Here is the story of two legends who gave everything to their people for decades and continued to their last breaths. Salute to the Freeman brothers, Roland and Elder. Elder Freeman was a mentor and uncle-like community figure at whose feet I sat for half my life, learning from him and his comrades fundamental lessons: true African communalism and how to sincerely love Black people through action
Police officers in Ferguson, whose sole duty is to protect and serve, are seen using dogs, tear gas and now military grade weapons to suppress any peaceful protest and public outcry. This really hits home to those who can relate to being targets of police brutality, where in essence police departments have become judge, jury and executioner, getting away with murder time and time again.
Typically we don’t show up to the fight until several of us have been shot. We don’t show up early on not because we don’t care, but because in general we don’t know how. That’s why Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) is establishing a policy academy to increase civic participation by formerly incarcerated people, both locally and statewide. Our first training drew 50 people to the Watts Labor Center in Los Angeles.
On Aug. 12, 2012, the Pelican Bay D-Short Corridor Collective issued the historic Agreement to End Hostilities (AEH) in all prison and juvenile facilities and called for its extension to our communities. The strategic and material benefits for our ongoing human rights struggle, thousands of prisoners and their families, is obvious. Less obvious is the unprecedented opportunity for social progress and community development represented by this AEH.
“The idea of this agreement going around is a positive start to a new beginning for all inmates. If we could maintain this valuable peace treaty within the prison system, why not work on spreading the word outside the prison walls so that we may put an end to the gang violence and work on becoming a bigger force?” writes a prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU. And in a large rally outside the LA County Jail, youth called for a “parallel cease fire in the streets” to correspond to the end of hostilities inside the prisons. Prisoners need this news. Please copy and mail this story to a prisoner.
When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.
“We’re under domestic insurgency. If we don’t get it, it will get us.” – California Attorney General Jerry Brown, Anti-Gang Conference, Riverside, Calif., December 2007 “We’re mounting a coordinated, aggressive suppression strategy that targets the worst offenders and the most violent gangs. We’re converging local, state, federal and even international efforts … coming at them with everything we have.” – Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Feb. 8, 2007, press conference