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Oct 24, 2016
From Prison Focus Issue 50
Before any impressive re-birth into society, a dark, dismal death must first occur. More often than not, the death is attributed to that moment at sentencing when, in this case, a newly turned 16-year-old Stockton youth was sentenced to 19-years-to-Life in the penitentiary.
Raymond Aguilar was that teenager sentenced in San Joaquin Superior Court back in 1990. Today, Aguilar is free, and living in Stockton, and though less than 100 days after completing a 26 year CDCR stint, he is already advocating for youth and life term inmates alike.
“I got to Pelican Bay in 1993-94 and went right to the SHU,” Aguilar says of his Security Housing Units debut. “Back there, most of us were lifers, validated gang members and murderers. There is no hope no more, that’s the end of the line, that’s it.”
In an era before indigenous sweats, before contact visits and before SHU inmates were afforded many of their current rights, Aguilar made his way through the toughest channels in the California Prison system, literally as a child. Before escaping his teenage years, Aguilar’s reality would be transformed forever.
Early childhood was nothing pleasant for Aguilar growing up in Stockton. Aguilar was one of four children born to his married parents and raised amidst consistent dysfunction. Aguilar attributes the minimal stability he had to his grandmother, yet admits that a lot of what he witnessed from his grandmother was far from wholesome.
“My entire family was involved with drugs,” Aguilar said. “My parents were using, my grandmother was selling drugs, Drugs and violence were always a part of my life, even before I went to prison.”
Aguilar’s life sentence came after the shooting death of a 35-year old man. The man had been someone Aguilar “didn’t like” and Aguilar attested to having “problems” with the man in the past. In a warped-reality, Aguilar’s crime had been committed in protection of the same family members that should have been protecting him.
With more than two decades of prison time completed, Aguilar has made his return to society a triumphant one. It is nearly impossible to prepare for that moment of release, yet it seems as if Aguilar has aimed towards that very moment, his entire adult life.
After tasting the vile taste of having the Governor reverse the decision of the Board of Prison Hearings to grant him parole, Aguilar knew first hand that his freedom was not in his control. Yet finally relief for Aguilar came on September 16, 2013 when the Governor approved Senate Bill 260 requiring a youthful parole hearing after completing 15 years of the initial sentence.
During a powerful public comment at the Board of State Community Corrections Proposition 47 ESC Meeting in late June, 2016, Aguilar captivated the law enforcement-heavy audience with the simple reality of his life’s experiences. Aguilar went from tattooed murderer who was voiceless for 20-plus years, to one of California’s premiere experts on self-rehabilitation as well as an expert navigator of the system’s wicked reality created for our youth. The change he has made personally is not as shocking to Aguilar as was learning that there are tons of people on the outside fighting for prisoners who are fighting to retain their sanity; for prisoners in solitary confinement.
“It was a shock because inside we do not believe that many are out here fighting for us,” Aguilar said. “These people are fighting daily to expose the injustices that we experience in solitary confinement. If more people knew it would make a difference.”
Understanding that each moment behind the locked door is a tool of preparation for the hopeful day of release is important.
“When I was back there, all we did was exercise,” Aguilar said of his SHU tenure. “Exercise was a part of our discipline, reading was a part of our discipline, being consistent with our program was a part of our discipline. So 25 years later, now that I’m out here, I’m thinking, ‘how can I be consistent out here like I was in there?’ Things are a lot faster out here; in the SHU we talk about keeping our word and sticking to it. You can keep to your word out here too. Because guess what? A lot of people out here don’t.”
The strength, determination and tenacity that it takes to endure the SHU, will be the keys to success in making a positive reentry into society. The true victory is not in getting out, but staying out. Believing that, while in the midst of a 20-plus-year prison commitment, is no easy task.
The strength, determination and tenacity that it takes to endure the SHU will be the same keys to suc-cess in making a positive reentry into society.
In there that’s all it is, being strong,” Aguilar said. “We are all determined to not fail. So when I came out here, it was the same concept. I’m like, ‘OK, I am not going to fail, I’m going to adjust’. One part of the constitution says advancement demands change, so in order to advance we must change. So I advanced myself from the SHU, to the step-down program, to society. Now, how am I going to adapt? Well, I’m going to be mentally strong, physically strong, but emotionally that is the part I have to deal with.”
The realities of suffocating one’s emotions for decades takes its toll. Re-addressing those emotions may be the steepest valley long-term inmates have to face. The emotional stability it will take to avoid recidivism has to begin on the inside, prior to being back in society.
“We don’t deal with our emotions in the penitentiary,” Aguilar said. “We push everything to the side. So now, out here, be prepared for an emotional roller coaster. When we’re back there, we don’t talk about love, or affection, or kindness; those words are alien to us. Now I am dealing with all of those emotions and those feelings. Yes, I am committed to my job. I’m strong and I’m focused, but emotionally, I have to admit I break down daily inside myself.”
“I’m speaking to the brothers back there, I wish they would make time to deal with their emotions, because when you come out here, it is going to hit.”
Oct 24, 2016
From Prison Focus Issue 50
California Prison Focus is soon approaching the twen-ty-fifth year of our existence. Our priorities since day one have included doing legal interviews with
people imprisoned in California; historically speaking and foremost, those held in prolonged isolation, without judicial review or oversight. They’ve also included publishing about the abuses of human and civil rights and human dignity that go on inside prisons.
The occasion of our twenty-fifth anniversary is therefore a good time to remember that in California, as well as through-out the US, the news media have no special right of access to the prisons. (See, e.g., Pell v. Procunier, 417 U.S. 817 (1974).)
Moreover, for almost as long as we’ve been around, the press has ostensibly been banned from conducting face-to-face interviews with members of California’s incarcerated public. This is due to an executive order issued by former Governor Pete Wilson in 1997. Yet, we know from watching TV news that CDCr has welcomed members of the press to interact with its wards whenever it’s suited the CDCr’s interests.
Wilson’ 1997 ban on the media came on the heels of the CDCr’s apparently unsuccessful attempt, in late 1996, to push through the same ban via proposed changes to California Code of Regulations, Title 15. The changed regulations would have further disallowed confidential correspondence between representatives of the media and those inside.
In response to Wilson’s decree, legislators introduced a succession of bills that would have granted journalists the affirmative right to interview imprisoned persons. No fewer than nine such bills were introduced between 1997 and 2011, beginning with SB 434, sponsored by Senator Quentin Kopp during the 1997 legislative season.
With a single exception, all of the above-mentioned bills were overwhelmingly adopted by both houses of the legislature, only to be later vetoed by Governor Wilson and his successors Gray Davis, Arnold Schwartzenegger and Jerry Brown. (See the bottom of this article for further details.) The single exception was AB 1886, which passed with a solid majority in the Assembly in May 2004, before the author requested cancellation of the Senate’s vote. Meanwhile, a similar bill, SB 1164, was making its way through the legislature that Spring. During final Senate and Assembly votes held in August 2004, SB 1164 readily passed, respectively by margins of 22 to 7 and 44 to 34.
The vetoed bills generally included provisions allowing the CDCr to deny particular requests from the media or to reasonably limit access where concerns for safety and security were invoked with some degree of specificity. Particular requests might have been denied, for example, where re-quests to interview any one individual were excessive.
“Excessive request” provisions no doubt reflected rhetoric being bandied about at the time of Pete Wilson’s executive order: In 1997, Wilson and representatives of the CDCr were cynically broadcasting one-sided/lop-sided messages about prisoners becoming celebrities and exploiting celebrity to personal advantage and ill effect. It was as though issues of transparency, overcrowded prisons, and the public’s inter-est in knowing what was going on with one of the largest and largest-growing sectors of California’s government were non-existent.
Media access in California in 2016
As stated at the beginning of this article, the press has no special right of access to the prisons, either in California or in the US at large.
California Code of Regulations, Title 15 (as updated through January 1, 2016), section 3261.5, subdivision (b) provides: “[N]ews media and non-news media representa-tives shall be allowed to interview inmates in person in accordance with the visiting requirements of sections 3170 through 3176.3.” Sections 3170 through 3176.3 pertain to all visits other than confidential attorney visits; generally meaning, visits by a person’s loved ones and social acquaintances. Otherwise, the access of the media is subject to the CD-Cr’s independent discretion and is curtailed and supervised.
(See § 3261.1, subd. (a)–(c).)
Representatives of the media shall not “enter condemned units, the execution chamber or any area currently affected by an emergency situation without approval of the Secretary of the CDCR or designee.” (§ 3261.1, subd. (c).) “Confidential mail,” under Title 15, section 3141, does not include correspondence with representatives of the media.
(This writer strongly doubts that confidential correspondence between representatives of the media and those inside has ever been permitted under Title 15—regardless of the CDCR’s endeavor in 1996 to explicitly ban it.) Penal Code section 2601 however permits those imprisoned to “correspond, confidentially, with any member of the State Bar or holder of public office, provided that the prison authorities may open and inspect incoming mail to search for contraband.”
Summary of legislative efforts to grant the press the affirmative right to conduct face-to-face interviews with people in California’s prisons (1997–present)
1997: SB 434 (sponsored by Senator Quentin Kopp) pass-es both houses and is vetoed by Governor Pete Wilson
1999: AB 1440 (sponsored by Assembly Member Carole Migden) passes both houses and is vetoed by Governor Gray Davis, who takes office in January 1999
2000: AB 2101 (sponsored by Assembly Member Carole Migden) passes both houses and is vetoed by Governor Gray Davis
2001–2003: No legislation is introduced; Arnold Schwarzenegger takes office in November 2003 after Gray Davis is recalled in a special election
2004: SB 1164 (sponsored by Senator Gloria Romero) passes both houses is vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger; no Senate vote happens on AB 1866 (sponsored by Assembly Member Mark Leno), because the author requests cancellation of the Senate vote
2005: AB 698 (sponsored by Assembly Member Ray Haynes) and SB 239 (sponsored by Senator Gloria Romero) pass both houses and are vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger
2006: SB 1521 (sponsored by Senator Gloria Romero) passes both houses and is vetoed by Governor Schwarzeneg-ger
2007: SB 304 (sponsored by Senator Gloria Romero) passes both houses and is vetoed by Governor Schwarzeneg-ger
2008–2010: No legislation is introduced; Gloria Romero, the Democratic Majority Leader from 2001 until 2008, is termed out in 2010
2011: AB 1270 (sponsored by Senator Ammiano) passes both houses and is vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown, who entered office in January 2011
Oct 26, 2016
From Prison Focus Issue 50
Over 150 years ago, literary and philosophical icon, Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” However, today, few know what happens within
the confines of the high walls, or lethal electric fences surrounding modern prisons. So, those maintaining prisons rely on well-groomed masters in public relations, who are careful not to affront society’s expectations to carry their messages and assurances.
In reality, by Dostoyevsky’s measure, civilization of today’s society is little worthy of patriotic pride. At 5% of the world’s population, the United States houses 25% of the world’s prisoners and disgracefully leads all civilized nations in punishing old men to death. On any given day, one can see thousands of old men flipping about prison yards with canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Younger men bearing the yoke of brutally long sentences, are permeated in rancor and condescension, assuring polarization by guards like farmers cultivating their crops. While farmers deliver their crops to the market, prisons deliver their hardened products back into society. By no no means could this be defined as civilized.
Beyond being the laughing stock of other civilized nations, perverse reason can be found. Shamefully, U.S. incarceration has become an economic bonanza with reports of as much as $80 billion in the annual punishment motherload. Defending massive prison budgets, spin doctors instill fear, like foxes assuring, all chickens are dangerous.
In California, a multibillion-dollar leader in the prison cartel, “rehabilitation” is a buzzword in justifying a bloated budget. Polished press releases count vocation training, and on-the-job training in the prison industrial complex [for-profit industry using prisoner labor]. It’s all so politically correct.
Shamefully, U.S. incarceration has be-come an economic bonanza with re-ports of as much as $80 billion in the annual punishment motherload.
However, the devil is in the details. With recidivism rates reaching 70%, an intelligent person has to question “rehabilitation”. Vocational training is great, however there are no statistics as to parole placement in these vocations, nor are there statistics as to parolee unemployment, which is suspected to be around 70%. Could the facts be embellished? Could “rehabilitation” heralding be a Machiavellian device, to justify something else?
A blatant clue, to the truth, and California’s real mission, can be found at the prison parole gates. Prisoners who have been incapacitated from society for 15, 20, 30+ years, are provided $200 minus the street clothing they have to buy, to start a new life. Each money has been the same for over 50+ years, with no cost-of-living adjustments. This is a recipe for failure, no one in the 21st century can start a new life on $200. In an ironic twist, California’s prison guards are the highest paid in the world.
Penological experts have pragmatic opinions about today’s prisons. Philosopher/psychologist, Michel Foucault, a leading forensic psychologist, in his book Discipline and Capital Punishment: The Origin of the Prison, defines current prison models as dysfunctional: “the delinquent is an institutional product.” He tells us, prisons make criminals more than converts. Dr. Phillips Zimbardo PhD, psychologist, in his book The Lucifer Effect, advises current prison models are breeding grounds for evil, affecting both prisoner and staff. “A system designed to combat evil, create evil.” Dr. Maureen Murdock, PhD, psychologist (www. maureenmnurdochblog.com), writes “Part of the problem in the United States is that we have a very punitive society focused on inflicting punishment and pain…”
The general consensus of penological experts is in the true rehabilitation paradigm protracted sentences – longer than 10 years – proved to have a diminished return on the rehabilitation/punishment investment.
Dr. Murdock’s observation, “we have a very punitive society,” identifies the fuel feeding the financial fires driving an incarceration frenzy. Politicians and profiteers are more than willing to feed society’s insatiable appetite for punishment and pain, with longer sentences, bigger and better prisons; like modern-day shrines to social vengeance. Who needs God, when we can do it so well?
The U.S. Supreme Court deemed California’s shrine, cruel and unusual punishment, which led to a federal three-judge panel to make recommendations to reduce the states incarcerated horde. In 2013, one recommendation by the Panel was to reduce the elderly population. The state responded with a plan to consider for parole, prisoners over the age of 60, who have served more than 25 years. Out came the metaphorical pitchforks, torches, dogs and public outrage. Prosecutors, victim’s rights groups, and assorted advocates for death in prison, voiced their abhorrent shop to my: fueling the fires.
A San Jose Mercury News article, published on March 12, 2016, titled, “Parole Twist Stuns, Angers” captured Dr. Murdock’s observation of the social vehemence and thirst for punishment. With a broad brush, advocates for death in prison, attacked the wisdom of federal judges and state legislators who attempted to find rational ground.
The driving force of today’s prison system, and financial exploitation, is social vengeance. A mindset, thinking more prison bunks are going to cure crime, is like thinking more hospital beds will cure cancer. Long-term incapacitation has to be replaced with a true rehabilitation system. With today’s ever-growing social ills, society might be so blinded with a thirst for more punishment, he can’t see that the failure of current prison models might well be society’s canary in the mine.
Jun 23, 2017
From Prison Focus Issue 52
Last time we wrote up an update was in Aug 2015, almost 2 years ago! How time flies! A lot has happened since, starting with the settlement of the Ashker case, which abolished the use of indeterminate solitary confinement in California (See page 2). Since then monitoring the implementation of the settlement has been a priority for the legal team consisting of the rep’s inside and a group of dedicated lawyers outside.
PHSS discussed and distributed the “Prisoners Human Rights Movement Blueprint.” The Blueprint provides a background of where Prisoners Human Rights Movement (PHRM) came from, how it envisions organizing itself and the tasks it sets for itself. The first task is the monitoring of the Ashker settlement’s implementation. Others include continued organization around the historic Agreement to End Hostilities, developing political education for prisoners and others, and establishing Freedom Outreach, an official clearinghouse for PHRM to provide informational packets.
As many of the prisoners formerly held in the SHU have been moved out, they now face new challenges. PHSS formed a Parole Committee to address the fact that the parole board may unfairly hold, as proof of continued “criminal mentality”, 115s issued for participation in the 2011 and 2013 hunger strikes, as well as refusal to debrief. The Parole Committee gathered information to show the board’s executive officer, met with her and other CDCr officials, and prepared “Advice for Prisoners and Their Supporters Regarding Board of Parole Hearings Psychological Evaluations, Including Special Advice for Ashker Class Members.” (See page 23) The Committee set up educational sessions on parole hearings and has compiled informational packets, also available upon request.
Another new challenge encountered because of prisoners’ release out of the SHU has been visiting. Family members and friends are finally able to have contact visits with their loved ones who were previously in SHU. We were all moved by the stories of peoples' first contact visit in years - sometimes decades. Pictures from them were shared and inspired everyone! Family members accustomed to fighting powers-that-be faced the many obstacles to visiting head on: In several prisons they re-activated Inmate Family Councils, which have been challenging different aspects of CDCR's visiting policies, such as the inadequacies of the new VPASS system for scheduling visits, the health dangers caused by scanners for both visitors and prisoners (discontinued) and staff misconduct during visits.
Although many long-time prisoners have been released from the SHU, significant problems, both old and new, persist. The most egregious is sleep deprivation caused by so-called “welfare checks.” The PHSS Committee to End Sleep Deprivation continues to challenge and address this on-going crisis. (See page 5)
Human Rights Pen Pals (HRPP), which began in Spring of 2013 as a project of PHSS, has matched over 400 community pen pals with men who were or are in California’s SHU and AD-seg units. In a recent survey it was determined that at least three-fourths of the matches are still corresponding. This unique pen pal program stems from the belief that all human beings have human rights, whether they are inside or outside the prison walls. The response from prisoners to engage in a human rights-oriented dialogue has been so enthusiastic, that regretfully, in 2016 HRPP was compelled to stop taking requests for pen pals from the ‘inside’. There continues to be an extensive waiting list, though efforts to recruit 'outside' pen pals to be matched with those inside, continue. We invite and encourage folks from the outside to join the HRPP community., a special group of people, indeed. Check out humanrightspenpals.org
In addition, PHSS continue to follow, support and/or challenge legislative activity. We hvae supported a bill for good time credits, a bill to abolish use of solitary for youth, a bill to limit use of confidential informers, etc. While not always successful, we did succeed in efforts which ultimately reduced the number of new Institutional Gang Investigators (IGI), from CDCR's original proposition of 150, to 49. PHSS has participated in “Lobby Days” organized by Californian's United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), as well as Quest for Democracy events, most recently on May 7-8, 2017.
After the Ashker settlement CDCr wanted to be done with our excellent mediation team. We convinced the courts that there were still systemic issues and abuses that still need to be monitored, such as lack of programing, obstacles to visiting and the discrimination and retaliation against former SHU prisoners.
Space does not permit the listing of all the public outreach and awareness activities that we have organized or participated in over the last two years, exposing some of the many problems within California's prisons, and California’s sweeping use of solitary confinement. They varied widely from an academic conference at Pitt Law School in April 2016, at which sociology professors who already knew how harmful solitary confinement is, only then connected it to the over-use/abuse of the practice in U.S. prisons, to rallies and tables held on the 23rd of each month in many locations around the state to bring awareness of the deplorable practices in prisons to widest audiences possible. We held “readers theaters” asking participants in the rally to read prisoners’ statements to the audience. We tabled at theatrical performances about solitary confinement, including The Box, Solitary Man and Mariposa and the Saint. We put on showings of movies: Breaking down the Box, Up the Ridge, Thirteenth. We assembled our newly-painted model SHU at a number of events in which former SHU prisoners and families of prisoners were the featured speakers.
The Struggle continues!
Jun 23, 2017
keywords: Prisoners March
From Prison Focus Issue 52
The Thirteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads as follows: "Section 1. Slavery prohibited. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Salamu! Greetings of solidarity from behind enemy lines. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to publish this communication. I am a new Afrikan freedom fighter from the ranks of JLS (Jailhouse Lawyers Speak), a collective of jailhouse lawyers organized to fight for prisoners' human rights against a system that is designed to dehumanize its captives. I am also the National Secretary for Amend the 13th, an inclusive coalition-based national campaign and community-based organizing effort to address the legal and social basis for dehumanization in Amerika.
The purpose of this press release is to notify prisoners, community organizers, and all those who care of the upcoming Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March scheduled for August 19, 2017 in Washington D.C.. This is a nationwide effort to bring global attention to the 13th Amendment's exception clause, its ramifications, and to solidify organizing efforts to amend it.
MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS HUMAN RIGHTS CORE DEMANDS OF ACTION:
1. We DEMAND the 13th amendment EXCEPTION CLAUSE of the United States Constitution be amended to abolish LEGALIZED slavery in America.
2. We DEMAND a Congressional hearing on the 13th Amendment EXCEPTION CLAUSE being recognized in violation of international law, the general principles of human rights, and its direct links to:
a). Private entities exploiting prison labor
b). Companies overcharging prisoners for goods and services
c). Private entities contracted by states/federal government to build and operate prisons. This would also include immigration detentions
d). Racial disparities in America’s prison population and sentencing
e). Policing: the disproportionate (unaccountable) killings by police in the black and brown communities
f). Felony Disenfranchisement laws
g). Immigration and Customs Enforcement 34,000 detention quotas
h). Producing the world largest prison population
In essence this is an abolitionist movement focused on ending legalized enslavement - a practice that is not only limited to prisoner-labor, but includes the profitability of a prisoners' own body in an isolation cell.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court in its long standing precedent in Ruffin v. Commonwealth, 62, Va (21 Gratt.) 790, 796 (1871): “A convicted felon, whom the law in its humanity punishes by confinement in penitentiary(s) instead of death, is subject while undergoing punishment, to all the laws which the legislature in its wisdom may enact for the government of that institution and control of its inmates. For the time being, during his term of service in the penitentiary, he is in a state of penal servitude to the state. He has, as a consequence of his crime, not only forfeited his liberty, but all of his personal rights except those which the law in its humanity accords him. He is for the time being a slave of the State. … They are slaves of the State undergoing punishment for heinous crimes committed against the laws of the land. …”
In other words, prisoners themselves become a commodity. Which explains why the entire apparatus of law enforcement is geared towards capturing and caging humans for the highest bidder. It should not be of any surprise that black and brown communities are prime targets for extractions. We cannot overemphasize the connection between slavery and the Prison-Industrial Enslavement Complex. Prison slavery is a direct outgrowth of the 13th Amendment and the exception clause is a direct outgrowth of the pre-1865 chattel enslavement system. You can analyze the different periods and the transitions from convict leasing, black codes, and Jim crow, through Nixon’s war on drugs, and Clinton’s 1994 crime bill to see the historical connections and the development of an INjustice system that has led to the criminalization of generations. All across Amerika people are becoming more aware of the 13th Amendment's exception clause. Prisoners around the nation have been strategizing and directly challenging the 13th, as demonstrated by the September 9, 2016 prison strikes. Jailhouse Lawyers Speak has been planning its challenge to the thirteenth in collaboration with iamWE Prison Advocacy Network since mid 2015. This challenge is the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March, hosted by iamWE Prison Advocacy Network. Presently coalitions are being formed that we envision will become a recognizable force for change beyond the March. Likewise, we envision every August 19th afterwards being a day of solidarity and demonstrations in recognition of human rights for the incarcerated, and highlighting the violations of such for collective action.
“Black August is a month of divine meaning, of repression and radical resistance, of injustice and divine justice; of repression and righteous rebellion; of individual and collective efforts to free the slaves and break the chains that bind us.” -Mumia Abu-Jamal
Black August was selected by JLS prisoners, due to its significance as a historical month of commemoration of fallen new Afrikan freedom fighters. This is a month in which the spirit of liberation is encouraged amongst prisoners and within our communities. Black August is a special month to many of us confined. Comrade George L. Jackson is a light to many of us struggling to maintain our sanity and dignity within these concentration camps. It is only fitting that this event be scheduled during this month, in hopes of connecting more people to the prison resistance movement, its history, its future challenges and needs. As I write this today, confirmation is coming in that prisoners around the country are in collective discussions to stand solidarity with the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March.
For those prisoners that would like to participate, it is asked that you:
Fast from sun rise to sun set
Participate in intense political studies with emphasis on the 13th amendment.
Perform daily prayer or meditation
Perform daily exercise regimen
Refrain from purchasing any and all prison products to that require spending of money during this month
Refrain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages
If possible, wear a black arm band or wrist band (i.e.shoelace) around left wrist.
Around the Nation and across the world, August 19, 2017 will be remembered as a day of collective action, with the national objective of abolishing legalized enslavement in Amerika. People from all walks of life on both sides of the prison walls have answered the call. Many are organizing their communities to travel to the march in D.C., while others will be hosting local solidarity demonstrations in their state or country, and still others are distributing info and sharing resources and time