Cephus Johnson, aka Uncle Bobby, the uncle of Oscar Grant, now the People’s Uncle, studied at San Francisco State with an emphasis in Ethnic/Black Studies. He is a System Engineer in Silicon Valley. He is a social justice activist at the forefront of ending police brutality in America. After his nephew, Oscar Grant was murdered by a Bart police officer in 2009, Cephus founded two social justice organizations, the Oscar Grant Foundation and co-founded The Love Not Blood Campaign. Since then, Cephus has received many prestigious awards for his activism, including The Fannie Lou Hamer Award 2016, The Hero of Forgiveness Award 2016, The Henry Moskowitz Award 2015, The Kwame Ture Black Star of Labor Award 2015, The Black Organizing Project Award 2014, The Martin Luther King Jr Gene Young Award 2014, and many others. He was a consultant for the movie Fruitvale Station and has served as a leading expert on the creation of the Motherhood and Fatherhood Movement of children murdered by police. Over the years, Cephus has appeared on many national and local television shows and radio stations as an expert in police brutality, including Katie Couric’s “Race in America,” MSNBC’s “Caught on Tape”; and many others. He is a sought-after speaker who has delivered workshops on topics such as, “Knowing your Rights; “How to survive if stopped by the police”; “Criminalization of young people by the justice system”.
Cephus has presented on these topics, and others, at The Left Forum conference, US Human Rights Conference, The Netroots Nation Conference, The ACLU Conference, The Free Mind Free People Conference, The National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE), The Congressional Black Caucus Conference, Teachers for Social Justice Conference, and The National Bar Association Conference. He has also spoken at universities, high schools, and community events, and served as the West Coast Organizer of the United Nation Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent visiting the United States at Merritt College, Oakland 2016.
Known as the “People’s Uncle,” Cephus is a much-beloved presence and invaluable resource for families suffering from police violence around the globe. He has been active at high profile protests — and has supported many high profile families — around the country, including those of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Freddy Gary, and much more.
“He considers ending police brutality and supporting families who have suffered at the hands of police his life’s work, and deeply believes that when families work together, families heal together creating lasting sustainable change.”
Sister Beatrice X, aka Auntie B, is the wife of Uncle Bobby Johnson and the aunt of Oscar Grant. She is a member of the Nation Of Islam. She has been involved with activism since the early age of 10. Sister Beatrice first police terrorism activism case was at the age 22 years old. Auntie B was part of the activism and protesting behind Sagon Penn, twice acquitted in the shooting of two San Diego police officers in a racially charged case that sharply exposed the divide between the police and the Black community. Beatrice X is a community organizer, activist, and an extremely caring mother that bring love and emotional support to mother’s and family members. Sister Beatrice embodies completely and dynamically each and everyday, a beautiful spirit and a clear understanding, to her vision of the revolutionary path of Love by the spirit of African culture. If we all walk in her spirit we are sure to reach our objective as a organization that was founded to work with families that has suffered the traumatic experience of gun violence, whether by police officers, security officers, or community violence. Sister Beatrice works to bring about an atmosphere of social justice and family relationship throughout the United States.
Dr. Tony Jackson is a clinical psychologist and co-director of PranaMind. His clinical experience includes tours with Children’s Hospital-Oakland, New Leaf Treatment Center, Oakland Community Counseling and Sunset Day Treatment Center in San Francisco. He established his teaching career at College of Notre Dame (now Notre Dame de NaMur University) as an assistant professor of psychology and at Skyline College, as an adjunct professor. He earned his Ph.D. (1997) in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Health and Multicultural Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Berkeley-Alameda campus. As a tenured professor of psychology at Skyline College, he formally coordinated and remains actively involved in the ASTEP (African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence) program. His teaching experience includes Holy Names University Graduate Counseling program, Chabot College, Laney College and Berkeley City College (formerly Vista College). Dr. Jackson assisted in developing a handbook for the development of culturally sensitive learning communities as part of the GROWTH (Genuine Rebuilding Opportunities With Technology and Humanity) curriculum and assisted in the development of The Adewole Project and the ASTEP Math Academy, at Skyline College. He is co-author of “Psychology: Connections in Theory and Practice 4th ed.” and author of “Black Male Violence in Perspective-Towards an Afrocentric Approach”. In addition, he developed and co-directed the first Brain Training and Peak Performance Project along with Dr. Raymond Jones at Skyline College in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Dr. Siri Brown – CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER/Community Organizer/Fund Raiser
Dr. Siri Brown has a passion for imparting the beauty of African history and heritage and a commitment to teaching in a manner that brings the past to life. In the classroom she emphasizes the necessity for historically informed political activism and the power that young people have to make positive change. She was born in Oakland, California and completed her BA in Psychology and Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington. While in college she became active in student issues including the anti-apartheid movement and issues of violence against women of color. As a grassroots organizer she worked in the sexual assault prevention and violence against women movements and became increasingly aware of dynamics of race, class and gender and the need for an inclusive ideology in our liberation struggles.
Desiring to continue her education she received an MA in African American Studies and Ph.D. in History from The Ohio State University. Dr.Brown has been teaching African American Studies for over 15 years and has been the Chair of African American Studies at Merritt College since 2004. While chair she instigated and worked with her colleagues to institute “Black Consciousness Raising Tours” that broaden the Pan-African experience of students by immersing them in engaged learning in Jamaica, Kemet, Haiti, Ghana, Panama, and Cuba. Her department has conducted over 3 trips per year impacting hundreds of students who had never left the country before and were thus introduced to the global Black experience. Most recently (August, 2012) she took 20 students to Jamaica to celebrate Marcus Garvey’s Birthday and do homestays in a rural Maroon Community.
As chair she successfully advocated for the construction of the “Africana Studies Research Center” at Merritt College to open in the summer of 2013. The center houses interactive museum learning modules on computer where students research, learn and test their knowledge on the history of Africa and her people including Oakland’s proud and defiant history of the Black Panther Party whose founding members Huey P Newton and Bobby Seale were Merritt College students. Most recently, Dr. Brown has received a Fulbright Grant form the Department of Education to take 12 OUSD and Merritt faculty to Bahia Brazil for 30 days of intensive research and engagement on the African presence in the region with the directive of creating African Centered curriculum of Diaspora that will be taught in Oakland High Schools.
Her research is on the history of the Black Studies Movement in CCCs and the history of race and rape in 19th century U.S. She is the great granddaughter of a long line of strong ancestors including “Big Mamma” Briggs who passed at 99 years old, the daughter of Victoria Hill and Danny Briggs, and the mother of two sons Olaseni and Manu (17 and 14 respectively).
As a youth living in Los Angeles, CA, Akubundu Amazu-Lott experienced first hand being profiled by the police. On at least a half dozen occasions he was pulled over at gunpoint by the LAPD. This experience contributed to his understanding that African people in America were treated as second-class citizens. He made his way out of Los Angeles to San Jose State University. There he participated in sports (football) and received his B.S. in Business Administration and his Master of Urban Planning.
As an undergraduate student athlete, he experienced racism on the field and in the classroom. His resolve to change the situation of African People in particular and humanity, in general, lead him to join several progressive organizations including the Black Student Union (SJSU) and the Pan African Student Collective. He was introduced to and joined the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) in 1979 and is currently a member of the Central Committee. In 1993, he was part of an A-APRP delegation that joined the late Kwame Ture in Guinea. There they met with cadre of the People’s Democratic Party of Guinea (PDG) and strategized to build the A-APRP. He has been an adjunct professor at San Jose State University for the past eight years in the African-American Studies Department. He has lead groups of students to Haiti, Belize and most recently Cuba to meet with grass-root organizations. It is through his extensive work and study of Pan-Africanism and the struggles of oppressed people globally that he remains motivated to work for positive change.
PATRICIA A. FORD – Fund Raiser Organizer
Patricia A. Ford is the founder and principal of DeElla & Associates, LLC. Founded in 2007, DeElla & Associates is a political strategy and labor relations consulting firm that provides campaign strategy, political and public relations services to an array of clients. Ford has devoted more than three decades to advocacy and organizing of working people through the labor movement and civic participation. She served as Executive Vice President from 1996 to 2004. Ford also served as the Special Assistant to the President for Civic Affairs of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO from 2005 to 2007 and was Campaign Director of Unity ’04, a massive nationwide voter registration/voter mobilization drive coordinated by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation. Their efforts helped generate unprecedented African American voter participation in the 2004 Presidential Election, registering over 100,000 new voters.
Ford’s new endeavor encompasses a life-long commitment to the labor movement coupled with her passion for justice and equality for all people. She was elected International Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in 1996 and reelected in 2000. She was one of the highest-ranking African Americans in a North American union and among the most influential black women in the labor movement. Ford headed SEIU’s government affairs program and coordinated its international affairs and civil and human rights activities.
Raised and educated in Oakland, California, Ford began her career as a union activist while working as a clerical worker at Alameda County’s Highland Hospital, where she led a successful effort to affiliate the union with SEIU as Local 616. In 1978, she became the first African-American woman elected as president of Local 616. In 1988 Ford was appointed to the local’s top position of Executive Director. Under her leadership, the local organized 6,000 Alameda County home care workers resulting in better pay and benefits for those who care for the most vulnerable population of our communities.
While at Local 616, Ford served as the lead negotiator in bargaining the first domestic partner benefits extended to Alameda County employees, and an unprecedented pay-equity agreement that addressed the issue of pay disparity among women and minority workers.
Under her leadership as International Executive Vice President, SEIU broke with labor’s traditional stance and charted an independent course in politics—one based on the needs of working people, not simply “party politics.” During her tenure, SEIU expanded their local union state councils from 6 states to 21 states. She built an army of Member Political Organizers where 10,000 rank & file activists participated in the 2000 general election and 20,000 rank & file members were on the ground in 2004.
Ford is a leader in civil and human rights as well. During her tenure at Local 616, the local developed and hosted the first SEIU-sponsored Civil and Human Rights Conference. The International Union expanded these conferences to all regions of the U.S. This led to the establishment of eight regional caucuses within SEIU-the African-American, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Islander, Latino, Women, Seniors and Retirees, Lavender (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender), and Disabilities caucuses and two National caucuses, The Caucus of African Descent of which she is a founder, and The Lavender Caucus. Ford didn’t stop there, at the SEIU 2000 Convention Ford brought a Social & Economic Justice resolution which called for the adoption of a Social & Economic Justice Program at the 2004 Convention. In its November 2002 Collector’s Edition, Essence Magazine listed Ford as one of “Fifty Women Who Are Shaping the World”.
Ford served on the Democratic National Committee from 1997 to 2005. She is a former member of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Alameda County Alliance for Health, the global justice organization TransAfrica Forum, National Board of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Women’s Leadership Forum of the Democratic National Committee and the FUTURE PAC, a black Women’s political action committee where she was a founding member.
Ford is a member of the board of the Congressional Black Caucus Education, Training And Leadership Institute (CBCI) where she served as the chairperson of the Debate Committee that planned and produced the historic 2008 CNN Congressional Black Caucus Institute National Presidential Debate and was responsible for the annual CBCI Political Training Boot Camp. Ford also serves on the Boards of the Economic Education, Retail Justice Alliance and SCLC W.O.M.E.N.
Patricia A. Ford has one son, Andre, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Cal Berkeley Graduate Salih Muhammad – Youth Coordinator-Organizer
Afrikan Black Coalition
Born and raised in Oakland, California, Salih Muhammad has strived to consistently improve the condition of his people. For most of his life, he has been critically engaged in a number organizations, struggles, and movements for the larger purpose of elevating the condition of Black People. The son of Muslim parents, Muhammad strives to meet and exceed their legacy. In fact, his father Keith Muhammad was formerly chair for the Afrikan Student Union at Long Beach State University and currently serves as a Minister in the Nation of Islam. His mother is directress of the Oakland branch of Muhammad University of Islam.
In 2009, Salih graduated from the Muhammad University of Islam where he helped to establish a student run coffeehouse. Muhammad was admitted into the University of California, Berkeley, where he exceled as a community leader helping to restart the Black student Union, which he would chair for nearly 2 years. As chair of UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union he made numerous political and social achievements for Black students including hosting the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference – the largest Black Student conference in California. Later, Salih would chair CalSERVE, a multicultural coalition that seeks to empower students of color through access to student government as well as grassroots organizing.
He currently teaches High school students in Oakland, Ca and is the Executive Director of the Afrikan Black Coalition. The Afrikan Black Coalition is a statewide collective of Black Student Unions that seeks to organize, mobilize, and empower Black students, staff, faculty, and alumni.
Adante Pointer, Attorney: Police Abuse & Civil Rights
Adante Pointer has been in practice for more than ten years. Mr. Pointer primarily practices in the area of civil rights litigation, specializing in representing victims of police abuse. In addition, he fights to recover funds on behalf of clients that have suffered catastrophic personal injuries due to the negligent or intentional conduct of others. Mr. Pointer also regularly provides aggressive criminal defense on behalf of clients facing serious criminal charges in courts throughout the Bay Area. In November of 2007, Mr. Pointer secured a $6 Million jury verdict against the City of Oakland in federal court. (Smith, et al. v. City of Oakland, et al. USDC Case No.: C-0504045). In that case, Mr. Pointer and his associate, Mr. Ben Nisenbaum brought a federal civil rights suit against two decorated police officers for falsely arresting their clients.
Mr. Pointer has represented NBA and NFL professional sports players. He also set a record for single largest jury verdict returned on behalf of an individual plaintiff in a civil rights case in the Federal Northern District of California. Mr. Pointer’s previous employment includes having worked for Congress Woman Barbara Lee.