We are pleased to introduce the brand new column Prison Break, which is a project of the Certain Days Collective, a long running group of prison abolitionists who for years while working closely with political prisoners, have produced a yearly calendar which benefits various prisoner support organizations. In the spirit of Bloc Party, we hope that this column will be a space for information on political prisoners, upcoming events, and updates on abolitionist and anti-prison struggles.
We now find ourselves halfway through 2019. Hopefully many of you are flipping your 2019 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar from May to June, appreciating the artwork, essays, and historical dates along the way. Our June artwork is titled “Honouring Fierce Resistance” by Farha Naja, with Urdu/Hindi calligraphy spelling “Black Lives Matter” within the flames. June’s essay, entitled “Get Out: PTSD and Political Prisoners” is written by Ashanti Alston, former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army militant, and New Afrikan anarchist. With the objective of bringing more people into the struggle, we’re attempting a monthly political prisoner news round-up – a one-stop shop for everything you need to know to get involved, show support, and provide solidarity.
On this day in 1974, Reyes Martinez, Una Jaakola, and Neva Romero, three members of Los Seis de Boulder, were killed in a car bomb. As known Chicano activists in Colorado, these deaths are believed to have been COINTELPRO-orchestrated.https://t.co/b2kr5de1xr pic.twitter.com/r5TaQfCJ9B
— Certain Days (@CertainDays) May 27, 2019
June is a busy month in the world of political prisoners and prison abolition. From Running Down the Walls to ongoing legal battles, political prisoner birthdays to immediate and much-needed support for health issues and against fascist assaults of our political prisoners. Here’s a run-down of what’s happening this month:
Political prisoner birthdays in June. NATO 3 defendant Jared Chase and long-time United Freedom Front political prisoner Tom Manning have birthdays this month. Be sure to write to them and show your love!
- June 12th
Jared Chase #M44710
Dixon Correctional Center
2600 N Brinton Ave
Dixon, IL 61021
- June 28th
Thomas Manning #10373-016
PO Box 2000
Bruceton Mills, WV 26526
(no greeting cards, no stickers, black ink, white paper)
Janet and Janine Africa released. On Saturday, May 25, both Janet and Janine Africa were released from prison after over 40 years of incarceration. They were granted parole on May 14th, just one day after the May 13th, 1985 anniversary of the notorious city bombing of the MOVE house. It was nonstop work by the Abolitionist Law Center (a beneficiary of Certain Days proceeds) and the People’s Law Office which led to Janet and Janine’s release. Chuck, Delbert, and Eddie Africa are the three remaining MOVE 9 political prisoners, and the struggle won’t end until they join their family on the outside.
Running Down the Walls. For 20 years now, the Anarchist Black Cross-orchestrated RDTW has existed as a solidarity event between those incarcerated and their outside supporters. This 5k non-competitive run/jog/walk raises both awareness and funds for numerous political prisoners imprisoned throughout North America. This year, RDTW will be held on Sunday, June 9, in NYC’s Prospect Park, at Humboldt Park in Chicago, at Lake Merritt Park in Oakland, and in LA at Echo Park Lake. Running Down the Walls will also happen in Hamilton, ON at Bayfront Park on Saturday, June 15th, and other cities. If you can’t find a RDTW near you, maybe this is a great time to start one!
Eric King in altercation. On Monday, May 20, vegan anarchist political prisoner Eric King was in an altercation. Just recently placed in general population after 280 days in solitary confinement, Eric was in a confrontation with other prisoners. He was then placed back in solitary confinement, and has correspondence restrictions with his family. Read more here and be sure to write to Eric and show your solidarity. He would really appreciate any correspondence and articles that you could mail him. He’s not permitted books at this time, and his stamps/envelops are severely restricted. Write Eric at: Eric King #27090045, USP McCreary, PO Box 3000, Pine Knot, KY 42635
Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz hospitalized. On Friday, May 3, Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz was taken to the prison infirmary after complaining of nausea and abdominal pain. He was then sent to an off-site hospital for diagnostic testing. Maroon is unable to make calls, receive emails or have visits, though his family has said that the head nurse at SCI Dallas is being cooperative. Please send Russell some love to boost his spirits. Write Russell at: Smart Communications/PADOC, SCI Dallas, Russell Shoats, #AF3856, PO Box 33028, St. Petersburg, FL 33733
Chelsea Manning’s ongoing Grand Jury resistance. On May 9, after serving 62 days in jail for refusing to cooperate with a Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Chelsea Manning was released from custody. One week later, on May 16, Chelsea was again found in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury. She was remanded into federal custody, with the judge ruling that she is to be fined $500 per day after 30 days, and $1,000 per day after 60 days, if she maintains her principled resistance. Support Chelsea while she continues to stand up for all of us. Write Chelsea at: Chelsea Elizabeth Manning #A0181426, William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, 2001 Mill Road, Alexandria, VA 22314
Jalil Muntaqim’s upcoming parole hearing. Imprisoned since 1971, former Black Panther Jalil Muntaqim is scheduled for his 12th parole hearing this upcoming September. The last remaining member of the NY3 to remain inside, Jalil deserves his freedom. Forty-eight years is enough, it’s time to release him. Sign the petition, and join in the ongoing struggle to bring Jalil home.
Also in the news. Check out long-term anarchist prisoner Marius Mason’s book review of former Canadian political prisoner Ann Hansen’s prison memoir Taking the Rap: Women Doing Time for Society’s Crimes. Also, remember that Marius has recently been moved.
Certain Days to keep in mind. Here’s some upcoming events to put on your calendar this summer.
- June 11th: international day of solidarity with Marius Mason and long-term anarchist prisoners is fast approaching. Find and share events near you.
- The Fight Toxic Prisons 2019 Convergence will be held in Gainesville, FL from June 14 – 17.
- There’s also still time to sign up for the Institute for Advanced Troublemaking’s Anarchist Summer Camp, held August 3 – 11, in Worcester, MA.
- Also, on Saturday, June 22th, in solidarity with the Free Alabama Movement (FAM), Swift Justice, Unheard Voices OCTJ, and the FAM Queen Team, there will be a demonstration and outreach effort outside Limestone Correctional Center in Harvest, AL. Alabama is a critical site of resistance where we must continue to reframe the way we strategize and reimagine a future without prison slavery and without prisons. Reply here if you can contribute – people power, funds, or ideas are welcomed. Follow event updates here, and we’ll see you in Alabama!
That is going to do it for us today, until next time. Support us by getting a copy of the Certain Days calendar here.