Urgent support is needed for one of the only Black-led and Prisoner-led national newspapers, the SF BayView. A historic Black newspaper, the San Francisco BayView, needs your help to raise $100,000 by September 2020 or it will be lost to us indefinitely.
The SF BayView National Black Newspaper is an online and print newspaper, published in San Francisco and read widely by people, both free and caged. It is one of the only Black-led and prisoner-led newspapers in the country, and covers issues and events both inside and outside of prisons from a Black radical perspective, with a focus on Black liberation and coverage of worldwide racial inequality and political repression.
The SF BayView is completely volunteer-run and they are struggling to make ends meet. All donations would help to support: production costs, printing costs, publishing costs, stamps and shipping costs, and the salary of Keith Washington, fondly known as Comrade Malik, Assistant Editor of the SF Bay View. Malik is a journalist, freedom fighter, and a prisoner at USP Pollock in Louisiana. He plans to move to the Bay and transition into the Editor role when he is released in September 2020.
The viability of The BayView is directly linked to the material and economic stability Malik has upon his return home. Can you pitch in $3 or more to support his transition home and keep this vital resource alive for our people?
For over 45 years, the SF BayView has been unapologetic in calling out injustice and repression that targets Black and brown communities and people in jails, prisons and detention centers. In the nineties, when no one else had the courage to report on rampant police brutality, The BayView stepped up for their community, and suffered backlash because of it.
In the late eighties, SF BayView exposed and helped shut down the oldest and largest power plant in California, owned by PG&E, for emitting toxic smoke that impacted the respiratory health of thousands of Black and brown children and families.
In 2011-2013, the SF BayView, mailed to thousands of prisoners and helped to spread the word about the California Prisoner Hunger Strikes Against Solitary Confinement, drawing 30,000 participants at their peak. Reflecting back on these historic hunger strikes that rocked and swayed the US prison system, Comrade Keith ‘Malik’ Washington shares: “The strikes succeeded [partly] because the Bay View is a network of freedom fighters connecting prisoners with each other and allies in the outside world.”
The SF BayView gives prisoners a platform to share their stories and collective strategies and build up solidarity for inside-outside organizing. It keeps prisoners informed of their impact on the political landscape and fuels prisoners to keep fighting by highlighting the nationwide solidarity against violations to their human and civil rights.
Undaunted, The BayView continues to report on injustices like police terrorism, the impact of COVID-19 on prisoners, and stories of black resilience in this time. At a time when so much of the media landscape is owned by corporate interests, we ask that you donate to keep this lifeline open for prisoners and Black communities. We ask you to invest in black futures now. We ask you to invest in people returning home.
Below is a message from Comrade Malik, the soon-to-be Editor of the SF Bay View:
Please help save The San Francisco BayView National Black Newspaper. The Bay View’s current editor Mary Ratcliff and her husband and publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff are both in their 80s and have volunteered 30 years of their lives and hard-earned money to sustain and preserve this historic national Black newspaper. They have chosen me, Keith “Malik” Washington, a regular contributor to the paper, to continue the legacy of the BayView. I accept this gift with honor and respect for what has been laid before me. As a very soon to be returning community member, who will have spent 13 years caged within both the state and federal prison systems, I look forward to the opportunity and platform to center and link the issues of currently and formerly incarcerated people with the Bay Area community through the lens of my lived experience.
There are a few things that set the BayView apart from other newspapers. First and foremost, we seek to serve the people and set the captives free! The BayView has always amplified prisoners’ call for decarceration. The BayView also provides a unique opportunity and platform for incarcerated people to share their stories, insights and commentary on their experiences inside, and their relationship to the free-world community. Finally, I’d like to illuminate the BayView’s commitment to reporting on environmental racism and political repression. It is my intention to expand the readership as well as the breadth and scope of our work.
At this time, the BayView desperately needs financial assistance in order to support operating expenses and to provide me a modest salary. We currently have no money to pay additional staff and rely on a cadre of dedicated community volunteers to get our paper out. Still, the BayView continues to squeeze out issue after issue, to provide voice to the voiceless.
We humbly request that you visit our website, www.sfbayview.com, in order to see exactly what kind of journalism and activism we are engaged in. We are confident that you will agree that it is absolutely necessary to help us save this one-of-a-kind newspaper. I encourage everyone to donate generously to this cause. Too many people returning to their communities are faced with thousands of barriers to a successful start to their new life. Helping to fund the BayView also helps me to overcome one of those barriers — meaningful employment. I truly hope you will aid us in our fundraising efforts.