June 4, 2017
California is taking a momentous step forward. The state Senate, supported by the Assembly, is moving to end bail as we know it. For as long as I have been a lawyer, “making bail” has been a requirement in our criminal justice system. The rule says you are “innocent until proven guilty.” Making bail is the first step that undermines the rule. In our system of justice, once you are arrested, you must prove your innocence. That requires money, starting with bail money.
June 1, 2017
It’s Friday afternoon at the drop-in center known as Mother Brown’s on the corner of Jennings Street and Van Dyke Avenue. Despite the iron-gated door fronting the entrance, people drop in freely to check their mail, take a shower, do laundry or chill out in the reception area. For a nominal fee, Mother Brown’s rents out lockers. Gwendolyn Westbrook, the director of the United Council of Human Services – the official name of Mother Brown’s – as well as staff, describe the place as a community center. Client Johnny Scott likens Mother Brown’s to a family. “This here is a place where people get along,” he says.
May 31, 2017
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
April 30, 2017
Working towards the success of the Millions for Prisoners March has been a central theme of the Amend the 13th’s agenda since the outset. In a movement dedicated to not only abolishing legal slavery in Amerika, but transforming the nature and structure of unequal social, political and economic relationships upon which mass incarceration is based, support for the March is of course an obvious priority – but what is not so obvious is why this march is vital to the very future of progressive social change in Amerika.
March 29, 2017
All across this kkkountry we are hearing and seeing the masses exclaim, “Black lives matter!” We heard Obama counter that by telling the people, “All lives matter” and “Police lives matter.” But what about the more than 2 million lives being held captive across this kkkountry in amerikkka’s kkkoncentration kkkamps (jails and prisons)? So we must raise the questions needed to spark the discussion so many fail to acknowledge: Do prison lives matter?
March 3, 2017
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
March 2, 2017
Take Em Down NOLA is a multi-ethnic, multi-generational coalition of organizers committed to the removal of ALL symbols of White Supremacy in the city of New Orleans, including but not limited to school names, public parks, street names and monuments. This struggle is a part of the greater struggle for racial and economic justice in New Orleans. Now you may wonder why, amidst all the manifestations of social injustice, we choose to focus on symbols.
February 4, 2017
Since long before the mainstream media was willing to acknowledge the reality of mass incarceration, systemic racism and economic inequality, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper has been challenging the dominant narrative by amplifying the voices of people on the margins of society, particularly Black people, poor people and prisoners. Now, more than ever, independent media like the Bay View is in danger as the Trump administration has declared “war with the news media.” In order for the Bay View to continue speaking truth to the abusers of power, we need your financial contribution.
February 3, 2017
On Sept. 9, 2016, prisoners participated in the largest prisoner work stoppage in the history of the country. Prisoners in at least four facilities in Michigan joined in the work stoppage, including Kinross Correctional Facility. The next morning, after retaliatory actions from staff, Kinross prisoners held a peaceful demonstration in the yard. Since then, hundreds have faced harsh, unjust retaliation. Harold “HH” Gonzales was a spokesperson for the prisoners at the demonstration at Kinross and wrote this account.
January 3, 2017
We are freedom fighters incarcerated at Angola State Prison and are moving to build our organization Decarcerate Louisiana. We’re advocating for community reinvestment. We believe in sustainable economies and strong local communities. Decarcerate Louisiana is organizing to redress injustice and to battle against systemic racism, classism, inequality, oppression, repression, criminalization and mass incarceration in our communities.
December 25, 2016
My name is Emmanuel “Mandu-Ra” Johnson. I’m the inspiration behind the “Uncle Du” comic strip. My homie, Ruben Beltran, the artist behind the “Uncle Du” comic strips, told me how he received a letter from you guys – Bay View – and y’all agreed to put “Uncle Du” in your paper. I think that’s wonderful! When he told me he wrote y’all to see if y’all would publish the strip, I knew y’all would do it, because “Uncle Du” is all the news in Bay View rolled up in one. Everything “Uncle Du” stands for is what Bay View stands for, so it’s a perfect match.
December 19, 2016
Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
December 15, 2016
I ain’t gonna front – I shed tears when Trump and his minions were elected. The impending doom that is a Trump presidency is the result of a white America unable to swallow the conspicuousness of Black perfection, and a corollary of white rage. Black people have been shot, burned and lynched, but we did not die. Our hearts and minds have been subject to unspeakable trauma, and still we got back up. Persistence and lightenin’ spits from our fingers and truth is our ammunition. This is all too much for white America. Our perfection is our savior and it should not be feared.
December 12, 2016
“Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” is a love story that offers a frank examination of family life in the inner-city as it intersects mass incarceration, poor access to health care, religious taboos and struggles under the burden of imposed tropes of man and womanhood. The Lower Bottom Playaz traditionally offer works that interrogate the experience of being human through the lens of the North American African experience. “Mama at Twilight: Death by Love” follows this tradition.
November 29, 2016
Leaving out of Pelican Bay solitary confinement torture prison facilities/units/cages for the first time on Jan. 23, 2015 – after arriving there Nov. 29, 1990 – I remember witnessing my first sunrise. It would be the first of many first time experiences of using my natural senses again after being buried alive in that concrete box deprived of the natural use of those senses for the last 25 years – a quarter century.
November 4, 2016
The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party Conference, Oct. 20-23, held at the Oakland Museum of California and in Bobby Hutton Grove at deFremery Park, was a huge success. To see the Vanguards of the Revolution saluted in such elegant surroundings at the banquet Saturday evening was certainly a fitting tribute to the legacy their lives concretely represent. Hats off to the committee that organized the conference.
November 1, 2016
On Labor Day here at the William P. Clements Unit, a prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, the prisoners awoke to a late breakfast: a single PBJ sandwich, a small bowl of dry cereal and no beverage. This grossly inadequate meal, which is our common fare during institution-wide lockdowns, signaled that a weeks- or months-long lockdown was in effect. Hunger pangs set in almost immediately.
September 28, 2016
Pastor Kenneth Glasgow was one of roughly 500 people who convened in Oakland, California, last weekend for the first national conference of the Formerly Incarcerated, Convicted People and Families Movement. Hailing from more than 30 states, it was a shared fact of life among participants that the change they need – including fundamental civil rights – will not simply be handed to them by people in power. They must fight for it themselves.
September 10, 2016
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
September 9, 2016
On Sept. 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Sept. 9, 1971, Attica Rebellion, the Free Alabama Movement kicks off the National Non-Violent and Peaceful Prison Shutdown for Civil and Human Rights at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. After launching its movement in 2014 with the first coordinated work stoppages and shutdowns in Alabama prison history, Free Alabama Movement issued a call in 2015 for the first coordinated nationwide prison work strike in U.S. history.