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CDCR tried their hardest to deceive the public by defaming our peaceful movement. They labeled us and attacked our character as a collective. Our peaceful protests have nothing to do with furthering “gangs” or “prison politics,” which CDCR loosely reported. They have ALL to do with amplifying our voices to let the world know that the bodies this nation holds captive in its isolation chambers are human beings too.
Efforts over the past month to discuss or mediate the prisoner’s concerns with the CDCR have not resulted in any changes in policy and we are therefore now writing to request that you urgently consider conducting an on-site visit to one or more California prisons, including Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) to interview prisoners (now on the 38th day of their hunger strike) and prison officials.
Mail to the Bay View from the hunger strikers has been very sparse since the strike began with 30,000 participants on July 8. Prison officials may be holding their letters as they did during the 2011 hunger strikes. But yesterday and today the mail brought a postcard and several letters from Bay View subscribers in the Pelican Bay SHU (security housing unit), where these historic hunger strikes originated.
We are all remaining strong as one in unity. Everybody back here is determined to push to their limit and the atmosphere around here is strong. The five core demands were re-submitted to the newest warden, Frank Chavez, and we also submitted a few of our own demands to better the conditions here in ASU. We’ve made it clear that we are going to continue hunger striking until the five core demands are met.
Greetings to all with like mind and heart in the struggle. Here in Calipatria State Prison we continue to push forward as one in solidarity with our mindset to hunger striking in unity with all races until CDCR meets the five core demands. The entire Calipatria State Prison – GP and ASU – are in full support and fighting peacefully together to make sure our voices are heard exposing CDCR’s corrupt system for what it is.
Things have been very mellow and tranquil here at Calipatria ASU. There hasn’t been any tension or bullsh-t with the staff or anything. Everybody got their TVs and cable installed recently and things have actually progressed. It will never be complete until the validation process is fixed and isolation has ended but there have been some real positive changes.
You cannot bury thousands of human beings under conditions that amount to torture – and you cannot leave it up to the torturer to establish the criteria for what constitutes torture. They never see anything wrong with what they do even when violating the law and the humanity of people. The STG policy makes it easier for CDCR to confine us to their dungeons.
My husband, Robbie James Riva, who currently resides at Calipatria State Prison, has maintained his innocence for the past 11 years. After his appeal was denied in 2009 and there was no more money to pay an attorney, I decided to take it on myself. We put our minds together, our strength, our love and we told each other we could do this and we did. He wrote his appeal himself with the documents I sent him.
The green monster always labels us who are validated [alleged to be prison gang members or associates] as violent and threats to other inmates, staff and the security of the institution. The thing is this: They fail to show proof of these claims.
I would like to extend our utmost love and respect to all who remain strong and positive against CDCR’s death grip of long-term segregation. It has been eight months since the last Pelican Bay-California Statewide Hunger Strike and there have been some “material changes” here at Calipatria ASU. Our objective as a whole is to see an end to all wrongful validations and long-term segregation/isolation.
Imagine you were framed again by prison gang officers using a tattoo you got as a child and a symbol in a birthday card to “validate” you as a “prison gang associate” and label you “worst of the worst” and placed in segregation in a Security Housing Unit, or SHU, for years on end. That is what happened to my childhood best friend and husband, Robbie Riva.
Comparing their conditions to a “living coffin,” 400 California prisoners held in long-term or indefinite solitary confinement petitioned the United Nations Tuesday to intervene on behalf of all of the more than 4,000 prisoners similarly situated. California holds more prisoners in solitary confinement than any other state in the United States or any other nation on earth. Conditions inside California’s SHUs and ASUs were at the center of two massive waves of hunger strikes last year that saw the participation of thousands of prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.