July Newsletter of Free Maroon Global Network

From Russell Maroon Shoatz:

Greetings Maroon supporters,

We’re back with our monthly newsletter/e-mail blast on the status of U.S.-held political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz. Many thanks for your continued support and solidarity as we push on in the struggle to free our beloved father, grandfather, husband, and mentor.

This month, we bring you an update on Maroon’s recovery from radiation treatment of his prostate cancer, the second installment of our interview series with human rights champion and longtime Maroon supporter Selma James, a letter Maroon recently wrote to the Pope in hopes of having him visit prisoners in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and a brief reportback on the Spring Maroon Tour’s final event in Oakland, California.

As always, please feel free to contact us directly with your own ideas and connections to support our efforts.

Please also consider contributing to our ongoing fundraising for Maroon. No amount is too little, and all contributions are greatly appreciated.

Connect with Maroon directly by writing to Russell Shoats #AF-3855, SCI-Graterford, P.O. Box 246 Route 29, Graterford, PA 19426 – 0246

Straight Ahead!
The Shoatz Family and Friends

Health Update:
Rebounding From Radiation Treatments

Maroon Writes:

Good News! The radiation therapy that I have been receiving has been successful!

After completing my radiation treatment on June 3, 2015, my oncologist (“Dr. K”), had me seated in a separate “examination room” where, weekly, both he and his physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner (“C.”) would review with me the week’s treatments and my overall condition. He told me that my treatments were completed, asked about my overall feelings, and said something like “From my mouth to God’s ear” what we had accomplished “should do the trick”; which I took to mean rid my body of the cancer. Still I asked him, “Is there any cancer in my body?” And he said, “Any cancer cells in your body are dying,” and that the radiation would continue to attack any cancer cells, that I would begin to feel much better within six to eight weeks, and “get better and better.”

On behalf of my family and myself, I again want to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped in any way. Cancer is simply an exceptionally trying condition to deal with, and when a political prisoner like myself suffers that condition, without strong support from the streets there are many elements within the criminal UNJUSTICE establishment who may very well take that opportunity to interfere with the medical professionals who are willing to help heal you. A tragic history that continues to unfold.

Straight Ahead!
Maroon

To read Maroon’s full detailed health journal follow this link.

Selma James Interview

Selma James, writer, activist, co-founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and coordinator of Global Women’s Strike, is interviewed by Raphael Cohen, for the campaign to free Maroon, in Oakland, California, April 25, 2015. In part 2 of this 4-segment series, James discusses her impressions of Maroon’s recent writings regarding sexism and patriarchy in the racial justice movements of the 1960s and ’70s. She applauds Maroon’s critical self-reflection, supportively questions some of his conclusions, and shares her thoughts on the potentially transformative implications of his and other male prisoners’ commitment to naming, condemning, and ending violence against women.

As the #SayHerName movement to seek justice in often overlooked police killings of black women intensifies following Sandra Bland’s tragic death last week, James’s thoughts on the importance of men’s solidarity in the struggle for women’s liberation couldn’t be timelier. Watch the interview segment here, and stay tuned for parts 3 and 4 in the coming months.

Maroon’s Letter to the Pope 

popeIn the lead-up to Pope Francis’s trip to Philadelphia for the World Meeting of Families in late September, Maroon has written the Pope an open letter, inviting him to visit with prisoners in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections during his stay, and to hear directly from prisoners about their vision for true rehabilitation and an end to mass incarceration, a topic that now seems to be on the U.S. public’s consciousness more than at any point in the previous few decades.

As Maroon states in his letter: “… while I seek forgiveness and work towards reconciliation with those I have wronged and hurt, the bigger picture urges me to also strive towards laying a foundation to help younger people extract themselves from a generations-old racial, economic, and historical set of contradictions that not only led to my imprisonment, but has since metastasized into the criminalization of millions based on their racial and/or economic standing – an unjust, unethical, and ultimate poisoning of society that is at odds with the compassion and broadness of vision that Your Holiness is held in such high esteem for championing.

Society has everything it needs to rescue itself from the MASS INCARCERATION fallout that has resulted from these failures. And by overcoming this part of our problems, we place ourselves in a position to challenge others to fashion solutions to other social issues that have been eating away at us for so long.

A way forward in uprooting MASS INCARCERATION rests with offering every prisoner – as well as every prison employee – an opportunity to obtain the type of education and skill-sets needed by society in the 21st century, all of which can be accomplished by joining the global online revolution in higher education.”

To read Maroon’s full letter to the Pope follow this link.

We’ve received indication that the Pope will, in fact, visit Philadelphia’s Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (CFC) while in town, and we invite you to reiterate the importance of such a visit, and express your support for it, by tweeting the official Papal Twitter account, @Pontifex, with a message echoing Maroon’s sentiments. We ask that you not specify Maroon by name, but rather, use the slogan he’s put forth in his letter. One such tweet tweet might read: “@Pontifex Please take time to meet Pennsylvania prisoners. MASS EDUCATION–YES! MASS INCARCERATION–NO!” If you do choose to tweet, please also include the hashtags #PopeVisitPAprisoners and #PopeInPhilly.

Spring Maroon Tour Concludes

Lastly, the Spring Maroon 2015 Book and Culinary tour concluded this month in Oakland, California, with an event entitled “The 4th of the Lie,” a panel discussion “about the importance of independence and self-determination for colonized peoples,” hosted by the Qilombo Cultural Center. Maroon’s son, Russell the III, joined Shaka At-thinnin, founder of the Black August Organizing Committee, on the evening of July 4th, to expound on some of his father’s ideas from the essay collection Maroon The Implacable.

russelll3

While fireworks and car alarms were going off every couple minutes right outside of Qilombo’s doors, Russell shared his thoughts with a multi-generational audience on the importance of coalition-building across movement sectors, even and especially when said sectors may be unfamiliar with one another’s mores and norms; the importance of men challenging sexism and supporting the aspirations and self-determination of women; and the crucial role of localized food production in the midst of large agri-business expansion, coupled with lack of access to healthy food and chronic health problems in working class communities of color.

This last point proved especially timely, as Qilombo community members have recently been involved in a struggle to preserve the Afrika Town Garden they established for the purpose of providing healthy, locally-grown produce to their neighborhood. After years of neglecting the lot on which Afrika Town was recently born, its owner has threatened to evict volunteers and raze the garden, in a clear attempt to make his property more appealing to potential well-off buyers in a rapidly gentrifying part of town. Read more about the struggle to defend the Afrika Town Garden.afrika-town

As always, we offer you our profound gratitude for your support, and our hope to celebrate greater victories with you in the days to come…

The Shoatz Family and Friends

 

Russell Maroon Shoatz: Continued from May 3, 2015 – June 10, 2015

Free Russell Maroon Shoatz:

Chronology of Major Health Problems

(Continued from May 3, 2015)

Note: Good News! The radiation therapy that I have been receiving has been successful! So I will keep this short, just highlighting the main aspects of what has occurred so that we can turn our attention to some of the other problems that confront us.

43. From Mondays to Fridays, from May 4, 2015, until May 29, 2015, with the exception of Memorial Day, I received radiation therapy. It continued from June 1, 2015 until June 3, 2015.

44. Nothing out of the ordinary to report concerning the treatment by the guards that transported me to the cancer center: always three guards, supervised by a lieutenant, although usually different guards each trip; while normally two regular guards accompany other prisoners on these hospital trips, and on most days my party would see such occurring within the same hospital.

45. After completing my radiation treatment on June 3, 2015, my oncologist (“Dr. K”), had me seated in a separate “examination room” where, weekly, both he and his physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner (“C.”) would review with me the week’s treatments and my overall condition. He told me that my treatments were completed, asked about my overall feelings, and said something like “From my mouth to God’s ear” what we had accomplished “should do the trick”; which I took to mean rid my body of the cancer. Still I asked him, “Is there any cancer in my body?” And he said, “Any cancer cells in your body are dying,” and that the radiation would continue to attack any cancer cells, that I would begin to feel much better within six to eight weeks, and “get better and better.”

46. It’s well established that a cancer is a group of cells (usually coming from a single cell) that has uncontrolled growth. Thus his answer satisfied me; especially since he had told me during an earlier examination that I had to continue to drink a lot of water, since “the cancer is not going to evaporate into the sky,” but would be passed in my urine, something the “dying” cancer cells in my body will hopefully do.

47. Dr. K then had me sign discharge papers, and handed the guard typed instructions to deliver to the Graterford medical staff concerning my follow-up care, which Dr. K. told me would consist of periodic blood tests and prostate examinations that I have become very familiar with. And that I would remain on this regiment for the rest of my life, along with taking certain medications.

48. I thanked him, as well as “A.” and “B.,” the two radiation therapists who were busy monitoring another patient I caught a glimpse of on the desktop monitors as the guards were wheeling me away in a wheelchair, since I was always required to be moved around the hospital in that manner.

49. Since then I had a visit with one of my lawyers, who said he would move to acquire the balance of my medical records so that we could review what has been written since the last batch of medical records we obtained.

50. It’s been exactly one week since my last radiation therapy treatment, and up until two days ago, the fatigue from those treatments was almost overwhelming! That particular side effect accompanied most of over two months of treatments. Yesterday and today I have been feeling a little more energy, and Dr. K said that I must view the ending of the radiation treatments and my recovery in the same manner; meaning, one would not expect to immediately recover after undergoing surgery. Though psychologically I am less stressed, obviously…

Major Eye Problems

8. During the visit with my lawyer, mentioned above, he told me to submit a request to the Chief Health Care Administrator here concerning the cataract surgery on my right eye that the outside specialist recommended after examining my eye on May 1, 2015. And if there is an anymore undue delay, my lawyer will follow up with a notice to begin legal action towards getting that taken care of as well.

On behalf of my family and myself, I again want to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped in any way. Cancer is simply an exceptionally trying condition to deal with, and when a political prisoner like myself suffers that condition, without strong support from the streets there are many elements within the criminal UNJUSTICE establishment who may very well take that opportunity to interfere with the medical professionals who are willing to help heal you. A tragic history that continues to unfold.

Straight Ahead!

Maroon

Spring Maroon Book and Culinary Tour 2015 + Stand With Mumia!

From The Shoatz Family and Friends:

russell-shoatz-family

April 9, 2015
Greetings Maroon supporters worldwide!

It’s been a momentous last couple years in the long struggle to free our beloved father, uncle, grandfather, and comrade. Thanks to your persistent advocacy, Maroon’s case, and the political pretexts to his over forty years of confinement, have garnered widespread attention and sparked outrage from justice-seeking people across the globe.

As of April, 2015, we have launched a new web presence at WWW.RUSSELLMAROONSHOATZ.COM. There, we will be posting updates on Maroon’s health, legal efforts, writings, as well as related news, campaigns, and culture. If you are interested in contributing art, poems, essays, or articles to Maroon’s blog, please contact maroonconnect@gmail.com.

We have also begun a brand new Email Announcement List. Even if you think you are already connected with us, please follow the link and sign up!

For background on Maroon’s activism and imprisonment, please see his Case History on Our Website.

Maroon Has Started Cancer Treatment

After repeated delays in treatment earlier this year, followed by an emergency outside call-in effort in February, Maroon has begun radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Beginning to document his Chronology of Major Health Problems, Maroon writes:

“As a seventy one year old Political Prisoner I have spent over forty three continuous years in over twenty three jails, prisons and a maximum security mental institution, with over thirty of those years being held in solitary confinement.

During that period … the most challenging health issues I have been faced with … fall in two categories: major difficulties with both eyes, and prostrate problems that have developed into prostrate cancer.

Over the years I have struggled to PURCHASE large segments of medical records the prison and mental institutions compile on me. In the absence of a court order, no copies of these records have ever been available free-of-charge!

At the present time I am in possession of those records, and my legal team has also acquired more, since it’s almost certain we will soon have to institute legal action to compel the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and its medical contractor(s) to provide me with proper medical care.”

Spring Maroon Book and Culinary Tour 2015

On March 28th, we launched the Spring Maroon 2015 Book and Culinary Tour. We’ll be hosting community discussions based on writings in Maroon The Implacable, breaking bread with healthy food, and strategizing around Maroon’s recovery and freedom. Throughout the U.S., all spring long, Maroon’s son, Russell the III, will be leading these events, some of which will include smoothies made with the special ingredient “Maroon Moss,” a blend of sea vegetables, apples, kale and lemon! To see if the Spring Maroon Tour is stopping by a town near you, please see the Itinerary.

Stand With Mumia!

As with justice workers across the globe, we are very concerned about the treatment of Mumia Abu-Jamal during his recent decline in health. We urge you to connect with the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and to Donate to Mumia’s Health Care Fund.  He needs independent, specialized medical attention, urgently. This is our major demand. We need to step up the pressure and oppose the attempt at state execution of Mumia by medical neglect. Free Mumia!

Social Media ‘Get Well’ Shout Outs for Maroon!

As we wish a speedy recovery and immediate medical justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal and his family, we want to inform supporters that Maroon has officially started the first of 44 treatments of radiation therapy. In light of Mumia’s current situation, the journey for the release of our loved ones and comrades has taken on a renewed sense of urgency. We must continue to raise the issue of medical treatment for an aging demographic of inmates in U.S. prisons. More importantly, we must stay vigilant in our conversations with loved ones regarding their medial records, Department of Corrections policies and procedures, and family rights. We have already lost many giants, men and women comrades in this struggle of revolution and freedom. We can’t lose them twice…

With the launch of the Spring Maroon Book and Culinary Tour, and our new online presence, we are asking supporters to send their thoughts to Maroon as he embarks on this medical journey. Your greetings can come in any form. Submit a spoken word piece, poem, music, rap, tweet, 30 second video, “get well” shout outs, etc. e-mail maroonconnect@gmail.com to have your greeting posted on the site,  and/or tweet @RussellMShoatz.

Support Maroon’s Global Network

As we embark on a renewed fight to bring Maroon home, the time has come for us to reach out to you for financial support. The Shoatz family has been the primary funder of this campaign since Maroon was initially locked up in the early 1970s. In the simplest of terms, we don’t have the resources to continue being this struggle’s main financial engine. Please hit the PayPal link below to contribute.

No amount is too little. Please also consider sharing this information with family members, friends, and colleagues who may be able to support.

We offer you our deepest gratitude, and our hope to celebrate greater victories with you in the months and years to come.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.44.26 PMStraight ahead!

The Shoatz Family and Friends

Spring Maroon Tour 2015

From Russell Maroon Shoatz:

springmaroon4web.jpg (850×1400)

Saturday  March 28th    7pm    Brooklyn, NY
SMOKE MAROON OUT!!! SOLD OUT!
@ Habana Niño Cigar Boutique 384 Tompkins Ave –  Book & Cigar $35 package still available online

Saturday  April 11th    7pm    Denver, CO
The Kick off of The Spring Maroon Tour!!!
P&L Printing 3827 Steele St in collaboration with ABC Denver & the SHOFAM  Free Spring Roll w purchase of Maroon the Implacable $20

Saturday April 18th    12pm    Wilmington Del.
“Champagne Brunch” 1012 Grandview ave.
Book, screening & openhouse/openbook $35

SundayApril 19th    11am    Philadelphia, PA
Atiya Ola’s Raw Food Cafe Sponsors Screening
The Ongoing Cost of Freedom with  Director Vagabond

Saturday April 25th 3pm Baltimore Md.
Terra Cafe 101 E 25th St.
Amedjill & #freemaroon Baltimore Sponsor The *#B-More Maroon* Event

Saturday  May 2nd 4pm Maplewood, NJ
@104 Harvard Ave.
Tj’s Juice Joint! Choice of smoothie, box tea set, or Maroon Moss w purchase of Maroon the Implacable $20 free event

Sun May 10th 4pm Brooklyn NY
Free Maroon Senegal Sponsors Food 4 Thought!
Jollof’s Restaurant 1168 Bedford Av
A Roundtable smorgasbord of Maroon’s Ideas from Mosaic to the Hydra & Pop’s special Thieboudienne Recipe

Saturday June 13th 12pm Washington DC
Ladies 1st Book & *Brunch*$25 for ladies $35 men Brunch & book included RSVP ONLY

DOWNLOAD FLYER HERE