September 6, 2017
Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the day dawned bright and sunny, not a hint of the rain that drenched us the evening before. At 10:30 a.m. when I arrived at Freedom Plaza, there were people with posters and event T-shirts and a brother with a bullhorn. Robert King and Albert Woodfox were there in Amend the 13th T-shirts. King was passing out information about the law – the constitutional amendment – that legalizes slavery. Later on, at the rally, he would conclude the event, which lasted about five hours.
August 1, 2017
In your absence — I am forced to accept the truth: You are not here with us. It’s been a two-year roller coaster ride; I have been up, down and all around with my emotions, as well as my thoughts. Tears stream down my face, and sometimes with a smile, when I am in deep thought of how much love you gave to me – and I miss that. In your absence — I have been angry enough to want to SHOUT to the mountains about the torture and corruption you experienced at the hands of them who held you captive for 51 years.
May 14, 2017
Modern day slaves, sanctioned by the United States government under the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution … Yes! By subjugating, marginalizing and disenfranchising the oppressed human beings, by way of economic discrimination or depriving humans of decent wages, that forces humans to live half-butchered lives that subject humans to the many social ills produced inside a society – a slave, criminal and gangster mentality that devalues, demeans, degrades and dehumanizes humans.
April 20, 2017
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
February 10, 2017
Happy Black History Month. Knowledge is power, something Black people from Frederick Douglass to Sojourner Truth, Rosa Parks to Kamala Harris have never taken for granted. If white people would kill a Black person for teaching someone to read, not to mention knowing how to read – enough said! The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s organization, has chosen the theme: “Crisis in Education” for 2017.
August 31, 2016
On the surface, the recent “retirement” of the wardens from two of California’s women’s facilities appears to be a needed move in an effort to reform California’s violent correctional system. While many Californians are just beginning to agree that our Department of Corrections does more harm than good, many legal advocates and anti-prison activists have been fighting to make that very point from both inside and out of prison for years.
August 27, 2016
While two heavily armed police officers stood directly across the street watching us, a group of the most impacted, unhoused, criminalized, injured, disabled, Black, Brown, Trans and Indigenous peoples gathered to demand a 90-day moratorium on the killing of our Black, Brown, disabled and unhoused residents of this city and all cities struggling with the ongoing murder of our children, youth, elders and families.
June 28, 2016
Erika Rocha was 35 years old and one day away from her Youth Parole Hearing on April 15, 2016, when she committed suicide at the California Institution for Women (CIW) in Corona. Since her death, the suicide crisis at CIW has only worsened. On June 1, yet another young woman of color died at CIW. Her name is Shaylene Graves and she was 27 years old and six weeks away from returning home to her loving son, family and friends.
January 28, 2016
Often, women’s experiences are less present in the stories of how violence has decimated lives, families and communities. From these women writing from inside, we learn of remarkable efforts by families to resist police violence and terror, confront criminalization, and refuse state efforts to turn communities against each other. These stories are critical to the histories emerging from Compton and other sites of ongoing struggle.
December 20, 2015
Against all odds, a grassroots coalition defeated a plan to build a new, 384-bed downtown jail at a cost of $240 million – up to $465 million including 30 years of debt financing. In what the No New Jail Coalition called “an historic moment in our long and difficult fight against jail expansion,” the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Dec. 15 to reject the new jail plan.
November 26, 2015
On Nov. 11, an imprisoned person at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) faced extreme violence at the hands of prison guards. Stacy Rojas and three others were detained, physically abused, sexually harassed, strip searched in the presence of male guards, and kept without water, food or restrooms for 11 hours. Requests to speak with members of the prison’s Investigative Services Unit have so far been ignored.
October 25, 2015
Too often, organizing work done by incarcerated women goes wholly unrecognized. In her book, “Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women,” Victoria Law focuses on the many forms of activism happening inside of women’s prisons, most of which never reach the dominant media. In the following interview, Law shares ways in which individual acts of resistance are building toward a transformational new reality.
August 20, 2015
Written Nov. 14, 2013 – The 80-mile drive from Eureka to Crescent City, Calif., must be one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the world, with magnificent forests of spruce and redwood to the east and breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean to the west. I’m on my way to Crescent City to visit Hugo Pinell, the only member of the San Quentin 6 – the famous trial that grew out of the murder of George Jackson – still imprisoned.
August 7, 2015
The Third Annual Hon. Marcus Mosiah Garvey B’Earthday and Community Celebration is Saturday, Aug. 15, 2-5 p.m. Gather at the “Abundant Knowledge” mural at Marcus Books. Please bring your immense wisdom, families, original books by Garvey, red-black-green items and drums. And don’t forget to bring some funds – as each participant will receive a 10 percent discount on every item purchased that afternoon.
July 14, 2015
Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in general population in nearly every California prison. Current prison organizing continues a historic legacy of struggle.
May 28, 2015
Our Formerly Incarcerated Quest for Democracy (Q4D) Day continues to grow and evolve. This year we had over 250 committed people. We had around 30 teams advocating on legislation relevant to formerly incarcerated people and our communities. Grassroots co-sponsors got a chance to educate community members about their bills. And Sen. Holly Mitchell as well as Assemblymembers Reginald Jones-Sawyer and Autumn Burke addressed participants.
May 10, 2015
A fundraiser for California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Sara (Mariposa) Fonseca and Julia Steele Allen’s “Mariposa and the Saint” is a play created from correspondence between an inmate in solitary confinement and a volunteer with a CCWP visiting team who became Mariposa’s friend. The prison will not let Steele Allen in to see Mariposa since the play was written.
January 30, 2015
Sin Barras organized the Cages Kill-Freedom Rally to save lives after six people locked up in the Santa Cruz County Jail have died since August 2012. The Jan. 24 rally was endorsed by a wide range of local, statewide, national, and international groups, demonstrating that murder and torture is happening in jails and prisons everywhere, not just in Santa Cruz. Stop the abuse and torture in the Santa Cruz County Jail and jails and prisons everywhere!
October 25, 2014
The issue of “gender responsiveness” as an excuse to open more prisons has been rearing its ugly head lately with the expansion of CDCR’s supposed “reentry hubs” and “community based facilities,” totaling 4,090 new beds altogether. Yet one woman in the new Female Community Reentry Facility (FCRF) in McFarland recently called Justice Now, saying she feels like “they were sold a dream.”
April 8, 2014
Beverly Henry died. I just got the email today. The state of California owes women prisoners their lives back – imagine going into prison healthy and leaving with a terminal illness. This is the case for many of the women there. Beverly Henry told me to tell her story and I plan to begin right now. A warrior to the end, it was her voice that told women to stand up for their rights even perhaps especially behind bars.