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Raw sewage overflows since January 2017 at the San Francisco’s main 850 Bryant St. jail are making prisoners sick, according to a class action lawsuit asking for $150,000 or more in damages filed July 30 against the City and County of San Francisco, the Sheriff and other law enforcement personnel. The raw sewage spill was reported in the District Attorney’s Office in January 2017 but not in the jail.
On Friday, Sept. 9, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising in New York, prisoners are calling for a general strike across all prisons in the United States against prison slavery. As the initial call out for the strike stated: “Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore. ... This is a call for a nationwide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on Sept. 9, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.”
Sheriff Vicki Hennessy wrote to the Board of State and Community Corrections to rescind San Francisco’s application for jail funding under SB 863, writing: “The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has tasked the Sheriff’s Department, the Department of Public Health, and community mental health and criminal justice stakeholders to convene an effort to explore alternatives that currently preclude building a new detention facility.”
Serena Williams just won her 21st Grand Slam. That’s the same number every other active women’s player has collected combined. In her last 28 matches, she is 28-0, and at the US Open this August, Ms. Williams will be favored to win the sport’s first calendar Grand Slam since Steffi Graf did it 27 years ago. At 33, Williams actually seems to be gaining strength. As a political symbol and an athletic powerhouse, Serena Williams is ‘the greatest’ in her sport.
The New Underground Railroad Movement is a grassroots inside-outside organization that recognizes that the institutionalization of mass incarceration is the greatest civil rights and social issue we are faced with today. The New Underground Railroad Movement is dedicated to shutting down the “prison industrial complex” through tactical, organizational and grassroots work strikes, boycotts and class conscious empowerment.
The San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) calls for an immediate end to police violence, the taking of Black lives and the terrorizing of Black communities. We are inspired by the determination and courage of the people of Ferguson, Black people across the United States, and solidarity protests. In the face of such incredible injustice, we openly support this people’s rebellion.
My message is not just to the men and women in these solitary holes. I myself am in one right now. My message is to the whole 2.5 million victims of mass incarceration and prison slavery. Everyone! All of us around the country, let’s just shut down. Wherever you are, just stop working. If you are in solitary confinement, spread the word to those rotating in and out. When they try to lock up those who organize and lead the shutdowns in population, don’t even give up.
This week members of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), advocates and activists representing diverse communities are attending the Senate Public Safety and Assembly Budget Committee hearings in Sacramento to speak out against billions in funding for new prison and jail expansion. The Assembly Budget Committee hearing will begin on Wednesday, April 23, at 1:30 p.m. in Room 437 of the Capitol in Sacramento.
I don’t know whether any of your names will be recorded in history books as the early leaders of a bold, courageous movement that not only ended solitary confinement as a form of torture, but also ended the entire system of mass incarceration in this country. But I know that the entire movement for freedom and justice in the United States is indebted to you.