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Running Down the Walls 2022: A Reportback

Running Down the Walls 2022 felt like a homecoming. Those of us in NYC ABC got to catch up with long-time comrades and meet new folks, many of whom have taken on amazing projects. We shared food, heard statements from some of the political prisoners taking part from behind the walls, and raised much-needed funds for the Anarchist Black Cross Federation Warchest Program and Roots Unbound. But that’s not why you’re reading this, right? You’re more interested in the tedium of logistics. How the day came together. What protocols we adhered to for safety under the reality of an ongoing global plague. Right? RIGHT?!? No? Well, we get it. Organizing is rarely glamorous, and the hard work of supporting political prisoners is not romantic–in more cases than not, we don’t “win.” We have aging comrades dying behind these walls and it’s not benign neglect by the state, but rather the continuation of a war against oppressed folks they picked centuries ago. We see folks targeted for resistance to capitalism and the logic of “resource extraction,” whether the resources they plunder are the earth and everything living on it, or the labor we’re forced to sell just to survive.

It would be easy to see the escalating repression, throw our hands up, and walk away. But where does that leave those with whom we share affinity and are either locked up, or facing it as a likely reality? Nowhere good, that’s for certain. So we keep it moving, figuratively and literally. Which brings us back to this report back.

The day started like many other RDTW days, with the juggling of finding parking, locking down the spot we use for gathering before and after the event, and getting set up. We scheduled the event this year to coordinate with others across the country, later i the year than typical, which left us concerned over potential bad weather (READ: hurricane season). But the nefarious cabal of weather controllers couldn’t hold down the popular will to enjoy a day in the park, so we enjoyed great weather. Once set up and ready, we waited for folks to arrive and arrive they did. Crews and individuals showed up early and we had a big crowd well before the 2:00pm event start time. “Wait, you started on time this year?” you might ask. Well, no. Anarchy time is a strange companion, after all. However, by shortly after 2, we took a group photo and made our way to the starting line. From there, we explained to those who showed up for a 5k with no context (surprisingly there were a few, thanks to promotion on a local runner’s forum), what Running Down the Walls is, who it benefits, and the route of the 5k. And then they were off!

Some took the 5k seriously and asked for their lap time, but most folks showed up for a good time and camaraderie regardless of how they took part in the event. In the end, everyone enjoyed themselves and after eventually cooling down and hydrating, we heard from Roots Unbound and from imprisoned comrades, the latter by way of pre-written statements they wrote for the event. All told, we had over 80 folks show up throughout the day and raised over what we set as this year’s goal. In the middle of all of it, we were able to talk with a lot of passersby, give away a lot of literature, and get the word out about political prisoners in the so-called USA.

That’s what’s up and that’s how we get down (the walls).

BK/NY – Sunday, September 18th, 2022 – Running Down the Walls

WHATRunning Down the Walls – 5k Run/Walk/Jog/Bike/Hang
WHEN: 2:00-7:00pm, Sunday, September 18th, 2022
WHERE: Prospect Park– Lincoln Road/East Lake Drive, east of the Terrace Bridge (see the below map for exact location)
COST: $10 registration, participants encouraged to get sponsors (includes vegan BBQ afterwards, with COVID precautions for serving!) Donate at paypal.me/nycabc venmo.com/nycabc or with the venmo app : @nycabc

NYC Anarchist Black Cross (NYC ABC) is excited to announce Running Down the Walls 2022! After making the difficult decision to not host RDTW in person in 2020, we are looking very forward to gathering as a community. Last year, we had an amazing time and a successful fundraiser. Please stay tuned to our website, sign up for our newsletter, and follow us on twitter (@nycabc) or instagram (also @nycabc) for updates.

Every year, prisoners and supporters of political prisoners organize solidarity events with Running Down the Walls. In previous years, we’ve had runs in Albuquerque (NM), Arcata (CA), Ashland (OR), Bellefonte (PA), Boston (MA), Buffalo (NY), Chico (CA), Denver (CO), Elmore (AL), Inez (KY), Los Angeles (CA), Marion (IL), Minneapolis (MN) New York (NY), USP Navosta (TX), Pelican Bay (CA), Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), Seattle (WA), and Toronto, Ontario. This year we hope to expand the amount of runs in prisons and other cities, as well as increase the amount of funds raised for community projects. NYC ABC‘s goal with this year’s run is $4,500. You can donate online by going to venmo.com/nycabc: @nycabc

This year’s run will take place on Sunday, September 18th, 2022 at 2:00 pm in solidarity and conjunction with runs that will take place in cities and prison yards across the country at the same time. Stay after to enjoy a vegan BBQ, served taking every COVID precaution!

REGISTER AS, OR SPONSOR, A PARTICIPANT

To raise our goal of $4,500 we need your support.

Promote – print and distribute flyers to friends and local businesses, your doctor’s office, laundromat, food co-op, wealthy benefactor, et cetera.

Run/walk/bike/roll in the 5k – We need participants who can run/walk/bike/roll the 5k and are able to collect financial pledges to offer as donations to the run. Download the brochure, complete with registration and sponsor form right here.

Volunteer for the run – We need folks who are willing to promote the run and bike the route as street medics.

Donate online at venmo @nycabc

Donate to the run/sponsor a participant – If you are not able to attend, but want to support this fundraising effort, please mail donations to:
NYC ABC
Post Office Box 110034
Brooklyn, New York 11211

Your donation of $10 or more entitles you to the celebratory picnic after the event.

Each year, we split proceeds between the Anarchist Black Cross Federation’s Warchest Program and a local organization. This year, local funds are going to Roots Unbound (RU).

The Warchest Program:
The Anarchist Black Cross Federation (ABCF) has initiated a program designed to send monthly checks to those Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War who have been receiving insufficient, little, or no financial support during their imprisonment. The Warchest program was initiated in November 1994. Its purpose is to collect monthly funds from groups and individual supporters, and send that money to Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War (PP/POW) via monthly checks. Over the last twenty five years, the ABCF warchest has dispensed almost $200,000 to political prisoners. Currently, there are 17 imprisoned comrades who receive a monthly stipend as part of the program; they are Abdul Azeez, Dan Baker, Ed Poindexter, Eric King, Fidencio Aldama, Hanif Bey, Jamil Al-Amin, Joseph Bowen, Kamau Sadiki, Leonard Peltier, Malik Smith, Mutulu Shakur, Oso Blanco, Ronald Reed, Ruchell Magee, Veronza Bowers, and Xinachtli (FKA Alvaro Luna Hernandez).

For more information, visit: abcf.net/warchest-program

Roots Unbound:
Roots Unbound (RU) is an abolitionist grassroots organization based in Brooklyn offering nature-based programming centered around food justice, therapeutic horticulture, and ecological disinvestment to people in the NYC area with a focus on supporting and uplifting people impacted by the carceral system. Abolition is liberation for all.

For more information, visit: rootsunbound.org

We will be starting here:

rdtw-2018-starting_meetup-point.jpg

From the Q train, get off at the Prospect Park stop. Walk to Lincoln Road and turn right into the park. We’ll be about 700 feet away.

The event will be one lap around what is known as the Main Loop, and will total five kilometers. For the curious, here’s what it looks like:

Main Loop

If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at nycabc at riseup dot net.

See you there!