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Since long before the mainstream media was willing to acknowledge the reality of mass incarceration, systemic racism and economic inequality, the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper has been challenging the dominant narrative by amplifying the voices of people on the margins of society, particularly Black people, poor people and prisoners. Now, more than ever, independent media like the Bay View is in danger as the Trump administration has declared “war with the news media.” In order for the Bay View to continue speaking truth to the abusers of power, we need your financial contribution.
The majority of employees at La Palma Correctional Center who work on Compound 3 fit the description of a Security Threat Group due to their unlawful conduct, but who investigates them or makes them answerable? Certainly not themselves. Yet I am being targeted for my work; a work that was created to build a constructive Humanity; while these prison officials are rewarded for work that assaults the very fabric that makes us human and seeks to destroy lives.
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.
The cherry blossoms with a bullet in its pit because its roots have been watered by the muffled screams of slaves hanging from its branches ... A child plants a prayer in the garden of his mother’s mind next to his father’s broken dreams; she raises him on bitter milk and cold cereal: a meal she deems fitting to prepare him for the world. I sometimes wonder if Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant are in heaven writing an epistle to the people on the same bullet?
We have an opportunity to confront ourselves realistically, to have a stake in a real opportunity for freedom. The only way we can have an impact on the system is to make their oppression of us a financial burden that diminishes their profits rather than increases them. If they use the profits from your labor to write laws to keep you in prison, what does it profit you to work for them? If they intend for you to rot away in a cell, then let their crops rot away in the fields!
The New Underground Railroad Movement is a grassroots inside-outside organization that recognizes that the institutionalization of mass incarceration is the greatest civil rights and social issue we are faced with today. The New Underground Railroad Movement is dedicated to shutting down the “prison industrial complex” through tactical, organizational and grassroots work strikes, boycotts and class conscious empowerment.
In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.
The same mindset that allows a police officer to summarily execute an innocent, unarmed Black person in the street is the same mindset that allows an officer to plant evidence and lie on the witness stand. It allows a judge to appoint a knowingly incompetent defense attorney, and it allows a prosecutor to withhold evidence, use false evidence, to overcharge and to discriminate with impunity.
Since CCA’s founding in 1983, the incarcerated population has risen by more than 500 percent to more than 2.2 million people. Some people would say that I am taking a risk exposing the truth about CCA and TCCF in particular; but as a revolutionary for humanity, I must place my heart in the eye of the storm and look oppression dead in the face and articulate the sentiments of the people of true merit.
In 1973, the National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice Standards and Goals issued a report which stated in part: “The prison, the reformatory and the jail have achieved only a shocking record of failure. There is overwhelming evidence that these institutions create crime rather than prevent it.” This same report stated directly: “No new institutions for adults should be built and existing institutions for juveniles should be closed.”
I am a new found political prisoner within the grips of one of CCA’s slave camps, Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, here in Tutwiler, Mississippi. CCA, especially here at TCCF, has mastered the art of purchasing two slaves for the price of one – the two slaves being the inmate residents and the bottom rung correctional officers, providing cheap labor at minimum wage.
My call to arms is this: Until we are organize in consciousness as one class, which we are as prisoners, and eradicate the petty politics that give the illusion of security but only act to strangle our solidarity, we are hypocritical in our demand for CDCR to take the boot off our neck and the knife out of our backs.
I am a California prisoner who was sent involuntarily to NFORK CCA (the Corrections Corporation of America’s North Fork Prison), a private prison in Oklahoma, where I have been for over a year. California thought they could more effectively silence my protests and lawsuits by hurling me hundreds of miles away.
Black and Brown communities are terrorized by police on a daily basis on a physical and emotional level. We are all too familiar with the physical terrorism: bodies being slammed on pavement with knees penetrating necks, batons beating against skulls mimicking a life-size piñata that spills blood instead of candy and, last but not least, the iconic image of a body riddled by a volley of bullets.