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The public, with its hunger for revenge, does not want to hear about personal acts of atonement by people who have been sentenced for a crime. Acts of atonement by the condemned are usually viewed as a ploy to save his or her own life – not as a genuine act of redemption. People on death row are deemed the lowest of the low. Many people believe death-row prisoners cannot be “reformed” because they are “unformed” as human beings.
Last June, an inspiring and thought provoking art exhibition took place in London, in the UK. From June 24 to July 6, 2016, approximately 20 inmates from San Quentin’s death row showcased their work alongside mine; I make collages and sculptures from discarded objects I pick up along the banks of the River Thames. The name of the exhibition was ArtReach (reaching out with art), and the aim of it was to enable prisoners to share their work with the outside world.
Ten years ago - the weight of shackles - pressed hard against his body - collapsing his lungs - squeezing his life - but not his spirit - determined to bury him - beneath the rubble of ashes - beneath time - cast him to oceans - like forgotten Ancestors - written out of history - a historical footnote. - But - we haven’t forgotten - the death of Malcolm and Martin - or the struggles of Harriet. - No more can we forget Dec. 13, 2005 - Stanley Tookie Williams -
The Abu Jihad museum at Al Quds University is hosting an international exhibition titled “George Jackson in the Sun of Palestine,” which opened Oct. 20, 2015. It is the first international exhibit of this center for prisoner movement affairs located in the Abu Dis village of Jerusalem. The exhibition links the Palestinian prisoner struggle with the struggles of other political prisoners around the world. It aims to raise international awareness about the reality of prisoners in general and what the Israeli Occupation State is doing to harass Palestinian prisoners in particular.
“Champion ended his strike Oct. 19, after having lost over 51 pounds and having at least one major demand met: He has been promised that he will be released from his highly restrictive confinement after seven years of being held in ‘the hole.’”
Word has just reached us that Steve Champion, a prisoner on San Quentin’s death row well known as an inspirational advocate for justice and as one of the trio with Stanley Tookie Williams and Anthony Ross, began a hunger strike last Thursday, Oct. 4. His demands – still unmet – are listed in “The struggle never stops,” published in the July Bay View and reprinted here, and he asks that all who believe in justice flood the San Quentin warden and Corrections Department (CDCR) spokespersons with calls and emails.
Unlike Title 15 – California’s Code of Regulations for all California prisoners – San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the 608s, which mandate that death row prisoners are under the control of the warden of San Quentin. It is this illegal and repressive code of regulations that AC death row prisoners are vigorously challenging.
The Coalition Against Police Execution (CAPE) will hold the Praying for Peace, Working for Justice March and Rally at Oakland's City Hall Wednesday, Jan. 14, at 4 p.m. as the Oakland community continues to demand justice in the senseless murder of Oscar Grant by BART police.