Friday, November 30, 2018

A3 Newsletter: Going to Amsterdam, Widows, Non-Unanimous Juries and more

A3 Newsletter, November 30, 2018:
Another Years Draws to a Close

Albert and King are ending their year with a short trip to Holland to support the Dutch branch of Amnesty International's " Write for Rights Campaign" which kicks off on December 10, International Human Rights Day. The Dutch section of Amnesty has now existed for 50 years and is one of the world's largest Amnesty sections.

Amnesty featured Albert in their 2015 Write for Rights and the prison received bags of mail addressed to him from all over the world!  Albert and King are both happy to be able to support this highly successful effort at protecting prisoners by shining the world's light on them and helping them reach for freedom.

On Friday December 7th, they will appear in Amsterdam, and Den Hague and for the first time, Amnesty has a Write for Rights train ride across the country, where people can get on and write during their ride! Albert and King will ride the train with Amnesty from Den Hague back to Amsterdam before heading home. The featured prisoners this year are eight women who have dared to speak out about human rights abuses from eight different countries.

In one of many interesting interviews and events that occurred this year, Director Steve McQueen (Twelve Years A Slave) asked Albert to read a quote from one of his interviews to open his new film Widows. Several supporters have been stunned to hear Albert's voice at the start of the movie.

For those of you who have been fighting the good fight by illuminating the torture that is solitary confinement, there is a new project that you may find useful. Solitary Watch, in conjunction with Unlock the Box, has started the Solitary Confinement Resource Center, where information, statistics, resources, tools and articles about solitary have been compiled into a huge searchable database. Check it out when you can.

This has been a year full of travel and interviews for both Robert and Albert. Two years free and Albert has become a well-seasoned traveler, sharing how his experience of 44 years in solitary motivates him to stay involved and keep spreading the word about this dreadful penal practice. After fourteen years of advocating for Albert's release and the freedom of all political prisoners, King is happy to share the podium and the plane with his comrade of decades. March of next year brings the long-awaited release of Albert's book, Solitary, which will be released by Grove Press and, undoubtedly more travel. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A3 Newsletter: Important Hearing This Week for Angola Prisoner Vincent Simmons

A3 Newsletter: Important Hearing This Week for Angola Prisoner Vincent Simmons

After a relatively quiet Summer, now Fall is starting out with a bang. Last week, King and Albert made their first presentation of the new season in Montgomery, Alabama for a group of Norwegian lawmakers on a fact-finding mission about the U.S. criminal justice system. 

As part of their trip to Montgomery, they visited the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, also known as the Lynching Memorial that Bryan Stevenson of Equal Justice Initiative conceived and spear-headed. They also visited the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church where Martin Luther King began his ministry and met with several of MLK's comrades. 

They also had a chance to visit the offices of Equal Justice Initiative where Bryan Stevenson and his staff provide legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial in Alabama. It was a moving visit and an auspicious beginning to another season of sharing their experiences across the country and around the world.  

In November, Albert will be traveling to Philadelphia where Mural Arts Philadelphia will be hosting "Portraits of Justice Symposium."  Albert will be the keynote speaker for a day-long symposium that engages the public in reimagining the criminal justice system through the lens of art, advocacy, and policy reform. 

Also in November, King will head off to San Diego to participate in a panel at the annual Society for Neuroscience's conference. 

In December, they'll both be off to Amsterdam to help kick off Amnesty International's annual Write for Rights campaign that was so helpful in moving Albert's release forward in 2016.  

In March of 2019 Albert's book will be released and he will start a multi-city book tour. 

We'll keep everyone posted on these activities and more, but for this newsletter, we are hoping that supporters in Louisiana will make every effort to attend this new hearing for Vincent Simmons, an Angola prisoner who has struggled to have his case re-tried for decades.

More About Vincent Simmons' Court Date

Vincent Simmons' hearing is scheduled for October 2 at 1.15 pm in the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse in Marksville Louisiana. We are encouraging A3 supporters in the area to please attend the hearing and show support for Simmons. Providing further background on Simmons' upcoming court date, KALB in Louisiana reports: 

Friday, July 27, 2018

A3 Newsletter: Why Are We Not Surprised?

Why are we not surprised that children are ripped from their immigrant parents' arms?  Could it be because this has been happening for decades in U.S. jails and prisons -  not to mention, with increasing frequency as the population of women prisoners grows?  

Please read the article below from the July issue of the Coalition for Prisoners' Rights Newsletter, entitled "Cries of Children Echo Thru Years." The numbers cited by the newsletter, detailing the numbers of mothers and their children affected by mass incarceration, are truly staggering.

There are also cases like Veronza Bowers, Ed Poindexter of the Omaha 2 and Laverne Dejohnette, where it seems no amount of cruel and unusual treatment seems to satisfy our criminal injustice system's thirst for extreme punishment. We hope Angola 3 supporters will read these articles, sign petitions and re-commit to furthering their efforts to change the rotten systems that are in place. 

One bright spot in the midst of so much bad news is the release of  Debbie Africa of the Move 9. It was a joy to behold seeing Debbie with her son Mike Jr., who was torn from his mother following his birth in prison! We continue to push for the freedom for the remaining six of the Move 9, who have been repeatedly denied parole since they first became eligible in 2008. So much work left to be done!

For all of you who helped Malik Rahim raise funds for his taxes- here's a short video of the physical fundraiser in New Orleans.

Albert Woodfox Featured at Upcoming VOTE Workshops
--Events seeking participation from survivors of solitary confinement


Monday, June 11, 2018

A3 Newsletter June 11, 2018: Keep on Keeping On

Working for social justice frequently seems to be a glacially slow endeavor. This last week brought a summer thaw and more than a few things have changed. 

We celebrate and honor the work of Professor Angela A. Bell and the students in her Law and Minorities classes at Southern University for their remarkable efforts in seeing the long delayed parole of John Cluchette through to his release. Please read the article and comments below on this momentous event. 

Many Angola 3 supporters will remember the case of the Jena 6, yet another troubling chapter in Louisianaʻs racial history. One of Albertʻs lawyers, Rob McDuff, the amazing Emily Maw of the Innocence Project in New Orleans and Angola 3 supporter Tory Pegram, have continued to work with one of the members of the Jena 6, Theo Shaw, who rose above the massive obstacles and injustices he was faced with to graduate valedictorian of his law class this last week. Congratulations to Theo and best wishes for great success in the future. 

Less personal but also a great indicator of change a coming is the article on law suits being filed against Angola by prisoners objecting to the prisoner/slave connection.... long overdue!  We also want to honor the work of another one of Angola 3ʻs supporters, NRCAT and their excellent work organizing students to protest solitary confinement.

Finally, please join us in commemorating the life of Tiyo Attalah El-Salah, a prisoner at Dallas Security Prison in Pennsylvania who passed away this last week. Tiyoʻs life and work came to us through the efforts of Lois Ahrens of Real Cost of Prisons - a special friend to Tiyo and a tireless advocate for so many others. Tiyoʻs passing, much like Hermanʻs back in 2013 reminds us why we can never stop organizing and fighting.

To our comrades and allies - we are so grateful for your continued efforts. We hope this newsletter will inspire all of us to keep on keeping on. The good news lifts our spirits and the sad news reminds us that we canʻt give up!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BREAKING: 'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette has been released!

Watch a short video interview with John Clutchette following his release, here.

(PHOTO: John Clutchette in the 1980s.)

Today 'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette walked out of the prison gates a free man, following Governor Jerry Brown's final approval of a January 12, 2018 decision by the California Parole Board to grant parole to Clutchette.

On January 18, we published an interview with Southern University Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell detailing Clutchette's case, and which launched an action campaign initiated by Prof. Bell and her students. We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Prof. Bell, her students, and everyone who took action in support of Clutchette's release!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A3 Newsletter: Kiilu Nyasha Remembered, Eric Brown, and A3 in Santa Cruz

(PHOTO: King, Ida, Marina and Kiilu at Expressions Gallery in 2001, just months after King's release from Angola.)

A3 Newsletter, May 15, 2018:
Paying It Forward

Albert and Robert continue on their epic journey, sharing their stories of solitary and false imprisonment, bringing attention to yet unreleased prisoners as in Los Angeles where they met with members of the Committee to Free Leonard Peltier, forging bonds with Native groups working on prison issues. At Princeton the following week they met with students in African American studies and shared their experiences.  Next week they will be in Santa Cruz along with Angela Davis and others. They also wanted to share the story of Eric Brown, still in Angola, with their supporters, hoping that some will find the time to write and support Eric in his efforts towards freedom. 

They also want to join in the memorializing of long time supporter Kiilu Nyasha who passed away unexpectedly last month. Her support of the Angola 3 and so many other political prisoners was tireless and critical to so many. She will be deeply missed.

In 2008, Kiilu interviewed Robert King on her TV show following the release of his autobiography, and she spoke at an A3 event in 2012, (featured at 17 minutes and 50 seconds into this online video). Below is an announcement for Kiilu's memorial service, to be held in San Francisco on May 20.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

PHOTOS: Robert King and Albert Woodfox in Los Angeles at The Main with Rigo 23

Featured below are photos from the April 7, 2018 event with Robert King and Albert Woodfox in Los Angeles, California, entitled "Mightier than Metal, Sturdier than Concrete," hosted by The Main and moderated by artist & longtime A3 supporter Rigo 23.

The panel discussion was held inside the exhibition supporting Leonard Peltier, entitled 'Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves,' which takes its title from a quote by Robert King: "You throw pebbles into a pond, you get ripples; ripples become waves; the waves can become a tsunami."

All photos were taken by Frank Jackson.

(LEFT TO RIGHT: Albert Woodfox, Kathy Peltier, Chauncey Peltier, Robert King, and Rigo 23)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Watch the archived full length video: Robert King and Albert Woodfox in Los Angeles on April 9

The April 9 event with Robert King and Albert Woodfox in Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Auditorium - Central Library has now been archived for those who missed the livestream or we unable to attend.

Robert and Albert also be spoke in Los Angeles at an April 7 event hosted by The Main, which was moderated by artist and longtime A3 supporter Rigo 23.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A3 Newsletter: Angola 3 Spring Update

A3 Newsletter, March 28, 2018:
Where Common Ground Began
--Help Malik Save Lubertha's Home

Featured below is a fundraising appeal from longtime Angola 3 supporter and former Black Panther Malik Rahim, who is shown in the photo above, alongside Robert King and Albert Woodfox.

The Angola 3 have long been involved with and supported Malik in his efforts with Common Ground and multiple other projects. We hope that our supporters will do what they can to assist Malik in saving his motherʻs home, the very home that was the initial base for Common Ground. Please take a moment to watch the video Malik has put together and help if you can.

We also want to remind you that Albert and Robert will be speaking in Los Angeles, California on April 7 at The Main and on April 9 at the Mark Taper Auditorium - Central Library. The April 7 event, moderated by artist and longtime A3 supporter Rigo 23, will occur inside the exhibition 'Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves,' which takes its title from a quote by Robert King: "You throw pebbles into a pond, you get ripples; ripples become waves; the waves can become a tsunami." A fitting metaphor for the decades-long A3 struggle.


A Message from Malik Rahim

(Watch Malik's video and donate here.)

Almost 13 years ago, days after Hurricane Katrina, Mary Ratcliff of the Bay View News Paper called me for an interview which later was entitled  "This is Criminal." First, this article exposed the fact that over 150,000 people (the vast majority being Black) in the City of New Orleans were abandoned and offered no relief. Second, it launched the founding of one of this nation's greatest relief efforts, the Common Ground Collective. Through this collective, Common Ground Relief and Common Ground Health Clinic were organized. Together, we served over a 1/2 Million people in 19 affected parishes in Louisiana as well as counties in both Mississippi and Alabama. We provided outreach assistance to displaced residents in over 20 states.

All three organizations were founded at the home of my late Mother (Lubertha and step Father Irwin Johnson). I also housed over 200 of the early volunteers while serving as their first distribution center. Over 4,000 people received aid at my late mother's home. And it was from that home on Atlantic Ave, just weeks after Hurricane Katrina when we were hit by another hurricane, Rita. These early volunteers, working from my family home, cleaned hundreds of storm drains, preventing Algiers (which later became the community that the City of New Orleans was able to use to begin it's recovery efforts) from flooding. Never has the City of New Orleans, State of Louisiana nor this nation acknowledged the role and sacrifice those who volunteered with these organizations played in the aftermath of both hurricanes.

Now, in this New Orleans' 300th year anniversary, the city is attempting to sell my family home for back taxes. Taxes I will pay, for I truly believe there are enough grateful people in New Orleans to help me raise $ 31,000, to save a home if renovated would be valued over $200,000. But as these taxes are paid, I will be filing a civil right's law suit against the City of New Orleans, State of Louisiana and U.S. Federal Government, declaring our civil rights were violated, that I was targeted for being a member of the Black Panther Party and for the work I did to free the Angola 3 (three men who spent a combine total of 114 years in solitary confinement). But most of all, for exposing the injustice infected in my community in the aftermath of these hurricanes.

Please support my effort by not only making a contribution to save my home but calling for city, state, and congressional hearing on this civil action. Remember this can happen again if we fail to act.

Thanking you in advance for your support.
In the struggle for environmental Peace & Justice

Malik Rahim

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Please Support Herman Bell - Four Things to do Right Now!

We are reposting this call to action released by supporters of Herman Bell. Please do what you can!

Dear friends,

Last week the New York State Board of Parole granted Herman Bell release. Since the Board’s decision, there has been significant backlash from the Police Benevolent Association, other unions, Mayor De Blasio and Governor Cuomo. They are demanding that Herman be held indefinitely, the Parole Commissioners who voted for his release be fired, and that people convicted of killing police be left to die in prison.

We want the Governor, policymakers, and public to know that we strongly support the Parole Board’s lawful, just and merciful decision. We also want to show support for the recent changes to the Board, including the appointment of new Commissioners and the direction of the new parole regulations, which base release decisions more on who a person is today and their accomplishments while in prison than on the nature of their crime.

Herman has a community of friends, family and loved ones eagerly awaiting his return. At 70 years old and after 45 years inside, it is time for Herman to come home.

Here are four things you can do RIGHT NOW to support Herman Bell:

Monday, February 19, 2018

Albert Woodfox’s Release: Celebrating and Reflecting Upon the Two-Year Anniversary --An Interview With Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

(PHOTOS: Albert's 71st Birthday party held this weekend 
at his home in New Orleans. Happy Birthday, Albert!)

Albert Woodfox’s Release: Celebrating and Reflecting Upon the Two-Year Anniversary
--An Interview With Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

By Angola 3 News

On February 19, 2016, following 43 years in solitary confinement, Albert Woodfox of the Angola 3 was released from prison on his 69th birthday. Now two years later, as we celebrate Albert’s 71st birthday, it is still difficult to properly articulate our profound joy that after decades of hard work and perseverance, Albert is now living life on his own terms. We would once again like to express our sincere gratitude to Albert’s legal team and to the many supporters from around the world who came together to make this happen.

Since his release, Albert has been to Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Canada and multiple campuses including Harvard and Yale. He’s now busy writing his autobiography and both he and fellow Angola 3 member, Robert King, continue to do their best to keep the conversation about solitary confinement and political prisoners in the public spotlight.

Albert and Robert will be speaking in Los Angeles, California on April 7 at The Main and on April 9 at the Mark Taper Auditorium – Central Library. The April 7 event, moderated by artist and longtime A3 supporter Rigo 23, will occur inside the exhibition ‘Rigo 23: Ripples Become Waves,’ which takes its title from a quote by Robert King: “You throw pebbles into a pond, you get ripples; ripples become waves; the waves can become a tsunami.” A fitting metaphor for the decades-long A3 struggle.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette Granted Parole; Will CA Governor Jerry Brown Reverse the Decision? --An interview with Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

Please take action in support of John Clutchette! A sample letter and list of talking points for contacting California Governor Jerry Brown is featured at the bottom of this article.

(Photo of John Clutchette in the 1980s.)

'Soledad Brother' John Clutchette Granted Parole; Will CA Governor Jerry Brown Reverse the Decision?
--An interview with Law Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell

By Angola 3 News

On January 12, 2018, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to an elderly inmate named John Clutchette. However, supporters of parole for Clutchette are concerned that California Governor Jerry Brown will reverse the Board's decision, and Clutchette will not be released.

Supporters have a reason to be concerned. After all, this is exactly what happened in 2016 when Clutchette was similarly granted parole by the Board but Governor Brown chose to reverse the Board's ruling.

Legal scholar Angela A. Allen-Bell, a professor at Southern University Law Center and students in her "Law and Minorities" class began researching Clutchette's legal battle over a year ago. Following extensive research they have concluded that "the law has been used to perpetuate an injustice in Mr. Clutchette’s case."

Why did Governor Brown deny parole to 74-year-old John Clutchette?  In our interview with Professor Bell, she refers to Brown's written explanation for his 2016 parole reversal, where Brown cites the fact that in the early 1970s, Clutchette was one of a trio of inmates at California's Soledad Prison, who became high profile co-defendants known as the "Soledad Brothers."

(Photo of the Soledad Brothers, with John Clutchette on the left, reprinted for a 1970 poster.)