Though a short month, much indeed went down in February. We mourn the passing of activist and musician Anne Feeney as well as former Chicago 7 defendant Rennie Davis, both of whom fought tirelessly to create a better world. In early February, detainees at the St. Louis “Justice Center” took control of the facility for several hours, while reports emerged of officers at a jail in Oregon pepper-spraying prisoners who were being isolated for possible COVID-19 exposure. It was revealed in early February that political prisoner Bill Dunne had contracted COVID-19, and in the last days of February it was publicized that Mumia Abu-Jamal has also contracted the virus. Meanwhile, the crisis in Texas prisons and jails—and in Connecticut—continues to deteriorate, with important and tragic details here and here.
On a brighter note, there are only a few 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendars left, so get one now while they last at the discounted price of $10. The essay for the month—a close look at the pandemic from one who was incarcerated during the AIDS crisis—is written by longtime political prisoner and Certain Days founding collective member David Gilbert. The artwork for the month, by Aaron Hughes and entitled “Free Our Elders,” was inspired by a Leonard Peltier poem.
Last Saturday, inmates at the #StLouis Justice Center set off the third uprising since December in protest of horrible conditions + the spread of #COVID19. “We are dying at CJC in unheard of numbers and being intentionally infected at alarming rates.” https://t.co/7EeJnTS2By
— It’s Going Down (@IGD_News) February 8, 2021
Political Prisoner Birthdays
With five political prisoner birthdays in March, now is a great time to host an online prisoner letter-writing party! The personal touch of a birthday card means so much to those inside, and it is a small act of solidarity that can go a long way. Remember that prisoners at Federal prisons (USPs and FCIs) cannot receive cards, colored paper, or colored ink.
Rev. Joy Powell, #07G0632
Bedford Hills Correctional Facility
PO Box 1000
Bedford Hills, NY 10507-2499
Andrew Mickel, #V77400
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974
Ruchell Cinque Magee, #A92051
California Medical Facility
PO Box 2000
Vacaville, CA 95696-2000
Jaan Laaman, #10372-016
PO Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635
Patrick O’Neill, #14924-018
PO Box 10
Lisbon, OH 44432
Letters of support are needed by the end of March for political prisoner and Certain Days collective member Xinachtli, who has a parole hearing in July. Learn how and why to send your parole letter at his new support website.
On February 4, NoDAPL Water Protector Steve Martinez was held in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a Grand Jury. He is facing 18 months in jail for his principled resistance. A judge ordered Martinez’s immediate release on February 22, though upon his release he was served with yet another Grand Jury subpoena. If you can offer support, fundraising is needed.
In other NoDAPL news, Catholic Worker climate activists Ruby Montoya and Jessica Reznicek have pleaded guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to damage an energy facility. Both are due to be sentenced in May.
Anti-authoritarian protester and former YPG volunteer Daniel Baker remains in prison in connection with calling for a counter-protest against pro-Trump Inauguration protesters. Read this piece by his friend and supporter, and write to Daniel to offer support using the address below.
Daniel Alan Baker #25765-509
501 Capitol Circle N.E.
Tallahassee, FL 32301
There is a new petition calling for Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner to stop defending the unjust conviction and imprisonment of long-held political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read the new Jamal Journal and sign the petition here.
CALL NOW! DEMAND RELEASE AND HOSPITALIZATION OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL! ☎️ pic.twitter.com/kYCa0de6uK
— San Francisco Bay View Newspaper (@sfbayview) February 27, 2021
In Portland, Oregon charges are being brought against another person counter-protesting right-wing Inaugural protesters. You can learn more about Alexander Dial and join in the struggle to drop the charges here.
Funds are urgently needed for The Donaldson 4—Ephan Moore, Wilbert Smith, Derrol Shaw, and Robert Earl Council (aka Kinetik Justice)—who have faced continued assaults by guards at Donaldson Correctional Facility. Learn more here and donate here.
Additionally, Anthony Smith is in need of support in Philadelphia, where he is facing Federal charges of arson to a police vehicle. Ant needs all the support he can get as he faces up to seven years in prison.
In Case You Missed It
- Former Angola 3 political prisoner Albert Woodfox just celebrated his birthday and the 5th anniversary of his release from prison after 44 years. Check out a recent interview with Woodfox here.
- Current political prisoner and Certain Days founding member David Gilbert recently wrote a moving book review on Pen Pal: Prison Letters from a Free Spirit on Slow Death Row by Tiyo Attallah Salah-el.
- There is a new supporter trifold for political prisoner Oso Blanco ready to be downloaded, printed, and shared, courtesy of the newly-formed Charm City ABC.
Byron Chubbuck, #07909-051
PO Box 3900
Adelanto, CA 92301 pic.twitter.com/IOcBr502BZ
— Certain Days (@CertainDays) February 26, 2021
- If you haven’t already, watch Eddie Conway’s latest Rattling the Bars, where he discusses the urgent need to free elder political prisoner Sundiata Acoli.
- There is a new article out in Eugene Weekly about accused Green Scare activist Joseph Dibee, who is now on home-confinement fighting for his freedom.
- Though women’s leadership in the Black Panther Party is often overlooked, that is not the case in Oakland where a mural was unveiled last month honoring women’s leadership in the party and the movement.
- The deathbed confession of a former NYPD cop who was involved in the targeted assassination of Malcolm X brings this revolutionary’s untimely death back into the spotlight.
- Teen Vogue recently released excerpts from Victoria Law’s forthcoming book, which examines and dismantles myths around prison and mass incarceration.
- Check out this new Letter to a Young Lord, a story of a Young Lord youth gunned down in Chicago just months before Fred Hampton met the same fate.
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Certain Days to Keep in Mind
As you’ll see in your 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar, March is packed full of radical dates in movement history and abolitionism. We commemorate the losses of Black Liberation political prisoners Mondo we Langa (2016) and Merle Africa (1998), Indigenous rights protector Wolverine (2016), Palestinian-rights activist Rachel Corrie (2003), and the three Weathermembers who died in lower Manhattan in 1970. We also rejoice in remembering the liberation of George Jackson Brigade member John Sherman from jail (1976), and the exposure of COINTELPRO in 1971. March 1 also marks the 40th anniversary of the 61-day hunger strike that led to the death and martyrdom of IRA political prisoner Bobby Sands.
photo: Toan Nguyen via Unsplash