Thursday, September 22, 2016

NOLA October 1: Solitary Gardens Unveiling with Albert Woodfox and others

RELATED:  Albert Woodfox at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA on October 3





Solitary Gardens Unveiling
Plant the future. Honor the past.

WHEN:​  Saturday, October 1st 5-6:30pm

WHAT: ​ Please join Albert Woodfox, Malik Rahim, Nana Sula, Vaku and jackie sumell for the 3-year commemoration of Herman Wallace’s freedom after 41-years of unjust captivity.
Project unveiling, tree planting ceremony, special guest speakers and presentations.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Albert Woodfox speaking in Chicago IL on Sept. 18 and 21

LISTEN:  Albert interviewed on Chicago's WBEZ Radio


(PHOTO:  Albert & the Chicago support crew that organized his Chicago tour- led by Melinda Power who also helped organize his August NLG talk.)


Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2pm at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 West 95th Street, Chicago, Wright Chapel


Wednesday, Sept, 21 at 6pm, at Gallery 400, at 400 S. Peoria Street. For more information, see flyer above and visit the event's Facebook and Eventbrite pages.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Albert Woodfox in San Francisco on Sept. 7

MEDIA COVERAGE:  SFBV Newspaper  II  Liberation Newspaper



September 7:  Albert is speaking in San Francisco, California on Wed. Sept. 7, 7pm at 2969 Mission St. For more information, please visit the ANSWER Coalition website.


Thursday, September 1, 2016

VIDEO: Albert Woodfox recieves Arthur Kinoy Award from National Lawyers Guild

2016 #Law4thePeople Convention Keynote Address (8/4/16) from National Lawyers Guild on Vimeo.

On August 4, Albert Woodfox received the Arthur Kinoy Award from the National Lawyers Guild at the organization's convention in NYC.

In this video, Albert is introduced at 26:00 and then comes onto the stage to receive the award and begins to speak at approximately 33:00

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

October 3: Albert Woodfox to speak at Southern University Law Center in Baton Rouge, LA



On Monday, October 3, as part of Southern University Law Center's 2016-2017 Speakers Series, Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 will be speaking about: "Use of International Laws and Coalitions in Justice Movements / Prison Reform."

The event will be held from 12-1 pm in 129 A.A. Lenoir Hall at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is free and open to the public.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Albert Woodfox and Robert King in New York City, August 4-8; Albert to Receive NLG's Arthur Kinoy Award



This weekend, Albert Woodfox and Robert King will be at the Law For The People Convention in New York City, organized by the National Lawyers Guild.

On the evening of Thursday, August 4, Albert will be honored by the National Lawyers Guild with the Arthur Kinoy award. The evening begins with a reception at 6pm. At 7pm the convention's keynote address will be given, to be followed by the award ceremony.

On Sunday, August 7, Albert and King will be speaking at the National Lawyers Guild conference's Solitary Confinement: How to Build a Movement to End the Torture of Solitary Confinement workshop from 1-2:30 pm.

Then on Monday, August 8, Albert and King will appear at a book signing, from 6-9 PM at the Martin Luther King Jr. Labor Center, 310 West 43rd Street, in NYC.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Just Stand: A Video Interview With Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3



(PHOTO: Albert enjoys a canoe ride in Austin, TX.)

Since Albert’s release on his birthday, February 19th, a few short months ago, he’s been really busy…  After nearly a month of visiting with family and friends in New Orleans sharing more birthday cake than he’s been able to consume in over forty years, Albert has been catching up with his dreams. This trio of video-interviews with Albert recorded recently, during a visit to Sacramento, will give you a glimpse of just how well Albert is doing.

This first release, entitled "Just Stand" is in three parts:  (1) A Message to Supporters, (2) Visiting Yosemite National Park and (3) Spending Quality Time With Family.


(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox stands strong during a recent visit to Sacramento, California)

A MESSAGE TO SUPPORTERS -  After thanking the many supporters around the world that never gave up in fighting for his release, Albert sent them this message: "What they should take from my freedom is that you stand. You don't back away. You don't make unnecessary compromises. You stand, and no matter how painful, you stand." Watch the full interview here.




VISITING YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK -  Just a few days before this interview was conducted, Albert visited Yosemite National Park, where he endured a challenging uphill climb. Albert reflects: "As you get older, you always wonder what you lose, and I think it felt very, very great to know that my will and determination have not changed, even though I've grown older. I know I have changed somewhat physically, [but] mentally, emotionally, and spiritually I'm as strong as I ever was." Watch the full interview here.




SPENDING QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY -  In this segment, Albert discusses his relationship with his family, with whom he tries to spend as much time as he can: "I'm a Dad, a Grandpa, and a Great Grandpa. I'm so grateful that my family accepted me back." Watch the full interview here.





Albert has been spending time in Houston with his brother Michael and his family as well as time in New Orleans with his daughter, grandson and grandchildren. His first speaking engagement was a trip to Pittsburgh for the International Conference on Solitary Confinement at University of Pittsburgh with King. When that was over, he spent a week in Austin with King and Austin supporters before heading off to California to fulfill one of his long held dreams, a trip to Yosemite. On the way he stopped in Los Angeles to attend the Death Penalty Focus Gala, where he was joined by an old friend from Angola, recently released Gary Tyler and about twenty exonerees attending on behalf of the Innocence Project. He also had a chance to drop in on long-time supporter and artist, Rigo 23 and family before heading north. After Yosemite, Albert attended the Malcolm X Festival in Oakland. On his return to New Orleans, Albert and King’s cousin, Noonie, cooked up a “surprise” birthday party for King and celebrated with many local supporters.

The next few months are equally as busy. In August King and Albert will be in New York at the National Lawyers Guild Convention where Albert will accept the Arthur Kinoy award. After the NLG conference, Albert and King will spend time with BPP comrades in New York. In September they will be in Oakland for the Political Prisoner’s Conference and later in the month they will be speaking at a number of venues in Chicago. They’ll return to Oakland in October for the 50th Anniversary gathering of the Black Panther Party. Then in late October, they visit the UK and France to meet with Amnesty supporters, along with special events in the UK including London, Liverpool and Cambridge  As you’ll be able to see from the short interviews and attached photos, Albert deals with all the activity like a champ – it’s hard to believe that he’s spent four decades in a box, as he handles himself with grace and humor regardless of the situation presented.

Freedom for our comrade, elder, and political prisoner Leonard Peltier is long overdue. Please sign Amnesty International USA's new online petition calling on President Obama to release him. Please also consider supporting the Leonard Peltier Statue Project. Free all political prisoners!



(Albert and Rigo 23, with the latest artwork from Rigo 23 illustrating that all of the Angola 3 are Free.)


(King and Albert in Austin- reunited in freedom!)



(Comrades from Houston and Austin join King and Albert for a welcome home party for Albert.)


(Albert with Louisiana exonerees John Thompson and Gary Tyler at Death Penalty Focus event.)


(Albert and King’s cousin, Elnora put together a sizzling surprise birthday party for King at the Craig Center in Algiers on June 11th.  The theme was “white linen.” This photo of Albert dancing with longtime supporter Shana Griffin, was taken by the esteemed Ted Quant to memorialize the evening. View more photos from the party here.)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Support the Leonard Peltier Statue Project / Take Action with Amnesty USA

Take Action by joining Amnesty International USA's call for President Obama to release Leonard Peltier!


Featured below is the full post from the Leonard Peltier Statue Project:

9" epoxy resin model, Alcatraz Prison Mess Hall, February 13, 2016 - First "Indians of All Tribes Day."

9″ epoxy resin model, Alcatraz Prison Mess Hall, 
February 13, 2016 – First “Indians of All Tribes Day.”

As you might already know, Leonard Peltier has now spent four entire decades behind bars for a crime he has not committed. Even though, by most countries’ standards, he has now fulfilled both of the consecutive life-sentences to which he was wrongly sentenced, he remains behind bars.

Friday, April 29, 2016

New UK Guardian interview with Albert Woodfox, two months after his release

In a UK Guardian article published today, Albert Woodfox reflects upon two months of life outside of prison walls and solitary confinement. The article concludes with the following excerpt:

The most disturbing part of freedom, Woodfox says, has been the dawning realisation since his release that in America in 2016 there is very little sense of political or social struggle. When he entered prison in the 1970s the country was on fire with political debate; now, as he puts it, “everybody seems to be ‘Me, me, me, me, me.’ It’s all about me, what I need and how I’m going to get it.”

That public indifference has in turn, he believes, allowed solitary confinement to flourish, to the extent that 100,000 Americans are subjected to it each year.

“The people and the government and the courts have turned their back on prisons, and that lets the wardens and officers act as judge, jury and executioner,” he says. “People don’t seem to be socially aware, that’s why solitary confinement exists and why it’s so brutal. Because nobody cares.”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A3 Newsletter: Broadening the Platform to Correct Past Injustices



A3 Newsletter, February 12, 2016: This is What Freedom Looks Like... Two Months of Liberation

WATCH: Albert Speaks at Southeastern Louisiana University



What a joy it is to have Albert out of prison, after all these years of struggle, it is a rare and special treat to hear his voice on the phone each morning as we review the days schedule and events. In Albert's first month of freedom he stayed busy every day, obtaining identification papers, scheduling doctor and dentist appointments, visiting with family and supporters - every moment was occupied. Since the end of March Albert has been in Texas, visiting with his brother Michael and his family and getting some much needed rest.

This weekend, Albert and King head to Pittsburgh to participate in the International Conference on Solitary Confinement, where they're sure to run into many of the activists and supporters that have been involved in the effort to end solitary confinement. After Pittsburgh, Albert will be headed back to New Orleans to attend his first family reunion! Early May finds him headed to Los Angeles for the Death Penalty Focus Conference and then on to a long- anticipated trip to Yosemite with Sacramento supporters, Gail Shaw and Billy X Jennings. Every day is an adventure; shopping, banking, post office- all the things we have grown accustomed to are new to Albert.

Below you'll find the latest statement from the legal team. As Albert stated in one of his early interviews after his release, "There's a movement in the country about solitary confinement...we think that we were the spark...for that." We couldn't agree more! Although both the civil and criminal cases have been settled, significant changes to the Department of Corrections policies in Louisiana regarding solitary are in the works and we hope to be able to share more detail in the coming months. Meanwhile, around the country and around the world, there has been greatly heightened awareness around the issues of solitary confinement and like Albert and King, we feel that the case of the Angola 3 has been instrumental in this raised consciousness and are thrilled to see articles such as the one from Ottawa that use the Angola 3 case to leverage the abolition of solitary.

Albert looks forward to joining the fray in carrying on the movement to abolish solitary and to expose the inequalities of the criminal justice system. We are proud to stand behind Albert and King and assist them in any way that we can as they carry on with their advocacy work.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

London, April 21: Amnesty UK Preview Screening of 'Cruel and Unusual' by Vadim Jean

(Event info from Amnesty UK)

When:  Thursday, 21 April 2016 from 18:30 to 21:30 (BST)
Where:  Amnesty International UK - 25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA, United Kingdom

Amnesty International UK is delighted to announce a special UK preview screening of ‘Cruel and Unusual’, a new documentary feature film telling the story of the Angola 3's struggle for justice, fighting their unjust convictions and the cruel and unusual punishment of long term solitary confinement in Louisiana prisons. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Monday, March 7, 2016

Poem by Tina Otito Tamsho-Thomas: Tribute to Albert Woodfox

Tribute to Albert Woodfox
Angola 3 Political Prisoner


Each and all are waiting
Heart,
Spirit,
Mind.
Waiting for
the justice day,
Liberating Humankind.

Years forty three imprisoned,
conscious voice unarrested.
Waiting for
the justice day,
Liberty attested.

We will bring our warrior home,
gifted to the world,
Honouring
his justice day,
freedom flags unfurled.


Copyright©Tina Otito Tamsho-Thomas

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A3 Newsletter: Albert Is Free - Support Albert's Fund

A3 Newsletter, February 25, 2016: 
Oh Happy Day - Albert Woodfox is Free At Last



 (PHOTO: Left to Right, Robert King, Albert Woodfox, and Malik Rahim. This photo and two further below of Albert spending quality time with friends and family are courtesy of Palomita Firecracker's Facebook page.)


Giving Thanks

We dedicate this newsletter to the spirit of Anita Roddick for her dedication to the Angola 3 struggle for freedom and to her family who stayed the course through the darkest hours.

To the many Angola 3 supporters that have stood by us in the past several decades as we fought for the freedom of Robert King, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox, and against the torture that is solitary confinement, we are more grateful than words can express.

It has been a long journey and there have been many milestones along the way. Movies have been made, books have been written, institutions and non-profit organizations have joined the struggle, legal assistance has ebbed and waned, but throughout, the coalition and its supporters have never stopped taking action to change the state of solitary confinement and freedom for Albert.

Last Friday, on February 19th 2016 those actions culminated in Albert's freedom. Albert is absolutely, 100% free!  Below is just some of the remarkable media coverage that is circulating the globe.


Please Give To Albert's Fund

As we celebrate that ALL THE ANGOLA 3 ARE FREE please join us in laying the foundation for Albert's new life. We'll never be able to make up for over four decades in solitary but those of us in minimum security know how costly life out here is. 100% of all donations will be given directly to Albert.

You can donate online through the A3 Coalition's fiscal sponsor, Community Futures Collective, designating "Albert" in the memo. If you prefer to send a check, please make it out to "Community Futures Collective" and write "Albert" in the check's memo section. Mail it to:

Community Futures Collective
221 Idora Ave
Vallejo, CA 94591

From the entire Angola 3 community- thank you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Democracy Now! interviews Albert Woodfox, Robert H King and lawyer Billy Sothern

Watch part two of the DN! interview here



Well, joining us now in a broadcast exclusive from New Orleans PBS station WLAE is Albert Woodfox himself, giving his first televised interview since his release on Friday. Also joining us there is Robert King, the other surviving member of the Angola 3. And Albert Woodfox’s attorney, Billy Sothern, also joins us from New Orleans.

We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Albert Woodfox, how does it feel to be free?

ALBERT WOODFOX: I haven’t quite figured it out yet, but it feels great.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, can you talk about what happened on Friday as you left the parish jail in New Orleans? This was after 45 years in prison, 43 years in solitary confinement. You’re the longest-standing prisoner in solitary confinement in the United States.

ALBERT WOODFOX: I guess, you know, for a moment there, everything seemed surreal. And we had to sit around, about an hour and some, waiting on the final documents to be faxed to the West Feliciana detention center. And when that finally happened and, you know, my brother and my attorneys, they walked out with me, and family and friends began to express joy and excitement. And we got in my brother’s car, and we slowly drove. And we answered a few questions, and then we proceeded to go say goodbye to my mother...


Watch the full interview here.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Albert Woodfox interviewed by NY Times, UK Guardian, The Advocate and Time-Picayune

THE INTERVIEWS:   NY Times: For 45 Years in Prison, Louisiana Man Kept Calm and Held Fast to Hope  II  UK Guardian: 'I would not let them drive me insane'  II  The Advocate: Albert Woodfox savors freedom after decades behind bars  II  Times-Picayune: "I learned how strong the human spirit can be"


The New York Times (excerpt):

Now on Saturday morning, he was sitting in a hotel suite alongside one of his brothers and members of the legal team that had worked for years for his release. He was calm, composed, steady as a surgeon, but one imagines that survival would have been impossible without this sort of disposition.

“I don’t think I ever felt that I would die in prison,” Mr. Woodfox, who is black, said. But he acknowledged: “As the years passed, it became more difficult to feel that way.”

The Louisiana State Penitentiary, the 18,000-acre prison in an elbow of the Mississippi River, is known familiarly as Angola. This was the name for the cotton plantation that once occupied the same grounds, itself named for the part of Africa where the plantation’s slaves had come from. It is the largest maximum-security prison in the country, and in the early 1970s it was possibly the bloodiest.

“Almost every day, somewhere in the prison, somebody was getting stabbed or killed or beat with an iron pipe,” Mr. Woodfox recalled.

Read the full article here.


The UK Guardian (excerpt):

In his first interview since being released from West Feliciana parish detention center in Louisiana, Woodfox told the Guardian that in 1972, when he was put into “closed cell restriction”, or CCR, he made a conscious decision that he would survive. He and his comrades from the so-called Angola 3, Herman Wallace and Robert King, made a vow to be strong.

“We made a conscious decision that we would never become institutionalized,” he said. “As the years went by, we made efforts to improve and motivate ourselves.”

The key, he said, was to stay connected to what was happening in the outside world.

“We made sure we always remained concerned about what was going on in society – that way we knew that we would never give up. I promised myself that I would not let them break me, not let them drive me insane.”

Read the full article here.


The Advocate (excerpt):

For the first time in nearly half a century, Albert Woodfox was allowed to sit up front.

The 69-year-old member of the Angola 3, who was released Friday after spending most of his life in solitary confinement, said one of his first impressions of the world outside prison was having a wide, front-seat view of the landscape as his brother drove him away from jail.

“It felt strange because I was sitting in the front of his car rather than the back of a van,” Woodfox told The Advocate on Saturday in New Orleans, just over 24 hours since his historic release...

...Woodfox said he plans to start a community-based organization to aid people recently released from prison and to persuade lawmakers to move forward with progressive prison reform.

And he also hopes to correct the picture that’s been made of him as violent troublemaker. He claims he went almost 20 years without a disciplinary write-up.

“I’m not the monster that I was portrayed to be,” he said.

Read the full article here.


The Times-Picayune (excerpt):

Woodfox sat mostly still Saturday, sometimes raising a hand to make a point or touch his face. His brother, Michel Mable, had warned Woodfox was feeling overwhelmed. But Woodfox's voice was steady. He's lost his composure only one time since walking out of jail Friday, Woodfox said. It was when he hugged his daughter for the first time.

"That was something," he said, tucking his head into both his fists.

Adjusting to the outside may take some time, he said, but he's doing OK. He recognizes the streets of New Orleans, but the roadway seems narrower as buildings he doesn't recognize have popped up.

Woodfox's daughter, with whom he has only recently started to build a relationship, cooked his requested meal: cream corn, prepared the way his late mother used to make it, with rice and smoked sausage.

He credits the teachings of the Black Panther Party and his bond with Wallace and King for his mental survival through years of solitary confinement, referred to by the Louisiana Corrections Department as "closed-cell restriction."


"It's like we had some kind of magical connection," he said of Wallace and King. "We knew we had to turn outward, and stay connected to society and not become institutionalized."

Read the full article here.

Friday, February 19, 2016

BREAKING! Albert Woodfox is Freed TODAY on his 69th Birthday!!

MEDIA COVERAGE:   UK Guardian  II  Washington Post  II  NBC  II  The Advocate (with new photo)  II  Times-Picayune  II  NY Times  II  Video by WBRZ  II  BBC News  II  Irish Times  II  Amnesty Intl UK  II  Toronto Star / AP  II  CNN (with new photo)  II  Los Angeles Times  II  Daily Mail / AFP  II  La Nacion (Argentina)  II  US Congressman Cedric Richmond  II  New Yorker


(PHOTO: Albert Woodfox following his release just moments ago!! Photo from Democracy Now!)

(WATCH Albert walk out the gates a free man!)

Take a deep breath everyone,

Just moments ago, Albert Woodfox, the last remaining member of the Angola 3 still behind bars, was released from prison 43 years and 10 months after he was first put in a 6x9 foot solitary cell for a crime he did not commit. After decades of costly litigation, Louisiana State officials have at last acted in the interest of justice and reached an agreement that brings a long overdue end to this nightmare. Albert has maintained his innocence at every step, and today, on his 69th birthday, he will finally begin a new phase of his life as a free man.

In anticipation of his release this morning, Albert thanked his many supporters and added: “Although I was looking forward to proving my innocence at a new trial, concerns about my health and my age have caused me to resolve this case now and obtain my release with this no-contest plea to lesser charges.  I hope the events of today will bring closure to many.”

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A3 Newsletter: Solitary Under Attack as 2016 Begins


(PHOTO: Tabling at the Amnesty Art for Rights event in New Orleans, December 2015)

We want to send thanks from Albert and Robert to Amnesty activists for December's Write for Rights campaign. Albert enjoyed receiving the thousands of letters and postcards which were delivered to him in sacks! We kept him up to date with photos of the country activities including his "cut out" in front of London's landmarks, the first screening of the documentary Cruel and Unusual in the Louvre Paris and the art event in New Orleans.

On the legal front, Albert's legal teams have filed their appeal of the overturning of Judge Brady's unconditional Writ with the U.S. Supreme Court. They continue to prepare for Albert's retrial, though no date has been set. The civil trial is still scheduled to begin June 27th of this year.

In St. Francisville, still behind solitary walls, Albert awaits the status of a slate of appeals of rulings pending in Louisiana's 1st Circuit Court of Appeal from September that began to set up the legal and procedural landscape for the retrial.

Unfortunately, the first of these decisions came a few days ago and served to overturn Judge Carmichael's decision requiring Albert's retrial jury to be unanimous. Despite the fact that he was afforded a unanimous jury in both of his first two trials, only 10 of 12 jurors will be required to convict or acquit him in the third. Louisiana is one of only two states that allow non-unanimous juries to hand down life sentences. Many think eventually the law will be declared unconstitutional, but not in time for Albert. His legal team is appealing this decision to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Photos and Reportback from Dec. 12 Amnesty USA Art for Rights event in New Orleans for Albert Woodfox and other political prisoners

Read the Amnesty USA press release here.

Read a report from the day by the Times-Picayune here.

The following six photos, including the first two of Usher, were taken by Patrick Melon.




Monday, December 14, 2015

Never Silenced, Herman Wallace's Spirit is Smiling --An interview with filmmaker Angad Singh Bhalla


Never Silenced, Herman Wallace's Spirit is Smiling  
--An interview with filmmaker Angad Singh Bhalla

By Angola 3 News

Canadian filmmaker Angad Singh Bhalla has never shied away from examining politically controversial topics. Nor does he play down his own artistic goal of using media to foster political change. Bhalla's first independent work, entitled U.A.I.L. Go Back amplified the voices of Indian villagers resisting an alumina project backed by the Canadian company Alcan. The film became an important organizing tool used to pressure Alcan into ending its involvement in the project.

Bhalla has since co-founded Time of Day Media.and while working as a community organizer for immigrant rights, he produced videos for the Service Employees International Union, Working America, the Center for Constitutional Rights and other groups. His award-winning short on the lives of Indian street artists, Writings on the Wall, was broadcast on Canada’s Bravo! and Al Jazeera English.


Bhalla's debut feature documentary was the 2012 film Herman’s House, about Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 and the collaborative project Wallace worked on with artist Jackie Sumell, entitled The House That Herman Built. The film screened at more than 40 festivals, was distributed theatrically in the US and Canada, and won an Emmy Award for its 2013 POV broadcast on PBS.


The newly released, interactive website-based documentary film made by Bhalla, entitled The Deeper They Bury Me: A Call from Herman Wallace, builds upon Herman's House by further examining Herman Wallace's life, following Wallace's death from liver cancer on October 4, 2013, just three days after being released from prison. This latest film has already been well received. Along with a recent screening at the 28th annual International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, The Deeper They Bury Me has also been selected by Favourite Website Awards as the "Site of the Day" for December 14, where it is being displayed on the website's front page for the full day.

In this interview, filmmaker Angad Singh Bhalla discusses his latest film, The Deeper They Bury Me, while also reflecting upon his 2012 film Herman's House, his personal relationship with Wallace and more. Bhalla concludes the interview with a focus on the call by Amnesty International and the International Coalition to Free the Angola 3 for the immediate release of Albert Woodfox, who is the last of the Angola 3 behind bars. Despite three overturned convictions, Woodfox remains in prison and in solitary confinement, where he was first placed over 43 years ago.


(VIDEO: Coverage of the panel discussion following a recent screening of The Deeper They Bury Me at the 53rd New York Film Festival. Photos from this event by Lindsey Seide/NFB are featured below alongside still images taken from the film itself.)