Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hunger striker considers where we go from here, wonders, ‘Will the Legislature dupe us too’?

September 21, 2013

In: SF Bay View

by Mutope Duguma

Written Sept. 8, 2013 – First and foremost we want to give a lot of respect and love to all the human beings who made their voices heard and the countless dedicated supporters and organizations who beat the drum as well as the pavement demanding an end to solitary confinement, LONG TERM solitary confinement.

To the 30,000 hunger strikers who courageously stood up, we commend each and every one of you, no matter if you did one day or the whole 60 days. We have had three hunger strikes in which none of us could imagine such courage would stem from such a peaceful protest. But as I have written in an article called, “Because I’ve seen men,”* my own personal strength and resolve has been improved on. I could not have ever expected to be amongst such courageous individuals. I salute each and every one of you.

We want to always give much respect and love to the six prisoners who sacrificed their lives despite what CDCr propagated against you. We know each and every one of you died for a cause that’s more honorable than anything, especially in a world where men and women die every day for nothing. We also know none of you were suicidal. We will forever hold you all in our memory, high before the world.

Now, where do we go from here? We’ve been promised change, which we will humbly allow to take its course. One thing we have learned throughout our protracted struggle is that there is a solid 100 hunger strikers who we know now will be willing to lay their lives down for our cause, and I am amongst that 100. These individuals are remarkable, so our protracted struggle continues.

We all signed up collectively to move in unison; therefore, we will allow the voice of our 20 representatives to be the voice that makes the decisions in the interests of us all, based on their collective judgment. This has always been an inclusive protracted struggle. Our New Afrikan collective, Latino-Mexican collective, white collective and Asian collective – these brothers and sisters joined forces in order to end torture in Amerika’s solitary confinement units. We now allow the system to work, while being very vigilant as to what kind of change we will receive.

Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.

We continue to hit the pavement, make the calls, write the Legislature and governor. We do not know at this time what the time period would be on that change, but I am sure there will be one, and each and every one of us will be informed of that time period, especially prisoners who are suffering in solitary confinement each second, minute and hour of the day inside these torture chambers. The world has heard your screams.

We continue to educate the public about our individual horror stories inside solitary confinement units, whether they’re called SHUs, Ad Seg or Administration Segregation Units. We can never go back to accepting solitary confinement as an indefinite placement for any Amerikans, foreigners, refugees or immigrants.

The world has heard your screams.

Our protracted struggle continues. Those of us who did the whole 60 days, like myself and our main four representatives, need to take the time to get your health back in order. It will take anywhere from 90 days to six months depending on the severity of damage.

Demand blood work be done and your organs screened before you go back to exercising. We all may be called on to make that ultimate sacrifice and I personally know that we will see that courageous 100 front and center.

We can never go back to accepting solitary confinement as an indefinite placement for any Amerikans, foreigners, refugees or immigrants.

Our protracted struggle continues in memory of the following courageous prisoners:

Christian Gomez

Alex Machado

Alonzo Hozel Blanchard

A. ‘Baby Paya’ Morales (Watts native)

Billy “Guero” Sell

Johnny Owen Vick

Will the Legislature dupe us too?

The 20 representatives have to do what they believe is in the best interest of our collective and that means negotiating with CDCr, politicians or any officials who are part of that process.

We are demanding that our five core demands be met, and to those who don’t know, the 40 supplemental demands are part of Core Demand No. 5. The 20 representatives have a responsibility outside of making decisions: They each have to make sure that they don’t subject you or me to unnecessary suffering when they do not have to.

If the Legislature turns around and dupes us, then we will be forced to continue our peaceful protest in the interests of every solitary confined prisoner.

So the reality right now is that Sen. Loni Hancock and Assemblymember Tom Ammiano have basically said that there has to be change. Now the people have to get behind these two politicians and make sure that they are empowered to make that change possible: Relieve prisoners of their on-going suffering inside these solitary confinement units that serve no purpose whatsoever.

There have already been countless dialogues, interviews, books written and legislative hearings on solitary confinement and they have all been fruitless to date. So it is our hope that these current hearings will render that change that we so desperately seek, in the interests of all prisoners held throughout California in these isolation units and hopefully throughout the United States of America. We do not know to what degree CDCr will involve themselves in making these meaningful changes possible, but we hold hope.

We will be following these future events very closely and ask everyone to do the same, because if the Legislature turns around and dupes us, then we will be forced to continue our peaceful protest in the interests of every solitary confined prisoner.

In Solidarity,

One Love, One Struggle

Mutope Duguma

Send our brother some love and light: Though he was still at New Folsom Prison when he wrote this, his transfer back to Pelican Bay is believed to be imminent, so write to Mutope Duguma, s/n James Crawford, D-05996, PBSP SHU D1-117, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.

*Supporters have not yet received that article, but we’ll publish it as soon as it arrives.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Hunger strikers, weak and sick, transported 8 hours by bus: ‘Our strength is a reflection of your strength’

September 2, 2013

by Mutope Duguma

Written Aug. 25, 2013 – How long must we continue to suffer? On Aug. 23, 2013, early in the morning, Pelican Bay State Prison Ad Seg (Administrative Segregation) was emptied out and placed on two buses. Every individual on the buses had been on the hunger strike since July 8, 2013, and there was not one medical staffperson on those buses.

The trip was an eight hour trip that subjected Lorenzo Benton to extremely low blood sugar. We had to demand that the bus be stopped immediately, which led to a 40 minute delay. They had three cars from SSU (Special Services Unit) escorting the whole trip, but not one medical staffperson, knowing that we had been on a hunger strike 45 days when they placed us on those buses.

Lorenzo Benton’s eyes were blurry; he couldn’t see nothing. I tried to take his pulse but couldn’t get one because his heartbeat had dropped so low. We switched position on the bus with Danny Troxell and Frank Clement so that Lorenzo would have more space. This did nothing for him.

We asked for water and the sergeant of transportation said he was instructed to not give us nothing but Gatorade. I said, “We can’t have water?” He said no. I said, “Where is the Gatorade?” Initially Abdul, HB and Mutawally demanded that they go back, but I asked how far are we from a medical facility going forward. Sergeant said six miles. We were already on the road 50 miles.

I told Lorenzo to gulp down cups of Gatorade because when my sugar is low and eyes are blurry, I just need the Gatorade to clear it up. After gulping down three canteen cups – 12 ounces – each he started to see a little better and he felt better. The sergeant asked him was he all right and if he was going to make it. The sergeant was pissed off that there wasn’t no medical staff on this trip, considering who was being transferred. At least he let us see these sentiments. If he was sincere or not I don’t know.

How long must we continue to suffer?

Once we got to New Folsom Prison (California State Prison Sacramento) we got nothing, and that is our status right now as I write this. They say on Aug. 26 it will get better. The officials knew we were coming a week in advance, so it is no excuse for subjecting us to such cruelty.

We also are receiving low quality vitamins, down from the high quality vitamins that the receivership ordered. [California prison medical services were placed under receivership by the federal court because at least one prisoner a week was dying due to medical abuse or neglect. – ed.] The Gatorade is a better quality, but we are suffering because of what we are being denied, although the hunger strike alone should be enough suffering.

But denying us linen – while holding us in ice cold cells – equals torture. It’s obvious that these actions are intended to break us, but the 60 of us have a collective strength and are committed all the way to the force feeding, for better or worse.

We can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity.

We do not care about how much worse our conditions get because the pain and suffering from not eating trumps it all. Also, the only prisoners in PBSP Ad Seg who were left there were Sitawa Jamaa (Ron Dewberry), Todd Ashker, Antonio Guillen and Arturo Castellanos, our four reps. We can only hope that they are safe under those circumstances. Everyone on the bus is medically on high risk status (see CDC Form 114-D), and everyone is doing very bad as well.

And it’s old age, middle age and young age prisoners inside that 60, and we can only hope that our strength is a reflection of your strength. All RACES – prison solidarity. We don’t believe that CDCr CSP-Sac can force feed each and every one of us at the same time, because obviously we will deteriorate at the same time.

[In a note dated Aug. 26, he adds: We’ve been on vitamins and Gatorade since July 25, 2013, to now, which is to sustain our organs, but they will eventually start going when our body weight is gone. I am down 63 pounds now today, according to their scale.]

One Love, One Struggle.

Send our brother some love and light – and writing paper, envelopes and stamps to share: Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), D-05996, CSP-Sac ASU B8-232L, P.O. Box 290066, Represa CA 95671.