We received a letter from Todd Ashker, one of the hunger strike leaders at Pelican Bay, dated July 24th, 2011. He says the hunger strikers are giving the CDCR 2-3 weeks from July 20th to come up with some substantive changes in response to their five core demands. If the CDCR does not follow through, prisoners at Pelican Bay plan to go back on hunger strike. Todd writes:
“It’s very important that our supporters know where we stand, and that CDCR knows that we’re not going to go for any B.S. We remain as serious about our stand now as we were at the start, and mean what we said regarding an indefinite hunger strike peaceful protest until our demands are met. I repeat–we’re simply giving CDCR a brief grace period in response to their request for the opportunity to get [it] right in a timely fashion! We’ll see where things stand soon enough!”
We have also received information from prisoners at other prisons. Many prisoners are just now receiving letters sharing updates on the strike from July 15th. However, supporters outside prison have received confirmation that prisoners across the state are no longer refusing food since the leaders at Pelican Bay agreed to the CDCR’s offer on July 20th. According to prisoners who were striking at Centinela, the majority of hunger strikers work in the prison’s kitchen and lost their jobs for participating in the strike. Many prisoners who were coming up for review by the parole board are now worried their participation and support of the strike will result in denied parole.
These updates from Pelican Bay and Centinela mean the legislative hearing coming up on August 23rd is incredibly important, and a serious opportunity for outside supporters to apply pressure on the CDCR and state legislature to make substantial changes. Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity and hunger strike supporters throughout California are calling for a statewide mobilization to Sacramento for the Legislative Hearing, and for supporters everywhere to continue supporting the strike. Click here to hear more ways people can support the strike and statewide mobilization to Sacramento.