Happy May Day! From New York ending long-term solitary confinement in jails and prisons to people being held at the St. Louis City Justice Center rising up in their own Easter Rebellion, April has had many liberating moments. And let us not overlook the liberation and subsequent ransom of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis’s chair. We also mourn the passing in April of LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, leader at Standing Rock and Lakota historian.
As you flip your 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendars to May we hope you appreciate the incredibly moving and detailed artwork by Joseph Dole, who is currently serving a life-without-parole sentence for a crime he did not commit. The essay for the month—titled “What I Need”—is written by Rev. Joy Powell, also being held for a crime she did not commit.
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective (https://t.co/dEaM04i4wA) will be releasing our 21st calendar this coming autumn. The 2022 theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old,”… pic.twitter.com/bAnLSxCM6X
— Certain Days (@CertainDays) April 30, 2021
The Certain Days collective is happy to release our call-out for submissions for the 2022 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar. The 2022 theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old,” looking at collective approaches at creating a more inclusive and fulfilling world through mutual effort. We are looking for 12 pieces of art and 12 short essays to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 6,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world. We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work, and we especially seek submissions from people in prison or jail, so please forward to any prison-based artists and writers. (Print and share this PDF version of the callout, too.)
Political Prisoner Birthdays
With four political prisoner birthdays in May, now is a great time to host an online 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.
Martha Hennessy, #22560-021
Danbury, CT 06811
Alvaro Luna Hernandez*, #255735
W.G. McConnell Unit
3001 Emily Dr.
Beeville, TX 78102
*Address envelope to Alvaro, card to Xinachtli (note new address)
Grailing Brown*, #39384-066
USP Canaan / Smart Communications
PO Box 30
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
*Address envelope to Grailing, card to Kojo Bomani Sababu
Doug Wright, #57973-060
USP Florence – High
PO Box 7000
Florence, CO 81226
Releases, Acquittals, and Dropped Charges
On Friday, April 23, Standing Rock Water Protector Rattler was released from a halfway house. His support crew stated:
He now has 3 years under federal surveillance on probation. He is forced by BOP and probation, for now, to be in Bismarck where locals are openly hostile to native people and, still, towards water protectors. He has already experienced hostility for these reasons. Rattler, his loved ones and legal team are working to have him housed with family at home in the coming months.
Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendant Stephen Kelly was released from Federal custody on April 13, after being sentenced to 33 months in prison. Four of the seven KBP7 defendants remain behind bars.
— kitelineradio (@kitelineradio) April 10, 2021
[…] since the end of February, neither his attorneys nor Steve himself have been at liberty to speak with anyone about Steve’s legal situation or the court proceedings. Anti-repression efforts are a crucial tool for our movements and communities. The Federal government is hard at work to repress powerful social and political movements that are working towards the liberation of the earth and all of us who inhabit it […] We continue to stand in our solidarity with Steve and are working to ensure he can soon share his story with those who have shown their support over the past months of his resistance.
On March 31, drone assassination program whistleblower Daniel Hale pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act. Hale will be the first person to face sentencing for violating the Espionage Act under the Biden regime.
On April 9, Mark Coville became the last of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 to be sentenced to prison, more than three years after the incident that took place at Kings Bay Naval Base in Georgia. Colville was sentenced to 21 months in prison. You can read his sentencing statement here. We do not yet have an address for Coville, but check back here soon.
very harsh reminder that the State can and will use things you say online to imprison you. Solidarity with Loren Reed!https://t.co/rBCPNgKWj2
— 1312press (@1312press) April 20, 2021
Diné (Navajo) BLM activist and hip hop artist Loren Reed continues to face bogus charges and up to 10 years in prison for comments posted on a Facebook thread. Reed has faced unprecedented repression as a result of a pro-cop snitch within the Arizona activist community.
An update from the Sean Swain Defense Committee:
In December, the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued an historic ruling in the case of Sean Paul Swain versus The United States, permitting Sean’s claims of domestic torture to proceed to the merits stage. This is the first time any international court has allowed claims of domestic torture against the United States to proceed.
Sean was ideologically targeted by Ohio prison officials in 2012 for his political beliefs and published criticism of prison policy and was subjected to a year of domestic torture, under direction from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As Sean’s sworn testimony (“OAS Testimony,” audio posted at swainrocks.org) details, he was subjected to starvation, sensory and sleep deprivation, prolonged extreme cold, sexual abuse, and a number of other bewildering conditions that the C.I.A. termed the “simple torture situation” in its KUBARK manuals.
In retaliation for exposing torture, officials repeatedly blacksited Sean in place, depriving him of contact with the outside world; attempted to assassinate him; used internal kangaroo proceedings to call him a terrorist for whistleblowing; and illegally renditioned him to another state. They now intercept his legal communications to prevent him from prevailing in the IACHR.
The International Sean Swain Defense Committee is also now part of the Spirit of Mandela Project, which plans to conduct public hearings on the human rights violations committed in the U.S. criminal injustice process, creating a permanent historical record and then working to identify solutions. You can see more about how to help here.
Sean also recommends that people check out the Milwaukee Lit Supply podcast, a new abolitionist project that kicked off with a discussion of his zine about surviving isolation in prison, The Colonizer’s Corpse.
In Case You Missed It
- Political prisoner Oso Blanco has released a new set of four greeting cards featuring his artwork. Proceeds from these cards will “benefit children in the Zapatista zone of Chiapas, and kids on reservations here on Turtle Island.” Purchase sets of cards now in solidarity with the Zapatistas here and here!
Oso Blanco Greeting Cards: Buy Here
- Longtime political prisoner and Certain Days founding member David Gilbert recently published an article on how the fight against AIDS can guide us as we struggle against this current pandemic.
- Vegan anarchist political prisoner Eric King has released two new poems from his cell in solitary confinement, where he has been for the past 20 months.
- Don’t miss the latest episode of Twin Trouble, the podcast between recently-released political prisoner Jeremy Hammond and his brother, Jason.
- This new article highlights the need to release long-time political prisoner, elder Sundiata Acoli, before it is too late.
Eric King had been in segregation for over 700 days at FCI Englewood. He is pre-trial (and serving a ten year sentence). Absurdly, he is on a mail ban (cannot receive letters) but he can get books & magazines. Please order one or more at https://t.co/KQXQZpbE4L pic.twitter.com/nm1zX2XHNp
— Support_Eric_King (@SupportEricKing) April 24, 2021
- Jalil Muntaqim, Sekou Odinga, Bilal Sunni-Ali, and others are interviewed about the Black Panther Party in this new piece in The New Republic.
- Don’t miss this fascinating examination of the Panther 21, 50 years later.
- Be sure to read this interview between former political prisoner James Kilgore and Victoria Law, where they discuss Law’s new book on the myths of mass incarceration.
“Someone makes a lot of money off it, and nothing goes to the families of the fallen,” elder Panther and former prisoner Sekou Odinga tells me. “Nothing goes to those that are locked up, fighting for their lives.”https://t.co/apYhx29USZ
— Ill Will (@illwilleditions) April 27, 2021
- This riveting new piece explores the ongoing struggle to regain the remains of the children who died in the bombing of the MOVE home in Philadelphia, and how the state continues to dehumanize those it deems invaluable.
- This recent article explores the role of political prisoners, lengthy sentences, and support as they relate to ongoing struggles for social justice.
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Certain Days to Keep in Mind
As you’ll see in your 2021 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar, May is packed full of dates commemorating the ongoing liberation struggle. From the births of abolitionist John Brown and Black liberationist Malcolm X to the deaths of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and the murder of George Floyd, you won’t miss an important radical date again with your Certain Days calendar. Get one now while they still last!
photo: Joseph Barrientos via Unsplash