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As for the events inside of this prison, with all attempts to FREE people, you first have to wake them up to their condition. In my pod, I started sharing reading material, about the value of their labor, about Black August events across the country and how just by refusing to continue to work for cops that treat them so bad that they could make a difference. Although this strike took place ahead of the nationally planned Black August dates, for three weeks this strike was every bit Black August inspired and I hope we made all our comrades past and present proud.
The recent prison uprising in South Carolina is often described as the deadliest in 25 years, referencing the Lucasville Uprising, which began on April 11, 1993, and lasted 11 days and took the lives of nine prisoners and one correctional officer. This week is the 25th anniversary of the 1993 Lucasville uprising, which is being “celebrated” by correctional officers by silencing the survivors of that riot, some of whom were framed for murder while the prisoners responsible for the violence were able to plead out and avoid punishment.
Central Ohio IWOC, the Free Ohio Movement and Lucasville Amnesty call for actions and raising awareness around the 25th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising on April 11-21. Drawing attention to this pivotal event in the history of prisons in Ohio and the U.S., protesters will hold a 3 p.m. noise demo on the 21st outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville where prisoners held a cell block for 11 days in April of 1993. Prisoner survivors of this rebellion have spent these 25 years acting as beacons of resistance despite suffering in solitary confinement and on death row.
Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now. No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest.
In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016. On Sept. 9 of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.
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.
The Block Report speaks wit’ Ohio death row political prisoner Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar) about the Lucasville Rebellion, the recent hunger strike that he came off of, the state of Ohio planning to set his execution date and more. Tune in for more at BlockReportRadio.com. The Justice for Keith LaMar Campaign is asking you to join the fight to #FREEKeithLaMar. We must call for freedom not death.
Keith LaMar (Bomani Shakur) is an innocent man on death row in Ohio who began a hunger strike Monday, Nov. 9. His execution date could be set as early as January. Ohio built a special prison for Bomani and their other scapegoats from the 1993 11-day Lucasville prison rebellion, the longest in U.S. history. They call Bomani the worst of the worst, and they can’t wait to exterminate him. Now more prisoners are joining the strike. Call prison officials to support their demands.
Last week, men incarcerated at Ohio’s supermax prison brought a month-long hunger strike to a close. Between 30 and 40 men had refused all meals since March 16 to protest new restrictions placed on already severely limited recreation and programming for those in solitary confinement. On April 15, all but one of the men agreed to suspend the hunger strike after a meeting with the warden at which the prison agreed to lifting some, but not all, of the new restrictions.
Keith LaMar, also known as Bomani Shakur, is a prisoner in Ohio, condemned to death on false charges following the 1993 Lucasville Prison Uprising. Bomani is one of five men condemned to death after being railroaded through forced snitch testimony. They are known as the Lucasville Five. The following is an interview with Bomani from death row, recorded on March 7, 2014.
Todd Ashker is on hunger strike in Pelican Bay. I know him as a thoughtful human being who has dedicated his life to peaceful change, to helping his fellow prisoners by learning the law and sharing his knowledge. He was not that way 30 years ago when he first went to prison. He admits that. But any brain scientist will tell you that no man in his 40s is the same man he was in his teens or early 20s.
We are grateful for your support of our peaceful protest against the state-sanctioned torture that happens not only here at Pelican Bay but in prisons everywhere. We have taken up this hunger strike and work stoppage, which has included 30,000 prisoners in California so far, not only to improve our own conditions but also as an act of solidarity with all prisoners and oppressed people around the world.
One big reason the story of Lucasville has to be told again and again is that not only did this tragic, desperate uprising lead to 10 deaths, but five men are still on death row and many more have been given lengthy sentences who declare their innocence. Here is the story in short of Greg Curry, one of the prisoners who received a life sentence even though he had nothing to do with the uprising or the murders.
Twenty years ago, there was a prison uprising in Lucasville. A correctional officer and several prisoners who collaborated with the prison administration were murdered. Imam Saddique Hasan and other prisoners who acted as spokespeople for the prisoners were eventually charged with the murders and have been held on Ohio’s death row ever since.
The much-publicized brutality and inhumane conditions suffered by prisoners in solitary confinement worldwide has once again sparked global debates on the unprecedented urgency of prison abolition and, by default, on the implementation of community-led restorative justice programs. Over the past two to three decades, the global penal system has turned increasingly roughshod and its practices have grown greatly abusive.
Cornelius Harris was facing nine felony charges stemming from fights with guards at the Ohio State Penitentiary. Harris has long maintained that these fights were actually initiated by guards who have targeted him for harassment and abuse. Supporters are requesting that people call OSP Warden David Bobby on Monday, demanding that Mr. Harris be kept safe from retaliation and have his hunger strike demands met.
On May 22, brave prisoners at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison began a hunger strike. A recently released prisoner discusses torture at Red Onion: “having your fingers broken, being bitten by dogs, being strapped to beds for days, being forced to defecate on yourself – I mean all of this has led to these men demanding to be treated as human beings.”
Shouting “Inside, outside, we’re all on the same side” and “Here comes Oakland,” five full buses and two vans left Oakland to meet up with marchers from as far away as Portland and Seattle who had already arrived at plantation San Quentin for one of the largest anti-slavery rallies in California history.
Support for the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike is strong and expanding as people inside and outside prison all over the world are connecting the Pelican Bay hunger strike to local struggles against powerlessness and inequality.
Although on a very small scale (which by no means diminishes the deed), we, the people, have wrought a revolution – “a sudden and momentous change in a situation” – and accomplished in 12 days what the powers that be have repeatedly told us would never happen.
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