Tag: 60-day hunger strike
One year ago on July 8, 30,000 California prisoners refused meals and work assignments, beginning a 60-day hunger strike with the core demand of ending the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and it presented the deepest challenge yet to solitary by bringing national and international attention to a practice that has long been condemned by human rights groups as torture.
I hear demagogues go on their vicious attacks about how violent prisoners held in solitary confinement are, yet we are actually the role model prisoners, if there is such a title. Many of us have sat in these tombstones back here under concentrated torture, while correctional officers have violated and disrespected us routinely, subjecting us to physical and psychological torment each day we have been back here.
California’s use of indefinite solitary confinement and the devastating physical, mental and public health impacts of the notorious practice was at the center of today’s three hour hearing by a rare joint session of the California Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committees to address demands made by prisoners during this summer’s massive hunger strike, the largest in U.S. history.
It is my sincere hope this letter will be received in the same spirit of appreciation and cooperation in which it is written. First and foremost, I wish to acknowledge the courage and independent thinking and actions you demonstrated in the unannounced visit to inspect the conditions of confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit and speak with the strike leaders.
Who is this terrorist, this big bad JR Valrey who poses some sort of threat to the whole Pacifica network of five major radio stations around the country? First, he’s my friend and comrade at the Bay View, where we’ve worked together for over a dozen years, all his adult life. JR is our associate editor. During the same period, he’s also volunteered at KPFA radio, where his hard and highly acclaimed work finally won him a prime time show – Wednesdays at 8-9 a.m. – starting in May 2011. Immediately, listeners flocked to KPFA to hear this exciting new show.
Congratulations to our two intrepid hunger strike solidarity peeps who successfully completed their 60-hour fast at 11:59:59 Saturday night, Sept. 7, in support of the prisoners’ 60-day hunger strike and their five core demands. The fast took place outside of Gov. Jerry Brown’s condo on Telegraph Avenue at 27th Street in uptown Oakland.