May POC Political Prisoner Birthdays

William Phillips Africa
AM4984
SCI Dallas
Follies Rd., Drawer K
Dallas, PA 18612
 
May 12, 1956
 
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
#255735
Hughes Unit
Rt. 2, Box 4400
Gatesville, TX 76596
 
May 12, 1952
 
 
Mondo We Langa (D. Rice)
27768
Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500
 
May 21, 1947
 
Norberto Gonzalez Claudio
#09864-000
Unit G Room 15
DWWDF
950 High St.
Central Fall, RI 02863
 
May 27 1945
 
Kieth Lamar (Boman Shakur)
#317-117
Ohio State Penitentiary
878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, OH 44505-4635
 
May 31, 1969
 
For more information please check: 
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Riverside Anarchist Birthday Brigade (In Defiance-RABBID)

The Internationalist Prison Books Collective (IPBC) puts together a
poster every month with information about political prisoners (PPs) and
prisoners of war (POWs) incarcerated in the United States, along with
their addresses whose birthdays are that month.
In April last year I was able to participate in a PP’s birthday party at
the Dry River Radical Resource Center, an Infoshop located in the Dunbar
Spring neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona where we made cards for all the
prisoners on the IPBC poster, snacked, took pictures to send along and
smashed a piñata. It was a great deal of fun!
Without a doubt, I think the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) is one of
the flashpoints of class struggle and internal colonialism in the States,
and that sending birthday cards to PPs and POWS is the least people who
can should be doing.
After leaving Tucson to work on a farm in Iowa I made a point of
continuing to write PPs and POWs using the IPBC poster as both a resource
for current contact information and for news on the contemporary struggle
against the PIC. My correspondence with prisoners has been both very
informative and inspiring!
This year, using the Political Prisoner Birthday Party model I picked up
in Tucson, I helped start the Riverside Anarchist Birthday Brigade (In
Defiance-RABBID) at the Blood Orange Infoshop in Riverside, California.
On the first Saturdays of January and February we converged at the
Infoshop to make cards, write letters and talk politics.  The first party
was hastily thrown together as I had just arrived in town, but the second
one had a theme where we all wore red and black, decked out the space,
had plenty of snacks and took pictures to send along with the cards.
We also had plenty of relevant reading materials courtesy of South
Chicago Anarchist Black Cross (S Chi ABC) who donated ‘zines to help us
get started.  Now we’re discussing fundraisers to pay for materials and
send money to prisoners, as well as doing on going support work for
specific prisoners.
Find the IPBC poster at prisonbooks.infoPrisonactivist.org and
zinelibrary.info are two other great resources for writing to PPs and
POWs. If you haven’t written prisoners before, you may want to check out
the great article, Tips On Writing To A Prisoner at
prisonerlife.com/tips.cfm.  Here’s the very basics:
•    You have to put a prisoner’s number on the first line so your letter
gets to them.
•    Include a return address on you letter, but if you don’t know the
prisoner it may be best to use a PO Box or other neutral address.
•    Guards may read your letter.  Avoid discussing sensitive topics or
details of a court case if a prisoner is awaiting trial / sentencing.
•    Don’t make promises you can’t keep:  being is prison is isolating and
getting let down can be devastating.  If you’re not looking for a romantic
relationship, be clear about your intentions right from the start.
•    Prisoners are no better or worse than anyone else. Some are flawed so
exercise the same caution you would writing to anyone else you don’t know.
•     Be careful about accepting collect calls from prison — they are
absurdly expensive.

This version for Slingshot! #110  http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?0110006

April 2011 Political Prisoners Birthday Party at the Dry River Radical Resource Center, photo by Eric R.

No More Deaths

There have been 71 reported deaths on the US-Mexican border in Arizona since October 1, 2011 (1).  This isn’t the full story though.  Tucson hit the national news again earlier this year when the Tucson Unified School District voted to ban Mexican American Studies and had the books removed while classes were in session (2).  Now John Huppenthal, a state official involved in the ban is reported to be targeting the department of Mexican-American studies at the university and other college-level programs (3).

     I believe these sorts of attacks on Mexican culture, in conjunction with xenophobic legislation such as SB 1070 has created the sort of environment where the April 8 shooting deaths of two Latino immigrants in a wash that is part of the migrants’ trail near Eloy are a natural extension of government actions (4), especially since this occurred just after what has been reported to be the largest series of immigration raids ever (5).
     I was just able to spend four days volunteering for No More Deaths on the border near Arivaca.  I spent the bulk of the first day helping move a medical tent, which was a great deal harder than I would have guessed!  There is a major need for people with medical expertise to be in the desert to treat people who are abandoned, lost or somehow else separated from the group they are walking with.
     After the tent in camp was mostly moved, I was able to help with the first of several food and water drops I went on over the next few days on the migrants’ trail.  We also went on a couple hikes where we carried smaller amounts of liquids, food and first aid supplies to maintain a presence on the trail.  The application for volunteers to participate in the summer program is supposed to be released May 1, and I highly recommend people interested to check http://www.nomoredeaths.org for more information.
     For those who can’t come to Arizona and/or afford to make donations, please consider organizing a film screening or book reading circle in your community.  Last year after volunteering for No More Deaths, I helped host a series of film screenings on immigration ranging from videos on the youtube about No More Deaths to Made in LA, The Invisible Mexicans of Deer Canyon and Dying to Live.
     Suggested reading:  Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario, The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea and Basta!  Land and the Zapatista Rebellion in Chiapas Third Edition by George Collier with Elizabeth Lowery Quaratiello which deals extensively with how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has effected the Mexican economy and immigration.
     Written for POCO!

APOC Love

I am an Autonomist Person of Color (APOC).  I work, read, write and travel as I can.  This photo was taken of me at the Blood Orange Infoshop in Riverside, California by my comrade Fritz, when we put on an art show that included the work of politicized prisoner Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson, Minister of Defense of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter.