Artists, Community Leaders & Activists

Susan Sarandon


I support the inmates of Corcoran State prison, Pelican Bay, and other prisons in their demands to end the inhumane policies of SECURITY HOUSING UNITS.  I recognize their humanity and stand with them.

Mark Ruffalo


Today prisoners of Corcoran prison, Pelican Bay and several others have joined in a large scale hunger strike to end the inhuman treatment they are receiving in Security Housing Units. Many of them are so deep in their strike for fair treatment they are near dying. Ask yourself what it would take for you to do such a thing? What lowness of suffering would you endure to starve yourself for weeks on end? For all of their wrongs they are still people and we are responsible for their humane care and wellbeing. I support their efforts for fair and humane treatment in our prison system and hope that decency on the part of our jailers prevails.

Boots Riley
The Coup, Street Sweeper Social Club

Prisoners locked in isolation in the United States penal system are subjected to torturous conditions, without the ability to redress them. This is a question of human rights. It is a sad day when prisoners locked in the hole have to risk their lives with a hunger strike- not to be set free, not for a major change to the prison system, but for the right to be treated with a modicum of human dignity. To have adequate food, and to have it not tampered with by guards. To see natural sunlight. To not be locked isolation indefinitely. Some people are locked in the hole for decades. We can not turn a blind eye to this. I stand in solidarity with the demands of the hunger strike and I salute those of you who are striking and supporting this fight.

Cynthia McKinney
Former Georgia Congresswoman &
2008 Green Party Presidential Nominee

The prison-industrial-media-banking complex and the military-industrial-media-banking complex feed on all of us; they both are rooted in lies, injustice, war, and indignity.  Today, our policy makers prop up poverty, militarism, and racism with their words and their votes.  We, the people, need a revolution of values, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us.  You, my brave imprisoned strikers, are at the forefront of that revolution. Your stand is the ultimate stand, representing the dignity of the rest of us in a country whose leadership has gone mad.

        Nawal El Saadawi, Cairo, Egypt

            A renowned Egyptian novelist, doctor, and feminist activist.

Saadawi has been involved in the  2011 uprising in Egypt

I condemn the horrific conditions under which those prisoners live in the USA. We have a common global struggle against all types of class race gender and religious oppressions, including American-European imperialisms and neocolonialisms. We live in one world dominated by the same military police capitalist patriarchal system. We need to fight together. Unity is power globally and locally. Our Egyptian revolution is winning till today because of our unified power of millions (women men and children from all sectors of the society) who are staying in Tahrir Square day and night, and in all streets and squares all over Egypt from Aswan south to Alexandria north, and Suez Canal cities and villages. In solidarity!      

Saskia Sassen
Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair, Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University, New York City

We have long known about the often extreme abuse of prisoners and violations of their most basic rights. Hundreds of prisoners are right now on the 15th day of a hunger strike—they would rather die than continue living with such brutality. We must, we need, we have to support their cause.

Cindy Sheehan

Peace Activist, mother of Casey Sheehan who lost his life in the Iraq War

I lend my voice and support to the courageous prisoners on hunger strike against inhumane conditions, cruelty and torture in Pelican Bay, Corcoran, and other prisons throughout California.

   Gloria Steinem

Author and feminist activist

I support the courage of thousands of California prisoners who are risking their health and lives to call attention to dangerous and de-humanizing prison conditions. We are all human beings who cannot survive in isolation. Now, even before change comes, please know you are being heard. We ask Governor Jerry Brown and all relevant officials to listen and to create prisons that do not bring shame to this country.


David Strathairn


What does it portend for any citizen, incarcerated or not, if their OWN NATION  is not held accountable for the violation of its OWN laws,  specified in its Own Constitution, that deal with the humane treatment and conditions of incarceration?  To continually allow, deny, ignore, even tacitly accept, these deplorable abuses can only lead to the ultimate breakdown of our justice system and the ascendancy of a society ruled by oppression and repression.  It can only lead us further into a darkness in which no one person will be able to trust that they are equal under any  law.  That laws are only the bastinados of the rich and powerful.  If we choose to think of ourselves as a just and humane people setting an example for others to follow, then to NOT speak out against this, is corrosively hypocritical.  It breeds a communality of cynicism and shame and makes us all prisoners.  Simply out of common decency and respect for each other, for the preservation of a fair and just society, the demands of these people must honored.

Ayelet Waldman

novelist and nonfiction writer

As a believer in the protections granted by the United States Constitution, I stand united with the courageous hunger strikers in Pelican Bay, Corcoran and other state prisons. The conditions of prolonged isolation in which many prisoners are kept are violations of basic human rights. We cannot continue to allow these offenses against human dignity to be carried out in our names.

Boyce D. Watkins
Boyce D. Watkins, author, economist, political analyst, and social commentator, currently at Syracuse University.

Many Americans believe that the dehumanization of incarcerated individuals has nothing to do with them. But the system affects all of us, as many of our families are devastated by the epidemic of mass incarceration. It helps all Americans to ensure that inmates are given access to education and other tools that will allow them to become productive members of society. Forcing inmates to languish in unspeakable conditions is not only inhumane, it makes America less safe for everyone. The prison system should make people better than they were when they arrived, not worse.

Cornell West

I am in full solidarity with my brothers in their courageous protest against inhumane conditions in the prisons.


5 thoughts on “Artists, Community Leaders & Activists

  1. Pingback: Prisoners being frozen to break hunger strike; some quit, some willing to die for their rights | San Francisco Bay View

  2. Pingback: Prisoners being frozen to break hunger strike; some quit, some willing to die for their rights — Berkeley Copwatch

  3. Pingback: California Prison Officials offer hunger strikers retaliation and repression « Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle

  4. Jail should not be a place where a person’s humanity is neglected, health is put in danger, or chances to improve be withheld.

    Having spent a week in jail for a Failure to Appear for a DUI I got when I had just turned 20, I talked with many women and know there is a human story behind every sentence.

    Rehabilitation and participation in activities that enrich the growth of the person are vital to the health of those serving a sentence, and our community. Whether they are to be released is no matter in determining whether they should work towards growth and rehabilitation from either or both of: the ills that are within, and the negative influences that led them astray, to commit a crime (for which they were convicted.)

    There is a lot to say about the imperfect way in which police choose to charge different people. It often relies on the ‘all-knowing’ read that particular officer has of the person, and I would assume another factor in whether a person is arrested is if they have a history. I believe this should only be a determining factor if the crime is violent (rape, some assault convictions, some attempted murder convictions, and murder.)

    And don’t even get me started on the legal system and how 2 people can commit the same crime and get completely different punishment.

    I wish health and humanity to those striking for their rights.

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