by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington and the Comrade Malik Support Network
“To love. To be loved. To never forget your own significance. To never get used to unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try to understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” – Arundhati Roy, 2019 Our Story Calendar (sawarimi.org)
Revolutionary greetings, Sisters and Brothers!
I don’t know exactly if you can hear the beat of the drums, but the sound is getting louder and louder. These are war drums. For those who have an ear, let them hear!
It is safe now for me to reveal what has transpired here at the McConnell Restrictive Housing Unit located in Beeville, Texas. I had held my tongue because Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) employee Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes threatened me on April 5, 2019, and told me that if I didn’t stop writing articles about him and numerous other TDCJ ranking officials, he not only would see to it that Miguel and Paulina would never have their visit approved – he also said he would personally see to it that any chances I had at getting out of Ad-Seg and potentially making parole would be crushed by him and the other high-ranking TDCJ prison officials!
Before I go into any more detail about what is happening down here, allow me to clarify a miscommunication. In my article “Compassion Denied” on comrademalik.com, I erroneously stated that Major Juan Nunez was the TDCJ prison official who had threatened and gotten super aggressive with my comrade and friend Sloan Rucker. This was false! I state for the record that on March 8, 2019, at the McConnell Restrictive Housing Unit, Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes did in fact aggressively threaten and scream at Sloan Rucker when she was in tears begging and pleading that this fat, sloppy, cowardly, patriarchal, bigoted traitor to the Raza approve a five-minute hug for Paulina Gracia and Miguel Flores!
I want the world to know that this fearless anarchist Sloan Rucker went in and confronted this Sifuentes. And this coward and bully tried to break her spirit and resolve – but never that, partner!
Sisters and Brothers, the McConnell Unit, located in Beeville, Texas, is like a little town or village to itself. There are approximately 2,900 prisoners here and approximately 300 employees. We all know each other here, and we all know each other’s business.
The entire unit was talking about this battle between myself, Sloan, Miguel and the administration over this contact visit. Officers were ashamed to even be associated with Warden Sifuentes after word got out about how callous and inhumane he acted. Some officers said out loud that Sifuentes betrayed his own people! Can you imagine a Mexican in California acting in such a manner? I mean, maybe you can. I ain’t gonna sugarcoat nothin’!
When Mexicans, Blacks or Whites don these green prison uniforms in California or when they put on these confederate army grey uniforms in Texas, something happens. People be talkin’ bout the Stanford Experiment being a hoax?! HMMPHH! That shit ain’t no hoax! I see human beings forget about the humanity of others everyday up in these places!
Sisters and brothers, if the pigs in Texas were trying to bring out the vicious Black Panther, the guerilla and the Mandingo which dwells inside of me – they succeeded! As J. Cole would say: “The game is off balance / I’m back on my shit!”
Before delving deeper into what exactly is going on up in this Slave KKKamp, allow me to send out a major amount of love and respect to the honorable Jarvis Johnson and Chief of Staff Katelyn Caldwell, who advocated on behalf of Miguel and Paulina and made the impossible possible! I don’t want to say much more than that because I don’t want to wrap them up in what I have goin’ on with this pig Sifuentes.
See, Sisters and Brothers, I don’t think you realize what TDCJ has been allowing this fat fool to get away with. He and his cronies have been targeting Black men and people of color and falsely holding them down here in this Restrictive Housing Unit. I got a brother right next door to me who was falsely accused of sexual assault. He and his fellow comrade were implicated in the assault of another man.
These two brothers maintained their innocence the entire time and, sadly, some prisoners engaged in “messy” ass behavior. For those of you who are locked down and dealing with some of these dudes being released from these Special Needs Yards into GP, you know exactly what I mean. How many stand-up Cali Cats been falsely accused by someone acting “messy” because they was tryin’ to get their way or work a show?
And allow me to be crystal clear here, it ain’t just members of the LGBTQ community who be acting “messy” and snitchin’ and lyin’. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cis-straight men coming off these SNY yards who provided false and fabricated evidence to Gang Intelligence so they could get what they wanted, at the expense of a sometimes unsuspecting prisoner minding his own damn business. Yeah, I’m sayin’ the shit that some people scared to say!
So you have these two brothers falsely accused of sexual assault, and they appeal the guilty verdicts and guess what happens? The disciplinary cases get overturned! So you would think that Warden Sifuentes would do the right thing and arrange for these innocent men to be released back into population? No! That is not what he did.
Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes conspired with Region IV Director Miguel Martinez in order to break TDCJ policy by retrying these men nearly four months after they were found innocent.
Sisters and brothers, by TDCJ policy, if a disciplinary case is overturned, the TDCJ has 30 days to retry the case – after that, the issue is dead. And Sifuentes knew this. But it gets worse. One of these brothers had a sibling get involved and she contacted the corrupt TDCJ Ombudsman Office. Warden Sifuentes was lying to this woman on the phone, telling her that the District Attorney in Bee County was fixin’ to indict these brothers!
As J. Cole would say: “The game is off balance / I’m back on my shit!”
This ain’t the first time this fat fool done lied! When Comrade Julie Schneyer from Blue Ridge ABC pressed Sifuentes about the inhumane temperatures on F-Pod here at the Restrictive Housing Unit last year, he continued to lie to Comrade Julie. Thankfully for my sake, Comrade Julie and another comrade named Ben Edwards and numerous others weren’t having it!
Well, this sista whose brother was falsely accused wasn’t having it either, and she kept pressing for answers. On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, her brother was transferred to a pre-release program. He has made parole!
The brother next door to me has done over 30 years on a 75-year sentence, and he is waiting to be transferred to a program meant to help him transition back into General Population. I have chosen not to mention these brothers’ names because TDCJ is ultra-corrupt and may try to harm these men.
I mean that is what is happening down here – it is a pervasive and systemic culture of institutionalized violence and racism. Have any of you paid attention to what happened to me at my most recent state classification hearing?
Allow me to explain.
Now, I already went into how Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes threatened me on April 5, 2019. That was well documented. I had a visit from a comrade who is with Austin ABC on April 6, 2019, and I told her everything.
So, Sifuentes tells me at this meeting that from now on I better not write any more exposes about McConnell Unit or about the following high ranking TDCJ employees: 1) Himself; 2) Miguel Martinez, Region IV director; 3) Bryan Collier, TDCJ executive director; 4) Lorie Davis, TDCJ-CID director; 5) Tracey Bailey, deputy director; 6) Billy Hirsch, deputy director; 7) Mr. Chesser, deputy director.
This was one of the strangest things that has ever happened to me. Sifuentes also went on to mention my cooperation with Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston. I have been attempting to provide information to the Texas legislator and his staff to help them make the case case for an independent oversight committee or independent ombudsman office to oversee and monitor the activities of these corrupt and immoral pigs. They are pigs! They stink! Their behavior stinks! And I am going to put them all the way out there on Front Street!
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, I attended a state classification hearing to see whether these folks would allow me to be released back into General Population. Senior Warden Sifuentes had planted one of his bigoted cronies in the midst of the committee. Right when I was attempting to tell the chairperson my aspirations for release, this white supremacist Ku Klux Klan member named Major Kody Schur interrupted me and said “Stop lyin’ to the woman!”
I still am flabbergasted at his openly racist behavior. The TDCJ state classification committee hearing chairperson allowed this bigot to sway her decision and, just like that, I was denied release from Ad-Seg.
Now, was that a fair and objective hearing, absent of prejudice and bias? Hell no! But that is how they do business down here in this racist stronghold.
The upper echelon administrators condone, promote and sanction this type of behavior. I will say this: My support team will not remain silent! I can guarantee you that my comrades with the IWOC and ABC Federation won’t take this lying down! Hell NO!
We’re gonna fight back against these fascist pigs! Wherever there is oppression, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia or hatred of women, we are going to collectively confront that!
So, y’all stay tuned! And know with confidence that June 19, 2019, will be a huge success.
Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!
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.