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How prisoners organized to elect a just DA in Philly

The recent general election in Philadelphia saw a former civil rights attorney running on an anti-incarceration platform elected district attorney to the country’s fifth largest city. Larry Krasner, who defended Black Lives Matter activists and indicted police officers while in private practice, promised sweeping reforms and Philadelphia voters responded. Prisoners supported Krasner’s candidacy with a robust political action campaign of voter education, voter registration, political forums and get-out-the-vote drives directed towards their families, loved ones, friends and returned citizens.

Marching on the DNC, an interview with Cheri Honkala

The Democratic National Convention will take place in Philadelphia from July 25 to July 28. City authorities readily issued permits for four marches during the convention, but the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign had to file a complaint in federal court, with the help of the ACLU, to get a permit for their march, the March for Our Lives. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to campaign organizer and former Green Party vice presidential candidate Cheri Honkala.

Mumia Abu-Jamal: After 34 years of wrongful incarceration, showdown in federal...

On Dec. 9, 2015, in cities around the world, supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal marked his 34th year of wrongful incarceration. Finally, on Dec. 18, we have a rare, one-time opportunity to get Mumia the medical attention he desperately needs. U.S. Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani will conduct an extensive public hearing on Mumia’s medical crisis and has asked for testimony from Mumia. Credit for this victory is due in no small part to the public outcry.

‘To Protect and Serve Who?’ Mumia’s new pamphlet on organizing to...

Internationally renowned political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal has just published a brilliant 15-page pamphlet about the challenge of the period we’re living in in this country. “To Protect and Serve Who?” is truly a handbook discussing the roots and history of the police in this country, a class and historical analysis of who the police are, and finally a strategy for transforming the role and definition of the police and their power relationships with the people.

Events worldwide commemorate mass California hunger strike first anniversary

Prison family members, formerly incarcerated persons, opponents of solitary confinement and mass incarceration and others in Pennsylvania will be fasting and making calls to Gov. Corbett and Department of Corrections Secretary Wetzel on July 8 to join the California Families Against Solitary Confinement and supporters around the country and the world in commemorating the one-year anniversary of the California prison hunger strike.

Wanda’s Picks for March 2014

Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.

The Dallas 6 Case: Solitary confinement on trial in a US...

The trial of the Dallas 6 pertains to an April 29, 2010, peaceful protest against illegal and barbaric conditions created by the prison guards in the hole at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas (SCI Dallas), including food starvation, mail destruction, beatings, medical neglect, use of a torture chair and deaths of various prisoners. The trial of the Dallas 6 will represent a moment of truth and exposure.

Amid a week of rallies in support of prison hunger strikers,...

California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement Thursday urging CDCR to meet with prisoner hunger strike mediators and work toward meeting the prisoners’ demands. Prisoners throughout California have been on hunger strike for 25 days. Demonstrators demanded that the CDCR and governor negotiate with strikers immediately and end any and all retaliations against their protest.

Innocent but wearing guilty clothes

For 16 and a half years, I fought with every breath in my body to prove my innocence. On Oct. 5, 2011, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals vacated my life sentence on the grounds of “insufficient evidence,” which is equal to a not guilty verdict, barring a retrial. Under the appeal issue on which my conviction was overturned, I was eligible for immediate release.

Rock the vote! Rock the boat!

In this country they sing, “God Bless America,” but they mean, “except if you live south of the border or in the hood or if you’re a person of color, a woman, poor or an activist for the common good.” Rock the vote and rock the boat by shopping locally! My Buy Black Wednesday Business of the Month is MG Enhancez Hair Shop.

Capt. Reggie Schell: Black Panther (1941-2012)

He was born Richard Reginald Schell, but most people knew him as Reggie, and those who worked with him called him “Cap” – short for Captain, the rank he held in the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party. He was a patient and wise teacher and looked out for younger Panthers, including this writer.

Congress pushes to deregulate public housing authorities across the nation

With corruption running rampant on Wall Street and in the nation’s lending institutions and housing industry, millions of homeowners are facing foreclosure as a direct result. Matters are only getting worse as members of Congress and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) are pushing to deregulate the nation’s more than 3,000 public housing authorities.

Youth of color: Watched and shot

Trayvon Martin and Mumia Abu-Jamal. One is dead. One languished on death row for 30 years. They are separated in age by a generation, separated by different locations and different life-histories, but their stories of being under surveillance, watched and shot, intersect strikingly with each other and with many other people.

Wanda’s Picks for March 2012

When the Occupy San Quentin rally ended, San Rafael police followed us to the Richmond Bridge. I don’t know if it was Jabari Shaw’s orange CDCR jumpsuit that kept them wondering – Is he an escapee, one of ours? – or if it was the sheer magnitude of fearlessness represented by women like Kelly, a former prisoner who would not let her traumatic experience silence her. One brother got so full looking at the guards on the other side of the gate watching that he looked like he was going to leap the gate and hurt someone as he recalled the violations of his person over and over again. Members of All of Us or None dropped everything to embrace him when he left the stage.

The 1966 Hunters Point rebellion: The fight must go on

With the current wave of uprisings across England ... and the insurgence of flash mobs across the United States ... it is appropriate to call on the history of rebellions by our people. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once stated, riot is the language of the unheard; and so it comes as no surprise that the language of our underclass is of the same dialect that it has been for decades and even centuries ...

Repression breeds resistance!

Reaching at least 6,600 prisoners across 13 prisons, this massive and inspiring act of solidarity and people power across prison-manufactured and exacerbated racial and geographic lines has dumb-founded the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation).

Rethinking Malcolm: What was Marable thinking?

The new book by Manning Marable, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention,” will help us to get a deeper understanding of Malcolm X and the times we’re living in now. This will not be a direct result of what Marable has done, but rather of what needs to happen now because of what he has done.

California SHU prisoners begin hunger strike July 1

Prisoners in the Security Housing Units, SHUs, at Pelican Bay and Corcoran state prisons in California are beginning an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the cruel and inhumane conditions of their imprisonment in what is being called “an unusual show of racial unity.” Breaking news: Prisoners at Centinela have joined the hunger strike. A prisoner there reports: “Only a few inmates are walking the yard. No Blacks or Hispanics have left their cells. No one has gone to work. He said all the races are united in this fight.”

3rd Circuit appeal ruling favoring Abu-Jamal smacks down US Supreme Court

The federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, in a stunning smack at the U.S. Supreme Court, has issued a ruling upholding its earlier decision backing a new sentencing hearing in the controversial case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.

‘Bombing his own people?’

As pro- and anti-government forces battle for supremacy in the cities and deserts of Libya in North Africa, the tenor and tone of U.S./Western reporting puts the lie to the often heard claim of journalistic objectivity.

Letest News

Sacramento PD arrests 12-year-old Black child, places plastic bag over his...

Let there be no mistake. Shooting and killing an unarmed Black woman, who professed to be pregnant in Houston, Texas, or “bagging” a small in stature 12-year-old in Sacramento must be called out for what it is. These actions are more reflective of the practices of “slave catchers” and “Jim Crow” era law enforcers than of proper urban policing techniques focused on de-escalation and by governments truly committed to empower police officers to “protect and to serve” our entire community.

Marie Harrison, mother of the movement for environmental justice

Remember the many years Marie Harrison owned the back page of the Bay View? She defined what “speaking truth to power” means. With headlines like “We’ve always survived your whip and your noose,” and observations like “Voter education isn’t just somebody educating the voters. It’s the voters educating the people they elect,” as we carry on without her, we must infuse every fight with her courage.

Statewide day of action for educational equity in California’s public schools

May 22nd is a statewide day of action calling on the California state legislature to fully fund its public schools. In Sacramento, teachers, students and families will spend the day lobbying and gathering in and around the capitol to demand change. Solidarity actions will also take place throughout the state in numerous schools and public spaces. If you stand in solidarity with us, but cannot attend any of the actions, please sign my petition at http://chng.it/wwPR6mwBGn to support our publicly educated future leaders.

‘Far, Far Better Things’ playing through May 19 at Live Oak...

It is easy to become what you know, so easy. What’s difficult is resisting. Unresolved trauma haunts the gene pool. A son, Josh (actor Yohana Ansari-Thomas) witnesses his mother’s murder or its aftermath – Dad’s bloody shirt and subsequent kidnapping of the children until he is captured. This same boy, now man, still has unresolved memories of that day when his mom was shot and the housekeeper “stood there and did nothing.”

In tribute to Marie Harrison: Until our very last breath

You’ve been an especially effective, strong, patient and articulate voice confronting forces that do not respect human rights or human life. You’ve told these opportunists firmly and politely that every human being on earth has the right to live and raise their children and see their grandchildren thrive in pollution-free places and to breathe clean air without toxins.