Tags Free Alabama Movement
Tag: Free Alabama Movement
On the weekend of Aug. 19, 2017, a historic event, the Millions for Prisoners March will take place in Washington, D.C., to bring awareness to a constitutional injustice and a banquet to honor and celebrate 41 years of service of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. In the midst of this fight for freedom, it is an honor to be a part of such a historical event, it is an even bigger honor to be a part of a coalition that shares the same views for freedom and vision to preserve a much needed tool in the fight for freedom. The San Francisco Bay View is one of those much needed tools to aid in this fight.
As I write this article, I am not sure what day the Civil War began or what day it ended. The facts that I do know about the Civil War are not worth repeating here, as that story already occupies plenty of space in American text. My muse, instead, is about the particular vestige of slavery that the Civil War bequeathed to us on Dec. 6, 1865, that now forms the basis of our struggle to end mass incarceration and prison slavery in 2017.
First and foremost, we must stay on message. And what is that message? We are uniting to End Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery. In doing so, we have to keep at the forefront of our heart, mind and spirit that slavery – which predominates over mass incarceration – is an economic enterprise system that is mathematically put together and thus capable of being scientifically taken apart.
Thank you for being patient with my absence and the new method of my way in reaching out to you to discuss what we are attempting to accomplish. First and foremost, I thank God for giving us a platform to be heard to alleviate or mitigate the number of unheard voices in our concrete jungles across Alabama. People ask me, “Why do you do this? Are you a rebellion junky?” I say, “No.” This is about the men around me and the women and children incarcerated in this state and country.
Our dear brother and Black Panther comrade Sekou Kambui made his transition May 9, 2017. The struggle for freedom defined him in so many ways. After 47 years as a political prisoner in Alabama prisons, and his release in 2014, he can now rest in peace. Farewell, my dear friend. – Audri Scott Williams -- We will never forget you, Sekou Kambui. Thank you for being an inspiring part of our lives and your relentless commitment to struggle. We miss you deeply. #RestInPower – Denver ABC
Now, as the San Francisco Bay View newspaper’s 40th birthday year comes to a close, is the time to bring up to date the historical sketch of our paper that I began with Part 1 in the January paper. Piles of old papers rest on my desk, waiting to be read once again – a banquet of stories and pictures of our lives, our hopes, our goals. Let me let you taste the flavor of the freedom we continue to fight for in the age of Trump.
Minister Nyle Fort starts us off with a strong quote. I am going to expand his analysis by highlighting the historical fact that slavery in the United States was and is still directly tied to capitalism! So in order for us to combat and abolish legalized slavery in Amerika we must focus our attention on dismantling the system which has allowed this institution of modern prison slavery to proliferate.
“Alabama prison officials are investigating the beating death of an inmate who was attacked by other prisoners Thursday – the second deadly attack on a state prisoner within 24 hours,” reports the Montgomery Advertiser Feb. 19. We have uncovered multiple incriminating facts that have led to the needless deaths at what is called “Hellmore,” the now notorious medium security prison Elmore Correctional Facility.
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 people who organized the country’s biggest prison strike against what they call modern-day slavery have planned their next target: corporate food service giant Aramark. The $8.65 billion company is one of the country’s largest employers and serves food to more than 100 million people a year. It also provides meals for more than 500 correctional facilities across the country and has been the subject of complaints about maggots and rocks, sexual harassment, drug trafficking and other employee misconduct.
Last week, an Alabama state prisoner who had testified in an ongoing federal trial over the state of mental health care in state prisons was found dead, apparently of suicide. According to the Alabama Department of Corrections, he was found unresponsive, hanging from a piece of cloth in his cell. The state’s attorney said, “Jamie’s case is emblematic of the utter neglect and mistreatment of people with serious mental illness in ADOC prisons.”
Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 formally abolished slavery, but with a stipulation that enabled plantation owners to use prisoners as a replacement for the lost labor. As a group called the Free Alabama Movement rallied for a Sept. 9 labor strike in spring, prison authorities across the country began clamping down on news and information in ways that the ACLU says may be in violation of the First Amendment.
Today Swift Justice received information that Kinetik Justice (Robert Earl Council), co-founder of the Free Alabama Movement, was assaulted by two correctional officers at Limestone Correctional Facility last week. Swift Justice asked us to pass these words along: “TODAY I ask EVERYONE, no matter what state or country, to unite and protect Kinetik Justice in a time he needs us most!”
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.
As the culture of violence in Alabama’s prison system continues to spiral out of control, yet another provocation has resulted in another day of violence at Holman Prison. Holman is experiencing major staff shortages as a result of officers joining and supporting the non-violent work strikes being led by Free Alabama Movement. ADOC commissioners responded by dispatching CERT Team staff notorious for violent beatings, sexual harassment and excessive force.
Since opening its doors on Dec. 15, 1969, Alabama’s William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama, has been a bastion of violence, fear, pain and baleful human suffering. A Holman inmate was stabbed during a four-way fight and another died of an apparent suicide less than two weeks after the Department of Justice launched an investigation into violence, sex abuse, overcrowding and other issues at Alabama’s prisons.
This year at Holman in Atmore, Alabama, there have been five suicides in its segregation unit – more suicides or homicides than in its population. The latest was a mentally ill young man in his 20s. The conditions in the Administrative Segregation housing wings at the H.H. Coffield Unit located at Tennessee Colony, Texas are horrible, and these conditions have driven prisoners to suicide, approximately 13 deaths just this year! We need the broadest exposure of this horrifying trend.
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.
Since Sept. 13, 2016, when Warden Raybon released approximately 20 people from segregation, most of whom were there for violent incidents – only to see several stabbings take place, including one person critically injured and another losing an eye – a total of eight more officers have either quit or given notice. Now officers are expressing concern that ADOC commissioners are intentionally exacerbating violence at the expense of human life in efforts to push forward their plan to extort the public for $1.5 billion to build new prisons in next year’s legislative session.
Anyone relying on mainstream media wouldn’t know it, but the U.S. prison system is shaking up right now. No one knows how big the initial strike was yet, but the information is slowly leaking out between the cracks in the prisons’ machinery of obscurity and isolation. Over the weekend more than 50 protests erupted across the country and around the world in solidarity with the Sept. 9 nationwide prisoner work stoppage and protest.