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On Sept. 9, 2016, the 45th anniversary of the Sept. 9, 1971, Attica Rebellion, the Free Alabama Movement kicks off the National Non-Violent and Peaceful Prison Shutdown for Civil and Human Rights at Holman Prison in Atmore, Alabama. After launching its movement in 2014 with the first coordinated work stoppages and shutdowns in Alabama prison history, Free Alabama Movement issued a call in 2015 for the first coordinated nationwide prison work strike in U.S. history.
On Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
During the month of April, at least 100 of those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, about an hour outside of Chicago, Illinois, participated in a boycott of the overpriced phone calls, commissary goods and vending machines. “Mass incarceration is a luxury business,” stated Patrick Pursley, one of the men who joined in the boycott. The boycott comes at a time of growing demonstrations led by those inside U.S. prisons.
This year marks the 33rd anniversary of Black August, the annual commemoration of the liberation struggle of African people inside the United States. The month of celebration and reflection was initiated by political prisoners, many of whom were members of the Black Panther Party and the Republic of New Africa, two of the main revolutionary organizations that emerged during the late 1960s.