Wanda Sabir presents a thoughtful journey considering the effects of the pandemic on our reality, and experiencing through memorial art, theatre, healing arts and poetry the beauty, trauma, wisdom, fight and survival of Black wom(b)en holding the possibilities of the future.
Feb. 1, National Freedom Day, commemorates both the passage of the 13th Amendment and the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which declares that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,” including incarcerated human beings.
As more progressive District Attorneys such as newly-elected Los Angeles County DA George Gascón are being elected across the country, the glimmer of possibilities for changes in the (in)justice system arise, as a result of the voices from behind the walls and families and loved ones outside, all suffering the brutal abuses of our Industrial Prison Complex.
We know her name – Ida B. Wells-Barnett – but do we know how her very essence laid the groundwork for, and is woven deeply into the fabric of, today’s struggles? Uhuru B. Rowe, with elegance and expertise draws a powerful picture for our enlightenment about this profound human icon.
What is it like to correspond with an incarcerated person? End Solitary Confinement advocate Willow Katz’s interview with Sharon Willis reveals an unintended, deeply human 26-year relationship created between Sharon and revered ancestor Herman Wallace of the Angola 3.
This horror story is unique to Phillip Littler – but not. Kevin ‘Rashid Johnson has told the story again and again, and as a revered artist, he lays bare these atrocities in drawings, exquisite in the pain they reveal, imploring us to listen, feel and act to abolish the existing evil culture killing our fellow human beings.
Emmett Till, the Scottsboro Boys, the Central Park 5, and the list goes on. The ramifications of being falsely accused of a crime in America can be, and often have been, deadly for Black people.
Liberate the Caged Voices, a program of California Prison Focus, provides a platform to hear directly from our caged community members, their families and loved ones to foster engagement with the local community, while exposing the truth of the toxic conditions experienced by California’s incarcerated people and the impact on their families. Adding art and culture, the idea is to build awareness, solidarity and human relationship amongst community members on both sides of the wall and take collective action.
Call Daniel Bedwell, Aramark director at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility at 812-398-5050, ext. 4801. Tell him that you are concerned that the prisoners on the SHU are being starved because they are not receiving a diet that meets the guidelines of IDOC Policy and Procedures.
MOVE member Delbert Africa, held in prison since the confrontation of Aug. 8, 1978, has walked out of a Pennsylvania prison after 42 years.
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.
On April 22, 2018, over 200 people attended the UCSC opening of the Reel Work May Day Labor Film Festival (RWLFF)’s 17th season, with the event theme “Together to End Solitary.” RWLFF’s motto, “We are stronger together,” is particularly poignant when coming together to end the extreme isolation of the state-sanctioned torture of solitary confinement. The film, “Cruel and Unusual, the Story of the Angola 3,” details the Angola 3's decades-long struggle for justice and to build an international movement to end solitary confinement.
“Follow the Money, Flashpoints Radio Voices,” an anthology of interviews from 2009-2016 KPFA Flashpoints shows, is full of tragedy: oil wars, drone bombing, torture, mass incarceration, mass surveillance, police militarization, neoliberal trade agreements, poisoned water, botched executions, ecocide and the “too-big-to-fail” bank heist that kicked off the Obama years. “Follow the Money” can at the same time serve as an organizing and networking manual, because it’s filled with the voices of those fighting back.
It is urgent that the security of Shaka Shakur and Jimmy Jones be ensured, but the only way is through mass pressure from the outside. IDOC Watch asks that people call Wabash Valley warden Richard Brown at 812-398-5050 and IDOC Commissioner Robert E. Carter Jr. at 317-232-5711. Say that you are aware that Shaka Shakur, 135647, is being charged for defending himself against mistreatment by guards and that Jimmy Jones, 891782, is facing repression for exposing the situation. Demand that charges against Shaka be dropped and all disciplinary action against Jones be ceased.
“Prison Lives Matter” and “Amend the 13th: Abolish Legal Slavery in Amerika Movement” are seeking to get the people, i.e., family, friends, inmates and the outside movement, involved in the struggle to raise awareness and fight the cruel and inhuman treatment of prisoners, the daily violations of our human and civil rights, and the economic exploitation of our families. Rally Friday, Aug. 11, 11 a.m., outside the Indiana Department of Corrections headquarters.
I left CDCr wondering how PBSP could remain in shambles after 22 years of court oversight. As I started educating myself about prison reform, I stumbled upon Keramet Reiter’s 2016 book, “23/7: Pelican Bay Prison and the Rise of Long-Term Solitary Confinement.” Within those pages, I found validation and some disturbing answers. I wish this book had been available to me before I started working in CDCr.
With President Agent Orange sitting in the White House surrounded by his harem of small-handed Klansmen, we must understand that this homogenous group of fascists is intent on wreaking havoc on intellectual strength. We cannot sink into the depths of mental despair and spiritual neglect. This is exactly what they want. The tyranny of a totalitarian regime and the suffering and oppression that ensues is nothing new to the Black psyche.
I want to tell on my own behalf what’s going on behind these walls of GDOC (Georgia Department of Corrections). If possible, can somebody come and visit this prison and take a step into one of these cells? It’s sad. GDOC have the outside world thinking we’re just being punished, but the world doesn’t know that we’re being tortured and treated as stray dogs. If you look at the first “Planet of the Apes,” that’s exactly how we’re being treated. All I ask if that we get treated fairly.
It is very important that you all clearly understand the depth of human torture to which I was subjected for 30-plus years by CDCr and CCPOA.* The torture was directed at me and similarly situated women and men prisoners held in California’s solitary confinement locations throughout CDCr, with the approval and sanctioning of California governors, CDCr secretaries and directors, attorneys general, along with the California Legislature for the past 40 years.
We, the people, have to realize that our current contradictions are not just about economics, but instead are about being able to speak truth to the powers that be. Case in point, if we hadn’t been able to express in great detail what we prisoners were suffering from while being held in solitary confinement and have our letters published in the Bay View, then our voice would have never been heard. But because the Bay View was there for us, the world came to our defense.