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On today's episode, Roqayah and Kumars are joined by Blake Simons, an organizer and educator from Oakland, CA. Blake is the co-founder of People’s Breakfast Oakland and also co-hosts Hella Black Podcast which discusses societal issues through a radical Black lens. Blake shares with us how he became radicalized and first got involved in organizing as a student at UC Berkeley. He talks about his role in the Afrikan Black Coalition, a network of Black Student Unions on University of California campuses, and discusses successful campaigns to establish a black student resource center at UC Berkeley and to force the UC to divest from private prisons. Blake also talks about his uncle, Jalil Muntaqim, a member of the Black Panther Party and political prisoner for 45 years, and the impact he has had on Blake's organizing work. We also discuss Blake's current project, People's Breakfast Oakland, which provides meals, hygiene kits, and clothing to houseless people in Oakland, building off of the model championed by the Black Panthers decades ago. We discuss the horrific reality faced by houseless people, even in liberal strongholds like the bay area, and the importance of building alternative structures to support houseless people who will never be served by traditional institutions. We discuss the importance of meeting the material needs of those exploited and abandoned by the state as a necessary precondition to building revolutionary power.
You can follow Blake at @BlakeDontCrack. If you want to support the People's Breakfast in Oakland, reach out to Blake on twitter or donate here.
A transcript for this episode is forthcoming. Please send an email to deleteuracct @ gmail to get a copy sent to you when it is completed.