Greetings fellow activists, advocates, and allies,
Big love to all who helped to make this month’s Liberate The Caged Voices an amazing experience. And I want to send a special shout out to our featured speakers- both returned community members, who shared intimate parts of themselves, highlighting the reason why we come together- creating a platform for voices usually unheard, to be elevated in a space that builds awareness, advocacy, and a shift in narrative about who’s being incarcerated/enslaved and what is actually happening inside California’s prisons.
Earlier in the day, I watched and listened to the first Congressional hearings on reparations in over a decade. To my utter amazement, the fact that slavery was never abolished, due to the exception clause to the 13th Amendment, did not come up as a case for reparations. Are we so completely entrenched in the narrative that “Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves” and “slavery was abolished” that we cannot see what is right in front of us? What does except mean...?
This is the week of Juneteenth. Celebrations commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation will be happening all over the country. Sadly, the exception clause to the 13TH Amendment killed the promise of ending legal slavery in this country:
Section 1. 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.
Slavery is still legal and taking place within our nation’s prisons. It’s imperative we listen to the people most impacted by this experience, so we may learn from, and ultimately support them, in their fight for their human rights, dignity and finally, their liberation. Join us as we work to disrupt, displace, and ultimately abolish slavery and the prison industrial complex which serves to uphold and justify it. This is the human rights crisis of our time!
Save the date: July 31, 2019 Liberate The Caged Voices, 7-9pm Freedom and Movement Building 4408 Market St. Oakland
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May 18, 2019
Imagine coming out of prison with $80 in your pocket and trying to navigate the housing market in the Bay Area.
This week on our radio show we got to hear from Terah Lawyer of Impact/Justice about their innovative Homecoming Project that pairs recently released people with community members who can provide a place to live for up to 6 months in a real home. The Project subsidizes the rent and provides ongoing support and training for a successful reentry into the community. It provides an intelligent, honorable way for people to move on with their lives.
With so many obstacles to secure housing stacked against folks returning to the community and the risk of becoming homeless 10 times higher for incarcerated community members, a program like this is of utmost necessity. It also pulls funding and resources right into our community, that has been so impacted by mass incarceration, while connecting humans to one another. This is what healing looks like!
Click here to visit Impact/Justice and learn more about this project, as well as find both the participant and host application forms.
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Feb 26, 2019
Hello advocate and reader,
It is now 2019 and slavery is not yet abolished…
The 13th Amendment to the United Snakes constitution states:
Section 1. 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.
The vestiges of slavery are playing themselves out within our prisons; in every aspect of social control and capitalism, policies and laws are designed to maintain an economic system based on the exploitation of slave and cheap labor- now black, brown and poor bodies. Our unfortunate historical narrative is one of genocide, land theft, slavery, and rape- of the environment and her people.
Billions of dollars are spent locking people up, while our teachers strike on the streets...
But, don’t take my word for it,
I invite you to listen to the voices of those experiencing this modern day horror we call ‘mass incarceration’, expose yourself to what is truly happening inside our nation’s prisons and allow yourself to be educated, transformed and moved to action to abolish prison slavery and dismantle the Prison Industrial Slave Complex. In 2011 and 2013, prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison organized and executed the largest and most effective Hunger Strikes in our nation’s history. Their willingness to put their lives on the line to affect change, should be an inspiration to us all and a clarion call for unity.
Liberate The Caged Voices is one way we come together to listen to and be the voice for those who the system tries to silence. These caged community members have powerful insight, wisdom and solutions to ending the human rights crisis of modern day legal slavery. In fact, they must fight daily for their human rights and dignity, and call on us for our support to do so.
As with the under recorded slave rebellions, prison slavery rebellions in the form of hunger strikes, work strikes, etc. are also under reported, if reported at all. We must take seriously this dangerous- yet highly strategic and organized action, and do what we can to support these actions from the outside by listening to and learning from those directly affected, and make space for the voices of the family members, indirectly- but just as negatively affected. Increase your awareness and help us support them in shifting the narrative from criminal to human being.
In solidarity and peace, Nube
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Dec 31, 2018
Hello fellow advocates and abolitionists,
Liberate The Caged Voices presented #4 of its ongoing series at Humboldt State University, November 16, 2018. Nearly every one of the roughly thirty people that attended read a letter or a poem. One woman shared “...reading the letter silently to myself was powerful, but reached another level when read out loud in front of the audience…” Another woman, who ended up reading two pieces, said “...my philosophy professor suggested I attend this event and I thought to myself ‘what does this have to do with what I’m doing’ and I discovered, everything!” And still another participant cried much of the time. This is a powerful and moving event designed to move us outside of our comfort zone and into greater advocacy and understanding, and to bear the burden of this struggle alongside our caged brothers and sisters.
The purpose of the series is to provide a platform for the voices of our caged community members- mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends and...you get the point- to be heard in the public and bring awareness to the truth of the Prison Industrial Slave Complex (PISC).
It is 2018 and slavery is legal as codified by the constitution’s 13th Amendment- read it! Convicted of a crime? You become a slave of the state. This is a human rights crisis and slavery- in any form!- is a crime against humanity!
The letters, commentary and poetry written by our caged community members speak to these issues and more. They provide insight, wisdom and the solutions necessary to make real change. These voices educate, agitate and empower us to organize ourselves out here to collaborate with our community members in there and follow their lead.
This is what I/we ask here at California Prison Focus:
Follow the calendar and attend a Liberate The Caged Voices event- avail yourself to bringing forth the voices of those most impacted and helping us shift the narrative on the PISC
Subscribe to our newsletter Prison Focus, and share with friends and family
Read the newsletter archives to further educate yourself- for decades, our caged community members have been telling us the truth of what’s really happening behind prison walls
The National Prison Strike to end prison slavery (August 21- September 9) was a fight for human rights. Their human rights are our human rights, join us!
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Oct 10, 2018
Hello advocates, agitators and allies,
This is the first post to this lovingly created page- shout out to Kyle! Our brilliant teenage techie!- dedicated to the Liberate The Caged Voices campaign.
I say advocates to acknowledge those with a big heart willing to see the inhumanity of the Prison Industrial Slave Complex; I say agitators to acknowledge those willing to resist the system of modern-day legal slavery; and I say allies to acknowledge those willing to embrace all three and stay in the struggle.
As an abolitionist I will make no excuses or accept compromises when it comes to abolishing slavery. I will not make excuses for our nation’s past. The founders of this country were not only what we’ve been told, but also slavers, rapists, thieves and genocidal. White supremacy is a value afforded only to “white” male, land-owning elite codified by the constitution of the United States. That leaves out the rest of us. And Black people especially, and brown, poor and any kind of “other” generally are being violently targeted to fuel this sick system of profits over people called capitalism and keeping us fighting for our human rights. As for slavery, the exception clause to the 13th Amendment deems it legal. Read:
Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall be duly convicted, shallexist withintheUnitedStates, oranyplacesubjecttotheirjurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The word EXCEPT means that when you are convicted of a crime you become a slave. Our constitution says that acceptable punishment for a crime is slavery! Are you okay with that??
Don’t despair! Let’s get to work! Liberate The Caged Voices is intended to get the voices out of our caged community members and follow their lead in making the changes to their conditions that they deem necessary. Let’s work together with them and work together out here.
Please bare with me as I learn to develop my first blog...
I intend to make this an educational and informative experience where we can share thoughts, ideas and dialogue that seeks to stretch our consciousness, shift the paradigm and together build a more just and humane existence for us all.