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As I’m watching the O.J. Simpson parole hearing, I can’t help but think of how life can take unexpected turns. Since 1994, we have watched a superstar – a man who was on top of the world – fall from grace in rapid fashion. We all know the story of his trial in the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. He was acquitted in that trial. About 10 years later, he wasn’t so lucky when the state of Nevada convicted him in a robbery case for which he was given a harsh 33-year sentence.
Sharon Fennell, also well known by her disc jockey name Sista Soul, has been a Humboldt resident for over 30 years. Fennell, through her volunteer work at KHSU, has grown to become an advocate for prisoners and shown faithfulness in bringing awareness to the conditions and contradictions of America’s penal system. After 36 years, Fenell – or Sista as she is called by friends and close acquaintances – has decided to move on. She has one more radio show this Sunday, Dec. 18.
The Assembly Select Committee on Justice Reinvestment will hold a hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 13, to listen to experts speaking on existing programs in California and beyond. The committee is looking for practices that could be adopted or expanded to improve justice practices and reduce the California prison population to allow constitutional levels of health care.
It is my sincere hope this letter will be received in the same spirit of appreciation and cooperation in which it is written. First and foremost, I wish to acknowledge the courage and independent thinking and actions you demonstrated in the unannounced visit to inspect the conditions of confinement at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit and speak with the strike leaders.
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.”