by Shaka At-thinnin
In their ongoing plea for justice and humane treatment, the inmates confined in the Security Housing Unit program at Pelican Bay State Prison must continue to use the only peaceful means available that will draw proper attention to their plight, a hunger strike. Going through a long term hunger strike involves every aspect of your being, physical, mental and emotional.
It requires a very strong will, determination and a true purpose as a driving force. The driving force in this is showing the world what actually goes on within the concentration camps outside the view of those this forced treatment would purportedly serve and bring an end to this cruel and inhumane reality once and for all.
Over the years there have been many attempts to gain assistance from the outside community and place these issues within the domain of the courts of law where change can be initiated. This purpose can undo decades of abuse inflicted on inmates through the policies of the California Department of Corrections and the blind eye of the public.
A hunger strike sends the message that this is not a mere protest of trivial circumstance with unreasonable demands. This is an extremely serious and sensitive occurrence that must be viewed as such by all concerned. With men who have been caged in concrete and steel sensory deprivation units, without the feel of sunshine, wind or the touch of another human being for decades, this is not a decision to be taken lightly.
In their ongoing plea for justice and humane treatment, the inmates confined in the Security Housing Unit program at Pelican Bay State Prison must continue to use the only peaceful means available that will draw proper attention to their plight, a hunger strike.
Most of the men confined in this way suffer from one ailment or another as a direct result of that long captivity in modern day dungeons. For these men, there is no other way left to them that will gain that most illusive need, the compassionate awareness of the people outside the walls and their willingness to take that very crucial next step, progressive involvement.
The driving force in this is showing the world what actually goes on within the concentration camps outside the view of those this forced treatment would purportedly serve and bring an end to this cruel and inhumane reality once and for all.
This, their mind, body and soul-felt appeal and plea goes out to people in all walks of life, from Pelican Bay to the world. The Department of Corrections being ever determined to silence the noise that screams the truth of their oppressive practices will stop at nothing to end the strike with their unjust policies maintained.
In the state’s attempt to undermine the meaning and momentum of this hunger strike, several people will be hospitalized with feeding tubes for the strike’s duration. Some of these men already suffer from conditions like diabetes and may not survive feeding tubes.
The hunger strike has gone from critical to intensely critical because people in positions of power, like senators, Congress members and, most importantly, judges are starting to look at the evidence and acknowledge much more than punishment is going on inside California’s share of the Prison Industrial Complex. It should not matter who you like or don’t like, who you work for or are friends with. The incredible issue is what these captives endure on a daily basis sunk in these holes of depravity.
Please don’t stand in the doorway when a step or two could unclog the flow of information and materials possibly beneficial to those who for all intents and purposes are bound and gagged. The folks inside need every aspect of what we are capable of giving and doing. There are so many who have already responded to the call for support and are doing all they can.
Your contribution is beyond measure, greatly appreciated by the hunger strikers and an inspiration to all others who would stand against the injustice inflicted on them as a policy. The Black August Organizing Committee continues to stand in full solidarity with the hunger strikers and will always be a voice exposing the pain that not only touches them but the lives of their families and loved ones as well. Continue to resist oppression, continue to grow!
Shaka At-thinnin, chairman of the Black August Organizing Committee, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.