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Political prisoner Mike Africa Sr. was finally released on Oct. 23, after more than 40 years in prison. He is one of the MOVE 9 who were unjustly convicted and sentenced to 30 to 100 years in prison following the 1978 police attack on the MOVE organization in Philadelphia. With son Mike Africa Jr., he made his way straight home to Mike Jr.’s house after leaving SCI Phoenix. Waiting for them was MOVE 9 member Debbie Africa, Mike Sr.’s spouse, who had been released this June 19.
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.
On July 22 this year, nearly two years after Trump’s election and the rise of “The Resistance,” I tuned in to KPFA-Berkeley’s Sunday Show and heard host Philip Maldari speaking to The Nation’s national affairs correspondent John Nichols. Philip Maldari: John, just last Monday we had this fabulous press conference in Helsinki, Finland, where these two heads of state [Trump and Putin] had a chance to speak to the world. Do you want to decode what happened there? John Nichols: Do I want to what? PM: Decode – explain.
The prisoner strike has been underway for more than 24 hours now. In the first day we got word of actions coming out from the prisons from Halifax, Nova Scotia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, and Folsom Prison in California reported strike action. We saw outside solidarity actions in at least 21 cities around the U.S. and as far abroad as Leipzig, Germany. We saw Palestinian political prisoners give a statement of solidarity from their prisons in occupied Palestine. Those of us who have been coordinating media relations on the outside have been overwhelmed by the number of reporters and outlets who are covering the strike.
In a historic day of action, more than 800 protests on Saturday urged lawmakers to pass gun control. In Washington, D.C., alone, organizers say up to 800,000 people took part in the March for Our Lives, which was organized by students who survived the Feb. 14 shooting massacre at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In New York, another 150,000 people took to the streets; 85,000 rallied in Chicago; 55,000 marched in Los Angeles. Tens of thousands also rallied in Atlanta and Pittsburgh. And 20,000 people gathered in Parkland, Florida.
Over the last two months, the political, media and entertainment worlds have been rocked, as thousands of women, and some men, have come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. The catalyst was the historic disgracing of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who now is being criminally investigated, after dozens of women came forward to accuse him of rape, assault and sexual harassment. In the days after the Harvey Weinstein revelations, we interviewed Tarana Burke, Soraya Chemaly and Alicia Garza.
Because of the rapid political transition that has recently taken place in Zimbabwe, this 37-year-old nation’s most ardent supporters and defenders, along with its most hateful detractors helped make the resignation of former President and revolutionary icon Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe and the installation of the current President Comrade E.D. Mnangagwa not only Africa’s top story, but the primary focus of the entire planet.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is denying Texas prisoners the ability to send or receive mail in light of Tropical Storm Harvey. Although Houston is a major mail hub for Texas, this does not explain why prisoners in areas of the state unaffected by the flooding – for example, Clements Unit in Amarillo – would be denied access to mail. In a press release, TDCJ stated that five Texas prisons have been evacuated.
Meet a sista, comrade, soldier, warrior, guerrilla who exemplifies the meaning of revolution through the life that she lives, transforming from the day of her birth to this present day. Born with the slave name JoAnne Deborah Byron, after her emancipation from the shackles of capitalism she took on the name we’re most familiar with, Sista Assata Olugbala Shakur – Assata meaning “she who struggles,” Olugbala meaning “love for the people,” Shakur meaning “the thankful.”
The video is riveting. A woman is rapt with rage, her voice slow and controlled, as a cop points his gun at her, as her lover bleeds his life away beside her, and her baby daughter looks on in what can only be called wonder. Philando Castile is dying as a discussion goes on, but it isn’t with him, it’s about him. The cop’s gun quivers and quakes, pointed at this woman, as the cop’s voice also quivers and quakes, fear thick in every breath. The cop, Jeronimo Yanez, has just killed Philando.
Good morning and welcome to Wanda’s Picks, a Black arts and culture program with the African Sister’s Media Network. We are joined in the studio by Robert King, Albert Woodfox and Malik Rahim. Welcome to the show. Today we are going to be talking about the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March on Washington. We can talk about solitary confinement, political prisoners, the 13th Amendment. We can talk about what the need is for having such an event.
We are all upset about United Airlines as we should be, but that’s low hanging fruit. It’s easy to smash down on the airlines – and, again, they deserve the backlash. But the actual brutality was carried out by officers from one department and backed up by a blatant lie issued by officers from another – which is under a federal consent decree. Let that sink in for a minute and let’s see if accountability will really happen beyond a paid suspension. Let’s see if accountability will happen over the lie told by Chicago Police. Let’s not overlook the larger picture in play around this horrific incident with United Airlines.
Though few Americans know it, the exception clause in the 13th Amendment makes a person a slave when they are convicted of a crime and sent to prison. I know that former President Barack Obama, a constitutional scholar and a Black man, understands this. I applaud his efforts to address issues of mass incarceration. I understand the symbolism of his visit to a federal prison, the only American president to ever do so. These were important first steps, but there is a long road ahead.
Zolo Agona Azania is a Black revolutionary who has spent 35 years – most of his adult life – in prison, and much of it on death row. In 1981, at the age of 21, he was convicted of murdering a police officer during a bank robbery gone bad. Unlike his two co-defendants, Zolo was arrested unarmed, walking down the street miles from the scene of the robbery, and has always maintained his total innocence of any involvement in the crime.
Late yesterday, Feb. 22, law enforcement invaded the main camp at Standing Rock, Oceti Sakowin, to evict the water protectors who had been desperately trying to move everything from the flood plain, where thousands of people were camped just a couple of months ago. During the invasion, all media were cut off and about 10 mediamakers arrested, possibly including the Bay View team. Prayer ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. A couple dozen people are still remaining at the camp, which water protectors say sits on unceded Sioux territory, giving them a right to remain.
Today marks the first anniversary of President Obama ending juvenile solitary in the federal prison system in response to the case of New York City teenager Kalief Browder, who committed suicide in 2015 at the age of 22. In 2010, when Kalief was just 16, he was sent to Rikers Island, without trial, on suspicion of stealing a backpack. He always maintained his innocence and demanded a trial. Instead, he spent the next nearly three years at Rikers – nearly 800 days of that time in solitary confinement.
Nearly a thousand subscribers to the Bay View newspaper were denied their September papers – and we suspect their October papers as well – because of its coverage of the nationwide strikes to end prison slavery that began Sept. 9. Prison officials censoring the paper claim it will incite disruption. Like claims that someone being beaten by a gang of cops is “resisting,” the Bay View is “disrupting” prison operations.
Despite scant media coverage, the largest prison strike in history is entering its third week. Retaliation is rampant, both against the organizers in prison and against the Bay View for spreading the word. The Free Alabama Movement that started the prison-strikes-to-end-slavery campaign is defeating a violent divide-and-conquer scheme to turn prisoner against prisoner with a Peace Summit, reminiscent of the Agreement to End Hostilities in California, which this month is entering its fifth year of keeping the peace.
We, the community of writers, artists, contributors and readers outside and behind the walls, collectively condemn the ongoing attacks, censorship and banning of our San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. For many years, officials in several prison systems, including the state of California, have from time to time taken away our incarcerated family members’ “freedom of speech” and rights to information, education, communication and connection with our broader community by denying them their Bay Views. Defend and support our San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper!
Our Kunsi of Brave Heart, White Buffalo Calf Woman Society and Stone Boy Society, are calling on President Obama to intervene in the horrific incident at Standing Rock in which vicious dogs and pepper spray were used by Dakota Access Pipeline security to attack protectors of sacred sites near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and to require the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies to live up to their trust responsibility and stop this pipeline immediately. Our children deserve a thorough environmental impact statement based on meaningful tribal consultation. We are not invisible and will not be erased.