Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 – Letter-writing to Xinachtli

11 July 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, July 13th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

Often when we write these updates we are conscious of trying to tie present conditions to the larger struggle, to contextualize (for ourselves at least) both the movement and the moment at hand. But sometimes stepping back a bit and looking through a more historical lens can be helpful for our sense of perspective.

For those of us concerned with supporting political prisoners in the belly of this particular beast, the month of July by the colonial calendar is instructive and offers several events to reflect on over the past century or so of struggle.  This is by no means a comprehensive list (as recent events have shown), and while the significance of random calendar dates can easily be overstated, the struggles and dedication of these comrades can not.

  • On July 18, 1918 Oaxacan-born revolutionary anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón was convicted of sending politically dangerous materials through the mail and sentenced to twenty-one years in prison.  He wrote that “a sentence of twenty-one years is a sentence of life for a man as old and worn out as I am.”  He died imprisoned in Leavenworth, Kansas November on 22, 1922, at fifty years old.
  • On July 14, 1921, a guilty verdict was announced in the murder trial of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Judge Thayer praised the jury for their “supreme American loyalty.” The two Italian-born anarchists were later sentenced to death, which was carried out in August 1927.
  • On July 11, 1983, New African anarchist Kuwasi Balagoon  delivered his opening statement in the infamous Brink’s Trial, in which he stated: “i am a prisoner of war and i reject the crap about me being a defendant, and i do not recognize the legitimacy of this court.”

On July 18, 1996 a Texas sheriff went to arrest Alvaro Hernandez—also known as Xinachtli—at his home on trumped-up charges without a warrant. When the sheriff drew his gun, Alvaro disarmed him and fled. After eventually being captured, he was convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Which brings us to this week’s letter writing in which NYC ABC, in collaboration with Page One Collective, are encouraging you to write to Chicano political prisoner Xinachtli.

Xinachtli (Nahuatl, meaning “seed”) is an anarchist communist community organizer and Chicano movement revolutionary, currently imprisoned in Texas. Formerly known as Alvaro Luna Hernandez, he worked diligently in the barrio on civil and human rights issues, known widely for his legal skills. Gaining international recognition as the national coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, Xinachtli was instrumental in helping to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas’ death row, where he had been framed for the murder of a police officer.

In July 1996 Xinachtli was arrested after disarming a County Sheriff who was attempting to shoot him. After defending himself at trial, Xinachtli was sentenced to 50 years in prison for aggravated assault, a charge he vehemently denies. While imprisoned, Xinachtli continues to write frequently, has helped to organize multiple prison strikes, and has been held in solitary confinement for the last 19 years and counting. Xinachtli is a prolific jailhouse lawyer, as referenced by Mumia Abu Jamal in his book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v the USA. Xinachtli assists many prisoners in seeking new trials, and filing suits against the repressive, inhumane Texas prison system. More information at https://freealvaro.net.

Please take the time to write a letter to Xinachtli (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):

Alvaro Luna Hernandez
#255735
W.G. McConnell Unit,
3001 Emily Drive,
Beeville, Texas 78102
*Address envelopes to Alvaro Luna Hernández, cards/letters to Xinachtli.

Tuesday, June 29th – Letter-writing to Russell Maroon Shoatz

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, June 29th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

One year and one month to the day of George Floyd’s murder the state sentenced his murderer to 22 1/2 years in prison. Are we supposed to be happy or feel relieved? Those of us engaged in prisoner support work know plenty of folks that spend much more time inside for much less, but also know prison is hell anyway you slice it (we don’t like to get caught up in the arguments of what constitutes a long sentence). Regardless, we trust he’ll be well cared for in there. And no, we’re not happy. And no, we’re not relieved. They sacrificed one of their own to take the fall for the rest still working their beats. Meanwhile, cops continue to murder, migrants are detained at an increasing rate, and Trump is still holding rallies. The uprisings of 2020 were a hopeful promise of what is to come, and now one year later we’re here wondering if anything has changed. All we can do is to continue our organizing projects, our mutual aid projects, and our solidarity work. For us at NYC ABC, that is supporting political prisoners through letter writing efforts.

This week, NYC ABC and Page One Collective ask you to write to a Black liberation political prisoner, the truly implacable Russell Maroon Shoatz, himself accused of taking action against the brutality meted out by cops on Black communities. Russell Maroon Shoatz is a dedicated community activist, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member of the Black Panther Party and soldier in the Black Liberation Army. In 1970, along with 5 others, Maroon was accused of attacking a police station, which resulted in a cop being killed. This attack was said to have been carried out in response to the rampant police brutality in the Black community. For 18 months Maroon functioned underground as a soldier in the Black Liberation Army. In 1972 he was captured. Twice he escaped—once in 1977 and again in 1980, but both times he was recaptured and today he is held in Pennsylvania where he is serving multiple life sentences. As with many of our imprisoned elders, Maroon faces health concerns and should immediately released. On June 17th 2021 there was an emergency action to get Russell his much needed chemo treatments which had been cancelled by DOC. Please stay tuned for more updates. 

Please take the time to write a letter to Maroon (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Smart Connections/PA DOC
Russell Shoats #AF-3855
SCI-Dallas
Post Office Box 33028
St. Petersburg, Florida 33733

Tuesday, June 15th – Letter Writing for Imam Jamil Al-Amin

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday June 15th, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

Sometimes it seems that the struggle for a free society is reduced to something so simple as the struggle to remember. The ruling class hates to be reminded that it wasn’t bootstraps but the ongoing violence of settler colonialism that bought them their Sunday brunch. Or that Stonewall wasn’t a commercial for a big box store, or an isolated event in the centuries of rebellions big and small by those on the losing side of patriarchal supremacy and its false binaries. And right now, as ‘we’ are ‘getting back to normal,’ the triumphalism that callously asserts the needs of domestic markets in the face of a still raging international pandemic insists that we forgot the suffering and wide scale preventable deaths that were all most of us could think about for the past year.  We are told to take off our masks, get back to work, and go to brunch, and to forget those who got sick and especially the hundreds of thousands who died. In a very similar way we are told that Black Panthers are comic book characters and fashion symbols to appropriate, safely ancient history if they were ever real at all; that Indigenous resistance to genocide is a thing of the past; that de-colonial freedom struggles were a ’boomer fad, and that the “united states” doesn’t have any political prisoners.

But what if we choose to remember?
What if we insist on remembering that those who resisted and fell, those who were captured, are human beings?
What if we got to know them as people with aches and pains and senses of humor and wisdom won through decades of principled struggle?
What would happen if we remember that the struggle continues?

This week NYC ABC and Page One Collective are asking you write to Imam Jamil Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown). Jamil Al-Amin is a long time community leader and organizer, falsely imprisoned for killing a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia. He was convicted in 2002 and after some time in Georgia state prison, the state decided to bury him in federal custody at the notorious Florence Supermax in Colorado before being held in Arizona. The Imam has bone cancer and other health issues, so his family and supporters are currently pushing for an appeal to his trial and for his return to Georgia to receive better medical care and to be able to take a more active role in appealing his case. More information on what you can do is available at whathappened2rap.com

We are asking folks to take the time to write a letter to Jamil (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online). Please note that as it states on his support site “Imam Jamil is not receiving proper medical care and is now blind as a result.” We are suggesting to send typewritten letters in a large font (size 18 font and over) to let him and those holding him captive know that he is far from forgotten:

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin #99974-555
USP Tucson
Post Office Box 24550
Tucson, Arizona 85734

Illustrated Guide Version 14.4 Uploaded!

We’ve finished the latest version of the NYC ABCIllustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing (and download) by clicking on the tab at the top of this page. This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for several prisoners. Unfortunately, we are adding a prisoner to the guide this month–Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendant Mark Colville. We are thankful to remove whistleblower Reality Winner (halfway house)!

Illustrated Guide Version 14.3 Uploaded!

We’ve finished the latest version of the NYC ABCIllustrated Guide to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War” and it’s available for viewing (and download) by clicking on the tab at the top of this page. This update includes updated mini-bios, photos, and address changes for several prisoners. Unfortunately, we are adding prisoners to the guide this month–Yellow Finch Treesit eco-defense activists Wren and Acre. We are thankful to remove (take a deep breath) Carmen Trotta, Martha Hennessy, & Stephen Kelly (Kings Bay Plowshares 7); Jaan Laaman; Loren Reed; Skelly (Cleveland 4); and Water Protector Steve Martinez.

Tuesday, June 1st – Letter Writing for June 11th Prisoners

31 May 2021 Comments off

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday June 1st, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

While most folks are firing up the grill this weekend likely in celebration of a day off from their shitty jobs rather than to memorialize anything, we turn our thoughts to those who were captured or died fighting for the movement(s). This week NYC ABC and Page One Collective respond to the June 11th call for solidarity with long term anarchist political prisoners, while recognizing the history of this day by including earth and animal liberation prisoners. In addition to encouraging people to write to those captured by the state, we hold space for those we have lost in recent decades from those movements.

This week we encourage folks to write to both anarchist and earth liberation prisoners:

Marius Mason is an anarchist, environmental, and animal rights prisoner. In March 2008, he was arrested by federal authorities for charges related to two acts of property destruction that occurred in 1999 and 2000 – damaging an office connected to GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) research, and destroying a piece of logging equipment. No one was injured in either act. He faced a life sentence before accepting a plea bargain in September 2008. More information at supportmariusmason.org

Marie (Marius) Mason #04672-061
FCI Danbury
Route 37
Danbury, Connecticut 06811

Eric King was indicted in May 2019 by a grand jury in the District Court of Colorado for a new federal felony charge of Assaulting a Federal Official. This charge is based on what the government says happened during the interview in the Florence storage room with a Lieutenant. Eric now faces up to 20 additional years in federal prison and is fighting this charge while still in the custody of his accusers. Eric is pre-trial, do not mention his current charges. **Eric is currently on mail ban and unable to receive letters, however he can receive books. See his book wish list here: tiny.cc/EK_Books and more information at supportericking.org

Eric King #27090-045
FCI Englewood
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, Colorado 80123

Yellow Finch tree-sitters Opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline established a series of tree-sits in resistance to inevitable environmental hard such a project would create. Tree-sitters remain anonymous and their identities have only been learned upon extraction and arrest. Many folks have taken to the tree-sits since first erected in late 2018. As of this writing, only two have been extracted, identified, and arrested. More information at itsgoingdown.org/author/appalachians-against-pipelines

Acre*
Smart Communications- Western Virginia Regional Jail
Alexander Lowe #00-24143
3735 Franklin Road SW #275
Roanoke, Virginia 24014-2260
*Address envelope to Alexander Lowe

*Wren
Smart Communications- Western Virginia Regional Jail
Claire Fiocco #00-24139
3735 Franklin Road SW #275
Roanoke, Virginia 24014-2260
*Address envelope to Claire Fiocco

Tuesday, May 18th – Letter Writing to Dr. Mutulu Shakur

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, May 18th, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

With the COVID related restrictions and guidelines around this country beginning to be lifted or eased, it is as important as ever to recognize those inside prison walls who remain captive by the white supremacist structures that have continued to thrive throughout this pandemic. Between the proliferation of this deadly virus behind bars, the inequity in treatment of the disease to people of color, the unending stream of police killing Black folks, and the attempts to literally erase the already vastly understated mentions of America’s ongoing racist colonial history from school books, this country is having a historic year of maintaining white supremacy. Just this month it was revealed that the remains of the victims of the Philadelphia police bombing of the MOVE family’s house were either sent to be “studied” and gawked at by elite museums and universities or ordered by city officials to be burnt to ash. This latest obscene iteration of this country’s mission to control Black bodies with cruelty and indignity is just one of an immeasurable number. With these injustices fresh in our minds, we turn to political prisoner Dr. Mutulu Shakur, who has actively fought against that bodily control by dedicating his life to the physical, political, and social health and well being of the Black community.

From Dr. Shakur’s support site:

“Dr. Mutulu Shakur is a New Afrikan (Black) man whose primary work has been in the area of health. He is a doctor of acupuncture and was a co-founder and director of two institutions devoted to improving health care in the Black community.

Mutulu was born on August 8, 1950, in Baltimore, Maryland as Jeral Wayne Williams. At age seven he moved to Jamaica, Queens, New York City with his mother and younger sister. His political and social consciousness began to develop early in his life. His mother suffered not only from being Black and female, but was also blind. These elements constituted Shakur’s first confrontation with the state, while assisting his mother to negotiate through the maze that made up the social service system. Through this experience, Shakur learned that the system did not operate in the interests of Black people and that Black people must control the institutions that affect their lives.

Since the age 16, Dr. Shakur has been a part of the New Afrikan Independence Movement. As a part of this movement, Dr. Shakur has been a target of the illegal Counterintelligence Program carried out by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (COINTELPRO). This was a secret police strategy used in the U.S. starting in the 1960s to destroy and neutralize progressive and revolutionary organizations. It is believed that Dr. Shakur’s resistance to this program led to his arrest and trial.

During the late sixties, Dr. Shakur was politically active and worked with the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), a Black Nationalist group that struggled for Black self-determination and socialist change in America. He was a member of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, which endorsed the founding of an independent New Afrikan (Black) Republic and the establishment of an independent Black state in the southern U.S. Dr. Shakur also worked very closely with the Black Panther Party, supporting Lumumba and Zayd Shakur.

In 1970, Dr. Shakur was employed by the Lincoln Detox (detoxification) Community (addiction treatment) Program as a political education instructor. His role evolved to include counseling and treatment of withdrawal symptoms with acupuncture. Dr. Shakur became certified and licensed to practice acupuncture in the State of California in 1976. Eventually he became the Program’s Assistant Director and remained associated with the program until 1978.

From 1978 to 1982, Dr. Shakur was the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America (BAAANA) and the Harlem Institute of Acupuncture. Where, at Lincoln, Dr. Shakur had managed a detox program recognized as the largest and most effective of its kind by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Acupuncture Research Society and the World Academic Society of Acupuncture, at BAAANA he continued his remarkable work and also treated thousands of poor and elderly patients who would otherwise have no access to treatment of this type. Many community leaders, political activists, lawyers and doctors were served by BAAANA and over one hundred medical students were trained in the discipline of acupuncture.

By the late 1970’s Dr. Shakur’s work in acupuncture and drug detoxification was both nationally and internationally known and he was invited to address members of the medical community around the world. Dr. Shakur lectured on his work at many medical conferences, and was invited to the People’s Republic of China. In addition in his work for the Charles Cobb Commission for Racial Justice for the National Council of Churches, he developed their anti-drug program.

Dr. Shakur has five biological children and several grandchildren who he maintains loving relationships with despite his incarceration.  He was an inspiration for many of the positive messages in his late adoptive son, Tupac’s, musical work.”

In 1987 Dr. Shakur was sentenced to 60 years in prison after being targeted by US federal authorities with charges under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act and for aiding in Assata Shakur’s escape from prison.

Please join NYC ABC and Page One Collective from wherever you are as we write letters to Dr. Shakur:

Dr. Mutulu Shakur #83205-012
FMC Lexington
Post Office Box 14500
Lexington, Kentucky 40512

Though Dr. Shakur appreciates the mail that folks send him, he is unable to respond to every letter personally. Other ways to support Dr. Shakur can be found at mutulushakur.com

Tuesday, May 4th – Letter Writing to Sundiata Acoli

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, May 4th, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

At the moment, there are 13 Black Liberation elders being held in federal and state prisons in the U.S. All have been inside for decades, and several are severely ill and being denied adequate medical care. Though the United States government claims to not hold political prisoners, the treatment of these men betrays the truth. Repeatedly parole is denied based on affiliations and statements that the state deems unacceptable. Mail is messed with, humane medical treatment is withheld, as if the state is still seeking to break their bodies and crush their spirits. As if it wants them all to die behind bars. The state wishes to deny that there are political prisoners, while punishing elders for maintaining their convictions. Our solidarity is our strength in the face of this ongoing repression. One simple but important act of active solidarity is to write letters to our imprisoned elders; it shows both our political prisoners and their captors that we have not forgotten them, and can help build bridges between generations and across movement divides. In this spirit, please join NYC ABC and Page One Collective in writing to Sundiata Acoli.

A New York Black Panther, Sundiata Acoli endured two years of prison awaiting trial for the Panther 21 Conspiracy Case. He and his comrades were eventually acquitted on all the bogus charges. The case was historic and a classic example of police and government attempting to neutralize organizations by incarcerating their leadership. As a result of this political attack and because of the immense pressure and surveillance from the FBI and local police Sundiata, like many other Panther leaders went “underground.”  On May 2, 1973, Sundiata Acoli, Assata Shakur and Zayd Shakur were ambushed and attacked by state troopers on the New Jersey Turnpike. Assata was wounded and Zayd was killed. During the gun battle a state trooper was shot and killed in self defense. Sundiata was tried in an environment of mass hysteria and convicted, although there was no credible evidence that he killed the trooper or had been involved in the shooting. He was sentenced to thirty years. Sundiata was ordered to be released on parole by a state appeals court in New Jersey in September 2014 when the court ruled the parole board had “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it previously denied him parole. The State of New Jersey appealed the decision and won. More information: https://sundiataacolifc.org

Please take the time to write a letter to Sundiata (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):
Sundiata Acoli* #39794-066

FCI Cumberland
Federal Correctional Institution
Post Office Box 1000
Cumberland, Maryland 21501
*Address envelope to Clark Squire

Tuesday, April 20 – May Day letter-writing for Anarchist Prisoners

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

NYC ABC is an anarchist collective that supports political prisoners captured in liberation and anti-oppression struggles from a wide range of political or spiritual traditions. In other words, though we subscribe to anti-authoritarian principles, we don’t only support anarchists behind bars. But the May Day season is one in which we focus on those who struggle for a world without borders or bosses.

So, in remembrance of the Haymarket Martyrs—in whose honor May Day became known as an international workers’ day—we focus this week’s letter-writing on anarchists imprisoned for their beliefs and actions. Instead of getting together to sign and send May Day cards as we have in previous years, this week NYC ABC and Page One Collective are asking folks to to write letters or send books to one or more of the anarchist political prisoners we currently support, including Bill Dunne, Casey Brezik, and Gage Halupowski.

Unfortunately, anarchist political prisoner Eric King is currently on mail ban, so can’t receive letters. But he can receive book and magazines! Here is the link to Eric’s book wish list: tiny.cc/EK_Books

Casey Brezik #1154765
Jefferson City Correctional Center
8200 No More Victims Road
Jefferson City, Missouri 65101

Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Victorville Medium I
Post Office Box 3725
Adelanto, California 92301

Gage Halupowski #21894460
Snake River Correctional Institution
777 Stanton Boulevard
Ontario, Oregon 97914-8335

BK/NY – Tuesday, April 6th– Letter Writing To Ruchell “Cinque” Magee

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing
WHEN: 7pm, Tuesday, April 6th, 2021
WHERE: YOUR HOME
COST: Free

Image courtesy of freeruchellmagee.org

We are still mourning the loss of Chip Fitzgerald who died last week due to the neglect of the California prison system. But as the saying goes, “mourn the dead, but fight like hell for the living.” And so we must continue the struggle as Chip was not and is not the only elder still locked up, punished only for their fight for liberation. In that spirit, this week NYC ABC and Page One Collective encourage folx at home to write to Ruchell “Cinque” Magee, who is currently serving his 58th year in prison.

Ruchell Magee was unjustly captured in 1962 and given trumped-up charges. He is now 82 years old, forced to suffer mentally and physically due to the poor conditions inside California’s prison camps. With the COVID-19 crisis raging on, Ruchell needs your support and action so that he can be released, spend time with his loved ones, and better his community. After 58 years of injustice, enough is enough. Free Ruchell Magee now! More information here: freeruchellmagee.org

Please take the time to write a letter to Cinque (and share a photo of your completed envelopes with us online):

Ruchell Magee #A92051
#T 115
California Medical Facility
Post Office Box 2000
Vacaville, California 95696-2000