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A copy of this historic document in its original form was sent to Bay View arts editor Wanda Sabir by Kumasi, a Los Angeles-based prison movement scholar and central leader of the Black August Organizing Committee who was a close comrade to George Jackson. Kumasi was reminded of this Manifesto when he learned of the National Prison Strike that began in Black August 2018 and believed Bay View readers would value the opportunity to witness prison movement evolution.
Prisoners are rising up in institutions across the country – and now internationally – in protest of the living and working conditions in the prisons. The first week of the strike has just come to an end and we have seen a substantial wave of success. The mainstream media attention on the strike has been monumentally greater than we have ever seen in the past. Along with this, the public narrative towards prisoners has changed dramatically. The public eye is focused on securing and protecting prisoners’ rights. We are also committed to highlighting the injustices that are inherent to our criminal justice system.
Saturday morning, Aug. 19, the day dawned bright and sunny, not a hint of the rain that drenched us the evening before. At 10:30 a.m. when I arrived at Freedom Plaza, there were people with posters and event T-shirts and a brother with a bullhorn. Robert King and Albert Woodfox were there in Amend the 13th T-shirts. King was passing out information about the law – the constitutional amendment – that legalizes slavery. Later on, at the rally, he would conclude the event, which lasted about five hours.
In your absence -- I am forced to accept the truth: You are not here with us. It’s been a two-year roller coaster ride; I have been up, down and all around with my emotions, as well as my thoughts. Tears stream down my face, and sometimes with a smile, when I am in deep thought of how much love you gave to me – and I miss that. In your absence -- I have been angry enough to want to SHOUT to the mountains about the torture and corruption you experienced at the hands of them who held you captive for 51 years.
The recent victory won by the prisoner hunger strikers, the “solitary settlement” in Ashker v. Brown, is indicative of the solidarity among prisoners today, and it is for this reason I am sharing my story and history of Dahariki Kambon. We must carry on the spirit of what he stood for; his fight was against the racist oppressors and their cruel laws and policies of injustice and inequality.
On Aug. 12, 2015, within the walls of New Folsom Prison, freedom fighter and political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell of the San Quentin 6 was assassinated on the prison yard by members of the Aryan Brotherhood, with the assistance of the guards. Seven months later, the community who loves him is coming together to remember his life and contribution to the Black struggle for self-determination and human rights. We will be celebrating his life on Saturday, April 23, 1-5 p.m., at the African American Art and Culture Complex, 762 Fulton St. in San Francisco. Any and everybody from the community is invited.
I am currently in solitary confinement for a “Battery on a Peace Officer,” which took place on Sept. 24, 2015, six weeks after the assassination of beloved political prisoner Hugo “Yogi” Pinell at New Folsom State Prison B-Facility. Prison officials released a statement to the media that several correctional officers were “ambushed” by a group of Afrikan Amerikan inmates on C-Facility, which in reality is far from the truth.
Respects to you for giving brothas a voice and love. I won’t lie in this letter nor put on extras out of respect and in honor of my brother Hugo “Yogi” Pinell. I’m an inmate in New Folsom. I was housed in B2-111, five cells away from Yogi. Every day at yard time it was my honor and duty to escort him to the rec yard. His spirit was amazing. He had jokes. When Yogi hit the yard, the unity just by his presence was beautiful. Afrikans from everywhere were one.
Letters continue to pour in to the Bay View from prisoners who remember the great Hugo “Yogi” Pinell as a hero and a martyr and want the world to know and remember him too. His work will not only be memorialized but also carried forth by all he has touched. You and your lessons will be remembered always – and, like you, will forever inspire resistance. Determination. The longing to be free. And the courage to fight for it.
Aug. 12, 2015, I sat waiting for the mail to come as I did each day. This day it was different because for the first time my dad was in his first lockdown on the mainline. He had only been there 15 days – abruptly moved on July 29 after a meeting with the DRB (Departmental Review Board) on July 28. Each day I waited to hear from him hoping and praying he was OK. Finally the mailman delivered the letter I was waiting for.
Written Nov. 14, 2013 – The 80-mile drive from Eureka to Crescent City, Calif., must be one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the world, with magnificent forests of spruce and redwood to the east and breathtaking vistas of the Pacific Ocean to the west. I’m on my way to Crescent City to visit Hugo Pinell, the only member of the San Quentin 6 – the famous trial that grew out of the murder of George Jackson – still imprisoned.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris is nothing if not ambitious. Not content with being the Golden State’s top law enforcement officer – a position she has held since 2011, after serving seven years as San Francisco County’s district attorney – she’s currently running for the U.S. Senate and is the clear favorite to replace Barbara Boxer, who is retiring in November 2016. Harris must not miss this historic opportunity to end solitary confinement in California.
I am compelled to share with your readers the evidence I have uncovered while doing research into my own case after I was framed by corrupt guards and convicted of murder at Folsom Prison in 1984. I have uncovered the real intentions behind the implementation of the deadly “integrated yard policy” and its bloody history at Folsom Prison.
The reality right now is that Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano have basically said that there has to be change. Now the people have to get behind these two politicians and make sure that they are empowered to make that change possible: Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.
How long must we continue to suffer? On Aug. 23, 2013, early in the morning, Pelican Bay State Prison Ad Seg was emptied out and placed on two buses. Every individual on the buses had been on the hunger strike since July 8, 2013, and there was not one medical staffperson on those buses. We do not care about how much worse our conditions get because the pain and suffering from not eating trumps it all.
Today Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano announced that they will hold public hearings on the conditions in California prisons that have led to the inmate hunger strike, now in its 54th day. They anticipate that hearings may begin as early as this fall and continue into next year. The two legislators, chairs of the Senate and Assembly Committees on Public Safety, urged an immediate end to the hunger strike so that energy and attention can be focused on the issues that have been raised.
The call for racial peace came from Pelican Bay SHU – the hole. It was a brave, human and needed call for racial harmony. Since I’m a believer in peace and realness – one people, one race – I must echo their cry and add my voice to the chorus. I think it is a call all peace groups around the world, inside and outside of prisons, would welcome.