wrkers.rg Feb. 17, 2011 Page 3
& the Black Freedom Struggle
An anthology of writings from Workers World newspaper. Editedby Monica Moorehead. Includes
• Racism, National Oppression& Self-Determination
• Black Labor from ChattelSlavery to Wage Slavery
• Black Youth: Repression& Resistance
• The Struggle for Socialism Is Key
• Black & Brown Unity: A Pillar of Strugglefor Human Rights & Global Justice!
• Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy of Slavery, Sharecropping &Segregation
• Harriet Tubman, Woman Warrior
• Are Conditions Ripe Again Today?
40th Anniversary of the 1965 Watts Rebellion
• Racism and Poverty in the Delta
• Haiti Needs Reparations, Not Sanctions
Community memers at Antioch, Calif., speak-out against foreclosures.
Bay rea eet ce recrea evctwtby verct cver rea ate cre
Photo: MEtohEALth MEDiCALCENtE
eecca Whity with her new aydaughter, A’Marhi.
By Judy GreenspanSan Francisco
Political activists and community orga-nizers, many of them facing home foreclo-sures themselves, took an active role in aseries of meetings and rallies in the SanFrancisco Bay area the rst week of Feb-ruary. In Bayview, San Francisco’s largest African-American community and in themostly Latino/a working-class suburb of Antioch, they began building a ghtback movement to demand an end to all fore-closures and evictions.The featured speaker at all of the events was Jerry Goldberg, an organizer and peo-ple’s lawyer with the Detroit-based Mora-torium Now! Coalition to Stop Foreclo-sures, Evictions and Utility Shut-offs. Priorto the public meetings, organizing sessions were held in East Bay communities.Bayview-Hunters Pointe up until re-cently has experienced a full 48 percent of San Francisco’s foreclosures. So it shouldhave been no surprise that homeowners,tenants and community activists gatheredat Bayview’s Grace Tabernacle Church tohear Goldberg on Feb. 3 and to participatein a community speakout. Dave Welsh, anorganizer with the Bail Out the PeopleMovement, chaired the meeting. Willie Ratcliff, a local contractor andpublisher of the San Francisco BayView National Black Newspaper, spoke aboutthe struggle being waged to create jobsand win community control of new con-struction in Bayview. Ratcliff’s construc-tion company was originally chosen to build the neighborhood library. Ratcliff recently found out that the job was trans-ferred to a large, outside contractor.The BayView newspaper had printeda quarter page yer promoting this anti-foreclosure meeting.Showing the impact of this issue, ReneGonzalvez, also from the church and anorganizer of a group that monitors laborstandards for oppressed workers and of acampaign for local hires on city contracts;local activists Marie Harrison and NaimHarrison; and Global Women’s StrikeNell Myhand all joined the effort. Someof these organizers were challenging theirown foreclosures. Antioch, about 45 minutes from SanFrancisco, has been devastated by foreclo-sures. Workers who earn about $30,000a year or who have now lost their jobs gotlured into mortgages with principals of $300,000 or more whose interest rateskeep going up, leading to massive homelosses. People also came to the Feb. 4 meet-ing from surrounding Contra Costa Coun-ty, which leads California in foreclosures.The meeting, which was translated intoSpanish, took place in the parking lot of the community center with loudspeakersand a large banner calling for a moratori-um on foreclosures and evictions. It was allput together by the community organizers.Delia Aguilar, whose home was placedin foreclosure last year, and GuillermoBriceno of Nuestra Casa Community Ser- vices, were major forces behind the An-tioch meeting. Aguilar also attended theSan Francisco meeting and gave movingtestimony about her ght to stay in herhome. Led by local organizers, plans areunderway to build a strong movement fora moratorium against foreclosures andevictions.Goldberg’s talks included a history of “the war against poor and working peo-ple” in Detroit and around the country,rst through job loss and now throughforeclosures and evictions. The Detroitorganizer noted that the rst moratoriumagainst foreclosures was won in the 1930sthrough direct action. Goldberg, who ex-posed the rotten role of the banks, urgedpeople to get involved politically and de-mand that “Housing is a Right!”Many community members came outto the rallies with their legal paperwork in hand and Goldberg, who is an attorney in Michigan, gave as much advice as hecould. While he admitted winning a few legal cases in the courts, he gave exampleafter example of how much more power-ful the struggle became when people or-ganized. “For every one case that I have won, I’ve lost 10,” Goldberg said. “But when we have taken direct action by mo- bilizing the community to stand up, wehave been able to win some real victo-ries,” he added.
By Sharon DanannCleveland
An Ohio jury returned verdicts in thetrial of Rebecca Whitby, daughter, andRebecca Whitby, mother, on Feb. 7, ac-quitting them on most of the charges.The younger woman, however, was foundguilty of one count of resisting arrest andone count of assaulting a police ofcer with her saliva. The incident occurred in April 2009 after police were called to me-diate a family dispute.Mother Whitby was found guilty of ob-struction of justice because she threw her body over her daughter to shield her frompunches in the face. Sentencing will be onMarch 7. While the defense attorneys did notraise this point in their summation, sup-porters of the two women say that at leasteight white ofcers positioned themselveson the Whitbys’ front porch while the two white cops who responded to the call wereupstairs beating up the younger Whitby.The Rebecca Whitby Defense Committeesays the two cops upstairs never had timeto summon help after they arrived, sothey must have called for backup on their way to the Whitby house.The women and other witnesses say that this large group of ofcers, who hadseemingly no particular reason for beingon the scene, brutalized the 23-year-old woman while using racial slurs such asthe n-word and derogatory sexual lan-guage. That’s why the defense committeehas raised slogans demanding chargesagainst the cops and has discussed thecase as a preplanned hate crime. It wasanother skirmish in the war on the Black people and the women of Cleveland.
Hate crime perpetrated by blue uniforms
The attack would have been more rec-ognizable as a hate crime had it not beenhidden behind blue uniforms and coveredup through intri-cate machinationsat the jail and sub-sequently at thehospital. The situ-ation was furtherobscured by the10 felony chargesled against thedaughter and thethree felony charg-es against themother after they had the courage torequest an investi-gation into the useof excessive force by the police.The jury askedto see this com-plaint, but JudgeDaniel Gaul denied their request.On Feb. 3, while the jury was on a break,the most recent example of the thug tac-tics that permeate the police and judicialsystem in Cleveland occurred right in thecourtroom.Christine Martin, one of the whiteneighbors who testied for the defense,gave details of the ofcers’ violent acts.These included kicking and tasing the younger Whitby, already limp and semi-conscious, on the front porch.Martin says that as she was leavingthe courtroom after completing her tes-timony, Assistant Prosecutor StephanieLingle asked a deputy sheriff to arresther. In front of numerous witnesses, thesheriff said to Martin, “Life’s a b — ch,” while he handcuffed her roughly, injur-ing her wrists and shoulder blades in theprocess, and transported her back intothe courtroom.In the courtroom Martin was toldthere was a warrant for her for posses-sion of drugs. Prosecutor Sherrie Roysterlaughed openly at Martin, who was vis-ibly upset, crying anddemanding to haveher birth date and So-cial Security numbercompared to those onthe warrant. Other ob-servers came from the judge’s chambers tolaugh and smile at theobvious discomfort of the defense witness.Lingle commented,“She got what she de-served.”Then, as suddenly as the arrest, someonerealized that the out-standing warrant wasfor a person who did,in fact, have a different birth date. Martin wasfree to go, but only after she had beenthoroughly terrorized for breaking ranks with the racists and having the integrity to tell the truth about an abusive situa-tion.Marva Patterson, aunt of the younger Whitby, stated, “Judge Gaul was so madat the verdicts — you could fry an egg onhis head. The verdicts were much betterthan anything offered in plea bargaining.The courtroom was packed with family and supporters.”The Whitbys are maintaining theirghting spirit. Their attorneys have al-ready led appeals. According to mother Whitby, “We won’t stop until the cops get what they deserve.”The defense committee is asking peo-ple to contact Martin Flask, Director of the Department of Public Safety, 601Lakeside Ave., Rm. 230, Cleveland, OH44114; phone 216-664-2200; fax 216-664-3734. Let him know that it’s timefor Ofcers James Bryant and MitchellSheehan to face charges for excessive useof force for punching, kicking and usingtasers when all they were faced with wasmisdemeanor spittle — which they proba- bly squeezed out of Whitby when the twolanded on her.They also need to face charges formany instances of falsication of recordsand cover-up of their crimes.If cops can be convicted in New Or-leans for killing people at a bridge cross-ing without reason, they can be convictedin Cleveland. The organized forces of hate often turn in their sheets for blueuniforms, prosecutors’ suits and judges’robes. But we will ght back against their war of terror, and together we will win!