By Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan
Ohio State Penitentiary
June 30, 2011
Revolutionary Salute & Shields Up! It has come to our attention that the brothas at Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit will commence an indefinite hunger strike on July 1, 2011, to protest the inhuman and dehumanizing treatment and conditions they’ve been forced to endure for 25 years. Further, it is our understanding that their protest has been inspired by the successful hunger strike that two of my comrades and I participated in during January of this year, where we received massive international support from those on the outside who believed in the righteousness of our protracted struggle to fight to secure the same privileges as other condemned prisoners at Ohio State Penitentiary (OSP).
The call has been made, by those at Pelican Bay State Prison, for prisoners throughout the state of California who have been suffering injustices to join them in their peaceful strike to put a stop to the blatant violations of California prisoners’ civil and human rights. Moreover, their call made it perfectly clear that “if [California prisoners] cannot participate in the strike, then [they should] support it in principle by not eating for the first 24 hours of the strike.” While their heartfelt plea was not made to Ohio prisoners, a growing number of us at OSP have decided to join them in their peaceful protest. We hope and pray that our united stand with those brothas at Pelican Bay will have a domino effect throughout the nation—that is, where prisoners in other states, as well as their outside supporters, will come together and stand united with the oppressed soldiers at Pelican Bay.
Their injustices have been going on for far too long. How long? Too long! Twenty-five years is too long for human beings to be subjected to the cruel terms and dictates of their oppressors.
Regarding their challenges and the protracted nature of their struggle, we urge those brothas to brace themselves for the battle ahead. There will be no easy victory, yet those soldiers at Pelican Bay must be determined to stay the course and to go forward in the spirit of past and present revolutionaries to change the oppressive conditions of their confinement, no matter how difficult the circumstances may become. As Comrade George L. Jackson wrote: Revolutionary consciousness is the only real hope of those oppressed by the system.
Power to the oppressed people!
Enclosed herewith are some statement in support. In addition to these statements, I know that a growing group of us will be displaying our solidarity by refusing our three meals on Friday, July 1. We didn’t know if a longer hunger strike would help or overshadow their protest; thus we opted to support them in principle. Shields up!:
I salute and support your peaceful demonstration! Even though we’re in different state we still face the oppression that the bureaucracy known as the Department of so-called Rehabilitation and Correction imposes upon us through overtaxing us for phone calls and commissary as well as reducing food rations and things of this nature. In solidarity I give you my oath to support your cause by refusing all my meals for a 24-hour period. Stay strong and keep your heads up in your cause!
-J. (Slingblade) Lacewell
From Ohio State Penitentiary to Pelican Bay State Prison. Despite the distance, our cause is the same. I, among others here, vow to refuse my meals for at least 24 hours on July 1, 2011, in support of the non-violent protest at Pelican Bay. Comrades, you’re not alone in struggle, forward march!!
-Gary “G. Rilla” Roberts
“A Salute to the Brothas in Pelican Bay”:
Change, in the form of resistance against the countless injustices overlooked by the outside world in America’s prisons, has no doubt been long overdue. For years the mentality of many prisoners has been “only I” need to do my time & nobody else’s, but the conditions & flagrant injustices within these prisons affect all of us. We are all a part of the same fabric of oppression within these walls; we all experience the same or similar conditions in some form or fashion. That’s why I believe it’s very necessary for us to come together, put down the knives for a moment & demand the kind of meaningful change needed to produce better conditions & to combat abusive “power holders” in ways that foster collective resistance. Case in point – the brothas in Georgia (work stoppage demonstration) & the brothas out in Pelican Bay’s Security Housing Unit (SHU). I recognize the call to action & the stance of resistance. The prison administration doesn’t care; regarding how prisoners are treated, it’s up to us to change our environment. To all prisoners across America, wake up, stand up & dare to resist! Resistance on all fronts needs to be the action taken to bring forth some form of change. Even if it’s only a small change, mission accomplished! Injustice will no longer be accepted or tolerated, period. May those brothas in Pelican Bay State Prison achieve their goal by taking a stand in the face of abuse, disrespect & mistreatment. As an act of solidarity for the cause & for prisoners in general, I choose to go those 24 hours without any food in support of the Pelican Bay SHU unit brothas’ demonstration.
-Ronnie “Shakur” Johnson