Current Picks
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Wednesday, 15 October 2014
Wanda's Picks
Wanda's Picks October 2014
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Thursday, 02 October 2014
Blood Moon

On October 8, between 1:17 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. view the eclipse of the moon. Called the blood moon because of its red hue, it should be pretty spectacular and weather permitting, you can see it all from Oakland:   There will be a partial solar eclipse October 23 also visible from Oakland.

Maafa Commemoration 2014

This is just a reminder that Sunday, October 12, 2014 marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.

We have our 501 (c) 3 now, so if anyone wants to make an endowment or give us property like a building or car or van, you can write it off (smile). The ritual is as always here in the Bay at Ocean Beach, Fulton at the Great Highway. It starts before sunrise, about 5:30 or so. Wear white, dress warmly (so if your warm clothes are not white—wear them (smile), bring your kids, instruments, breakfast items to share, flowers for the ancestors (white and red for the Ritual of Forgiveness), blankets to sit on or chairs. We can always use more chairs and tables for the food. If you’d like to carpool, especially if you can pick up people who are traveling from as far away as Vallejo, Sacramento, maybe Los Angeles, Oakland, Hayward, Alameda. . . let us know. We can use donations to pay Urban Shield (security) and to rent the port-a-potty.  A few people are carrying all the costs. If you’d like to help, especially with 2015, drop me a line: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it We still need a rehearsal space for the Ritual. Visit or call (641) 715-3900 ext. 36800# 

Health and Wellness

The "Be Still Retreat,” a place for black people specifically to learn about self-care and stress reduction, is Saturday, October 4, 2014, 10-4 (at 9 a.m. there is a mindfulness walk).  Sponsored by Black Women's Media Project, its in a new location: Mills College in the Graduate School of Business (GSB) building. 5000 MacArthur Blvd. Oakland. 94613. To attend call 510-834-5990. It is a free event.

Day of Prayer for Mental Health

Alameda County Mental Health Awareness Annual Day of Prayer is Tuesday, October 7, 8-9 a.m. at 1221 Oak Street. There will be representation by diverse faiths, Observance of Japanese Crane, a Proclamation by the Board of Supervisors, and Refreshments. The goal will be to lift up those in need of mental wellness support, prayer and love, especially African American males.  

The Spirituality Factor Conference

The following week is the Spirituality Factor Conference: Weaving Spirituality & Behavior Health Using Evidence on October 9th and 10th in Oakland at Allen Temple Family Life Center, 8501 International Blvd. Go to to learn more and get registered to attend.

The title of my presentation is: Where Is Home for the Pan African as Exemplified through the Baseball Metaphor Jackie Robinson and Home Plate


Color Struck 2014-2015: Conversations N Color Tour,
written and performed by Donal Lacy Jr.
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 3-4 at Laney College

Join Donald Lacy Jr. for an evening of thought-provoking conversation about race relations in America. Audiences will find themselves both laughing and then pinching themselves once the tears stop rolling down their cheeks--That really wasn't funny, was it? Will be the operative thought that night as the interrogation looks at deep wounds and scars in the American psyche --wounds which are not just contagious, they are deadly.

For tickets call 510 One Love or online at Portions of the ticket proceeds benefit LoveLife Foundation's Art & Media Training Academy.

Traveling while Black?

After a rockin' debut in in March of 2013, Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe's “Traveling While Black” returns to the Brava Studio, 2781 24th Street, San Francisco, for a full run, Oct. 3-26.  With direction and design by Jose Maria Francos, TWB is part travelogue, part history lesson, part stand-up comedy and based on a lifetime of travel as a touring artist. Based on treks through Europe, the Americas and Africa, “TWB” is part travelogue and part history lesson and seeks to exploit the tensions between tourism and colonialism as it interrogates boundaries and reveals cultural connects and disconnects. Inspired by Langston Hughes’s “I Wonder As I Wander,” “TWB” examines the post-slavery condition of Black travel, both fanciful and forced. TWB is part of a trilogy of plays by Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe. The first production of the trilogy, “Adventures Of A Black Girl In Search of Academic Clarity and Inclusion” has been published in the anthology, solo/black/woman by Northwestern University Press.  For information visit or call (415) 641-7657.

Edris Cooper-Anifowoshe (Actor/Writer) is an award-winning director, actor and writer and has performed at many regional and independent theaters and for more than a decade was a lead artist for Rhodessa Jones’ The Medea Project; Theatre for Incarcerated Women. Edris’ original solo performances have been seen at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois and the University of Florida in Gainesville; and in San Francisco at AfroSolo Festival, Intersection for the Arts and other small independent venues, including her own former Sugar Shack Performance Gallery and Cultural Center in the Lower Haight. Internationally, Edris has performed in Ibadan, Nigeria and Berlin, Germany and presented scholarship on performance in Mexico, the UK and the Netherlands.

The 37th Mill Valley Film Festival is October 2-12 / Films of African Diaspora Interest include: Timbuktu, dir. Abderrahmane Sissako (“Bamako”). This new film takes place during the Jihadist take over in 2012. Recounting events influenced by a public stoning of an unmarried couple. Selected to compete for the Palm d ’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Francois Chalais Prize. Screens Sunday, October 5 at 1:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Monday, October 6 at 3PM at Sequoia.

The Aftermath of the Inauguration of the Public Toilet at Kilometer 375, dir. Omar el Zohairy. This short film from Egypt follows the aftermath of a single sneeze which takes on Kafkaesque proportions for a government official. Screens as part of 5@5 Round and Round on Monday, October 6 at 1:30PM at Sequoia; Wednesday, October 8 at 9:15PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Black and White, dir. Mike Binder. After the deaths of his wife and daughter, an attorney (Kevin Costner) becomes entangled in a custody battle with his biracial granddaughter’s paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer). This hopeful ! lm explores a volatile discussion in American life and aims straight for the heart. Screens Wednesday, October 8 at 7:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Finding The Gold Within, dir. Karina Epperlein. Bay Area filmmaker Karina Epperlein follows six African American college freshmen, alumni of the unique Ohio mentoring program Alchemy, Inc., and well-equipped with self-confidence and critical-thinking skills, as they leave home for the first time. Cast: Kwame Scruggs, Jerry Kwame Williams, Darius Simpson, Brandyn Costa, Stacee Starr, Shawntrail Smith. Screens Friday, October 3 at 8PM at Lark theater; Saturday, October 4 at 8PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

F R E E, dirs. Suzanne LaFetra and David Collier. A feature length documentary following five teens through a year in an Oakland dance program. Their journey in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company reveals how collaborative art can be a foundation for personal discovery, turning the courage, determination, and stamina demanded of their lives into a contagious joy. Screens Saturday, October 11 at 7:30PM at 142 Throckmorton; Sunday, October 12 at 2:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Gardeners of Eden, dir. Austin Peck. Even in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, elephants aren’t safe from poachers. The surging price of ivory has given rise to organized gangs that hunt and kill these majestic creatures for their tusks, usually leaving orphans in their wake. Continuously on the lookout and always ready to come to the rescue, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has a well-established protocol for transporting and caring for the traumatized baby elephants and, just as crucially, a remarkable record of successfully reintroducing them to the wild. Screens Saturday, October 4 at 2PM at Sequoia; Sunday, October 5 at 4:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Tuesday, October 7 at 11:45AM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

How I Got Over, dir. Nicole Boxer’s documentary follows a group of women all residents of Washington, DC, recovery community N Street Village as they prepare to turn their harrowing life stories into a theater piece that will be performed at the Kennedy Center. Screens Sunday, October 5 at 7:45PM at Sequoia; Thursday, October 9 at 2:45PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Saturday, October 11 at 8:30PM at Smith Rafael Film Center;

Imperial Dreams, dir. Malik Vitthal. In the electrifying debut, Imperial Dreams (winner of The Best of Next award at Sundance), aspiring novelist Bambi returns to his Watts neighborhood after two years in prison to extricate himself and his young son from their criminally compromised family. Screens Saturday, October 4 at 5:30PM at Lark theater; Sunday, October 5 at 2PM at Smith Rafael Film Center; Wednesday, October 8 11:30AM Smith Rafael Film Center; Sooleils, dir. Oliver Delahaye. Part road trip through time, part heroine’s journey through memory,

Soleils is a beautifully rendered meditation on the wisdom of Africa, as a young woman is initiated into the roots and legacy of her heritage. Screens Saturday, October 11 at 5PM at Sequoia; Sunday, October 12 at 5:15PM at Smith Rafael Film Center.

Visions at Twilight: Día de los Muertos 2014 group exhibition, Saturday, October 11–Saturday, November 8, 2014. Opening Event is Friday, October 10, 6–9pm, $12–15 sliding scale admission. Exhibition unveiling features live music by Rupa, interactive installations and Día de los Muertos inspired artist market. Gallery Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12–7pm, Saturday 11am–5pm, Sunday, 11am–3pm. Cost: Free admission during gallery hours
Information: https:///  To listen to an interview with artist Candi Farlice about her piece this year which looks at the politics of the black male body:

Art con’t.

“Candi Farlice: Musings from an Artist's Life” currently at the San Francisco Main Library, 100 Larkin, San Francisco, African American Center (3rd Floor) through Oct. 16. Visit


African American Shakespeare Company presents: The Tempest

The time is 2020, the place is a trash island in the middle of the ocean, Prospero, the former CEO of SYCORAX, a multi-product industrial conglomerate based in Milan, charged with polluting the environment lands here when his ships capsizes. Directed by Nancy Carlin and starring Michael Gene Sullivan as Prospero, The Tempest inaugurates the 20th Anniversary Season (2014/15) of the award-winning African American Shakespeare Company. The last time we saw The Tempest was in 2001, a full 13 years ago.

With his daughter Miranda in tow, along with the single inhabitant of the island, Caliban, and an application/personal assistant called Ariel, he builds from reclaimed circuitry and other detritus, Prospero begins his campaign of holographic manifestations and manipulation of weather patterns to help settle the score.

The staging of the play also touches on topical environmental themes. "We set this production set on an island of garbage in the middle of the ocean," says Callender, "because there is such a place, several of them actually, these massive structures floating in our oceans. What if they are creating their own life forms? Could a Caliban be a result? We were interested in stretching our imaginations and the imaginations of our audiences, young and old."

The play runs October 18-November 9, Saturday at 8pm; Sunday Matinee at 3 p.m. at the Buriel Clay Theatre, African-American Art & Culture Complex, 762 Fulton Street, San Francisco. Tickets are $15-$34.00:

To listen to an interview with Mr. Callender, the director Nancy Carlin, and actress Ponder Goddard who portrays Ariel,   (final guests).

Michael Gene Sullivan’s play, “Recipe” opens at Central Works Oct. 16–Nov 23

Michael Gene Sullivan serves up the laughs in this delicious take on a circle of sweet old grandmotherly bakers, who just happens to be dedicated to the armed overthrow of the United States government.  But baking pies and cakes isn’t enough to satisfy these four intrepid refugees from the sixties, and their burning desire to “Up the Revolution!”  It’s one thing to say “The government is probably listening to my calls,” but what do you do when you find out it’s true? If it seems that the government that you call “a fascist, surveillance state” has specifically targeted you, is specifically watching YOU (it’s not paranoia if they really are after you!), then what?  How do you live your life knowing that all your fears may, actually, be true?

Performances are at the historic Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley,  Thursday, Friday and Saturday 8 pm, and Sunday at 5 pm (with Post-show talk-backs on Oct. 19 and Nov. 9). Ticket prices: $28 online at, $28–$15 sliding scale at the door. Pay-what-you-can: Previews and every Thursday, at the door as available. For reservations and information:  510.558.1381 or


THE MORRIE MOVEMENT:  The Influence of “Wee Pals” Cartoonist Morrie Turner

November 8, 2014 – January 29, 2015
“The Morrie Movement: The Influence of ‘Wee Pals’ Cartoonist Morrie Turner” will follow Candi Farlice’s solo show this month at the African American Center of the San Francisco Main Library’s from November 8, 2014 to January 29, 2015 at 100 Larkin Street in San Francisco.  The exhibit opening/panel discussion will take place on November 16, 2014, from 1-3 pm in the Koret Auditorium.  The exhibit is created and curated by Kheven LaGrone.

The Egungun

Many trees have fallen in the forest this year, more recently Elder Herman Ferguson (Dec. 31, 1920-Sept. 25, 2014), whose comrade and age-mate, Yuri Kochiyama passed a bit before, followed by the much younger, yet fierce revolutionary composer, musician, designer and host of the Scientific Soul Sessions, Fred Ho (Aug. 10, 1957-Apr. 12, 2014).

Both Iya Yuri and Brother Ferguson were 93. Baba Ferguson’s memoir “An Unlikely Warrior Herman Ferguson: Evolution of a Black Nationalist Revolutionary” written with his wife Iyaluua Ferguson, a woman with over a half century of activism in the struggle for human rights and the liberation of Black people under her own belt, gives context to the marvelous history Baba Ferguson has lived beginning with his early years in the then rural southern town, Fayetteville, North Carolina, reared by a mother and father who valued education and more importantly taught their children to stand tall for their rights.

In between Mrs. Ferguson’s narration we have the voice of Elder Ferguson speaking about seeing Malcolm X the first time. Brother Malcolm was walking to a dais where he was to speak. Ferguson had heard him before, but never seen him live. The two men he says, nodded to each other. Later Ferguson would head the education wing of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, this after much community organizing and work as Assistant Principal at PS 40 in Jamaica Queens, New York. The educator speaks about a leadership training the OAAU hosted which graduated ten students in its first class, Yuri Kochiyama one of those who received a certificate signed by Brother Malcolm who was killed before the OAAU could host its next session. In the book, which is a quick yet satisfying read, we learn of the formation of the Republic of New Africa, what it means to stand trial when not only are your peers absent from the stand, so are your people. Truly prisoners of war, Unlikely Warrior speaks to this inconsistency.

Brother Herman says of this time when he decides after 19 years to return to New York from Guyana, “[he and his co-defendant, Arthur Harris] had been convicted in Queens of a 1967 plot to assassinate then NAACP head Roy Wilkins and Urban League Chairman Whitney Young, among other things. [They] were also accused in court on the morning after Senator Robert F. Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles of having a hit list that included his name! [Ferguson asks rhetorically], What can I say? It was a no-win situation before an all white, all male jury. Lynch law was in full effect” (230).

After a retiring from his work as “architect of the Guyanese education system, founder of the country’s youth training service (the Guyana National Service, equivalent to the U.S. Job Corps), Lt. Colonel in the Guyana Defense Force (GDF),” he says, “There was no one to sit around with and talk about old times. There was no life for [him]” (234-235).  At 68, he was in good shape, a fact the FBI agents who arrested him once his plane landed in New York, commented. At his arraigning the day after his arrival and arrest, the courtroom was filled with comrades fists raised, among them Yuri Kochiyama, two of his sons and others.

Brother Herman also says of his return that “when you believe in something, you stand and fight for it.” This is something Brother Malcolm told him when Ferguson asked him why he returned and kept returning when he knew it wasn’t safe.

“I had no illusions,” the activist, founder of Black Brotherhood Improvement Association (BBIA), an organization ideologically linked to Marcus Garvey and Malcolm X’s work of black liberation, stated on his return. He knew “what was going to happen to me and what I would be able to accomplish if I came back. I was not going to be the Black knight on the black horse returning to save the day. But I would run no longer (236).

Herman Ferguson says he was fighting for economic justice and human rights. This was the call when he organized the Jamaica Rifle and Pistol Club Inc. so that the BBIA could protect itself from police violence. This was the motivation earlier when he successfully organized the Rochdale community around a development project that did not offer jobs to residents nor plan to allow any of them to live there either.

I could just imagine seeing the shock on the faces of construction foremen arriving at work September 5, 1963 to the sight of four men and a woman chained to cranes dangling precariously high above ground.  If the workers started the machines the protestors could have fallen to their death (112-113).  If the FBI didn’t know the Assistant Principal’s name, they certainly knew if now (smile).

The men were arrested and when they went to court, Judge Bernard Dubin called them “’patriots’ for their bold action and dismissed the charges” (112). The ancestors guided Brother Ferguson’s feet and he listened. There were so many times he writes, where had he been present, let’s say in Attica, when the police shot all the leaders point blank, he would have been in that number. Even the way comrades escorted him back to this country, allowing media to put a hidden microphone on him so that they could monitor what happened to him if they were separated, all contributed to his safety.   

The last time I saw Brother Herman was at the annual Dinner Tribute to the families of Political Prisoners in Harlem, the same day Brother Baraka was laid to rest in Newark.  The salute to the wonderful couple was quite moving. Lynn Stewart was there with her husband. It was her first public appearance after her release. Pam Africa and her husband were also in attendance as were Russell Maroon Shoat’s daughters and son. Robert H. King was there and so many others, like the couple’s great granddaughter who spoke about her Great Grandmother and being raised in the Black Liberation Movement and what that meant and how normal it was to know what she knew about nationhood and the state’s injunction against her people, and her right to self-defense.

Among his other legacies, Baba Ferguson formed the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee; was the Administrator of the New Afrika Liberation Front; founding member along with Safiyah Bukari and Jalil Muntaqim of the National Jericho Movement, publisher of “NATION TIME,” and served as Co-chair of the Queens chapter of National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (NCOBRA). He is the father of four, step-father of two, grandfather of ten, and great-grandfather of fourteen. great-great grandfather of two. Ashay.

Mr. Herman B. Ferguson’s Memorial Service is 1:30 p.m., Saturday, October 4, 2014 at the Funeral Home, 1515 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh, NC. Moments of visitation with the family, 1-1:30, prior to the Service:

Brother Syed Malik Al Khatib

I’m thankin’
I’m thankin’ each droplet of uninterrupted water
Washing, cleansing purifying me
Each ray of sun choosing me as the one
Beating upon my pores
Healin’ all my sores
I’m thanking revelations conversations
With you on my side
Blessin’ this holy ride
Fillin’ illusions optical conclusions
Leavin’ me alone with you again
I’m thankin’ the sin
The scrapes and the falls
Allowin’ me to hear your calls
Givin’ me your holy name
Usin’ me the same way you usin’ creation
Humblin’ elevation
Dancing to the rhythm of your song
My life, our life, his life— a prayer in your palm

--by Koren Clark

When I learned of Brother Syed Al Khatib's transition I was surprised. There is never time to prepare for such, especially when one is not close to the recently departed. So I hadn't known of his illness over the past year(s), otherwise I would have certainly visited him. Alas, another ancestor whom I get to know more intimately once I have opportunity to read an obituary—I think about the conversations we could have had, that we will now have from alternative dimensions. As African people, he is not gone and nothing is lost (smile). His family and friends who remain will serve as conduits to a wonderful man whose work in black psychology, theology and philosophy is unparalleled. When one thinks about the scholarship that institutionalized black psychology as a discipline, perhaps Dr. Al Khatib's name does not ring a bell, but it should. He is the father of the discipline, his theoretical children--Dr. Wade Nobles one of the more popular or visible, yet Baba Wade certainly had company as the young black scholars met then Dr. Cedric Clark at Stanford University where his work looked at corporate media and its construction of black image(s).

Dr. Al Khatib’s journey was long, but perhaps not long enough for daughter Koren and his three grandchildren, ex-wives, brothers, sister and friends, yet, as a scholar his work is well documented, all that needs to happen is to perhaps pull the essays together into a Syed Al Khatib Reader. Perhaps a graduate student at his alma mater, Michigan State University or where his work touched so many lives— Stanford University, San Francisco State University, Princeton, etc., will take his voluminous work on as a graduate thesis? We'd all be more than grateful. After he left Stanford, he spent the same number of years at San Francisco State, and the same again at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Dr. Khatib challenged Dr. William Shockley, Stanford University, Noble Prize winning physicist, on his theory of black genetic inferiority and the money he offered often poor black people to voluntarily sterilize themselves. Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, MD (in Ebony Magazine July 1974) says that Shockley admitted he had no medical background to base any of these claims. He also stated that environment had nothing to do with cognitive development, which we know is false.

Dr. Al Khatib’s scholarship also looked at the notion of the “exceptional” black in popular TV roles. These black attorneys and teachers, property owners and police detectives, did not mirror the reality on American streets. It just confused black America who sought this fiction in reality yet kept running into nooses and auction blocks where opportunity said slavery and discrimination were over?!

After driving around for quite a bit I found parking and headed over to Juma Prayer and the Janaaza Funeral service for Dr. Al Khatib, Friday, Sept. 12. I'd never been to this particular masjid before. Built from the ground up, the Oakland Islamic Center (just down from Summit Medical Center) was enclosed in glass –lots of windows, so I could see the brothers inside. As I walked thought the parking lot, I was able to see the entrance for the women, and where they sat, which was up a steep flight of stairs.  The very full room reminded me of a similar tight-space in Dar es Salaam last summer.

I removed my shoes, walked up the stairs, checked out the scene and then retreated to the cooler space at the entrance until I hear the Iqamah or call to prayer and went back upstairs to participate. The khutbah or sermon was in Arabic, which I do not understand, so I was surprised when the funeral prayer was preceded by a few instructions in English. The first part of the prayer is a series of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) followed by Al Fatihah (The Opening chapter of the Qur'an) recited silently. In between the silent utterances one is to pray for the deceased person’s soul and ask that his sins be forgiven and that his ascension is swift.  The body, which we could not see upstairs, was downstairs in a closed cardboard box. After the short prayer, when I came downstairs and put my shoes on and went outside I saw Dr. Al Khatib's body carried in a box on the shoulders of about six men and put into a hearse. The family was outside by then. I knew his daughter Koren Fatimah Clark, and met visiting elder brother, Peyton Clark and younger brother, David Clark, grandchildren and former-wife and friends, Wade and Vera Nobles and members of their family (whom I also knew) were there as well.

I took photos of the group and asked if I could hitch a ride to the cemetery for the burial. I rode with Dr. Syed’s former wife Carolyn Martin Shaw, her friend, Nubra Elaine Floyd with her life partner at the wheel. Dr. Carolyn’s granddaughter Amasha Lyons-Clark kindly took the middle seat in the back between Nubra and me. I'd been given a short obits to read at the masjid and told that Sunday at the Nobles’s home there would be even more shared about Brother Khatib's scholarship and life.

The drive to Livermore to 5 Pillars Farm Cemetery where Brother Khatib's remains were laid to rest was without incident. We arrived after the prayer, but before his remains were covered. I'd been worried. The family took turns shoveling dirt into the grave. . . the physicality of this gesture one of both closure and embodiment. There is something about death that feels final to the human being. I don't know how other living beings experience this, but for this woman, when I see the hole opened up, filled then closed, there seems to be something irretrievable about this moment that feels like a loss, a missed opportunity, finality . . . even when I know intellectually that the person's spirit or true essence is not in the hole. The carcass or the garment is and I know I will miss seeing the person walking about in such finery.

Heaven or the idea of a here-after is distant and more philosophical than real at that point, so the idea that such a moment could be rushed by people who do not understand "the African way," is sacrilegious. Grief cannot be rushed and the internment is important to those left behind perhaps more than to those who have moved on. In African villages among the Dagara people in Burkina Faso where traditional healer and scholar Malidoma Patrice Somé (Ph.D.) hails, there are wailing choirs (smile) whose job is to stir the heart, while other villagers’ jobs are to take care of the family who might want to go with the departed love one. Granted, the deceased is present physically, seated in a chair dressed in his or her best clothes. Gifts are given to the family by close friends and relatives. The ceremony sounds so wonderful. It is said that if there is no ceremony, the deceased does not ascend. If there is no noise, no tears, no signs of grief . . . the deceased paces the earth, haunts the family and village, so to properly mourn is an important skillset modern society has lost. 

Though not present physically, the ritual at the Nobles’s compound in Oakland was the true funeral or home going celebration of Dr. Syed Malik al Khatib. On more than one occasion people attested to his presence, whether that was his daughter Koren's testimony regarding what she wore and what of her father's work she brought to share or Baba Wade's recollection of his first time in Africa with his wife Vera, Dr. Cedric and Carolyn and his encounter with an elephant.

Present were colleagues who'd known him for a long time and those who knew of his work, like the Dean of Ethnic Studies from SFSU, who arrived at Stanford just after Dr. Al Khatib left. His treating physician was there, as was his nurse, grandchildren, former wife, daughter, siblings and extended community. When I arrived I heard a conch shell call from behind the house; however, when I got to the back, the assembly was moving indoors.

There was poetry and great lifting of spirits as loved ones shared sacred moments with the beloved Dr. Al Khatib, called brother or dad or grandfather or comrade or even Dr. Cedric X.

I'd know Dr. Cedric as a youth when he was director of Muhammad University of Islam No. 26 in San Francisco on Fillmore and Geary. Having graduated at 15 from the same institution, I was a young student teacher when he came on board. What I remember of Brother Khatib (Dr. Cedric is what we called him then), is how impressed I was to meet a black man with a doctorate. He had swag and brought to the school other smart lettered black men, who talked to us, encouraged us and pushed us to excel.

He didn't wear suits, yet his authority was present in his poise and carriage. Well maybe he did, I just remember his white shirts and the rolled sleeves. I can still see his smiling face and sparkling eyes. He was really happy and always greeted me with a smile. I remember when Dr. Na’im Akbar was getting a tour of the school and I was introduced.  Brother Sunni Ali Shabazz was the Assistant Director then and I remember the talk swirling around me about attending UC Berkeley, where Brother Sunni went.

Then he was gone.

I never forgot Dr. Cedric and don't know why his tenure as director of MUI was the brief whirlwind it was, yet when I saw him years later and learned he'd retired from Stanford, that he was that close all this time, I wished that we'd stayed in touch. It would have been nice to talk to him about higher education. It has been tough being the only one again and again.

He made being intelligent cool, not just for me, a young woman who didn't know any black people with undergraduate degrees, let alone doctorate degrees, but for all of us on Fillmore and Geary. Youth from families that were living just above the poverty line.  I knew Dr. Cedric would not lie to me, so if he believed in me, I should believe in me too. I knew that I could achieve the same level of acumen I admired in him and his peers. I always felt capable in his eyes. I always felt I could do whatever I set my mind on, even if I had to work a bit harder than my peers. And I have, Al Hamdulilah (praise God).

Dr. Cedric was a true role model, subtle yet highly effective. He told me a maybe a couple years ago that he was proud of me and what I had achieved. He was so tickled about an article I wrote about a statewide black mental health initiative (published in the SFBV) that he sent me an email (smile).

What else could one ask for— praise from one's role model? That he noticed was beyond phenomenal. I valued his opinion, a rock star, he not only gave me an autograph, he called my name (smile). Dr. Cedric or Syed Al Khatib (translated means: “Mister Teacher/Clerk/Scribe.” What a name!) Dr. C knew my trajectory . . . 40 years ago to now, may Allah bless this great man with immediate access to the highest levels of Jannah or paradise.
Professor in Psychology and Communications, Executive Editor at Ebonic Editing, his academic work at Michigan State University, where he graduated with Doctor of Philosophy in Communications and Media Studies (Linkedin), he certainly has earned the preferential treatment.

After the salutes people shared in a repast and read Dr. Khatib's scrapbook which included clips of news articles and record of debates, scholastic achievement and other publications. We then gathered on the patio next to the pool as the sun retreated on the horizon to participate in a Kikongo ceremony, where we put wishes and requests on tiny sheets of paper for the newly inducted ancestor and burned them in a roaring fire on the patio.
The Egun or ancestors need to be kept busy I’ve heard on more than one occasion; they've nothing but time (smile).

Dr. Cedric has a good head start. Ashay! (And so it is.)

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 October 2014 )
Wanda’s Picks September 2014
Written by Wanda Sabir   
Monday, 01 September 2014
Art for Change

Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg. Visit

Ebola . . .
I find the irony of a medical epidemic in Liberia on the 100th anniversary of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) hard to believe is coincidental, especially considering the United States and some members of the European Union’s refusal to sign onto “The Decade for People of African Descent with the Durban Declaration and Program of Action: Overcoming Inequality and the Challenges Confronting African People in the 21st Century 2011-2022.  The AU has already begun commemorating the Pan African Decade—I saw signs everywhere in Addis Ababa (AU headquarters).  See for information on this stalemate.
Garvey’s ship line, The Black Star fleet was to transport Africans in the Diaspora to the Motherland.  The land in Liberia is still there, so for the Ebola virus to claim Africans in that region, Africans who share with those of us in America a genetic lineage, is suspicious. The predictions are alarming and the introduction of yet another vaccination is also alarming. We know this American medical system is not to be trusted. Look at Tuskegee and its infamous syphilis experiment on black men. More recently, look at the typhoid virus contamination of Haiti.

I am just saying. At a time when black people are financially well off to travel to Africa, disease is cutting that intimacy off. I find it strange that two white victims were able to take the experimental treatment and get well, yet an African victim (same treatment) dies. Is it the same story of AZT and its toxic effect on black HIV positive patients? The white body then did not prove a good model for black wellness. We needed a culturally competent response to the virus that took our unique physicality under consideration. Perhaps the same is true for the Ebola virus and prevention, education strategies. From what I have heard, some villages sound like graveyards and what is happening to the orphaned children who are feared because of the potential exposure? I learned Memorial Day weekend that the virus is now in Senegal?! So why are America and other nations which benefit from Africa’s exploitation sitting back watching the disease move from country to country uninhibited, like Pac Man?

We have the technologies to quarantine and stop the spread of disease, keep people safe—I don’t have such knowledge, but I am certainly in favor of this rich nation spending the kind of resources necessary to save lives, not predict more casualties. What is the point of that? I am thinking that the UNIA’s Black Cross needs to kick into gear. We have a sophisticated populace. I am sure with all the HBCU’s specifically those with medical schools, we can pull together a team of first responders to isolate the infectious areas and prevent the diseases continued spread. Chemical warfare is the worst kind of attack; complete annihilation of black people the world over seems the plan. We need to think defense, not offense, foe not friend.

Maafa Commemoration San Francisco Bay Area
Mental Health Events

Sept. 2014
DON’T CALL ME CRAZY is an evening of short plays and dialogue that features 5 short plays written by 5 Bay Area writers who give a glimpse into the world of those suffering with mental disability, hosted at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th Street in Oakland, CA, on September 7th from 3PM-6PM. In addition to the performances, there will be a post-performance dialogue where guests will gain information on how to identify symptoms and signs of crisis, where to access behavioral health resources, knowledge on medications and their side effects, and busting myths and stereotypes. It will also serve as an opportunity for the public, behavioral health specialist and consumers to share experiences/recovery practices, discuss ways to create and maintain positive life conditions, and an opportunity to remember those individuals who have lost their lives to mental illness. Visit

Oct. 2014

2014 Northern California Mental Health and Spirituality Conference, October 9- 10, 2014, at the Allen Temple Family Life Center, 8501 International Blvd., in Oakland. The theme is: The Spirituality Factor “Weaving Behavioral Health and Spirituality, Using Evidence and Practice.” Co-sponsored by Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services, in coordination with CIMH for information and $25.00 registration email or call Gigi Crowder (510) (510) 292-8318, This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it This is a really great website”  

I will be presenting at this conference. I submitted three potential paper topics: “The Construction of an African Self vs. the Construction of an American Self”; “August Wilson’s character Troy Maxon’s Casting and Being Haunted by Shadow (in Fences); “Where is Home for the Pan African as Exemplified through the Baseball metaphor, Jackie Robinson & Home plate?

This conference is designed for consumers, family members, spiritual communities and their leaders and mental health providers. The conference is part of a statewide effort to increase the awareness of spirituality as a potential resource in mental distress prevention, early intervention and recovery.  The conference is also a way to encourage collaboration among consumers, family members, spiritual communities and mental health service providers in combating stigma and reducing disparities in access to services for diverse populations.

The conference will share the culturally responsive practices put in place that highlight the advancements made in the last decade being implemented across the state to bridge gaps between Behavioral Health and Spirituality. It will also explore what is needed to include spiritual and faith practices to achieve the goal to, have an inclusive and integrated Behavioral Health system of care that honors all and embraces holistic approaches. In addition to our general sessions the workshops will provide helpful resources to support wellness and recovery and promote dialogue among spiritual communities and their leaders, consumers, family members, and mental health service providers.

The six themes are as follows: Social Justice Issues; Spirituality & Treatment Issues; Spirituality & Mental Health in the Family; Spirituality in Wellness & Recovery; Honoring Spirituality, Religion & Cultural Diversity; and Mental Health, Spirituality & Faith.  Hope to see you there.

Save the Date:
The Annual Maafa Commemoration Ritual is that weekend as well, Sunday, October 12. Visit If anyone is interested in the Diaspora Citizenship Appreciative Inquiry, either participating or hosting such, let me know: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or P.O. Box 30756, Oakland, CA 94604

World Premiere of Barry "Shabaka" Henley's Mingus Remixed

MINGUS REMIXED is a musical exploration of the life and myth of composer and jazz bassist, Charles Mingus, telling the unknown story of one of America's greatest musicians. It is also a tribute presented in cabaret style, featuring his music and original compositions, and telling the unknown story of one of America's greatest composers. The setting is Mingus's deathbed, January 4, 1979, which exists in the parallel universe of the Cosmic Note Jazz Club. We find Charles in a wheelchair, age 56, taking his last 10 breaths before dying of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). In his crossing over he must come to terms with life, death, art, and the blessing and burden of blackness, in our white-dominated society.

When Shabaka originally approached LHT Artistic Director, Steven Anthony Jones with his idea for MINGUS REMIXED, he wanted to present it here in San Francisco, because this is where he grew up and first fell in love with acting. He shared the stage with Steven back in the '80s in two one-acts (Athol Fugard's The Island, and Every Moment by OyamO) at the Eureka Theatre. Long-time Bay Area theatre aficionados fondly remember Shabaka as the titular protagonist in the San Francisco Mime Troupe's 1981 hit musical, Factwino meets the Moral Majority. He was also a member of Nora Vaughn's Berkeley Black Repertory Theatre.

It the years since leaving The City for Hollywood, he's found great success in both films and television. In a part that perhaps foreshadowed his role as Charles Mingus, he played a sensitive jazz musician living on borrowed time opposite Tom Cruise in Collateral. He also played Muhammad Ali's manager, Jabir Herbert Muhammad, in Michael Mann's biopic, Ali, starring Will Smith.

When he decided to return to live performance with MINGUS REMIXED, his first thoughts were that he simply had to come back home to San Francisco for the World Premiere, and given his history with Steven Anthony Jones, he knew that the historic Lorraine Hansberry Theatre was just the right fit.
Mingus Remixed, by Barry "Shabaka" Henley, directed by Delroy Lindo, is at the Creativity Theatre at the Children's Creativity Museum (formerly ZEUM), 221 Fourth Street (at Howard) San Francisco, Sept 5 & 6, 2014, Friday: 7:30pm Saturday: 2:00pm & 7:30pm. Tickets are $25 - $50.

San Quentin's Brothers in Pen at YBCA and our Annual Public Reading September 18 and November 15

There are two events coming up for Brothers in Pen. First, the Prison Arts Project has been featured in the BAN7 show at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the San Quentin Creative Writing class is participating in the event by having a reading on September 18, 7-8 p.m.  Some former members of the class who are no longer incarcerated will be there to read stories of those still inside, followed by time for Q&A at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco (Mission and Third St.)

The Brothers in Pen Annual Public Reading is Saturday, November 15, 11:30 a.m. -3:30 p.m. at San Quentin. Each member of the class will read a 5-minute piece and there will be time for Q&A.  These public readings are said to be "engaging, lively and unforgettable." Please contact This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it by October 15 (to give plenty of time for clearances).

Retrospective Photography by David Johnson at Harvey Milk Photography Center in San Francisco, Sept. 6-Oct. 19

Don’t miss the wonderful exhibition or the recently released book, “A Dream So Long Ago: The Story of David Johnson, Ansel Adams First African American Student by Jacqueline Annette Sue (2012). Besides the lovely photographs of icons in the African Diaspora community: W.E.B Dubois, Langston Hughes, Jackie Robinson, we meet a pragmatic artist named David Johnson who takes a job at the postal service to support his family, while shooting photographs during his spare time. His memoir is a page turner. Johnson’s life from infancy is one of tragedy to triumph, his black and white journey a metaphor for his artistic and literal life.  Told with crisp language, as sharp as the edges of his subjects, “A Dream Begun So Long Ago” resonates a passion for life and love, and the artist’s recognition of the healing necessary to release the hurt suffered as a child so he could move on. He is given away at birth, learns at four his mother is not his mother. He loses both mother and father at the same time, not to death, rather to imprisonment. His last name, Johnson, is not the name on his birth certificate. It is his by choice. Chain gangs, exploited farm labor, black not brown (at that time) in Florida, point to an early history many seem to forget. Johnson’s life is an illustrated history lesson covering important epochs in black history— from being the only literate person at seven or eight in a household of two aunts, his mother and uncle to WW2 military draft interrupting his high school completion. Taking a leave of absence Johnson returns to the California School of Fine Arts days where he studies photography with Ansel Adams creating a body of work depicting San Francisco’s landscape and people, yet also giving Johnson space to explore visually an internal landscape which up to this point remained inarticulate or inaccessible.

“A Dream” continues with Johnson’s marriage to Lucy Mae Ellis and the establishment of his studio; a contract with the Sun Reporter during the Civil Rights Movement follows; Early Retirement an episode followed by “Travel” and his “Renaissance” where we see archival photos of black entertainers like Eartha Kitt, Nate King Cole, Ruth Brown and others. Perhaps what makes Johnson’s work sing is once again the black and white of it. His subjects are all stars whether they are children playing jump rope in Hunter’s Point or young people dancing in a studio or club. The intimacy his lens brings to the image, the way he paints the story with light and shadow, a thin stream of effervescence in darkness, gives each moment – hope.

See   Don’t miss the opening reception for his “Retrospective,” Sept. 6, 1-4 p.m., at the Harvey Milk Photography Center, 50 Scott St, San Francisco, (415) 554-9523.

Will Power’s “Fetch Clay, Make Man’s West Coast Premiere at MTC in Mill Valley ends Sept. 7

When one thinks about Steppin Fetchit, what probably comes to mind is the worse in the blaxploitation genre in that it proceeds the naming of the phenomena. The actor wasn’t Sambo or Superfly, the first a figment of Hollywood’s imagining, but then Step certainly wasn’t representative of true black genius either or was he?

Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry gave audiences what they wanted—benign blackness, but at what cost? A contemporary of Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, son of former enslaved Africans, what did this say about the legacy Lincoln Perry left, ( a man who was Johnson’s contemporary?

Will Power’s play, “Fetch Clay, Make Man where he writes in the subtitle: “One snuck in the back door, so the other could walk I the front,” is complicated as are all stories like this; however, the young Muhammad Ali about to fight Sonny Liston a second time wants to speak to Perry about Jack Johnson, whom he heard was Perry’s friend. Perry (actor Roscoe Orman) excited to meet Ali shows up and what unfolds is over the course of the story is a young man confident in his skills as a fighter, yet uncertain about his skills as a husband, a Muslim and a man.

The Ali (actor Eddie Ray Jackson) we meet here is young and naïve, but not so naïve to ignore the hovering vultures that are waiting for his fall. Just married his wife, Sonji Clay (actress Katherine Renee Turner) is not Muslim, but the two love each other. We meet Rashid (actor Jefferson A. Russell), who serves as doorman and body guard.

Everyone wants something from Ali; at one point he asks Perry if he can just be his friend. Ali has heard that Johnson had this magical knockout punch and he wants Perry to teach it to him. Perry denies knowing what Ali wants and refuses—the punch is not something one has to learn. It is a part of our African American legacy.  

In Will Power’s play which looks at the relationship Perry had with Ali, we learn that judgment belongs to the creator, not to creation. Fetch Clay is a libation to Step, the first black Hollywood actor whose career remains unrecognized by those who fail see the man behind the mask.

The play is up at the Marin Theatre Company, 397 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, CA (415) 388-5208 or , through Sept. 7, 2014. Listen to an interview with cast members: Katherine Renee Turner, Eddie Ray Jackson and Roscoe Orman

23nd Annual San Francisco Fringe Festival, Sept 5-20, Brings Stunning, Surprising Indie Theater, 150 performances…35 shows…14 days
Check out: “Blues for Charles,” “Dam/Aged: the Musical,” “Campo Maldito,” “Assorted Domestic Emergencies,” and "Me and My Monkey."  Tickets for the 14-day San Francisco Fringe Festival, Sept. 5-20, are $10 (or less) at the door (cash only) and $12.99 (or less) online.  The ten-show Frequent Fringer pass is $75, and a five-show pass is $45. The EXIT Theatreplex is within walking distance of Union Square and the Powell Street BART station.  For complete listings of venues, shows, and times, go to  (415) 673-3847.

PUSH Dance Company presents PUSHfest

Dance is back! PUSH Dance Company presents the inaugural season of PUSHfest, a festival showcasing an exciting array of mixed-genre (modern, ballet, hip-hop, ethnic, and multi-disciplinary) dance. PUSHfest celebrates the diversity of dance and situates 15 mid-career and emerging choreographers in two different programs.

PUSH Dance Company led by Raissa Simpson, opens its first festival, Friday-Sunday, Sept. 19-21, at ODC Theater, 3153 17th Street SF CA 94110 with two programs: Program A: 8pm Friday, Sept. 19th & 4pm Sunday Matinee, Sept. 21st; Program B 8pm Saturday, Sept. 20th & 7pm Sunday Evening, Sept. 21st. Buy tickets online now and get huge discounts and/or call 415-863-9834. Also visit

Stop the Cradle to Prison Pipeline

Alameda County Office of Education hosts the "Alameda County Summit for Youth, Justice & Education," Saturday, September 13, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (PDT), at Leney College, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland, CA.

Berkeley World Musicians Converge on Telegraph Avenue, Sat.-Sun., Sept. 20-21

A dazzling array of music - from Balkan harmonies, South American rhythms, Japanese flute, African marimba, Klezmer, and Zydeco - bring joyful sounds to Telegraph when Bay Area's international musicians return to Telegraph Avenue for the FREE Berkeley World Music Festival. Now in its 11th year, the Festival launches its first autumn celebration on both Saturday and Sunday, September 20th and 21st, starting at Noon.

Saturday features a wonderful mix of café music (Noon- 9 pm) as well as the acclaimed People’s Park Concert (1- 6 pm) sponsored by Amoeba Music. On Sunday, the Festival turns into a street fair carnival (Noon - 6 pm) between Dwight Way and Durant Ave. for the season finale of “Sundays on Telegraph” and features a main stage concert and gatherings of music, circus entertainment and a benefit beer garden. Pick up a program guide at the information booth on Telegraph at Haste Street, near UC Berkeley.

Berkeley World Music Festival showcases the Bay Area’s rich world music scene. People's Park Concert headliners begin with the exciting opening act La Misa Negra playing vintage Columbian dance hall music packed with a cabaret of horns, vocals & punk rock energy. Then West Coast favorite SambaDá arrives with their carnival of Brazilian Afro-Samba Funk dance music, capped by the acclaimed Marcus James & the Wassonrai offering hypnotic sounds in which Delta Blues meets West Africa. People's Park festivities (Noon - 6 pm) include a colorful Crafts Bazaar and exhibition performances by both UCA Capoeira and All Nations Singers and Dancers.

For Sunday’s featured street fair concert Sadza Marimba opens with joyful Zimbabwean dance music. Then, Moroccan singer Bouchaib Abdelhadi & Friends present Middle Eastern riffs accented by a performing troupe from DanceVersity. The Festival closes with Baraka Moon’s ecstatic Sufi Trance dance music, featuring charismatic singer Sukhawat Ali Khan and KPFA host Stephen Kent, premiere exponent of the didgeridoo.

Throughout the weekend visitors will also be treated to an intimate world music tour featuring renowned innovators in their respective fields. The Ulysses Trio with alluring chanteuse Melanie O’Reilly, sax player George Brooks and keyboardist/arranger Frank Martin blend Gaelic music with Jazz making their Northern California debut at BWMF. Virtuoso ambassador Karl Young playing Shakuhachi flute journeys through Japan’s folk and Buddhist traditions. Cultural Chicano icon Dr. Loco cuts loose with Tex-Mex. True Life Trio, who first met as members of Kitka, weaves vocal harmonies from the Balkans and beyond. Quijeremá, with award winning Chilean-born film score composer QuiQue Cruz, infuse their signature music with ancient roots (Latin American Folk & Jazz). Street artist treasure Michael Masley plays celestial music on his invented "Kalimbalom" & "Eggdawn Autoharp". With Back40 (Americana Roots), Cypress Grooves (Cajun & Zydeco), Keenan Webster Duo (West African Kora), Reinhardt Swing (Gypsy Jazz), Simcha(Klezmer), plus a Noon-6 pm crafts fair, KIDS Zone & visitor activities, there’s something for everyone. For more information visit  

Strong Girls Rule Film Series

Berkeley Public Library presents a free three-part film discussion series called “Strong Girls Rule” celebrating women in sport and highlighting some of our exceptional local athletes.  Each session will include a film screening followed by discussion and Q&A with a range of special guests, including local filmmaker Robert Bowden, members of the McClymonds High School Lady Warriors basketball team, and Stephanie Evans, Commodore of Berkeley’s Cal Sailing Club.  Teens are especially encouraged to attend.  
The second part of the series takes place on Saturday, September 6th at 3 p.m. at the South Branch, 1901 Russell Street with a screening of the short documentary, I Just Wanna Ball (30 min.) followed by conversation and Q&A with the film’s director, Robert Bowden and members of the McClymonds High School Lady Warriors basketball team.  Attendees will be moved and empowered by the determination and focus of these positive and powerful young women.

The series concludes on Saturday, September 13th  at 3 p.m. in the 3rd floor Community Meeting Room of the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge Street with a screening of the newly released documentary Derby Crazy Love (68 min.) directed by Canadian filmmakers, Maya Gallus and Justine Pimlott.  This exciting documentary provides an in-depth look at the history of women’s roller derby and a portrait of the Montréal derby team The New Skids on the Block.  Please note that this film contains strong language and adult themes which may not be suitable for children.  The screening will be followed by discussion and Q&A with representatives of Berkeley’s Cruz Skate Shop and the Bay Area Derby Girls (schedules permitting).

This free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library ( For questions regarding this program, call 510-981-6241 or visit the library’s website:                           

DEAF LOUDER: The 2nd Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival proudly presents a festival that celebrates  deaf culture
A Review

Everyone was so excited. It’s not every day that deaf and hearing impaired are the majority both on and off stage, but August 8-10, they were. Appropriately entitled Deaf Louder—it really was louder. Speakers faced the audience and stage so the dancers could feel the vibrations and so could the audience. When a performer was exceptional people stomped their feet on the floor as they waved their hands in the air—Hum, I wonder if the hip hop gesture is a cultural blend between the hearing and deaf?

Lighting played a larger role in the performances as two rap artists, Silent Mob, performed "Rap with Thy Hands" and "Two Things." Fred Beam closed the program—his ensemble featured male dancers and a female interpreter who moved and signed.  There were films and dancers who performed in front of a filmed backdrop. I really liked the cinematography in each of these performances which were amazing. The cinematography, juxtaposed with the dancer (on and off the screen). There was a lot of signing mixed in with the dance. Films and directors included: Rolling in the Deep in ASL with Amber Zion & Call Me Maybe, dir. Jules Dameron; Sonnet 29, a Lucky Dragon Production. I don't remember the name of the one film I liked, but it was shot in the Mission and featured a young pretty deaf woman who liked a customer who was of questionable reputation; another film I liked, "Call Me Maybe" is a music video about a a girl at a skating rink who daydreams about a boy at the rink in skating sequences. Both are fun with great expressive acting (smile).

Half-n-Half (Sherry and Michael) who are hearing children born of deaf parents, CODA, performed a top ten hits as the audience signed along and sang too. They were great. Another dancer, from England (Billy Reed) performed Michael Jackson’s work—he had the moves down (smile). The dancer would alternately change his shirt or take it off; later returning with the other Def Motion member, Cassie Marrissa, sometimes immediately to perform a duet. Reed was really good in this form classical modern dance form as well.

Other highlights are Brandon Kazen Maddox's (CODA) performance in ASL of the song I won't give up as Jason Mrax dances. When Michele Banks gave an excerpt from her play, "Reflection of a Black Woman" using ASL without super-titles for the hearing audience, we who were basically clueless on what was going on, could in that moment, understand how deaf audiences feel most of the time. It would have been nice though had included us in the (lengthy) performance since obviously the hearing audience was an ally.  It was the same with choreographer Fred Beam, who introduced each of his performances like his first one, "When I Think of Grandma," before they began in ASL. I couldn’t understand a word.

At the end of the concert, I just left after speaking to Joy Elan, who was selling her book in the lobby. I was feeling disconnected, kind of unwelcome, yet I was happy to embrace Joy, who delivered two really powerful poems, one in ASL "Matey Institutional Freedom," Silently Outnumbered," and the poem which won third prize in Oakland’s Got Talent, "I Am a Survivor." She used both her voice and ASL. In both cases she acknowledged her audiences’ communication skills, and we never felt ignored or excluded. All presenters can take a leaf from Ms. Elan’s book. Antoine Hunter, the host and presenter of Deaf Louder, is also a great example of inclusion—no matter how hard he has had to work to participate in a hearing dominated society, he never takes it out on his audience. Rather he always leaves us with more tools, tools that draw the two communities: Deaf and hearing, together. “Deaf Louder” was such an experience, despite the periods of wandering lost in space—silent space (smile).  To help with next year’s performance, visit: and

The next day I was off to the county of New York (smile). Felt like Africa, muggy or humid weather, flash rain, lots of black people –in Harlem near Martin Luther King Blvd. and Malcolm X Avenue. It was a perfect choice to finally read Maya Angelou’s Heart of a Women. I remember when a friend told me about this book and that I should read it. I am really enjoying the history lesson. Angelou was a gutsy woman with a son and family that made existing on the edge both exciting and perilous— whether that was politics or art, Angelou certainly had a way of being in the right place at the right time, yet the wisdom to know when to move on.

I just wondered how she could remember all these conversations with Billie Holiday, John Oliver Killens, Martin King, Bayard Rustin . . .  If August Wilson’s ten play cycle is testament to African Americans in this formative century in this country’s history, certainly Angelou lived this history. Her stories or life cycle on the literary and social front page bring the characters Wilson created into our homes once again. Wilson’s more memorable characters men—the women more iconic and supportive than stars, while Angelou and her sisters certainly reign supreme in her multiple text saga.

Wilson once told a woman who critiqued him harshly for his portrayal of the female characters (specifically at that time, “Rena” in Jitney at a Lorraine Hansberry Theatre workshop production), to write those characters’ stories. His story was not hers, but that did not negate the importance of writing the breath of the African American experience.

Struggle for a New World: Fred Ho Memorial Tribute, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, 2:00-4:30 p.m. Oakland Asian Cultural Center, Oakland, CA

Fred Ho was a wonderful human being whose work as an artist changed lives. His work on Russell Maroon Shoats’s defense, the Scientific Soul Sessions, plus his numerous compositions—Ho awesome on baritone sax is legendary, as was his exit from this realm after a long bout with cancer.  This remarkable landmark gathering of Fred Ho's artistic collaborators, ranging from composers, musicians, poets, singers, storytellers and activists, have come together to pay homage to this great baritone saxophone-composer, cultural activist, teacher, author, pioneer and legend. The event is open and free to the public with a suggested donation of $10 or more to help defray the cost of the event.

Mary Yuri Kochiyama (May 19, 1921-June 1, 2014)

I was thinking about my dear sister, Yuri Kochiyama when she made her ascension early Saturday, June 1 in the arms of her beloved daughter Audee. My friend Zakkiyah and I picked up a present for her and a card and went by the Berkeley convalescent home where Yuri spent her final years of her life.

I’d visited her before and found her asleep, and left before she awakened, but this time, she woke up and we enjoyed watching her enjoy her meal when Shukuru, another family friend came by. I think the glow from that morning lasted for weeks after. I was so sorry I missed getting by that last time, but I am happy that I do have the last memory, one of many of Yuri over the years.

At the wonderful conclusion of the Northern California on her birthday May 19 and spent a wonderful time with her daughter and family friend.

On a beautiful Sunday in Oakland family and friends of Yuri Kochiyama gathered to pay tribute to a life well lived. I knew when I woke up what I wanted to give to Audee, Yuri’s daughter whom I have met over the years and admired her wonderful loving care for her mother.  As Yuri’s body gave into the travails of time, Audee made reasonable adjustments to Yuri’s living arrangements, putting off the time when Mom might not be able to live independently.

Yuri’s last years were spent in Berkeley at a lovely nursing home, Chaparral which seemed to agree with Yuri, the staff loving, kind and attentive to her needs. Sunday afternoon Yuri pens flew off tables as we pinned the sepia tone buttons on jacket lapels. A little more than two hours, Yuri’s memorial brought together the old guard and the new, as Hank Jones and Richard Brown (SF 8), Emory Douglass and Arnold Perkins and Mrs. Perkins, Terry Collins, Melvin Dixon and Yuri’s lovely family: son, daughter, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

High School sophomore, Kai Kochiyama shared her impressions of grandmother, her super hero. She spoke of doing research on her grandmother and learning much the next time she saw her, she admitted being a bit nervous. I wonder if Yuri knew how high the bar was she was setting for the next generation.

Her younger cousins, Leilani, Mali and Kenji shared a reading from their grandmother’s “My Creed” written in 1939. In it Yuri speaks about codes of conduct, one of which to look inside first when there is something external troubling one’s soul. Some of the lessons reminded me of the Husnia or sayings from Kemet. Kemet the physical, moral and ethical code for mankind.

I knew what I wanted to give to Audee, Yuri’s daughter when I awoke Sunday morning from a strange tale. It was a book mark with Maat’s image along with a quote and list of some of the virtues, key ones: Truth, Justice, Righteousness, all qualities Yuri exemplified.

Just coming up for air after spending the weekend writing a paper for my Liberation Psychologies class on Brazilian educator and theoretician Paulo Freire in light of Yuri’s life and work, she really is a true revolutionary whose greatest gift to us is her clear-sightedness and love.  Angela Y. Davis it really succinctly when she said if Yuri were in the room she would be deflecting praise and accolades. The two women were invited to participate in a series of conversations. Davis chose Yuri, but Yuri waffled because she couldn’t understand why Davis would choose her. Davis said Yuri made the political personal. Yuri was known to jot down names and numbers and write prisoners daily. When I visited her on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, the last place she was able to live alone, I saw stacks of envelops and mail on the table and on the walls photos of Yuri with comrades throughout the world. Brother Hank Jones brought to the memorial a large painting of Yuri.

Not many of us can do what Yuri accomplished, reach out to those who have no one and hold on, but she did for many many comrades still behind Jericho walls. Even when she began to forget or loose site of the details—names, faces, context, Yuri would still maintain her solidarity with those behind bars.

The teach-ins this weekend were a perfect Yuri touch. Of course this is an opportunity to mobilize others to action, not a time to weep. So when family friend, Karl Jagbandhansingh placed a bit of a song Yuri liked then spoke, his was the voice of the revolutionary Yuri—without a doubt. The same is true of her friend, Nobuko Myamoto who spoke of visiting Yuri and mentioning that Dr. Mutulu Shakur was getting out soon, said the words gave Yuri’s voice clarity as she, in that moment had both a past and a future.  The New Yorkers were in the house –strong. Greg Morozumi, visual artist, said with Yuri’s passing he lost two of his best friends and heroes. Yuri was Greg’s mentor. I think she is responsible for his move from New York to California.

The New York contingent was present, family and friends, so we got to see Yuri’s breath and reach across the country and globe as stories via film showed how the plight of the oppressed people looked the same because the enemy looked the same. I heard Yuri’s grandchildren and children and friends speak of how her ability to connect the struggles of black Americans to Asian Americans and how Japanese and others, including gay, lesbian, and transgender people too were beneficiaries of the Civil Rights and subsequent movements left them with a debt that is ongoing. In the conversation in the film clip shared “Mountains That Take Wing, Angela Davis & Yuri Kochiyama” dir. C.A. Griffin & H.L.T. Quan, Yuri speaks of Chairman Mao shelter of Robert F. Williams when the United States was no longer safe for him; she also speaks about the laws against Japanese citizens and Ho Chi Man’s Vietnam.

Musicians Charlie Chin played Song for Aichi (by Chris Iijima); Arisika Razak performed a piece for the first time in a kimono for Yuri, whose photo prominent on stage—presente! Other musical tributes included “I Wish I Knew Hot It Would Feel to Be Free,” from the Nina Simone songbook, sung by Kim Nalley with Akira Tana (drums), Bob Kenmotsu (sax), Mark Isu (bass), Tammy Lynn Hall (keyboards). The ensemble performed a piece composed by Akira Tana –“Forever Yuri Blues,” with  Kenmotsu and Izu, Tana joined by Keny Endo on taiko. The dueling drums were a fitting way for the ceremony to end . . . for now as the tribute continues in Los Angeles later in August this month and in New York in September.

I hadn’t known Yuri and her husband Bill’s son, Billy (who died young), participated in Freedom Summer. In a clip from the film, “My America . . . or Honk If You Love Buddha,” dir. Renee Tajima-Pena, we see the Kochiyama’s visit the women whose home sheltered their son. The woman spoke of the ten youth from the north and how they would go to a local segregated restaurant daily and try to sit at the Yuri then shared a letter she wrote to James Cheney, the 19 year old black man who was killed with Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman. It was raining that afternoon and as Yuri read the letter she wrote over Cheney’s grave, her husband held an umbrella over his wife so she wouldn’t get wet. There were many Yuri moments shared both on screen and off which made the day one which gave a picture of Yuri which showed her thoughtfulness, tenacity and love for the people, a love which never flagged, dipped or ever stopped –even when her memory worried her, I remember her asking me to write my name and address in her tablet so that she would remember I had visited her later on when I left. For a clip of the film which looks at the Kochiyama’s visit to Mississippi and the Davis’s home:

Eddie Kochiyama, son, said that when Malcolm X would visit their home, his mother sent the younger kids to the movies, so big sister Audee was the only one who got to meet him (smile). One never knows the impact her life will have on her children, but Yuri knew. She lived long enough to see this legacy of change and caring and hope across the generations that are her family—the notion of family larger than those who share her blood, yet this aspect of her legacy, the children she bore and those they bore is also one which made her proud, was evident in the hall and throughout the weekend which included various stops along the Black August Passin’ It On with stops in Oakland and San Jose, with Dhoruba bin Wahad, former Field Secretary of the NY Black Panther Party, Co-Founder Black Liberation Army, Former Political Prisoner and Prisoner of War, author of "Still Black, Still Strong" (1993), subject of the documentary film "Passin' It On" (2001) and the book "The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge" (2011) by T.J. English, and Ernesto Vigil, Former Vice Chairman of the Crusade for Justice under Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales, author of "The Crusade For Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent" (1999), featured in the documentaries: "Chicano! The History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement" (1996), "Ruben Salazar: Man in the Middle" (2014).

Here is the memorial information for New York where Yuri honed her revolutionary skills (smile): September 27, 2014 (Saturday), 5:00 - 7:30 pm, First Corinthian Baptist Church, 1912 Adam C. Powell Boulevard, New York, NY 10026

On the Fly:

While I am thinking about zoos and how inhumane they are (smile), I am also remembering the Oakland Planetarium and how I need to visit there and look at the stars. If you haven't been in a while or looked up lately check out: There is a total lunar eclipse Oct. 8. Friday evenings in Sept. there are night hikes.

In October:

The Observatory Deck, located at the rear of the center, will open at Wed., Oct. 8, 2:00am for a special presentation about the eclipse. Stay after the presentation for the late night viewing festivities.

A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the shadow of the Earth. For this to happen the Sun, Earth, and Moon must be closely aligned with the Moon and the Moon located furthest from the Sun. Bring binoculars, blankets and warm clothes.  Please note: Eclipse is not guaranteed and weather permitting for outside viewing.

September at the Oakland Zoo

Grandparents Day at the Oakland Zoo, Sunday, September 7: 10:00am - 4:00pm

Come celebrate Grandparents Day at Oakland Zoo! All Grandparents will receive a free ride on the Outback Express Adventure Train (limit one ride per Grandparent). What better way to spend time with your grandchildren than strolling through the Zoo to see our amazing animals and learning at the same time? Have a picnic lunch, enjoy the Wayne and Gladys Valley Children's Zoo, and ride the Conservation Carousel in Adventure Landing. Make the day a memorable one at Oakland Zoo. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. For more information go to or call (510) 632-9525.

Teddy Bear Tea Party with Friends, September 14, 9:30am-12:00pm

It’s tea time at Oakland Zoo and families are invited. Bring an adult and child, bring a stuffie, and learn all about one of the Zoo’s sun bears. Program activities include snacks, activities, books, and play. Plus, participants will create and deliver an enrichment gift to the sun bears. When the fun is done, your child will receive a surprise-filled treat bag to take home Program fee is $23.00 for current Oakland Zoo members and $26.00 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. For more info contact Paula Booth at (510) 623-9525, ext. 220 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. Please park in the Lower Parking Lot and proceed up the ramp to Maddie’s Center for Science and Environmental Education, Classroom 4. For more information go to or call (510) 632-9525.

5th Annual Oakland Senior Summer Free Day, Monday, September 15: 10:00am-4:00pm

Oakland residents 65+ receive free admission to the Oakland Zoo. Seniors must be 65+ with valid identification and must be residents of Oakland. Oakland Zoo’s Senior Summer Free Days are in partnership with the Oakland City Council member Larry Reid. Parking is free to Oakland Seniors (65+). All other guests must pay regular admission. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. For more information go to or call (510) 632-9525.

Oakland Zoo’s Conservation Speaker Series Presents: A Future for Cheetahs, Thursday, September 18:  6:30pm – 9:00pm

Cheetah populations have plummeted from 100,000 to 10,000 in Africa in the last century, and the world’s fastest land mammal is facing extinction. Please join Dr. Laurie Marker, Founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and renowned photographer, Suzi Eszterhas, for a special evening at Oakland Zoo. Dr. Marker has spent the last 20 years working to save Cheetahs and has written “A Future for Cheetahs,” with striking photography by Ms. Eszterhas. This engaging presentation will present the problems facing the cheetah and the hope for its future. Come learn how humans and cheetahs can live in peace, and how we can all be part of saving the cheetah from extinction. Location: Oakland Zoo’s Clorox Wildlife Theater (outdoor venue), free parking in the Zoo’s lower parking lot. Program Fee: $12.00 – $20.00 sliding scale. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Please dress accordingly for outdoor amphitheater. Appetizers and wine will be served. For more info, contact: Amy Gotliffe, Conservation Director at 510-632-9525, ext. 122 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605

Arroyo Viejo Creek Crew Work Day, Saturday, September 20: 9:00am-12:00pm

Spend the morning volunteering! Come to the Arroyo Viejo Creek and experience the local habitat, while helping it thrive. Grab your gardening gloves and help clean up the creek. The work happens in rain or shine, so please come prepared. Volunteers should bring water, snacks, and should wear close-toed shoes that can get dirty. Gloves and tools will be provided, but other gardening tools are appreciated. One adult chaperone is required for every 4 youth volunteers, 13 years of age and younger as well as one adult chaperone for every 8 youth volunteers between 14 - 18 years of age. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. The creek is located to the right of the main entrance. Meet at the Arroyo Viejo Creek sign. RSVPs are appreciated. Contact Katie Desmond at (510) 632-9525, ext. 207 or This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

ZooKids: Dens, Domiciles & Dwellings, Saturday, September 20, 9:30am – 12:00pm

Does your little one love animals? ZooKids classes are a great way for children age 4-5 to have a fun and educational adventure at the zoo. Class Description: Would you like to sleep in the trees? Maybe in a nice warm pond? Or how about in a hole underground? Explore all the different places that animals call home and help make a special enrichment item for some of the animals who make their homes at your zoo. Each program includes a mini zoo tour, craft, games, animal close-up, and snack. ZooKids classes are held on Saturdays from 9:30am - 12:00pm. Each ZooKids class is offered twice per month to accommodate more participants. Each month has a different theme and classes are designed so that children can come to multiple classes without repeating the same activities. Pre-registration is required. Program fee is $26.00. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. For more information go to or call (510) 632-9525.

Zoovie Night at Oakland Zoo, Saturday, September 26: 6:30pm-9:30pm

Put on your jammies and enjoy an evening of Zoovie magic with the whole family. Bring your pillows, blankets, and chairs and snuggle up in our auditorium for “Turbo.” Meet some of our nocturnal Education animals brought to you by Roosevelt, Oakland Zoo's costumed alligator mascot. Hot chocolate (with marshmallows, of course) and popcorn will be provided, but you are welcome to bring your own treats and traditional family movie fare. Let the show begin! $7 per adult and $7 per child to cover the costs of the Animal close-up program and snacks. If your group has 4 or more people, the price is $6 per adult and $6 per child. Note that the movies are a complimentary addition to the evening’s activities. Pre-registration is required. Email This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it or call (510) 632-9525, ext. 220. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. To learn more visit or call (510) 632-9525.

ZooKids: Dens, Domiciles & Dwellings, Saturday, September 27, 9:30am – 12:00pm
Does your little one love animals? ZooKids classes are a great way for children age 4-5 to have a fun and educational adventure at the zoo. Class Description: Would you like to sleep in the trees? Maybe in a nice warm pond? Or how about in a hole underground? Explore all the different places that animals call home and help make a special enrichment item for some of the animals who make their homes at your zoo. Each program includes a mini zoo tour, craft, games, animal close-up, and snack. ZooKids classes are held on Saturdays from 9:30am - 12:00pm. Each ZooKids class is offered twice per month to accommodate more participants. Each month has a different theme and classes are designed so that children can come to multiple classes without repeating the same activities. Pre-registration is required. Program fee is $26.00. Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA  94605. For more information go to or call (510) 632-9525.

Last Updated ( Friday, 10 October 2014 )


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