Archive for August, 2013

Lawyers, Advocates: Prison Hunger Strike Force Feeding Order Political Attack on Peaceful Protest

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 by legacybc

For Immediate Release—August 22, 2013

Lawyers, Advocates: Prison Hunger Strike Force Feeding Order Political Attack on Peaceful Protest
Strikers Vow to Continue, Prisoners Rejoin Strike, Supporters Redouble Efforts

Press Contacts:
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity

Oakland—As prisoners enter their 46th day of the massive California prison hunger strike, supporters continue to condemn Monday’s controversial court order that authorizes force feeding of strike participants and that disregards their medical wishes.  According to lawyers just back from a visit to Pelican Bay, the order has emboldened prisoners to continue their strike, while others have decided to rejoin the strike in response to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) attack.

Attorney Anne Weills met with strikers in Pelican Bay Tuesday and Wednesday.  “Although some have lost around 30 pounds and are getting significantly weaker, they are still very sharp intellectually and are still deeply united in their struggle for a life with dignity,” said Weills. “They are very much committed to their demands and are waiting for Governor Brown to send someone to Pelican Bay to negotiate about those demands.”

Weills reported that prisoners were disturbed that the Judge who signed the controversial order, along with the Prison Law Office and the Medical Receiver’s office would align themselves with the CDCR’s political repression of the peaceful protest.  Strike supporters are particularly disturbed and outraged that the order against strikers’ advanced medical directives (AMD) adds legal weight to the CDCR’s sensational, and largely unsubstantiated, propaganda that all strike participation is part of a gang conspiracy. “This is an extraordinary political attack on the hunger strikers,” continued Weills. “ It is even more absurd when a spokesperson for the Medical Receiver’s office stated that among the hunger strikers who have been starving since July 8th, there are very few who have any advanced medical directives in the first place. So who is being coerced?  There is not one shred of evidence that has been presented to Judge Henderson that anyone has been coerced to sign anything.  Where are the declarations of such a person? Where is a declaration from a real hunger striker which states that they are being coerced?   Is this a fraud being perpetrated on a federal judge, who trusts the Plata plaintiff’s attorneys?  Why was there no evidentiary hearing?”

“This is a continuation of CDCR’s attacks on a nonviolent protest,” said Dolores Canales of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition. “We have seen this before.  This is about dehumanizing the strikers, delegitimizing their demands, and disrupting the widespread support for the protest coming from the community.  But, as always, this will only cause the strikers, their loved ones, and their supports to fight harder.”  Amid CDCR’s latest stunts and Gov. Brown’s continued silence, strike supporters are continuing to put pressure on California politicians, demanding action from the state’s Public Safety Committee .

It seems that the CDCR’s plans have backfired as Weills reports prisoners are rejoining the strike. “As a result of recent events and Judge Henderson’s Order, I was told yesterday that more than 50 people in the SHU at Pelican Bay are now going back on hunger strike,” said Weills. “From what I understand, that 50 may turn into 100 very fast, and that many have already been on rolling hunger strikes—going two weeks on, and then two weeks off.  This will all continue until an agreement is reached.”



Bail request filed by Herman Wallace of the Angola 3

Posted in Updates on issues facing Political Prisoners and POWs on August 23, 2013 by legacybc
by International Coalition to Free the Angola 3
Wednesday Aug 21st, 2013 9:54 AM

On the evening of August 20, the Angola 3’s legal team filed a request for bail in Herman Wallace’s habeas case. This comes only days BEFORE a recommendation is expected from the Magistrate Judge reviewing the case. Judge Jackson has the authority to issue bail at any time while the case is under consideration, but especially when the facts are compelling and failure to release on bail could “leave the petitioner without remedy.”

In addition to an overwhelming body of evidence pointing to actual innocence, his habeas claim presents not one but 4 strong constitutional violations each sufficient on their own to trigger release. According to the prisons own mechanisms of review, he does not pose a danger to himself or others and has not had a disciplinary write up for any incidence of institutional violence in over 30 years. Most crucially at this time, his health continues to deteriorate rapidly, in no small part due to “the sub-standard care of the Louisiana Department of Corrections,” and if bail is denied, he may not survive the weeks or months possibly needed to complete the litigation of his claim, even if the Court rules in his favor.According to the legal team, this sort of request for bail pending habeas review was once relatively routine 20 years ago but is only very rarely granted now. However, as we all know well, and as the attorneys do an excellent job of summarizing for the Court, Herman’s case is “exceptional,” and “deserving of special treatment in the interests of justice.”

Let us hope Judge Jackson agrees.
We will update you as soon as we hear anything from the Court.


Posted in Black August 2013 on August 1, 2013 by legacybc


Black August Film Series at Sankofa, Every Wednesday at 6pm, $5 admission
Tune in to Voices With Vision on Tuesdays from 10-11am and The Super Funky Soul Power Hour on Fridays from 11-noon on 89.3fm WPFW-Pacifica Radio or stream at

August 1 – One man play, Jay Sun for President; Directed by John Johnson
Location: Anacostia Playhouse; 2020 Shannon Pl. SE (Behind the Big Chair), Time: Doors 7pm; House Open 7:30pm; Show 8pm

Welcome to the New World. Meet the New President.

August 3 – War Resister’s League 90th Anniversary Conference; Political Prisoner Panel
Location: Georgetown University (37th & O St NW) Inter-Cultural Center, Room 205b
Time: 1-330pm
Cost: Free

Political Prisoners: How people become political prisons: how do we support them?
The workshop will focus on the forces that turned 3 people – Jihad AbdulMumit, Jericho Co-chair; Ramona Africa, Move; Cisco Torres, former political prisoner from SF – into Resistance Movement organizers against The War by Amerkia on People of Color in the 1970’s. There will be short presentations that discuss how theses forces were perceived and resisted by the panelists and their actions in response. The remainder of the time will be for discussion. Led by Paulette D’Auteuil from DC-Jericho.

August 6 – Black August Concert
Location: The Howard Theater
Time: Doors open at 6pm, Show starts at 8pm
Cost: $20

featuring Dead Prez, Maimouna Youssef, Martin Luther, Gods’illa, and Farafina Kan.  Hosted by Wise Intelligent (Poor Righteous Teachers).  See more at:

August 7 – Wilmington 10; USA 10,000
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC
Time: 6pm
Cost: $5

“Wilmington 10; USA 10,000” by Haile Gerima, looks at the case of nine black boys and men as well as one white woman held as political prisoners in the 1970’s on trumped up charges designed to discourage their organizing in Wilmington, North Carolina.  Ben Chavis and icons such as Charles Cobb Sr. and the United Church of Christ are featured.  Includes Assata Shakur, and other political prisoners.

August 10 – Dr. CR Gibbs Annual Black August lecture “Let Your Motto Be Resistance”
Location: Southwest Library; 900 Wesley Place SW (1 block from Waterfront Metro)
Time: 11am – 130pm
Cost: Free

This year, Professor Gibbs annual lecture will focus on the history of the effective use of the boycott for purposes of Black self-determination, liberation, and protest.

August 14 – Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC
Time: 6pm
Cost: $5

Before he was convicted of murdering a policeman in 1981 and sentenced to die, Mumia Abu-Jamal was a gifted journalist and brilliant writer. Now after more than 30 years in prison and despite attempts to silence him, Mumia is not only still alive but continuing to report, educate, provoke and inspire.

Stephen Vittoria’s new feature documentary is an inspiring portrait of a man whom many consider America’s most famous political prisoner – a man whose existence tests our beliefs about freedom of expression. Through prison interviews, archival footage, and dramatic readings, and aided by a potent chorus of voices including Cornel West, Alice Walker, Dick Gregory, Angela Davis, Amy Goodman and others, this riveting film explores Mumia’s life before, during and after Death Row – revealing, in the words of Angela Davis, “the most eloquent and most powerful opponent of the death penalty in the world…the 21st Century Frederick Douglass.”


August 21 – Herman’s House
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC
Time: 6pm
Cost: $5

Herman Wallace may be the longest-serving prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States—he’s spent more than 40 years in a 6-by-9-foot cell in Louisiana. Imprisoned in 1967 for a robbery he admits, he was subsequently sentenced to life for a killing he vehemently denies. Herman’s House is a moving account of the remarkable expression his struggle found in an unusual project proposed by artist Jackie Sumell. Imagining Wallace’s “dream home” began as a game and became an interrogation of justice and punishment in America. The film takes us inside the duo’s unlikely 12-year friendship, revealing the transformative power of art.

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August 25 – Annual Black August book event [RESCHEDULED – SEE BELOW]
Feat. Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC

August 28 – Free Angela Davis & All Political Prisoners
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC
Time: 6pm
Cost: $5

Free Angela is a gripping historic account of the events that catapulted a young University of California philosophy professor into a controversial political icon in the turbulent late 1960’s. Angela Davis joins the Communist Party, protests with the Black Panthers, and becomes a principle spokesperson for the burgeoning prison reform movement. As a result, she finds herself Fighting to keep her job, and in the national media spotlight characterized by her many detractors as a dangerous subversive menace, and by her supporters as a strong leader challenging authority and boldly advocating for “Power to All People.”

It’s an edge-of-your seat thriller told for the first time by Angela and others who lived through the events firsthand. The interviews recount the politics that led her to challenge authority and spur a worldwide movement for her freedom that cemented Angela Davis, and her signature Afro hairstyle, as an iconic symbol of this still relevant political and social movement — the right to challenge the system.  You know her name. Now, you will finally know her story.


AUGUST 29 – Discussion on the Prison Labor Movement
Location: UDC Law School; 4240 Connecticut Ave, Bldg. 52, Room 505
Time: 5pm
Cost: Free

This program will feature Donald F. Tibbs, JD/Phd of Drexel University Law School and author of the book From Black Power to Prison Power: The Making of Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union.  The book is a legal history of how the social and cultural history of the Black Power era connects to the legal history of the Prisoner’s Rights Movement; and what the Supreme Court did to eviscerate both.

Donald F. Tibbs. FROM BLACK POWER to PRISON POWER: The Making of Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.
Available at:

This book uses the landmark case Jones v. North Carolina Prisoners’ Labor Union to examine the strategies of prison inmates using race and radicalism to inspire the formation of an inmate labor union. It thus rekindles the debate over the triumphs and troubles associated with the use of Black Power as a platform for influencing legal policy and effecting change for inmates. While the ideology of the prison rights movement was complex, it rested on the underlying principle that the right to organize, and engage in political dissidence, was not only a First Amendment right guaranteed to free blacks, but one that should be explicitly guaranteed to captive blacks—a point too often overlooked in previous analyses. Ultimately, this seminal case study not only illuminates the history of Black Power but that of the broader prisoners’ rights movement as well.

September 7 – Annual Black August book event
Feat. Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz
Location: Sankofa Video & Books; 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington DC
Time: 6-8pm
Cost: Free

Russell Maroon Shoatz is a political prisoner who has been held unjustly for over thirty years, including two decades in solitary confinement. He was active as a leader in the Black Liberation Movement in Philadelphia, both above and underground. His successful escapes from maximum-security prisons earned him the title “Maroon.” Despite the torture and deprivation that has been everyday life for Maroon over the last several decades, he has remained at the cutting edge of history through his writings. Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz is the first published collection of his accumulated written works, and also includes new essays written expressly for this volume.

This program will feature Russell Shoatz III on behalf of his father.