February 2, 2017
I can hardly believe that 47 years have gone by since the Aug. 7,1970, Marin Courthouse Slave Rebellion. Ruchell is now 77 years old. It’s a sin and a shame the fascist state has practically taken this brother’s whole life. And he has never seriously injured anyone. Quite the opposite, Ruchell has been responsible, through his jailhouse lawyering, for the release of countless prisoners over the five-plus decades he’s been incarcerated. Here’s his story, written years ago and updated.
January 30, 2017
Gen. George Armstrong Custer (1839-1876) paid the ultimate price for the sins of certain white people of his time who committed damn near every type of crime against humanity upon the indigenous peoples of this country. So much so that many different tribes of indigenous peoples came together, some who were sworn enemies, to fight and defeat their common oppressor. Here in 2016, once again, many different tribes of indigenous peoples, and not just from this country but from around the world, have come together to defeat their common modern day oppressor.
December 26, 2016
We point fingers all we want, but we can’t do that unless we’re ready to look in the mirror at ourselves. The mirror doesn’t lie.
We have to stop killing us for Black lives to matter. We have to do something about the drugs in the hood. We have to teach the kids that’s having kids how to be parents. I was 15 with a kid. My story is very epic in that I am the epitome of what the youth in the hood face every day. I just haven’t figured out how to use my story and voice to help change things.
October 28, 2016
Last June, an inspiring and thought provoking art exhibition took place in London, in the UK. From June 24 to July 6, 2016, approximately 20 inmates from San Quentin’s death row showcased their work alongside mine; I make collages and sculptures from discarded objects I pick up along the banks of the River Thames. The name of the exhibition was ArtReach (reaching out with art), and the aim of it was to enable prisoners to share their work with the outside world.
August 29, 2016
Sometime in the early 19th century, former United States President Thomas Jefferson stated, “Unchecked power twisted white men’s characters.” Since he was a slave owner and an oppressor, he should know what he speaks about! Here in the early 21st century, it still seems that within the hands of America’s criminal justice system as a whole, unchecked power has indeed “twisted” certain white people’s characters.
June 29, 2016
The recent victory won by the prisoner hunger strikers, the “solitary settlement” in Ashker v. Brown, is indicative of the solidarity among prisoners today, and it is for this reason I am sharing my story and history of Dahariki Kambon. We must carry on the spirit of what he stood for; his fight was against the racist oppressors and their cruel laws and policies of injustice and inequality.
May 25, 2016
Over the past few years, President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, members of both houses of Congress and many other elected officials have expressed the need for criminal justice reform. Much concern has been raised regarding overly harsh penalties for low-level drug offenses and firearms violations. There is, however, one particularly egregious judicial injustice that has not made the headlines, perhaps because it primarily effects only poor African Americans.
April 30, 2016
I had the pleasure of meeting and learning from my brotha Yogi and the honor of having him call me his “mwenzi” (Swahili for “comrade”). They hated my brotha Yogi because they were unable to break him after years of trying. What I know and hold to be true continues to afford all people a better way of improving their way of life and also our day for justice!
April 2, 2016
The California State Supreme Court has re-affirmed its decision allowing Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed initiative for changing California’s parole system to begin gathering signatures for the November ballot. The March 9 decision was the second time the court kept Brown’s crime initiative alive by rejecting a request by state prosecutors to halt signature-gathering for the measure.
February 14, 2016
From within and beyond the $100,000 8-by-14-foot steel and stone sensory deprivation cell that is designed for my mental, physical and social dehumanization, I bring to you this letter of concern regarding the adverse effects of long-term sensory deprivation. Upon seeing me for the first time in over a year, a fellow prisoner shook my hand and then proceeded to put both arms around me to embrace me.
February 2, 2016
In late December, CHOOSE1, a grassroots, non-profit organization, received approval to begin gathering signatures to have the Three Strikes Reform Act of 2016 placed on the November 2016 election ballot. The California Attorney General’s Office has given CHOOSE1 until June 17 to gather signatures from registered voters to qualify the initiative. The goal is 500,000 signatures to ensure enough are gathered to meet statutory requirements.
December 22, 2015
Ten years ago – the weight of shackles – pressed hard against his body – collapsing his lungs – squeezing his life – but not his spirit – determined to bury him – beneath the rubble of ashes – beneath time – cast him to oceans – like forgotten Ancestors – written out of history – a historical footnote. – But – we haven’t forgotten – the death of Malcolm and Martin – or the struggles of Harriet. – No more can we forget Dec. 13, 2005 – Stanley Tookie Williams –
December 1, 2015
A petition for an initiative proposing major changes in California’s Three Strikes law has been filed. The proposed initiative was received on Sept. 16 by the state Attorney General’s Office from a nonprofit, grassroots organization called CHOOSE1.
It is entitled: “The Three Strikes Rehabilitation and Reform Act of 2016.” Supporters would need to collect 500,000 valid voter signatures for the initiative to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.
November 20, 2015
Urgency to end mass incarceration and the criminalization of poor people and people of color is growing. The general public’s awareness that it simply does not make sense to lock up people with substance abuse or mental health issues is setting the stage for important reforms to our justice system. With this understanding, California voters passed Proposition 47 “The Safe Neighborhood and Schools Act.”
September 9, 2015
On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, government officials and first responders continue to lack the ability to plan for emergency situations. San Quentin State Prison, California’s oldest prison, is still on a virtual lockdown – or “modified program” – as normal programs for all inmates have ceased since Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, after “one confirmed case of Legionnaires’ disease” was discovered, Warden Ron Davis’ Aug. 27 bulletin said.
September 1, 2015
All of Us or None’s upcoming Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Western Regional Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. It will be a time for people to discuss employment, housing, crimmigration, which is the connection between the punishment system in the U.S. and immigration policies, and more. Check out one of the main organizers, Manuel La Fontaine, about the conference and his life experiences.
July 29, 2015
George Jackson was a legendary prisoner who was attempting to organize the Blacks, Latinos and poor whites under their common linkage as victims of an exploitative class system. At that time, he was incarcerated in the San Quentin Adjustment Center, which housed the prison’s most feared and dangerous inmates. The Adjustment Center also housed the political prisoners.
July 25, 2015
The Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary defines the word “hostility” as 1) a hostile state, condition or attitude; enmity; antagonism; unfriendliness; 2) a hostile act; 3) Opposition or resistance to an idea, plan project, etc.; 4) acts of warfare; 5) war. So our initial question to the people is: “What does hostility mean to you?”
July 14, 2015
Four years ago prisoners in California – led by those in the control units of Pelican Bay – organized a hunger strike to demand an end to the torturous conditions of solitary confinement. Two more strikes would follow, with over 30,000 prisoners taking united action in the summer of 2013 – both in isolation and in general population in nearly every California prison. Current prison organizing continues a historic legacy of struggle.
June 2, 2015
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, especially those dads who stayed the course, when walking away would have been so much easier, even expected. Happy Father’s Day to the OGs who have grown more responsible with age. It is never too late to do better, even if you missed a generation – grace is that second chance. Congrats to all the May-June graduates, especially my niece and nephew Wilda Batin and Wilfred Batin.