Third Traditions Seminars 

Curated Content

President Obama on Trayvon Martin's Death

Racial Profiling, "Happens Often” and  Must be Talked About
 In what might be a historic turning point in his term, President Obama “came out” Black and recounted being the target of racial profiling.  The President’s comments came in response to intense nationwide dialogue happening in the wake of Florida’s acquittal of George Zimmerman, the white community member who shot and killed Tryavon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager.  On July 19, 2013, Obama orchestrated a special press conference to address the country’s reaction.

Presumption of Guilt
Of note is Charles Olgeltree's Presumption of Guilt:  The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Class, Race and Crime in America.  Inside this work, Olgeltree captures not 10, not 50 but 100 hundred stories of racially profiled Black men.  The list includes such notables as  Justice Thurgood Marshall to actor Blair Underwood.

How We Perpetuate Policing:  Bias by Proxy

The year 2020 has brought in an era of heightened awareness with so many people "getting woke" and finally seeing policing as an extension of slavery and law enforcement as a tool of social control.  But how does tech play into institutional bias?  Dr. Ruha Benjamin dives deep into the lattice woven by the digital age, explaining how algorithms are the New Jim Code.

" is also about how we use everyday apps and technology, we think about apps and various neighborhood watches, groups and apps.  We want to think about how we are implicated as deputies of the police.  How we perpetuate policing, rather than just focusing (on) all the institution(s), how do we internalize the logic that these things actually make us safer?"  -  Dr. Ruha Benjamin

War On Drugs

"What is painfully obvious when one steps back from individual cases and specific policies is that the system of mass incarceration operates with stunning efficiency to sweep people of color off the streets, lock them in cages, and then releases them into an inferior second-class status.  Nowhere is this more true than in the War on Drugs." - Michelle Alexander page 103, The New Jim Crow  

One of the unique attributes of San Francisco city government is its transparency fueled by policy debates from grass roots contributors.  The Human Rights Impact of the War on Drugs sponsored by the Human Rights Commission on Thursday, April 12, 2012 produced some of the most informative subject data from experts such as the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice.  Their Drug Policy Report unveiled how San Francisco favors whites who fuel the illicit drug trade in the city yet non-whites are arrested most often.    In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California exposed gross racial disparities in the city's "Buy-bust operations."   Click hear to review the entire hearing. 

Third Traditions

Original Content

A Better Path to Public Safety

This video  captures retired SFPD Officer Marion Jackson as he reaches out to community members with thoughtful words on True Public Safety including dispelling “shoot to kill” myths.
He insists police cannot define "community policing," the community must define and direct police, a truth not often stated by law enforcement.  He assures the audience that "police work for you..." their salary "comes out of your pocket.” "True Public Safety Harms No One, Racial Profiling Harms Everyone" is part of a series of workshops presented by Third Traditions Foundation. The event held Saturday March 14, 2015 in San Francisco, CA brought together a panel of criminal justice experts along with active and retired law enforcement officials from Officers for Justice Peace Officers Association.  See program at this link. 
Panelists from left to right are Retired SFPD Lt. Art Tapia, retired SFPD the late Inspector Rodney Williams, active duty SFPD Captain Yulanda Williams, retired member of SFPD Marion Jackson and Ida Mc Cray of the SF County Sheriff’s Office.  Seated in the audience on the far left is Mesha Izizarry, founder of the Idriss Stelley Foundation, a non-profit created to address police brutality.   Panel discussion intrigued audience members and most found the conversations candidly refreshing therefore; we hope to repeat the experience in an upcoming event.

See video at this link 



"Justice for The Community First and Justice for us Police Officers Second."  

Rodney Williams on OFJ History   Taken from the March 14, 2015 "True Public Safety Harms No One" workshop, this short clip gives a brief history of San Francisco’s Black Peace Officers group.

“Justice for the community first and justice for us police officers second” is how retired SF Police Inspector Rodney Williams described creating Officers for Justice. 

He also candidly recounts the lack of opportunity in the early sixties for black officers as the city’s police department adjusted to integration.

Cannot Condone Inappropriate Behavior

How does one escape the recent headlines pointing to corruption among correctional control officers?  Are the fatiguing aspects of this profession giving rise to inappropriate behavior by prison guards?  Can those overseeing convicted felons be more in need of correction than those overseen by them?   In this media presentation, law enforcement representatives address this ethical question through a panel on Public Safety.   You will see in this section of TTF’s March 14, 2015 “True Public Safety Harms No One," San Francisco Police Captain Yulanda Williams and Ida Mc Cray of Family with a Future speak out against inappropriate behavior among correctional control officers.

Click here for video


2010 McCovey Cove
SF Giants' World Series

The year 2010 was marked by several significant events in the Bay Area, San Francisco Giants were in contention for the World Series and Oscar Grant's assailant, a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Police Officer was in jail, convicted of manslaughter.  Oscar Grant's Uncle often described Johannes Mehserle’s trial as the first time a bay area police officer was tried for murder.

The Giant’s had a unique year in 2010 as well.  For the first time in the San Francisco Franchise history, the team brought home a world championship.  San Francisco was the sports capital of the world for a short period of time as spectators and fans anxiously awaited the outcome of two teams battling for victory over each other.

However, supporters of young Oscar Grant’s killer, spoiled this American pastime, hoisting huge banners on expensive watercraft in view of national and world cameras.  The image to right captured this moment of protest, boats enshrining signs, blaring without sound, “Free Johannes Mehserle!”

Congratulations to the Oscar Grant Foundation for securing February 27 as Oscar Grant day in the City of Oakland, CA.  This writer supports the mother of Oscar Grant, Rev. Wanda Jackson and her Oscar Grant Foundation.