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When I attended the Society for Neuroscientists annual conference in San Diego last month, I expected to be doused in information regarding the field’s newest knowledge and innovations. Designed to bring together 30,000 of the world’s top neuroscientists, I was so excited to be engaged in this enriching environment for the first time. I never would have expected that I would be encompassed by emotions as I listened to the story of a man named Robert King during a roundtable discussion on contemporary social issues.
Zolo Agona Azania is a Black revolutionary who has spent 35 years – most of his adult life – in prison, and much of it on death row. In 1981, at the age of 21, he was convicted of murdering a police officer during a bank robbery gone bad. Unlike his two co-defendants, Zolo was arrested unarmed, walking down the street miles from the scene of the robbery, and has always maintained his total innocence of any involvement in the crime.
Read the perspectives of Spoon Jackson, serving a sentence of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (LWOP), “the other death penalty,” at Lancaster State Prison near Los Angeles, and Tim Young, on San Quentin’s Death Row near San Francisco. Spoon calls LWOP “as hideous as Death Row” and recommends “no” on Prop 62. Tim says vote “yes”: “With LWOP, we live to fight another day.”
Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their ideas and experiences. Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Vereb introduced a bill, HB2533, called the “Revictimization Relief Act,” which would allow victims, district attorneys and the attorney general to sue people who have been convicted of “personal injury” crimes for speaking out publicly if it causes the victim of the crime “mental anguish.” The bill was written in response to political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commencement speech at Goddard College and is a clear attempt to silence Mumia and other prisoners and formerly incarcerated people.
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.
IRP Solutions was a small, Black-owned software development company with 15-19 employees that competed against big businesses for lucrative, multi-million-dollar government contracts. Looking back on the raid of IRP Solutions’ business, conducted in 2005 by 21 FBI agents, it is apparent that IRP’s direct competitors were not going to let a small, Black-owned company win a substantial and lucrative contract that had been theirs for years.
Darrell Lomax is an innocent man who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for over 15 years. A poet, musician and activist, Darryl has been fighting for his freedom and advocating for justice. Here, he explains what’s at stake in the Proposition 34 ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty with sentences of life without the possibility of parole.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.