Ms. Edwards, who has visited Mali several times. “The bulk of U.S. aid to Mali is implemented through AFRICOM, and the desire to find a base on African soil.”

Cholera Deaths Up in Haiti

The return of the rainy season has brought an increase in deaths from cholera, which has killed 7,000 Haitians and sickened half a million since its introduction by MINUSTAH, the United Nations military occupation force. The UN has the responsibility to commit the resources to control the disease “because they brought it there, but they’re still denying it,” said Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington. “This is the rainy season, and once again they’re not prepared for it. I think they just don’t care enough.”

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