Todd Ashker honors the prisoner class on the inside and supporters on the outside as the unstoppable force, standing strong and speaking truth to power in the work for human rights and dignity, and brings forward the collective committed voices of the three massive Hunger Strikes, the Ashker, et al., Class Action Settlement Agreement, and the Agreement to End Hostilities, all of which lead to the next steps in the ongoing struggle.
I am calling on colleagues and professional organizations to recognize publicly and use our influence to bring an end to prolonged solitary confinement in American jails, prisons and detention centers. Not only is there is a great need for solidarity among individuals and organizations to uphold human rights and ethical principles but also to reduce reprisals against any whistleblower. Considering that 95 percent of those incarcerated will be released back to the community, bringing with them the negative health consequences of their confinement, the conditions and traumas they face while incarcerated should concern us all.
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.
On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, Wednesday, April 4, we need to stop and reflect on the many landmark movements which began 50 years ago … like hip-hop. For the Oakland Museum of California to showcase this culture in an exhibit entitled “RESPECT: Hip Hop Style and Wisdom” now through August 2018 is to elevate this conversation and its creators to a level unprecedented.
In 1984, in San Diego, I was born to two parents with mental health problems. My parents put myself and my siblings through severe neglect, sexual abuse, physical and verbal abuse. I am the oldest of six children. My dad was a Vietnam vet. At age 12 I broke away from my parents and turned myself over to Child Protective Services thinking they could help and were the only answer.
Trust the truth: Neither slavery nor Jim Crow is over. As you can see, the 13th Amendment perpetuates slavery through its exception clause, and Black life still don’t matter, not just personally, but by law. Jim Crow is being kept alive through systemic impunity. When you let a certain group know that they are above the law, that they can do as they please to other people and they will be protected, you create sadists, bullies and ruffians.
Ava DuVernay undertook the documentary “13th” in order to explore and bring attention to the Prison Industrial Complex. The film’s title refers to the 1865 amendment to the U.S. Constitution, in which slavery was abolished “except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” The story told by “13th” thus goes back to the early chain-gangs of Black prisoners – men arrested for petty offenses under the post-Civil War Black Codes who were then contracted out to perform labor that they had previously performed as privately-owned slaves.
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.
Have you ever seen the movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” starring actor Jimmy Stewart? He played George Bailey, who urged the members of the “Building and Loan” to “Stick together – don’t panic, ‘cause old man Potter is not selling – he’s buying!” With that same sense of urgency, I make a similar comparison. This isn’t Bedford Falls, nor is this a movie. This is the state of the state of California, as well as the United States of America, and our lives I’m talking about.
Basic logic dictates it is the community who should be vested with the power to parole, pardon or grant clemency to those who, in their determination, would have a positive impact on their communities and society as a whole if released. This is a concept developed by George Jackson University known as strategic release. To this end, we are announcing our campaign to develop – and establish nationally – New Afrikan Community Parole, Pardon and Clemency Review Board.
This report reveals the failure of CDCR’s efforts to sustainably reduce incarceration and resolve the humanitarian crisis of its prisons and instead outlines a concerning vision for an expanded and more powerful prison system. We must begin making investments that will sustainably reduce incarceration, close prisons and provide true opportunities for people in low-income communities to thrive.
The title of my book, “Annotated Tears: America’s Auschwitz,” came from one of the poems inside. It’s a socio-political piece geared toward unveiling California’s injustice system, with specific reference to its treatment of juveniles, which upon reflection resembles Hitler’s Germany. The piece, entitled “America’s Auschwitz,” begins: Everybody’s a victim -- Sick depictions of pain ... Gestapos lurking through the ghettos -- Trailed by a bag of chains ...
Ten years ago, in 2005, two revolutionized comrades, Shaka Zulu, now the chairman, and Kevin Rashid Johnson, now minister of defense, came up with the concept to create the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter in reflection of the Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter that was originally created in 1971 by Comrades W.L. Nolen and George Jackson to fight against injustice and abuse as well as in-prison criminalization of prisoners who resisted being victims.
A petition for an initiative proposing major changes in California’s Three Strikes law has been filed. The proposed initiative was received on Sept. 16 by the state Attorney General’s Office from a nonprofit, grassroots organization called CHOOSE1. It is entitled: “The Three Strikes Rehabilitation and Reform Act of 2016.” Supporters would need to collect 500,000 valid voter signatures for the initiative to be placed on the November 2016 ballot.
“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi. Corrections Corporation of America and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is the epitome of this quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein.
Filmmaker Noel Schwerin is someone who is concerned about the way prisoners are classified and housed in racially segregated units in California and around the United States. Come check out “In an Ideal World” at the San Francisco Black Film Festival as well as meet the filmmaker Noel Schwerin and one of the former prisoners in the film to discuss this and many other issues dealing with the human rights of prisoners.
In the last two months – from Dec. 27 to Feb. 10, 2015 – four prisoners have died here at Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, a private prison California uses to relieve its prison overcrowding; it is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America, CCA. These lives were lost due to indifference, unprofessionalism and lack of adequate training.
San Francisco’s jail population is steadily decreasing, and we hope that the number of San Francisco youth struggling to find support during their parents’ and family members’ incarceration will decrease with it. This is why we as youth who have all experienced parental incarceration in San Francisco oppose a new jail in our city. Why invest in a new jail rather than the potential of our youth?
When I arrived at Childersburg Community Work Center on Oct. 25, 2013, I did so with one of the worst cases of ringworm any of the medical staff here or at St. Clair had ever seen. How that came to be I will explain later. It didn’t take long for me to see that I was at a very nasty and unconstitutional facility, and on Nov. 19, 2013, I filed a formal complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice and the State Fire Marshall.
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.
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