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The North American African’s visceral response to the Lone Star State, Texas, is complex, yet not complicated. If ever a geography was seeped in policies that inhibit the freedoms of Black and, more recently, Brown people, Texas is that state or should we say country? Like California, another country with a GNP reach beyond these shores means that what happens in Houston impacts the nation, whether citizens realize this or not. Hurricanes are not unusual to the region, yet Hurricane Harvey dumped more water on the region than expected and caused much displacement and damage.
Good morning and welcome to Wanda’s Picks, a Black arts and culture program with the African Sister’s Media Network. We are joined in the studio by Robert King, Albert Woodfox and Malik Rahim. Welcome to the show. Today we are going to be talking about the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington. We can talk about solitary confinement, political prisoners, the 13th Amendment. We can talk about what the need is for having such an event.
The movement is growing and we can’t let setbacks blind us from recognizing the progress that’s been made nor keep us from being inspired by that progress as we push the final distance towards the abolition of caging humans and the freeing of Albert Woodfox, the only member of the Angola 3 still in prison, and other political prisoners from decades in solitary.
With the storm approaching New Orleans, I spoke to Dwight Henry, co-star in the film, “Beasts of a Southern Wild,” currently in Bay Area theaters. I spoke to three men who are riding the storm out: Parnell Herbert, Angola 3 activist and playwright, Mwalimu Johnson, community organizer and prison abolitionist, and Malik Rahim, former Black Panther.
I have been invigorated and moved by the energy surrounding Occupy NOLA. Yet I’ve been faced with the tensions being articulated by so many folks on the Left: How can this energy be connected to and further long-standing organizing work for social and economic justice?
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.
Three days after Hurricane Katrina turned New Orleans into a ghost town, somebody shot Donnell Herrington twice in Algiers Point, ripping a hole in his throat. Herrington, who is African-American, says he was ambushed by a group of armed white men who attacked without warning or provocation.
Historic Wesley United Methodist Church, the second oldest African American church in New Orleans, the eighth oldest in the United States and a symbol of the struggle for emancipation and human rights in the state of Louisiana, is in jeopardy. Unless those who are trying to save it acquire financial support soon, the church may be torn down due to hurricane damage and replaced with a parking lot.
We are not surprised that Malik Rahim is being hailed as one of the heroes of Hurricane Katrina. In 1997, Malik rediscovered information on our case and made it his mission to bring attention to the plight that Albert, King, myself and so many other Louisiana prisoners have endured in being unfairly convicted and sentenced. The Angola 3 went from obscurity to international recognition thanks to Malik’s efforts.