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It’s only been a few months since our prison strike took place throughout the United States. Although many of our brothers and sisters have made reports of being arbitrarily subjected to reprisals, I assure you that our small “KAGE cadre” in California hasn’t faltered but is standing firm against injustice and broken promises since the agreement known as Ashker v. Governor intended to end indefinite long-term solitary confinement.
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.
On Friday, July 27, Siddique Abdullah Hasan was locked down on a conduct report signed by Brian Wittrup at Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) central office which referred to him speaking on and receiving information about the upcoming prison strike. It wasn’t until late Monday evening, July 30, that supporters were finally able to hear from Hasan himself via an attorney phone call with Staughton and Alice Lynd.
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
On or about Dec. 16, Terrance Bryant Dean was severely beaten by guards at Macon State Prison. The Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners' Rights asserts this brutal beating was in retaliation against the multiracial group of prisoners who staged a peaceful protest demanding their human rights.
We, as members of activist and community organizations in the Bay Area of California, send our support and salute you for making history as your strike has become the largest prison strike in the history of this nation. We recognize the potential that your action has to improve the lives of millions subject to inhumane treatment in correctional facilities across this country.