Sept. 6th Event: Anniversary of Suspension of Historic 2013 Hunger Strike

WHEN: Saturday, September 6, 2014
12:00pm – 5:00pm

WHERE: Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St. (W. MacArthur between Webster and Broadway), Oakland CA  *carpooling available from SoCal, NorCal, and Santa Cruz

RSVP here

Join us in commemorating the suspension of the largest hunger strike in U.S. history – begun on July 8, 2013 by over 30,000 people.  At great cost to their health, dozens of incarcerated people in CA fasted nonviolently for 60 days, ending on September 5, 2013.

⇒Picnic, open mic, and ways to get involved

⇒Food at 1:00pm

⇒FREE Event…Donation Requested

*Carpooling from:
Southern CA…(714) 290-9077

Northern CA…(707)442-7465 / PeoplesARC@gmail.com

Santa Cruz…(408) 499-7912 / tashnguyen@gmail.com

The 2013 hunger strike, the third since 2011, aimed to win five demands and end CA’s arbitrary and inhumane policy of isolating individuals in solitary confinement indefinitely – based on mere association without regard to actual conduct.

Join us as we honor these courageous people and push forward to bring an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement.

Share the Event on Facebook!  Anniversary of Suspension of Historic 2013 Hunger Strike

Questions? phssreachingout@gmail.com or 510-863-0477

Sponsored by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

@CAHungerStrike

PHSSFlyer_Sep6,2014

8/3/14 Update from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition

We hope to post updates every week or few weeks about the struggle to END long term solitary confinement. If you have any feedback for how we can improve these updates, or information you’d like to see, please let us know.

IN THIS UPDATE:

Weekly Meetings

Recent News Articles

Upcoming Events

 

  1. Weekly Meetings: The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition meets every Monday night in Oakland (and on the phone).
  • The sole purpose of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition is to amplify the voices of California prisoners as they strive to achieve their Five Core Demands. The Coalition consists of family members, formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, organizations, and individuals who stand in solidarity with the hunger strikers. This weekly meeting focuses primarily on planning, promoting and reporting on actions and events directly related to the struggle for the Five Demands (primarily, to end long term solitary confinement), including prisoner updates and legal and media strategies and reports.

 

  1. Recent Newsletters, News Articles & Videos
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Pz3syET3DY “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” 7/20/14 – This 20 minute segment covers solitary confinement and mass incarceration in general in the United States. Great video to share with your friends & family who aren’t paying attention to the prison crisis.

 

 

  • PRISON CENSORSHIP:
    Thanks to everyone who submitted a public comment about CDCr’s proposed censorship rules. Here is some news coverage:

 

  • August 2014 Issue of ROCK!

 

  1. Go to our CALENDAR to post or find upcoming prisoner solidarity and movement building events throughout California or any location.

 

  • “SAVE THE DATE” September 6, 2014 for an event in Oakland to commemorate the end of last summer’s prisoner hunger strike, the largest in U.S. history. We will have more information soon.

In solidarity,
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition (PHSS)

Release Hunger-striker Robert C. Fuentes before he dies in prison

Robert FuentesRobert C. Fuentes participated in all 3 hunger strikes. He risked his life to end the torture of solitary confinement. Now he is dying due to medical negligence by CDCR. Send letters to arrive by Monday for his parole hearing on Tuesday, September 16, at 10 am. It will be on K Street in Sacramento and will include time for Public Comments, up to 5 minutes per person. Write a friendly letter to the Board of Parole Hearings with your name, address, phone number, and date, on behalf of Robert C. Fuentes’ immediate parole or Compassionate Release from California Medical Facility Vacaville to his family in Corona. Use info from this page and the petition online, and write why it’s important to you. Send petitions and letters of support (from individuals and on your organization’s letterhead) to: Board of Parole Hearings, Investigations Division, Attn: Kevin Hourigan, Post Office Box 4036, Sacramento, CA 95812-4036. Send copies to Justice Now by email to Cammie Dodson <cammiedodson@ gmail.com> or snail mail hard copies: Att’n Cammie Dodson, Justice Now, 1322 Webster Street, Suite 210, Oakland, CA 94612.
 
If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to Jerry Brown, Jeffrey Beard, and Martin Hoshino “Release Robert C. Fuentes before he dies in prison” at change.org/p/jefferey-a-beard-release-robert-c-fuentes-before-he-dies-in-prison.
 
His sister, Cynthia Fuentes, wrote: “We have found out that Martin Hoshito the Undersecretary has denied the request for Robert’s Compassionate Release, but we understand that’s par for the course. We need solidarity for a victory please repost the petition. Robert is getting weaker. He’s not able to swallow very well, which means he doesn’t eat very much. He is in Stage IV Liver Cancer, your prayers and messages to him keep him going and Bless him. If you haven’t posted under “Why is it important to me?” I invite you all to speak from your heart about this terribly unjust case. Love and God Bless, Cynthia (Cindy) Fuentes.”
Robert writes remarkable poetry. His poem “Inside, Outside” about being in SHU, with a picture of PBSP, was published in Extracts from Pelican Bay, Marilla Arguelles, Editor. It won America’s Best Poetry Contest. His writings also are in Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness, and a story for Cynthia in Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul: Inspirational Stories About Sisters and Their Changing Relationships.

Emergency! Take Action To OPPOSE Solitary Confinement Legislation SB 892

Please be sure to read the Five Urgent Action Requests below

On behalf of California Families Against Solitary Confinement (CFASC), the Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, and others who joined an emergency conf call this evening to address the imminent vote by the California Assembly and Senate on SB 892 (Senator Hancock) dealing with the critical issue of solitary confinement, we want to inform you of the following and urge you to widely distribute this message to your email lists.

Issue: Between now and Sunday night (Aug 31), the CA Assembly and Senate will vote on SB 892, drafted by Senator Hancock, who got involved as a result of the prisoners’ hunger strike in the summer of 2013 to denounce the conditions in solitary confinement and CA’s unique “gang validation” policy. California’s Department of Corrections (CDCR) has what is probably the WORST, MOST COSTLY, AND MOST INHUMANE solitary confinement policy of any state in the country. As a result of CDCR policies, California has the largest population of prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in the U.S. and more than any other country on earth! A prisoner in CDCR’s custody commits suicide every ten days. Instead of reforming this policy–including placing prisoners who have engaged in no rule violations in long-term solitary for mere alleged gang membership (“gang validation policy”)–SB 892 for the first time in history adopts this draconian policy into state law.

The Opposition: The four prisoner reps who initiated the 2011 and 2013 hunger strikes have jointly opposed SB 892. Hit this link to download their letter to the legislature.

About 130 organizations and community leaders have written to the Senate and Assembly leaders explaining why they oppose SB 892. Hit this link to download their letter. Link also below. Among many others, organizations opposing SB 892 include CFASC (family members of prisoners), Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Mexican American Political Association (MAPA), Council on American-Islamic Relations – California (CAIR), Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Homeboy Industries, Homies Unidos, California Prison Watch, Asian Law Caucus, National Lawyers Guild (SF and LA Chapters), the William C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI), Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes and Hermandad Mexicana Humanitarian Foundation. See attached.

Five urgent action requests:

  • Please immediately forward this email to your constituents.
  • We urge organizations and community, faith-based and labor leaders to telephone the following legislators on Thursday and Friday this week to express strong opposition to SB 892: (1) Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez, Majority Whip, or his Chief of Staff John Scribner (916) 319-2051; (2) Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, Majority Floor Leader or his Chief of Staff Greg Campbell (916) 319-2053; and (3) Senator Darrell Steinberg, President pro Tempore, or his Chief of Staff Kathry Dresslar (916) 651-4006 or Legal Counsel Margie Estrada (916) 651.4170
  • Please consider joining a press conference tentatively planned for Friday (Aug. 29) at noon in Sacramento opposing passage of SB 892. We urgently need contact info for faith-based, black and Latino leaders in the Sacramento area who may be available to join the press conference and we also invite anyone else able to attend. If you’re able to attend or suggest someone to attend, please email pschey@centerforhumanrights.organd irene.huerta@ilwu13.org
  • In the next two days we urge organizations to please fax letters similar to the letter linked below or downloaded hereto (1) Assembly Member Jimmy Gomez, fax (916) 319-2151; (2) Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez, Majority Floor Leader fax (916) 319-2156; and (3) Senator Darrell Steinberg, President pro Tempore, fax (916) 651-4906

Thank you

Irene Huerta
California Families Against Solitary Confinement

Peter Schey
President
Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Letter opposing SB 892 from the four prisoner reps who initiated the 2011 and 2013 hunger strikes: 8-12-14 Letter to CA Legislature re Hancock Bill

Letter opposing SB 892 from 130 organizations and community leaders: 8-26-14 Sign On Letter to CA Legislature re Hancock SB 892

Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes (Pelican Bay & Vacaville)

Please sign the petition (link below) for Compassionate Release for Robert C. Fuentes, who has been incarcerated for 32 years, 20 years at Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) and never debriefed to get out of SHU. He is dying from liver cancer that could have been treated had it been diagnosed sooner; in February/March of 2014 he was given a diagnosis of inoperable liver cancer. He has been sent to hospice in California Medical Facility Vacaville.
His sister Cynthia has initiated the petition “Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard and Martin Hoshino: Release Robert C. Fuentes before he dies in prison,” asking for compassionate release (CR) of Robert to his family in Corona (parents Frank and Frances Fuentes, five siblings, two children, 3 grandchildren,  and countless extended family members).
 Although the prison system has refused compassionate release, his family, Justice Now, and supporters will fight to get him out. “We have seen his once healthy 210 lb frame dwindle down to 126 lbs as of 7.12.2014.” He cannot eat much at all and is in constant pain. His release is urgently needed.
Robert will have a parole board hearing, tentatively set for around September 16. On or around September 6 the parole board will decide the date. The hearing will be on K St., in Sacramento, and will include time for Public Comments, up to 5 minutes per person.
Robert writes remarkable poetry. His poem “Inside, Outside” about being in SHU, with a picture of PBSP, was published in Extracts from Pelican Bay, Marilla Arguelles, Editor. It won America’s Best Poetry Contest. His writings also are in Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit of Hope, Healing and Forgiveness, and a story for Cynthia in Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul: Inspirational Stories About Sisters and Their Changing Relationships.

Darkness in the Golden State

Unmasking the Reality of California Prisons through Art

coverart-642x1024 (2) When: Friday, August 22 from 6pm – 9pm<.

Where: The Luggage Store Gallery, 1007 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Luggage Store is a 5 minute walk from the Civic Center or Powell BART station.)

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children is proud to present its second annual art show, Darkness in the Golden State: Unmasking the Reality of California Prisons through Art.

The exhibit features both visual and written creative work by currently and formerly incarcerated people on California prison-related issues, including the resistance against injustice and the contrast between the California’s perceived liberalism and the reality of its prison conditions.

Original art pieces will be sold in a silent auction, and duplicate prints of art pieces will be available for purchase as well. All proceeds go to the William James Association, Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition and LSPC. There will be complimentary light refreshments and drinks. This event is free. We hope you can come!

Feel free to print and distribute our 2014 LSPC Art Exhibit flyer.Sponsor: Legal Services for Prisoners with Children
Visit our Facebook Event page.
(Optional) register on our EventBrite page.

Please email bailey@prisonerswithchildren.org if you have any questions regarding the event. LSPC is accepting submissions until August 15th. Please submit them at this email address or the LSPC mailing address: 1540 Market St, suite 490 San Francisco, CA 94102.

Anniversary of Suspension of Historic 2013 Hunger Strike

Save the date: Saturday, September 6, 2014
Mosswood Park, Oakland

RSVP at the Facebook event page, check often for updates; further details to come.

Celebrating the suspension of the largest hunger strike in U.S. history.  Dozens of incarcerated people carried on the fast for 60 days, ending on September 5, 2013.  The 2013 hunger strike – begun on July 8, 2013 by over 30,000 people – was the third since 2011 intended to bring an end to California’s arbitrary policy of isolating individuals on the basis of mere association, without regard to actual conduct.

Join us as we honor these courageous people and push forward to bring an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement. If your organization is interested in co-sponsoring this event please contact us by Monday August 18, 2014, at phssreachingout@gmail.com

Sponsored by Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
510-863-0477
@CAHungerStrike

 

The Hunger Strike One Year Later

To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later

“This is the third anniversary since we began using peaceful actions collectively to push for an end to the use of long-term solitary confinement. If we look back and remember before July 2011, we prisoners were alone, isolated, not being heard. We wrote newspapers and nothing was printed. We wrote lawmakers and never heard back. Few people knew how many of us were locked away in windowless cells for 23 hours a day (often more) here in California. Few understood how many others are kept in various forms of isolation here in our state in other SHUs, Ad Seg cells, mental health cells, including women and juveniles. Almost no one understood California’s place as the state that uses solitary confinement the most of anywhere … Today we celebrate our movement. We do not rely on the legislature or the courts alone. Only by a strong growing movement of those of us inside and our supporters outside do we have any hope to make all the changes that we need. You keep CDCR’s feet to the fire. We are grateful that you stand with us.” – Statement from Pelican Bay representatives, July 2014

One year ago on July 8, 30,000 California prisoners refused meals and work assignments, beginning a 60-day hunger strike with the core demand of ending the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. This was the largest hunger strike in U.S. history, and it presented the deepest challenge yet to solitary by bringing national and international attention to a practice that has long been condemned by human rights groups as torture.

To commemorate the historic strike and its ongoing significance to the struggle against solitary, statewide actions throughout California took place on its one year anniversary:

  • Over 100 community members held a rally and press conference in LA, including a statement in solidarity read by Danny Glover;
  • in San Bernardino, around 40 people composed mainly of prisoners’ friends and family members organized a vigil and spoke out about their loved ones inside;
  • Oakland witnessed events throughout the day beginning with a noontime rally led by family members, followed by a community gathering procession and vigil in the evening;
  • prisoners’ loved ones and supporters gathered in Santa Cruz to read out statements by prisoners, and set up a model Security Housing Unit (SHU) cell to continue shedding light on the torturous conditions of solitary.

Solidarity demonstrations were also planned nationally and internationally in cities like Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and London.

During last year’s hunger strike, both national and international media reported favorably about the prisoners’ peaceful action in spite of the California Department of Corrections’ (CDCR) attempts to discredit the strikers as “the worst of the worst, gang leaders” organizing a strike solely to expand their power within the prison. Hundreds of articles appeared in the press over the course of the strike, bringing an awareness of the cruelty of solitary to the public in unprecedented ways.

The call for the hunger strike was issued by a collective of prisoner representatives who had found common ground through their confinement in Pelican Bay. Their dialogue through adjacent cells led them to put aside their disputes and unite to challenge the worsening conditions in the prison system, especially to prevent more young people from being consigned to draconian sentences of indefinite solitary.

In 2012, these representatives issued the Agreement to End Hostilities, which called for an end to all violence between different groups of prisoners throughout the state. These representatives also issued the call for three hunger strikes between 2011 and 2013, articulated their demands, and sought to negotiate a resolution with the CDCR. The call for the third strike was met with an unprecedented response, with almost a quarter of California’s prison population participating in the beginning.

This strike was history-making in other ways as it fueled ongoing human rights struggles among prisoners in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Virginia as well as among immigration detainees in Washington state and Texas. Led by hundreds in Pelican Bay who have spent decades in isolation in violation of all international standards of confinement, their demands became the basis of a renewed call from behind the bars for the public to recognize the humanity of imprisoned people and to call for an end to mass imprisonment.

Many families of prisoners became public spokespeople for the first time, realizing that the lives of their loved ones were in their hands. They organized rolling solidarity fasts, held numerous vigils, and marched in 105-degree heat to a Central Valley prison to show their support for their loved ones on strike. They met with prison officials to demand a response from the CDCR, which refused to negotiate with the strikers. They broadened the international perspective by hosting events with U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez.

The courage and determination of the hunger strikers ignited a new level of solidarity among imprisoned people in California. As strikers faced intense repression by the CDCR – in the form of medical neglect, confiscation of medicine, threats of force-feeding (sanctioned by a federal judge) – prisoners shared their own limited resources, kept each other’s loved ones informed, and demanded medical care for those who were becoming increasingly ill.

After 60 days and one death, the strikers suspended their strike after California legislators committed to hold public hearings. In their statement suspending the strike, they said:

“To be clear, our peaceful protest of resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly. This decision is especially difficult considering that most of our demands have not been met – despite nearly universal agreement that they are reasonable. The core group of prisoners has been, and remains 100 percent committed to seeing this protracted struggle for real reform through to a complete victory, even if it requires us to make the ultimate sacrifice.”

The 2013 hunger strike represented the highest level of self-organization, empowerment and solidarity among prisoners that the California prison system had seen in decades, since the height of the prisoner rights movement led by George Jackson in the 1970s. The CDCR reacted as any government entity facing a serious threat to its power reacts, with an iron fist. Every prisoner who refused nine or more consecutive meals was issued a write-up charging them with participation in a gang-related activity, subject to progressive levels of discipline.

The 2013 hunger strike represented the highest level of self-organization, empowerment and solidarity among prisoners that the California prison system had seen in decades, since the height of the prisoner rights movement led by George Jackson in the 1970s.

After the strike, CDCR extended its repressive tactics to include the community outside by proposing a new level of censorship, banning any materials coming into or going out of the prison that “indicate an association with groups that are oppositional to authority and society.” These measures are designed to keep prisoners from writing about intolerable conditions, criminalize their attempts to organize, and destroy the connections and support from the community – lifelines for those who are living in extreme isolation.

From the courage and determination of the strikers, a new and vibrant movement for the human rights of prisoners is taking root. It forces us to ask ourselves what place solitary confinement could possibly have in a civilized society and more, what we are prepared to do to end it.

This article first appeared in the San Francisco Bay View on July 14, 2014 as “To celebrate the movement: The California prisoner hunger strike one year later“,
by Donna Willmott.

Eureka, Oakland, Santa Cruz, SoCal observe one-year anniversary July 8

A year ago on July 8th, over 30,000 people inside the California prisons began a hunger strike to bring an end to the state’s use of indefinite solitary confinement. Whether you’re in Eureka, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz or Southern California, please join us as we hold statewide events commemorating the courage of the hunger strikers and push forward to bring an end to the torture of solitary confinement and meet the five core demands.

Eureka/Humboldt:
Folks heading to Crescent City in the morning.  Solidarity and Hunger Strike Commemoration Rally across from Pelican Bay State Prison at 12:00pm (noon). *
Please contact Verbena for rideshare or other info at (707) 442-7465 or peoplesarc@gmail.com. Hosted by Peoples’ Action for Rights and Community.

Oakland:
*
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Oscar Grant Plaza; lunchtime rally, hosted by California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) (more info here)
*
6:00–8:00 p.m. Alan Blueford Center for Justice, 2434 Telegraph Ave. (Vigil & Procession to 27th and Telegraph at 8:00 p.m.) (more info here)

Santa Cruz:
*
6:30–8:30 p.m. at the Santa Cruz Clocktower (Water & Pacific Ave.) Hosted by Sin Barras. (more info here)

Los Angeles:
*
11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 300 S. Spring St. Hosted by CFASC. (more info here)

San Bernardino:
*
6:00 p.m. Vigil, Perris Hills Park 1135 E Highland Ave. Hosted by CFASC. (more info here)

July 8th Events in L.A. and San Bernandino to Commemorate Largest Hunger Strike in History

CFASC- JULY 8- 2014- EVENT FLYER-3FAMILY MEMBERS, LOVED ONES, SUPPORTERS:
Join at  300 S Spring St, Los Angeles
11:00am – 1:00pm

ALL OUT FOR LARGEST HUNGER STRIKE IN HISTORY….ONE YEAR AGO on July 8th, 2013 …. 30,000 IMPRISONED PEOPLE BEGAN A CALIFORNIA PRISONER HUNGER STRIKE TO RAISE AWARENESS TO THE TORTUROUS CONDITIONS OF ISOLATION AND THE ABUSE THAT GOES ON IN OUR PRISON SYSTEM …

Join California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement (CFASC) and Family Unity Network on July 8th, 2014 to commemorate the largest & longest hunger strike in history ….

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL later in San Bernandino at 6:00pm.

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