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Prisoners’ families constitute a powerful voice

May 11, 2012

by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough

Hello Kendra,

Families of prisoners rally on Occupy 4 Prisoners Day Feb. 20 in Los Angeles. Note that the unity across racial divides evident at the rally reflects the unity forged by prisoners doing the hardest time in California in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) and other segregation units who led last year’s hunger strikes. The same unity is evident in this letter: It is written by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, a New Afrikan political prisoner in the Corcoran SHU, saying he’s inspired by Todd Ashker, a white prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU labeled a white supremacist. And it’s written to Kendra Castaneda, the wife of a Latino prisoner labeled a "Southern Hispanic" in Calipatria ASU. – Photo: Kendra Castaneda
I trust that you continue to be of sound health and spirit upon receiving this. You should have received a couple of my letters since March. It is possible that you may have heard from a couple of guys here whom I shared your April 14 letter with. You really do have the respect and support of us all.

I also had the opportunity to read a couple of published letters by Todd Ashker to you that was really inspiring. The families and loved ones of us all constitute a very powerful voice and matter tremendously in any change that is coming.

The families and loved ones of us all constitute a very powerful voice and matter tremendously in any change that is coming.

Todd is really correct in stating that we, the prisoner class, should no longer comply with anything that contributes in any way to the inhumanities that we are subjected to and within the context in which we are defined by the dominant class.

Our best to Todd and everyone should the opportunity present itself. Please know that you continue to inspire. Take good care.


Send our brother some love and light: Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, Cor-SHU 4B-1L-53. This letter was written to Kendra Castaneda May 6, 2012, and postmarked May 8. Kendra is a prisoner human rights activist whose husband is currently incarcerated in the notorious Calipatria State Prison ASU (Administrative Segregation Unit). She can be reached at


2 thoughts on “Prisoners’ families constitute a powerful voice

  1. @carltoersbijns

    The reason why government agencies such as the DOC don't respond well to family inquiries it to deliberately frustrate them into a condition of hopelessness and ineffectiveness. The fact is, families can be an influential part of change if you can get them united with one voice and overcome this "divide and conquer" strategy the DOC has developed to minimize impact and by diverting issues to another level to avoid dealing with the reality of their blunderous ways in running prisons.

  2. Author Glenn Thomas Langohr

    Great article! I spent 10 years in California prisons on drug charges. Imagine during the 1960's when it was okay to experiment with drugs. If we had the same laws we do now with the drug war, half the current politicians we have now would be in prison. I wrote Underdog to show the public that tough on crime platforms only breed bigger criminals.


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