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Call for Art and Articles – Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar 2022

Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old – the 21st edition of the Certain Days calendar

The Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar collective (certaindays.org) will be releasing our 21st calendar this coming autumn. The 2022 theme is “Creating a New World in the Shell of the Old,” looking at collective approaches at creating a more inclusive and fulfilling world through mutual effort.

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 or jail, so please forward to any prison-based artists and writers.

Deadline:  June 14, 2021

THEME GUIDELINES

The Certain Days project has been intergenerational from the beginning. The inside members and many of the prisoners featured were involved in the freedom struggles of the 1960s and 70s. Most of us in 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, more than two decades later, the world has changed but the need for that connection and support 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.

With COVID-19 and a growing and dangerous fascism vying to destroy the world as we know it, this year we were inspired to focus our attention on mutual aid to build new and stronger communities, and collective efforts to assist and free those freedom fighters locked behind the bars.

*Topics may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • From defense campaigns to prison book programs community bail funds to phone lines, mutual aid has been at the heart of prison support throughout the history of our movements. In what ways has mutual aid benefitted us? In what ways have we failed to engage it effectively?
  • What does mutual aid look like behind the bars? For those incarcerated, power dynamics and violent hierarchies are the norm, and actively confronting them risks very real and harmful repercussions. However, mutual aid has in fact blossomed in such conditions—peer support during pandemics; inside-outside projects like Victory Gardens and Certain Days. What are other ways in which mutual aid is utilized by those locked away?
  • In what ways can mutual aid help us in creating transformative and healing spaces for those returning from prison? What about for those about to go to prison for the first time?
  • What is the future of mutual aid in the ongoing abolitionist struggle against the prison industrial complex?

FORMAT GUIDELINES

ARTICLES:

• 400-500 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 400 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.

ART:

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.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

1. Send your submissions by June 14, 2021 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 July 1, 2021 and can be mailed to:

Certain Days c/o Burning Books
420 Connecticut Street
Buffalo, NY 14213
USA 

OR

Certain Days c/o QPIRG Concordia
1455 de Maisonneuve Ouest
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
Canada

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. All proceeds from the calendar go to abolitionist organizations working for a better world.

Support MOVE organization demands regarding children’s remains from 1985 bombing

This is an absurd situation. From this article by Ed Pilkington

“The bones of Black children who died in 1985 after their home was bombed by Philadelphia police in a confrontation with the Black liberation group which was raising them are being used as a “case study” in an online forensic anthropology course presented by an Ivy League professor.

It has emerged that the physical remains of one, or possibly two, of the children who were killed in the aerial bombing of the Move organization in May 1985 have been guarded over the past 36 years in the anthropological collections of the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton.”

There is a rally planned for April 28th.

Add your voice to the petition to return the remains of the MOVE children.

RSVP to Facebook event.

Veronza Bowers, Jr: 47 Years of Justice Denied

Via The Final Straw Radio

Download the episode

This week, we’re airing a conversation recorded by Eda Levinson on September 12th, 2002, with political prisoner Veronza Bowers, Jr. It originally aired on Youth Speaks Out on KZYX in Modesto County, California, and we re-air this with permission of Veronza and the current producer of the Youth Speaks Out. The show continues to produce youth focused and progressive content available at YouthSpeaksOut.net.

For the hour, you’ll hear former Black Panther Party member Veronza describe to the audience in his own words his upbringing, his experiences of racism, his time in prison, his case, his views on the burgeoning War on Terror, and the situation of political prisoners in the US. You’ll also hear some recordings of Veronza playing the shakuhachi bamboo flute. Veronza was convicted of the death of a US Park Ranger on the word of two prison informants who were paid and received reduced sentences. Veronza continues to claim his innocence and he has been illegally held beyond his mandatory release date of June 21, 2005, based on political pressure by GW Bush appointed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales apparently on behalf of the Association of National Park Rangers, the widow of the dead ranger and the Fraternal Order of Police.

The conversation is very much a product of it’s time, for instance the discussion of the implications of the one year anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Sadly there is a timelessness in their discussion of the brutal war against the people of Afghanistan as well as the continued incarceration of Veronza, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier, alongside many other long term, leftist and liberation political prisoners held by the US government. Currently, the Biden administration is discussing some sort of pull out of US troops from Afghanistan on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in the last year we’ve seen the deaths due to medical neglect and decades of incarceration for political prisoners like Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, deaths right after release like Delbert Africa, and the endangering of aging political prisoners in their 70’s and 80’s who’ve had bouts with covid and cancers inside like Sundiata AcoliDr Mutulu Shakur and Russell “Maroon” Shoatz. Veronza was successfully treated for lymphoma and pneumonia in 2017 and 2018, having hip surgery in 2019 but his death by incarceration only looms a larger possibility day by day.

He is currently being held at FCI Butner in North Carolina and can be written at:

Veronza Bowers, Jr. ##35316-136
FCI Butner Medium II
P.O. Box 1500
Butner, NC 27509

Veronza’s website.

You can learn more about his case as well as see pictures of Veronza and loved ones, read his writings, poetry and interviews at Veronza.Org. Some of this is also available by viewing his page on PrisonerSolidarity.Com and you can read many articles about his situation on the SFBayView.com.

“I need to be around bees” by Eric King

I need to be around bees

catching shade underneath tall trees.

I need to feel their fuzzy feet

walking all over my hands and knees

I need to melt in the Sun

feel it’s rays all day or even just once

I need to make spider friends

listen real close as it’s web spins

I need some woods to get lost in

have thorns and beetles all over my skin

I need a fresh inhale of life

to bask in the full moon’s light

I need some roadside poke or some fresh cantaloupe

I need to just be let be,

nothing is good that isn’t wild and Free.

More via supportericking.org

Philly ABC Letter Writing for Mumia Abu-Jamal- 4.26

Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther and internationally recognized award-winning journalist known as “the voice of the voiceless” for his many years spent writing about racism in Philadelphia, the murder of local MOVE members, people in prison, and more. It is now urgent that we raise our voices for the freedom of Mumia as he faces serious health complications from medical neglect inside prison.

After years of denial of treatment for various chronic health conditions, Mumia had heart pain over last weekend. He was rushed to the hospital, and is expected to undergo heart surgery Monday, April 19, 2021. According to Dr. Ricardo Alvarez, Mumia’s chosen doctor:

There is significant evidence, both legal and medical, that Mumia has suffered severe harm because medical, legal, law enforcement, and judicial professionals have not met proper standards. Mumia has been recently hospitalized for COVID and Congestive Heart Failure and he already suffers from hypertension as well as liver cirrhosis and diabetes, both induced by court documented medical neglect. Freedom is the only treatment.

Watch the full, emergency press conference here.

Due to public pressure, Mumia was able to call his wife last Thursday, but we need to continue the pressure to demand:

  1. Mumia be allowed to call his chosen doctor, Dr. Ricardo Alvarez.
  2. Mumia not be shackled to his hospital bed, as is the rule in Pennsylvania and across the United States.
  3. His immediate release from prison.

Your support with calling and emailing prison authorities today and in the coming weeks is absolutely critical to ensure that Mumia gets the best possible medical care before, during, and after the surgery on Monday.

The it’s ALL OUT FOR MUMIA on April 23-25 – a weekend of action for Mumia’s 67th birthday.

Finally, join us on Monday, April 26th at 6:30pm in Clark Park (stone platform near 45th and Chester) as we gather to write letters of solidarity to Mumia. Move members will provide an update on Mumia’s condition and next steps for the fight to bring him home. If you are unable to make the event, please send him your solidarity at:

Smart Communications/PADOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733

We will also send birthday cards to political prisoners with birthdays in May: Xinachtli (the 12th), Kojo Bomani Sababu (the 27th), and Doug Wright (the 30th).

#FreedomIsTheOnlyTreatment
#FreeMumia
#BringMumiaHome

Steve Martinez is out of jail

On April 12th grand jury resister Steve Martinez was released from the custody of the Federal Government and has returned home to his partner and community, after over 60 days in custody. Early in Steve’s case, those of us engaged in movement defense and providing support to Steve were in direct communication with his attorneys.

However, since the end of February, neither his attorneys nor Steve himself have been at liberty to speak with anyone about Steve’s legal situation or the court proceedings.

Anti-repression efforts are a crucial tool for our movements and communities. The Federal government is hard at work to repress powerful social and political movements that are working towards the liberation of the earth and all of us who inhabit it.
As our movements become more effective or gain power, the government’s tools of repression often become more divisive and cruel. We can look to the hard won lessons of movement elders and ancestors and see this to be true. The Grand Jury is one such divisive and cruel tool

Our power to combat such cruelty is rooted in a deep care for one another and the belief that a more liberatory future is within our collective reach.

We continue to stand in our solidarity with Steve and are working to ensure he can soon share his story with those who have shown their support over the past months of his resistance.  We will share future updates through our social media accounts and on the website.

NYCABC May Day Letter writing for Anarchist Political Prisoners

Read the latest PP/POW Updates and Announcements by NYCABC here.

WHAT: Political Prisoner Letter-Writing Dinner
WHEN: 7pm sharp, Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
WHERE: your home (or wherever you happen to be)
COST: Free

NYC ABC is an anarchist collective that supports political prisoners captured in liberation and anti-oppression struggles from a wide range of political or spiritual traditions. In other words, though we subscribe to anti-authoritarian principles, we don’t only support anarchists behind bars. But the May Day season is one in which we focus on those who struggle for a world without borders or bosses.

So, in remembrance of the Haymarket Martyrs—in whose honor May Day became known as an international workers’ day—we focus this week’s letter-writing on anarchists imprisoned for their beliefs and actions. Instead of getting together to sign and send May Day cards as we have in previous years, this week NYC ABC and Page One Collective are asking folks to to write letters or send books to one or more of the anarchist political prisoners we currently support, including Bill DunneCasey Brezik, and Gage Halupowski.

Unfortunately, anarchist political prisoner Eric King is currently on mail ban, so can’t receive letters. But he can receive book and magazines! Here is the link to Eric’s book wish list: tiny.cc/EK_Books

Casey Brezik #1154765
Jefferson City Correctional Center
8200 No More Victims Road
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Bill Dunne #10916-086
FCI Victorville Medium I
PO Box 3725
Adelanto, CA 92301

Gage Halupowski #21894460
Snake River Correctional Institution
777 Stanton Boulevard
Ontario, OR 97914-8335