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On Dec. 14, 2018, families of prisoners and supporters traveled to Sacramento to rally in front of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation’s (CDCr) headquarters against the CDCr-induced violence that many of their loved ones are experiencing. The next rally is Friday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m., in front of CDCr Headquarters, 1515 S St., Sacramento.
Many New Afrikans (Blacks) for some reason think that the revolution is dead. The revolution is not dead. It is the spirit of the people that is dead. They have forgotten their history. And since their spirit is dead, the revolution is at a standstill or stagnant. Revolution means to bring about a change. A revolutionary is one who is dedicated to bringing about that change. We can all agree that change in these times is indeed needed. Revolution is needed! The people’s spirit is only dead because those of us who claim to be revolutionaries haven’t sparked their interest.
After 16-plus years of a plightful but solid struggle, I was finally released from Pelikan Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) on Sept. 28, 2018. Good things happen to good people, so I’m simply saying that good, including prosperity, will continue to flow through the Bay View newspaper community. We are forever in your debt. Those of us who recognize a true friend and advocate of the Prisoner Lives Matter movement, we recognize you.
A diverse crowd of around 500 mostly young activists turned out for a rally Aug. 25 at San Quentin Prison. Most came from Oakland, many in two chartered buses, but sizable contingents traveled from San José, Santa Cruz and San Francisco as well. Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, a key organizer of the rally, along with Prisoners Human Rights Coalition, CA, and many other Bay Area activist groups, including Party for Socialism and Liberation, helped publicize the action. The idea for the strike originated with Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, an incarcerated group of prisoner rights advocates.
The following statement was released by the Palestinian prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, jailed by Zionist colonialism for their role in struggling for the freedom of their people. They are among nearly 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation today. Their solidarity comes to extend fists of resistance and hands of unity through prison bars to support the U.S. National Prison Strike, beginning Aug. 21.
On July 3, a critical ruling issued in Ashker v. Brown (aka Ashker v. Governor, Docket No. 4:09-cv-09-5796 CW (N.D. Cal.)), the federal class-action lawsuit challenging indefinite solitary confinement in California. The ruling, issued by Presiding Judge Claudia Wilken, granted Plaintiffs’ appeal on a motion challenging the ongoing conditions of extreme isolation endured by many class members.
Recently us United Kings Against Genocidal Environments (KAGE) refused to settle and dismiss our 42 U.S.C. §1983 suit for the infringement of our First and 14th Amendment rights, as well as violations of our Religious Land Use Institutional Persons Act (RLUIPA) rights. Pelikkkan Bay State Prison officials have failed or refused to eradicate the implicit racial bias imposed upon New Afrikans, or Blacks – those of us who petitioned and structured the PEACE programs with an ancient Egyptian yoga focal point.
A number of hardy souls ventured to Sacramento on May 18 to a federal court hearing on CDCr’s motion to dismiss Jorge Rico’s suit opposing the every-half-hour Guard One “security/welfare checks” that take place in isolation units throughout the state. With Guard One, guards press a metal baton into a metal receiver positioned either in or beside cell doors, making a loud disruptive noise in most cases, waking prisoners up every 30 minutes and causing sleep deprivation.
A federal judge in a March 28 ruling declined to order the CDCR to move prisoners previously held in SHUs into legitimate general population conditions. Under a landmark class action settlement that was intended to effectively end indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons, nearly 1,500 prisoners were released into the general prison population, many to Level IV prisons, which is the highest security level in general population.
I’m writing this editorial because I want to brag on my husband, Bay View publisher Dr. Willie Ratcliff, and tell you why he and I have faith that a benefactor, someone with deep pockets who cares, will step forward in time to save the Bay View and keep it in print – an angel who understands how much the Bay View means to a prisoner being tortured and a youngster in the hood being framed. Dr. Ratcliff was that angel, that benefactor, to Gladys Knight in 1975, when she ran out of money in the midst of producing a major film in Valdez, Alaska called “Pipe Dreams.”
The cop enters the section, cracks a metal wand on a metal “security” button outside each cell. This contact-cracker creates a loud beep. They crack that pipe on each damned button until it elicits a response. Then continue on to the next button. Crack-crack-beep, crack-beep, crack-crack-crack-beepity-freakin’ beep. Try and sleep when all this happens every 30 minutes, 24 hours, seven days a week.
This is a follow-up to our October 2017 Prisoner Class Human Rights Movement’s statement of prisoner representatives on the second anniversary of the Ashker v. Brown settlement. I am sharing a copy of my proposed “Open Letter to Gov. Brown, California legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan on ongoing human rights violations and lack of reparative action for decades of torture” with the hope of helping to re-energize our movement, by gaining widespread support for the positions presented in the “open letter.”
After the court order to shut down D-unit, CDCr administration has implemented a scheme to get around the court order by housing general population prisoners (Level II) in a SHU (Security Housing Unit) that is designed for maximum security and only allows for movement that is grossly restricted. The implementation of this scheme by CDCr and CCPOA [California Correctional Peace Officers Association] to refill these housing units, was only to receive the multi-millions of dollars Pelican Bay lost with its closure.
Are you living in segregated housing – SHU, Ad-Seg, PSU, Condemned Units? Are correctional officers coming around to your cell every half hour or hour to conduct security/welfare checks? Are these checks conducted in a quiet manner? Or do these checks disturb you? Do they interfere with your ability to sleep, or cause physical or mental health problems? The PHSS Committee to End Sleep Deprivation and CFASC/Family Unity Network want to help prisoners pursue this grievance.
On Aug. 11, white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, against the removal of the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, It turned deadly. The Charlottesville events happened just a week before Aug. 19, the date of the planned mass rally in Washington, D.C., against mass imprisonment. This rally and the growing movement of which it is part are aimed at dismantling not merely symbols of past racism and slavery like Confederate monuments, but the 13th Amendment, which still authorizes slavery today and is directed predominantly against people of color.
I left CDCr wondering how PBSP could remain in shambles after 22 years of court oversight. As I started educating myself about prison reform, I stumbled upon Keramet Reiter’s 2016 book, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.” Within those pages, I found validation and some disturbing answers. I wish this book had been available to me before I started working in CDCr.
On May 16, inmates at Old Folsom State Prison made contact with the outside world to announce that they will begin a hunger strike on May 25 in response to ongoing mistreatment, dehumanization and unbearable living conditions at Old Folsom. When incarcerated people take action to fight for their dignity, their rights and their lives, those of us on the outside must answer with solidarity. Our support is crucial in getting their demands met and minimizing retaliation against them. We must let these brave individuals know that we have their backs, and that they will not be forgotten.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
These brutes, these sadistic Babylon officials must be exposed! Tanakia Watkins was attacked by an inmate today (March 14) and the officers set it up and turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to it. They were about to lock her up in segregation. We protested, as she’d done NOTHING and was incoherent. After the attack, they shouldn’t have even moved her. They didn’t even call medical to assist her. Once they had her down the hall, the OFFICERS broke Watkins’ leg in two places.
We, the people, have to realize that our current contradictions are not just about economics, but instead are about being able to speak truth to the powers that be. Case in point, if we hadn’t been able to express in great detail what we prisoners were suffering from while being held in solitary confinement and have our letters published in the Bay View, then our voice would have never been heard. But because the Bay View was there for us, the world came to our defense.