This is the story that Missouri prisoner Shyheim Deen El-Mu’min wrote on paper bags when guards confiscated the writing paper from him and all the prisoners in his solitary confinement unit. The entire story is one of the longest we’ve ever received, over 10,000 words that filled 14 single-spaced pages when transcribed, so we’ll be presenting it in parts. This is the introduction, addressed to Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff.
I visited Mumia this past Saturday, June 13. Mumia was in good spirits. We talked about the happenings of the world, and he shared a lot about his stay at Geisinger Medical Center. It is clear that the hospital contained the spread of skin lesions that were out of control, and in so doing contained the worst symptoms of a serious skin disease. But the skin disease itself remains active all over his body and undiagnosed.
In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Back when Mumia was a member of the Black Panther Party, he traveled west to work with the Oakland chapter – an important time in his evolution as a radical journalist. Now the story of his life and revolutionary times comes to The New Parkway Theater. Read about it and all of Wanda's Picks for March 2013.
From the powerful voice of Mumia Abu-Jamal opening the event to jazz rapper Do D.A.T.'s video-illuminated revelations on life in the hood, from beloved journalist Kevin Weston's story of his escape from death's door to renowned filmmaker Kevin Epps' telling about his first job delivering the Bay View, Black Media Appreciation Night at Yoshi's Nov. 26 saw stars like Panthers Big Man and Emory Douglas, Phavia Kujichagulia, Walter Turner, Donald Lacy, Wanda Sabir, Greg Bridges, JR Valrey and Dr. Willie Ratcliff place Black media on the front lines of the struggle for justice.
After 12 years I have finally made it to a halfway house. Through my entire struggle behind the walls, your paper has played a major part in my political and cultural awareness. I could not have done it without you. My mission is to become a success story by giving recidivism a black eye and preventing these younger brothers from contributing to genocide as I once did when I was young and unpoliticized.
“Long Distance Revolutionary,” the new documentary about political prisoner and prolific writer Mumia Abu Jamal, will have its international premiere in the Bay Area on Oct. 6 and 8 at the Mill Valley Film Festival. There have been a number of documentaries done about the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, but this one puts his life at the center of the discussion.
Richard Aoki lived a full life, as dictated by the four winds and the revolutionary party that he served. He was indeed a revolutionary in every sense of the word. Well done, Field Marshal Richard Aoki. Please ride the four winds in dashing splendor, as only you can, so that young people will breathe in the essence of your courage.
Kevin Cooper has been locked down on death row in San Quentin for the past 26 years. He was convicted of the 1983 murder of the Ryen family, although no reliable evidence showed him to be guilty. On the contrary, the case has overwhelming evidence suggesting that he is in fact an innocent man.
Freedom Flotilla II – Stay Human will be leaving from unspecified ports in the Mediterranean in late June to break the siege on Gaza carrying about a thousand journalists, teachers, students, attorneys, human rights activists, members of parliament and others from 22 countries.
Oakland rapper DLabrie connects with POCC Minister of Information JR after his relief trip to Haiti and year-long battle in Oakland courts based on false charges. Upcoming events: Haiti Report-backs in Berkeley Thursday, April 8, 7 p.m., hosted by Rev. Sandra Decker, and the big show at the Jazz Heritage Club, 1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco, on Wednesday, April 21, 6:30 p.m. Saturday 2-5 p.m. is the 12th Annual LIL' BOBBY HUTTON DAY at the West Oakland Library, 1805 Adeline St. Be there!