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Aug 1, 20

Prison Break: Come Together, Right Now

As this is being written, unidentified Federal agents are disappearing protesters off the streets of Portland, Oregon, police nationwide are doubling-down on their commitment to escalating violence, and the president threatens to increase the militancy. Important commentaries on the escalating state violence in Portland can be found here, here, and here. Find out what to do if you are kidnapped by Federal officers while protesting.

COVID-19 continues to ravage those inside prisons and jails, with over 500 people testing positive for the virus at a medical prison in Texas. One of those that tested positive was Reality Winner, the NSA whistle-blower who was recently denied compassionate release.

As you flip your Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar to August, we hope you appreciate the vibrant portrait of former political prisoner Marilyn Buck. Buck (who died August 3, 2010) dedicated her life to the cause of the Black Liberation Movement, and we felt her portrait fitting for Black August. The painting was done by Garen Zakarian, an Armenian imprisoned in the U.S. since the 1990s, and a longtime supporter of political prisoners. The essay for the month, ‘Intersectionality = Revolutionary Love,’ is written by political prisoner Jaan Laaman. Laaman has been imprisoned since the mid-80s for his involvement in the United Freedom Front. If you haven’t picked up a calendar yet they still are only $5 at Burning Books!

Here’s a rundown of what went down in July, and a look ahead at August.

Political Prisoner Birthdays in August

There are six political prisoner birthdays in August, so this is a great time to send some birthday letters to these encaged revolutionaries. The personal touch of a birthday card means so much to those inside, so write a letter, host a card writing party, and show your solidarity with those fighting for a better world. Remember that prisoners at Federal prisons (USPs and FCIs) cannot receive cards, colored paper, or colored ink.

August 2:

Eric King, #27090-045

FCI Englewood

*Sadly Eric is not allowed to receive any mail at this time.

August 3:

Bill Dunne, #10916-086

FCI Victorville Medium I

PO Box 3725

Adelanto, CA 92301

August 8:

Dr. Mutulu Shakur, #83205-012

FMC Lexington

PO Box 14500

Lexington, KY 40512

 

August 16:

Beaumont Gereau*, #19-1952

Citrus County Detention Facility

2604 W. Woodland Ridge Dr.

Lecanto, FL 34461

* Address card/letter to Hanif Shabazz Bey

August 23:

Russell Maroon Shoatz, #AF3855

Smart Communications / PA DOC

SCI Fayette

PO Box 33028

St. Petersburg, FL 33733

August 31:

Ronald Reed, #219531

Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes

7525 Fourth Ave.

Lino Lakes, MN 55014

Transfers

Jeremy Hammond, #18729-424

FCI Memphis

PO Box 34550

Memphis, TN 38184

Fundraising

We continue to see an influx of people willing to utilize direct action to express their frustration with a government that grows more authoritarian each day. In early July three Chico students pleaded guilty to setting fire to a campus patrol car in California. Another person has been charged with setting fire to Seattle’s East Police Precinct during the CHAZ occupation of Capitol Hill. Nick Tilsen, an Oglala Lakota activist, was arrested with 19 others in a Mount Rushmore protest on July 3, with Tilsen and others facing multiple charges in their defense of the Black Hills. Also, the People’s Law Office is representing two Federal Grand Jury Resisters in Madison, Wisconsin.

Prisoners in Philadelphia in need of support in the wake of the recent rebellion. From Philly Anti-Capitalist

New York City lawyers Urooj Rahman and Colinford Mattis have both returned home on bail where they now face the threat of spending the rest of their lives in prison. Margaret Channon has been released on bail from federal custody in Seattle, where she faces similar charges. In Philadelphia, Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal remains in federal custody, facing arson charges from protests at the end of May. Be sure to write to her and offer support if you can. Follow us on social media for up-to-date bail funds and support networks as they arise.

While we are currently seeing an influx of political prisoners, we cannot forget those who are already imprisoned and fighting charges, longtime prisoners fighting for freedom, and those recently released.

In Case You Missed It

  • Ashanti Alston, former Black Panther and BLA militant, recently spoke with TREYF about anarchism, prison abolition, and the continuing struggle to free political prisoners.
  • Don’t miss this compelling interview with exiled Black Panthers Charlotte and Pete O’Neal, who reflect on their time in the Party, life in Tanzania, and the continuing struggle to end white supremacy in North America.
  • Artist, designer and former Minister of Culture for the Black Panthers, Emory Douglas sat down for a recent interview, where he discussed the links between racism and capitalism.
  • Former Black Panther leader and director of the Oakland Community School, Ericka Huggins spoke of the tireless roles women held in the Party and the connections to the current Black Lives Matter movement in a recent interview.
  • Former Panther 21 defendant Dhoruba bin-Wahad did a recent interview where he discussed a recent essay of his as well as the ongoing BLM movement.
  • Former political prisoner and abolitionist author James Kilgore interviewed Maya Schenwar and (2020 calendar contributor) Victoria Law about their new book, Prison By Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms.
  • Don’t miss this piece in Solitary Watch about the connections between the federal troops being deployed in major cities with the continued lockdowns in federal prisons around the U.S.
  • Anarchist organizer scott crow is interviewed in this article about leftist groups arming themselves in the name of John Brown.
  • Alex Vitale’s latest piece in The Appeal deals with reducing our reliance on the police and making our communities safer

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Certain Days to Keep in Mind

This Black August is full of radical dates and revolutionary actions connected to the Black Liberation Movement, and, as such, there is a great deal of resistance to celebrate. From Veronza Bowers’ attempted self-liberation from Lompoc Prison and Maliki Shakur Latine’s arrest, both in 1979, to the deaths of Hugo Pinell, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, Huey Newton, Safiya Bukhari, Peter Collins, Marilyn Buck, Sacco & Vanzetti, and Heather Heyer, August is full of revolutionary history. This month we also celebrate the anniversary of Nat Turner’s slave rebellion, political prisoner releases, and prisoner-led strikes and rebellions. Save the dates of August 15 and 16 for the Black is Back Coalition’s Annual Conference on political prisoners.

Artwork by Kevin “Rashid” Johnson

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Certain Days

A yearly calendar featuring writing and artwork of political prisoners. Sales of the calendar go to benefit various radical and political prisoner projects.

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