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Sunday, October 13, 2013


The world knows about incarceration in the United States - and its addiction to incarcerate.

So much so that 10% of the entire population of this Nation - has been to jail - many for a longer period of time - and less for a short period of time.

Our Nation's population is about 320 million.

This is Nationwide but here in San Francisco - incarceration and discrimination - it is bothering many - too many people - decent people  - at least those that have a conscious.

Our population in San Francisco - is about 650,000 with the population increasing to over a million and a half - during the day time - people coming to work and more when we have sports and other events.

Here is a significant statistic that we must bear in mind. That is if as a person - you have some heart and care about your fellow human being - why is it no one cares.
Why is it - more Blacks - inordinately; more Blacks are incarcerated.

Once here in San Francisco - 25% of the population consisted of Blacks in San Francisco. 

Today, with the City's active participation over 65% of those incarcerated are Blacks.

The City does not care about this pertinent statistic.

Not once has it come up at the San Francisco Police Commission or at the SF Board of Supervisors - where everyone pats each other on the back - and looks the other way. 

I was at the San Francisco Port Authority's Commission meeting some months ago.

The topic was how best to celebrate the 150 year of the SF Port Authority's contribution to the Water Front and San Francisco in general.

The Whites had most of the attention - less the Native Americans - even less the Blacks - the Chinese some how factored in - but the entire picture - made you think a lot.

The SF Port Commissioners as usual were talking about everything under the Sun - but failed to speak about the role and contribution of the Blacks.

The distinctive, stellar and ardent contribution of Blacks - to the SF Port Authority's success, to San Francisco in particular and to California and the Nation in general.

The reason is simple - most people are not educated on issues - and even if they are - the information on some topics they have - are clouded with biasness and discrimination.

Even a fifth grader in San Francisco knows about the Ohlone the First People of San Francisco - and that they were here for over 10,000 years. But not the SF Port Authority - I had to pin point that fact and it was corrected.

As to the contribution made by the Blacks - no one stepped forward to contribute anything much in terms of an exhibition - something  pertinent and inspiring - accept those who wanted to do something and get paid for it. Mostly Whites but a few Blacks too.

I was at the meeting at the SF Port Authority - at the podium talking and thinking to myself how dumb could these folks be.

I know the Black Porters for example - where well respected - the way they carreid themselves and the first marking point of the then railway - started right at the Ferry Building - a few hundred feet from where this meeting was being carried - on.

Blacks had so many things going on the Wharf and little further away - huge ware houses, wash rooms where all sorts of amenities were delivered, six stellar news papers - each vying with the other and each providing some excellent information - all run by Black then called Negros.

San Francisco was unique with Black Churches well established and one or two beating the 150th Anniversay of the San Port Authority - having estabished themselves early on - well provided - where UNITY was a given - because the times were different.

I was as I said at the podium and out of the blues - I said I would volunteer and put up a Buffalo Soldier exhibit.

This happens when the Spirit comes on you and you say - and you remember you said it - and now you have to do it.

Long story short - I made it happen with Anthony Powell the historian on the Buffalo Soldiers - and some good friends as ardent supporters.

We did not get a single penny from the SF Port Authority - because they said they could not afford it.

We left it at that and did what we did - we put up an excellent exhibit in just under a week. Stellar and people are still talking about it.

Back to Blacks and how they lived and contributed to San Francisco.

We had great men and women all of them Black at that time called Negros living and doing business - on Washington Street, Merchant Street, Clay Street, Sansome Street, Leidesdorff Street, Sacramento Street, California, Pine and Bush Streets and more.

Today you just have to visit these streets - to see who lives there - only to understand the locations better and to envision - those time - with all the amenities and opportunities created by Blacks for them and others.

I worked at the Presidio of San Francisco and we have over 450 Buffalo Soldiers buried at the Veterans Cemetary - which is situated in the middle of the Presidio of San Francisco - now a National Park.

The Buffalo Soldiers were all Black who managed the Federal Lands now known as the National Parks. They wrote the Standard Operating Procedures - that the White National Park Service took over - but not a word about the Buffalo Soldiers - until recent times when I and others - brought this fact to those that have ears to hear and eyes to see.

The Buffalo Soldiers were under the command of General Pershing - named Black Jack - because his soldiers were all Black.

I once worked in Building 102 at the Presidio of San Francisco - one of the rare brick buildings - starting with number 99 all the way to 106 - named after a U.S. Commanding General during the Civil War. In 1853 he helped build the historic Montgomery Block - today we call them the brick buildings - situation on the Main Post at the Presidio. General Halleck.

Blatant discrimination and lack of opportuties denied Blacks today - and in the days gone by when they were called Negros is nothing new. Blacks survived because they had no other option.

In the late 1980s hundred of Blacks left San Francisco - they could afford to lease a ship and sail to Canada.

The Blacks arrived from San Francisco and found better opportunities in Canada. Some still return to San Francisco to vist their relatives - but have forgotten why they had to go to Canada in the first place.

On Third Street closer to Market there is a Park - called South Park - a beautiful Park - where there are homes built in a circle - with the Park - right in the middle.

For many years until the late 1990s - Blacks would return to this Park to celebrate - remember the days when only Blacks lived around this Park - called South Park.

Today, not one Black lives there - in the sense that a Black owns a home - in this historic site - that the City and County of San Fancisco - has no clue about.

In fact some years ago - the police were called to stop a Reunion - I was called and explained to the neighbors what the Reuion was all about. The audacity to call the the San Francisco police - the arrogance and more igorance. The matter was settled - I hope forever.

Blacks contributed to San Francisco in large measure. This City and County of San Francisco does not acknowledge that fact - because there is to much discrimination. 

Today, the head of the SF Public Utilities is Black - Harlan Kelly. His wife is Black and she is the City Administrator - both good friends of mine.

The head of the Department of Public Works is Black - good friend of mine - I can go on - but that is not the point. Discrimination is.

If you say San Francisco is a racist city - those who live here and are minorities - they will tell you the truth - racism prevails. 

The Whites will find excuses - like why should 65% of the Blacks  be held in our jails and just happen to be Black.

Through statistics have shown an inordinate number of arrest directed towards Blacks - this is plain wrong.

It is wrong to assume that because you are Black - you must be arrested - or that you are prone to violence, crime, and what have you.

This type of reasoning is silly - but that is what prevails today in San Francisco and in minds of those making - the general - policies.

I was chilling downtown with some Black youth - men and women - when a Police Officer stopped by and I greeted him - "hello Officer".

He recognized me from City Hall and my appearances on the SFTV 26 and started making small talk.

The youth were surprised how this all happened - initially I bet he took me to be one of them - I have dark skin and proud that I have it and prouder still that I was born in Nairobi, Kenya.

I also served with Sixth U.S. Army and Presidio of San Francisco as their last Congressional Liaison , the National Park Service and the United States Park Police.
I know how to address an officer - and more to stand tall and handle my business.

This small circle of Black young adults were petrified at first - until I greeted the Officer - the Officer was taken aback when he recognized me - making small talk - trying to get some clue - about this assembly of sorrs.

I took the conversation to a higer level - challenging him about congestion on our roads, back to back traffic, mentally challenged folks disturbing the peace - and no law officers to be found - he knew the longer he stayed the more asprins he would have to take - he fled.

The distrust for Law Enforcement among Black youth and young adults is at a high.

This generates hostility - and it is not only about White Officers - Law Enforcement period . Young people freeze and when you freeze - you do not have your wits about - you.

The SF City and County brags that our unemployment is about 6% - in neighborhoods where Blacks abound it is 40% and no one says that - because some one wants to paint a rosy picture.

Thousands of units are planned and thousands more built for the rich - the filthy rich - unfortunately with this segment of the population - they really do not have to deal with the Law Enforcement - they live in gated communities - with their own Security Guards - who protect those that live in the gated communities.

In these communities Blacks are kept out - and with the new Chinese money - invested by the Chinese from Mainland China - the discrimination is getting worse - and it is - of another kind. Time will tell.

Blacks are dwindling - every week - every month - fewer and fewer Black and those who are around - struggling - the grandmothers - the Black grandmothers - protect the young, nurture and love the siblings, it is not easy but they do it - much like the days of Slavery.

Young Black men mostly cool with Bling Bling - and the bitch word - repeated in the rap - so many times that is hurts the ear - and points to nonsense and less sense.

The media potrays Blacks in the worse light possible - and on Black TV - you get the laughs - but - it is not as if some difference is made - the mind challenged and those who are not Black - made to think - better.

How do you connect this with crime, violence, and rampant incarceration - think about it. You tell me.