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I’m thrilled to share that I will be joining 19 other activists and changemakers for the 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship! Jailhouse Lawyers Speak’s Right2Vote (R2V) Campaign is being recognized for the direct impact on civil rights in the United States. The Roddenberry Fellowship supports 20 activists, organizers, leaders and changemakers who are working to make the U.S. a more inclusive and equitable place to live. Fellows’ projects focus on one of four issues: Civil Rights, Immigration and Refugee Rights, LGBTQIA and Women’s Rights, Environmental Protection.
Our support of X-Raided shows support for the power of redemption in validating his decision to convey a meaningful message over those catchy repetitive rhymes that promote death and idiotic behavior. Today many artists aren’t communicating ideas purposefully. The ideas that they’re spreading, some not even written by themselves, aren’t intentional and have no goal beyond the beats and rhymes. X-Raided’s first concert, The Execution of X-Raided, will be Jan. 18, 2019, at the Fillmore Heritage Center.
One of the most glorified celebrity couples in hip hop right now represents a symptom of a much larger issue in our community, especially in relation to promiscuity, commitment and self-control. When Cardi B and Offset’s relationship began, it sprouted out of a bed of confusion. Their public engagement was quickly followed with a baby. As fans were anticipating a wedding, the couple surprisingly revealed that they had already been married. The short marriage has been tremulous thus far with infidelity sprinkled throughout. Now the couple are already separated.
In the same way that Black dollars matter, our story also matters and we are responsible for holding and sharing our stories and the stories of our ancestors. Often in public education the stories of our ancestors are left out of the curriculum with the more popularized figures crammed into the shortest month of the year. In an attempt to assist with centralizing our story on our collective consciousness I’ve worked with Sincere in Michigan’s Department of Corrections to create OurStory Calendar.
Lest there be any doubt, in 2019 the C2RTP boycott must go on. I mean, many cite 1619 as the year that the first slave cargo ships arrived on these shores. Thus, the year 2019 represents a historic marker, 400 years of struggle. Queen Tahiyrah has dubbed 2019 as “The Year of Justice” and this will be the theme of Volume 1, Issue 3, of the next edition of Barz Beyond Barz Magazine. For me, “The Year of Justice” will usher in the Special Litigation Project 2019. The SLP will focus on identifying and challenging laws that play an important role in facilitating mass incarceration.
During the National Prison Strike, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) inspired incarcerated and outside activists across the country. Activists on the outside were inspired by prisoners’ leadership on the inside, their ability to work effectively through limited communication and under the threat of retaliation. After the strike, incarcerated people were even more inspired by the activism that happened across the country on the inside. Prisoners from each corner of the country are realizing the power that they have to influence positive changes in their environments.
“It takes the hood to save the hood” is the bold quote written on the shirts of the strong male and female organizers involved in United Playaz (UP), a San Francisco based 20-plus-year-old organization founded by Rudy Corpuz with a focus on youth development and violence prevention. UP’s engagement with the community is motivated by the needs of the people. United Playaz is a diamond in our community, shining light through every aspect of its mission at every level.
As a young Black woman, entering this exciting role as the editor of this legacy paper, my hope is to be surrounded by the support of a community that is just as present as they are passionate. The Bay View needs your passion and I need your presence – so next week please join us for refreshments and dialogue. With the hope of including as many of us in the conversation as possible, I’ve set up the event on Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Bayview Linda Brooks-Burton Branch Library meeting room, 5075 Third St. That’s the day before Thanksgiving.
In a time when the trumpets of fascism are blowing loud, those of us who have been on the frontlines need to stand strong – at the back. We can’t lead this fight. We need the energy, the insight, the fresh face and perspectives of the Amani Sawaris to step up. I know she carries an optimism and a vision that us OGs can’t touch. I hope everyone who has known and loved the SF Bay View over its 42-year history will lend their support to Amani and the revitalization of the paper.
For decades the Black community has been heavily targeted by the war on drugs, which resulted in the disenfranchisement of many families of color and the destruction of Black communities nationwide. Now the same drugs are making white business owners billions of dollars for engaging in the same practices that Black “entrepreneurs” were incarcerated for at astronomical rates. NEW is offering free clinics throughout the week of Oct. 20-27 to assist with the legal and economic barriers affecting those disenfranchised by the War on Drugs.
On Tuesday, Aug. 21, the first day of the historic National Prison Strike, Democracy Now interviewed Amani Sawari. The segment began with an excellent interview with Cole Dorsey of IWOC and then suddenly the bright, brilliant, radiant face of 23-year-old Amani filled the screen and a voice of eloquence, inspiration and power filled the room. All it took was host Amy Goodman saying she’s a journalist, and, involuntarily, spontaneously, I pointed at the screen and shouted, “There’s the new Bay View editor!” Amani and I have been talking ever since, and she came to visit Oct. 8-12. What fun we had.
Statement regarding the Nationwide Prison Strike of 2018 issued Oct. 15, 2018, by the Prison Strike Media Team. The extent of repression and retaliation by prison authorities against suspected participants in this year’s nationwide prison strike continues to emerge slowly. The National Lawyers Guild Prisoners’ Legal Advocacy Network (NLG-PLAN) has received additional details from 12 states.
Kanye West has never been afraid to speak out even if what he had to say wasn’t in line with popular opinion. Kanye saying slavery was “a choice” offended many people by degrading the lives of the millions of people who suffered for centuries as slaves. Recently, at the White House, Kanye sprinkled some gold gems in with the foolishness, especially his statement about the 13th Amendment, which did not abolish slavery, not in prison. I refuse to reject the help when entertainers like Kanye West join prisoners in advocating for prisoners’ rights.
I’d like to send out a clenched fist salute to Amani Sawari of Jailhouse Lawyers Speak. I have studied the transcript of Amani’s appearance on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Amani did an excellent job articulating the reasons for our actions. Amani also had the presence of mind to highlight and accentuate the fact that we, the prisoners across Amerika, seek to be treated as human beings and given meaningful opportunities toward our rehabilitation.
While I was immersed in the National Prison Strike back home, I had no idea how solidarity looked to others who felt trapped outside of the resistance. Some felt unable to connect with the people they desperately wanted to join in fighting for. Some Americans may say, How can I support a prisoner? in the same way that I struggled to connect with Tico Educators – in both cases knowing that their plight is worth fighting for.
Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) is currently continuing to focus energy on supporting strikers who’re suffering retaliation, raising awareness of those who continue to strike and educating policymakers of strikers’ demands. These will be our primary focuses in this season. Action points: Print and distribute Issue No. 6 of Solid Black Fist. Support prisoners still striking, raise awareness that the National Prison Strike continues in Ohio and California. Circulate the online petition to Congress demanding prisoners’ basic human rights needs be met.
Perhaps no demonstration has been more effective in illustrating the states’ inhumane treatment of prisoners than officials’ decision not to safely relocate incarcerated people trapped in the red zone area of Hurricane Florence’s path after South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an evacuation order to citizens on Sept. 10. The state’s refusal to safely move prisoners out of the hurricane’s path is a blatant disregard to the humanity of those residing there dependent solely on the state’s protection.
The National Prison Strike flooded the media and transformed the national narrative surrounding prisoners’ human rights. While the symbolic end date of the national prison strike passed on Sunday’s 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising, prisoners take the lead in determining whether to continue striking depending on their individual circumstances at their institutions: some extending the call, others placing a new date on their call and even striking indefinitely.
Prisoners have been staying strong throughout these weeks of the prison strike. Thank you all for your support in this movement to end mass incarceration and prison slavery as well as to bring livable conditions to the living and work spaces of incarcerated individuals in the United States. This has been a monumental effort and our success is being recorded as we speak. Don’t get tired; don’t allow prisoners to get tired. We must continue to fill them with energy as they strike. You all are doing amazing work and I’m incredibly thankful and honored to be among you.
Prisoners are rising up in institutions across the country – and now internationally – in protest of the living and working conditions in the prisons. The first week of the strike has just come to an end and we have seen a substantial wave of success. The mainstream media attention on the strike has been monumentally greater than we have ever seen in the past. Along with this, the public narrative towards prisoners has changed dramatically. The public eye is focused on securing and protecting prisoners’ rights. We are also committed to highlighting the injustices that are inherent to our criminal justice system.
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