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Many times conscious prisoners become lost in their own image and forget the representation of the people as a whole. Our loss came with the death of Hugo Pinell. His introduction is not needed. He helped bring life to a generation that had not – and some still to this day still have not – forgotten the bigger picture. As conscious prisoners and political prisoners behind enemy lines, we as a community cannot forget to reach out to his daughter.
The uprising in Baltimore has delivered an unmistakable and powerful message that the time is over when people will tolerate the unending and outrageous murder and brutality carried out by police. The torture and murder of Freddie Gray for nothing – and the ongoing, infuriating lies and coverup – is only the latest in a long line of such horrors in not only Baltimore but all over the U.S., from North Charleston, S.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, from Pasco, Washington, to New York City and beyond – THIS MUST STOP!
Keith Cook delivered this speech on Dec. 5 at “Cops vs. Free Speech,” a public forum organized by the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia: Thank you for inviting me again to be a part of this essential, timely discussion that we should be having across our nation. Free speech – for most of us who are activists, what does the Fraternal Order of Police, commonly known as the FOP, have to do with it?
Since some 30,000 California prisoners launched a hunger strike July 8 against the practice of long-term solitary confinement and other abuses, participants have faced punitive retaliation and censorship of newspapers and other media that backed their fight. Abuses continued after prisoners suspended the strike Sept. 5.
On Wednesday, Oct. 30, join a mass march and vigil for Andy Lopez, 13, gathering in Roseland (Sebastopol Road near Dutton) at 5 p.m., marching to Courthouse Square for a 6:30 rally and carrying candles back to Roseland. On Oct. 22, the very day we recognize as the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, this 13-year-old child was shot down and killed by Sonoma County sheriff’s deputies. We must form alliances within our community in order to deal with this issue of misconduct by law enforcement. We must do it now before someone else’s child lies dead at the age of 13.
On May 22, brave prisoners at Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison began a hunger strike. A recently released prisoner discusses torture at Red Onion: “having your fingers broken, being bitten by dogs, being strapped to beds for days, being forced to defecate on yourself – I mean all of this has led to these men demanding to be treated as human beings.”