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IN MEMORIAM: Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa Dies at 90

Tutu was born into a poor family in Northwest South Africa, saying of his upbringing that they were not affluent, but “we were not destitute either.” He excelled in high school and gained admission to medical school but couldn’t afford to attend. He became a teacher for several years and had become a server in the church, eventually seeking ordination into the clergy in 1960.

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Desmond Tutu. Facebook photo.
Desmond Tutu. Facebook photo.

By Post Staff

Often called the ‘conscience of South Africa,’ Archbishop Desmond Tutu died of complications from prostate cancer in Cape Town on Sunday morning. He was 90.

His body will lie in state at St George’s Anglican Cathedral and the church bells will ring for 10 minutes for five days at midday in his honor. Tutu’s funeral Mass will be held on Jan. 1, 2022.

The first Black archbishop of South Africa was a prominent leader in the anti-apartheid movement, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and named the head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by the late Nelson Mandela in 1994. He also lent his voice to other human rights issues, supporting LGBTQ rights and independence for Palestine.

He was also known for supporting women and ordained many to serve in the church.

Tutu was born into a poor family in Northwest South Africa, saying of his upbringing that they were not affluent, but “we were not destitute either.” He excelled in high school and gained admission to medical school but couldn’t afford to attend. He became a teacher for several years and had become a server in the church, eventually seeking ordination into the clergy in 1960.

He studied theology in the United Kingdom for a few years, returning to South Africa to teach at a seminary and the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. As the anti-apartheid movement gained steam in the 1970s and 1980s, Tutu emerged as a gentle but strong voice stressing non-violent protest, and gaining status rivaled only by Nelson Mandela, the imprisoned president of the African National Congress.

While on a three-month sabbatical in New York City in 1984, Tutu spoke against apartheid at the United Nations. It was during that time that he learned he had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

At the award ceremony in Oslo, Sweden, his acceptance speech was typically humble: “This award is for mothers, who sit at railway stations to try to eke out an existence, selling potatoes, selling mealies, selling produce. This award is for you, fathers, sitting in a single-sex hostel, separated from your children for 11 months a year…This award is for you, mothers in the KTC squatter camp, whose shelters are destroyed callously every day, and who sit on soaking mattresses in the winter rain, holding whimpering babies…This award is for you, the 3.5 million of our people who have been uprooted and dumped as if you were rubbish. This award is for you,” he said.

In 1985, Tutu became the Bishop of Johannesburg, rising to Archbishop of Cape Town the following year.

After Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and began negotiating the dismantling of apartheid, Tutu mediated the rival Black factions.

Mandela, who had met Tutu only once decades before at a debating event, appointed Tutu to head the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to look into human rights abuses in 1996.

Tutu’s political positions did not always meet with public approval. Anti-apartheid organizations opposed Tutu’s intent to investigate their actions as well as the apartheid apparatus.

Tutu saw parallels between South Africa’s apartheid and Israel’s treatment of Palestine: his support for Palestinian rights drew criticism from some Jewish groups who accused him of anti-Semitism.

Tutu also supported equality for women, demonstrating it by ordaining a number of women into the Anglican clergy. He also was a proponent of LGBTQ rights and spoke out on combatting the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

He retired as archbishop in 1996 and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997, which he battled off and on for the rest of his life. He traveled widely in Africa, Europe and the United States, speaking in a variety of venues and even teaching briefly at a college in the early 2000s.

Returning to South Africa, he withdrew from public life in 2010.

Tutu is survived by his wife of 66 years Nomalizo Leah Shenxane; son Trevor Thamsanqa Tutu and daughters Mpho Andrea Tutu, Naomi Nontombi Tutu and Theresa Thandeka Tutu.

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Activism

Moms 4 Housing Hold Sit-in Demanding County Supervisors Extend Eviction Protections

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms. Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

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Participants in the sit-in, which began Tuesday afternoon, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.
The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

By Post Staff

Moms 4 Housing held a sit-in in the nonviolent civil disobedience tradition of Martin Luther King Jr., to demand that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors uphold their original vote to pass permanent Just Cause eviction protections for the 60,000 tenants living in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County.

The Moms are prepared to hold this sit-in for 60 hours — for the 60,000 tenants who need these protections, which are set to expire.

All formerly unhoused mothers, the Moms are risking arrest to demand that newly elected Supervisor Lena Tam uphold a previous vote for a strong package of permanent tenant protections for renters in the unincorporated areas of Alameda County as the end of the COVID Eviction Moratorium looms.

Participants in the sit-in, are calling on all supporters to come to the 5th floor of 1221 Oak Street or outside the county building immediately to support the protest.

The Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), ACCE and EBHO, along with other local activists, are mobilizing outside of the Alameda County Administration Building to stand in solidarity with Moms 4 Housing, an organization focused on uniting mothers, neighbors, and friends to reclaim housing for the Oakland community from the big banks and real estate speculators.

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Activism

Following More Mass Shootings Democrats Introduce Assault Weapons Ban

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9. The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns. President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

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The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans
The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans.

By Stacy M. Brown,NNPA Newswire

Two proposals aimed at curbing the spread of assault rifles were submitted today by Democratic senators Dianne Feinstein of California, and Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

The Assault Weapons Ban seeks to prohibit the commercialization, distribution, production, and importation of assault rifles and other firearms designed for use in military operations, as well as high-capacity magazines and similar devices.

On January 22, a gunman opened fire on a crowd celebrating the Lunar New Year in Monterey Park, California, killing 11 and wounding 9.

The Democrats’ proposed Age 21 Act would make it illegal to sell or buy an assault weapon to anybody under 21, bringing it in line with the legal age for purchasing handguns.

President Joe Biden has publicly stated his support for the legislation.

Biden said that the number of mass shootings declined during the decade that the Assault Weapons Ban was in effect.

“In the 10 years that the Assault Weapons Ban was on the books, mass shootings went down,” Biden remarked.

“After Republicans let the law expire in 2004 and those weapons were allowed to be sold again, mass shootings tripled,” he declared.

Both houses of Congress were urged to take quick action by the president.

According to Biden, “the majority of American people agree with this rational measure.”

“There can be no greater responsibility than to do all we can to ensure the safety of our children, our communities and our nation,” he insisted.

In the House of Representatives, Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline said he plans to introduce a companion bill to the Senate’s Assault Weapons Ban.

Feinstein said assault rifles “seem to be the unifying denominator in the seemingly endless number of horrific shootings.”

“Because these firearms were created for maximum efficiency in mass murder,” the senator noted.

“They have no place in our society or educational institutions. It’s time to take a stand against the gun lobby and do something about getting these lethal weapons off the streets, or at the absolute least, out of the hands of our youth.”

Blumenthal added, as the gunman at the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park demonstrated just days ago, assault weapons are designed for one and one purpose only: to murder or hurt human beings.

“These military-style combat weapons – built for the battlefield and designed to maximize death and destruction – have brought bloodshed and carnage to our streets and continue to be the weapon of choice in countless mass shootings,” Blumenthal said.

“Guns don’t respect state boundaries, which is why we need a national solution to restricting the ownership and use of assault weapons. Now is the time to honor gun violence victims and survivors with this commonsense action.”

Rep. Ciciline argued that it is long past due to reinstate an assault weapon ban and remove these “weapons of war” from civilian areas.

The assault weapons prohibition “passed the House last year with bipartisan backing, but was blocked by Senate Republicans,” Ciciline noted.

“We need to come together to enact this commonsense, effective, and proven policy to reduce gun violence and save lives. I thank Senator Feinstein for her partnership in this fight and look forward to introducing the House companion bill in the coming weeks.”

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Activism

With a 97.3% Strike Vote, More Than 500 Richmond Educators Rally Before School Board Meeting

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

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Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day
Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day

By Post Staff

United Teachers of Richmond (UTR) held a rally urging West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) officials to reach a “fair settlement” and avoid a strike.

Teachers, school psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, program specialists, librarians, and speech-language pathologists are calling for a settlement that includes community schools, shared decisions, and competitive compensation that keeps outstanding educators in the community — and brings the next generation of educators to the district.

The rally was held at Lovonya Dejean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

“We don’t want to strike, but we will if it means doing what is best for our students. Over 90% of all union members who participated in the strike authorization vote are ready to meet this crisis created by a board and management team not working in the interests of the district. We are hoping our actions through the fact-finding process will show WCCUSD that we are serious about fighting for the best resources for our students. They deserve the best, and nothing less,” UTR President John Zabala said.

In mid-November last year, the Legislative Analyst Office of California announced additional guaranteed, ongoing funding for the 2023-24 school year. The district intends to only provide less than half of the percentage of ongoing permanent funding it receives from the state for educator compensation, according to a statement released by the UTR.

Despite that projection of continued funding by the state, the school district declared an impasse in negotiations with UTR. Educators across the district have weathered crisis after crisis: from budget cuts due to poor financial management, to building new virtual learning systems during the pandemic, or giving up countless prep or non-contractual hours to ensure students are with a credentialed adult every day.

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