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William ‘Bill’ Casey Remembered

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William “Bill”  Casey, a truly dutiful and faithful member of Bethel  AME Church, passed away on March 23, 2020.

A celebration of his life was held on July 7 at Bethel AME Church in San Francisco.

The Bay Area community and his Bethel AME Church Family will truly miss his warm and supportive friendship. GODSPEED “Bill” Casey

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Janice Mirikitani

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

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Janice Mirikitani, photo courtesy Wikipedia Janice Mirikitani, 80

Janice Mirikitani was born on February 4, 1941, in Stocktonand 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 theirinternment 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 lifeLateefah 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 MirikitaniGlide 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.

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Community

Civil Rights Icon, Robert Parris Moses, 86

Dr. Robert Parris Moses, a Harlem native who became one of the architects of Freedom Summer, died at his home in Hollywood, Fla., on July 25. He was 86 years old.

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Dr. Robert Parris Moses

Dr. Robert Parris Moses, a Harlem native who became one of the architects of Freedom Summer, died at his home in Hollywood, Fla., on July 25. He was 86 years old.

“Throughout his life, Bob Moses bent the arc of the moral universe towards justice,” said Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP on Twitter at hearing of Moses’ death. “He was a strategist at the core of the voting rights movement and beyond. He was a giant. May his light continue to guide us as we face another wave of Jim Crow laws.”

Among his contemporaries in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which Moses joined in a founding meeting in 1960, he was known for his quiet, measured demeanor, deliberately eschewing the spotlight.

By taking to heart the values taught by his mentor, NAACP youth leader Ella Baker, who believed in engaging the local population to enact change, he deliberately disrupted leadership norms in the Black community that centered the male, charismatic voice.   

It was Baker who sent Moses to the deep South in August 1960 where her NAACP contacts in McComb, Miss., wanted to do more than integrate lunch counters and bus waiting rooms. In the summer of 1961, they would embark on a voter registration campaign. Well-documented terror and violence ensued. Over the next three years, Moses would be beaten while escorting a Black couple up the courthouse steps to register to vote, waiting until that was done before seeking medical treatment. In another incident he and two others would dodge Klansmen’s bullets on country roads.

Moses was one of the organizers of 1964’s Freedom Summer, which saw mostly college kids flock to Mississippi to help register Black people to vote. Moses was also instrumental in creating the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which famously attempted to be recognized at the Democratic presidential election in 1964 and where sharecropper Fannie Lou Hamer would embody the bottom-up philosophy espoused by Baker. It was her speech, broadcast on nationwide television and which then-Pres. Lyndon Johnson tried to pre-empt, that brought home to the American public the terror of living in Mississippi while Black.

Disillusioned by the policies of liberal Democrats, Moses disengaged from SNCC and, on his own, began to speak out against the Vietnam War. In 1966, at the age of 31, five years older than the normal maximum draft age, the married father was drafted. He moved to Canada and then to Tanzania with his wife and stayed there working in the Ministry of Education, returning to the U.S. in 1977 when he and 100,000 others were pardoned by Pres. Jimmy Carter.

A few years later, after completing his doctorate in philosophy, he visited his daughter’s school. Learning that algebra was not offered at the inner-city school, was what led him to founding the Algebra Project. In 1982, he received the MacArthur Genius Award for his program of helping schools and communities get the basic math classes that are the gateway to college admission.

In addition to the degrees he earned from Hamilton College and Harvard, he has received honorary degrees from Swarthmore College, Ohio State University, and the University of Missouri.

Other awards were the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship and the War Resisters League Peace Award among others.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Janet Jemmott Moses; children Maisha Moses, Omo Wale Moses, Taba Moses, Malaika Moses and Saba Moses; and seven grandchildren.

The New York Times, The Nation, Wikipedia, National Public Radio, Reuters and The Miami Herald were sources for this report. 

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Terry Collins, SF State Strike Leader and Radio Journalist, Dies at 85

A radio journalist, he was also KPOO-FM Radio co-founder and station board chair.  He obtained the license for KPOO at a time when few African Americans were in possession of an FCC broadcast license. 

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Terry Collins. Photo courtesy of the family.

Terry Collins was a major leader of the 1968-69 San Francisco State University Black student strike which  created the world’s first Black Studies program and first College of Ethnic Studies. He died on July 8 at the age of 85.

A radio journalist, he was also KPOO-FM Radio co-founder and station board chair.  He obtained the license for KPOO at a time when few African Americans were in possession of an FCC broadcast license. 

Collins was a host and producer of several shows on KPOO and a mentor to hundreds of KPOO programmers, volunteers and interns who have become elected officials, college professors and award winning journalists. 

Born in Lansing, Mich., on Jan. 29, 1936, he spent his early years in the small town of Connersville, Indiana. When he was 16, he moved to Los Angeles with his mother.

He graduated from Dorsey High School in 1952 and then attended Los Angeles Community College. Drafted in 1959, he was stationed in Germany for 19 months serving in the 13th and 35th Artillery.  These were both all-Black divisions.

After he was discharged in 1961, he backpacked around Europe and North Africa.

During this early adult years he started thinking about Marxism and socialism.

He returned to Los Angeles in 1964 and became politically active.  He had become an internationalist through his travels and his contacts with the African National Congress (ANC).

He moved to San Francisco in 1967 where he was a founder of the Black Draft Counseling Center and became a student at San Francisco State.

He joined the Black Student Union and the Black Panther Party.  He made major contributions to the BSU by pushing for more structure and for strong alliances with other oppressed communities and Third World student organizations.

He was part of the leadership of the San Francisco State Strike, the longest and most successful student strike in U.S. history.  

The strike established the first Black Studies Program and led to the teaching of ethnic studies across the country. Collins continued to be involved at San Francisco State throughout his life and was awarded the Exemplary Leadership Award in 2012 and 2019.

In 1973, he co-founded KPOO Radio Station 89.5 FM – The People’s Station. KPOO was a pioneering station which hosted shows by communities that were often ignored. In addition to serving as a board member and as president, he hosted the show, “Spirit of Joe Rudolph.”  

Because of his amazing work on the station and at S.F. State on behalf of the Arab and Palestinian communities, a Palestine scholarship was established in his name and announced at his memorial service on July 24.

The service was attended by Danny Glover, who had once been Collins’ roommate; S.F. Mayor London Breed, Pastor and community leader Arnold Townsend, and several hundred of the people who loved Collins.

As the program for his memorial said, “He was a husband, father, ‘papa’ uncle, brother, son comrade, scholar, king,  revolutionary and so much more.  May he rest in power and peace.”   

Collins is survived by family members including his wife Cecelia Johnson Collins;  daughters Kiara Collins and Renia Collins; and others. He was related to Malcolm X by marriage

 

Terry Collins’ memorial service was broadcast live on KPOO 89.5 FM and kpoo.com  at 2 p.m., Saturday July 24,2021. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to KPOO FM Radio https://kpoo.com/support

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