Massive thunder storm with forked lightening?
Suddenly flying is seeming a lot more reckless then I had previously anticipated.
So after a hectic morning of moving a floppy mattress down the searing New Orleans streets I am at the airport.
My plane has been delayed so I am sitting here watching as the tarmec overflows with water and small children anxiously climb on anything they can find.
It is odd to imagine that tonight I will be filling my belly with steaming hot Korean soup and the next night I will be off the grid entirely.
I will soon be cold for the first time in over a month.
I am really excited to get out of New Orleans. The constant presence of concrete and sweaty air can be rather stifling at times.
Here is to tofu and tunes.
On another note, for a city that experiences so much water you would think that their tarmac would be better equipt to handle it; as I can tell now it is just turning into one giant puddle. Sketch.
Consuming over priced, lack luster pizza and waiting, waiting, waiting. So many different types of people, sitting together in transition. I have found American airports to be all pretty homogeneous. Shitty food, odd tiled floors, synthesized culture. Shout out to the Portland airport though. I would hella squat the Portland airport.
My belly is full with one too many cups of coffee. I contemplate the outside world, but for now I will hide behind my words. Produce produce produce.
I had a dream that I opened up my back pack and found 10 disposable cameras. I think it is a sign that I should start the switch to film. I will buy everything with monopoly money. It will be great.
A goal for my future- collaboration. I was reminded again this morning on how good it can feel to combine two peoples truths. To produce something with someone that is not wholly yours, but intimately connected to your own story.
My morning consisted of a phone call from my best friend, thick with analogies our lives seem to be running parallel.
So here is a poem- For now it is named Strawberries-
Squish, squish, squish
goes my strawberry heart.
Is it a game if only one person knows they are playing?
My heart moves up two squares
Dancing dancing dancing, waiting to move in a di-angle for the kill
But suddenly there is no board
Words sit on top of your molars, beautiful and elusive- I miss the days that I used to reach for them with my tongue
Lush, vibrant, and juicy, my heart sat on the sidewalk- with that twinkle in your eye and your knee-collapsing-grin you stepped on it.
It was a massacre of ruby juices, and bright red pulp
Poetic verses and analogies stop here.
THAT WAS MY HEART YOU PIECE OF SHIT!
WHAT THE FUCK?
You are too focused on where you are going to look down and realize
I have stained your shoes with my strawberry heart.
Insomnia and extra juicy apples. The air was calm and lush tonight. I biked to the outdoor movie screening of Dr. Strangelove- got bored, and then proceeded to troll around New Orleans with no destination in mind. Me and the Bucking Bronco took to the streets; I rode her like a stallion as she hit potholes in the road that could have taken out a wagon on the Oregon Trail. I stopped at the local 24 hour grocery store and goggled at the absolute absurdity of capitalism.
My newest musing? How many mosquito bites can one girl get?
Tomorrow I look forward to standing on my head and the arrival of my incredible best friend.
On July 18th there was international conference call hosted by Critical Resistance to discuss updates and strategies concerning the hunger strike at Pelican Bay prison. Approximately 120 people were on the call. This is my report back.
You will find a list of the prisoner’s demands above, however, those on the call stressed that their demands are basic. Many of these demands refer to previously recommended legislation that is simply not being enforced.
Starting on July 1st prisoners at Pelican Bay State Penitentiary began an indefinite hunger strike. They contacted organizations on the outside that quickly formed a coalition to help support those on the inside. Since July 1st the hunger strike has spread to 13 prisons and around 6,600 prisoners have stopped eating.
Nearly three weeks into the strike the prisoners’ health is becoming critical. Prison protocol dictates that after three days without food a doctor must administer an exam. So far this has not happened, the doctors are simply performing “drive-by” exams, a.k.a “are you alive”. Diabetic prisoners have been put on IV’s, the average weight loss is around 25-30 pounds, and medication and vitamins are not being provided. What they are providing is paper work. Many prisoners are signing Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) forms. Many organizers fear that once people start dropping the prison hospital will not be equipped to handle the magnitude of patients once people; even those who did not sign the DNR form may be left to die.
As I write this I am struggling to keep my composure. Those of us on the outside cannot imagine what it means to starve to death in a cell. To starve for freedom. Take a moment to understand that this is our countries legacy. This barbaric torture of fellow human beings is what the generations after us will read about with appalling eyes.
Organization on the outside- the coalition has arranged legal visits with the prisoners once a week and has been trying to get as much media coverage as possible. So far there have been pieces on Al Jazeera, Democracy Now, LA times, NY times, and a number of independent media sources. They have been working closely with family members to get their perspectives and voices heard.
Inside the prisoners have created a negotiation team consisting of 11 people and a smaller negotiation team with 4 people. At the prisoners request the coalition has formed a 5 person mediation team.
The states response- CDCR has stated that they will not negotiate with prisoners. It is possible that they will also be preventing the mediation team from meeting with prisoners. To call what they are a doing a misinformation campaign is putting it lightly. They have produced that statement that around 400 people are striking and that no one is in any immediate danger. They keep trying to spin the prisoner strike as somehow gang related, I will let you provide the obvious racialized analysis of this.
Their version of a middle ground was to send the prisoners a document saying that they would “affect a comprehensive assessment” of the conditions in the prison.
The prisoners have decided this does not meet their demands and have chosen to keep on fighting.
Action Updates- There has been a weekly vigil outside of city hall in Oakland.
Around 150 people bussed up to Sacramento where they met a large police presence, undaunted they angrily confronted legislatures with 7500 signatures and demanded that they put pressure on Jerry Brown to intervene.
There have been protests across the nation in Chicago, Ohio, Los Angeles, New York, and Sacramento.
The Global Womens Strike has been organizing a one day hunger strike in solidarity.
Mumia Abu-Jamal has created a radio piece to be found on prisonradio.org
WHAT YOU CAN DO-
-CALL JERRY BROWN. CALL CDCR. Crack open a bottle of wide and have a call in party with your friends.
-Get in touch with progressive and independent media outlets. CDCR would rather every single prisoner die then let this story reach the masses. We cannot let that happen
-Organize local actions in your area
-Send money to help support the traveling costs of both the media team and family members.
There is a lot more information then I have given here, for constant updates and resources check out prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com
The feeling at the end of the call is that CDCR would not resolve this issue and it is time to put the pressure on Jerry Brown to get involved. I am not a skilled enough writer to impress upon you the importance of solidarity. The importance of ACTION. Inaction is a political choice. Do not be fooled, apathy is a tool of social control and something that those starving to death across the country have no time for. Those inside have organized a mass movement in an environment where communication and unity is violently suppressed. Let the actions of those inside inspire a movement equal to their bravery.
*Oh and feel free to repost this.
No wonder I am exhausted.
Time to shout out to the homies.
Both beautiful women, both of which have beautiful blogs.
The constantly questioning, forever learning, beautiful Shani Chabansky-
And the tirelessly creative, unbelievably talented, effortlessly fiery Sophie Worm-
Every. Inch. Of. Me. Hurts.
Yoga is kicking my ass. But not in a robust-man-screaming-at-you-to-run-until- you-barf kind of way, more in a small-blonde-women-gently-coaxing-my-body- into-impossible-contortions-while-calling-me-“Sarah”-kind of way.
Strength. What I am hoping to gain, in both body and the ability to not compare myself to every bendable bodacious bod in the place.
Me, being, me I cannot help comparing the principles of yoga to PIC Abolition. My teacher likes to say that Yoga uses the limbs to strengthen the spine. When we relax we often collapse in on ourselves, allowing our joints to take on the most pressure. Our bodies must distribute weight evenly, so that when we are relaxed each part of our body is equally as strong. With each move you must focus your energy in two different directions; you must rebuild as well as abolish. So much of abolition is about strengthening our communities and therefore our society.
Here is to strength.
So my existential dribble has gone on long enough. It is time for some real talk.
Critical Resistance New Orleans is in a tough spot financially right now. Part of my work here has been organizing a rent campaign for the next two months. The goal is to raise atleast $1,000 by July 31st, this is where I humbly extend a hand. We are asking for whatever you feel like giving. I cannot stress the importance of what this organization is doing and it would break my heart to see us pushed out on the street. This is a copy of our fundraising letter that I helped draft and at the bottom is a link to donate.
The last year has been one of CR New Orleans’ most impactful ever.
And we need your help to keep moving.
As a chapter, we have helped turn the tide against massive jail expansion, continued to fight for real priorities for our city’s future, and embraced an all-volunteer model.
Especially in a city as poor as New Orleans, there’s no escaping the fact that this work takes money. And we all know grassroots justice work doesn’t get funded from the top - we know that the revolution will be funded, because we’re going to be the funders. It’s not just about weathering this particular economic storm, but about ensuring the long-term survival of the organization and our shared movement.
“And that’s where we need your help right now: our rent is $1,000 monthly. Without your support, we may have to shut our office doors. We humbly request your assistance in keeping the doors open so that we have a stable space to continue our current work while shaping a collective long-term political vision”
Our office is a place where:
·We have established a place in the Treme community among neighbors, storeowners, and community leaders.
·We’ve housed our Community Legal Clinic, and launched our contributions to the fight against OPP expansion.
·People literally see CR. Just last week, a Church pastor called after driving by. A conversation created a dialogue about abolition and created an inroad for conversations with an entire congregation.
·Through our connections and stable presence, we’ve built a reputation as a meeting point for information and support.
·The CR office is a gathering point for CR meetings, political education, community teach-ins, coalition infrastructure, fundraisers, and other community meetings.
In a city where rebuilding has been twisted to mean gentrification and exclusion, the CR office is one of the genuinely community-based political resources developed post-storm. With that in mind, we hope you’ll be a part of our effort to raise $2,000 by July 31st to cover 2 full months rent.
Please consider giving a one-time donation of $100 and/or becoming a monthly sustainer at $15/month:
Fighting the prison industrial complex, especially in New Orleans, brings constant examples of how closely connected opportunities and challenges can be. Thanks for helping us turn the challenge of abolition into tangible, practical opportunities every step of the way.
Andrea, Gahiji, Kai, Pam, Tara, and Zora
from CR New Orleans
ps: we come from a range of class backgrounds, and know our donors do too. Please contribute an amount that’s significant to you! We’re hoping for donations that fold, but also love the kind that jingles…
pps: as important as the office is, it’s ultimately about the people who get work done there! If you’re interested in getting involved in our work in New Orleans or anywhere else, you can find us at 504/304-3784, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog may in fact be a series of literary snapshots as I dance along the edge of existential crisis.
Just so you all know.