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NYC – Tuesday, April 1st – Letter-writing to California Political Prisoners

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, April 1st, 2014
WHERE: CAGE83A Hester Street (UPSTAIRS) New York, New York 10002 (directions below)
COST: Free
chip-ruchell-yogiOh, no, guys! Chris Brown says being in jail is like being a caged animal. Maybe the revelation of a millionaire pop star will shed light on the realities faced by about 1.5 million other prisoners in the United States. Maybe it will lead his legion of fans to call for the abolition of prisons! Or, in all likelihood, it will simply cause logistic problems for court cops at his next appearance date. If nothing else, jailing a pop star exposes more folks to just how shitty imprisonment really is. And that’s where NYC ABC comes in. With our every-other-week letter-writing dinners, we try to remind our comrades that no matter how awful their conditions, they have support on the outside. This week we are writing to three prisoners in California– Chip Fitzgerald, Ruchell “Cinque” Magee, and Hugo “Yogi” Pinell.

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, born and raised in Compton, California, joined the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party in early 1969 as a teenager who had just been released from the California Youth Authority. In September of that year, as a dedicated member of the Party, Chip was arrested in connection with a police shoot-out and tried for assault on police and related charges, including the murder of a security guard. He was sentenced to death.

Commonly regarded as the longest held political prisoner in the U.S., Ruchell Magee has been imprisoned since 1963. He was politicized in prison and participated in the August 7, 1970 Marin County Courthouse Rebellion— the attempted liberation of political prisoner George Jackson and the Soledad Brothers by Jackson’s younger brother Jonathan. Magee was seriously injured in the incident and subsequently pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping. He was sentenced in 1975 to life in prison and has been denied parole numerous times.

While Hugo Pinell was imprisoned in San Quentin State Prison he made contact with revolutionary prisoners such as George Jackson, one of the Soledad Brothers and W.L. Nolen. On August 21, 1971, there was a prisoner uprising in Pinell’s housing unit at San Quentin, led by George Jackson. On August 21, 1971, Jackson used a pistol to take over his tier in the Adjustment Center. At the end of the roughly 30 minute rebellion, guards had killed George Jackson, and two other prisoners and three guards were dead. Of the remaining prisoners in the unit, six of them, including Pinell, were put on trial for murder and conspiracy. They were known as The San Quentin Six. Three of them were acquitted of all charges, and three were found guilty of various charges. Pinell was convicted of assault on a guard. Although Pinell was convicted of assault, and another of the San Quentin Six had a murder conviction, only Pinell remains imprisoned.

In the unlikely event that there is a better use of your Tuesday night, but you still want to support the prisoners (or want to send these three a book) you can write to them at:

Romaine Fitzgerald* #B27527
Kern Valley State Prison
Post Office Box 5101
Delano, California 93216
*Address card to Chip

Ruchell Magee* #A92051
California State Prison – Los Angeles County
Post Office Box 8457
Lancaster, California 93539-8457
*Address card to Cinque

Hugo Pinell* #A88401
California State Prison – Sacramento
Post Office Box 290066
Represa, California 95671
*Address card to Yogi Bear

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