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I have always said that if you want to understand the nature of a thing, you must research its origin. I would venture to say that the iconic freedom fighter and servant of the people Malcolm X was the first “Prison Panther,” although he was not known officially as such. However, when Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 at Merritt College in Oakland, California, the legacy of their hero, OUR HERO, Malcolm X was on their mind.
In its mission to challenge the prison systems that are putting prisoners and surrounding communities and ecosystems at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons is taking its second annual convergence to Texas this year. In Denton and Ft. Worth on June 2-5, the gathering of activists from around the country will feature speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities, including an art show and hip-hop performances.
Lynne Stewart, after 78 winters in America, has died, after battling for years against breast cancer. But those were just some of her battles and, like most of us, she won some and lost some. But she never stopped fighting! For decades, she and her husband, Ralph Poynter, fought for New York’s political activists and revolutionaries, like Black Panthers and Young Lords, a Puerto Rican socialist collective. But mostly, they fought for the freedom of the poor and dispossessed of New York’s Black and Brown ghettoes. Lynne Stewart was an officer of her clients, a People’s Lawyer, beloved and respected. May she ever be so.
Rev. Edward Pinkney is the kind of preacher that Martin Luther King would have admired. Pinkney has for years advocated for his community, fighting for water rights, fair elections and social justice for the people of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Because of his political activities, he’s been targeted by the government, tried by the Michigan political machine before an all-white jury and, with no evidence, convicted of allegedly altering five petition dates!
Major George Tillery is a Pennsylvania lifer, 65, who confronted SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes over Mumia Abu-Jamal’s deteriorating health. Prison authorities retaliated against Major Tillery – repeatedly ransacked his cell and denied him medical treatment for seeking medical assistance for Mumia and other prisoners. Tillery was transferred to SCI Frackville and then falsely charged with drug possession, disciplined and given six months in “the hole.”
Sunday, Oct. 12, marks our 19th Annual Maafa Commemoration. This is a time when we gather to remember our African ancestors, especially those who endured the transatlantic slave trade or the Middle Passage, the Black Holocaust. It is a time for Pan Africans to gather and celebrate life and recommit ourselves to the work of liberation: spiritual, psychological, economic and political.
The Jericho Movement is stepping up its work to free political prisoners, especially those caught in FBI Director Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO web. Nineteen members of the Black Panther Party are in prison today. Collectively they have been incarcerated for 800 years. Jericho has long been a supporter of Nebraska’s political prisoners, Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa (né David Rice) and Ed Poindexter, known as the Omaha 2.
I am recovering from a huge blow – my computer was taken along with other personal irreplaceable items. We stopped by Loon Point to visit the shore before driving back to the San Francisco Bay Area Jan. 30. It was early, we’d just finished our first session of the Winter Quarter. We left our luggage in view in our cohort’s car. In Oakland, we’d not have done that, but somehow the seashore, mountains and quiet terrain deceptively seduced us.
My friend Dequi Kioni-Sadiki is a schoolteacher and grandmother in her early 50s who’s married to a former Black Panther serving time upstate. Dequi met her husband, Sekou Odinga, a few years ago, in the course of her activist work, visiting prisoners in New York State. Dequi and Sekou fell in love and were married almost three years ago. You think something’s wrong with Dequi for getting involved with a prisoner?
“This morning, the government, meaning the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of the Bureau of Prisons, filed a motion before federal Judge John Koeltl, requesting that Lynne Stewart be re-sentenced to time served,” said Bob Boyle, one of Stewart’s lawyers. Boyle says he fully expects Stewart to be released in the next few days and return to New York City, where she will live with her son.
I need to ask once again for your assistance in forcing the Bureau of Prisons to grant my compassionate release. They have been stonewalling since August and my life expectancy, as per my cancer doctor, is down to 12 months. They know that I am fully qualified and that over 40,000 people have signed on to force them to do the right thing, which is to let me go home to my family and to receive advanced care in New York City. Yet they refuse to act.
Several years ago, the global human rights group Amnesty International issued an extraordinary appeal to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal to grant compassionate release to 72-year-old former Black Panther and political prisoner Herman Wallace, who has recently been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, after losing some 50 pounds in less than six months.
The continuing campaign to gain compassionate release for Lynne Stewart – the grievously ill, imprisoned human rights attorney – is headed to Washington, D.C. with a continuing vigil in front of the White House starting on Monday, June 17. Despite being approved for compassionate release, Stewart continues to be held in Carswell Federal Prison in seriously deteriorating health.
We, the United KAGE (Kings Against Genocidal Environments) Brothers, welcome you to our communion. We aim to unite and unionize the movement from within the belly of the beast to without. We wish to unite all people, regardless of color, race, creed, gender or sexuality. We all have much in common when dealing with prejudices and classism.
A worldwide embrace to all of the thousands of people who helped me! As my hero said, we are motivated by great feelings of love and compassion, and I am fortunate to be the beneficiary this time around. To savor this victory, you all should know that the Carswell Prison authorities kept telling me “it can’t be done.” You don’t qualify. Why bother? Wait till you are closer to death!
This week there have been enormous developments in the worldwide campaign to gain compassionate release for imprisoned people’s lawyer Lynne Stewart. The wheels are beginning to turn. We must redouble all efforts! Please sign or re-sign the petition for compassionate release for Lynne Stewart. Keep the pressure on!
Lynne Stewart devoted over 30 years of her life to helping others as a criminal defense lawyer. She defended the poor, the disadvantaged and those targeted by the police and the state. Now Lynne Stewart needs our urgent help or she may die in prison. Our determination can compel the Bureau of Prisons to file the motion for compassionate release that will free Lynne Stewart.
Civil rights attorney and political prisoner Lynne Stewart needs help. She fought breast cancer two years ago, apparently successfully, but now the cancer is spreading. Her condition is treatable. But authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received expert medical attention before.
This year, on the 150 anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, we all need to heed the words of Sister Jayne Cortez: “And if we don’t fight / if we don’t resist / if we don’t organize and unify and / get the power to control our own lives / Then we will wear / the exaggerated look of captivity ...” And don't miss Wanda's excellent, no holds barred reviews of “Django Unchained,” “Lincoln and “Red Hook Summer,” plus Dr. King birthday events listing and much more
Ralph Poynter, the husband of Lynne Stewart, spoke at the National Lawyers Guild convention last month. As his speaking time was running out, well before the culmination of his remarks, he called upon convention delegates to stand as a commitment of support for Lynne’s struggle for justice and freedom. Guild members responded with a prolonged and thunderous standing ovation.
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