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Jun 3, 20

Prison Break: Political Prisoners and COVID-19

This piece was in the final stages of editing when events around the country, and the world, escalated in response to the recorded police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Check back next month for updates and news about arrests, protests, and organized resistance.

Death tolls continue to rise as COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the globe. While Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen received early releases (on home confinement) due to the pandemic, millions of others remain behind bars with little hope of release.

Political Prisoners Marius Mason and Jalil Muntaqim have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Muntaqim, who at 68 years old having served 49 years in prison is one of the longest-serving political prisoners, contracted the virus while awaiting an appeals hearing on an order that would have had him released from prison in April. You can listen to the audio but a ruling has not yet been announced. On a positive note, Ramsey Orta, scheduled to be released in July, was granted temporary release on May 29.

A moving piece by Richard Rivera, a former prisoner and Certain Days calendar contributor, just released last July after 40 years, tells of the fear, trauma, and helplessness felt by prisoners during epidemics. Other important pieces speak to COVID-19’s impact on prison labor, the Canadian context, and protest strikes.

Turning your Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar from May to June, you will find two pieces by current anarchist political prisoners. The artwork for the month is a vibrant and colorful piece by Marius Mason, an anarchist, environmental and animal rights political prisoner. The essay for the month is written by vegan, anarchist political prisoner Eric King, and touches on the intersectionality at the center of ongoing liberation movements. Be sure to show your support for these political prisoners, on June 11, the International Day of Solidarity with Marius Mason and all Long-term Anarchist Prisoners.

Art and essay submissions for the 2021 Certain Days calendar are due by the middle of this month. 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. Please share this widely, especially with friends and family currently in prison or jail.

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

Political Prisoner Birthdays in June

There are only two political prisoner birthdays in June, so be sure to send a note to both of them. 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 inside. Remember that prisoners at Federal prisons (USPs and FCIs) cannot receive cards, colored paper, or colored ink.

June 12th:

Jared Chase, #M44710
Dixon Correctional Center
2600 N. Brinton Ave.
Dixon, IL 61021

June 12th:

Stephen Kelly, #015634
Glynn County Detention Center
100 Sulphur Springs Rd.
Brunswick, GA 31520
*Cannot receive letters, only plain white pre-stamped postcards written in blue or black ink.


Longtime Black Liberation Army political prisoner Sundiata Acoli, 83, has been imprisoned for 47 years. After being denied parole in December 2019, Acoli is currently fundraising to help with ongoing legal fees. You can learn more 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. He has recently been placed on a 6-month general correspondence restriction, and can no longer receive mail. However, Eric can receive books and magazines, so send him some reading materials. You can donate to Eric’s fundraising efforts here, learn more about Eric and his case here, and listen to a new playlist of Eric’s favorite songs.

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.

In Case You Missed It

Community organizer, literary agent, and longtime political prisoner supporter Frances Goldin died on May 16, at the age of 96. Goldin published political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal’s first book, Live From Death Row, and had been an ardent supporter of his release ever since. You can hear Mumia’s moving tribute here.

Pressure to release one of New York’s oldest prisoners, political prisoner and Certain Days calendar inside editor David Gilbert, continues to mount. Gilbert’s son, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin, calls for his father’s release, as well.

Anti-fascist political prisoner David Campbell has been approved for early release from Rikers Island, though he remains locked behind bars six weeks later. You can read Campbell’s statement here.

NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has filed an appeal for compassionate release, a request that has previously been rejected.

Follow Certain Days on Social Media

Twitter: @certaindays
Instagram: @certaindayscalendar

Certain Days to Keep in Mind

June is full of important dates in radical history, as seen in your Certain Days calendar. Juneteenth, the founding of the IWW, Harriet Tubman’s Combahee River Raid, the Soweto uprising, and the Stonewall Inn riots are just a few of the anniversaries in June. If you know of significant dates that are not in the calendar, please let us know as we’re always looking to add new important dates in radical history.

While you’re here, we need your support. To continue running the website, we need support from community members like you. Will you support It’s Going Down, and help build independent media? donate?

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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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