Stand firm collectively and denounce the actions that caused the death of Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell

by Akintunde Oding Jamaa (Kelvin Cannon)

I realize that perhaps hundreds or thousands of prisoners throughout Amerika’s prison industrial complex are writing you, expressing a range of emotions, outrage, sadness and disbelief regarding our tragic loss of a genuine revolutionary giant, Hugo L.A. (Yogi) Pinell, who was reportedly – according to local and national news – stabbed to death in some bullshit reactionary violence on a general population yard at New Folsom Prison, Sacramento, Calif., on Aug. 12, 2015.

Hugo Pinell SQ 6Our beloved Yogi directly impacted my life profoundly when he and I met back in 2001 inside Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) during a time when I had been incarcerated for only seven years. I say “only seven years” because compared to Yogi’s 38-plus years incarcerated (at that time), my time in was nothing.

I was still full of rage and revenge and misguided anger, which was a byproduct of my street gangsterism lifestyle that’s full of Black on Black violence and prison and jail guard assaults. Yogi didn’t discard me but instead took me under his wing and began helping me to transform some of my backward thinking I had already started purging so as to embrace becoming the New Man.

In spite of my numerous counterrevolutionary flaws, Yogi’s insistent advice was that I diligently study and overstand myself, our New Afrikan people’s struggle and ourstory because in this process we learn to embrace the humanity – like Yogi did me – in people and love our brothas and sistas even at times when they don’t love themselves.

This type of embodiment of perfect love is what I will always remember about Yogi, and I personally need all those reactionary fools, whether or not the prison guards set Yogi up, and those directly and indirectly responsible for Yogi’s death via not securing our beloved revolutionary giant’s life to know I am enraged that Yogi’s life ended over some bullshit reactionary violence that could’ve been neutralized.

The aim and purpose for the Agreement to End Hostilities amongst all tribes was implemented so as to effectively neutralize the same type of bullcrap reactionary riot that took our beloved Yogi’s life.

Yogi’s insistent advice was that I diligently study and overstand myself, our New Afrikan people’s struggle and ourstory because in this process we learn to embrace the humanity – like Yogi did me – in people and love our brothas and sistas even at times when they don’t love themselves.

When I first heard about Yogi’s death, it came over my TV-radio during Black August exercise preparation. At first shocked, then in disbelief and denial, I refused to accept that what I heard was accurate. I overheard numerous prisoners confirm they saw the tragic report on the bottom of their TVs that one of the San Quentin 6, Hugo Pinell, was stabbed to death in a riot at New Folsom Prison.

I sat silently, eyes closed, and envisioned our revolutionary giant in battle – and pure pride overwhelmed my every thought and I began saying to myself out loud: “Yogi walked that walk. He didn’t bow out on his knees; he didn’t kowtow, hide in the cell, run to the pigs for help. And unlike so many revolutionary actor-vists and political pretenders, paper tigers who only talk the talk, our beloved Yogi stood firm like a real revolutionary man – a giant until his last breath!

Shortly after some of our Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective representatives circulated the Agreement to End Hostilities, I wrote a brief letter which concurred with the agreement. However, it added emphasis that we collectively – all tribes – must re-examine the pseudo-respect that we force upon ourselves to try to go along to get along with everyone. And as soon as dislike emerges via character traits, so too does disrespect. I personally have enough self-discipline and self-respect to not allow my emotions to disrespect someone I may not like in terms of his style.

The aim and purpose for the Agreement to End Hostilities amongst all tribes was implemented so as to effectively neutralize the same type of bullcrap reactionary riot that took our beloved Yogi’s life.

Here’s where we are: Everyone who claims to be committed to the Agreement to End Hostilities needs to take care not to allow our beloved revolutionary giant Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s death to be just another tragic and senseless bullshit reactionary violent statistic. Stand firm collectively and denounce those actions that caused Yogi’s death! This is a wake-up call to action!

We must overstand that everyone isn’t capable of practicing and applying the self-respect that it takes to conform to the Agreement to End Hostilities. Thus, we cannot expect everyone to uphold the agreement.

However, what we as a collective can do is ostracize those who participated in the senseless reactionary violence. Those of us who claim to be real street soldiers, transformed revolutionary soldiers, political prisoners, convicts must expose the frauds posturing as street soldiers, targeting a 71-year-old political prisoner revolutionary giant (not intending to dismiss or demean our beloved Yogi’s capabilities).

Real street soldiers have and practice self-discipline, confidence to exact sufficient force to effectively neutralize a 71-year-old person without taking a 71-year-old’s life. What degree of disrespect could a 71-year-old person possibly convey that a real street soldier couldn’t effectively neutralize without taking his life?

On the flip side, only a fraudulent street soldier who was pressured to gain pseudo-status, approval from his misguided tribe, will strike blows at anyone just to gain superficial rep! These types of fraudulent street soldiers are cowards. They cannot stand firm alone, cannot walk firm alone, for in fact their twisted form of respect is disguised within insecurities via targeting a 71-year-old man.

Everyone who claims to be committed to the Agreement to End Hostilities needs to take care not to allow our beloved revolutionary giant Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s death to be just another tragic and senseless bullshit reactionary violent statistic. Stand firm collectively and denounce those actions that caused Yogi’s death!

Real street soldiers respect and protect our elders. Real street soldiers will be the first on the front lines and in no way, shape or form allow our 71-year-old revolutionary giant to be in the midst of a riot!

There are many unanswered questions that will be answered and resolved by effective measures and methods, both inside prison and outside, so as to ensure our beloved revolutionary giant Hugo “Yogi” Pinell’s tragic death won’t ever be in vain.

Final note: I am in the presence of a young New Afrikan street soldier who assisted me with writing this message in response to our beloved Yogi’s death. His own words struck me to my core being: “If we New Afrikans are not constantly protecting our elders – even if and when they may refuse our help and protection – then this contradicts everything we stand firm for.”

In closing, may our beloved revolutionary giant Hugo “Yogi” Pinell rest in peace with the spirit of all our New Afrikan fallen brotha and sista freedom fighters. Yogi’s flame will burn eternally. Can’t stop! Won’t stop!

“If we New Afrikans are not constantly protecting our elders – even if and when they may refuse our help and protection – then this contradicts everything we stand firm for.”

Standing firm in perpetuity,

Akintunde Oding Jamaa

Send our brother some love and light: Kelvin Cannon, K-16600 , PBSP SHU D2-120L, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

Editor’s note: This letter is dated Aug. 23, 2015, and it finally arrived at the Bay View on Oct. 23, 2015. In a cover letter, Akintunde writes: “The first letter I mailed out was intercepted and stopped by the IGI, Institutional Gang Investigators. They claim that it threatens the safety and security of prisons.

“Wow, the gist of this letter is a call to everyone who cares about our Agreement to End Hostilities amongst all prison gangs and street gangs – these terms I’ve intentionally omitted and replaced with the word “tribes” so as to negate misinterpretation by staff suggesting that I’m calling out a specific gang, whether prison or street gang. …

“IGI don’t want my letter to get out and reach those who respect my voice as well as others who have the courage to denounce the actions of the persons responsible, directly and indirectly – guards and inmates – that caused our beloved Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell’s death. IGI wants prisoners to maintain a level of violence on GP yards so as to show taxpayers that Security Housing Units need to remain open.”