Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Political Prisoners
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A collection of political prisoner and prison rebel birthdays for May 2020.
Inspired by the spirit of the Political Prisoners Birthday crew (and recycling some of their old artwork because why not?) , here’s a short listing of some rebel prisoners who have upcoming birthdays in May.
For 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, and keep an eye out for phone/email zaps in support of prisoners endangered by the pandemic.
Sending out congratulations to Vadim Boyko, a Belarusian antifascist who was released from prison just before his birthday last month, and Ilya Romanov, a Russian anarchist prisoner who was freed in April.
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.
Xinachtli (Alvaro Luna Hernandez)
Xinachtli (Nahuatl, meaning “seed”) is a community organizer from Texas. Police informants were used to monitor Xinachtli’s organizing activities in the barrio. They were told Xinachtli was “typing legal papers,” “had many books” and was working on police brutality cases in Alpine. The police knew of Xinachtli’s history of community-based organizing and his legal skills. Xinachtli was recognized nationally and internationally as the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, which led the struggle to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row after being framed by Houston police for allegedly killing a cop. Xinachtli’s human rights work was recognized in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and other countries. He was sentenced in Odessa, Texas on June 2-9, 1997 to 50 years in prison for defending himself by disarming a police officer drawing a weapon on him. The trial evidence clearly showed Xinachtli was the victim of witch hunts and a police-orchestrated conspiracy to frame or eliminate him.
In a recent update sent out to supporters, Xinachtli complained he was still being held in disciplinary segregation as part of the prison’s retaliation for “his ongoing legal activities, and his outspokenness in speaking truth to racist, oppressive power, and him leading a revolutionary-education consciousness study group to preach prisoner unity among all captives, to study revolutionary theory, anarchism, and social liberation movements, and in helping others to file suits against the prison’s institutional racism and inhumanity.” To learn more, you can listen to this interview he did with the Final Straw.
Birthday: May 12
Note: Texas prisons have now banned all greeting cards and postcards. As Texas uses Jpay, you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Texas, Inmate ID: 255735”. Or to send him a letter on standard white paper that complies with Texas restrictions, write to:
Alvaro Luna Hernandez #255735
James V Allred Unit
2101 FM 369 North
Iowa Park, TX 76367
A former Vaughn 17 defendant. Baynes was found innocent of all charges in relation to the uprising, but he has still been punished with a move out of state, and deserves respect and support for staying in solidarity with his codefendants throughout the process and refusing to cooperate with the prosecution. You can read more about Baynes in his own words here.
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 “NT0594”.
Birthday: May 20
Abednego Baynes, NT0594
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733
Dzmitry Paliyenka is an anarchist from Belarus who has faced serious state repression. He has been in and out of prison in recent years as a result of ongoing police harassment, and is currently confined to house arrest.
Birthday: May 26
If you email your greetings to belarus_abc(AT)riseup.net, they should be able to translate them and pass them on to Dzmitry for you.
Kojo Bomani Sababu (Grailing Brown)
Kojo Bomani Sababu is a New Afrikan Prisoner of War serving a 55 year sentence. Kojo was captured on December 19th 1975 along with anarchist Ojore Lutalo during a bank expropriation. He was subsequently charged with conspiracy for an alleged plan to use rockets, hand grenades and a helicopter in an attempt to free Puerto Rican Prisoner of War Oscar Lopez Rivera from the federal prison where he was serving.
The Federal system, where Kojo is held, 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 Kojo then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: May 27
P.O. Box 300
Waymart, PA 18472
Bomani Shakur (Keith LaMar)
Bomani Shakur is on death row awaiting execution after being convicted of involvement in the 1993 Lucasville Uprising. If you’d like to learn more about Bomani and his perspectives, We Want Bomani Shakur Free!: A Zine Commemorating RAM’s Month of Action for Bomani, which was put together by True Leap Press last month, is a great place to start.
Ohio uses Jpay, so you can send him a message by going to jpay.com, clicking “inmate search”, then selecting “State: Ohio, Inmate ID: 317117”.
Birthday: May 31
Keith LaMar, #317117
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Road
Youngstown, OH 4450
One of the Cleveland 4, entrapped in an FBI sting operation aiming to undermine the Occupy movement.
The Federal system, where Doug is held, 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 Doug then you’re best off just sending him a card or a letter.
Birthday: May 31
Doug Wright #57973-060
P.O. BOX 3900
ADELANTO, CA 92301