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I’m writing to bring awareness to the current problems we face at 850 Bryant St., on the Seventh Floor in the San Francisco County Jail. Not only for months do the toilets constantly overflow, causing us to have to smell fecal matter all day, but also they serve us dinner at 3:30 p.m. every day but let the trays sit in the hallway for two hours before we receive them, so we have only cold food every single meal. Now, in addition, when it rains, the roof leaks rusty water on my bed.
As I sit here today in the hole at the San Francisco County Jail known as CJ 5 in San Bruno, I’m saying to myself enough is enough with the brutal treatment here at the jail. On my desk is a copy of the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department Policies and Procedures Handbook, and although I can’t see them, there are some invisible policies and procedures being practiced on the daily at the jail. The San Francisco sheriffs’ “Don’t fuck with us, or we’ll fuck you up” policy is in full force, and if you think it is a game, I have first hand experience with this “hands on” policy, and it has been the worst experience of my life.
“The End of Policing,” a new book by Alex Vitale, examines the histories and failures of policing policies and provides examples of alternatives that successfully divest from dependence on police while strengthening the community. Vitale’s chapters on criminalizing homelessness and gang suppression in particular can be a useful tool in revealing ineffective policies in effect today in San Francisco. Join the San Francisco No Injunctions Coalition on July 12, City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s last planned court hearing to remove names from the city’s gang injunctions.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.
I’m incarcerated in 850 Bryant, CJ4 of the San Francisco County Jail, and my health is failing. Due to the lack of sunlight, like a plant I’m withering away. I’m having kidney problems, and I’ve had to have two spinal surgeries since I’ve been here, in three and a half years. I’m mentioning this because I’m only 35 years old! And also because the medical care provider that is contracted here is severely incompetent. They have a history of letting inmates here die.
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 current campaign to elect a sheriff for the City and County of San Francisco can and must become San Francisco’s “eyes wide open” opportunity to review what it can do to identify and promulgate a new path for the City on how it will create quantifiable change in the San Francisco County Jail and Youth Detention Center’s disproportionate incarceration of African American and Hispanic men, women and youth. Vote for John Robinson for Sheriff on Nov. 3, 2015!
All of Us or None’s upcoming Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Western Regional Conference is Sept. 20-21 at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway in downtown Oakland. It will be a time for people to discuss employment, housing, crimmigration, which is the connection between the punishment system in the U.S. and immigration policies, and more. Check out one of the main organizers, Manuel La Fontaine, about the conference and his life experiences.
On Friday, Oct. 3, Antolin Marenco was dead, found “blue” and hanging in his cell in SF County Jail, an apparent suicide. I say apparent because evidence surrounding his death is still coming in and, as someone who was in regular contact with Antolin, I can say with certainty that if he took his own life, he was driven to this extreme act by over a year of sustained torture, brutality and neglect at the hands of the SFPD and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.
As I read from the July 2013 issue of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper, Marcus Books is in trouble. I would be remiss not to speak up and help prevent this beautiful and beloved landmark from imminent eviction. Hence, I am sending a letter to the president of these United States plus sharing my Marcus Books love story with all.
Rand Paul’s filibuster opposing nominee John Brennan’s CIA appointment had relevant historical significance. In terms of the U.S. drone policy and the capacity for targeted killing of U.S. citizens, it is important to know targeted killing of U.S. citizens under a secret program is not new. As a result of a counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO), as many as 33 Black Panthers were targeted for killing.
The Clean Lounge, a clean and sober space located in Bayview Hunters Point in San Francisco, was full of Fired Up! women and supporters, family and friends.There was so much collective healing wisdom in the room. Fired Up! is an insider-outsider grassroots network founded by CCWP former prisoners that meets weekly in the San Francisco County Jail.
Judith Jamison looked regal on stage with Farai Chideya last month in The Forum Conversations at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her message seemed to be one of preparedness and presence – being, as our sister Ayana Vanzant says, in spirit. Muslims call this the sirata-l-mustaqim or the path of the rightly guided.
My nephew was a recent victim of systemic racism at the hands of an unethical judicial system. From the point of his arrest, he was treated as if he were guilty of a crime he had not committed. Yes, he is Black. Yes, it was late into the night. “I’m innocent,” he would say, over and over.
The first study to assess the impact of the San Francisco Public Defender's Office reentry social work program found that alternatives to incarceration, reduced sentencing and avoided jail days obtained as a result of reentry advocacy saved California state prisons over $5,000,000 and San Francisco County over $1,000,000.
When imprisoned and placed in an isolation unit, you begin to live inside yourself, measuring how you are doing against the challenges that you are confronted by to gauge how well you are getting on.
Herman Bell arrived from New York in late May 2007 to face this extremely unjust prosecution of eight former Black Panthers and community activists. Confinement in the San Francisco County Jail has been devastating to what little quality of life Herman and Jalil Muntaqim have experienced in New York prisons for three decades.