The 'Friends of Marcia Powell' are autonomous groups and individuals engaging in prisoner outreach, informal advocacy, and organized protest and direct actions in a sustained campaign to: promote prisoner rights and welfare in America; engage the Arizona public in a creative and thoughtful critique of our system of "justice;” deconstruct the prison industrial complex; and dismantle this racist, classist patriarchy...

Retiring "Free Marcia Powell"

As of December 2, 2010 (with occasional exceptions) I'm retiring this blog to direct more of my time and energy into prisoner rights and my other blogs; I just can't do anyone justice when spread so thin. I'll keep the site open so folks can search the archives and use the links, but won't be updating it with new posts. If you're looking for the latest, try Arizona Prison Watch. Most of the pieces posted here were cross-posted to one or both of those sites already.

Thanks for visiting. Peace out - Peg.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Marcia Powell was alive when she left Perryville Prison for the last time"

From Arizona Republic:

Remembering Marcia Powell

“The king will answer them: ‘I assure you, as often as you did it for one of my least brothers, you did it for me.'”
Matthew 25:40

About 30 people gathered on Sunday morning in one of the city's most beautiful places to remember one of the state's most horrifying moments.

They were there to remember a woman none of them knew in the hope that never again would what happened to her happen to another human being. They were there to say that we can – that we must – do better.

“This could have happened to any one of us so it's important that we remember,” said one of those present, a man who suffers from a mental illness, as did Marcia Powell.

Marcia Powell. You know the name. It instantly brings to mind one of Arizona's most shameful days, the day we let a woman die in an uncovered metal cage in the middle of a dirt yard in the middle of a state prison.

Her chief crime: that she was mentally ill.

Powell never knew her real parents and she ran away from her adoptive parents when she was 14. For most of her life, she lived on the streets, doing drugs and turning tricks. It was all she knew how to do, having been fired from every job she ever had. She bounced from street to jail to prison and back again, at times getting arrested within hours of her release. In all, she racked up two dozen or more felony convictions and 30 misdemeanors in three states, most of them for prostitution or drug possession.

As far back as 1993, authorities recognized that she had a mental illness but she didn't want help and we gave her exactly what she wanted.

In July 2008, she offered sex to an undercover cop in exchange for $20 worth of crack. Her attorney pointed out the obvious, that another stay in prison would only lead to more stays in prison, that it wasn't the answer to reforming Powell or protecting the public. She was sentenced to 27 months in prison anyway.

During the late morning of May 19, Powell said she was suicidal and was put in an outdoor cage to await transfer to the psychiatric unit at the Perryville prison. Four hours later, she collapsed, her body smeared with excrement, her organs melting in the sweltering Arizona sun. At least 20 inmates said she had begged for water, though guards on duty denied that.

Powell died the next day.

It was left to strangers to claim her ashes. Her adoptive mother, who lives in a gated community in La Quinta, Calif., wanted no part of any send off. Her only known son was murdered a few years ago. Her daughter could not be found. That's how it often is with those who suffer from mental illness. They are isolated and alone, easily forgotten.

One man, however, couldn't forget. Twelve years of Catholic schooling -- in particular that Bible passage in Matthew, quoting Jesus -- stuck. For months, he thought about how Marcia Powell lived and the way she died.

“The thought of her in a cage, screaming for water, covered in her own feces -- that that could happen in 2009 in the city I grew up in was unimaginable and kind of an indictment of us all,” said the man, who asked not to be named in order to protect the privacy of his son, who also suffers from mental illness.

Both the man and his son graduated from Brophy College Preparatory so it was natural, I suppose, that he approached the school last fall about putting up a small memorial to Powell, some place where her story could be told, in the hope that never again is it repeated.

The Rev. Edward Reese, president of the school, agreed. “It just struck me as the right thing to do,” he told me. “The kind of kids we want to produce from here are boys that are going to make a difference. They are so far from her life and yet they are a part of her life.”

And so it was on Sunday that a small group gathered to bless Marcia's plaque, set into stone at the courtyard entrance to Brophy Chapel. “In memory of her and all those forgotten or neglected by society,” it says, “may they finally rest in peace.”

Marcia Powell's story will be written and hung just inside the chapel and Reese will be there, to talk of it to the boys who come to Brophy to learn, as it turns out, not just with their heads but with their hearts.

“This community can no longer do nothing…,” said the man who commissioned the plaque. “Her story can serve as a real contemporary human example of those eternal truths which they teach and we all ought to try to live up to.”

It was fitting that the tribute came at the beginning of May, which is Mental Health Month. One year later, it's a good time to consider what we have learned from Marcia Powell. Was she unreachable or did we just fail to reach her?

Something to ponder as May turns into June and June to July when the state is cutting off most services to 14,500 seriously mentally ill Arizonans who, like Marcia, so badly need our help.

(Column published May 5, 2010, The Arizona Republic)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Share the DREAM...Free the DREAMERS!

In Solidarity with DREAM Activists everywhere.
AM rush hour, I-10 West, Phoenix, AZ.

DREAM Activists Sit-in, Arrested at McCain's Tucson Office.

This email floored me when I got it last night. These kids have more courage than most American citizens. They've put everything on the line for the DREAM Act. The least the rest f us can do is can McCain and tell him we want these kids free and legal. How can anyone think they'd be anything but a blessing to our nation? They already are.

Here are McCain's Senate office numbers:

  • Phoenix Office: (602) 952-2410

  • Prescott Office: (928) 445-0833

  • Tempe Office: (480) 897-6289

  • Tucson Office: (520) 670-6334

  • Washington Office: (202) 224-2235

    And here are his campaign office numbers. 

     Phoenix Office: 602-604-2010                      Tucson Office: 520-327-2773

    Boy is his campaign site looking scary...he's really turned anti-immigrant - and didn't mention a thing in his news releases about having those Dream Activists arrested, of course. I don't see how he can keep all his promises to the Latino community when he's so busy sucking up to the far right...

    Made my call, and registered my voice to free those youth and push the DREAM act through. It'll only take you two or three minutes to do the same - just pick an office and dial.

---------------------------The Dream is Coming--------------------------

Media Contacts: Juan (407) 602-8675,
Flavia de la Fuente (949) 910-6362
DETAINED in Arizona: Four Student Immigrant Leaders
Peacefully Resist Current Immigration Law, Urge Passage of DREAM Act

As of 6:00 PM PST Monday May 17, Mohammad, Yahaira, Lizbeth and Raul, an Arizona Resident, have been arrested and detained after their day long sit-in at Senator John McCains Office in Tucson, AZ. Tania, who was not detained, has been designated as spokesperson and will be relating the experiences/thoughts of the group during the action.

Senator John McCain offered the students a meeting in order to discuss the Dream Act, however, the students recognize that this is insufficient and that immediate action is needed to pass the DREAM Act!

Tucson, Arizona. May 17th, on the anniversary of landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education, Arizona law enforcement arrested four undocumented leaders of the immigrant student movement in addition to Arizona native Raul Alcaraz. Lizbeth Mateo of Los Angeles, California; Tania Unzueta of Chicago, Illinois; Mohammad Abdollahi of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Yahaira Carrillo of Kansas City, Missouri; were detained Tucson, Arizona, after staging a sit-in at Senator John McCain’s office. With this challenge to local and federal law, these youth hope to highlight the urgency of legislative action in Congress, and catalyze mass grassroots mobilization to pass the DREAM Act before June 15th.

These four leaders are risking deportation from the United States in the hope that this action will make a significant contribution to the fight for immigrant rights. In response to the onslaught of enforcement-based immigration law, they staged a sit-in at Senator McCain’s office, and urged congressional leadership to champion the DREAM Act and the values it represents: hard work, education, and fairness.

Lizbeth, 25, an organizer with DREAM Team Los Angeles, states, "There are already ten other states across the country considering immigration legislation similar to Arizona’s: legislation that is anti-family, anti-democratic, and anti-freedom. Police states and enforcement are quickly becoming the standard, and we are running out of time. We are going to pass the DREAM Act because it is based on freedom and equality."

Mohammad, 24, co-founder of DreamActivist.Org, a resource web portal for undocumented students, said in a statement: "Never in our history has it been American to deny people their civil rights. We have decided to peacefully resist to encourage our leaders to pass the DREAM Act and create a new standard for immigration reform based on education, hard work, equality, and fairness."
At least 65,000 undocumented immigrant youth graduate from high schools every year, and many of them struggle to attend institutes of higher education and the military. The DREAM Act will grant youth who traveled to the United States before the age of 16 a path to citizenship contingent on continuous presence in the country, good behavior, and the attainment of at least a two-year university degree or a two-year commitment to the armed forces.

"During the civil rights movement, African-American students were arrested for sitting down at lunch counters. We’ve been detained for standing on a sidewalk. We can't wait any longer for the DREAM Act to pass," said Tania, 26, co-founder of the Immigrant Youth Justice League, and immigrant rights organizer in Chicago.

All four are leaders in their own communities and have dedicated years to work for immigrant rights, legalization for undocumented immigrants, and the DREAM Act. “Dr. King spoke of a dream of equality overcoming fear. Well, the fierce urgency of our dreams has overcome any kind of fear we may have had before. We can’t wait,” concluded Yahaira, 25, a founder of the Kansas Missouri Dream Alliance.

National Press Conference
Tuesday May 18th
9 AM Pacific, 11 PM Central, Noon EST

In front of Senator John McCain’s office:
407 West Congress Street
Tucson, AZ 85701

Scott Watch: Unconstitutional Living Conditions

Unconstitutional Living Condition ~ Unedited ~By Jamie Scott ~ Please Forward to Media Outlets
April 20, 2010

Jamie Scott # 19197
P.O. Box 88550
Pearl, MS 39288-8850

The living condition in quickbed area is not fit for any human to live in. I have been incarcerated for 15 years 6 months now and this is the worst I have ever experience. When it rain out side it rain inside. The zone flood like a river. The rain comes down on our heads and we have to try to get sheets and blankets to try to stop it from wetting our beds and personnel property. Because the floors are concrete and it have paint on it, it makes it very slippery when it rain and there have been numerous of inmates that have broke their arms and hurt there self do to this. Above our heads there are rows and rows of spiders as if we live in the jungle. There are inmates that have holds in there bodies left from spider bites, because once they are bitten it take forever to get to the clinic for any help. There are mold in the bathroom ceiling and around the walls and toilets. The toilets leak sewage from under them and they have the inmate men to come in and patch them up occasionally. The smell is awful. The showers are two circular poles with five shower heads on each pole. The floor in the shower is also concrete and slippery. There is nothing to hold on to when you exit the shower so there have been many inmates that have hurt there self in the process. Outside the building there is debirs where the unit is falling apart. Each day we are force to live in these conditions. The staph infection is so high and we are force to wave in toilet and sewage water when we have to go to the bathroom. I have witness to many inmates die at the hands of this second rate medical care. I do not want to be one of them. When this is brought to the health department or anyone attention. The MDOC tries to get the inmate to try to pamper it up so if someone comes in it want look as bad as the inmates said it did. I am fully aware that we are in prison, but no one should have to live in such harsh condition. I am paranoid of catching anything because of what I have been going throw with my medical condition. We are living in these harsh conditions, but if you go to the administration offices, they are nice and clean and smell nice because they make sure the inmates clean their offices each day. They tell us to clean the walls. Cleaning the walls will not help anything. Cleaning the walls will not stop the rain from pouring in. it will not stop the mold from growing inside the walls and around us. It will not stop the spiders from mating. They have 116 inmates on each wing, and we live not five feet from each other in order to pack us in. We have the blowers on the ceiling and if the inmates are acting crazy or the staff come in mad they use the blowers as a form of punishment. The taxes payers really are lead to believe we are been rehabilitated. That is a joke. All we do is sit in this infected unit and build up more hate. Rehabilitated starts within you. If you want to change you will change. One thing about MDOC, they know how to fix the paper work up to make it seen as if they are doing their job. You can get more drugs and anything else right here. I have witness a lot in my time here. Do I sound angry, I am not I am hurt and sick. Because they have allowed my kidney to progress to stage five which been the highest. They told me years ago I had protein in my urine, but I went years without any help. Now, it seen the eyes are on me because my family are on their case. Every inmate is not without family. Yes, you do have many inmates that family have giving up on, but my sister and I are not them. I do not want special attention; I want to treat, and to live how the state says on paper we are living. The same way when it is time for the big inspection we are promised certain food if we please clean up to pass this inspection. So I beg of anyone to please understand Mississippi Department of Correction is a joke. They will let you die or even kill yourself. We are told when visitors come into the prison do not talk to them. Well I have the right to talk to anyone and if the health department or anyone comes I will talk to him or her, because this is my life and I should or anyone else should be force to live like this. They use unlawful punishments to try to shut us up. I need help. I need a inmate to help me, but for some reason they will not allow me to move with my sister, so she can help me. There are mother and daughter, aunties, and nieces housed together and also there are a total of 12 inmates acting as orally for others inmates. I have all the names of the inmates acting as a orally if need to be giving. However, the subject of my sister is been danced around. A form of discrimination. My sister (Gladys Scott) and I were housed together for over ten years and not once have we ever caused any problem. We were spit up because in 2003 the Commissioner came with the order to separate all family members. Because its payback because my family is holding them accountable to do what they are paid to do. Also, do to the fact Mr. Daniels on it’s a New Day & Grassroots are keeping the supports inform that is been pointed out to me in a negative way. Now that I am sitting everyday because of my sickness I have time to use my typewriter. MDOC have gotten away with to much. In addition, some of the things that go on here I truly believe that Mr. Epps do not know.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice: Hunger Strike!

The Gray-Haired Witnesses for Justice are conducting a Hunger Strike  at the Department of Justice Headquarters in Washington, DC  on June 21, 2010.

Contacts:  Ruby Sales / B.J. Janice Peak-Graham
1-706-323-0246 / 0247 -

We, who are three strikes removed from the center of the power structure of this country, want to raise the political consciousness of the nation while standing as the moral soul of the nation. We are Gray-Haired Witnesses who have struggled from time immemorial within the Black community.  We are building towards a movement in history and we need all people of good will to be a part!  

When Ida B. Wells stood up, she set in motion a resistance movement where many Americans broke their silence against lynching and said NO. She stood for a race of people bereft of political power or resources.  More than 100 years later Gray-Haired Witnesses, Black women with a new Freedom Movement calling on this nation, stand in the spirit of those proud men and women who won hard-fought for victories in struggle and blood.  We speak to the totality of the struggle of the Black woman who is debased regularly as uneducated, immoral, subhuman, whore, bad mother, and welfare queen. We also recognize the systemic racism that leads the police to even arrest the lack woman in the first place, the racism during sentencing, during incarceration, in dealing with social services, education, health discrimination, and beyond.

Over the last 20 years, the women’s population in US prisons has more than tripled.  Most women are in prison as a result of drug selling, addiction, domestic violence and criminal acts mostly related to men.  Too many are victimized by biased and negligent lawyers and judges. The evidence of oppression against Black and poor women significantly increased and continues to mount. Our Sisters are victimized, and subsequently our families, by enormous health care disparities, and emotional degradation through corporate media demonization of our image and place in our community. We now see a coalition of corporate, cultural and political wars fully embracing a White supremacist culture of domination and terrorism.

Our primary focus is the case of the Mississippi Scott Sisters, Jamie and Gladys, whose almost 16 yrs of unjust incarceration is a shocking revelation of the pure nothingness with which our lives are deemed in the eyes of this society and world, where such egregious travesties of justice are heaped upon our women with hate-filled arrogance and in plain view!  In 1994, the State of Mississippi sentenced Jamie and Gladys Scott  to consecutive double-life terms each for two counts of armed robbery they did not commit.  They did not have prior criminal records, vigorously maintained their innocence, approximately $11 was said to have been netted, no one was harmed or injured and no weapon was ever recovered.

In January, 2010, Jamie Scott suffered failure of both kidneys.  The combination of absymal health care under deplorable conditions has culminated in her steep decline to stage 5 (end stage) kidney disease. 
 Jamie Scott has now effectively been sentenced to death.  We must address this specific issue with urgency and demand that an Inspection and Observation Team be allowed into the Pearl, MS prison where Jamie Scott is being held for independent evaluation, as well as call on this government to free Jamie and Gladys Scott, wrongfully convicted and with no business being incarcerated in the first place!  The case of the Scott Sisters is a horrific representation of the cases of countless other Black and poor women who have been denied the benefits of true justice and been incarcerated wrongly and in the process punishing, injuring and destroying Black families and children across the nation.

The Gray-Haired Witness are calling on all people of good will to fast and strike and resist with us across the nation on this day. The greatest asset we have is our body, mind and spirit and our willingness to step out of the daily flow of life and stand tall for what is right and just.  In the tradition of race women throughout history and our survival, we declare our presence and we will not be silent and we are not afraid.
 Our lives have prepared us to come to this place, at this time.



Organize attendees to come to the event on June 21.
2. Sign your organization/club/church/mosque/temple, etc. on in solidarity with the event.

Put a statement in support on your website and link to our blogspot.  Send a mailing to your email list and memberships.

Assist in distributing literature for this event to build it to the maximum level.  

Assist in garnering press now and at the event.
6. Organize a local fast where you are and send a press release to local news outlets about the hunger strike and your local support efforts.

Dress and wear buttons in solidarity with us on that day.

Assist with donations towards expenses earmarked "Gray-Haired Witnesses" at

We call on our Sisters, our Brothers to join with us to demand what is right.  We must speak loudly and clearly to the devaluation of Black women's bodies and lives.  We want people of all colors to wage a struggle and stand with us on these issues because none of us are free until we are all free.

FATIRAH AZIZ, ICFFMAJ, African American Freedom & Reconstruction League, Quba Institute
MAE JACKSON, Art without Walls
MARPESSA KUPENDUA, M'Backe House of Hope, Inc.
BJ JANICE PEAK-GRAHAM, OUR COMMON GROUND Communications, Inc., Progressive Alternative Talk Radio 
RUBY NELL SALES, Founder and Co-Director of SpiritHouse project - Public theologian, educator and long time runner for justice
JAMIA SHEPHERD, Founder/President of S.O.P.E. - Support Our People's Efforts 

The SpiritHouse Project
100 6th Street
Columbus, GA  31901

Friday, May 14, 2010

Phillip Gibbs, James Green, and the colors of Resistance.

Those of us who know Vietnam protest history at all know about the white kids murdered by the Ohio National Guard while protesting  at Kent State in 1970. Look again at all our history books: the anti-war movement is usually given a righteous young white face - despite the fact that the black community was in overwhelming opposition to the expanding  war, since their young men made up most of the US Army's front line fodder. In fact, Martin Luther King was beginning to vociferously challenge both the racism of the war and US imperialism when he was assassinated two years earlier.

So, today the story is about the kids killed in Mississippi at Jackson State College during their own uprisings just ten days after Kent State - the kids that even our leftier history teachers often forget to mention. They were 21-year old Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, and 17-year old high school senior James Earl Green. I was going to post the Democracy Now transcript on it - which isn't bad - but you'll have to Google if that's what you want. Here's the link to Jackson State College's Gibbs-Green Memorial page instead. Like the pages missing from our history books - the whole chapters left out - this school's page was strangely hard to find.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Honro Resistance, Not Repression.

No Banquets! Free Jamie and Gladys Scott!
Represent Our Resistance

By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD Editorial Board
May 6, Issue 374

We, the Black masses, don't want these leaders who seek our support coming to us representing a certain political party. They must come to us today as Black Leaders representing the welfare of Black people. We won't follow any leader today who comes on the basis of political party. Both parties (Democrat and Republican) are controlled by the same people who have abused our rights, and who have deceived us with false promises every time an election rolls around.
-Malcolm X

Jamie Scott suffers from kidney disease. She receives inadequate medical care, but the Jackson County Branch of the NAACP in Mississippi last month (April) held a banquet, “NAACP: One Nation, One Dream,” to honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding service to the community. Christopher Epps, commissioner for the Mississippi Department of Corrections was recognized for his - work.

Epps (Black American) is the “longest serving commissioner in the history of the agency,” according to MDOC’s website. Appointed by Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2002 and then reappointed by Gov. Haley Barbour in 2004, Epps must have done his work quite well.

Mrs. Evelyn (Rasco), Jamie’s mother, spoke to Epps in March of this year on behalf of her daughter. Jamie, she told him, is very ill; she needs serious medical care. Jamie and her sister Gladys were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to double life each for an $11 dollar robbery. The wallet re-appeared with the money. The accusers admitted to supplying false testimonies against the young women then. But its 15 years latter and now Jamie is ill.

Epps told Mrs. (Rasco) that he would do “everything in his power” and work to have the Scott sisters released from prison, according to legal analyst Nancy Lockhart. Now it seems that Epps isn’t so sure this is his work - securing medical care for Jamie or securing the release of Jamie and Gladys. Maybe Jamie isn’t so ill. Maybe she isn’t so truthful about her experiences with the prison’s medical personnel.

“I’ve talked with Jamie many times. I know Jamie. I can’t imagine Jamie would lie. I have never known Jamie to lie,” Lockhart told me.

No, I can’t imagine that any woman in the end-stage of kidney disease, receiving inadequate treatment, living in a cell with spiders and moldy walls would lie about her condition. No, not many could imagine a woman lying about the pain and bleeding of 4-5 caterers that had been placed in her neck or the bleeding from the caterer (placed in her groin) that fell out. No human being would imagine another would be lying while they suffer from a life-threatening disease.

But Epps seems to have doubts. Something is wrong with this story!

I agree. Something is strange about this story!

The Jackson County Branch rewards Christopher Epps for his outstanding community work! People have to be congratulated for their community work - in this post-racial era! That’s strange considering that surveillance teams are watching and recording a good many of them!

Immigrant communities, particularly Latino/as and Haitian communities, are working to organize resistance to the legalization of racial profiling and racial terror. Native Americans are working to organize resistance to the effort of the government to run bulldozers over their lands and their lives. Muslim communities are working to organize resistance to the targeting of their mosques and community organizations.

While community organizations, focusing on the fallout of war waged against Black Americans, organize to tackle housing, unemployment, gentrification of neighborhoods, and high infant mortality rates, the Black community isn’t organized to confront the U.S. Empire that perpetuates these conditions. On the contrary, mainstream Black organizations fear losing their credibility with Empire and, in turn, they fear losing economic and political support.

These organizations can’t identify themselves as critics of the U.S. Empire. So banquets - out of reach of Jamie, her sister, and their mother - are organized to do what? Honor whom? Collaborators, obedient servants - who are also intended to serve as symbols of Black success? Look at the number of Black Americans who can afford to attend the awards banquet! Look at the “exceptional,” outstanding professional Blacks honored for their work.

In the meantime, NAACP representatives aren’t knocking on Black residents’ doors to urge them to come out, stand together to engage in civil disobedience. The NAACP won’t organize troops of people from the communities of Red, Black, Brown, and Muslim to appear in Washington D.C. and demand an end to the laws and policies that have incarcerated 2.3 million Americans.

Be practical! How could we remain the NAACP without government funding?

But the question should be - how do members of the NAACP continue to tell themselves that its organization represents Black Americans, including the poor, imprisoned, and working class in the tradition of Black solidarity?

Do they know that the Black community is collapsing from without and well as from within? Or is the NAACP an organization that does what is safe for the NAACP to sustain its life. It’s safe to honor Epps, but it’s not safe to free the incarcerated like Jamie and Gladys.

When the NAACP planned a study on the effects of prison in the lives of juveniles, Nancy Lockhart approached the regional director about the Scott Sisters’ case. Lockhart was told that the Sisters “didn’t qualify” for the study, but he would refer their case to the “criminal division of the NAACP” and recommend that the division treat the case in the same manner they are treating the Troy Davis case! Lockhart: “How long was Troy Davis in prison before the NAACP responded to his wrongful conviction?” Other legal organizations did the work to free Davis long before the NAACP took note of his imprisonment.

Is it that Davis’ case like Mumia’s case has received international support and it is therefore safe enough for the NAACP?

As Michelle Alexander writes in The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, “mass incarceration depends for its legitimacy on the widespread belief that all those who appear trapped at the bottom actively chose their fate.” No group believes this fallacy more than the Black middle class. While a few more Blacks per year are seated at banquet tables, oblivious to the day-to-day plight of Blackness in the U.S., there’s a steady increase of Black children and young people hurdled into the criminal justice system each year. Unfortunate environment! Wrong parents! The judgment of a divine mind! Jamie and Gladys Scott are just not - exceptional--they’re just common.

Overlook them! They can’t vote! They don’t count!

The system has regulated our relations with one another to its benefit and our detriment.

Consequently, we no longer, as a collective, heed Martin Luther King's warning that, to quote from Alexander, “racial justice requires the complete transformation of social institutions and dramatic restructuring of our economy, not superficial changes that can [be] purchased on the cheap.” Work that contributes to the continuation of U.S. Empire’s practice of aggression can’t transform or dramatically restructure the institutions that enslave the majority of humanity.

The horrors of Empire are more easily recognized when on display over there. But the horrors of U.S. Empire are here. Palestine is here. The West Bank and Gaza are here in the U.S. in the barrios, on the reservations, in urban communities, and in rural prisons. We don’t see it, but the War on Drugs and immigrant laws lock away Black and Brown people here. Unarmed young men are shot 20, 30, and 41 times for being Black while they hold a cell phone, or ride a subway, or attend a bachelor’s party.

The re-settlement scheme, otherwise known as gentrification, forces people to sleep on park benches and in public library sitting rooms. Systemic unemployment and low wages create conditions of impoverishment for thousands of children here. Racial profiling and militarized borders and neighborhoods subject people to fear and shame. Here in the U.S., millions of people for whom the political and economic domestic policies resemble the foreign policies enforced over there, these conditions are too close for Americans to see.

It’s sad to see Black organizations lacking the will and desire to break free and work on behalf of those abused, tortured, imprisoned, killed by the Empire. It’s hard to see how such organizations can direct a movement that would bring about structural transformations in the U.S. Consequently, we can’t put the spotlight on the kind of work that only strengthens aggressive strategies, except to condemn that work as inhumane.

But we shouldn’t have to see Jamie die before we remember that the U.S. has never played fair with Black Americans. If we recall our ancestors, we’ll remember the meaning of work. Let Malcolm and King be pleased for a change!

Mrs. (Rasco) isn’t getting any younger. “She’s an elderly woman, and Gladys needs to be able to care for her sister,” Lockhart said.

Let’s give Jamie Scott the spotlight and honor her with compassion. Free Jamie and her sister Gladys!


Appeals Court Affirms that Mississippi Death Row Conditions are Unconstitutional
Civil Rights Lawyers and Mississippi Department of Corrections Agree to Overhaul Violent Supermax Unit

Mrs. Evelyn Rasco -
Nancy Lockhart or call 843 217 4649
Christopher B. Epps, Commissioner (601) 359-5600 Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer for over thirty years of commentary, resistance criticism and cultural theory, and short stories with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of cultural narrative violence and its antithesis, resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication to justice and equality, she has served as a coordinator of student and community resistance projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea of an egalitarian community and facilitator of student-teacher communities behind the walls of academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender, class narratives) from Loyola University, Chicago. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Schools are Under Attack: What do we do?

 "Stand up, Fight Back!" 

That was the chant coming over NPR today, which also reported on the new English-fluency rules for teachers now, too (I doubt that Tom Horne is complaining about teachers with thick German accents...). 

Boy, is the Latino community getting hit big time. We can't let this stuff stand, folks. It's outright fascism. Even the UN condemns this new law!

This article comes from the Huffington Post via Freedom Archives' Anti-Imperialist News. Worth subscribing to their email list. The link to do so is at the bottom.


Arizona Ethnic Studies Law Signed By Governor Brewer, Condemned By UN Human Rights Experts

JONATHAN J. COOPER | 05/11/10 11:50 PM | AP

PHOENIX ­ Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill targeting a school district's ethnic studies program on Tuesday, hours after a report by United Nations human rights experts condemned the measure.

State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the measure for years, said a Tucson school district program promotes "ethnic chauvinism" and racial resentment toward whites while segregating students by race.

"It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," Horne said.

The measure prohibits classes that advocate ethnic solidarity, that are designed primarily for students of a particular race or that promote resentment toward a certain ethnic group. It also prohibits classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.

The Tucson Unified School District program offers specialized courses in African-American, Mexican-American and Native-American studies that focus on history and literature and include information about the influence of a particular ethnic group.

For example, in the Mexican-American Studies program, an American history course explores the role of Hispanics in the Vietnam War, and a literature course emphasizes Latino authors.

Horne said he believes the Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people. Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

Brewer's signature on the bill comes less than a month after she signed the nation's toughest crackdown on illegal immigration – a move that ignited international backlash amid charges the measure would encourage racial profiling of Hispanics.

A Republican running for attorney general, Horne has been trying to restrict the program ever since he learned that Hispanic civil rights activist Dolores Huerta in 2006 told students that "Republicans hate Latinos."

District officials said the program doesn't promote resentment, and they believe it would comply with the new law.

About 1,500 students at six high schools in the district are enrolled in the program. Elementary and middle school students also are exposed to the ethnic studies curriculum. The district is 56 percent Hispanic, with nearly 31,000 Latino students.

Sean Arce, director of the district's Mexican-American Studies program, said last month that students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them.

"It's a highly engaging program that we have, and it's unfortunate that the state Legislature would go so far as to censor these classes," he said.

Six UN human rights experts released a statement earlier Tuesday expressing concern about the measure. All people have the right to learn about their own cultural and linguistic heritage, they said.

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman didn't directly address the UN criticism, but said Brewer supports the bill's goal.

"The governor believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people," Senseman said.

The law doesn't prohibit classes that teach about the history of a particular ethnic group, as long as the course is open to all students and doesn't promote ethnic solidarity or resentment.

Arce could not immediately be reached after Brewer signed the bill late Tuesday.

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AZ LEG: House Study Committee on Sentencing FRI 5/14

I encourage as many people as possible to attend and sign up to speak at this committee meeting Friday. Read up on Fischer's study first, if you can (here's the press release - it's rather disturbing); the data he has is useful, but I take issue with many of his conclusions. Professor Lynch may rebut some of what he has to say; Franklin Zimring also has some interesting analyses of the trends in crime and punishment over the past decade (here's a sample; Google him for more).


Interim agendas can be obtained via the Internet at





Date:              Friday, May 14, 2010

Time:             10:00 A.M. or upon recess or adjournment of Floor

Place:                        HHR 5


Call to Order

Opening Remarks

Testimony on Sentencing:

·         Representative Jerry Madden, Texas State Representative; Vice-Chair, House Corrections Committee; Member, House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee
·        Dana Hlavac, Deputy County Manager, Mohave County Criminal Justice Services
·        Daryl R. Fischer, Ph.D., author “Prisoners in Arizona, A Profile of the Inmate Population”   [March, 2010]
·        Robert Hirsh, Pima County Public Defender
·         Derek Rapier,  Greenlee County Attorney; Chairman, Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council
·         Jeremy Mussman, Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office
·        Mona Lynch, Associate Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, University of California Irvine;  author, Sunbelt Justice: Arizona and the Transformation of American Punishment [Stanford University Press 2009]
·         David Gallagher, Executive Director, Arizona Addiction Treatment Programs, Inc.
·        Senator John Huppenthal, Arizona State Senate, District 20

Public Testimony

Representative Cecil Ash, Chair

Representative Doris Goodale

Representative Laurin Hendrix

Representative Bill Konopnicki

Representative Kyrsten Sinema

Representative Anna Tovar


People with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, alternative formats, or assistance with physical accessibility.  If you require accommodations, please contact the Chief Clerk's Office at (602) 926-3032, TDD (602) 926-3241.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Russell Pearce Still Threatening Another Term.

Straight from the horse's mouth (apparently we're still on his email list of "supporters"). The typos are all his, by the way. 

I'm not sure which Constitution he's referring to defending, since he's responsible for some of the most aggregious, fascist legislation I've ever seen. It must be the same Constitution that codified slavery he loves so much...he seems to have missed that there have been a few amendments and legal rulings to give the rest of us rights, since it was originally written for white propertied men like him. The "Founders original intent," remember, was to keep most of the rest of us subservient as sub-citizens. He definitely champions that!



I have been vigilant in the defense of freedom and our Constitutional principles at the legislature as well as my entire life.  I have worked as a Maricopa County Deputy for 23 years and I am the former Chief Deputy. I have been shot at and missed and shot at and hit, as I was critically shot by gang members while in the line of duty while serving our community.  I created "tent" city for inmates and saved millions in the cost for the taxpayer.  I have worked as the Director of the Motor Vehicle Department and reduced Government waist and long wait times at MVD, and cut administrative cost by $10 million. I served as your Judge in the North Mesa Justice Court, as pro-tem Judge in Maricopa County's court system and I have ruled on cases being mindful to make sure each ruling was based on the Founders original intent from Arizona Constitution, the law and the US Constitution.

I have worked to protect private property rights, protect the unborn, 2nd Amendment freedoms, quality education including school choice, safer neighborhoods, parental rights, tort reform, taxpayers bill of rights, and including sponsoring some of the most comprehensive immigration enforcement bills in the nation and 2nd Amendment issues such as the Freedom to Carry legislation, as well as the elimination of all Affirmative Action policies in government hiring and contracts.

For 10 years now, I have served the people at the state legislature. 8 years with the State House of Representatives and for the last 2 years as a Senator. I am the current Chairman of the Senator Appropriations Committee and served 6 years as the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. As your Appropriations Chairman my motto is; “I am the gate keeper, not the gift giver of the people’s money”.

It is now election time and I am running for re-election for my 2nd term as State Senator and I really need and would be very grateful to have your help!

I need volunteers to help me collect signatures to put my name on the ballot for this next primary election, August 24th. I must turn in all the collected signatures by May 26th. That is only 15 days from now. I really need your help in getting those signatures.  If you can and are willing to help me, please respond.

I have petitions forms ready to go. Please reply to this e-mail letting me know that you are ready and willing to help.  The opportune time would be May 18th to work just a couple of hours at one of the polling places in LD18.  If that does not work any week night or Saturday for a couple of hours walking the neighborhood would be great.  Thank you so much.

For Arizona,

Monday, May 10, 2010

Boycott this Brutal, Murderous State.

After hearing a brief report about this reported undocumented migrant's murder on KJZZ, the local NPR station around 5:00 or 6:00 this AM, and finding the article I originally posted below about it (along with a separate one which identified the suspects as citizens, but didn't identify the victim as an undocumented or illegal immigrant), I headed downtown to the Phoenix Police Department to find out the full story. 

They referred me to their public records office on the other side of town. 

They in turn, sent me to Maricopa County's Superior Court complex where the suspects were to be arraigned, but since I didn't have their names with me and "this happens all the time", no one there could direct me to the right court room. Besides, someone said, they were probably being arraigned in the jailhouse courtroom, not there.

So, since I was in the same building as the HQ for the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, I stopped in and asked them for help, certain that they would have the suspects names and maybe even a press release by then, since they apparently handled the arrests - nothing was forthcoming from the information desk, however, except the phone number of their press office (not even a name). 

Now, I checked the MCSO website before leaving home on this excursion. Since the "crime of the week" featured there this AM was not the murder of immigrants, but rather, sex offenses (featuring a complete cast of suspects of color in their mugshot line up) - and there was absolutely nothing on the site about the murder - I didn't bother calling the MCSO press officer to try to get more information.

Instead, I actually paid for an Arizona Republic, sure that there would be at least a blurb in there, giving me the names I'd read earlier on the KPHO website, so I could get to the arraignment and find out first hand what was going on. Not a word. 

By then I was pretty steamed, so I called the Republic, and spoke to J.J. Hensley. He was aware of the body found in the fire last Wednesday, but not the story that unfolded Sunday as I relayed it to him - the MCSO was keeping that pretty hush hush. He was sure interested, though, and Googled the same info I found as we spoke, promising a follow-up from their paper.

So, what follows is the result of the AZ Republic's "investigation", published a few hours after that conversation - which conveniently leaves a few blanks to fill in after making sure we all know that the still-anonymous victim brought this on himself by having sex with the poor murderer's mother. 

No one seems to know or care whether or not this man was so casually murdered and set ablaze because he was undocumented. Or, maybe the Republic is just exercising responsible journalistic restraint, not wanting to make a bad situation here worse by reporting that undocumented migrants aren't all criminal aliens and murderous drug dealers - many are in fact victims of crime at the hands of citizens who count on no one caring what they do to them.

I don't think it's journalistic ethics that dictated the lines - and the blanks between them - in the story below, though. I think the Republic is in bed with the power elite here who just don't want more bad publicity; the "truth" be damned. This state has no journalistic integrity - save for a few good folks at the Phoenix New Times. 

For perspective: flash back a week or so ago to that deputy who was shot by "suspected illegal immigrants" who were "believed to be smuggling bales of marijuana" (on foot through the desert, of course, pursued by this lone deputy) at the time he was fired on with AK-47's. Or the rancher a few months ago who law enforcement "suspected" was murdered by illegal immigrants involved in drug trafficking. 

Where was the journalistic restraint seeking all the facts before reporting speculation then? And what about the MCSO's fiery press releases about how they're protecting us by rounding up undocumented brown-skinned drivers, and all of Russ Pearce's histrionics about how many citizens are being murdered and raped by illegal immigrants? 

So, read this story now having put things into context. Doesn't it seem like something's missing here? Like maybe some sense that the life that was lost was sacred, valued, innocent, even worth being elevated to nobility for having been so brutally victimized? Maybe even a candlelight vigil to remember him and all the other migrants whose lives have been so brutally taken by good Arizonans?

Here's the problem, I think: In the Arizona storyline, the victim is supposed to be a US citizen; the perpetrators are supposed to be criminal aliens (from Mexico, of course), and the murder is supposed to justify SB 1070 and shame those calling for a boycott into silence. What's the truth that should be reported here? That we have so devalued the lives of non-citizens that their murders (which "happen all the time here", as I was told in Superior Court earlier) aren't news - only their crimes are. The Republic doesn't even say what the victim's or suspects citizenship status are - and we all know that those details these days matter a great deal. And even KJZZ hasn't mentioned the story again since before the morning rush hour commenced.

BOYCOTT this ugly place, America. Bring all these bastards to their knees. Don't worry about the poor they say you're going to hurt by doing so; they sure don't care about us - we're already screwed by them anyway. Don't give this state another dime until they account for all their crimes and make restitution to their victims' families. 

That means repealing a whole lot more than just SB 1070. Otherwise, this kind of thing will never end.


Slain Phoenix man reportedly slept with suspect's mom

by Jessica Testa - May. 10, 2010 01:12 PM
The Arizona Republic
Three men were arrested Sunday in connection with death of a man who was beaten and had his throat slit in Phoenix, apparently because he slept with another man's mother.

Adan Gonzalez, 20, Matthew Moreno, 19, and Booz Moreno, 23, are suspected of attacking a man who they thought was having an affair with Gonzalez's mother, according to court documents released Monday.

Last Wednesday, the trio apparently went to the man's house near 35th Avenue and Baseline Road, forcing their way in armed with a shotgun. They are suspected of beating the man who lived there.

The trio was accused of using a shotgun and a steel pipe to beat the man, eventually slitting the man's throat with a knife and setting fire to the house after stealing several items.

Witnesses reported seeing the men approaching the house, entering and then leaving a short time later as the house went up in flames, the court documents said.

The witnesses provided police with descriptions of three men and their vehicle's license-plate numbers. Police used the information to track down the three men.

The men were arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder, arson, kidnapping and burglary.

The documents noted that Matthew Moreno and Gonzalez initially said they were not connected to the case, but eventually said they beat and killed the man.

Booz Moreno was found to be friends with the homeowner's son, according to the documents. He has been charged with extreme DUI and is being held without bail. Matthew Moreno is being held on $1 million bond.

PHOENIX: US citizens beat, stab, burn undocumented man.

3 Arrested After Body Found In Burning Home

MCSO: Men Beat, Stabbed Victim To Death
POSTED: 4:54 pm MST May 9, 2010

Three men were arrested Sunday in the death of an illegal immigrant whose body was found Wednesday in a burning home in south Phoenix.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Lisa Allen identified the three men as 20-year-old Adan Beoanos Gonzales, 19-year-old Matthew Moreno and 24-year-old Booz Moreno.

Allen said the men allegedly beat and stabbed the victim to death and then set the house on fire.

No motive was released, and authorities have yet to release the victim's name.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day: Love and Reconciliation.

Dear Ma,

I can remember the anger and bitterness that I felt towards you as a little girl. I can also remember longing to share my A+ homework with you. The longing to talk to you about the issues that I, then an elementary school student, had. And my longing to share with you which boy had the worst case of "cooties." More than the bitterness, I can remember the unbreakable bond, and the insurmountable love that I felt, that overpowered that bitterness and anger that I kept inside.

Granny used to take me up the highway to see you pretty much every weekend, and I always remember the small things that would amaze me. The way you and I would dress alike sometimes, wearing the same jumpsuit, or the way that you never seemed to be angry, or upset by your experience. I always cherished, and continue to cherish the photographs that we had taken. I also remember hating to leave the visiting room, and hating to leave you in that place, that required me to walk through metal detectors and through electric gates.

You told me recently that on my first visit to the prison, I cried. You told me then that I had to stop crying or I wouldn't be able to visit anymore. As you said that I dried my face as fast as I could. Most of all, I remember your letters, your phone calls, and you always telling me to be strong, because you only had a little while to go before you'd be home with me.

Momma, now that I am a young woman, 18 years old, and you've been out of prison a number of years now, I realize that you and I are alike in more ways than one. I not only share your beautiful brown skin your broad flat nose, and the crinkle in the middle of your forehead that shows when you're angry, frustrated or just plain tired. I not only share your "chicken legs, or your black baby toenail, but I share many of your inner qualities.

Our roads in life have been different. Your road had a lot of dead ends, a lot of close calls, a few accidents, and a lot of sharp curves, steep hills and streets with no lights to guide you. My road has been pretty straight and narrow, with a few unexpected weather conditions causing the road to be wet and slippery, a few potholes, and lots of speed bumps. Despite the fact that our roads have been different, I realize that our driving style, and our vehicles (that is, our approach to life) and our personality traits are very similar. You also have much more mileage than I do, thus I have learned from your life experience.

The most important lesson that I have learned from your life is power of choice. I understand, from your experience, that every decision that I make has a direct effect on the rest of my life. I understand that having a drug addiction, or being incarcerated, were not your life long goals. However, the small decisions that you made prior to those experiences were what led to those life experiences.

Another important lesson that I learned from you is resilience: the ability to "bounce" back from any situation. Whenever you were down, you did not stay down and dwell in that situation. You assessed what went wrong, picked yourself up and kept moving. I, too maintain that same quality of resilience. No matter what happens (I may fail a test here or there, miss a deadline here or there, or make an even worse decision) I understand that I have the ability to get back up, and keep moving.

Momma, at the time, I didn't understand the challenges you were facing when you were released from prison. I did not understand that you had to mark the fact that you had been in prison on every job application, and that it made it harder for you to get hired. I did not understand how you had to adjust to the changing world, as you had been in an institution that doesn't do a good job of keeping up with the fast pace of the outside world. Most of all, I did not understand the emotional roller coaster you must have been experiencing within yourself when you had to face all of those judgmental people who silently wished and waited for you to slip back into your old lifestyle. Those people who refused to accept that you were changing your life for the better, and those people who dangled the past in your face.

So, the second and third qualities that I learned from your life experience were persistence and attitude. No matter how many times you were told "no," you continued to ask, and ask. While watching you in this process, I learned that no matter how many "no" answers you receive, there is bound to be someone who will say "yes." No matter how many doors are slammed in my face, I understand that one door will be wide open eventually, and this I learned from you. From you, I also learned that attitude does not have to be a bad thing. I learned that attitude can be channeled and used as a motivation to elevate myself.

The life lessons that I learned from you could never have been learned in a classroom, or from a textbook. You have still been my greatest and most effective teacher. If it were not for your addiction, I would not have known the power of chemical substances and perhaps, like most teens, would have explored curiosity. Because I know the power of chemical substances, I pledged myself a long, long time ago, that I would never even try a small amount of any substance.

Unlike most teenagers, I had the first hand experience of prison; because of your stories, and your experience, I learned that prison was the last place that I wanted to be. I learned that prison was not a place for people with big dreams and big goals. I pledged to myself a long time ago that I would watch the company that I keep and watch my actions so that I would not end up in prison.

When strangers, as well as people who we know, tell us that we are alike I am extremely proud because my mother and I have the power to withstand any and all obstacles that are placed in our way. As some people would say, it is in our blood.

Now I am a college student, on the straight and narrow, and I can see the taillights of my mother's vehicle, giving me guidance. I can see my mother's vehicle in front of me, reminding me to slow down, switch lanes, and turn my headlights on bright. As a young woman, I am learning the power of planning, the power of happiness, and the power of my mother's life lessons. I appreciate everything that my mother has taught me, and I accept and embrace everything that has taken place both negative and positive, because all things that have happened are apart of the divine plan for my life. Everything that has happened has made me the person that I am today: a person that I love, and a person that has been heavily influenced by the life of a formerly incarcerated mother.

Originally published at
a project of Beyondmedia Education.
Beyondmedia Education
4001 N. Ravenswood #204 C
Chicago, IL 60613

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Mother's Day: Silent Tears.

by Kebby Warner

Tiny little hands gripping my own,
Promises made only to be broken.
Who do I blame? Myself, of course.
Will she ever know my name?
Wanting to change my past,
Uncertain about my future.
Mistake made, lessons learned…life.
Will she ever know my name?
Phone calls once a month.
The tiny little voice so many miles away.
Longing to hold her in my arms.
Will she ever know my name?
Silent tears flow down my face.
No one can see them they’re hiding,
Hiding them selves inside my soul.
She still doesn’t know my name,
Will she ever know?

Originally published at:
Women and Prison: A Site for Resistance, 
a project of Beyondmedia Education.
Beyondmedia Education
4001 N. Ravenswood #204 C
Chicago, IL 60613
tel: 773-857-7300
fax: 773-857-7301