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Having been incarcerated since 1973, original Black Panther activist Robert Seth Hayes, 69, was released on parole last Tuesday. He joins a short list of revolutionaries from the 1960s and 1970s who are now hitting New York’s streets as elderly men after spending decades in the belly of the beast, simply for fighting for their freedom. Hayes denied participating in the June 1973 Bronx shooting death of New York Transit cop Sidney Thompson, but he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life nonetheless.
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective is releasing its 17th calendar this coming fall. The theme for 2018 is “Awakening Resistance,” reflecting on organizing in the current political climate. We are looking for 12 works of art and 12 short articles to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 2,500 homes, workplaces, prison cells and community spaces around the world. We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. We also seek submissions from prisoners – please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.
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.
In the national debate ensuing from Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” some have not given credit to Angela Davis forging national interest in prison abolition with her organizing Critical Resistance campaigns across the country. With the nominal success of the Pelican Bay prisoners’ hunger strike in California, we recognize that when we organize a national determination, we can collectively force institutional change.
The names represented in this article are just the “known” political prisoners and no disrespect to any brothas and sistas left off the list. The purpose of the list is to illustrate the current plight of our movement’s political prisoners, who, despite surviving countless hostile encounters with the state’s security forces, are on the verge of succumbing to old age and infirmities behind the walls and gun towers of the empire’s Prison Industrial Complex.
Since America’s MASS INCARCERATION is driven by unjust racial/class policies, then the real solution to MASS INCARCERATION is MASS “DECARCERATION.” In other words, drastic cuts to ALL prisoner’s TIME, since TIME is the currency, the legal tender, the great equalizer and righter of wrongs in prison.
President Obama delivered the eulogy Thursday for our beloved Dr. Dorothy Height. Dr. Height never did receive the mainstream recognition that she more than deserved, so I am proud that my president lifted her legacy for all America and the world to see and honor.
When the news first hit that Michelle Obama was starting an organic vegetable garden, I became obsessed with reading everything about it. As a Black woman, my first thought went to the ancestors who built the White House and most of the capital.