America is returning to what it once was. Unfortunately, I’m not referring to its former dominance as the world’s only super power or its economic peak, but rather its racist roots. How can I say that when we have a (half) black president? Just read the news.
The Supreme Court just undid 48 years of racial progress by dismantling the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It took the great state of Texas less than two hours to enact the most stringent voter ID law in the country. And now they are working furiously at redistricting their voting maps to further disenfranchise minorities. These measures were previously considered in violation of the now defunct Voting Rights Act.
Turn the page of your newspaper (or nook) and you can read about the George Zimmerman trial. Unless you are one of the 6 women jurors in the case, you’ll recall that an armed man (Zimmerman) told 911 that he was pursuing an unarmed teenager (Trayvon Martin) who happened to have wound up dead by Zimmerman’s gun. He also happened to be black. Incredulously, the police did not hold Zimmerman or even take his gun until a month of public outrage embarrassed them into arresting him.
Now the prosecution is claiming self-defense and trying to paint the 17-year-old victim as a dangerously aggressive drugged out hoodlum. I admit that I’ve been accused of painting the situation too far in the other direction in my piece “A Tale Of Two Hoodies.” But then I’m an artist visually representing the overall problem of racism, not a lawyer in a court of law distorting facts to misrepresent the actual events.
The fact that Zimmerman called Martin “a suspicious person” with nothing more to go on other than he was a black youth wearing a hood suggests racial profiling by an individual. The fact that the police initially chose not to even charge Zimmerman suggests racism in the police force. The fact that the Supreme Court made it possible for Texas, along with many other states, to create voting restrictions aimed to suppress minorities from voting suggests a racist government. Sadly, it seems America is becoming a shining example of backwards progress in social and racial justice.
Control unit facilities cannot be allowed to exist,” writes Russell Maroon Shoatz in a piece called “Death by Regulation.” “They serve no purpose other than to dehumanize their occupants. Our collective welfare demands that we do everything within our power to bring about an end to this form of imprisonment and torture.”
Shoatz, a former Black Panther who will turn 70 years old in August, has been held in solitary confinement in Pennsylvania prisons since 1983. His only time in the general prison population in the last 30 years was an 18-month stint spent at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth that ended in 1991.
Maroon has had only one misconduct since 1989. His most recent violation was in 1999, when he covered a vent in his cell that was blowing cold air in an attempt to stay warm.
From 1995 until the end of last month, Maroon had been held at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene in southwestern Pennsylvania. Without warning Maroon was transferred on Thursday, March 28 to SCI Mahanoy in the eastern part of Pennsylvania.
A growing grassroots national movement had been mobilizing to win his release into the general population. This transfer appeared to be a response by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to the gathering legal and political pressure. (more…)
Filed under: FBI, History of anti-imperialist/revolutionary movements, Political Prisoners, Prisons, Racial Profiling, U.S. | Tagged: pennsylvania department of corrections, pennsylvania prisons, pensylvania prison, plitical prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoats, solitary confinement, torture | Leave a Comment »