Running Down The Walls 2016!

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Watch the promo video from 2015: https://youtu.be/mPwWnPRuVSM

It’s time again for Denver’s annual Running Down the Walls 5k benefit. This will be our eighth annual run/walk in solidarity with U.S. held political prisoners and prisoners of war. Last year was the best year, and we need your help to make this year’s event even bigger!

Join us Sunday September 11th by the playground/picnic tables at the Sunken Gardens Park, 1099 Speer Blvd., Denver, CO 80204 at 10am with the run starting at 10:30am! Runs will be taking place in other cities and in prisons. Please be sure to arrive early to sign in and get your t-shirt. Food will be provided afterwards. Vegan options included. Bring everyone!

Every year prisoners and ABC chapters organize Running Down the Walls events to raise awareness and funds for political prisoners who are in need of support.

Donations can be made here, or at the event in person.

Please sign up here:
 

 

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From NYC ABC:

The Warchest Program:
The Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) has initiated a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994. Its purpose is to collect monthly funds from groups and individual supporters, and send that money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks. Over the last two decades, the ABCF warchest has dispensed over $75,000 to political prisoners in the United States. Currently, there are ten imprisoned comrades who receive a monthly stipend as part of the program; they are:
Joseph Bowen
Russell Maroon Shoatz
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Herman Bell
Robert Seth Hayes
Maliki Shakur Latine
Ruchell Magee
Sundiata Acoli
Hanif Bey
Oso Blanco

For more information, visit: abcf.net/warchest-program
 

Running Down The Walls 2016

Submitted to It’s Going Down:

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Since 1999, the Anarchist Black Cross Federation, political prisoners and support organizations across the country have held a 5K non-competitive run/jog/walk/bike event to raise awareness and funds for the numerous political prisoners currently held in North American prisons.

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Runs will be held on September 4th or September 11th at various cities and prison yards around the continent.

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In past years, we’ve had runs in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Denver (CO), Elmore (AL), FCI Sandstone (MN), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), USP Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), and Toronto, Ontario. Our comrades on the inside also engage in solidarity runs at the same time as ours on the outside.

This year the big runs will be held in:

Smaller solidarity runs will be held in:

Funds raised are typically split between the ABCF Warchest and a community group chosen by the host organization.

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The ABCF Warchest is a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994 and sends money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks.

For more information, see
http://www.abcf.net/warchest-program/

If you want to organize a solidarity run, please be in touch with LA ABCF at la@abcf.net

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Eric King has a new address!

From Support Eric King:

denver-sunset

Eric was picked up from Grady County Jail in Oklahoma at midnight last night and taken on a plane to the prison he was designated. We just received a phone call and he has been placed at FCI Englewood! Over the past two years pre-trial, all of the fights and horrible experiences, seeing the Rocky Mountains was a moment in which he knew he could finally breathe. Tonight he looked out his window and watched the sunset over those mountains just 30 minutes away from his partner and many friends. In all of this shittiness this is one thing that we can be thankful that for tonight. While there is a long road ahead, tonight we know that Eric can find some peace as he closes his eyes.

Send Eric some love!!

Eric King  27090045
FCI ENGLEWOOD
FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
9595 WEST QUINCY AVENUE
LITTLETON, CO  80123

We will update all of the page info and re-activate his book list soon!

Maroon’s Win, Commutation, Parole for Lifers and Toxic Prisons

From Free Russell Maroon Shoatz!

maroonGreetings Fighting Maroons!

Welcome to our July newsletter. In these ever-turbulent times, where tragic news seems a constant, we hope this message finds you and your loved ones in both good health and resilient spirits. After a momentous last month, we’re pleased to bring you the latest info on Maroon’s lawsuit settlement with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and brief report backs from both the Campaign to Restore Meaningful Commutation’s recent meeting with Pennsylvania state officials and the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons’ recent convergence in Washington D.C.

Maroon Sues The D.O.C. and Wins!!!

In case you missed our special bulletin two weeks ago, a settlement has been reached in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel, which challenged Maroon’s 22 straight years of solitary confinement. The settlement brings an end to litigation begun in 2013, which resulted in Maroon’s initial release from solitary in February, 2014. To say that we’re thrilled with this news would certainly be an understatement.

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Ahead of this latest victory, Maroon was visited for Father’s Day by his daughter, Theresa, and grandson, Hakeem. (pictured above) In Theresa’s words, “I spent Father’s Day with Maroon and my son. Maroon was so upbeat and proud of the moment. Several prisoners nodded and others sent warm greetings. One even came over to where we were seated, wanting a hug from me. Maroon jumped between us and said, ‘Time out! This is my Father’s Day visit, with mydaughter. Give me some space!” The prisoner got the message, and I took it to mean that we need more visits like this one.”

As mentioned in our July 11 press release, “In exchange for Shoatz ending the lawsuit the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) has agreed that it will not place Shoatz back in solitary confinement based on his prior disciplinary record or activities; Shoatz will have a single-cell status for life, meaning he will not have to experience the extreme hardship of being forced to share a cell following decades of enforced isolation; a full mental health evaluation will be provided; and the DOC has paid a monetary settlement.

Russell Maroon Shoatz had the following to say about the settlement: ‘I have nothing but praise for all of those who supported me and my family for all of the years I was in Solitary Confinement, as well as helped to effect my release. Since joining the struggle for Human Rights in the mid 1960s, I have always chosen to fight! Frederick Douglass was right when he said “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” So have no doubt that I see this Settlement as anything but the latest blow struck, and you rest assured that I will continue in the struggle for Human Rights. Straight Ahead!’ ”

We invite you to read our full press release, including the supportive comments of United Nation’s Special Rapporteur, Juan Mendez, whose expertise helped ensure this victory.

In addition, we share with you this article from The Guardianregarding the settlement and its potential positive impact on the cases of other Pennsylvania inmates who have suffered through similarly unrestricted use of solitary confinement, as well as the following video clip from the July 12 episode of Democracy Now!, a program that’s vocally supported our efforts over the years.
 

Campaign to Restore Meaningful Commutation Goes to Harrisburg

On Thursday, June 23, the Campaign to Restore Meaningful Commutation hit the Capitol pushing a 12 point platform that would change regulations and practices of the barely functional commutation process.  About 25 people traveled to Harrisburg from Pittsburgh and 10 more from Philly.  Upon arrival from Pittsburgh a devoted crew raced up to the office of Jason Dawkins, co-author of HB 2135, where he met them with open arms. House Bill 2135 was introduced on June 9, and has the ambition to Expand Parole Eligibility for Life Sentences. This bill would make people eligible for parole after 15 years served, and as Jason said in our press conference, “This bill would abolish life without parole.” Can you believe a State Rep said those words?!
 

Rep Ed Gainey from Pittsburgh gave a rousing speech at our rally in support of the bill. This is extra powerful because, tragically, his sister was murdered just a month ago. Additional surprise speakers included: Rep Joanna E. McClinton from Philadelphia and Delaware Counties, who was extremely encouraging and really applauded our efforts, and Rep Patty Kim of Dauphin County, who also stepped to the mic, talking about an impactful meeting she had with women at Muncy.

To read the full reportback about the campaign’s visit to the Pennsylvania capitol, and how you can plug into ongoing organizing,please visit here.

Members of Let’s Get Free with Rep Dawkins and Rep Gainey

Members of Let’s Get Free with Rep Dawkins and Rep Gainey

Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons Goes to D.C.

For over a decade, June 11 has been a day of action in solidarity with eco-anarchists imprisoned for their actions in defense of the Earth. Since its inception in 2004, the June 11 day of action and other acts of solidarity have been instrumental in winning shorter sentences or early release for eco-prisoners, including Jeff Luers and Eric McDavid. Yet committed earth defenders such as Marius Mason, targeted in the FBI’s “Greenscare,” are still serving harsh sentences in maximum security prisons for their actions in defense of the Earth.

Meanwhile in Appalachia, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) plans to build a massive maximum security prison on top of a former mountaintop removal coal mine in Letcher County, Kentucky, surrounded by sludge ponds and coal processing operations. This amounts to an environmental justice nightmare, where prisoners who are disproportionately low-income and people of color face toxic conditions behind bars.

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photo: Kilaika Anayejali kwa Baruti, Eka Asase Yaa, Theresa Shoatz & Shandre Delaney attendees at Toxic Prison Conference in DC

From June 11 to June 13, people from around the country converged on Washington, D.C. to network, strategize, and take direct action against toxic prisons and continue to fight for the freedom of political prisoners.

Stopping one prison is not a magic bullet to ending the U.S. police state, the one that gave way to the world’s largest prison nation and in turn serves as the apparatus of repression that keeps the planet shackled to industrial capitalism… But it’s a pretty good place to build from.

To read about the campaign’s convergence in D.C., and how you can get involved, please visit here.

We remain deeply indebted to all of you who continue to offer your support and solidarity to the struggle for Maroon’s freedom, and against prisons and policing more broadly. And while we say it every month, we really do want to hear from you! Please feel free tocontact us directly with your thoughts, questions, and ideas to strengthen our work on behalf of Maroon and all u.s.-held political prisoners.

We also invite you to consider contributing to our ongoing fundraising for Maroon. While Maroon’s recent settlement obviously includes a financial component, much of that money will be redirected, per Maroon’s wishes, to efforts that support other long-held prisoners and their families. Accordingly, your direct contributions for Maroon’s well-being at SCI Graterford remain important.

Please also consider contacting Maroon directly. He wants to hear from his supporters! Write to Russell Shoats #AF-3855, SCI-Graterford, P.O. Box 246 Route 29, Graterford, PA 19426 – 0246

In Maroon’s own words,
Straight Ahead!
The Shoatz Family and Friends

Over 130 Organizations Challenge EPA to Consider Prisoner Populations in Environmental Justice Action Plan

From PrisonEcology.org:

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The Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) submitted a public comment to the Environmental Protection Agency today that provides input on the agency’s final draft of theEJ 2020 Action Agenda,highlighting the lack of consideration for environmental justice among the millions of prisoners in the United States. The comment was co-signed by 138 social justice, environmental and prisoners’ rights organizations from across the country.

Last year, HRDC submitted a 10-page comment signed by 93 organizations during the comment period for outlining the initial “framework” for EJ 2020, and later joined with the Sierra Club to generate over 12,000 emails of support for their position. Despite this advocacy, the EPA failed to include any mention of prisoners in the EJ 2020 final draft.

As a result, HRDC has further built on its efforts to make this a priority for the EPA by adding new heavy-hitting national organizations such as Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, as well as prominent individuals including Sylvia Hood Washington, editor-in-chief of the Environmental Justice Journal, and Dr. Robert Bullard, considered to be the “Father of Environmental Justice.”

HRDC’s updated comment elaborates on problems nationwide which illustrate a clear need to protect prisoners as a population that faces extreme environmental justice impacts. For example, prisons and jails built on or near landfills, toxic waste dumps, Superfund cleanup sites and coal mining sites, or that are vulnerable to natural disasters such as flooding and environmental hazards like contaminated water. Additions made in the updated comment include references to the recent Flint water crisis, a federal judge’s ruling condemning arsenic in Texas prison water, and impacts of Valley Fever on Hawaiian prisoners in Arizona, indicating that this is an ongoing issue.

The updated comment filed with the EPA can be found online here.

“It’s encouraging to see the EPA attempting to increase the effectiveness of protecting vulnerable communities that have been overburdened by industrial pollution, but a significant component is missing when impacts on millions of prisoners and their families are ignored,” said Panagioti Tsolkas, coordinator of HRDC’s Prison Ecology Project.

According to the comment submitted by HRDC, there is overwhelming evidence that the population of people in prison represents one of the most vulnerable and uniquely-overburdened demographics in our nation. The comment notes that prison populations are almost entirely low-income and that black, Hispanic/Latino and Native Americans are consistently overrepresented in all 50 states.

Environmental permits that fail to meet the environmental justice standards set in place 20 years ago under Executive Order 12898 may violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI of the Act explicitly prohibits discrimination by government agencies that receive federal funds; if an agency is found in violation of Title VI, it may lose its federal funding. The prison sector should not be an exception.

“Those unfamiliar with the conditions in America’s prisons may balk at our allegations but the EPA cannot claim to be among the uninformed,” Tsolkas stated.

On February 5, 2015, Tsolkas conducted an interview with an EPA representative from Region III who explicitly stated that environmental justice guidelines have not been applied to prisoners for the purpose of reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act, because the EPA uses data that fails to take prisoner populations into account.

EPA Region III, which encompasses the Mid-Atlantic, conducted an initiative in which numerous prison inspections by the agency resulted in enforcement actions between 1999 and 2011, ranging from issues involving the disposal of hazardous waste to violations of air and water standards, primarily due to prison overcrowding. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General has also cited various violations of health, safety and environmental laws, regulations and Bureau of Prisons policies related to industrial operations within federal prisons.

Yet the EPA has never cited the health and safety of prisoners exposed to such environmental conditions as a factor in prison inspections or in the permitting of new facilities. It has also failed to note the blatant discrimination that is inherent in toxic prison conditions, despite the fact that Title VI provides a mandate for addressing such discrimination which other agencies have recognized.

As Dr. Robert Bullard, a signatory to HRDC’s comment, stated in a recent listening session directed at the EPA, “It is incredible that in 45 years, EPA never met a case of environmental discrimination—not even in the southern region of the country … in a region that was notorious for practicing discrimination under ’Jim Crow’ segregation[.]”

HRDC executive director Paul Wright observed, “Ironically, prisoners are frequently counted for the purpose of gerrymandering voting districts. So why are we missing the mark in terms of environmental protections for those forced to live inside toxic prisons, such as facilities built on coal mining sites or waste dumps?”

A map showing various examples of prison-related environmental issues, created through collaboration between the Prison Ecology Project and Humboldt State University, can be found online here.

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About HRDC:  The Human Rights Defense Center, founded in 1990, is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human rights in U.S. detention facilities. HRDC publishes Prison Legal News (PLN), a monthly magazine that includes reports, reviews and analysis of court rulings and news related to prisoners’ rights and criminal justice issues, and operates the website www.prisonlegalnews.org

SEPTEMBER 9TH NATIONWIDE PRISONER STRIKE POSTER

stlposterFrom Anti-State STL:
Download Poster Here

Here is a poster (11×17) for the upcoming nationwide prisoner strike on September 9th. Download, print and put it up around your city if you feel it.

For more information about the strike and the ongoing wave of prison rebellions across the country, check out these articles:

Strike Against White Supremacy

Incarcerated Workers Take the Lead

Call To End Prison Slavery

Text from the poster:

“We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such… What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.”
– L. D. Barkley, participant in Attica rebellion

On September 9, 1971, the inmates of Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York seized control of the prison. The Attica uprising, which lasted for five days, was not the first and certainly not the last prison rebellion. And yet its importance is indelibly marked within the history of the struggle against white supremacy and the prison society we still inhabit today.

In the forty years since Attica, prisons have swelled to bursting with the tragedies of disrupted lives, fractured families, and broken communities. In the last decade, resistance movements have steadily grown behind the prison walls. From the statewide work stoppage in Georgia prisons of 2010 to the hunger strike that spread throughout the California prison system in 2013; from fires lit in I.C.E. detention centers in Texas to riots and prison takeovers in Nebraska and Alabama, prisoners across the country are wide awake and on the move.

This September, prisoners, their families, and supporters on the outside are coordinating a nationwide prisoner strike to take place on the 45th anniversary of the Attica rebellion. This historic effort holds within it the potential to expand and embolden the movement against the horrific conditions of confinement, the prisons themselves and the society that creates them.

Towards the destruction of all prisons and the creation of a free and genuine human community!

supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org
iwoc.noblogs.org
antistatestl.noblogs.org
itsgoingdown.org

Sekou Kambui – Life After 47 Years as a Political Prisoner

From Unicorn Riot:

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Denver, CO – It has been two years since Sekou Kambui was released from the Alabama prison system after spending 47 years of his life incarcerated. He and fellow Human Rights activist Audri Scott Williams spoke in Denver on Thursday, July 14th, 2016 at an event hosted by Denver Anarchist Black Cross about his life after prison and their current collective work.

During his teenage years in the 1960s, Sekou participated in the Civil Rights movement through mobilizing fellow youth in Alabama and providing security for meetings of the Southern Christian Leadership Council (SCLC), Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).

When Sekou was 19 years old, he became affiliated with the Black Panthers Party for Self-Defense, as well as, the Republic of New Afrika. In the 1970s, Sekou spent most of his time community organizing in Birmingham, Alabama with the Alabama Black Liberation Front, the Inmates for Action, and the Afro-Amerikan People’s Party.

kambuiBecause of his activism in the Civil Rights movement, he was watched closely by the FBI’s counterintelligence program entitled COINTELPRO, and was subsequently profiled and pulled over on January 2, 1975 for allegedly running a yield sign and/or speeding. During the traffic stop the officer found a pistol in Sekou’s vehicle, and after strong suspicion by the officer that it was the weapon listed as stolen during a Tuscaloosa, Alabama murder, Sekou was taken into custody and charged for the murders of the two white men; a fireman and KKK official Olmstead Copeland and multi-millionaire oilman John Harbin.

Throughout both trials, major witnesses admitted that they had been coerced into testifying falsely against Sekou and were repeatedly visited by certain members of the Tuscaloosa County and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department and were deliberately coached on what to say during their testimonies.

Sekou was never placed at or near the crime scene, the real murder weapon was never found, nor was there ever any direct evidence to connect him to the murders.

While in prison Sekou remained politically active by becoming a jailhouse lawyer and prisoners’ Civil and Human Rights activist. Many prisoners owe their freedom to Sekou’s legal efforts on their behalf. He has won numerous civil actions regarding medical malpractice, abusive treatment, abusive segregation, and abusive prison conditions.

Sekou explains his motivation for becoming a jailhouse lawyer:

“Once I entered prison, what was I going to do but do the same thing I did out of prison? And that was organize—fight the powers that be for a better life and quality of life. The prisons were overcrowded and people in beds were about as close as arm-to-arm. It was filthy and the food was bad. A lot of times you’d find feces from some animal or another—mice, roaches, whatever. You’d break open a piece of cake and it had been invaded by spiders and you’d just pull it and spider webs would come with the cake. So we had a lot of work to do. As I was becoming an up-and-coming jailhouse lawyer, I began to attack and challenge those things, and with some success. And out of their success, I became notorious throughout the prison system as one ‘leave-him-alone’ litigator.”

Since his release on June 30th, 2014, he has relentlessly continued his Civil and Human Rights activism by touring nationally with The Red Flame for Freedom. The organization’s main goal is to raise awareness about the proliferation of modern day slavery experienced through sex trafficking, human trafficking, mass incarceration, and children in poverty.

“Going back to prison is not on my agenda. It’s not an option to be considered. But I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing. And I’m going to take every breathing moment I can to get out and propagate truth and reveal the lies about what’s going on behind prison walls,” Sekou added.

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Audri Scott Williams, one of the founders of The Red Flame for Freedom, spoke about her lengthy and expansive international and national Human Rights activism. Since 2000, she has participated in and organized many walks for social justice change, the environment, and for many more causes.

During the Q&A dialogue, Audri added:

“It’s that relentless pursuit of what calls you, alright, and believe me you wouldn’t be sitting here if something wasn’t calling you. We’re living at a time now where the issues are so big and so broad that you can literally just pick one and go for it. The biggest challenge is not whether there’s something you can align with, the biggest challenge is you must know that you can make a difference.”

Sekou is also involved in the Free Alabama Movement, which is an organization formed by people in men’s prisons in Alabama to fight mass incarceration and prison slavery “that supports the Non-Violent and Peaceful Protests for Civil and Human Rights by the men and women (and children) who are incarcerated in Alabama, Mississippi, and anywhere else in the U.S.A.”

Watch the entire presentation by Sekou Kambui and Audri Scott Williams here:


 

 
If you would like to support their organization, click here.

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