by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington and the Comrade Malik Support Network
Peace and blessings, Sisters and Brothers!
I have some amazing news to report to all of our free-world friends and allies. On Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, my comrade and friend Miguel Flores sent word to inform me that TDCJ had approved a contact visit for him and his beloved mother, Paulina Gracia! The only caveat was that they would be allowed only 10 minutes together.
We are not sad. We are exceedingly glad! Miguel is still an ad-seg prisoner and the agency chose to recognize Miguel and Paulina’s innate HUMANITY! I believe this is a step in a very positive direction and that we can use this victory as a model for future campaigns and struggle.
You see, sisters and brothers, this was a collective effort made up of people from all over the United States, Canada and Europe who had heard of the situation from the website It’s Going Down! as well as the IWOC website and the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper as well as numerous other social media sites and websites maintained by concerned citizens. I want to send out much love and personal thanks to Marisa Evans of Pittsburgh ABC, Sloan Rucker who is the free world media rep for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. I’d also like to thank our comrades at Blue Ridge ABC in Asheville, North Carolina, as well as The Final Straw Radio Show for really helping to amplify my voice and get the word out.
Miguel wanted me to tell y’all that he loves you very much and he is really looking forward to seeing and actually hugging his mom! It has been a very long time since they have been able to do that. There were so many people who worked behind the scenes to help make this happen. I must give all glory and praise to God, because, as y’all know, I am a believer. I pray constantly and I prayed a lot on this specific issue.
I am really happy to call Professor Victor Wallis, Ph.D., my friend and mentor because it was Victor who first decided to get involved and help spearhead this campaign, and then my friend Julie Schneyer of Blue Ridge ABC didn’t leave me hangin’ when I requested her help. Mutual aid and solidarity: That’s what this work is all about. We had some people help us from organizations and groups that normally don’t partner up with us and that shows me that there is an opportunity for future cooperation.
I’d like to send a big shout-out of thanks to Jennifer Erschabek of the Texas Inmate Families Association, better known as TIFA, for providing advice and support in this campaign. I’d also liked to thank David Collingsworth of The Prison Show, which airs every Friday from 9 to 11 p.m. on the Mighty Ninety, 90.1 FM, KPFT Houston, Texas. For those of you who did not know KPFT stands for Keeping Prison Families Together. Colorado College Prison Support showed up big time – thank you.
I’d like to thank my wonderful friend in South Carolina, Mrs. Lauren McCarley and her husband Steve for forwarding important messages about this campaign to our support team members.
And last but certainly not least, I want to personally thank the administration at the McConnell Unit located in Beeville, Texas, who gave the OK for this contact visit. We thank Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes, Assistant Warden Gene Miller, as well as Major Juan Nunez and Capt. Skinner Sturgis for helping this become a reality.
Contrary to what you may be reading on any Twitter feeds, there is love and cooperation between human beings in South Texas near the Southern border! We can work out our differences, but there has to be mutual respect on both sides of the aisle. And that is all I have to say about that.
I leave you all as I came, in the spirit of peace!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!
P.S. Sisters and Brothers, our next major project involves raising funds so that Jason Renard Walker and I can retain lawyers to help represent us in our individual struggles. Jason is going to need a good civil rights attorney and I need a parole attorney who can negotiate my release from administrative segregation and then we can focus on my parole date, which is July 2019. Freedom is actually not that far away for me, but I desperately need legal representation.
I believe our fundraising goal should realistically be set at between $30,000 and $50,000. It sounds like an unreachable amount, but I believe we can reach that goal and Jason’s case is going to take a lot more resources than mine. Good lawyers who are willing to represent prisoners in Texas are not easy to find. Let’s just do what we can and keep in mind that if we make this a collective effort and expand our horizons, anything is possible. ANYTHING! In solidarity and LOVE, Comrade Malik.
After being promised a five minute contact period to hug, Miguel and Paulina were denied this opportunity. Turns out Major Nunez did not have the authority to allow Miguel and Paulina to hug.
We went to the white shirts for answers. I had a really intense fight with Warden Sifuentes; I simply was crying, begging for their visit and he got super aggressive and shouted at me. Paulina confronted an unknown staff member asking what happened and he threatened to ban her.
Sifuentes says he doesn’t have the power to bend the rules, so who does? The director of TDCJ? Mainstream news media? We have not given up faith and will keep advocating for their reunion. More to come soon.
Everybody who contributes to this campaign has done an incredible job, and if you have the energy, please join us in continuing the fight for Paulina and her son Miguel.
We can all help
The problem is that Miguel’s mom, Paulina Gracia, has an aggressive form of leukemia, and the prognosis is not good. She wants one last hug from her son. Normally, prisoners in segregation are not allowed contact visits. They must visit behind glass.
Miguel Flores, No. 2084651, is housed at the McConnell Restrictive Housing Unit in Beeville, Texas, and his mom, Paulina Gracia, lives in Corpus Christi, Texas. Your phone calls and emails made on their behalf are greatly appreciated.
Some key contacts to get at:
1) Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott, firstname.lastname@example.org
2) TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier, email@example.com or 936-295-6371
3) TDCJ Public Information Officer Jeremy Desel, Jeremy.Desel@tdcj.texas.gov or 936-437-6055
Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78103.