Sat. Aug 19, San Jose: MILLIONS FOR PRISONERS MARCH – in solidarity with March in Washington DC

On AUGUST 19, 2017 please join in solidarity with the historic Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. People from all over the country will be marching and hosting a rally at the White House to formally issue and demand the removal of the 13th Amendment “exception” clause that legalizes slavery. People are traveling from as far as California to join the March. Solidarity marches, rallies, and protests are being planned across the country to coincide with the DC event.  Here’s San Jose!
8-19-17-Millions-for-Prisoners

Join the NEW ABOLITIONIST MOVEMENT

MILLIONS for Prisoners HUMAN RIGHTS

SATURDAY, AUG 19, 2017
SAN JOSE

We DEMAND the 13th Amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE of the United States Constitution be amended to abolish LEGALIZED slavery in America.

We DEMAND a Congressional hearing on the 13th Amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE being recognized as in violation of International law, the general principles of human rights and its direct links to:

• For profit exploitation of prison labor and the extortion of prisoners/families for needed goods and services
• Incentivizing criminalization by a private prison industry
• Reinforcement of systemic racial inequality and the militarization of police against our communities
• Disproportionate murder of black and brown people by police and the normalization of state sponsored murder via the death penalty
• Use of solitary confinement as punishment and torture
• Voter disenfranchisement of up to 6 million people
• Indefinite detention of entire families under arbitrary Immigration and Customs Enforcement quotas
• A bail bond system that unjustly penalizes the poor and dispossessed
• Producing 25% of the world’s prison population with only 4.5% of its overall population

MARCH WITH
California Prison Focus & Rise Up for Justice

11:00am: GATHER at Raymond Bernal Jr. Park, 7th and Mission Streets, San Jose, CA 95112

11:30am: MARCH to County Jail

12:30am: RALLY at James P. McEntee Plaza, 70 West Hedding, San Jose, CA 95110

Join local organizations, learn more, and hear speakers from San Jose and surrounding communities, including:
Watani Stiner
Sean Ramsey
Laurie Valdez
… and more

For a full list of sponsors or more information, email us at: riseup@forjustice.us

Download and put up Fliers! 8-19-17-Millions-for-Prisoners, SanJose

San Jose March Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/441574739560568/

Riverside Solidarity Rally Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/720255711508696/

iamWE Prison Advocacy Network is forever humbled to be hosting the upcoming March on Washington DC: http://www.iamweubuntu.com/millions-for-prisoners-human-rights.html

Update from Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, 4-28-2014

Greetings,

This post is chock full of resources and various updates, downloads of recent newsletters, new media articles and PBS specials about solitary confinement, exciting upcoming events with Lynne Stewart, and information on our weekly meetings.

Thanks to all the outcry about the recent cell raids in Corcoran SHU, we believe they have stopped, according to a letter from the person who alerted us originally.

We still encourage you to send criticisms regarding the Security Threat Group/Step Down Program regulations, even though the official deadline is over.  Send to rpmb@cdcr.ca.gov and cc to peoplesarc@gmail.com.

Upcoming events throughout California, in New York, and in Wisconsin can be found in the calendar at  https://prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/take-action-2/

Read the entire update HERE.

UC Berkeley student, former inmate, speaks out about solitary confinement

By | Daily Cal.

During the years most young adults spend completing college, UC Berkeley student Steven Czifra was serving a four-year sentence in solitary confinement.

By all accounts, Czifra had a rough childhood. Born into a family of addicts, he was smoking crack at age 9, in juvenile hall at age 13 and sentenced to nine and a half years in prison at age 14.

Now, as a 38-year-old transfer and re-entry student of English literature at UC Berkeley, Czifra has become an advocate for California state prison reform, protesting the use of solitary confinement. Most recently, he went on a hunger strike in solidarity with inmates of Pelican Bay State Prison, in which thousands of prisoners have been on hunger strike for 21 days as of Sunday.

In total, Czifra has spent eight years of his life in solitary confinement. When Czifra was 17 and serving a prison sentence for carjacking, he says he was found guilty of initiating a prison fight, which landed him a four-year term in solitary confinement. When he was 24, he says he took a plea bargain for another four years in solitary confinement after being found guilty of spitting on an officer and in violation of California’s three-strikes law.

While he was imprisoned at a Secure Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, Czifra spent 22 and a half hours in his cell each day and was only allowed 90 minutes outside of his cell, which he would spend alone in a concrete, windowless pen. Czifra continues to suffer from severe anxiety and insomnia as a result.

“You take a person, you put them in a box, you don’t let them see the sun for eight years, you don’t let them talk to anybody or have fun,” Czifra said. “You don’t let them eat or make mistakes. The fact that I’m not a raving lunatic is a miracle.”;

A few years after being released from prison in 2003, Czifra enrolled in a 12-step program, where he met his partner of seven years, Sylvia Garcia. Czifra began working odd jobs but found that they did not fulfill his academic ambitions.

“I owned a tree-trimming business, I was driving a tow-truck, I was swinging a hammer,” Czifra said, “and the entire time, I knew that I had other gifts that were being underused.”;

Czifra originally received his GED in prison because of the promise of getting coffee and cookies in the prison quad. In his early 30s, he failed community college twice. The third time around, at the age of 34, he received straight A’s, helping him gain admission to UC Berkeley.

Today, Czifra lives in Albany with his partner and his 6-year-old son, Shane, whom he lovingly calls “the most incredible human being” he has ever met.
On an average sunny Tuesday afternoon, Czifra and his son spend the day bowling, playing with Legos and making lunch. Afterward, Czifra heads to his afternoon classes and does his homework for a few hours before having dinner with his family.

“If I could use one word to describe our family life, it would be ‘peaceful,’” Czifra said.

Prison activism

Despite the joys that come with pursuing an education and having a fulfilling family life, Czifra still faces the lasting psychological effects of spending eight years detached from human interaction.

“The dominating theme of my life is overcoming anxiety,” Czifra said. “Unless I stop and think everything through, my life is an earthquake. I was by myself during the time when I learned how to be with other people … when my emotional and mental systems were forming.”;

Czifra was introduced to the prison hunger strike movement by his friend and UC Berkeley peer Danny Murillo, who was also kept in solitary confinement.

In recent weeks, Czifra, Murillo and other members of the campus organization Human Rights of the Incarcerated at Cal have been holding demonstrations in support of the statewide Prison Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition, which began in Pelican Bay State Prison on July 8. Last Monday, Billy “Guero” Sell, a state prison inmate who had participated in the hunger strike, committed suicide after allegedly being denied medical attention.

Leaders of the movement are demanding that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation comply with core demands, which include ending group punishment, changing policies that force prisoners to snitch on gang members and expanding privileges for inmates in solitary confinement.

“The reason why I’m in this movement is that I’m in California and I care about my community, and this isn’t happening in Palestine or North Korea,” Czifra said. “This is happening here.”;

A scholarly take on prison reform

When speaking about how he spends his time at UC Berkeley, Czifra says he is thankful that he is in a place that allows him to combine his activism for prison reform with his academic scholarship.

Last fall, Czifra began attending a prison studies independent reading group taught by UC Berkeley academics in the ethnic studies and gender and women’s studies departments. There, Czifra explored the intellectual meaning behind mass incarceration in society.

Patricia Penn Hilden, professor emeritus of ethnic studies, developed a bond with Czifra during the class and began meeting with him independently to discuss literature.

“I introduced him to my husband, who is a professor of comparative literature, and they talk about Descartes once a week,” Hilden said.

Czifra said that he read the classics while incarcerated but was unable to apply the knowledge he gained in a prison setting. Now, he is able to articulate his ideas with people from all backgrounds — both within and outside of the prison system.

“There’s nothing he likes more than diving headfirst deep into the pool of the literature,” said Victoria Robinson, a lecturer on campus in the ethnic studies and gender and women’s studies departments. “It is probably the thing that got him through his years in prison and solitary confinement.”;

Czifra says that when he first started college, he wanted to teach inmates literature after graduating, but now, he says he is considering other careers, ranging from being a lawyer to a professor of literature. After an unexpected journey from solitary confinement to UC Berkeley, Czifra says he’s certainly not afraid of taking a chance.

24 Hours of Actions for the 5 Demands!

INTERNATIONAL CALL FOR SOLIDARITY ACTIONS
24 Hours for the 5 Demands!
Starts 5PM Tuesday July 30th to stand with the California prison hunger strikers against torture

HOW:

Make a highly visible and non-violent action in solidarity anytime 5pm July 30th – 5pm July 31st.

Let the world and politicians know you support the California prison hunger striker’s Five Core Demands against torturous treatment. Post your events to the Upcoming Events Calendar. Don’t forget Facebook and Twitter (tweet #CAHungerstrike #PBHungerstrike and follow @CAHungerStrike)! Afterward, send in your photos and stories of solidarity action to inspire others! Outreach materials are available online.

Join or organize a rally and outreach in your area: Sacramento — Oakland July 30th and 31stSouthern California

Join a solidarity fast wherever you are to show your support.

WHY NOW:

Hunger striking prisoners are enduring retaliation on top of starvation! You can help stop their suffering now.

California Governor Jerry Brown is ignoring their demands! He must be forced to account for his inaction.

CA Department of Corrections is hiding
their inhumane treatment from the press and public. They must be stopped and held up to the Five Core Demands.

.

.

And for folks who want to get active even sooner…
EVENTS COMING UP THIS WEEKEND:

Sun. July 28, 10AM-1PM, in Norwalk, CA (LA County): Orange Alert Day

Sun. July 28, 12PM-3PM in Madison, WI: Letter writing

Sun. July 28, 1PM-3:30PM in SF Bay Area: Sitting, Letter Writing, and Action Group