"We are certain that we will prevail . . . the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement? The world is watching!"
Those words are from prisoners in California's prison system, 12,000 of whom have chosen to stop eating. These prisoners are routinely abused for their alleged participation in racially divided and violent gangs. Yet they have organized across racial lines and across prisons to nonviolently demand basic human rights, rights that the Geneva Conventions require for prisoners of war, rights that treaties to which the United States is party require for all human beings.
Click here to tell California Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that we are paying attention to this hunger strike and that we oppose prolonged solitary confinement.
The California prison system currently holds over 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement units, isolated for at least twenty-two and a half hours a day in cramped, concrete, windowless cells. They are denied telephone calls, contact visits, any kind of constructive programs, adequate food and, often, medical care. Many have been in these conditions for years or decades. The results include profound psychological and physical suffering. The practice is widely considered torture.
Click here to demand an end to long-term extreme isolation.
Prisoners are demanding an end to group punishments, the provision of adequate and nutritious food, and the creation and expansion of constructive programs.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights says: "All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. . . . The penitentiary system shall comprise treatment of prisoners the essential aim of which shall be their reformation and social rehabilitation."
California's prison system is not meeting this requirement. California's prisoners have organized a nonviolent movement of resistance that should inspire those of us more fortunate. The least we can do is to add our voices by clicking here.
Please forward this email far and wide.
-- The RootsAction.org team
P.S. RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.
Truthout: Pelican Bay Hunger Strikers
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity
Physicians for Human Rights: U.N. Advisor Says Solitary is Torture