As a people who should be championing the cause of the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, we need to first find humane solutions to our social ills. Isolation, incarceration and, yes, LWOP sentences are barbaric and sit in the realm of the lesser of two evils. And that’s why California still has the cruel instruments of death as its solutions.
As part of a larger effort called the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice, a delegation representing Bay Area organizations is petitioning Conngresswoman Barbara Lee to ask the FCC to address the high cost of prison phone calls by passing the Wright Petition.
On Jan. 26, 2013, a rally was held outside of CCWF. Music, signs and most of all unity were in evidence that day. People came together for a common goal to bring awareness to what is going on behind locked doors. I encourage you all to consider supporting bills, rallies and laws that give the rehabilitated a chance for redemption.
I was recently able to view a documentary titled “The Cooler Bandits.” It’s the story of four young men who were sentenced to hundreds of years in prison for robbing Akron, Ohio, area restaurants in the early ‘90s. The film tells the story of the four men, all in their teens and early 20s when the crimes were committed. What type of justice is this? Five hundred years for a crime where no one was injured is a gross miscarriage of justice, especially when the offender was only 18 years old.
When prisoners write to publications in order to tell our stories to the outside world, why would that be a threat now to the penological interests of the CDCr when it never has been for over 40 years? The policy [new proposed censorship rules, officially called “Obscene Material” regulations] is in retaliation for prisoners telling our personal horror stories, while carrying out hunger strikes in protest of such cruel and unusual punishment inside solitary confinement.
Black Autonomy Federation is the activist arm of Power to the People, Inc., based in Memphis, Tenn., a non-profit tax-exempt organization. Meeting during the June 2013 annual conference, we created the organizational framework for the Black Autonomy Prison Federation because of mass imprisonment of Black youth and mindless violence in the Black community.
Rattling the bars with Eddie Conway: Government targeting of Black activists reminiscent of COINTELPRO
In October 2017, a leaked memo entitled, “Black Identity Extremist Intelligent Assessment” revealed a government surveillance program targeting black activist liberation movements.
Jalil is asking that we write letters supporting his 2009 parole, which has been postponed for 30 to 90 days for lack of records. This means the hearing could occur as early as Oct. 22 and as late as the end of December. It is believed that they want a new victim impact statement and the sentencing minutes from California. In the interim he said we need to continue efforts to build support. Please write a letter and urge others to do so, addressing the letters to the Parole Commissioners (Re: Parole application of Anthony Jalil Bottom #77A4283) but send to: NYC Jericho, P.O. Box 1272, New York, NY 10013.
In spite of the AMA protocol on torture, the CDCR’s medical and mental health physicians have yet to offer California prisoners any qualitative medical or mental health treatment, intervention or service. And they have been present and dead silent on the issue of how we prisoners have been tortured in CDCR’s SHU and CMU, where social deprivation – torture – has been the norm for the past 10 to 40-plus years.
I first of all want to say that this, what you all are doing, is long overdue and needed if we are ever going to change the direction of this unjust system. I know that for a lot of you the idea of resisting and speaking truth to power is instinctive, and we have to figure out a way to inject this spirit into more people.
The names represented in this article are just the “known” political prisoners and no disrespect to any brothas and sistas left off the list. The purpose of the list is to illustrate the current plight of our movement’s political prisoners, who, despite surviving countless hostile encounters with the state’s security forces, are on the verge of succumbing to old age and infirmities behind the walls and gun towers of the empire’s Prison Industrial Complex.
Brother Mumia is a shining light for those of us in the belly of the beast who are in a struggle against a wicked system. He has demonstrated to us that even on Death Row, one can still educate, inspire and motivate – some of the same things that he was doing at the time of his arrest.
“We celebrate each commutation that Gov. Newsom granted to people who face danger from COVID-19. However, many people applied for commutations before our current health crisis and are still waiting for an answer,” says Amber-Rose Howard, executive director of CURB. “If our governor is listening to the public – whose voices have been loud on this – and to public health professionals, he has to immediately accelerate the pace and increase the number of people freed, especially older people who are in the most danger, through commutations, medical release and any other tool of freedom his vast authority grants him.”
When Dr. Samuel Cartwright coined the term “drapetomania” in 1864, he advanced a historical agenda to secure Black subjugation in America. The logic underlying the continuation and funding of the mass incarceration of the disproportionately Black mentally ill and Dr. Cartwright’s medical breakthroughs is the same: Black people’s mental health cannot be achieved, so society has to maintain extreme and inhumane restrictions on their freedom.
What is wrong with prisoners asking for better living conditions and pay for work? What is wrong with prisoners requesting better educational programs, better religious programs, better rehabilitative programs or any useful programs at all instead of the current ones in place, which we hardly are even allowed to attend?
On Friday, Sept. 9, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising in New York, prisoners are calling for a general strike across all prisons in the United States against prison slavery. As the initial call out for the strike stated: “Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore. ... This is a call for a nationwide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on Sept. 9, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.”
In recent months, renewed interest in the lives of those who were released to the mainline after decades in California’s infamous SHU torture units has prompted many to ask us the question: How did you survive decades of solitary confinement? To understand how I survived almost two decades of solitary confinement, you must first understand why the state subjected us to these torture units in the first place.
In 1984, in San Diego, I was born to two parents with mental health problems. My parents put myself and my siblings through severe neglect, sexual abuse, physical and verbal abuse. I am the oldest of six children. My dad was a Vietnam vet. At age 12 I broke away from my parents and turned myself over to Child Protective Services thinking they could help and were the only answer.