Hunger for Justice! 24 Hour Fast July 31 in Solidarity with Prisoners peacefully Protesting the Torture!

INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR SOLIDARITY ACTIONS

24 Hours for the 5 Demands!

Starts 5PM Tuesday July 30th to stand with the California prison hunger strikers against torture

HOW:

Make a highly visible and non-violent action in solidarity anytime 5pm July 30th – 5pm July 31st.

Let the world and politicians know you support the California prison hunger striker’s Five Core Demands against torturous treatment.

Post your events to the Upcoming Events Calendar.

Don’t forget Facebook and Twitter (tweet #CAHungerstrike #PBHungerstrike and follow @CAHungerStrike)!

Afterward, send in your photos and stories of solidarity action to inspire others! Outreach materials are available online.

Join or organize a rally and outreach in your area:
Sacramento — Oakland July 30th and 31st– Southern California

Join a solidarity fast wherever you are to show your support.

WHY NOW:

Hunger striking prisoners are enduring retaliation on top of starvation! You can help stop their suffering now.

California Governor Jerry Brown is ignoring their demands! He must be forced to account for his inaction.

CA Department of Corrections is hiding their inhumane treatment from the press and public. They must be stopped and held up to the Five Core Demands.

Solidarity with the 30,000 from across the world

Solidarity with the hunger strikers from across the world: 

“The policy of isolation exposes the ugly face of these false democracies that are guilty of occupation, tyranny and social repression…
I fought in a hunger strike for 66 consecutive days against the policy of administrative detention, my detention without charge or trial. I announce my full solidarity with my 30,000 oppressed brothers in the American prisons…” – Khader Adnan

From Ohio:
7-1-13 For Distribution:

Why should a prisoner in Ohio or Minnesota, or New Mexico, support California prisoners as they move into a crucial stage of struggle for their just do?

My humble opinion is: how could any prisoner think that these apartheid-style policies being used in California won’t come knocking in Florida, WV, Illinois, or any prison system, at any given time? Remember California is said to be a liberal (in terms of political policy) state. How many conservative governors are envious of such harsh prison policies right now?!

I urge all of you in every prison and your able-bodied supporters (each of you can ask one of your friends, supporters outside who are in good health) to support this July 8th hunger strike in some form, but don’t wait till this kind of policy pays you a visit…

Remember Lucasville

Greg Curry (Ohio State Penitentiary)
————-
Nora’s blog – Electronic Intifada
Prisoner solidarity from Palestine to Pelican Bay
Via: ElectronicIntifada, July 8 2013

Persons incarcerated in Pelican Bay prison in northern California are preparing to go on a mass hunger strike starting today, 8 July, demanding the end of human rights violations including long-term solitary confinement.
Palestine activism groups are also launching days of action in support of the US hunger strikers in California, strengthening solidarity between Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons who are calling for an end to the similar methods of mass incarceration, abuse and torture inflicted upon them.

This is not the first time prisoners inside California’s Pelican Bay will go on hunger strike to demand the end of abuses. In July 2011, approximately 6,000 prisoners across twelve prisons in California took part in a three-week mass hunger strike that was launched by persons imprisoned inside Pelican Bay. The California Department of Corrections (CDC) pledged to implement reforms, and the hunger strike ended.

But later that year — after the CDC failed to change their treatment of prisoners — another hunger strike was launched by prisoners across the state. This time, 12,000 persons took part in the mass hunger strike, which lasted from 26 September to 13 October 2011. Again, prisoners in Pelican Bay say that the state promised but ultimately failed to change their policies.

Today, Truthout published a testimonial by Richard Wembe Johnson, who is imprisoned in long-term solitary confinement at Pelican Bay. Johnson is a plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to challenge such practices.

Persons inside solitary confinement units are isolated for at least 22.5 hours a day “in cramped, concrete, windowless cells,” Truthout writes. “They are denied telephone calls, contact visits, any kind of programming, adequate food and, often, medical care. Nearly 750 of these men have been held under these conditions for more than a decade, dozens for over 20 years.”

In his brief testimonial, Richard Wembe Johnson writes that being in long-term solitary confinement has made him feel he could “descend into madness.” He adds:

It is a challenge each day just to remain sane. I experience a wide and shifting range of emotions, including depression, hopelessness, antipathy, anxiety and humiliation, and I have chronic insomnia. It is difficult even to concentrate from moment to moment; my thoughts are mixed and perplexing, even in my sleep (when I am able to sleep at all).
Under no circumstance should anyone be treated like this. We are human and should not forfeit basic human rights because we are in prison.  Of course everyone should be held accountable for their actions. However, punishment for a crime should never amount to torture. What’s more, [security housing unit] confinement is additional punishment, on top of imprisonment, not for any crime or violation of prison rules, but for unsubstantiated claims that we have associated with gang members.

Core demands

Representatives from inside Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have initiated this latest call for a mass hunger strike and have notified California’s Governor, Jerry Brown, that such a protest will take place beginning today.
The prisoners’ core demands include:

  1. End group punishment & administrative abuse
  2. Abolish the debriefing policy, and modify active/inactive gang status criteria
  3. Comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement
  4. Provide adequate and nutritious food
  5. Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for those living in the SHU

In addition to the five core demands as laid out in the original 2011 protest, the prisoners have also presented forty supplemental demands that “are part of and/or related to our five core demands.”
They state in a press release posted on the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity website:

Governor Jerry Brown; CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard; and all other parties of interest,

In response to CDCR’s failure to meet our 2011 Five (5) Core Demands, the [Pelican Bay Stae Prison – Security Housing Unit] Short Corridor Representatives respectfully present this notice of, and basis for, our individualized, collectively agreed upon, decision to resume our nonviolent peaceful protest action on July 08, 2013.

The upcoming peaceful protest will be a combined Hunger Strike – Work Stoppage action. Once initiated, this protest will continue indefinitely—until all Five (5) Core Demands are fully met.

From Pelican Bay to Palestine

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoners’ Solidarity Network issued a call of solidarity with the US prisoners in Pelican Bay, and offered ways to take action.
Samidoun states:

[W]ithout progress over almost two years, the prisoners in California are launching their strike again. Prisoners continue to be sentenced to lifetimes in solitary confinement because they are labelled “gang affiliated” over such matters as tattoos, cultural art, or reading material. Youth prisoners in Washington have also announced their intention to join the strike.

Over 2 million people are imprisoned in the US and over 60 percent of those people are people of color, subject to a distinctly racialized system that routinely criminalizes youth of color, in sharp contrast to the crime rate, which has fallen while imprisonment has risen. Mass incarceration is deeply racialized, as 1/3 of young Black men are in the criminal justice system. The US holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners with 5 percent of the world’s population, and prisoner resistance and political action has been sharply repressed.

As we stand against apartheid, racism, and Zionism in Palestine, we stand against racism and oppression in the US and around the world. Solitary confinement is a mechanism of torture, from Palestine to Pelican Bay to Guantanamo, and we stand in solidarity with the courageous prisoners who challenge isolation and oppression. The US is Israel’s key international supporter, ally, and economic/military supplier, and maintains regimes of mass imprisonment for social control both in occupied Palestine and in its own prisons.
Take action and sign the Pledge of Resistance with the California Hunger Strikers.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) also issued a call of support and solidarity with hunger strikers from California to Palestine.
IJAN states:

Members of IJAN have been following and supporting the organizing of California prisoners, who are prepared to go on indefinite hunger strike starting July 8 to demand an end to long–term solitary confinement and other abuses.

Both Israel and the US use policing, imprisonment (and especially solitary confinement), and surveillance as tools of political repression—often sharing technology and training. In the US, the prison industrial complex plays a central role in American racism—harassing and incarcerating Black and Brown youth, brutalizing Black and Brown bodies, and devastating communities of color.

Israel plays a significant role in the training of police forces in the United States and elsewhere in population control and Israel and the US share technologies and strategies of surveillance and repression across borders (for more information on Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression follow this link).

As people who support the liberation of all peoples, and oppose all forms of racism, it is imperative that we stand behind striking prisoners, who are willing to risk their lives organizing for their rights and dignity.

… People who stand up to organize events on the Day of Action (or any other date) are asked to act in true solidarity by following these guidelines from the Coalition based on communication with the prisoners:

  1. Support the prisoners by advocating for the Five Core Demands rather than agitating for other goals or our own demands
  2. Remember that the prisoners chose a “nonviolent peaceful protest” and plan your solidarity actions with that spirit in mind
  3. Honor the strikers, their loved ones, supporters, and the larger community of prisoner-rights and anti-prison organizations by refusing to claim leadership of the solidarity campaign

Palestinian prisoners still on hunger strike

Addameer, the Palestinian prisoners’ advocacy organization based in the occupied West Bank, reported on 18 June that:

Individual hunger strikes of Palestinian political prisoners have escalated dramatically since the beginning of 2013, with over 33 prisoners engaging in hunger strikes for various reasons.
This week, Addameer has confirmed that four new prisoners have started hunger strikes. Currently, there are 13 prisoners on hunger strike in the Occupation’s prisons, the highest number of individual hunger strikers in over a year.

In a summary of their latest quarterly report, which came out last week, Addameer stated that:

Key issues this quarter were the Israel Prison Services’ (IPS) continued medical negligence, use of isolation, increase in raids, the military court’s use of Article 186 of Military Order 1651, detention and torture of child prisoners under the age of 16 and increased detention of journalists, Jerusalemites and human rights defenders.

Addameer maintains that increased international pressure and forceful actions must be taken to oblige Israel to act within international law parameters until the imminent abolition of the military prison system.

Yasiin Bey demonstrates Guantanamo force-feeding

In related news, more than 100 detainees languishing inside the Guantanamo Bay prison continue their hunger strike protest against the Obama administration’s ongoing policies of indefinite detention, the UK Guardian reports, adding:

More than 40 of them are being force-fed. A leaked document sets out the military instructions, or standard operating procedure, for force-feeding detainees.

Hip hop artist and activist Yasiin Bey, formerly known as Mos Def, recently elected to experience force-feeding under the same conditions in which detainees at Guantanamo are being subjected. He filmed the shocking procedure in a four-minute video produced by the human rights organization Reprieve.
The Guardian adds in a related article:

The four-minute video, directed by Bafta award-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia, seeks to reconstruct the specific force-feeding instructions set out in standard operating guidelines from Guantánamo leaked to al-Jazeera. It shows a plastic tube being inserted through Bey’s nostril into his stomach. The “Medical Management Standard Operating Procedure” document leaked from the detention camp defines a hunger striker as a detainee who has missed at least nine consecutive meals or whose weight has fallen to less than 85 percent of his ideal body weight.

You can watch the incredibly disturbing — but important — video here.

Solidarity with prisoners in California from a supermax-prisoner in Ohio

This was sent to us as a call for solidarity and support for the California prisoners who are going on a hunger strike as of July 8th, by Greg Curry in Ohio, who has been held in the supermax since his false indictment and conviction following the Lucasville prison disturbance of 1993. Greg and others have had to resort to hunger strikes many times to fight for basic rights. 

7-1-13 For Distribution:

Why should a prisoner in Ohio or Minnesota, or New Mexico, support California prisoners as they move into a crucial stage of struggle for their just do?

My humble opinion is: how could any prisoner think that these apartheid-style policies being used in California won’t come knocking in Florida, WV, Illinois, or any prison system, at any given time? Remember California is said to be a liberal (in terms of political policy) state. How many conservative governors are envious of such harsh prison policies right now?!

I urge all of you in every prison and your able-bodied supporters (each of you can ask one of your friends, supporters outside who are in good health) to support this July 8th hunger strike in some form, but don’t wait till this kind of policy pays you a visit… 

Remember Lucasville 
Justiceforlucasvilleprisoners.wordpress.com

Greg Curry (Ohio State Penitentiary)

Gregcurry.org

Greg Curry #213-159
OSP
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road,
Youngstown, OH 44505

Prisoners in CA prepare for peaceful protests starting on 7/8, other States’ Prisoners join in Solidarity: WA, LA, OH…

In Louisiana State Prison, Angola, LA, a few prisoners on solitary confinement have announced to their freinds they will fast for the first week of the July 8th 2013 California hunter strike in solidarity.

In Ohio State Penitentiary, a supermax housing amongst others prisoners who were condemned to death and who were given a life sentence following the Lucasville 1993 prison disturbance under very suspicious circumstances, some prisoners have also announced to friends they will fast in solidarity for the first few days. 

This following story comes from the SF Bay View, and shows prisoners from WA in solidarity with those in CA who are being held under extreme and neverending circumstances.

Prisoners in Washington State to join July 8 strike called by California prisoners

From: SF Bay View, June 26, 2013

by Diana George, Free Us All Coalition

Seattle, Washington (June 26, 2013) – Prisoners in the state of Washington will go on strike on July 8, 2013, refusing to work on that day. Some prisoners in Washington, including some in juvenile facilities, have vowed to join the nonviolent strike. The strike’s aim is two-fold: to show support for the hunger strikers in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to join California prisoners in protesting long-term solitary confinement and other human rights abuses in U.S. prisons.

  

The Washington prison strike on July 8 will coincide with hunger strikes and work stoppages at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California, and at least four other prisons in California. The California prisoners’ demands include an end to long-term solitary confinement and to such practices as “gang debriefing.”

To gain release from solitary confinement, California prisoners are pressured to “debrief,” denouncing fellow prisoners as gang members, who are then punished with solitary confinement. Some California prisoners have been held in isolation for more than 30 years; the strike’s aim is to end this torture.

The California prison strikes will be the third such strike to occur in the last three years. On July, 1, 2011, 6,600 prisoners in the state of California went on a nonviolent hunger strike that began in Pelican Bay State Prison and spread to other facilities in the state. Later that year, their demands still unmet, nearly 12,000 California prisoners resumed the hunger strike in September and October 2011.

This year’s call for a strike includes nonviolent work stoppage by prisoners in the general population, alongside the hunger strikes of those prisoners in solitary confinement. In California, as in Washington, work stoppages are slated to include all work, including tasks essential to the day-to-day functioning of the prisons, increasing the strike’s impact.

Diana George of the Free Us All Coalition in Washington can be reached at diana.george@gmail.com. To learn more, she recommends http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/ and http://solitarywatch.com/2013/06/01/gao-report-questions-widespread-use-of-solitary-confinement-in-federal-prisons/.

Letter to Warden John Katavich, Wasco State Prison, by prisoners, declaring support for, and solidarity with the hunger strike representatives

This was sent by email from Ed Mead, editor and publisher of The Rock, on June 15th, 2013:

Ed, Greetings from those of us in Wasco State Prison! I wanted to send you a copy of the letter delivered to the warden here at Wasco State Prison this week, declaring our support and our intent to stand in solidarity with the hunger strike representatives and all of those who stand alongside them. There are approximately 5,000 prisoner housed here at Wasco and the vast majority will stand in solidarity with hunger strike reps until the five core demands are met, along with the 9 additional demands exclusive to Wasco State Prison.

[Name withheld by Ed]

Letter to Warden John Katavich, Wasco State Prison

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of our intent to support and stand in solidarity with the Pelican Bay Hunger Strike Representatives [names of reps omitted here] by engaging in a peaceful protest beginning July 8, 2013. We here at Wasco State Prison (WSP) will stand in solidarity with those protesting at Pelican Bay State Prison throughout the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation by engaging in a peaceful protest which will consist of a hunger strike and work stoppage. We will refuse to eat or engage in inmate labor until the hunger strike representatives five core demands are met, as well as our demands concerning prison reform here at WSP. We are prepared to starve ourselves to death if need be in order to bring about change here at WSP, as well as the penal institution which create the body of CDCR, with special emphasis being paid to those inmates housed in Security Housing Units (SHUs), who are subjected to many years of forced isolation, sensory deprivation, and inhumane and tortuous conditions. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere, threatens justice everywhere.”

We feel enough is enough! The abuse and psychological torture must stop, the injustice of indeterminate SHU term and extreme isolation must be brought to an end here and now! We not only ask that the PBSP hunger strike reps five core demands be met, but also the abolishment of the farcical Security Threat Group (STG) and Step Down Program (SDP), as well as addressing the following issues here at WSP[nine demands omitted by Ed due to laziness, but the last one has to do with freedom of speech].

We respectfully request that CDCR meet the PBSP SHJU representatives’ five core demands, as well as the nine demands that are exclusive to WSP, in a timely manner. We stand together as ONE here (South, North, East, West, Black, White, etc.) in a cohesive group in order to bring about the long overdue changes here in CDCR. Once initiated, the unprecedented, non-violent peaceful protest will continue indefinitely—until all five core demands are fully met.
[Signed by 14 prisoners]

Join Us in Stopping Torture in US Prisons!

The Prison Watch Network endorses the following call for Solidarity:

Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in the US are being subjected to torturous, inhumane conditions.  Many are:


·       Held in long term solitary confinement; locked in tiny, windowless, sometimes sound proof, cells; cut off from fresh air and sunlight for 22-24 hours every day and given small portions of food that lacks basic nutritional requirements. 
·       Denied human contact and violently taken from their cells for petty violations.
·       Put in solitary arbitrarily, often because of accusations of being members of prison gangs based on dubious evidence, and have no way to challenge the decisions of prison authorities to place them in solitary.
Many are forced to endure these conditions for months, years and even decades!  Mental anguish and trauma often results from being confined under these conditions.  Locking people down like this amounts to trying to strip them of their humanity.
These conditions fit the international definition of torture!  This is unjust, illegitimate and profoundly immoral.  WE MUST JOIN IN AN EFFORT TO STOP IT, NOW!
People imprisoned at Pelican Bay State Prison in California have called For a Nation-wide Hunger Strike to begin on July 8, 2013. They have also issued a call for unity among people from different racial groups, inside and outside the prisons.  People who are locked down in segregation units of this society’s prisons, condemned as the “worst of the worst,” are standing up against injustice, asserting their humanity in the process.  We must have the humanity to hear their call, and answer it with powerful support!
A Nation-wide and World-wide Struggle Needs to Be launched NOW to bring an End to this widespread Torture Before those in the Prisons Are Forced to Take the Desperate step of going on hunger strikes and putting their lives on the line!
                                                                                               
To the Government
We Demand an Immediate End to the Torture and Inhumanity of Prison House America – Immediately Disband All Torture Chambers.  Meet the demands of those you have locked down in your prisons!
To People in this Country and Around the World
We Cannot Accept, and We Should Not Tolerate This Torture.  Join The Struggle to End Torture in Prisons Now!
To Those Standing Up in Resistance Inside The Prisons: 
WE SUPPORT YOUR CALL FOR UNITY IN THIS FIGHT, AND WE WILL HAVE YOUR BACKS!
June 21, 22 and 23 Will Be Days of Solidarity With the Struggle to End Prison Torture!  There will be protests, cultural events, Evenings of Conscience, sermons in religious services, saturation of social media – all aimed at laying bare the ugly reality of wide spread torture in US prisons and challenging everyone to join in fighting to STOP it.
Send Your endorsements (name . and if you wish, organization and/or title,  to:
For more information and to join in this struggle contact the Stop Mass Incarceration Network at:

New Year’s Wish

Dear visitor of our website for the Prison Watch Network of Blogs, Brothers and Sisters,

The past years we have seen a growing interest in the situation concerning prison conditions, Solitary Confinement without any reasonable ending or program, without any court-ordered punishment, and also have we seen some positive movements concerning life without parole for children and the fight against shackling of female prisoners who are giving birth. Tamms, the supermax in Illinois, finally closed. Reasons being the budget, not cruel and unusual punishment, but nevertheless. It says something about admitting that  such an inhumane building and  having to keep people locked in cement boxes, buried alive, forever,  is not really necessary. But solitary confinement still happens of course in regular prisons too. Just as having a cellmate forced onto you with whom you may not get along for 23 hours per day in a small cell…

Some people with innocence claims have received their justful freedom after many years of being wrongfully locked up. Many more are still inside, waiting for us to hear their calls and step up our efforts to give them a voice and to get attorneys and judges to hear their evidence.

More struggle and fighting (in the form of speaking up, raising our voices, giving those inside a microphone to do their mic-check with and towards us; informing politicians and gaining more support form “the general public”) is needed to get proper treatment for mentally ill prisoners, or those who become mentally ill because of their confinement.
Also to get proper medical care for those in prison.
More independent oversight is needed everywhere.
We also have to keep a sharp eye on the private prison industry.
We need more and better programs, education, access to higher education, re-entry programs, restorative justice and law firms working alongside prisoners.
We need more people like you to correspond with, befriend a person inside and to help the innocent with their struggle.

The death penalty is still very active and we have to keep up the struggle in that area too. We remember those executed this past year and their families and friends.

We recently opened a few more of our weblogs and updated some of the layouts. Still needing a few volunteers to keep up US States blogs in cooperation with us, and keep us all connected and updated. But we are still going strong, independently, and with 1500 followers on Twitter.

We saw a very successful Occupy4Prisoners demonstration of solidarity at San Quentin State Prison as well as in other cities across the country (Feb. 20th), with many people joining to show they care.

What our wishes are for 2013:

That we help each other in solidarity: that when you work for justice, peace, fairness and humanity, that you join and find others to fight alongside. Too often it is that people find themselves alone in an uphill struggle. They become overwhelmed and disillusioned. Help each other and listen to each other. “Settle your quarrels.”
We will do our best to be mindful of this and we hope everyone will join and help each other. We need each and every one! Let’s take the California Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective and the people thinking up positive plans for and with us from inside Corcoran SHU as an example of working together and establishing justice, peace and solidarity – Happy New Year from the Prison Watch Network!

Human Rights Pen Pal Program: A Project of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS)

From: Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity weblog/site

Dec 5th 2012

A Project of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition  (PHSS)

WHAT IS THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEN PAL PROGRAM?
“A wall is just a wall;
It can be broken down.”
Assata Shakur

            The Human Rights Pen Pal program is an anti-racist, grassroots organizer training program in solidarity with the human rights of prisoners in California’s solitary confinement cells.  The program will promote principled relationships between prisoners in solitary confinement and supporters outside the walls; and combine practice, political education, beginning community organizing skills, and evaluation.

The Human Rights Pen Pal program is specifically intended to support the ongoing work of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition which works to end solitary confinement and address the human rights of prisoners confined in SHU’s (Security Housing Units) and Ad Segs (Administrative Segregation), California prisons’ names for solitary confinement.

The Human Rights Pen Pal program complements and supports other forms of pen pal programs, all of which are crucial for transcending the walls between activists outside and inside the prisons, and for winning some justice for all prisoners in California.

WHAT WOULD THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEN PAL PROGRAM LOOK LIKE?

            The program is centered around the relationship between the pen pals inside and outside the walls. It assumes that the developing relationships will lead to a growing commitment of those ‘outside the walls’ to work in solidarity with the prisoners and their human rights campaign.

The ‘outside the walls’ group would be small, limited to 6 to 8 pen pals. Each pen pal would write to a minimum of one person in solitary confinement.  Priority for prisoner involvement would go to people in Pelican Bay and Corcoran Prisons who are already in contact with PHSS.

Our monthly meeting would include political discussions about California prisons, solitary confinement, prisoners’ resistance, questions that arise from prisoners’ correspondence, and strategies of solidarity used by local and national anti-prison organizations.

We would exchange ideas for responding to prisoners’ letters, write our letter to our pen pal in solitary, invite each other to local anti-prison activities, suggest ways that each of us can share our experiences as pen pals with our own friends and networks, and evaluate our work together.

‘OUTSIDE THE WALLS’ PEN PALS WILL BE ASKED TO COMMIT TO:

(1) Meeting once a month for 6 months, for about 3 hours, at a San Francisco apartment;

(2) Corresponding with his/her/their ‘inside the walls’ pen pal twice a month: once during the monthly group meeting, and once in between group meetings;

(3) Actively participating in the interactive  political education component by reading suggested short essays, preparing questions for discussion at the group meetings, keeping abreast of PHSS and other anti-prison events and activities, and learning how to do constructive evaluation of the Pen Pal program;

(4) Sharing your experiences as a pen pal participant with your own friends and networks;

(5) Consider continuing your correspondence with your prisoner pen pal for at least a year; and discussing whether the structured pen pal program should continue and, if so, what it should include.

WHEN AND WHERE WOULD THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEN PAL PROGRAM MEET?

            The program would run for 6 months, from January through June, 2013. The pen pals and the PHSS coordinator would meet as a group once a month in a San Francisco apartment. Each meeting would last about 3 hours.  Pen pals and the PHSS coordinator will collaboratively determine the best day for the monthly meeting.  Each pen pal will then be expected to attend and participate actively in each meeting.

HOW TO APPLY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS PEN PAL PROGRAM
(Deadline Dec. 20)

             For more information, and to schedule a phone conversation, please email Sharon at cws@igc.org.  Leave your email address, phone number, and what evenings (Tuesdays through Sundays) from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm that you might be available for the monthly pen pal meeting beginning in January, 2013.

            Deadline for holding this conversation to see if the pen pal program is a good fit will be December 20.  First Pen Pal meeting will take place the week after Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in January, 2013.

From Pelican Bay to Pennsylvania: Torture and Resistance in US Prisons

Monday, August 22 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Location:

Friends Meeting House
4836 Ellsworth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA

Join the Human Rights Coalition and the American Friends Service Committee in a discussion on how people in prison are resisting abuse, neglect, and oppression.

Hear their stories of organized resistance! From the Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike in California, which lasted 3 weeks and involved over 6,600 prisons, to the Attica Prison Uprising and the December 2010 Georgia Prison Strike!

Learn about similar conditions of repression and resistance in PA prisons!

Meet family members who have struggled with their loved ones in prison!

Find out how YOU can support these amazing people and be a part of the fight to end torture and abuse!

Bring your thoughts, ideas, and spirits of resistance!

For more info: http://prisonerhungerstrik​esolidarity.wordpress.com/
Hosted by HRC-Fed Up! and AFSC-Pittsburgh

United We Stand! Ohio to California Solidarity!

United We Stand!

By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
Ohio State Penitentiary
June 30, 2011

Revolutionary Salute & Shields Up! It has come to our attention that the brothas at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit will commence an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the inhuman and dehumanizing treatment and conditions they’ve been forced to endure for 25 years. Further, it is our understanding that their protest has been inspired by the successful hunger strike that two of my comrades and I participated in during January of this year, where we received massive international support from those on the outside who believed in the righteousness of our protracted struggle to fight to secure the same privileges as other condemned prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP).

The call has been made, by those at Pelican Bay State Prison, for prisoners throughout the state of California who have been suffering injustices to join them in their peaceful strike to put a stop to the blatant violations of California prisoners’ civil and human rights. Moreover, their call made it perfectly clear that “if [California prisoners] cannot participate in the strike, then [they should] support it in principle by not eating for the first 24 hours of the strike.” While their heartfelt plea was not made to Ohio prisoners, a growing number of us at OSP have decided to join them in their peaceful protest. We hope and pray that our united stand with those brothas at Pelican Bay will have a domino effect throughout the nation—that is, where prisoners in other states, as well as their outside supporters, will come together and stand united with the oppressed soldiers at Pelican Bay.

Their injustices have been going on for far too long. How long? Too long! Twenty-five years is too long for human beings to be subjected to the cruel terms and dictates of their oppressors.

Regarding their challenges and the protracted nature of their struggle, we urge those brothas to brace themselves for the battle ahead. There will be no easy victory, yet those soldiers at Pelican Bay must be determined to stay the course and to go forward in the spirit of past and present revolutionaries to change the oppressive conditions of their confinement, no matter how difficult the circumstances may become. As Comrade George L. Jackson wrote: Revolutionary consciousness is the only real hope of those oppressed by the system.

Power to the oppressed people!

Enclosed herewith are some statement in support. In addition to these statements, I know that a growing group of us will be displaying our solidarity by refusing our three meals on Friday, July 1. We didn’t know if a longer hunger strike would help or overshadow their protest; thus we opted to support them in principle. Shields up!:

I salute and support your peaceful demonstration! Even though we’re in different state we still face the oppression that the bureaucracy known as the Department of so-called Rehabilitation and Correction imposes upon us through overtaxing us for phone calls and commissary as well as reducing food rations and things of this nature. In solidarity I give you my oath to support your cause by refusing all my meals for a 24-hour period. Stay strong and keep your heads up in your cause!

J. (Slingblade) Lacewell

From Ohio State Penitentiary to Pelican Bay State Prison. Despite the distance, our cause is the same. I, among others here, vow to refuse my meals for at least 24 hours on July 1, 2011, in support of the non-violent protest at Pelican Bay. Comrades, you’re not alone in struggle, forward march!!

Gary “G. Rilla” Roberts

”A Salute to the Brothas in Pelican Bay”:

Change, in the form of resistance against the countless injustices overlooked by the outside world in America’s prisons, has no doubt been long overdue. For years the mentality of many prisoners has been “only I” need to do my time & nobody else’s, but the conditions & flagrant injustices within these prisons affect all of us. We are all a part of the same fabric of oppression within these walls; we all experience the same or similar conditions in some form or fashion. That’s why I believe it’s very necessary for us to come together, put down the knives for a moment & demand the kind of meaningful change needed to produce better conditions & to combat abusive “power holders” in ways that foster collective resistance. Case in point – the brothas in Georgia (work stoppage demonstration) & the brothas out in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU). I recognize the call to action & the stance of resistance. The prison administration doesn’t care; regarding how prisoners are treated, it’s up to us to change our environment.

To all prisoners across America, wake up, stand up & dare to resist! Resistance on all fronts needs to be the action taken to bring forth some form of change. Even if it’s only a small change, mission accomplished!

Injustice will no longer be accepted or tolerated, period. May those brothas in Pelican Bay State Prison achieve their goal by taking a stand in the face of abuse, disrespect & mistreatment. As an act of solidarity for the cause & for prisoners in general, I choose to go those 24 hours without any food in support of the Pelican Bay SHU unit brothas’ demonstration.

Ronnie “Shakur” Johnson

Here Bomani Shakur, one of the Lucasville 5, sends his message of solidarity and hope to the California prisoners who commenced a hungerstrike yesterday, on July 1:
Published on:
Kersplebedeb-Sketchy Thoughts

Ask anyone who has ever been on a hunger strike, and they will tell you that the process of intentionally starving oneself is a very painful ordeal. Typically speaking, it is a protracted form of suicide; taken too far, the body will shut down and die. And yet, there are places on this planet where the idea of death is preferable to continuing down a path that offers no hope or relief from suffering. I live in such a place; I know.

In January of this year (2011), and after almost thirteen years of solitary confinement at the Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP), I and several others went on hunger strike. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. However, after countless appeals to reason had failed, and after coming to the end of all that we could do (law suits, greivances, petitions, etc.) we made the decision to risk our very lives in order to bring about the necessary changes that would allow us to live as human beings. In the end, we stood firm, garnered world-wide support, and prevailed. Now prisoners in California, confined in the notorious Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay State Prison, have decided to undertake a similar course of action. To them, I say: Bravo!

In a country that incarcerates more of its citizens than any other country in the world (over 2.6 million men and women behind bars), human rights violations are inevitable, and it falls to those of us who must suffer through the experience to stand up and speak truth to power; for, as Frederick Douglass suggested: “Power concedes nothing without a demand.”

In the days to come, the men at Pelican Bay will need each and every one of us to support them, to stand with them as they seek to bring their situation to a tolerable level. What they are demanding is basic:

– Individual accountability
– Abolish debriefing policy, and modify active/inactive gang status criteria
– Comply with US Commission 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement
– Provide adequate food
– Expand and provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU status inmates

Let’s come together to assist these men in their time of need and show them that their status as “criminals” does not automatically disqualify them from being human beings. In my time of need, I found this to be the truth and it reaffirmed my faith in humanity. Give these men the opportunity to feel that outpouting of compassion.

And to the men at Pelican Bay (Todd, Danny, et al), I simply want to say: Stay the course; pay attention to what you are doing; and when things get rough (and they will) , know that you are not alone. By and through the activation of what he called “Satygraha,” – or truth force – Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy in the world. In every evil that threatens us, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free. Hold on to that.

The system as it currently exists must change, and this, what you all are doing right now, may very well be the catalyst to bring about that change. Remember that.

And remember this: the first three days are the hardest; after that, it’s mind over matter. When the body is brought under control, the mind is set free to receive revelations. Be on the lookout for that; and when they come, when the truth of your situation is revealed, stay in that space. Drink as much water as you can, stay hydrated (read: coffee is a diuretic). And when the time comes, be sure to get everything in writing!

Calling all arms * Calling all arms

Bomani Shakur
Ohio State Penitentiary (2011)

For the latest updates on the California Prisoners Hunger Strike, please visit: http://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/