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My tears flowed when I heard the world could be losing the San Francisco Bay View newspaper as a source of life, light and power due to lack of funding. This harrowing news reminded me of a hard lesson I’ve learned: Any cause, no matter how noble, can and will be lost without money to fuel it. I’ve spent thousands of dollars and hours buying and reading newspapers. Hands down, the Bay View produces the realest, rawest, richest content of them all. For more information on how to donate or support, call 415-671-0789, visit www.sfbayview.com/support or write to SF Bay View, 4917 Third St., San Francisco, CA 94124. Or donate to the Bay View’s GoFundMe campaign.
They are called the Dallas 6 – and we ain’t talking about Texas. Dallas, in Pennsylvania, is one of nearly 30 prisons in the state, located in its rural outback. The six are young Black men who, in 2010, tried to stage a peaceful protest in the prison’s “hole,” its solitary confinement unit. The Dallas 6 are potentially facing more prison time for refusing to submit to torture, for men have died, in America, while strapped into the torture chair.
The connection between the minds and hearts of the people has grown so distant, so impersonal, so unlike the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s that the heartbeat of the movement can barely be felt or heard anymore. Come closer. Has the system been so effective in beating the fight out of the struggle that, when the eyes of warriors meet, we no longer recognize each other?
The trial of the Dallas 6 pertains to an April 29, 2010, peaceful protest against illegal and barbaric conditions created by the prison guards in the hole at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas), including food starvation, mail destruction, beatings, medical neglect, use of a torture chair and deaths of various prisoners. The trial of the Dallas 6 will represent a moment of truth and exposure.
Amid rumors that SCI (State Correctional Institution) Albion has been authorized to establish a brutal and bloody regime in its solitary confinement hole, prison guards murdered Stony Schaeffer (DW8560) in his cell using chemical munitions – Oleoresin Capsicum (O.C. or pepper) spray – and electro-shock weapons. Stony, 44, had been in the hole for the past eight years straight.
According to multiple witness accounts, staff at Pennsylvania’s SCI Rockview killed John Carter, a 32-year-old man from Pittsburgh, during a cell extraction in the prison’s solitary confinement unit on April 26, 2012. One witness, esteemed writer André Jacobs, reports: "The murder was in retaliation for Carter protesting what began as guards denying him his dinner meal. ... During the collection of our food tray, guard Sherman said to me, “Your buddy’s going down tonight,” while smiling."
The release of Abu-Jamal from administrative custody into general population followed a protest campaign by his supporters worldwide that included flooding Pennsylvania prison authorities with phone calls, collecting petitions containing over 5,000 signatures and a complaint filed with United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
When guards at SCI Dallas destroy his property, threaten his life, assault his person, all while ranking officials look on approvingly, it is not simply Andre who is under attack, but the rights and lives of prisoners everywhere. By targeting jailhouse lawyers, those who stand on their constitutional rights and insist on being treated as human beings, the agents of repression in charge of the Pennsylvania DOC and the prison-industrial complex aim to silence their cries for justice.