Running Down the Walls (RDTW) 2015 was a success in building relationships, feeling the solidarity of running as our imprisoned comrades did the same, and raising funds for the ABCF Warchest and Family and Friends of Maliki Shakur Latine (Maliki is a New York state held political prisoner whose support crew is currently raising funds for his parole campaign). We arrived early, to avoid getting beaten to a sweet spot in Prospect Park (Brooklyn), which gave us time to set up our hand-painted RDTW banner, tables of literature and food, and mark turns along the route of the run. The route is commonly known as “The Inner Loop” by local runners and two laps around equals almost exactly 3.1 miles, or 5 kilometers.
Given that this was also a picnic– outdoors, breezy, and mildly unpredictable, we set up a scaled down version of our literature table. This meant our ubiquitous red wire rack of free literature, including copies of the recently published Battle Tested, After Prison, the NYC ABC Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoner and Prisoners of War, and all of the tri-fold pamphlets about many of the prisoners we support. We also sold our ASL All Cops Are Bastards (ACAB) t-shirts.
We had printed bib numbers for the participants. The flipside of the bib numbers had information about NYC ABC and guidelines for writing to prisoners, making it both a memento and a useful reminder to write to folks.
A few serious runners arrived as early as 1:30pm, though the announced time of the event was 2:00-7:00pm and we typically use the first half hour to register folks and take sponsor forms from those who hustled to get sponsors. Even with this schedule in mind, anarchist time prevailed and the run actually started closer to 2:45, following a group photo around the RDTW banner.
Before the run, an NYC ABC collective member went over some basics, while also kicking facts about political prisoners and state repression. We then played a greeting from Jaan Laaman, recorded specifically for the event. Jaan recommended we dedicate RDTW 2015 to the memory of our fallen comrade Hugo “Yogi Bear” Pinell. As a special treat, Dequi Kioni-Sadiki started the race with the drop of a red bandana.
At this point, it’s impossible to write about the event without mentioning that squarely in the middle of the Inner Loop, our run path, sat the inaugural installation of a foodie event that shall not be named. Our participants had to run through a sea of yuppies, starving for local micro-butchery, artisanal ice cubes, and whatever other contrived bullshit passes for authenticity to the ruling class. On the upside, this drove a lot of folks to our literature table and put us in the position to talk to individuals who would likely never otherwise approach us. Of course anarchists won’t be happy until the last capitalist is hung with the guts of the last bacon-infused mustache wax-wearing yuccie, but until then it was good practice to talk to strangers about our political prisoners. A fair number of park guests stopped at the table to get information about the prisoners, Running Down the Walls, and NYC ABC.
Of the 60-70 folks who came to RDTW 2015, about 45 participated in the 5k. The age range was 3-71 years old. Hashtag multi-generational. Several runners were serious, several were fast, and the venn diagram of those two categories resulted in the same person running the fastest laps this year as last.
After running, bronchial passages fully dilated, through clouds of meat smoke and whatever cologne investment bankers wear, what sounds better than a plate of barbecue and potato salad? Chorizo tofu empanadas? You’re right.
The picnic consisted of Texas style barbecued jackfruit sandwiches with fresh pickles; potato salad; pasta salad; empanadas; chocolate-coconut cream layer cake; and plum-peach lemon almond polenta cake. Yes, a lot of folks came just for the food.
Before we got too deep into socializing, we read a statement written for the event by Maliki Shakur Latine, and then gave prizes. Oh yeah, RDTW had prizes this year. Friends from AK Press and Combustion Books donated prizes that were given for the three folks who raised the most money in sponsorships as well as for the person who made the single largest donation at the event. We also had a laser cut acrylic “ACAB” plaque for the runner who completed the 5k in the least amount of time.
One participant garnered over $1,300 in sponsors, and several others raised hundreds of dollars each. All told, between the event and what was sold through our table, we raised a respectable amount of loot.
Folks sitting around, talking, having just shared the run, felt good. The group consisted of folks from diverse backgrounds, many of whom were new faces to our collective. Twitter followers brought IRL friends and comrades & allies turned up as well. South Brooklyn ABCF, Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP), NYC Jericho Movement, International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, Family and Friends of Maliki Shakur Latine, the campaign the Bring Mumia Home, Marius Mason’s support crew, and the campaign the Free the MOVE 9 prisoners were among the represented organizations that explicitly work on political prisoner support. We were also thankful for the presence of Sekou Odinga, former political prisoner and consistent example of solidarity through action.
Most folks had left by 6:30 and those who stayed did so to help clean up and transfer everything to the cars. So the event went as scheduled, almost to the minute.
Knowing the history of the run and the imprisoned comrades with whom we ran in solidarity elevated Running Down the Walls 2015 to an even more inspiring level.
And that’s how we get down (the walls).
WHAT: Film Screening
WHEN: 7:00pm, Saturday, September 12th
WHERE: Bluestockings – 172 Allen Street New York, New York 10002
To honor Leonard Peltier’s 71st birthday, with the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and NYC Jericho Movement, NYC ABC is co-sponsoring a free screening of Warrior: The Life Of Leonard Peltier. Although not a new film, Warrior covers the story of Leonard Peltier, an innocent man locked away for life in the U.S. prison system. Leonard is a Native American political prisoner, convicted of a crime that he did not commit during a bloody shootout on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975. Around the world his trial and conviction have been denounced as a sham. Please join us and sign a birthday card to Leonard and a letter to President Obama asking that he grant executive clemency to Leonard.
The hard-to-face fact is we have a generation of imprisoned comrades who are dealing with the health crises that come with aging. Beyond the indignity of being caged for struggling against oppression, they must now also contend with a wholly incompetent (when not willfully neglectful) medical system. A case in point is New York State political prisoner Abdullah Majid.
From the Jericho Movement:
Abdullah (Abdul) Majid is in need of our help. Months ago we reported that he was experiencing excruciating pain from an attack of sciatica. He was scheduled to have back surgery in October of 2013, and was instructed to stop taking the ibuprofen he was using to alleviate some of the pain. During this time, the only remedy provided has been a cane that was too short given to him by the prison doctor, making it difficult for him to walk or lean on.
When the surgery was first postponed, Majid was told it was because he needed to have some pre-op medical tests. Those tests were performed, and he has seen a cardiologist and the doctor who is to perform the surgery. As the days and months go by, his 90 year old mother, Mrs. LaBorde, becomes more and more anxious and frustrated by the Department of Correction’s (DOCCS) lack of response to her concerns.
We ask you to contact DOCCS and Governor Andrew Cuomo to express your concerns about the continued negligence and disregard for Abdul Majid’s health and medical well-being and to demand that the surgery take place. Please be sure to give his name and DIN #: Abdullah Majid, DIN # 83-A-0483 when you call or write.
Dr. Carl J. Koenigsmann, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Medical Officer
DOCCS Division of Health Services
Harriman State Campus–Building #2
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
New York State Capitol Building
Albany, New York 12224
Over the past few months, our comrade Jalil Muntaqim has both had his parole (again) denied and suffered a minor stroke. Though the parole denial is being appealed, allowing him to languish any longer behind bars is reprehensible. Please join us in a phone campaign to get Jalil free.
Jalil had a minor stroke in February. (He did not know that he had suffered a stroke, but had a tingling sensation in his left arm.) The first doctor he saw at Attica wanted to immediately send him to the hospital, but the head doctor, Dr. Rho, said that they first needed to get permission from Albany to take Jalil to the hospital.
So, finally, on Monday, April 8, 2013, Jalil was shackled and had the black box put on and was taken to ECMC in Buffalo, where he had a CAT scan. This all occurred in the morning, and he was back at Attica by about 10:30 a.m.
The neurologist who reviewed the CAT scan called Attica and requested that Jalil be admitted to the hospital. The CAT scan revealed that Jalil has damage to his upper right cerebral hemisphere. Shortly thereafter, an ambulance arrived. However, the escort team from Albany had already left.
Dr. Rho once again intervened, and said that the outside neurologist had told him that, since Jalil had no symptoms, he could be treated on an outpatient basis, once again requiring permission from Albany. Jalil is not sure that Dr. Rho is telling the truth about this. He thinks they are deliberately denying him adequate medical care.
At this time, Jalil has an Administrative Appeal pending in regards to his last parole denial. The Parole Board has until August 9, 2013 to make a decision.
Jalil is asking people to call the NYS Division of Parole in Albany at 518.473.9400 to urge the Parole Board to reverse its denial and immediately release him. We can also ask for compassionate release, since he is being denied adequate medical care.
When you call the parole board, you must refer to Jalil as Anthony Bottom #77-A-4283, currently at Attica Correctional Facility. Be polite, but firm and let us know what kind of response you receive.
If you are a doctor or work in the medical profession, we encourage you to write to Commissioner Brian Fischer at:
NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
1220 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12226-2050
Please request that Jalil get the medical attention he needs in order to adequately recover from the stroke.
Also, please cc NYC Jericho Movement Post Office Box 574, New York, New York 10018
Running Down the Walls 2011 in NYC went amazingly well. The bird of good omen flew overhead as we arrived at Prospect Park and found parking in the slot closest to the entrance. Those who have tried to park in any of the five boroughs know what that means. We took to transferring everything from the car to the start/finish/picnic spot, while one of us walked and marked the run’s route. The route is commonly known as “The Inner Loop” by local runners and two laps around equals almost exactly 3.1 miles, or 5 kilometers.
Given that this was also a picnic– outdoors, breezy, and mildly unpredictable, we set up a scaled down version of our literature table. This meant selling only buttons and water-bottles and copies of “Fire to the Prisons” magazine, which were donated to us as a fundraiser. Free literature included tri-folds about the New York State political prisoners and prisoners of war; a palm card that addresses the existence of political prisoners and prisoners of war in the United States on one side and information about NYC ABC as well as a list of our Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner dates for the remainder of the year on the other side; and sign-up/sponsor sheets for the event.
We also had printed number plates for the participants. The flipside of the plates had information about NYC ABC and guidelines for writing to prisoners, making it both a memento and a useful reminder to write to folks.
Participants started arriving about 1:50 and it was clear that they were excited about Running Down the Walls and serious about their sponsorships and running.
We planned on having registration from 2:00-2:30, with a race start at 2:30. However, after a few comrades called to let us know they were on their way, we decided to wait. And while some showed up as much as an hour later and ran or walked the course, folks were stretched, warmed up, and ready to run down some damned walls! That those who showed up really late didn’t just kick down money, but also wanted to do the damned thing is a testament to the power of the event.
One NYC ABC collective member had been talking all this shit about winning last year and to expect the same for 2011. Unfortunately for that comrade, some folks brought serious running to the table. One of the participants actually got their college paid for on a track scholarship! So as a note to those looking to run down the walls in New York City– you better start training, because you WILL have real competition. A lot of folks had specialized road running shoes and a few had running shorts. And that gear was worn in and not for show.
By about 2:40, late-comers showed up and the run was on. Having the run consist of two laps gave folks an idea of the course, so they could strategize their second lap after finishing the first. The person who first crossed the finish line did so in under twenty minutes. It was the person who went to college on a track scholarship and hadn’t trained in years. The next person, maybe a minute or less off the lead, was from NYC ABC. For someone who hasn’t trained for a run since last year’s Running Down the Walls, that’s pretty impressive. Second place is FIRST runner-up, right? We’re all winners, it’s just for fun, this wasn’t a competition, et cetera– whatever it takes to make a comrade feel better, right?
The turnout was strong, with between twenty-five and thirty folks participating throughout the day and plenty of others who came to show their support. A fair number of park guests stopped at the table to get information about the prisoners, Running Down the Walls, and NYC ABC. A few runners garnered over $100 each in sponsors, and several others raised almost as much. All told, between the event and what was sold through our table, we raised a respectable amount of loot. Half of the funds will go the the ABCF Warchest Program, the remainder to the Safe OUTside the System Collective (SOS is an anti-violence program led by and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non Conforming people of color. They are devoted to challenging hate and police violence by using community based strategies rather than relying on the police.)
After folks cooled down and had group photos taken by Dequi (recently married to Sekou Odinga), we ate. It’s a good thing Rolling Down the Walls 2011 wasn’t a competition in regards to either the run (though the first five or eight runners certainly treated it as such) or the food. Hurt feelings are certain if anyone tried to compete with one collective member’s vegan pulled pork sandwiches. With thinly-sliced white onion and tomato on a bun…holy shit. We had sweet tea, lemonade, root beer, and ice cold water to keep us hydrated.
Folks sitting around, talking, having just shared the run, felt good. The group consisted of folks from diverse backgrounds, many of whom were new faces to our collective. Facebook friends brought IRL friends and comrades & allies turned up as well. South Brooklyn ABCF, Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan, NYC Jericho Movement, Leonard Peltier Defense/Offense Committee, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, and the Sekou Odinga Defense Committee were among the represented organizations that explicitly work on political prisoner support.
Most folks had left by 6:30 and those who stayed did so to help clean up and transfer everything to the car. So the event went as scheduled, almost to the minute.
Knowing the history of the run and the imprisoned comrades with whom we ran in solidarity elevated Running Down the Walls 2011 to an even more inspiring level.
And that’s how we get down (the walls).