Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cleveland Prison Emergency Summit Meets

By Sharon Danann
Published Mar 5, 2011 9:16 AM

The Black Studies Department of Cleveland State University hosted a groundbreaking “Prison Emergency Summit” on Feb. 26. Activists, students and other interested individuals from the Ohio cities of Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Youngstown, as well as Pittsburgh, attended the gathering.

The all-day conference gave serious attention to the deliberate injustices practiced by the incarceration industry and the impending crisis due to worsening conditions under prison privatization. A highlight was the screening of the important new documentary, “Dark Little Secret,” which is about the prison-industrial complex.

News was given on the continuing mistreatment of alleged leaders of the vast prisoner strike in Georgia last December. However, there was encouraging news, too, of the indictment of seven guards in connection with the death of one prisoner and the injuries of many, related to the strike. An excellent presentation brought into focus the role of the 13th Amendment in perpetuating slavery.

Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of the recently victorious Lucasville hunger strikers, spoke to the gathering by cell phone. In addition, messages were read from several of the prisoners who participated in the uprising at the Lucasville prison. It was also announced that Jason Campbell, a Native American prisoner at Ohio State Penitentiary, began a hunger strike on Feb. 27 to protest the denial of his right to practice his religion.

The Lucasville Uprising Freedom Network and the New Black Panther Party-Cleveland Link coordinated the conference. The Cleveland Anarchist Black Cross and the Joaquin Hicks Real People Movement helped with its planning. Many other organizations supported the effort with information tables, donations, performers, volunteers and speakers.
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