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On Friday, Nov. 16, activists from across Ohio and Pennsylvania collaborated for an action outside the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) Central Office in Columbus. The rally was in response to a number of repressive and retaliatory actions against prisoners following the massive #August21 prison strike. Organizers of the action included Lucasville Amnesty, Pittsburgh Anarchist Black Cross, Central Ohio IWOC (Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee) and BQIC (Black Queer and Intersectional Collective).
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.
The people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
Today our guest on Block Report Radio is Bomani, formally known as Keith LaMar. He is an Ohio death row political prisoner and survivor of the Lucasville Rebellion 23 years ago. He will talk to us about the history of that rebellion, his recent hunger strike, the state of Ohio planning to set his execution date and more. It’s on honor to have you on, my brother. Can you tell the people about the Lucasville Rebellion?
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.
I’m reaching out to inform you all that I finally finished my book, “Condemned.” This book isn’t just about me or about what happened to these men after a prison uprising. It’s about all of us. What happened to me can happen to you. Especially if you are poor. Especially if you are a minority. Especially if you are alone ... or at least feel that you’re alone.
The Re-Examining the Lucasville Uprising Conference, held April 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, was a resounding success by all reports. “A strong and vibrant coalition has come together to advocate for innocence of those convicted in the aftermath of the uprising,” reports Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio, one of the organizers.
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.
On Monday, Feb. 20, over a dozen rallies will be held throughout the U.S. for a “National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners.” Join the Bay Area rally 12-3 p.m. at San Quentin by getting or giving a ride at 10 a.m. at Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland or 1540 Market St. in SF. “The U.S. is the world’s leader of the incarceration industry – it’s time for the focused attention of the Occupy Movement,” notes Mumia Abu-Jamal. Big rallies on Feb. 20 will push California authorities to meet 12,000 California prisoners' five core demands and challenge the prison industrial complex everywhere.
The 37 Georgia prisoners who were labeled the leaders and organizers of the sit-down strike that began on Dec. 9, 2010, are still missing, and other participants are still in lockdown. The struggle for prisoners' civil rights continues.
Three prisoners sentenced to death for their leadership of the 1993 Lucasville rebellion, now at Ohio State Penitentiary, have been on hunger strike since Jan. 3. An Open Letter that will be presented to prison officials at tomorrow's rally has collected more than 500 signatures from Ohio, many other states and all across the globe, among them many prominent citizens. Buses are bringing supporters from far and wide to the rally.
The death-sentenced prisoners I visit are so desperate that they are going on hunger strike, essentially for the right to be on death row. After Lucasville, the state of Ohio decided that a maximum security prison was not secure enough. They built a supermax prison, OSP Youngstown.
Four death-sentenced prisoners, wrongfully convicted of crimes following the 1993 prison rebellion in Lucasville, Ohio, started a hunger strike Jan. 3. They say they would rather die, if they must, on their own terms, rather than on a gurney by lethal injection. They want to strike a blow against confinement conditions so inhumane that they amount to torture.
Siddique Abdullah Hasan, Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar), Jason Robb and Namir Mateen (James Were) will start a hunger strike on Monday, Jan. 3, to protest their 23-hour-a-day lockdown for nearly 18 years. They were sentenced to death for their alleged roles in the 11-day Lucasville rebellion in April 1993. They are innocent! They were wrongfully convicted! They are political prisoners.