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The Deaths of Sandra Bland & Kindra Chapman Reflect How the Justice System Sees Black Women

Originally published on Bitch Magazine.

"The justice system is not something we can view in isolation. It is an extension and reflection of some broader decisions we're making as a society." That was what President Barack Obama said as he addressed the NAACP at its annual convention last Tuesday.
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Taking Down the Flag Doesn't Signal the End of White Supremacy

Posted July 10th on Bitch Magazine:
Today, the Confederate flag finally comes down from outside the South Carolina capitol building. Two weeks ago, activist Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole and took it down herself, but now it's coming down for good after legislators and the governor agreed to remove the stinging symbol of American racism.
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Despite advances, the trans struggle for justice behind bars is just beginning on Waging NonViolence

"For the past three years, Ashley Diamond has been denied health care as well as protection from recurring violence from the men around her. But she has been fighting back — and her fight has been making headlines and wresting small changes from the Georgia Department of Corrections..."
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Tens of Thousands of California Prisoners Launch Mass Hunger Strike

The strikers are calling for an end to long-term solitary confinement and better prison conditions.

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Strike Zone: Hungering for Justice in the Crime-and-Punishment System

"This is what democracy looks like!" These days, when you hear those words at a protest, whether officially permitted or not, you know that the police are seconds away from pulling out their plastic handcuffs and pepperspray and getting ready to pack their paddywagons.

On October 5th, near the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway, I heard that chant as the police closed in on a group of protesters attempting to breach the barricades blocking Wall Street. Knowing that arrests and violence were soon to follow, my daughter and I turned and left. We circled around to Zuccotti Park where we stayed for an hour and a half until police arrived on horseback and motor scooters and began closing the protesters in with metal barricades.

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when the book starts to come together, it's a beautiful thing

As some of you may know, I'm co-editing Don't Leave Your Friends Behind, a handbook on how social justice movements and communities can support the families in their midst (to be a Fall 2012 release right here on PM Press!). Don't Leave Your Friends Behind is the culmination of a seven-year collaboration with China Martens, fellow mama, writer and author of the groundbreaking The Future Generation. That collaboration has included discussions, workshops, impromptu conversations with childless organizers and activists who have never considered children's or families' needs, panel discussions, and zines.
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RIP Marilyn Buck: Activist, Poet, Writer, Translator, Teacher, Former Political Prisoner & Inspiration to Many

In May, I wrote a short blog post about the influence Marilyn Buck had on my early days as a prison abolitionist, esp as a young girl struggling to find my way in what seemed to be a male-dominated movement. I had been looking forward to getting to know Marilyn after her release from prison.
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Freedom for Sara Kruzan! Send your letter of support today!

Sara Kruzan is a 31-year-old woman incarcerated at the California Institution for Women. Since the age of 9, Sara suffered from severe depression for which she was hospitalized several times. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man named G.G. who molested her and began grooming her to become a prostitute. At age 13, she began working as a child prostitute for G.G. and was repeatedly molested by him. At age 16, Sara was convicted of killing him. She was sentenced to prison for the rest of her life despite her background and a finding by the California Youth Authority that she was amendable to treatment offered in the juvenile system.She is one of approximately 225 juveniles sentenced to life imprisonment in Califronia.

Sara was recently granted a Resentencing Hearing!!!!!!!


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Tell BOP to Stop (further) Isolating People in Experimental Prisons!

The BOP is proposing further isolating people in Communications Management Units (more details below). There's a period for public comment that ends June 7th.

Conveniently for the BOP, the comment form is undergoing some maintenance this weekend and won't be back up until Monday, 5/31, at 11:59 pm. But that still leaves a week to leave a comment on the proposed rules.

If you can't wait till Tuesday morning, you can also snail mail your outrage to the BOP:

Rules Unit, Office of General Counsel
Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW.
Washington, DC 20534

Include the following docket number in your correspondence:

and please forward and post far and wide.

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Warrior-Poet Marilyn Buck : No Wall Too Tall

I first started corresponding with Marilyn Buck in late 1995/early 1996. I was a first-year college student trying to find a way to do prisoner solidarity work and feeling frustrated with the male-dominated prisoner rights/abolition movement I was encountering. This is not to say that everyone I came across this year was a sexist or patriarchal pig. I met many wonderful men involved in doing prison abolition/prisoner support work too.

Then, someone suggested that I shift my focus from the supposedly-gender neutral (but, in reality, very male) prisoner rights movement to concentrating on women. Not knowing any women behind bars, I flipped through a newsletter of the ABCF (Anarchist Black Cross Federation) and an article by Marilyn Buck on why sending pornography was not the same as political support. This is an oversimplification of her argument. I have long since lost/recycled/donated the original newsletter and wouldn't even know where to begin looking for that article now.

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