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In the early days of the 2013 Prisoner Hunger Strike, Jorge Gomez refused up to 12 consecutive meals. The California Department of Corrections struck back by issuing him a Rules Violation Report. The same fate befell untold numbers of other prisoners who’d starved themselves to peacefully call attention to their torture. In an opinion filed on March 25, 2016, the California Court of Appeals ruled that Gomez was guilty of no rules violation for refusing meals during the strike.
A federal judge issued a stunning decision July 16, holding that the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. As Judge Cormac Carney, a Bush appointee, found, systemic delays result in execution of only a “random few (who) will have languished for so long on Death Row that their execution will serve no retributive or deterrent purpose and will be arbitrary.”
For the past two years we’ve heard the state claim it’s reforming its long term segregation policies and practices by implementing a Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP). Officials claim the program is a significant move towards a more behavior-based system, yet they remain extraordinarily vague about the “ultimate conclusion.” What exactly is “gang activity”?
Fascist repression can only flourish when the voices of its victims have been brutally silenced and isolated within the concrete confines of a man-made construct where the scrutiny of the media cannot transcend the walls. But contrary to the fascist intent, the voices of resistance reverberated within the depths of this concrete hell as New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners since our arrival have refused to remain silent and have waged a continuous campaign to put an end to this racial injustice. And for over 20 years the San Francisco Bay View has played a critical role in allowing our voices to be heard.
The Bay Area and beyond paid tribute to Belva Davis Feb. 23 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, pouring out memories of her struggles as a “first” on many fronts, breaking through racist barriers and bringing Black people, perspectives and issues to the mainstream news. The unforgettable night also marked the 50th wedding anniversary for Belva and Bill Moore, first Black news cameraman in commercial television on the West Coast.
It is unconstitutional for a state to have a law that treats a class of people differently from others. Juveniles, or minors, are a class of people; and since they are under the age of 18 and not adults, they are denied all rights of adults. Therefore, it is wrong and unfair to have a law that allows juveniles to be tried and punished as adults yet denies them the same rights as adults.
Darrell Lomax is an innocent man who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for over 15 years. A poet, musician and activist, Darryl has been fighting for his freedom and advocating for justice. Here, he explains what’s at stake in the Proposition 34 ballot initiative that would replace the death penalty with sentences of life without the possibility of parole.
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano decried Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto yesterday of legislation that would have returned openness to California’s prison system. Ammiano’s bill, AB 1270, would have restored, not expanded as noted in the veto message, media access to the level that existed in 1996 when the CDC clamped down on the press’ ability to interview specific prisoners.
Sometimes one gets tired of living in a place that doesn’t want you there, Zaccho Artistic Director, Joanna Haigood, states at the reception Thursday at the California Historical Society. The only problem is 154 years later, Black people are still unwelcome in San Francisco, which is what “Sailing Away” addresses so eloquently without words.
My husband, Robbie James Riva, who currently resides at Calipatria State Prison, has maintained his innocence for the past 11 years. After his appeal was denied in 2009 and there was no more money to pay an attorney, I decided to take it on myself. We put our minds together, our strength, our love and we told each other we could do this and we did. He wrote his appeal himself with the documents I sent him.
The SAFE California Act to replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole will be on the November ballot in California. Here are the perspectives of three men on San Quentin’s death row. Kevin Cooper writes: "Please don’t get me wrong, as I have my say concerning this SAFE California Act. I am not in favor of capital punishment either! But I do know that there has to be a better way to end capital punishment within this state than the SAFE California Act."
On Wednesday, Jan. 28, the California Supreme Court rejected our appeal, ruling against the 33,000 San Franciscans who signed our referendum and against the right of the 33,000 residents of Bayview Hunters Point - 91 percent of us people of color - to determine our own destiny.