Filed under: Featured, Prison Break
While COVID-19 continues to upend life as we know it, its devastation is multiplied tenfold for those inside prisons and jails around the world. Prisoners and staff are being infected, and dying, at an unprecedented rate. As of press time, 32 people have died in the Bureau of Prisons, and 10 people have died in New York State DOCCS. This info, being collected daily at: COVID-19: Death by Incarceration. Moving articles by Lyra Walsh Fuchs, Victoria Law, James Kilgore, and Kim Kelly tell of inhumane treatment and general madness for those locked inside.
As you switch your Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar from April to May, notice the vibrant artwork that highlights the historical liberation struggles in the Bay Area. Titled “We Got This,” artist Fernando Marti originally created this piece for the Howard Zinn Book Fair in San Francisco. The essay for the month, “March for Our Lives,” is written by our inside collective member, political prisoner David Gilbert.
We want to remind everyone that art and essay submissions for the 2021 Certain Days calendar are due this month. This will be our 20th calendar edition and we are excited to be working with so many dedicated and tireless activists around the world. We welcome any and all submissions that connect to our theme, A Generation of Support Through the Bars, reflecting on the roles of political prisoners in social justice movements, historically, currently, and as we look to the future. Please share this widely, especially with friends and family currently in prison or jail.
Here’s a look back at what went down in April, and a look ahead at May.
Political Prisoner Birthdays in May
There are three political prisoner birthdays in May, so be sure to send a note to each of these political prisoners. Birthday cards mean so much to those inside, so write a letter, host a card writing party, and show your solidarity with those inside. Remember that prisoners at Federal prisons (USPs and FCIs) cannot receive cards, colored paper, or colored ink.
- May 12:
Alvaro Luna Hernandez, #255735
James V. Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park, TX 76367
*Address envelope to Alvara, letter to Xinachtli
- May 27:
Grailing Brown, #39384-066
PO Box 300
Waymart, PA 18472
*Address envelope to Grailing, letter to Kojo Bomani Sababu
- May 31:
Douglas Wright, #57973-060
PO Box 3900
Adelanto, CA 92301
Some of the several detained migrant hunger strikers at Laval Immigration Detention Centre in Quebec, Canada were released in early April. The courageous 8-day hunger strike is part of a demand for immediate release in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Follow the ongoing struggle here.
Accused Eco-Prisoner Joseph Dibee continues to be denied for pretrial release. After being attacked by another inmate, and being confined to the infirmary, Dibee could use some love. Write Joe at:
Joseph Dibee, #812133
11540 NE Inverness Dr
Portland, OR 97220
The Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of political prisoner Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who has been wrongfully imprisoned for twenty years. You can learn more about Al-Amin’s struggle here.
Political prisoner and vegan anarchist Eric King continues to fight trumped up charges which threaten him with an additional 20 years in Federal prison. You can donate to Eric’s fundraising efforts here, and learn more about Eric and his case here. Also, check out an important new piece by Ella Fassler about Eric King and the repression that anti-fascists are facing in prisons and jails across the country.
Making that transition from prison to the outside can be a very difficult switch. Any support that we can provide goes a long way towards showing solidarity with those who gave up so much fighting for our freedoms. Here’s a list of places to donate that directly support recently released political prisoners as well as those inside approaching release.
Jeremy Hammond, #151960859
Grady County Jail
215 North 3rd Street
Chickasha, OK 73018
Jeremy was en route to the Bureau of Prisons from the federal grand jury when prisoner movement was limited, so he is stuck at this county jail in Oklahoma (previously home of the animal abusing turd from Tiger King).
In Case You Missed It
There was a moving piece about the struggle of Albert Woodfox and the Angola 3, who spent decades locked in solitary confinement for a crime they did not commit.
In mid-April rumors began to spread that longtime political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal had been hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms. Abu-Jamal, who just celebrated his 66th birthday, himself confirmed that he is not at this time having symptoms or being hospitalized. Hear more with Johanna Fernandez on the Beyond Prisons podcast.
RIP to Esutosin Omowale Osunkoya, co-founder of the Sacramento chapter of the Black Panther Party.After contracting COVID-19 he was hospitalized for 2 weeks and then passed away on Monday, 4/13. He was 76. What he built and who he is will not be forgotten.https://t.co/kq8gndz6kJ pic.twitter.com/DHKPduDMxX
— Antifa Sacramento (@AntifaSac_) April 19, 2020
Sadly, COVID-19 took the life of Esutosin Omowale Osunkoya, former co-founder of the Sacramento Branch of the Black Panther Party. Osunkoya passed away on April 13, at the age of 76.
Perilous Chronicle: Perilous is a project supported by a network of people—including you—who seek to gather and track information on prison uprisings, riots, protests, strikes, and other disturbances within public and private jails, prisons, and detention centers in the US and Canada. In this process, we rely on crowdsourced information in addition to local news outlets and our own reporting.
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Certain Days to Keep in Mind
May begins with perhaps the most radical dates in labor history – happy May Day 2020! May brings us the 47th anniversary of the capture of Assata Shakur and Sundiata Acoli, as well as the police murder of Zayd Malik Shakur. This month marks the 50th anniversaries of the Kent State and Jackson State killings of student protestors, and the 35th anniversary of the MOVE bombing.