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.)

Monday, December 7, 2015

New Orleans, Dec. 12: Art for Rights / Write for Rights, Amnesty Intl. event with Robert King and BMike

Join Amnesty International USA in New Orleans on December 12, from 10am to 6pm, to celebrate art, human rights and international solidarity. As part of the organization’s annual “Write for Rights” campaign, Amnesty International USA is partnering with New Orleans native, Brandan “BMike” Odums to host an “Art for Rights” pop-up exhibition at Studio Be, 2925-2999 Royal Street in New Orleans. Attendees will not only have the opportunity to write letters on behalf of prisoners and human rights defenders from around the world, they will witness the creation of 12 different murals honoring the struggles and activism of individuals on whose behalf Amnesty works.

Art can be a cultural tool during times of unrest to expose truths, helping to humanize social struggle and actualize grievances and fears. Often, it is what inspires us to action.

Amnesty has chosen to hold the inaugural event in New Orleans where Albert Woodfox, one of the 12 cases featured in this year’s Write for Rights campaign, has been held in solitary confinement for over 40 years.

Robert King, the first freed member of the Angola 3, will be joining BMike as the keynote speaker.

Art For Rights
Saturday, December 12th, 2015
10am – 6pm
2925-2999 Royal Street
New Orleans, LA


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A3 Newsletter: From the Louvre to Louisiana

While the National and International community rally to the support of Albert Woodfox, time seems to have stood still in Louisiana where the long struggle to achieve freedom for Albert Woodfox after four decades in solitary confinement for a crime he did not commit drags on nearly three years after a federal judge once again overturned Albert's conviction.

In France, the newly released " Cruel and Unusual" updates "In the Land of the Free" and digs more deeply into the arcane mode of punishment that reaches new levels of abuse in the United States- decades of solitary confinement and the results there of.

Meanwhile, Amnesty chapters both nationally and internationally urge their members to Write for the Rights of political prisoners with a special focus on twelve prisoners world-wide, including Albert Woodfox.  There will be kick off events globally and Robert King will be urging letter writers on via Skyped interviews with student sections in Holland and the U.S.

As the year draws to a close, a year we were certain we would see Albert released- we pray for many things- world peace, homes for the dispossessed everywhere and freedom from fear, racism and hatred at home and abroad and finally, finally, finally.... freedom for Albert Woodfox and the too many political and economic prisoners held in gulags around the country.