Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A3 Newsletter: One Year Later, Remember Herman, Free Albert! Oct. 4 Second Line in New Orleans (Oct.1, 2014)

That Justice is a blind goddess
Is a thing to which we blacks are wise.
Her bandage hides two festering sores
That once perhaps were eyes.
--Langston Hughes,
Justice, 1923

Today marks one year since Herman's lifelong struggle for justice from the courts finally granted him a few days of freedom. Please join with us as we cry out in remembrance of Herman's life and legacy, and as we draw inspiration from his spirit to now fight even harder for Albert's release.

October 4 Second Line

Join us on October 4th for a press conference, followed by a Second Line and gathering with performances and speakers as we commemorate the one-year anniversary of Herman Wallace’s transition and remember the remaining incarcerated member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox.

The event begins at 1pm, with the press conference & Second Line starting at Tremé Center, 900 N Villere St, New Orleans, LA 70116.

It ends at Community Garden 1651 N. Robertson St. to unveil the Solitary Garden Project, performers and refreshments.

The Courts Grind Slowly Forward

As we prepare to celebrate the anniversary of Herman's 4 days of freedom and honor his lifetime legacy of sacrifice, Albert still sits in a solitary cell awaiting word from the 5th Circuit as to whether his third overturned conviction will stand.

Although final preparation and trial dates for the A3 civil case are also frozen pending 5th Circuit decisions on State appeals of A3 wins in Brady's court, those appeals continue to grind forward.

We ended the summer with a very encouraging oral argument (listen to courtroom audio) on this issue of whether or not officials at the prisons Herman and Albert were transferred to after their decades at Angola will bear any legal responsibility for their continued isolation at those prisons. As George Kendall, the lead attorney for both A3's criminal and civil actions, points out in a rare interview about the cases, it is clear that "the wardens and others clearly violated the constitution and they ought to pay for it."

On Wednesday, October 29th, the 5th Circuit will hear oral arguments on the second issue holding up progress in the civil case--the State's attempt to reverse Brady's decision from last spring in Albert's favor that put an end to the invasive, dehumanizing strip and cavity searches Albert had been subjected to every time he left or entered his solitary cell.

Once both issues are heard and decided, the civil case will be ready to move forward to its final trial phase. We will update you as soon as we have more information on either civil case appeal, or Albert's valiant, seemingly endless, fight for freedom.

Terrorism, COINTELPRO, and the Black Panther Party --Angola 3 News interviews Angela A. Allen-Bell

In her recent article, published by the Journal of Law and Social Deviance, entitled “Activism Unshackled & Justice Unchained: A Call to Make a Human Right Out of One of the Most Calamitous Human Wrongs to Have Taken Place on American Soil,” Southern University Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell argues that the US government’s repression of the BPP, primarily within the framework of the FBI’s infamous COINTELPRO, was indeed the very definition of terrorism. Bell writes that “the magnitude of the unwarranted harm done to the BPP has not yet been explored in an appropriate fashion. Much like a fugitive, it has eluded justice.” As a result, “the FBI's full-scale assault on the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s remains an open wound for the nation itself. This is more than a national tragedy; this is a human wrong.”
Several pages of Bell’s new article examine the case of the Angola 3 in the context of the broader government repression faced by the Black Panthers. Bell is no stranger to the Angola 3 case. Her 2012 article written for the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, entitled "Perception Profiling & Prolonged Solitary Confinement Viewed Through the Lens of the Angola 3 Case: When Prison Officials Become Judges, Judges Become Visually Challenged and Justice Becomes Legally Blind,” used the Angola 3 case as a springboard for examining the broader use of solitary confinement in US prisons.
We interviewed Bell previously, following the release of her 2012 law journal article. Since the Angola 3 News project began in 2009, we have conducted interviews focusing on many different aspects of the Black Panther Party and the organization's legacy today, including:  Remembering Safiya BukhariCOINTELPRO and the Omaha Two, The Black Panther Party and Revolutionary Art, Dylcia and Cisco on Panthers and Independistas, "We Called Ourselves the Children of Malcolm," Medical Self Defense and the Black Panther Party, and The Black Panther Party's Living Legacy.

Read our new interview with Prof. Bell here.

Both Sides of the Wall (To Albert Woodfox)

By Rev. Laura Markle Downton
National Religious Campaign Against Torture

The calendar and clock read the same,
On both sides of the wall.
The months pass by, the pages turn,
The seasons come, go
And return again.

Every moment, we share the same calendar and clock,
On both sides of the wall.
Hearts beat at the same pace of the
Breath in, breath out, as the page turns again.

My infant mind bends and cannot comprehend,
Time on the other side of the wall.
More time than I have drawn breath,
More seasons than I can recall.

Yet, we share the same calendar and clock,
On both sides of the wall.
Hearts beat at the same pace of the
Breath in, breath out, as the page turns again.

Anniversaries mark the passage of these pages turned,
Charting changes and anticipations.
On both sides of the wall,
We awaken to the same question:
How many hands will it take,
To tear the wall down?

For we share the same calendar and clock,
On both sides of the wall.
Hearts beat at the same pace of the
Breath in, breath out, as the page turns again.

Ancient Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness
After escaping Pharaoh's clutches.
The pharaohs of today keep building the wilderness wall,
Forgetting that freedom
Is humanity's birthright.

Every day, we share the same calendar and clock,
On both sides of the wall.
Hearts beat at the same pace of the
Breath in, breath out, as the page turns again.

From both sides of the wall,
We call out to the many names of our Creator for your strength.
We call out words of gratitude for your courage and your love.
We speak out the truth of memory to inform willing ears,
Of the inhumanity that built and builds these walls.
We cry out in anger for justice deferred.
We cry out in love for what you have taught,
We shout out in hope for freedom to come.

Here we stand, on both sides of the wall.
Insisting that another world is possible,
That in time this wall will fall,
As the clock ticks on.

To Mr. Albert Woodfox, with love to tear the walls down,
Rev. Laura Markle Downton
Keep in Touch With Albert:
Albert Woodfox #72148
David Wade Correctional Center
670 Bell Hill Road
Homer, LA  71040


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