This is an op-ed piece written by Levi Rickert in Native News Online about the need to release indigenous political prisoner Leonard Peltier now. For more information, see his website at http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info.
Support for our political prisoners does not end at the prison gate. Little Feather could use our support right now. Please donate to his fundraiser! Little Feather is a former political prisoner who served a 36 month federal prison term pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement. He is one of several water protectors federally sentenced in relation to the NoDAPL movement at Standing Rock.
There are still political prisoners from the NoDAPL protests at Standing Rock imprisoned. See https://www.nodaplpoliticalprisoners.org for info on Water Protectors Red Fawn Fallis and Rattler.
22 dead prisoners & 1 dead staff
540 COVD positive prisoners & 323 COVD positive staff at 45 prisons and 15 halfway houses and this is what colossal asshole Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal had to say.
The list of politcial prisoners in the federal prison system include: Mutulu Shakur, Veronza Bowers, Sundiata Acoli, Jamil Al-Amin, Kojo Sabubu, Bill Dunne, Eric King, Jeremy Hammond, Marius Mason, Joshua Stafford, Doug Wright, Byron Chubbuck, Leonard Peltier, Red Fawn Fallis, Rattler, Joe Dibbee, Jaan Laaman.
Read about these people on our prisoner page.
There is a lot of news to read and much of it focuses on the COVD-19 pandemic. We just want to remind everyone not to forget about political prisoners during this time. Some of them are at prisons that have active COVD-19 deaths but all are dealing with lockdowns, loss of visits and restricted access to commissary. Add to that, a whole lot of stress and uncertainity and you can see the need for us to reach out and check in with them.
We recommend checking out our Political Prisoner list or for a graphical display, check out the NYC ABC Illustrated Guide to Political Prisoners which is updated monthly. Please do not forget about political prisoners during the pandemic or ever!
Two political prisoners are currently at Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facilities in which there are people with COVD infections.
Veronza Bowers is at FCI Butner II which is right next door to FCI Butner I where there are 45 prisoners and 25 staff positive. 4 people at FCI Butner have died this past week.
Marius Mason is at FCI Danbury where there are currently 37 prisoners and 32 staff members who are COVD positive.
Please shoot both of them a letter and check in with them.
Call for Art and Article Submissions: A Generation of Support Through the Bars – the 20th edition of the Certain Days calendar|
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective will be releasing our 20th calendar this coming autumn. The 2021 theme is “A Generation of Support Through the Bars,” reflecting on the roles of political prisoners in social justice movements, historically, currently, and as we look to the future.
We are looking for 12 pieces of art and 12 short essays to feature in the calendar, which hangs in more than 6,000 homes, workplaces, prison cells, and community spaces around the world. We encourage contributors to submit both new and existing work. We especially seek submissions from people in prison, so please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.
Deadline: Sunday, May 17, 2020
When the first Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar went to print over two decades ago, the list of political prisoners and prisoners of war numbered over 100. That number has diminished considerably in the last 20 years, sometimes as a result of successful campaigns and strong outside support, but all too often due to attrition. Medical neglect combined with years of confinement has meant that too many political prisoners have joined the ancestors before we were able to free them.
The Certain Days project was intergenerational when it began: the inside members and almost all of the prisoners featured were involved in the freedom struggles of the 1960s and 70s. The outside collective were in our twenties when the project began, eager to learn from our elders and to provide concrete solidarity across prison walls. Now, 20 years later, the world has changed but the need for solidarity remains as strong as ever. As new movements have risen up to confront forces of repression, we have seen an increase in political prisoners from Indigenous struggles and Earth and Animal liberation movements, to anarchists, anti-fascists, Grand Jury resistors and hacktivists.
While we have covered many themes connecting political prisoner solidarity work over the last two decades, for this 20th anniversary issue we wanted to focus our attention on the core reason for the calendar’s existence: the ongoing place of political prisoners in social justice and revolutionary movements.
*Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:
- The role of longtime political prisoners in ongoing struggles for liberation, whether as inspiration, mentors, and/or as active participants.
- How do we provide meaningful support to prisoners? How has this role changed over time, and what does it mean to support activists who are now at risk for involvement in ongoing movements?
- The relationship between political prisoner solidarity and the broader movement for prison abolition.
- Our understanding of political prisoners/prisoners of war, and how this has evolved over time.
- How can we bring the voices of political prisoners into our everyday lives and organizing efforts?
- Political prisoners are often involved in raising the consciousness of fellow prisoners, as well as prison organizing and legal support. How has this role changed in the face of escalating state repression?
• 500 words max. If you submit a longer piece, we will have to edit for length.
• Poetry is also welcome but needs to be significantly shorter than 500 words to accommodate layout.
• Please include a suggested title.
Due to time and space limitations, submissions may be lightly edited for clarity, with no change to the original intent.
1. The calendar is 11” tall by 8.5” wide, so art with a ‘portrait’ orientation is preferred. Some pieces may be printed with a border, so it need not fit those dimensions exactly.
2. We are interested in a diversity of media (paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, computer-designed graphics, collage, etc).
3. The calendar is printed in colour and we prefer colour images.
1. Send your submissions by Sunday, May 17, 2020 to info @ certaindays.org.
2. ARTISTS: You can send a low-res file as a submission, but if your piece is chosen, we will need a high-res version of it for print (600 dpi).
3. You may send as many submissions as you like. Chosen artists and authors will receive a free copy of the calendar and promotional postcards. Because the calendar is a fundraiser, we cannot offer money to contributors.
Prisoner submissions are due Sunday, June 7, 2020 and can be mailed to:
Certain Days c/o Burning Books
420 Connecticut Street
Buffalo, NY 14213
Certain Days c/o QPIRG Concordia
1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
ABOUT THE CALENDAR
The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar is a joint fundraising and educational project between outside organizers in Montreal, Hamilton, New York, and Baltimore, with two political prisoners being held in maximum-security prisons: David Gilbert in New York and Xinachtli (s/n Alvaro Luna Hernandez) in Texas. We were happy to welcome founding members Herman Bell and Robert Seth Hayes (Rest in Power) home from prison in 2018, after serving over forty years each. All of the current members of the outside collective are grounded in day-to-day organizing work other than the calendar, on issues ranging from migrant justice to community media to prisoner solidarity. We work from an anti-imperialist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist, feminist, queer- and trans-liberationist position.
Sample Script for Phone and Email
Director of Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer:
Call/Text (copy and paste script via text): (917) 913-2253
DOC Commissioner Cythnia Brann
Call: (718) 546-0890
Fax: (718) 278-6022
Dear [Commissioner Brann/Elizabeth Glazer]:
I am [calling/emailing] to draw your attention to the case of David Campbell, who is currently incarcerated on Rikers Island, has been authorized to be released by DA Vance’s office in multiple statements to journalists, but inexplicably remains detained. I implore you to use the unique powers of your office to see that he is released as soon as possible. Not only has he been a model inmate and a beloved fixture of the NYC activist community, but he is also an experienced funeral director who has served low income communities in Brooklyn for years. This skillset is unfortunately in critically high demand during this pandemic, and his former colleagues have called for his release ASAP.
As the pandemic spreads, incarcerated folks are testing positive at a horrifying rate. Detained folks and CO’s have already died. Please do the right thing. Follow the DA’s guidance in releasing David Campbell, and heed the numerous public calls to release all those detained in DOC custody immediately. This is not only the most ethical course of action, but it is also the most rational: each day folks remain in DOC custody, the worse this pandemic becomes for everyone in New York.
[ include address and contact info if you are comfortable but it is not required]
NYC ABCF have been compiling, publishing and distributing an updates and announcements packet since 2011. These packets are chock-full of articles by and about political prisoners as well as events, both in NYC and beyond. Download the latest one for April 7th here. This is what they say about these valuable updates:
One part of our every-other-week Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinners is presenting updates and announcements. These typically relate to PPs, POWs, or are especially relevant to folks in NYC. Since February 2011, we’ve been printing and mailing hard copies of the updates and announcements to about a dozen imprisoned comrades. In April 2013, along with Denver Anarchist Black Cross and Sacramento Prisoner Support, we expanded printing and mailing to include all U.S. held political prisoners and prisoners of war.
On this page you will find an archive of what we’ve compiled since mid-March 2011. Please download and mail the current edition to prisoners with whom you correspond and share links with those who might be interested in doing the same.
Dear Friends, Supporters, and Family,
In light of the provisions of the CARES Act meant to decrease the risk to prisoner heath, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Attorney General has delegated to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons the authority to release certain vulnerable prisoners to home confinement. Currently, the process for identifying appropriate candidates for home confinement have not been solidified but we believe it may help to write to the BOP Director and Southeast Regional Director and ask that Leonard be immediately considered and transitioned to his home on the Turtle Mountain Reservation.
Your letters should be addressed to:
320 First Street NW
Washington, DC 20534
Southeast Regional Director
Federal Bureau of
3800 Camp Crk Prk SW, Building 2000
Atlanta, GA 30331
We have not drafted a form letter or correspondence. Your pleas should come from your heart as an individual who has supported Leonard for so many years. Say what you would like but we have put together some talking points that will assist you in your letter writing. Below are some helpful guidelines so your letter touches on the requirements of the Attorney General’s criteria for releasing inmates like Leonard to home confinement
• Point out that Leonard is an elder and is at risk for example.” Mr. Peltier is 75 years old and in very poor health; his only desire is to go home to the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation and live out the remainder of his years surrounded by his family.”
The AG and CDC guidelines for releasing inmates requires the health concerns cause greater risk of getting the virus. Leonard has the following conditions you can list in your letter:
• Spots on lung
• Heart Condition (has had triple by-pass surgery)
• Leonard Peltier suffers from a kidney disease that cannot be treated at the Coleman1facility and impacts as an underlying condition if contracting the virus.
RISK TO COMMUNITY
To qualify for release to home confinement we must show that Leonard poses no risk to the community.
COMMUNITY SUPPORT/RENTRY PLAN
To qualify for release to home confinement we must show that Leonard has a reentry plan. Leonard has support from the Turtle Mountain Chippewa Band and has family land on the reservation where he can live.
RISK OF COVID 19
To qualify for the release to home confinement must show that Leonard is at reduced risk to exposure of COVID 19 by release than he is at Coleman 1. Currently Rolette County, ND has no cases of COVID 19, Sumter County has at least 33 cases.Questions and comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org