Filed under: Featured, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Prison Break
In the last few weeks, the public has gotten a rare glimpse into the horrific plight of prisoners locked away in U.S. prisons and jails. With forest fires devastating the West Coast, prisoners continue to suffer and bear the brunt of indifference. A whistleblower at an ICE detention center in Georgia alleged that hysterectomies were performed on numerous women without their consent, drawing comparisons to the medical atrocities performed throughout history. In Rochester, New York, the police murder of Daniel Prude has led to daily protests and continued calls for structural change. In Washington State, police murdered an unarmed suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was alleged to have been involved in a shooting of a right-wing protester in Portland, Oregon. Meanwhile in Washington, Attorney General Barr has encouraged prosecutors to consider charging protesters with sedition, a charge often brought against those confronting the State.
Visitation is scheduled to re-open at the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) on October 3, while numerous state jails and prisons have already resumed visitations. COVID-19, however, continues to wreak havoc in jails and prisons, with many fearing that visitations will only exacerbate the problem.
As you flip your Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar to October, you’ll experience a vibrant yet haunting self-portrait by formerly-incarcerated Richard Rivera, who spent 38 years imprisoned. The article for October is written by political prisoner and Certain Days inside collective member Xinachtli, and titled ‘Knitting Together Our Struggles: Global Capitalism as Our Common Unifier.’ As you will know by now, PRE-SALES ARE NOW OPEN for the 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar. Order 1, 10, or 100 and rest assured that you’re doing your part to support North American political prisoners.
In addition, this past year the Certain Days collective was honored with a Shuttleworth Foundation grant in honor of the tireless work we do in solidarity with political prisoners. We will be making some special offers to send copies to people in prison via our social media pages, so be sure to stay tuned.
Here’s a rundown of what went down in September, and a look ahead at October.
Political Prisoner Birthdays in October
There are five political prisoner birthdays in October, so THIS WOULD BE THE PERFECT TIME TO THROW AN ONLINE PRISONER LETTER-WRITING PARTY! The personal touch of a birthday card means so much to those inside, so write a letter, 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.
- October 3:
Joshua Stafford, #57976-060
PO Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635
*Address letter to Skelly, envelope to Joshua Stafford.
- October 4:
Jamil Al-Amin, #99974-555
PO Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734
- October 6:
David Gilbert, #83-A-6158
Shawangunk Correctional Facility
PO Box 700
Wallkill, NY 12589
- October 8:
Meral Smith, #19-1874
Citrus County Detention Facility
2604 West Woodland Ridge Dr.
Lecanto, FL 34461
*Address letter to Malik Smith.
- October 18:
Anthony Bottom, #77-A-4283
Sullivan Correctional Facility
PO Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116
*Address letter to Jalil Muntaqim, envelope to Anthony Bottom.
- On September 9, Indigenous Water Protector and political prisoner Red Fawn Fallis was released to a halfway house after serving a full four-year sentence in a federal penitentiary. Fallis was arrested in Standing Rock, ND in 2016, during the standoff between Indigenous activists and militarized wings of the state. You can learn about additional Water Protectors still serving time here.
After serving four years in a California federal prison for felonies related to the 2016 uprising at Standing Rock, Red Fawn Fallis was released yesterday.
This is how her family and friends greeted her at the Bismarck Airport pic.twitter.com/xnrdbHGjmM
— Midwest People's History (@MPHProject) September 12, 2020
- Anti-fascist political prisoner David Campbell is scheduled to be released on October 17. Like others locked away, he will need continued support upon his release.
- Longtime Black liberation political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim has finally been granted parole, after at least 10 parole hearings, and is scheduled to be released in mid-October. As one of the longest serving political prisoners in North America, we look forward to his upcoming release.
If you correspond with longtime political prisoner Maroon Shoatz, know that he has been moved. His new address is as follows:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF3855
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733
Running Down the Walls
The 2020 Running Down the Walls (RDTW) events that took place in early September seem to have been successful, raising awareness and lots of money to support those locked away. A really well-done video of the Philly run captures the revolutionary spirit and solidarity involved in RDTW, in case you missed it. Find out more about how funds are used and how to get involved.
Our #RunningDownTheWalls 2020 reportback is out! Together we raised a total of $14,012 for #RussellMaroonShoatz and 19 other #PoliticalPrisoners supported by the ABCF Warchest program.
Huge thanks to everyone who came out, remotely or in person!https://t.co/Nbyq1ZqLTA pic.twitter.com/b0W3UJjAGe
— Philly ABC (@phillyabc) September 15, 2020
Resistance to escalating state violence and authoritarianism continues to grow with each passing week. In mid-September two Indigenous people were arrested and held incommunicado following a border wall protest in Arizona, both since released. Unrest in Lancaster, Pennsylvania following the police murder of a local man has culminated in 12 protesters facing riot charges, with each being held on an astronomical $1 million bail.
Support sites for Urooj Rahman, Colinford Mattis, and Lore Elisabeth Blumenthal are still active, with each facing heavy charges from protests in response to the police murder of George Floyd.
While we are currently seeing an influx of political prisoners, we cannot forget those currently incarcerated and those recently released.
- Red Fawn Fallis (recently released to halfway house)
- Sundiata Acoli (fighting an appeal on a recent parole denial)
- Eric King (fighting additional charges carrying 20 more years)
- Chuck Africa (recently released)
In Case You Missed It
- Vegan anarchist political prisoner Eric King recently had some poetry published in the San Francisco BayView. Check it out, learn about Eric and his case, and offer support if you can.
- Longtime Black liberation political prisoner Jalil Muntaqim also recently had a piece published in the Bayview, dealing with Black August, COVID-19, and the continuing scourges of capitalism and the prison industrial complex (PIC).
- Here is an interesting new piece on the role of communism within the Black Panther Party, detailing the groups’ revolutionary underpinnings and the state’s endless battle to destroy the movement.
- Here is an interesting new piece on Black Anarchism and common misperceptions.
- You won’t want to miss out on this new piece by Susie Day, discussing her soon-to-be published new book in conversation with Eddie Conway and Paul Coates. Conway, a former Black Panther who served over 40 years as a political prisoner, remains close with Coates, father of Ta-Nehisi Coates and founder of Black Classic Press, who was his staunchest supporter.
- Former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn recently wrote a piece to San Francisco State University President Lynn Mahoney critical of the university’s support of Zionism rather than freedom of expression.
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Certain Days to Keep in Mind
Besides there being a ton of political prisoner birthdays in October, there are also a ton of dates that commemorate radical history and those who struggled to make it happen. In October we celebrate, mourn, and learn from the various revolutionary struggles of John Brown, Angela Y. Davis, Che Guevara, Huey Newton, and Seth Hayes and numerous other Black Liberation militants. We recognize imperialist wars and the grassroots movements to end them, liberationist struggles for survival and freedom, and so much more. Be sure to pre-order your 2021 Certain Days calendar now so that you don’t miss out on all this radical history!