On Monday, Juneteenth, Black Liberation Day, I agreed to become the editor for the Bay View Newspaper.
It is with great honor, respect and much consideration that I step into this position. I recognize that over the past 40-plus years the Bay View has been a voice for the people.
Simply put, we speak truth to power, logic to the illogical, from the perspective of those who seldom have a platform to speak from.
And, what greater truth is there then examples of people whose lives have been touched, transformed, and empowered by what they read in the Bay View Newspaper.
I first heard of the Bay View while serving time in prison. Two and a half years ago I was serving a life sentence and was paroled from San Quentin State Prison with $200 dollars to my name, a skill set and a plan for my life.
As we move forward, I will share more about me. But for the purposes of this introduction I will state that I am most noted for founding a media organization inside the walls of San Quentin.
My goal, much like I see the Bay View, was to create a platform for our voices to be heard. We were tired of the fear-mongering and media outlets that portrayed us as one-dimensional, and violent based on acts committed 20, 30 and in some cases 40 years ago.
On a personal note, I whole-heartedly accept responsibility for the decisions I made that put me there. And still there is another side to this story that never gets told. My resume includes working in some capacity to produce, write, direct, film, edit and/or assist with the organization of most video and radio productions done inside San Quentin between 2007 and 2014.
I was one of the early members and among the first journalists reporting for the San Quentin News when it was reinvigorated in 2008 after a 25-year hiatus.
I am grateful to all the elders who came before me and will be looking to you for support and guidance. Thank you to all the staff, volunteers, and supporters who have held this paper down throughout the years. Thank you to Willie and Mary Ratcliff for believing in me and Paul Cobb, publisher of Oakland Post, for providing my first opportunity to work for a newspaper when I came home.
And thank you to all the men and women across this country, whether still serving time or home free, for being examples of what real transformation looks like. You are not forgotten. It’s time for change.