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A Dodge County Circuit Court judge on Thursday, July 14, rejected a request by Waupun Correctional Institution inmate Cesar DeLeon to stop force feeding him after DeLeon testified that he would continue hunger striking if the court’s force-feeding order were lifted. DeLeon had asked Judge Steven Bauer to discontinue force feeding by nasogastric tube or, in the alternative, to be fed intravenously.
I am interviewing Equipto of the Frisco 5 Hunger Strike about the history of their movement, as well as his feelings on the resignation of Police Chief Suhr in San Francisco, after the police murder of Jessica Williams-Nelson. M.O.I. JR: What prompted you to organize the collective that eventually became known as the Frisco 5? Equipto: It was just a group of people that came together and decided to go on a hunger strike. The movement just sprouted from that basically.
As a result of incredible pressure from the community, Mayor Lee finally contacted the Frisco 5 by phone. The Frisco 5 reiterated their one simple demand - fire Chief Greg Suhr. Mayor Lee told the strikers he would not fire the chief and he stood behind Chief Suhr’s record which includes the choking death of Mark Garcia in 1997, two demotions, the Fajitagate scandal, a personal harassment suit that cost the city millions, racist text messages exposed, a crime lab scandal and the murder of Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Amilcar Perez-Lopez, Luis Gongora and many others.
On Feb. 17, 2016, Ohio state prisoner Cornelius Harris, held in the high security U.S. Penitentiary at Florence, Colo., after being transferred against his will from the state to federal prison system, began refusing meals, vowing not to eat until he is transferred back to Ohio. Recently, he has refused not only food but fluids. Cornelius is sacrificing his health and possibly his life because hunger striking is the only peaceful way he can try to be heard.
Here on mainline they (CDCR) have continued to oppress us by not allowing those of us who participated in the hunger strike and work stoppage to attend group yard, school or trades training or obtain work. We’re even prohibited from attending religious services and self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous.
During the prisoners’ hunger strike in July 2013, many supporters signed up on the Emergency Response Network-Pledge of Resistance of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition, agreeing to receive one email a week suggesting a targeted action to support the prisoners. Although the strike has been suspended, its results are still being felt throughout the California prison system.
To sustain our perpetual resistance on a qualitative level requires that “human bridges” be built between inside and outside activists. We have created community-based projects such as the W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program and the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement First Amendment Campaign that will enable us to achieve this end. And so we invite the people to come join us in taking our human rights struggle to the next level.
Efforts over the past month to discuss or mediate the prisoner’s concerns with the CDCR have not resulted in any changes in policy and we are therefore now writing to request that you urgently consider conducting an on-site visit to one or more California prisons, including Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) to interview prisoners (now on the 38th day of their hunger strike) and prison officials.