On this 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers’ Free Breakfast Program, let us meditate on the incredible legacy of the original Black Panther Party. Although this is a plea for help and a call to action, this piece is also a dedication.
The death toll inside Texas State Prisons continues to rise with no relief in sight. There is such a thing as perception management and “controlling the narrative.”
Sisters and Brothers, there is nothing more important to me than the children! Nurturing and educating our children is one of the most important things that we can do.
I want all of you to understand that as soon as a prisoner is released from prison or jail, she or he is expected to find a job and pay taxes. So, with this in mind, why in the hell can’t all states restore our right to vote?
It is with great joy that I announce my parole from Texas state prisons (TDCJ)!
“Heat illness is a very serious matter in Texas prisons. I am a living witness to these conditions and many other unjust and cruel things that occur daily in Texas state prisons.”
We’re gonna fight back against these fascist pigs! Wherever there is oppression, racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia or hatred of women, we are going to collectively confront that!
TDCJ rules prisoners via the very real and constant threat of retaliation. Just a brief discussion with any current or former TDCJ prisoner would detail countless stories of revenge perpetuated by TDCJ officials on a daily basis.
It is our intention to transform “prison slaves” into respected and productive members of the international proletariat movement. As a proletarian, YOU, the sister or brother sitting on your bunk, or in your cubicle, or in the day room reading this essay – YOU are a WORKER and not a SLAVE. Your lives matter, and you have great potential to be an extremely productive and successful member of the new society we are struggling to create.
On the front page of USA Today for Dec. 27, 2018, we saw a shocking headline: “Grave discovery unearths legacy of Black convict labor.” The unmarked graves of 95 “prison slaves” were found on a construction site in Sugar Land, Texas. These Black men, ages 14 to 70 years old, were our ancestors and the first victims of what we have come to know as prison slavery in Amerika! These contract convict laborers were subjected to this form of slavery because the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still allows slavery. Only the name has been changed. Slavery is still alive!
On Oct. 4, 2015, at the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit located in Beeville, Texas, prisoner Jarvis Dugas, No. 1386881, was preparing for a visit with his mother. Dugas, who is known to his friends as “Homestead,” is a Black man who is mentally handicapped and physically disabled. He walks with a pronounced limp. Dugas’ mother, Regina Strange, is a former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She is all too familiar with the overt tactics of mistreatment, abuse and degradation associated with the corrupt prison agency and because she knows that, she regularly visits her son Jarvis.
TDCJ has me classified as a “High Profile Inmate,” but no one here has actually told me why I have been placed on high profile status. The only reasons I’ve been given is “you have lawsuits.” However, this supports my argument that the prison agency TDCJ has been retaliating against me for accessing the courts. Last year I won a civil lawsuit when I challenged TDCJ’s unconstitutional beard and religious headgear policy. While I was litigating that suit I was not subjected to this humiliating treatment. So why now?
The number of K2-related deaths in Texas prisons is mounting, year after year. Due to this drug being undetectable by prison drug-testing kits, it has become a favorite drug of choice for prisoners and prison officials who profit handsomely from smuggling it in. This has caused other common prison drugs, like cocaine, marijuana and meth, to be discarded by prisoners who now have the ability to get high without worrying about failing drug tests.
Written Sept. 4, 2018 – Today the heat and humidity inside my cell has reached a level which has caused me to feel dizzy, and I have been experiencing migraine headaches. Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle denied my request for an emergency preliminary injunction. One of my main requests was that she order TDCJ to fix the inoperable and malfunctioning HVAC system here on the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit.
First and foremost, I send out a clenched fist salute to all of the women and men incarcerated across the United States who stood up on Aug. 21 and who continue to do so! Without your sacrifice there will be no change. oppressors and enemies of freedom are waging an aggressive war and assault against any individuals or organizations that have defined themselves as anti-imperialists and/or prison abolitionists. This illegal and unconstitutional ”program” is a nationwide program enacted by the U.S. Department of Justice! Ol’ racist Jeff Sessions is at it again!
A settlement has been reached in the Pack Unit lawsuit, and air conditioning will be installed temporarily during the summer months, until the Texas legislature allocates funding for the installation of permanent AC units. Last year, I attempted to file a motion on behalf of myself and all Texas prisoners who are similarly situated to the prisoners at the Pack Unit. The Texas Civil Rights Project, based out of Houston, requested that I withdraw the motion because it had the potential of delaying relief for Pack Unit prisoners.
What I have discovered is that the state of Texas has conspired with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to downplay and cover up toxic and contaminated water supplies in state-run prisons as well as the rural communities which have found themselves in close proximity to these toxic sites. It is not just the prisoners in Texas who are suffering the ill effects. I have also discovered that what is happening in Texas is not unique.
After randomly being awakened in the early morning, boarded onto the TDCJ transportation bus, then shipped to the Ramsey Unit, a prisoner told me that the experience was like “being snatched from a dungeon and sent to a new wave slave plantation.” The statement he made is a reality that many prisoners housed in close custody units and solitary confinement cells throughout the state of Texas are experiencing, on a whim.
It’s Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. I am trapped inside a Texas prison known as the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit. Eastham is the oldest maximum security prison in Texas. The water has been shut completely off for four days! We can’t shower, we can’t wash our hands, and worst of all – we can’t flush our toilets, which are full of human excrement. By Day 2, the pungent odor of human waste pervades the entire building.
In Texas, prisoner lives don’t matter, and nothing illustrates this point better than the decision by the federal government to abandon over 2,000 prisoners at the federal prison complex in Beaumont during Hurricane Harvey. My friend, journalist Candice Bernd of Truth-Out, wrote a heart-wrenching piece which detailed the horrendous living conditions prisoners were forced to contend with during and in the aftermath of Harvey.
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