Prisoners throughout the Alabama Department of Corrections system are refusing to work during this month of January. At great risk to themselves, they are exposing twice-designated unconstitutional conditions, which continue to such degree of inhumanity and torture that they will no longer be tolerated. The educated public is urged to support the strike and boycott prison contract services feeding the capitalist-imperialist colonist slave-holding system.
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.
The 60-day notification deadline for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) re-designation is rapidly approaching, on May 23, 2017, for Haitian nationals. If re-designation is not granted, as many as 50,000 Haitians living across the United States will be stripped of work authorization and will be prioritized for ICE removal. ICE is currently removing over 4,000 Somalis residing in the United States, according to Ahmed Isse Awad, Somalia’s U.S. ambassador.
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.
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.
After 2.5 years of foundation laying work, Willie JR Fleming of the Anti-Eviction Campaign has finally caught the attention of the international community. At his behest, the United Nations sent its Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to Chicago to take first-hand testimony from people of color who have suffered and continue to suffer the effects of systemic racism and colonialism.
In this series of articles, we have traced the various mechanisms whereby the prison procedures of “gang validation” are used to deny the civil rights, the human rights and even the humanity of the prisoners. These procedures mark the criminality of the prison administration. The real crime problem in the U.S. is the prison system itself and its judicial machine. Together they are making justice and democracy practically impossible.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
On Feb. 11, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. urged states to repeal laws that prohibit people who were formerly incarcerated from voting, a move that would restore the right to vote to millions. This timely announcement does not just address officials in states such as Florida or Mississippi, but has implications here at home. California is currently facing its own disenfranchisement crisis.
“Florida’s infant mortality rate is at an all-time low,” reports the Tampa Tribune. So is Cuba’s, according to Prensa Latina. In Miami, the infant mortality rate dropped from 6.4 out of every 1,000 live births in 2011 to 6 in 2013. “State health officials credit improved prenatal and infant health care for the good news,” says the Tribune. By that measure, Cuba’s prenatal and infant health care must be much better than Miami’s, where 34 percent of the population is Cuban.
Solitary confinement does little or nothing to promote public safety or prison safety. It is not only harmful but unnecessary and incredibly costly. Violence levels plummeted by 70 percent of previous levels when the commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections reduced the number of prisoners held in solitary confinement by 85 percent.
The original plan for the 1963 March was for a militant mass shut-down of the nation’s capital in order to compel the Kennedy administration and the U.S. Congress to enact immediate federal legislation to end the practices connected with segregation throughout the United States at that time. This proposal had come from the youth wing of the Civil Rights Movement, in particular those grouped in and around the SNCC.
Congratulations to my nephew Wilfred Batin, 9 years old, who was one of two honor roll students from Rosa Parks Elementary School honored this year at City Hall. Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who deserve more than a day to honor them. Congratulations to all the college graduates!
When the leaders of the National Bankers Association, an organization of 37 mostly Black-owned banks, began pondering prospective recipients of their annual “Beyond the Call of Duty Award,” its president says they did not have to look very far. No question, it was Marie Johns, deputy administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration, he said.
Scalia has made it clear why this case is before the Court – it’s about race and white “race entitlement.” The Voting Rights Act was passed because no group is going to “apportion themselves out of power.” If the Court rules in favor of Shelby County in the face of its racist record, it will be doing nothing more than validating white power and racism.
The steady rise of ethnic nationalism over the past decade, the replacing of history with mendacious and sanitized versions of lost glory, is part of the moral decay that infects a dying culture. It is a frightening attempt, by those who are desperate and trapped, to escape through invented history their despair, impoverishment and hopelessness.
When Hurricane Isaac hit the shores of the states of Mississippi and Louisiana, Operation People for Peace was able to take a truckload of supplies donated by Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., to Pearlington and Gulfport. Additionally, we visited Plaquemines Parish and LaPlace, La., passing out cleaning supplies, food and personal items to those in need.
Some of our people, as well as ourselves have decided to call today Indigenous Day instead of Columbus Day and it makes me really think about how many people who still celebrate Columbus, a cruel mass murderer who on his last trip to the Americas, as I have read, was arrested by his own people for being too cruel.
When Andre Ward stood on the ropes and raised his arms in victory after demolishing Chad Dawson, I was reminded of a similar scene when a young Cassius Clay stood next to the ropes with a raised fist after demolishing “Big Bear” Sonny Liston, and said: “I shook up the world. I’m the greatest.” Both tend to beat their opponents psychologically before they get into the ring.
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