From the March-April 2020 issue of News & Letters
Editor’s note: A renamed Free the Caged Voices coalition (formerly “Free Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa,” see Jan.-Feb. N&L), was called to promulgate the new “Solidarity Message from The Four Prisoner Reps and California Prison Update” (for the full text see prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com). We were able to hear directly from Baridi, one of the signers of the 2012 “Agreement to End Hostilities.” We reproduce excerpts of his talk below.
The inhumanity of the torture behind the redwood trees was aimed to cause us death—intellectual, emotional, as well as physical. The hunger strike was for all those enslaved, whether on slave ships or subjected to any other forms of unfreedom. The hunger strike connects to all world struggles for freedom.
We contributed the “Agreement to End Hostilities” to humanity. As we can come together, many others can come together, too.
The programs we created show we are the best of the best, not the worst of the worst. Our programs for the youth aim to break the cycle of violence.
We need to flood the Board with letters of support for those going to the Board, showing how, concretely, we have resources for them to continue this important work on the outside.
The system is designed to strip you of your humanity. California Department of Corrections built a $10 billion system that does not serve society. We are the ones who can speak to that.
The hunger strike was organized to stop the torture. Now we want to keep improving conditions for all those oppressed.