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Jun 2, 17

Still on the Fence About Coming to the Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence?

It’s not too late to stick out your thumb out, jump on a train, catch a bus, or hustle up some funds for a red eye to Texas. Flying into Dallas is among the cheapest airports in the country.

Among all the reasons to be there, you will be in the company of: Barrett Brown, Ramona Africa, David Hill, Kari Ann Bouchee, Arianna Staiger, Mark Cook, Bypolar, the Black Women’s Self Defense League, the June 11th assembly, the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project, Mothers Against Police Brutality, and more… [See partial list of speaker bios below]

Check out the full schedule here.

Plus we will wrap it all up with a protest at the Bureau of Prison’s facility known as the “Hospital of Horrors,” Carswell Federal Medical Center. Last month we celebrated Marius Mason getting out of Administrative Segregation there and being able to touch the Earth for the first time in seven years. Now we want to get everyone else out of that isolation unit and shine a light on that shady facility.

If you can’t make it to Texas, consider kicking in a donation towards the costs of organizing. Additional funds will go into prisoner support efforts.

And if you don’t actually know what the hell we are talking about by “toxic prisons,” check out this excellent expose that just dropped today, titled “America’s Toxic Prisons: The Environmental Injustices of Mass Incarceration.”

Partial list of bios for speakers and panelists

Barrett Brown is a writer and activist whose work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Guardian, The Intercept, Skeptic, and other outlets. In 2012 he was arrested and indicted on a variety of charges stemming from his alleged involvement with Anonymous, and later sentenced to 63 months in prison; he was released in November 2016. Brown won a National Magazine Award in 2016 for his columns from prison. He is also the founder of Project PM, a crowd-sourced investigation into the intelligence contracting industry, as well as the pursuance system, an upcoming framework for mass civic collaboration (See pursuanceproject.org for more information).

Ramona Africa is a former U.S. political prisoner and current Minister of Communication for the MOVE Organization, and most importantly, a revolutionary. She is also a Philadelphia-based organizer with the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and is the only living survivor of the 1985 MOVE bombing, when the FBI and Philadelphia police dropped two C-4 bombs on her organization’s Philadelphia home, killing 11 people.

Mark Cook was co-founder of the Black Panther Party chapter in Washington’s Walla Walla State Penitentiary and served as its Lieutenant of Information for many years. In 2000, he was released after serving 24 years in prison for his participation in a bank robbery and jail break associated with the George Jackson Brigade in Seattle. Cook continues to organize around prison issues in Seattle. An interview with him can be found here.

Candice Bernd is an editor/staff reporter at Truthout. Her work has also appeared in The Nation, the Texas ObserverYES! Magazine, Z Magazine, AlterNet and Earth Island Journal, as well as in Truthout‘s anthology on police violence, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect?, published by Haymarket Books last year. She is a Denton resident, and co-produced Don’t Frack With Denton, a documentary chronicling how their hometown became the first city to ban fracking in Texas, and its subsequent overturn in the state legislature. She was honored with the Dallas Peace and Justice Center’s “Media Accountability” award in December.

Arianna Staiger is the 25 year old daughter of political prisoner Marius Mason. She is currently studying Music Therapy at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Recordings of her music can be found here: https://soundcloud.com/ariannastyger

Moira Meltzer-Cohen is a criminal defense attorney committed to supporting people’s struggles for liberation. She is a founding member of Just Info, a 24-hour hotline providing legal information, service referrals, and opportunities for community-based organizing against aggressive policing and mass incarceration. She is also a member of Mutant Legal, a collective devoted to popular legal education for groups and individuals targeted by law enforcement on the basis of perceived identity. She has taught criminal law in the undergraduate Poli Sci department at Hunter College. She currently splits her time between New York City and North Dakota, where she provides legal support to Water Protectors fighting charges brought in retaliation for their struggles against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Kari Ann Boushee is Co-Director of the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and Niece of Leonard Peltier. She has been working with Leonard,  representing the committee and family since 2007. Kari Ann is an Art Agent for Leonard’s artwork at www.Peltierart.com. She also managed an American Indian Center in Sioux Falls, SD, until she recently moved back to Fargo, ND.

Shandre  Delaney is the mother of political prisoner and organizer, Carrington Keys, of the Dallas 6, a group of prisoner-whistleblowers who have faced criminal charges of “riot” for a peaceful protest against guard abuse of prisoners at SCI Dallas, in Pennsylvania. She has been an advocate for human and civil rights for many years working with the Human Rights Coalition  and Abolitionist Law Center in Pittsburgh and Global Women’s Strike in Philadelphia.  She recently became the national chairperson for political prisoner support with the Pennsylvania branch of the New Afrikan Independence political party and is developing a new project, the Prisoner Justice and Whistleblower Support Campaign to assist jailhouse lawyers and fight against retaliatory abuse.

Colleen Hackett is a writer and organizer against the carceral state and gendered violence. She facilitates a prisoner-led group, Webs of Support, at a women’s prison for people with histories of intimate partner violence and trauma, and co-edits an anti-authoritarian publication, Unstoppable!, by and for prisoners identifying as women, gendervariant, and/or trans. She is also an assistant professor at Colorado State University, Pueblo.

Mauri’ Saalakhan is a Washington, DC-based human rights advocate, author, lecturer and poet who currently coordinates international support for political prisoner Dr. Aafia Siqqiqui’s support campaign. His work has taken him across America into Africa, Europe, the Indian subcontinent, and the Middle East. He is a founder of the Coalition Against Political Imprisonment; and the National Association for Police Accountability, and the Peace Thru Justice Foundation. Saalakhan is the author of several books and currently serves as Director of Operations for a newly established human rights organization, The Aafia Foundation, Inc.

Elaine Adkison is the Program Coordinator for Project Phoenix, a collaboration between Texas New Era Center/Jobs With Justice and Dallas AFL-CIO. Project Phoenix is a comprehensive second chance program giving first-time, non-violent, felony probationers who qualify for deferred adjudication between the ages of 18 and 30 an opportunity to receive on-the-job, job-specific training while earning family sustaining wages.

Bypolar is an artist organizer dedicated to creating radical change using hip hop, the arts and on the ground organizing to build community and create a culture of resistance to this kkkapitalist plutocracy we are captive in. They where radicalized in the penal system though self-education and found themselves pulled towards police and prison abolition, inspired by the likes of Assata Shakur, Emory Douglas, Mumia Abu Jamal and many other known and unknown revolutionaries. Most recently one of four instrumental organizer of Seattle’s Mayday #blocthejuvie block party. Bypolar is a part of High Gods Entertainment, Seattle Rising Tide, and Block the Bunker. His music can be found at:  https://soundcloud.com/bypolar-3/molotov

Ducky Joseph is an environmental activist and agricultural enthusiast who splits his time between the Delaware and Susquehanna River Valleys of so-called Pennsylvania. He works with the Earth First! Prisoner Support Project to track and support prisoners of the environmental frontlines and allied struggles.  He is also currently involved in a community-based campaign to stop the construction of the Mariner East pipeline through Pennsylvania. He enjoys long walks in the cemetery with his dog, Whiskey, planting his mother’s garden every year, and riding his bike in the pouring rain.

Jude Ortiz has been involved in anarchist legal support organizing and prisoner support since he joined a legal collective in Minneapolis prior to the 2008 RNC. He helped form Tilted Scales Collective after an Anarchist Black Cross conference in 2012. In 2016, he took on the position of chair of the Mass Defense Committee with the National Lawyers Guild.

Lewis Conway works as a Criminal Justice Organizer at the Texas-based Grassroots Leadership. He is also a professional speaker and author whose insights have been shared at colleges and prisons across the South. Prior to his leadership and entrepreneurial efforts, Lewis spent 2,095 days in Texas state prisons.

David Hill is a member of the Choctaw Nation from Oklahoma and a Long-time activist with Non-Government Sanctioned American Indian Movement.  He has participated and organized various demonstrations for Native American concerns, both locally and nationally, including: the BIA standoff in Washington DC in 1972; Castlake MN blockade in 1972; the ’73 demonstration/riot at Custer Court House, SD; the’73 Pine Ridge Standoff SD; the 1974 Sioux Falls Court House Riot; and was the coordinator of the 1978 Longest Walk. Hill has been arrested many times in the course of involvement, severely beaten by police, with lasting injuries. He also organized numerous horse rides from Oregon to DC to bring about attention of Political Prisoner Leonard Peltier and served as 3-time director and long time adviser for Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. He has participated in various cultural activities at several prisons, federal and state.

David Pellow is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Global Environmental Justice Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he teaches courses on environmental and social justice, race/class/gender and environmental conflict, human-animal conflicts, and sustainability.

Jordan Mazurek is an organizer, activist, and academic. He holds a M.Sc. in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University, and is currently an Erasums+: Erasmus Mundus Fellowship holder pursuing a Ph.D. in Cultural and Global Criminology at the University of Kent, UK and University of Hamburg, Germany.

Linda Shosie is a mother of two prisoners in Arizona, founder of Mothers for Safe Air and Water, an environmental justice group based in Tucson, AZ, and paralegal advocate for prisoners filing pro-se legal cases.

Bryant Arroyo is a current prisoner in the Pennsylvania, at SCI Frackville, serving life without parole, Mumia Abu Jamal called Arroyo the first “Jailhouse Environmentalist” for his effort to lead hundreds of prisoners in a successful fight against a coal power plant next door to the prison where he resided at the time.

Niecee X is with the Black Women’s Defense League which is a revolutionary womanist coalition that provides political education, self-defense training, and resources and rescue to abused, underserved black women and marginalized genders. BWDL raises awareness, refines solutions, and prepares our members to divest from, combat and replace all forms of oppression with equitable, intersectional systems that are dedicated in serving the African Diaspora and the collective interests of a liberated society.

Ben Turk is a member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and a long-time supporter of the Lucasville Uprising prisoners. He worked closely with IWOC, The Anarchist Black Cross, Siddique Abdullah Hasan, The Free Alabama Movement and other organizations to help plan and support the nationally coordinated prisoner work stoppage and protest on September 9th or 2017. He lives in Milwaukee WI, has toured the US with anarchist theatre troupe Insurgent Theatre and prison rebel support projects.

Cindy Crabb is an author and member of the support team for trans, Green Scare prisoner Marius Mason.

Robert Perdue is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Appalachian State University. His work focuses on environmental and criminal justice issues.

Gabriel Piser is an academic researcher who has worked with students, activists, and community members to build their organizational capacity and advance their advocacy projects by providing trainings, workshops, and consultation for numerous social justice groups, at conferences, and at colleges across the country. Alongside his work as a scholar, he has many years of experience in participatory and experiential education, regional sustainability consultancy, leadership and facilitation training, and ecological literacy program design. He has offered workshops on urban and rural sustainability, anti-racism, protest emergency medicine, and non-violent direct action.

Karen Smith is a long time prisoner advocate who has had the experience of supporting friends and family through incarceration. She is currently organizing with prisoners who faced repression following the 9/16 work strikes and putting together a zine about solidarity and the prisoner movement in Florida.

Nasim Chatha coordinates Alliance for Global Justice’s Prison Imperialism Project. She was born in New York City and was raised in Baltimore County, Maryland. She first worked with AfGJ as an intern with the Border Studies Program in 2012 and joined the staff five years later. Before joining AfGJ she taught Citizenship/ESL classes and did outreach and communications for a Baltimore civil legal aid nonprofit. Her writing on Prison Imperialism has been published in The Abolitionist, Upside Down World, and Mask Magazine.

Richard Mosley is an organizer with Put People First – PGH, working on the toxic coal impacts at SCI Fayette prison. PPFPA was founded in June 2012 by a group of Pennsylvanians from rural, small town and urban areas who have a long history of bringing people together to find solutions to social problems.

Cherelle Blazer is a DFW based environmental justice organizer, currently working with Sierra Club and Urban Environmental Co., She has formerly worked with the Environmental Defense Fund, TechLaw and The Wilderness Society.

Erick Khafre is the Chairman of Guerilla Main Frame and logistics coordinator for George Jackson University.

 Rose Harriot is an organizer with No New Youth Jail Coalition and NW Detention Resistance in Seattle. She is mixed, queer warrior and survivor of systems of violence. “Born into impoverished and criminalized communities, the state has always targeted, manipulated and abused my loved ones and caregivers, while granting my abusers power and freedom. I struggle to fill the holes the state has left in my community and family. I work to expose the myth of public safety, systemic racism, classism and to create dialogue about how we can actually keep each other safe, by building autonomy. For the past five years I have been part of the effort to stop a $210 million youth jail project in Seattle. This project sits on toxic land and continues the toxic practice of abusing young people of color.”

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Earth liberation and prison abolition.

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