As we close out black August I want to take a moment to remember those imprisoned. In planning this event surrounding the 40th anniversary of Attica I have once again submerged in the stories of George Jackson, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Angela Davis, the Attica brothers, and so many more.
Here is a great article that breaks down the prison industrial complex, the prison guard unions, and the revolutionary work of George Jackson.
A brief history for those who do not know- September 13th, 1971. 1,500 prisoners at Attica State Prison staged an occupation. The occupation lasted for 5 days and included blacks, whites, puerto ricans, and indigenous peoples. These came together in a heavily segregated prison to write a manifesto demanding food, adequite medical treatment, and to be given the respect that humans deserve.
Note the similarties to the demands issued by the Pelican Bay Prisoners just last month.
On the 5th day riot gassed was released over the prison, and the prisoners were immediately bombarded with gun fire. Sticks and hand made weapons in hand, they faced shot guns, exploding bullets, and toxic gas. 43 men were murdered, and the rest were tortured for the days to come.
This really just scrapes the surface of a moment that was precipitated by so much violence and so much resistance. There is a wonderful quote by an Attica brother that says it all-
“Wake up, stop hiding. Because the same thing happening to me is happening to you. And deal. Petition, rally, let the people know how you feel about your sons and your daughters that are being incarcerated. Other then that- wake up, because nothing comes to a sleeper but a dream.”