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Kamau Sadiki’s daughter Ksisay has issued an urgent call for help: “Augusta State Medical Prison (ASMP) wants to amputate my father’s foot. He needs a wound specialist, not amputation! What started as a wound the size of a penny spread from lack of medical care and has caused his foot to get seriously infected. He has requested a wound specialist for some time, but the prison administrators have repeatedly denied him this care. My father is asking folks to call the prison and write letters.”
At David Wade Correctional Center in Homer, Louisiana, at David Wade Correctional Center, several prisoners began a hunger strike on April 9. They are in full restraints, shackles and handcuffs attached to a waist chain, for days at a time, dressed only in a paper gown. Just now, they sprayed a prisoner while he was on his knees and struck him several times. They also sprayed and beat another prisoner who is mentally ill and has been on strip cell for over a year. He has also been on food loaf for a long time. Please call – just a phone call will spook them.
On Tuesday, federal Judge Claudia Wilken approved the final agreement to end indefinite solitary confinement in California, calling it humane, innovative and fair. Prisoners celebrated the settlement agreement, whose terms were agreed on last September, claiming it as a victory that bolstered their struggle for human rights. Anne Weills pointed out that “what was missing from the courtroom were all the prisoners who risked their lives in the hunger strikes of 2011 and 2013.”
A federal jury in San Francisco awarded $25,000 in damages to Jesse Perez, who sued guards for trashing his cell in retaliation for his lawsuit against the prison and for his stand against solitary confinement. Jesse Perez, 35, imprisoned since age 15, was sent to the SHU at Pelican Bay in December 2003 and was held there for 10 years. He took part in all three hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013, protesting prolonged isolation and demanding human rights for prisoners.
Black August adds another hero and martyr to the roll. By some accounts, it was his first day on the yard after 46 years in solitary confinement when Hugo “Yogi” Pinell was assassinated Aug. 12. Prison guards celebrated on social media: “May he rot in hell” and “Good riddens” (sic), they typed. Yogi was the only member of the San Quentin 6 still in prison, and his role in the events of Aug. 21, 1971, the day George Jackson was assassinated, has earned the guards’ incessant enmity ever since.
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.
Beginning Saturday, Aug. 16, dock workers at the Port of Oakland honored the picket lines of thousands of people over a period of four days – and many months of organizing in solidarity with the people of Palestine – to block Israeli apartheid by preventing the docking and unloading of the Zim Pireaus liner anywhere on the West Coast. On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Zim Pireus left the Port of Oakland with its cargo untouched, unloaded, unremarked and unwanted.
At Legal Services for Prisoners with Children’s 35th Anniversary Celebration on Oct. 19, headlined by Dr. Angela Y. Davis and Michelle Alexander, I noticed immediately the “logo,” a phoenix rising from the ashes, the theme for California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ 15th Anniversary celebration of the Fire Inside two years ago. All of Us or None is 10 years old now, and LSPC at 35 is the parent of CCWP.
Representatives of the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit have based their decision on a meeting with fellow prisoners at the prison, the growing international condemnation of California’s practice of solitary confinement, as well as the commitment of California Senate and Assembly Public Safety Committee Chairs Loni Hancock and Tom Ammiano to convene a series of hearings in response to the strikers’ demands that would “address the issues that have been raised to a point where they can no longer be ignored.”
Supporters of prisoners who are on the 43rd day of a hunger strike are expressing outrage at an order signed today by a federal judge allowing strikers to be force fed, disregarding international human rights principles. Thousands of prisoners have united to challenge the torture of prolonged isolation, demanding an accountable process to challenge the gang validations that have kept them in security housing for decades. Gov. Jerry Brown stands silent but is presumably in agreement with the force-feeding strategy, which will prevent the strikers from becoming martyrs.
“I just got a call from a very happy Cisco who got the news yesterday that the case against him was dismissed,” writes Kiilu Nyasha. “The San Francisco 8 case dragged on for over four years while we struggled to mount a campaign to free them.”
Happy Mother’s Day to Yuri Kochiyama! I’d like to also wish the women who haven’t seen their children in a long time, some since birth, a special Happy Mother’s Day. Our prayers are with you even if you feel alone at a time when in America prisons systematically separate mothers from their children, often permanently.
“COINTELPRO 101” is a recently released documentary that takes a long hard look at the FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program to crush resistance that led to the deportation of Marcus Garvey, the assassinations of Malcolm X, George Jackson, Fred Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr. and more.
Dr. C. Diane Howell, editor and publisher of the Black Business Listings and founder of the Black Expo, died suddenly on Wednesday, Dec. 24, from complications of pneumonia.