Revisiting Gary 1972: Re-energizing the Movement for Black Political Power in 2021

Revisiting Gary 1972: Re-energizing the Movement for Black Political Power in 2021

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The National Black Political Convention was a critical milestone in the struggle for Black political power. Members of the Congress of African People played a key role in organizing for the convention as well as for the assemblies around the Black agenda that followed. This panel will explore the need for a renewed call for a national political agenda, learning from the lessons of Gary and other subsequent gatherings.

Rukia Lumumba

People’s Advocacy Institute & Movement for Black Lives

Taalamu Holiday

CAP veteran organizer for the Gary convention

Larry Hamm

People's Organization for Progress (POP) in NJ

Kelly Harris

Africana Studies Department, Seton Hall University

Rev. Estelle (Akiba) David

CAP veteran who staffed the Gary convention

For more info, email us at congressofafricanpeople50@gmail.com.

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OBS Racial Justice Organizer

The Organization for Black Struggle was founded in 1980 by community activists, students, workers’ rights organizers and others to address the burning issues confronting the African American community. We are a Black-led and member-driven organization. One of the foundational pillars of OBS is the important work around racial justice.This includes, but is not limited to, police accountability, mass incarceration, judicial reform and the death penalty.

Read More »

“This is what happens to us” Washington Post article on failed response by cities to COVID-19

Poor reporting of data, which initially masked the fact that the disease was disproportionately affecting black communities, remains a problem even as states move to reopen their economies.

Today, Americans living in counties with above-average black populations are three times as likely to die of the coronavirus as those in above-average white counties, according to an analysis of census and other data by The Washington Post.

Read More »

Sign up for Updates

Organization for Black Struggle
P.O. Box 5277
St. Louis, MO 63115
(314) 367-5959 | contactus@obs-stl.org

The Organization for Black Struggle (OBS)Demands Justice for the St. Louis Justice Center Residents Subjected to Inhumane Conditions

The Organization for Black Struggle (OBS)Demands Justice for the St. Louis Justice Center Residents Subjected to Inhumane Conditions

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For Immediate ReleaseFebruary 8, 2021

Contact Person: Azizi Blissett (314.367.5959)

The insurrection that occurred on Saturday, February 6 at the St. Louis Justice Center in response to COVID-19 has been boiling for almost a year. The prolonged neglect by city officials starting with Mayor Lyda Krewson and Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards is unconscionable and unacceptable. OBS must always remind the public that the city jail and the workhouse are holding facilities until citizens are arraigned and charged. They are innocent until proven guilty.

Last summer, the Organization for Black Struggle began getting calls from inmates who were confined to the St. Louis City and County jails. There were growing concerns about the pandemic and whether these institutions were following CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of both residents and staff. OBS reached out to the directors of both facilities to provide testing through Affinia Healthcare who was committed to sending its mobile units out.On June 29, OBS held a press conference to announce its efforts to get inmates tested at these facilities. We reported that the County used its own Department of Health to perform the COVID-19 tests but that city jail officials were unresponsive.

The new year began with OBS again receiving calls and emails from family members whose loved ones were confined to the Justice Center. We were informed that a guard had been taken hostage and inmates were protesting conditions in the jail that was potentially spreading the deadly virus. On January 1, OBS held a press conference in front of the St. Louis City Justice Center to report what was going on inside the facility. We implored the mayor to investigate and take appropriate actions to maintain order and the safety of parties. Subsequently, we requested a number of documents relative to the incident through the Sunshine Act. To date, no documents have been received.

It was no surprise when we received early morning calls on February 6 that inmates had taken over the fourth floor of the facility, knocking out windows for better visibility and begging for relief. The uprising made national news, once again projecting the city’s racist views in policy and practice. It was also clear that nothing had been done in the last 30 days to rectify the housing situation. Retaliation by staff since the weekend incident have further put the health and safety at risk of those entrusted to their care. It is reported that inmates are being forced to sleep on the floor, some in the cold water left from the fire department putting out fires which had been set. Others have been without food and water for two days.

These incidents underscore the incompetence and indifference of the Krewson administration. The lack of resolution is only escalating the tensions inside. The situation is grave and demands immediate action. We ask the citizens of St. Louis to demand the mayor cease and desist the litany of lies coming out about the situation. The conditions require a committed approach to a healthy and human resolution.

Recent Posts

OBS Racial Justice Organizer

The Organization for Black Struggle was founded in 1980 by community activists, students, workers’ rights organizers and others to address the burning issues confronting the African American community. We are a Black-led and member-driven organization. One of the foundational pillars of OBS is the important work around racial justice.This includes, but is not limited to, police accountability, mass incarceration, judicial reform and the death penalty.

Read More »

“This is what happens to us” Washington Post article on failed response by cities to COVID-19

Poor reporting of data, which initially masked the fact that the disease was disproportionately affecting black communities, remains a problem even as states move to reopen their economies.

Today, Americans living in counties with above-average black populations are three times as likely to die of the coronavirus as those in above-average white counties, according to an analysis of census and other data by The Washington Post.

Read More »

Sign up for Updates

Organization for Black Struggle
P.O. Box 5277
St. Louis, MO 63115
(314) 367-5959 | contactus@obs-stl.org

All Out for O-22!

Tuesday, October 22 at 6:00 pm Carpenter Library, 3309 S. Grand Blvd.

The Coalition Against Police Crimes & Repression (CAPCR) has invited outspoken police abolitionist, Derecka Purnell, to facilitate a community discussion on Oct. 22 National Day Against Police Brutality.

Derecka is a human rights lawyer, writer, and organizer who works to sustain social movements. She served on the founding steering committee for Law for Black Lives and is Deputy Director of the Spirit of Justice Center.

Joint Statement in Condemnation of Jimmy Edwards’ Comments

In recent months, St. Louis has experienced a series of tragedies stemming from fatal gun violence in our communities. Most heartbreaking of all, many of the lives lost have been those of children. In St. Louis City alone, fourteen children age 17 and younger have been shot and killed since April. Seven of those children have been age 11 and younger. This painful reality has been a call to action for so many in St. Louis, including those who came together just over a month ago for a rally that centered the voices of young people growing up in this city and demanding a change.

Signatories to Statement

Read full statement here.

Why We Fight

By Halisi Lester

The struggle of Black workers is one of OBS’s foundational areas of work. Al Lumpkins, the organization’s first chairperson, was an auto worker at the General Motors plant in St. Louis. Throughout the years, OBS has had many auto workers as members and supporters. Our history of organizing with Black workers, especially in auto, goes deep and wide.

     The United Auto Workers union (UAW) is in the third week of its strike against General Motors. As a member of UAW Local 2250, I’d like to share with you some of key issues we’re fighting for. The major points of contention are health care, better wages and job security.

     In 2009, the auto industry experienced a recession and GM had to file for bankruptcy. The UAW helped GM get through this period by agreeing to several concessions. One of those was the increased use of temporary workers who were hired at much lower wages and with far less benefits.

Today, there are many temps (some who’ve been there for four years) working side by side with more tenured workers but making half as much in pay and with hardly any off days. They also have no path to ever becoming permanent. Additionally, there are many other permanent workers (including myself) who began as temps and are “in progression” to making top pay. We strongly believe there should be equal pay for equal work.

     Despite record profits the past couple years, GM wants to increase the amount workers pay for health insurance. Currently we pay 3%, but GM wants to increase that to 15%. For nearly five years, we have worked six days a week. With the grueling work schedule and conditions, we feel it’s important for GM to continue to invest in our health and productivity.

     The UAW would like for GM to commit to building more products in the U.S. Earlier this year four plants were idled. The negotiations include reopening all or some of these plants.

     It quickly became evident during these past few weeks just how much of a ripple effect this work stoppage has on the economy. Businesses—small and large—that rely on GM contracts and patronage by workers have cut back hours or laid off workers. GM workers are demanding that our hard work and sacrifice to be reciprocated so we can provide for our families and help our communities prosper.

Halisi Lester is an OBS supporter and board member of the Rowan Community Center.

Fire Roorda Immediately!

OBS joined justice-seeking groups to call for the firing of racist jeff roorda, spokesperson for the st. louis police officers association. This dude does his job well on behalf of the slpoa in spewing his racist venom across the region and upholding the racist actions of the local gestapo. Read our letter calling for his resignation here.

Flood the Public Safety Committee Hearing

Help keep Cure Violence grounded in the community!

Come to the Public Safety Committee Hearing on Tues., Sept. 24, 10 am, , @City Hall, 1200 Tucker Blvd.

Board Bill 105 (BB 105) calls for $8 million for Cure Violence. Let our elected officials know that you support Cure Violence and expect:

1) Full funding & a multi-year commitment
2) Implementation by the City Health Dept.
3) A Community Advisory Committee to maintain insight & oversight