The International Coalition to Free the Angola Three is presenting a free public forum and film screening entitled "The Outer Limits of Solitary Confinement," at UC Hastings College of the Law, Louis B. Mayer Lounge, 198 McAllister Street, San Francisco, on Friday, April 6, 2012, from 6pm - 8pm, and co-hosted by the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal and the Hastings chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. We stand in solidarity with the courageous prisoners that recently initiated hunger strikes throughout California prisons, and we'll examine how the case of the Angola 3 is part of a much larger problem throughout US prisons.
The Outer Limits of Solitary Confinement:
A Public Forum to Support the California Prisoner Hunger Strike
Friday, April 6, 2012, 6pm - 8pm
UC Hastings College of the Law
Louis B. Mayer Lounge
198 McAllister Street
(San Francisco) --This
free San Francisco event organized by the International Coalition to Free the
Angola 3 will mark 40 years of solitary confinement for Herman Wallace and
Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3, by exploring the expansion and overuse of
solitary confinement, and mobilizing support for the Amnesty International
Petition to remove them from solitary confinement and support for the California
Hunger Strikers. Includes Keynote with Angola 3's Robert H. King, 2 films and
The International Coalition to Free the Angola Three is
presenting a free public forum and film screening entitled "The Outer Limits of
Solitary Confinement," at UC Hastings College of the Law, Louis B. Mayer Lounge, 198 McAllister Street, San
Francisco, on Friday, April 6, 2012, from 6pm - 8pm,
and co-hosted by the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal and the
Hastings chapter of the National Lawyers Guild.
The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3 stands in
solidarity with the courageous prisoners that recently initiated hunger strikes
throughout California prisons.
The event will examine how the torture and wrongful convictions of the Angola 3
are part of a much larger problem throughout US prisons. With presentations
from several speakers involved with supporting the hunger strikers, the
audience will be presented with many ways in which they too can lend their
support in the fight against solitary confinement and other forms of torture in
The keynote speaker will be Robert H. King, of the Angola 3,
who was released in 2001 when his conviction was overturned, after 29 years of continuous
solitary confinement. King says today that "being in prison, in solitary was
terrible. It was a nightmare. My soul still cries from all that I witnessed and
endured. It does more than cry- it
Since his release, Robert H. King has worked tirelessly to
support the other two members of the Angola 3, Herman Wallace and Albert
Woodfox, who have been in solitary confinement since April 17, 1972. This
coming April 17, which marks the 40th anniversary of their solitary
confinement, King will be joined by Amnesty International and other supporters
at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge to present Amnesty
International's petition to Governor Bobby Jindal demanding that Wallace and
Woodfox be immediately released from solitary confinement. Read more about
Amnesty International's Angola 3 campaign, here.
At the UC Hastings event, King will talk about the Amnesty
International petition demanding transfer from solitary and the broader
struggle to release Wallace and Woodfox from prison altogether. Interviewed in
a recent video by Amnesty International,
King says about Wallace and Woodfox: "All evidence shows that they were
targeted simply for being members of the Black Panther Party. There is really
no evidence, forensic, physical, or otherwise, linking them to the crime. When
I think about the ten years in which I've had time to be out here, that is ten
more years that they are there."
In their investigative report,
Amnesty International similarly concluded that "no physical evidence links Woodfox
and Wallace to the murder." Even further: "potentially favorable DNA evidence
was lost. The convictions were based on questionable inmate testimony"it seems
prison officials bribed the main eyewitness into giving statements against the
men. Even the widow of the prison guard
has expressed skepticism, saying in 2008, "If they did not do this -- and I
believe that they didn't -- they have been living a nightmare for 36 years!'"
(Photo of the Angola 3. From left to right: Herman Wallace, Robert H. King, and Albert Woodfox.)
Additional speakers will include:
-Hans Bennett, Independent journalist and co-founder
of Journalists for Mumia
-Terry Kupers, Institute Professor at The Wright
Institute in Berkeley, California
-Manuel La Fontaine, Northern California Regional
Organizer for All of Us or None
-Aaron Mirmalek, Leonard Peltier Defense Offense
-Kiilu Nyasha, Independent journalist and former member
of the Black Panther Party
-Tahtanerriah Sessoms-Howell, Youth Organizer for
All of Us Or None
Luis "Bato" Talamantez, California Prison Focus
and one of the San Quentin 6
Azadeh Zohrabi, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Hastings
Race and Poverty Law Journal
And more (Full speaker bios below).
In addition, two short films will be featured: The Gray Box: A Multimedia Investigation,
by Susan Greene, The Dart Society, and Cruel
and Unusual Punishment, by Claire Schoen, for the AFSC Stopmax Campaign.
Event notes: Hastings is on the corner of Hyde and
McAllister, two blocks from the Civic Center BART station. The Hyde Street side
entrance is wheelchair accessible. Refreshments will be served and signed books
will be for sale. This event is free and open to the public. Donations for
prisoner support will be gratefully accepted.
On April 17, 1972, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox of the
Angola 3 were placed in solitary confinement at Angola Prison in Louisiana.
Wallace and Woodfox were subsequently railroaded and convicted for the murder
of a prison guard, and remain in solitary to this day. They were framed
COINTELPRO-style, in retaliation for co-founding a Black Panther chapter at
Angola that initiated multiracial work and hunger strikes.
Currently held inside California's notorious Pelican Bay
State Prison, Hugo "Yogi Bear" Pinell, of the San Quentin Six, has now been in
continuous solitary for at least 42 years.
A participant in the recent statewide prisoner hunger strike, Pinell was
a close comrade of Black Panther and prison author, George Jackson. Having been
continually denied parole despite a clean record for the last 27 years, Pinell
is, in the words of the Angola 3's own Robert H. King, "a clear example of a
political prisoner." His next parole hearing is scheduled for this May.
The stories of the Angola 3 and Hugo Pinell are the most
extreme examples of a widespread human rights crisis in US prisons, where
prolonged solitary confinement has become routine. According to www.solitarywatch.com, there are "at
least 75,000 and perhaps more than 100,000 prisoners in solitary confinement on
any given day" in the US.
On March 20, several human rights organizations jointly
filed a petition to the United Nations Group on Arbitrary Detention, the United
Nations Human Rights Council, and United Nations General Assembly on behalf of
prisoners throughout California's Security Housing Units (SHU) and
Administrative Segregation Units (ASU).
The petition calls for UN action against California's prison
administration and deplores the conditions of thousands of California prisoners,
"being detained in isolated segregated units for indefinite periods or
determinate periods of many years solely because they have been identified as
members of gangs or found to have associated with a gang."
The petition states further that "as a result of the
policies and practices that leave California with the largest population of
prisoners in isolated segregation anywhere in the world, these prisoners suffer
extreme mental and physical harm, including mental breakdowns, extreme
depression, suicidal ideation, and breaks with reality, such that their
treatment may be considered torture or degrading treatment illegal under
well-established international norms and obligations of the United States and
the State of California under, inter alia, the United Nations Convention
Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
("CAT') and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Fueled by the racist "War On Drugs," and the broader
criminalization of poverty, the US prison population has exploded from less
than 300,000 prisoners in 1970 to over 2.4 million today. This 40-year policy
of mass incarceration has turned the US into literally the world's #1jailer--with the world's highest incarceration rate and total number of
prisoners. Feb. 20 "Occupy San Quentin" protest. Photo by Alex Darocy, Indybay.org
We declare that this human rights atrocity known as the
"criminal justice system" has now reached its outer limits. This cannot
continue! It is becoming increasingly clear to the public that prolonged
solitary confinement is nothing other than state torture.
The recent collaboration of prison activists and Occupy Wall
Street, Occupy 4 Prisoners,
marks a renewed linking of economic justice activism to a critique of mass
incarceration and the criminalization of poverty. As Robert H. King said in his
message to Occupy 4 Prisoners, "the same people who make the laws that favor
the bankers, make the laws that fill our prisons and detention centers. We have
to continue to make the connection between Wall St. and the prison industrial
complex." The upcoming "Occupy the Justice Department" action in Washington DC
on April 24
is calling for the release of Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners.
The strength of the 99% is in our numbers. Our only hope is
to unite against the 1%. A newly-formed multiracial coalition of hunger
strikers throughout California's prisons (most recently at Corcoran State) has
demanded an end to prolonged solitary confinement and many other inhumane
policies. These freedom fighters are on the frontlines of the struggle and they
badly need our support. Our event is being held to give voice to their struggle
and to present the audience with opportunities to show their support.
HANS BENNETT-- A prison abolitionist, independent
multi-media journalist and co-founder of Journalists for Mumia Abu-Jamal (www.abu-jamal-news.com), Bennett has
written for several publications including Alternet, Truthout, Z Magazine,
Black Commentator, ColorLines, Poor Magazine, SF Bay View Newspaper, Slingshot
TERRY KUPERS-- An Institute Professor at The Wright
Institute in Berkeley, CA. Dr. Kupers' forensic psychiatry experience includes
testimony in several large class action litigations concerning jail and prison
conditions, sexual abuse, and the quality of mental health services inside
correctional facilities. He is a consultant to Human Rights Watch, and author
of the 1999 book entitled Prison Madness:
The Mental Health Crisis Behind Bars and What We Must Do About It.
MANUEL LA FONTAINE-- The Northern California Regional
Organizer, All of Us or None.
As a former street organizer (also known as a gang member), a
formerly-incarcerated person, and a college graduate, Manuel brings street
savvy, along with scholastic aptitude, and incorporates them into his work life
to better assist those without voices.
AARON MIRMALEK-- The founder of the Oakland chapter of the Leonard Peltier DefenseOffense Committee, started in honor of his cousin Leonard Peltier. Born
in Oakland, he is a longtime community organizer. In 2010, Aaron was the
Executive Producer of "Free Leonard Peltier: Hip Hop's Contribution to the
Freedom Campaign." In 2011, he was the Executive Producer and Co-Host of
"Free Peltier Free Em All!" DVD with Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. For
more information: www.FreeLeonardAlbum.com.
KIILU NYASHA-- A San Francisco-based journalist and former
member of the Black Panther Party. Through the end of 2009, Kiilu hosted a
weekly TV program, "Freedom Is A Constant Struggle," on SF Live. She
writes for many publications, including the SF Bay View Newspaper and Black
Commentator. Also an accomplished radio programmer, she has worked for KPFA
(Berkeley), SF Liberation Radio, Free Radio Berkeley, and KPOO in SF. Her website
TAHTANERRIAH SESSOMS-HOWELL-- Youth Organizer, All of Us Or
None. Sessoms-Howell is a native of Berkeley, California. When she was arrested at the age of 15 she got
her first glimpse into the cruel world of "rehabilitation." While in jail and on probation, Sessoms-Howell
found out very fast that there is no such thing as a fair justice system. She
now works to inform the youth of their rights and keep connections between
youth and their elders strong. As Youth Organizer for AOUON, her job is to
help, by any means, ensure the safety and rights of future generations to come.
LUIS "BATO" TALAMANTEZ--One of the San Quentin 6, Talamantez
also works with California Prison Focus, and is a long time Bay Area activist
AZADEH ZOHRABI-- Co-Editor-in-Chief of the UC Hastings Race
and Poverty Law Journal , Zohrabi is a third year law
student at UC Hastings. Her family's experience with incarceration is what
motivated her to become an attorney and an advocate for people in prison. Most
recently, she has worked to advocate on behalf of prisoners in the Security
Housing Units as a member of the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition
and the mediation team for the prisoners.
View/Download April 6 Event Flyer Below:
MORE SF BAY AREA
EVENTS WITH ROBERT H. KING:
--Let Us Not Forget: Honor Fallen Comrades and Political
Prisoners, Saturday, April 7, 1:00pm, West Oakland Library, 1801 Adeline Street. For more
information: www.itsabouttimebpp.com, (916) 455-0908.
--Oakland International Film Festival, Sunday, April 8,
3:00pm, Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak Street, at 10th Street. King will be speaking
in conjunction with a screening of the new British documentary about the Angola
3, entitled "In The Land of the Free"" For more information: www.oiff.org.
Over 40 years ago in Louisiana, 3 young black men were silenced for trying to expose continued segregation, systematic corruption, and horrific abuse in the biggest prison in the US, an 18,000-acre former slave plantation called Angola. In 1972 and (more...)
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