California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) is a grassroots social justice organization, with members inside and outside prison. They challenge the insitutional violence imposed on women, transgender people, and communities of color by the prison industrial complex (PIC). CCWP demands the abolition of a prison system whose purpose is punishment, control and the warehousing of human beings, the majority of whom are people of color and poor.

Blue Heart’s Lindley Mease had the honor of speaking with Courtney Hanson, CCWP’s development and communications coordinator.

Interview edited for clarity.

Lindley Mease: Can you start by sharing a little bit about you…

Acta Non Verba: Youth Urban Farm Project (ANV) is based in an East Oakland neighborhood that is classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a “food desert” with limited access to fresh produce. Through an amazing array of camps, after school programs, and urban farms, ANV provides educational programs, economic empowerment, and access to green, safe spaces and healthy food to children, youth, and families in the community. ANV was founded, and is mainly led, by women of color.

Blue Heart’s Lindley Mease had the honor of speaking with Aaron De La Cerda, ANV’s Farm Manager & Educator, as…

The Health Justice Commons works at the intersections of racial, economic, gender, disability, and environmental justice to support marginalized communities to re-imagine and re-design healthcare and healing for our times. Blue Heart had the honor of interviewing Mordecai Ettinger, the founder and director of Health Justice Commons.

Mordecai Ettinger, Founder & Director of Health Justice Commons. Photo Cred: HJC

Lindley Mease (Blue Heart): Thanks for speaking with us about your work, Mordecai. Could you start by sharing with us how Health Justice Commons was founded and what prompted it’s inspiration?

Mordecai Ettinger (Health Justice Commons): We were founded in 2016 by myself and a small core of vision council members. …

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Blue Heart co-founder Lindley Mease caught up with Lale Namerrow, a film editor, producer and DJ of the subversive queer scene in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Frania Climaco, puertoriqueña currently live in Washington D.C. Lale and Frania are members of the collective at El Hangar en Santurce, dedicated to social transformation amidst the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico.

El Hangar en Santurce organizes an action in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Lindley: Can you all start by sharing what Hangar is doing? What are you all about?

Frania: We are a parcela as we say in Puerto Rico. A “parcela” is like a piece of…

I write this on my birthday. When I reflect on how I came into this world, I reflect on how I can trace my colonial roots back to the Mayflower on both sides of my family. I reflect on how my grandparents were able to go to college because of the GI bill, using public money so white men could have educational advantage with privilege trickle down for generations to come. I reflect on how my 32 years on the planet have been made comfortable from the profound extraction of resources from the Global South.

What does reparations look like…

Candice Elder; Photo cred: EOC

The East Oakland Collective (EOC) is a membership-based organization in deep East Oakland dedicated to racial and economic equity for the underserved people and communities in East Oakland. EOC’s community organizing and programs focus on leadership development, civic engagement, food and housing justice, transportation planning, and economic empowerment.

Blue Heart had the honor of speaking with Candice Elder, founder and director of EOC.

Interview edited for clarity.

Lindley Mease: Let’s start things off hearing a little about your work overall, and how you came to organize in East Oakland.

Candice Elder: I founded EOC in January 2016 as a way…

Marisa Franco; Photo Credit: Funders for Justice

Blue Heart interviewed Marisa Franco the Co-Founder and Director of Mijente in February 2020. Mijente is building black and brown unity through political movements across the country. Lindley began with asking Marisa how she got her start with community organizing.

Marisa Franco (Mijente): I am originally from Phoenix, Arizona. I left Phoenix shortly after finishing school and landed an internship in the Bay Area. A lot of my initial political formation was in the Bay where I was really lucky to be a part of the organization POWER (People Organize to Win Employment Rights). I was super fortunate for…

BlackOUT Collective Team

Blue Heart interviewed BlackOUT Collective’s Development Director Kierra Sims in January 2020. BlackOut, founded in the Bay and working nationally, trains communities, particularly communities of color, in direct action tactics and strategy. Lindley started out by asking Kierra to tell the origin story of the collective.

Kierra Sims: In the Fall of 2014, during the Ferguson uprisings, there was a request for direct action trainers to come to Ferguson. There were some members of the Ruckus Society and Center for Story Based Strategy who answered that call to action. Once they got there, the trainers realized that there was…

Blue Heart sat down with Sita Baumik, co-founder of People’s Kitchen Collective, which is committed to creating “accessible, healthy, and loving food spaces.” Founded in 2007 and active in Oakland since 2011, People’s Kitchen Collective organizes large community meals in collaboration with activists and artists. In addition to community dining, they build solidarity across groups via education and exhibitions about food and social movements.

Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Lindley (Blue Heart): I would love to hear a little bit about your story — how you came to where you are, and a spiel about…

On Wednesday morning, October 30, 2019, Blue Heart was able to connect with Christy Lubin 6 days after the Kincade fires first started ravaging Northern California. Christy had just evacuated to her mom’s house in Berkeley, from her house in Sebastopol where there was no power and no service. Christy helped draw out how fires are so much more than what you see on the news, with broad and tenacious implications for immigrants and low-wage workers. …

Lindley Mease

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