Filed under: Incarceration, Political Prisoners
Political prisoner and prison rebel birthdays and updates for August 2020.
Inspired by the spirit of the Political Prisoners Birthday crew, here’s a short listing of some rebel prisoners who have upcoming birthdays in August. For an an introduction on how to write to prisoners and some things to do and not to do, go here. If you have the time, please also check IWOC’s listing of prisoners facing retaliation for prison strike-related organizing.
The month of August is commemorated as “Black August” by many radical prisoners in memory of George Jackson, August 10 is commemorated in Canada and some other countries as Prisoners Justice Day, and the week of August 23-30 is observed as an international week of solidarity with anarchist prisoners by a number of international ABC groups in memory of Sacco and Vanzetti, so you may wish to do something for some or all of those events.
Congratulations to Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a former political prisoner who will be celebrating his birthday in freedom this month, having recently been released after serving 17 years for providing humanitarian aid in breach of US sanctions on Iraq!
Everyone should support the defendants facing charges related to their alleged participation in the George Floyd uprising – this list of our imprisoned comrades needs to be getting shorter, not longer. Two incarcerated pre-trial defendants in need of support that I’m aware of are Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal in Philadelphia and Margaret Channon in Seattle, but there must be many others, possibly some near to you.
Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal #70002-066
P.O. Box 562
Philadelphia, PA 19105
Margaret Channon #49955-086
P.O. Box 13900
Seattle, WA 98198
Please do not write anything to pre-trial defendants that could in any way have a negative impact on their trial, and keep an eye out for changes in their status.
If you have any money to spare, consider checking out Eric King’s defense fund (more on that below), Greg Curry’s fundraiser masks, and the fundraiser for the Bay View, a vital piece of prison movement infrastructure that also serves as Comrade Malik’s welcome home fund.
Much as I hate to see even more of our lives and communications being enclosed by tech companies, it seems inescapable at the moment, so for anyone who doesn’t want to leave their house to buy stamps/cards/envelopes or to send mail, a reminder that many prisoners can be contacted electronically, via Jpay or similar services.
Anarchist prisoner serving a ten-year sentence for attempting to set fire to a government official’s office in solidarity with the Ferguson uprising. While imprisoned, Eric has been repeatedly attacked by staff, and is now facing trial on charges of having allegedly defended himself during one of these incidents. He is being held in incredibly restrictive conditions with no contact with the outside world, and so donating to his legal fund is the only way to show solidarity with him at present.
Birthday: August 2
Eric King is held at FCI Englewood, but he has been placed on “Restricted General Correspondence Status,” so any mail sent to him will not reach him.
Long-term anarchist prisoner held since 1979 for attempting to free another comrade from imprisonment. Through the years Bill has also taught GED classes at almost every prison he has found himself at, helping many prisoners get their GED. Bill is generous, principled, full of integrity and has never wavered from his politics or convictions. Bill continues to stay active politically, helping edit and write 4Struggle Magazine, organizing the yearly Running Down the Walls 5K for political prisoners, and serves on the ABCF Prisoner Committee. You can read some of his writings here.
The Federal system uses Corrlinks, a system where a prisoner must send a request to connect to someone on the outside before they can exchange emails, so if you’re not already connected to Bill then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: August 3
Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Victorville Medium I
PO Box 3725
Adelanto, California 92301
Black liberation prisoner held since the 1980s for alleged participation in Black Liberation Army activities alongside Assata Shakur and others. Dr. Shakur’s primary work has been in the area of health. He is a doctor of acupuncture and was a co-founder and director of two institutions devoted to improving health care in the Black community. He was an inspiration for many of the positive messages in his late step-son, Tupac’s, musical work.
As with Bill, Mutulu is held in the Federal system, so you can only contact him via Corrlinks if he’s added you as a contact.
Birthday: August 8
Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
Post Office Box 14500
Lexington, Kentucky 40512
A former Vaughn 17 defendant, and contributor to the Vaughn zine, ‘Live from the Trenches’. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Lawrence in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution.
Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “NW2894”.
Birthday: August 14
Smart Communications / PA DOC
Lawrence Michaels – NW2894
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733
Hanif Shabazz Bey (Beaumont Gereau)
One of the Virgin Island 3, serving 8 consecutive life sentences after being tortured into a false confession then wrongly imprisoned since 2001 when his sentence was vacated.
Hanif is in an institution run by CoreCivic, and it appears that you can email him here.
Birthday: August 16
Beaumont Gereau #19-1952
Citrus County Detention Facility
2604 W. Woodland Ridge Dr.
Lecanto, FL 34461
A former Vaughn 17 defendant. While the state has now dropped its attempts to criminalize Pedro in relation to the uprising, he, like all of the Vaughn 17, deserves respect and support for making it through the entire process while staying in solidarity with his co-defendants and refusing to co-operate with the prosecution. You can read some of Pedro’s words here.
Illinois uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Illinois, Inmate ID: Y35814.”
Birthday: August 17
Pedro Chairez Y35814
P.O. Box 99
Pontiac, IL 61764
Christopher L Young
Kentucky uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Kentucky, Inmate ID: 136515.”
Birthday: August 17
Christopher L Young #136515
Green River Correctional Complex
1200 River Road
P.O. Box 9300
Central City, KY 42330
Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
Anarchist/anti-authoritarian-leaning Black Liberation/Black Panther prisoner, held since 1970 for his alleged involvement in attacking a police station in response to a police murder. Maroon is the author of the classic text “The Dragon and the Hydra: A Historical Study of Organizational Methods,” among others.
Pennsylvania uses Connect Network/GTL, so you can contact him online by going to connectnetwork.com, selecting “Add a facility”, choosing “State: Pennsylvania, Facility: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections”, going into the “messaging” service, and then adding him as a contact by searching his name or “AF3855.”
Birthday: August 23
Smart Connections/PA DOC
Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF-3855
Post Office Box 33028
St Petersburg, Florida 33733
Black Liberation prisoner, convicted in 1995 for allegedly shooting a police officer in 1970.
Minnesota uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Minnesota, Inmate ID: 219531.”
Birthday: August 31
Ronald Reed #219531
Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes
7525 Fourth Avenue
Lino Lakes, Minnesota 55014