by Bea Phi
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson has been transferred to Sussex I State Prison in Virginia, a maximum security prison where he is now held in solitary confinement. He has been separated from his belongings, including pending legal materials, and only provided with a pen and paper.
Rashid’s revolutionary resistance from inside U.S. prisons has been a beacon for years. His writing and artwork are visionary and brilliant. For demanding his right to dignity and self-determination, he has been subject to constant retaliation and interstate compact transfer.
Rashid has suffered from various medical issues, including insufficient follow up for prostate cancer, as well as chronic pain. The neglect of his health is nothing new for him nor any other political prisoner in the United States.
“It was a year ago, in early October 2021, that blood tests showed a high likelihood that I had cancer, but Virginia prison officials did nothing for over six months,” Rashid told us. “It wasn’t until eight months after these results were known that diagnostic tests were given, which confirmed the cancer and that it had by then spread throughout my prostate and possibly beyond. Yet it’s now a year later and no treatment has been given. Even laymen know that left untreated, cancer can spread and kill in a matter of weeks or months.” – Kevin “Rashid” Johnson
On Sept. 23, Rashid reached supporters by phone with a disturbing update: “My medical condition over the past several weeks has actually worsened on account of me being systematically denied treatment as well as the deliberate delays and prolonged actions of prison officials in following up on diagnostic care and consultations with radiologists that is not, at this point, even oriented toward giving me treatment.”
“So now I find myself back in solitary in a similar condition of denied care, and who knows what’s to come tomorrow.”
Your support in Rashid’s and other cases has succeeded in obtaining critical medical care. Again, we must step up and advocate for medical treatment and an end to continuous retaliation. We demand 1) that he be removed from solitary confinement, 2) that he be given proper care for his health and shown the dignity every prisoner deserves.
It is only by fighting that such a future can be won.
“By any measure, Kevin Rashid Johnson is one of the most brilliant artists and writers behind bars in America. The most powerful antidote to shackles, prison bars and brutal isolation is art. His beautiful artwork (created in solitary confinement) radiates with love and resistance. Each inspired sketch, drawing and article tackles harsh realities head on, bringing hope into existence and making the fabric of resistance stronger. His writing and reporting from Texas, Oregon and Virginia prisons has generated a worldwide audience. An appropriate historical comparison of the breadth and reach of Kevin Rashid Johnson’s impact and writing would be to say he is emerging as the intellectual equivalent of a 21st century George Jackson.” – Noelle Hanrahan
When we fight, we win!
Bea Phi is a staff member at Prison Radio and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send our brother some love and light: Kevin Johnson, 1007485, Sussex I, 24414 Musselwhite