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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.
Cherie Williams, a 35-year-old African-American woman in the Bronx, just wanted to protect herself from her abusive boyfriend. So she called the cops. But although New York requires police to make an arrest when responding to domestic violence calls, the officers did not leave their car. When Williams demanded their badge numbers, the police handcuffed her, drove her to a deserted parking lot and beat her, breaking her nose and jaw and rupturing her spleen. They then left her on the ground.
Too often, organizing work done by incarcerated women goes wholly unrecognized. In her book, “Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women,” Victoria Law focuses on the many forms of activism happening inside of women’s prisons, most of which never reach the dominant media. In the following interview, Law shares ways in which individual acts of resistance are building toward a transformational new reality.
For the last few months, myself and other POOR Magazine family of poverty and indigenous skolaz have been traveling to Missions across CalifAztlan alongside First Nations elders and revolutionaries to address the 21st century violence of granting sainthood to Junipero Serra by Pope Francis. Using indigenous bodies for brutal slave labor, Junipero Serra “founded” nine of 21 Franciscan missions along the Pacific coast.
Assigned to the Mental Health Crisis Bed (MHCB) unit, I found 80-plus patients suffering torture, sexual abuse and neglect. President Obama would recognize it as torture. The vast majority of victims were Black or Hispanic, all the abusers White. Cold, dark cells hold captives in isolated sensory deprivation – drugged, sick and in pain. Nurses prevented death only to prolong torment, sometimes for years. The number of patients suffering preventable deaths during “medical treatment” in CDCR facilities may exceed all legal executions nationwide.
On Thursday, July 31, communities impacted by incarceration, immigrant detention and escalating violence against women and children will march to the site of a new women’s prison in McFarland to demand its immediate closure. Advocates will convene at McFarland Park, 100 Frontage Rd, McFarland, Calif., at 5 p.m. CDCR has contracted with the GEO Group to run the McFarland prison. The GEO group, like the state of California, has been challenged by prisoner hunger strikes, protests and lawsuits due to the deplorable and inhumane conditions of their facilities.
Not quite a month ago, I wrote that we at Black Agenda Report had received word of a new self-organized hunger strike among prisoners in Georgia’s notorious Diagnostic and Classification Prison at Jackson. A second communication says eight prisoners are still refusing food and are on the receiving end of abuse and threats from correctional officers at Jackson. The note also sheds some chilling light on the reason for the prisoners’ self-organized action.
The U.S. State Department recently released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, posing as the world judge of human rights again. As in previous years, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the U.S. turned a blind eye to its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it.
In a conversation with my comrade Tyson, I learned that Black people in the U.S. bought twice as many erotic and gangsta lit books as we do anything else. Mary Honey B Morrison had a lot of prolific and enlightening ideas when it came to literature, expressing one’s self and sexuality, so I wanted to turn our readers on to a legendary author in our midst.
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.
From it's inception, the juvenile justice system has treated youth of color unfairly: When the first detention facility established a "colored section" in 1834, Black children were excluded from rehabilitation because it would be a "waste" of resources.
Minister of Information JR interviews Jessica Holter, Bay Area erotic poet, AIDS awareness worker and founder of the Punany Poets. Jessica talks with JR about sexuality, hip hop, HIV and erotica.
Institutionally racist and classist U.S. adoption and foster care agencies, along with county-run child protective services agencies, are all established with a core mission that includes the goal to “protect” children in need, which is a good goal. But it becomes problematic when the concept of “in need” is judged through a Western, Eurocentric lens.
"Have you forgotten the holocaust? Have you forgotten the gulags in Russia? Communism, nazism, fascism did not come from Africa. ... A Western country was the first to use weapons of mass destruction in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Those countries have been able to rise. Africa, there is hope," Bishop Tutu assured.