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Janice Mirikitani, 80

Janice Mirikitani was born on February 4, 1941, in Stockton and died suddenly on July 29, 2021.  Her cause of death is unknown.

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Janice Mirikitani, photo courtesy Wikipedia

Janice Mirikitani was born on February 4, 1941, in Stockton and died suddenly on July 29, 2021.  Her cause of death is unknown.  

She was an activist, poet, writer and author who received a number of honors, including the Japanese Foreign Ministry Commendation Award for her community work in 2019.

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney tweeted: “[w]e lost a legend today, the First Lady of the Tenderloin, a poet, someone who loved people, all people, and had endless compassion, grace, and vision.”

Mirikitani was born to Shigemi and Ted Mirikitani and they were all interned from her infancy for three years during World War II at a War Relocation Center in Arkansas.  After their internment the family moved to Chicago.   

Her parents divorced and she and her mother relocated to a chicken farm in Petaluma in the North Bay near other family.

Mirikitani earned her undergraduate degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She then taught in the Contra Costa School District before joining Glide Memorial Church as an administrative assistant.

In 1969, Mirikitani became the program director at Glide.  In 1982, she married Cecil Williams, who was then the pastor. She was also the president of the Glide Foundation and was responsible for fundraising and budget oversight. 

She co-founded and edited Aion, the first Asian American literary magazine. She was named the second poet laureate for the city of San Francisco in 2000, and she served in that role for two years, according to Wikipedia.

“Janice was a breathtaking personification of God’s grace.  Her life was spent loving and holding up brothers and sisters that the world had given up on.  Janice’s time on earth teaches us that a life solely focused on serving the people is a blessed life” Lateefah Simon, a director of the BART Board, told The Post. 

Karen Hanrahan, CEO and president of Glide told the Post: “[l]ike thousands of others, I am grieving the loss of this city’s greatest treasure.  Janice was a fearless voice for truth and justice.  Her love for those struggling the most was a powerful force for healing that transformed thousands of lives. At GLIDE we will build on Jan’s legacy, including her boundless capacity for unconditional love, to ensure no one is left behind.”

Congresswoman Barbara Lee said in a statement on July 29: “I am sending my prayers and deepest condolences to Janice Mirikitani’s husband, Rev. Cecil Williams, and her family.  I am heartbroken to hear of Janice’s passing and I am grieving alongside the Glide community today.  Janice was a beautiful force of nature, a warrior for justice, and a talented poet whose spirit soared.  She inspired us all.  I will miss her tremendously.”

In Japantown’s Peace Plaza, where one of her poems is etched into a stone obelisk, shocked members of the National Japanese American Historical Society thoughtfully lay a colorful string of traditional origami around the monument.

A memorial fund in Mirikitani’s name has been established to support women’s and children’s programs so near and dear to her heart. She was executive director of the Janice Mirikitani Glide Family Youth and Child Care Center.

Mirikitani is survived by her husband, Cecil Williams, and her child from her first marriage, Tianne Miller.

Wikipedia, The San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, KTVU- Fox 2 and The Houston Chronicle were sources for this story.

Activism

Over 500 Attend Police-Free Event to Reimagine Safety in Oakland

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

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Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson
Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation Events Held in More Than 50 Communities Across the Country

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

OAKLAND, CA — Over 500 people and families filled Josie de la Cruz Park in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood on Aug. 2 to enjoy performances, kids activities, and mutual aid to celebrate Night Out for Safety and Liberation (NOSL), an annual national event that redefines what safety and joy is without policing. The free community event included free diapers and books for all ages, food, bike giveaways, air purifiers, self defense training, a drag show, and performances from poets and artists such as Lauren Adams, TJ Sykes and Voces Mexicanas.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Night Out for Safety and Liberation started in 2013 by the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch captain and is held as an alternative to the police-centric National Night Out. Since 2013, the event has spread across the country with over 50 events scheduled this year where communities make the night about the power of community, not cops.

“We have been reimagining what safety means beyond police for our communities for over 25 years at the Ella Baker Center. When we create safe spaces for our community to come together and support each other, when we provide living-wage jobs so people are able to put food on their table, when we empower our children and provide opportunities for them to thrive, when we invest in healthcare and mental health resources, this is how we create real safety,” said Marlene Sanchez, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Through Night Out for Safety and Liberation, communities are creating safety not through policing but through healing and restorative justice, through creating gender affirming spaces and protecting trans and LGBTQIA communities, through reinvesting funding into community-based alternatives and solutions that truly keep communities safe.

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

“We don’t need more police in our streets. We don’t need more surveillance. What we need is resources!” said Jose Bernal, Organizing Director with the Ella Baker Center. “What we need is housing, diapers, legal resources, jobs. This [Night Out for Safety and Liberation] is what keeps us safe. This is resilience.”

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

Photos courtesy of Ella Baker Center, photography by Brooke Anderson

The event was emceed by Nifa Akosua, Senior Organizer and Advocate with the Ella Baker Center, and TJ Sykes, author and community activist–both natives of Richmond, California. The show included entertaining performances from Oakland Originalz break dancers, Voces Mexicanas mariachi band, singer Lauren Adams and a drag show from Afrika America.

“Night Out for Safety and Liberation is about neighborhood love and neighborhood safety. It’s about connecting, showing up for each other and staying connected as a community. That’s how we keep each other safe,” said Nifa.

More than 20 organizations and vendors participated in Tuesday’s event, offering community resources, face painting, giving away 500 books for all ages, and free diapers. Those participating included: Help A Mother Out, Mujeres Unidas y Activas, ACLU of Northern California, TGI Justice Project, Urban Peace Movement, Ella Baker’s Readers & Cesar Chavez Public Library, Alliance for Girls, Bay Area Women Against Rape, Centro Legal de la Raza, Common Humanity Collective, Street Level Health Project, Malikah – Self Defense, East Bay Community Law Center, Unity Council, Young Women’s Freedom Center, East Bay Family Defenders, Bay Area Workers Support, L’Artiste A La Carte, Education Super Highway, Cut Fruit Collective, and WIC.

Other Night Out for Safety and Liberation events were held in Oakland, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, Waco, Hampden, Conway, Washington D.C. and other cities. Follow the conversation and see photos from events in other cities using #SafetyIs and #NOSL22.

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Digital Issues

Oakland Post: Week of August 3 – August 9, 2022

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post for the week of August 3 – August 9, 2022

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The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post for the week of August 3 - August 9, 2022

To enlarge your view of this issue, use the slider, magnifying glass icon or full page icon in the lower right corner of the browser window.

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#NNPA BlackPress

Brittney Griner Sentenced to More than 9 years in Russian Prison

NNPA NEWSWIRE — The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision. “We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

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By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

WNBA Superstar Brittney Griner has been sentenced to more than 9 years in a Russian prison following her conviction on drug charges.

Her lawyers called the verdict a disappointment and vowed to appeal.

The lawyers of WNBA star Brittney Griner, Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov, said in a written statement following the verdict announcement that the court ignored all the evidence they presented and that they will appeal the decision.

“We are very disappointed by the verdict. As legal professionals, we believe that the court should be fair to everyone regardless of nationality,” Attorneys Maria Blagovolina and Alexander Boykov said in a statement.

“The court completely ignored all the evidence of the defense, and most importantly, the guilty plea. This contradicts the existing legal practice.

“Taking into account the amount of the substance (not to mention the defects of the expertise) and the plea, the verdict is absolutely unreasonable. We will certainly file an appeal,” they added.

Russian officials contended that Griner committed the crime on purpose. They also levied a fine totaling about $16,400 American dollars on the basketball star.

Authorities arrested Griner on Feb. 17 at an airport in Moscow after finding less than a gram of cannabis oil in her luggage.

She has been detained since then.

Recently, American officials revealed that the Biden-Harris administration had offered notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout in exchange for the release of Griner and Paul Whelan.

“Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney,” President Biden said.

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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