Mexico and US actions link Ayotzinapa, Ferguson, Garner

Weekly News Update on the Americas, December 9, 2014

Hundreds of Mexican immigrants and other activists held actions in at least 47 US towns and cities on Dec. 3 to protest the abduction of 43 teachers’ college students by police and gang members in Mexico’s Guerrero state in September; each of the 43 students had one of the actions dedicated to him.

The protests were organized by UStired2, a group taking its name from #YaMeCansé (“I’m tired now,” or “I’ve had it”), a Mexican hashtag used in response to the violence against the students, who attended the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in the Guerrero town of Ayotzinapa. The protesters focused on US government financing for the Mexican government—especially funding for the “war on drugs” through the 2008 Mérida Initiative—but they also expressed outrage over the US court system’s failure to indict US police agents in two recent police killings of unarmed African Americans. Continue reading

Death by Police in America

Sky Valley Chronicle, December 7, 2014

(MONROE, WA.) — Five days ago Op-Ed writer Eugene Robinson wrote a piece for the Washington Post called, “What America’s police departments don’t want you to know.”

In that piece he provided information that many Americans may never have been exposed to — data relating to police shootings of civilians across the country.

Robinson came to the conclusion the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of a white police officer was not an isolated incident.

It was part of what Robinson called, “A tragic and unacceptable pattern: Police officers in the United States shoot and kill civilians in shockingly high numbers.”

How many civilians are shot to death every year by police? Nobody really knows, says Robinson because “police departments don’t want us to know.” Continue reading

Protesters chain themselves at profiteering Arizona migrant prison


TODAY in ELOY: #Not1More #Shutdown Ice Protest
Latino Rebels Latino Rebels
Published on Oct 14, 2013
Today at the Eloy Detention Center, protesters called for an end to deportations and a push to shutdown ICE.

October 14, 2013–Just now, protestors chained themselves in front of the Eloy Detention Center. Their action calls on the President to stop deportations and the criminalization of immigrants. Through civil disobedience they say they’re exposing the inhumane imprisonment at the center of current immigration policy and the needless warehousing of the undocumented who could benefit from reform.

Many of those inside Eloy have committed no major offense and instead are victims of Congress’ 34,000 minimum detention bed mandate and the profiling of Sheriffs like Arpaio and Border Patrol required to fulfill the arbitrary quota.

One of the protestors, 16 year old Sandy Estrada of Phoenix, AZ, whose brother has been detained in Eloy for nearly a year after being arrested on work-related charges, says, “I’m doing this to show my brother and all the other people inside that we support them and we will do what it takes to get them out.  I want the President to know that everyone deserves to be with their families and that he can stop our pain.” Continue reading

California Prisoner Hunger Strike: Countdown in the Struggle for Humane Conditions

Day 32


August 8, 2013 — Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners.

 

These are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise.

 

Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly.

 

Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti. Guards are also being strategically divisive by tactically treating some prisoners nicely and others in the most demeaning ways, hoping—as the guards openly discussed in front of some prisoners—to create division so the prisoners will begin to fight each other. The guards’ goal: to undermine the hunger strike. According to these same talkative guards, this unprofessional behavior is what they were instructed to do to help bring the hunger strike to an end. Continue reading

The Nightmare of the American Dream

Prisoner — Undocumented — Immigrants…

July 7, 2013  —  CORCORN SHU

I would like to take this moment to possibly enlighten you to a situation we as Hispanic Mexican Nationals would like to share with all of you. Our hope is to create discussion and ultimately change this sad reality. Due to being such a small population in California prisons, the majority do not understand or even realize (much less consider). Hopefully with this essay I’m able to express correctly, sufficiently, and effectively these little known conditions and bring attention to this issue. We suffer and struggle daily in a foreign land, where many of us do not even write, understand, or speak English.

This struggle not only involves Mexican Nationals in California, but also all undocumented immigrants in prison around this nation. Some of us are here doing life terms with no family or friends support (mentally, emotionally, economically, physically, etc.), the most basic of human conditions to be social. Think about this for a minute. For family members to visit us from Mexico requires an incredible amount of patience and hard work, and huge obstacles at the US-MEXICO border. For example, on my situation I haven’t seen my father, brothers, and some of my sisters since 1996.

Why??-because my family couldn’t process the visas for them and couldn’t afford to pay the expenses to travel. In the past, I used to see my mother once a year. My family had to work and save money for my elderly mother to be able to come visit me just one time every year. Unfortunately, since 2007, my family couldn’t afford it anymore. So I haven’t seen the rest of my family since 1996, which is 14 years total and counting. This is just my example. Many more undocumented immigrants/Hispanics in prison suffer the same fate. Under life terms and some of us validated in the Security Housing Units (SHU), we may very well never see or hug our immediate family and friends. Imagine the suffering and heartache we endure??? Living life sentences inside ‘the grey box’ (SHU), under this daily struggle, under this psychological and physical torture 23 hours a day we wait to hear and receive news from our family back home.

Many of us came to the U.S. from very rural towns with little or no education and severely economically challenged areas in Mexico. As we can agree, many who come to the U.S. do so for the ‘American Dream’: Land of opportunity and a better way of life. A sacrifice for ourselves and our families back home. Due to having to put education on hold early in our youth to work and contribute to our family’s welfare, ultimately basic reading and writing much time is lost and thousands of us risk our lives and cross the border (breaking U.S. laws) and some of those thousands end up in prisons, detention centers, and jails across the nation. Fewer still get life terms that cuts off communication with family and limits it to phone calls (when rare monetary ability allows a phone call home) and letters (for those who can read and write). Continue reading

Jose Campos Torres, and Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, and countless more of us

Gil Scott-Heron — Jose Campos Torres, and a Visual Poem for Oscar Grant

Gil Scott Heron’s “Jose Campos Torres” (1978) and video by TripleTruth

Trayvon Martin (no justice, just us)

Inspired by Gil Scott Heron’s “Jose Campos Torres” Brooklyn born lyricist/poet/singer Glennjamin Bishop digs deep and touches real-life issues and emotions in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin tragedy.
Published on Apr 4, 2012

The Five Most Important Demands from the California Prison Hunger Strike

Thousands-strong strike is the latest chapter in the state’s unfolding prison crisis

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-five-most-important-demands-from-the-california-prison-hunger-strike-20130716

July 16, 2013

For more than a week, the California prison system has been gripped by the largest hunger strike in its history. Today, campaigners say that some 12,000 inmates continue to refuse food in roughly two-thirds of the state’s 32 facilities. That’s down from the 30,000 who kicked off the strike, but still more than twice the number who participated in a similar action two years earlier.

The strike – which began with a group of men held in isolation in Pelican Bay State Prison before spreading across the state – was principally motivated by California’s aggressive use of solitary confinement. In many cases, the strikers’ demands are simple: one photo a year, one phone call per week, permission to use wall calendars.

“The prisoners are not on a suicide mission,” says Roger White, campaign director of a Bay Area coalition called Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity. “If they didn’t have hope that things could change and that CDCR [the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] could actually implement the demands, they wouldn’t be striking.”

In 2011, a United Nations torture rapporteur called for an absolute and international ban on indefinite and prolonged solitary confinement, arguing that just a few a days locked up alone in a cell has been shown to produce lifelong mental health problems. In California, hundreds of Pelican Bay prisoners have spent a decade or more in solitary confinement – some for as many as 20 or 30 years. Continue reading