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Black Agenda Radio – 10.05.15

Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.

– Lots of Black people in Selma, Alabama, want to rename the Edmund Pettis Bridge after Amelia Boynton Robinson, the Founding Mother of the city’s civil rights movement, who died in August at the age of 110. Ms. Boynton Robinson was a voting rights activist in the 1920s, registered to vote in 1934, invited both Dr. Martin Luther King and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee into Selma, and ran for Congress in 1964, a year before the historic march across the Edmund Pettis bridge, where she was beaten by Alabama police and left for dead. However, the area’s Black Congresswoman, Terri Sewell, and Georgia Congressman John Lewis are said to have collaborated to prevent renaming the bridge for Ms. Boynton Robinson. State Sen. Hank Sanders is part of the effort to honor the matriarch of the Movement in Selma.

– Thousands of protesters from across the country are expected to converge on New York City, October 22nd through 24th, for demonstrations against police violence. The RIseup October campaign is organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, founded by Carl Dix and Dr. Cornel West, four years ago. Rev. Jerome McCorry heads up The Adam Project, which deals with prison-related issues in Dayton, Ohio. Rev. McCorry is also the Faith and Social Justice Advocate for the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.

– Pennsylvania prison officials continue to withhold adequate medical care to Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who is suffering from the complications of Hepatitis C. The disease brought Abu Jamal to the brink of death, earlier this year, and left him with a painful and disfiguring skin condition. Dr. Johanna Fernandez is a professor of History and Black and Latino Studies, at Baruch College, in New York City, and a close confidant of Abu Jamal. She brings us up date on his condition.

– Later this month, the Federal Communications Commission is expected to dramatically lower the rates that private phone monopolies can charge for calls made by the nation’s 2.4 million prison inmates. Many families wind up paying as much as $14 a minute to stay in touch with their incarcerated loves ones, with the phone companies sharing the profits with the prisons and jails. The Human Rights Defense Center argued on behalf of the inmates. The FCC’s proposed rules would lower the phone rate to between 11 and 22 cents a minute. But, that wouldn’t break up the private companies’ stranglehold on prison phone calls. We spoke with the Center’s director, Alex Friedman.

– The crusading People’s Lawyer Liz Fink died last month, in New York City. Attorney Fink represented survivors of the Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and helped win a $12 million settlement for the victims of the massacre of inmates that followed the uprising. Fink also represented former Black Panther political prisoner Dhoruba Bin Wahhad, who said that he would never have been released from prison had it not been for Liz Fink. Lots of freedom fighters are in mourning for Fink, including Zayid Muhammad, the press officer for the Malcolm X Commemorations Committee.

– On the heels of a viral video of last month’s brutal and mistaken police takedown of Black former tennis pro James Blake, the New York City police department has issued new guidelines on reporting the non-lethal use of force against civilians. Cops would be required to document whenever they strike, mace, or take down people. We spoke with Robert Gangi, director of the watchdog Police Reform Organizing Project. He doesn’t think much of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s press releases.

– Black Agenda Report executive editor Glen Ford says the pace of gentrification appears to be accelerating in America’s cities. Ford calls this commentary, “The Whites Are Coming, The Whites Are Coming!”