In solidarity, Prison conditions

COMPASSION DENIED!

(Prison officials at the McConnell-RHU deny and sabotage contact visit between Miguel Flores and his mother Paulina Gracia – No final Hug!)

By Comrade Malik

See article for background: https://sfbayview.com/2019/01/one-last-hug-tell-texas-prison-officials-to-show-compassion-to-miguel-and-paulina-who-wants-a-contact-visit-with-her-son-before-cancer-takes-her-life/

Peace and Blessings Sisters and Brothers!

I have some very disturbing and heartbreaking news to report and I ask that you share this report far and wide with friends in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

On March 8th, 2019, many of us celebrated International Wimmins Day. Here on the McConnell Unit in South Texas, prisoner Miguel Flores and his mother Paulina Gracia who has an aggressive form of cancer prepared for what they thought would be their last opportunity for a Final Hug. I’m sad to report that it was never allowed to happen. Paulina was brought to the Unit for this ‘Special Visit’ by my comrade and friend Sloan Rucker who is the Free-World spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement.

A couple of weeks ago Miguel had been pulled out of his cell and escorted to the office of McConnell-RHU Major Juan Nunez’s office and told that he and his mother would be allowed 5 minutes to Hug and to talk to each other but the visit would have to be on a Friday. Sloan had actually taken the day off to go to Corpus Christi, Texas in order to pick up Paulina who had just been released from the local hospital. Paulina has been undergoing many blood transfusions in an effort to combat this aggressive form of Leukemia she has.

Something strange happened the night before the visit. At around 6:30PM on March 7th, 2019, Captain Skinner Sturgis had Miguel brought to his office and he told Miguel that Major Juan Nunez had cancelled the Contact he would have with his mother. However, the next morning Security Supervisor Sergeant Velero assured Flores, me, and Paulina that Miguel and Paulina would be given 5 minutes to hug at the end of their visit. You can just imagine the emotional rollercoaster all of us were on since we had been fighting for this visit for literally months and had garnered the support of hundreds maybe even thousands of well-wishers across the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

During the regular visit through the plexi-glass, Paulina began feeling ill and she requested that she be able to hug her son so she and Sloan could leave and go to the hospital.

The officer supervising the Visitation Area that day was a C.O. Everett. Paulina and Sloan asked C.O. Everett who has over 30 years in the system as a Correctional Officer if she would contact Major Juan Nunez and let him know Paulina was ready to hug her son.

We all waited 15 minutes and nothing!! We were in booths right next to each other. Sloan and I in one section and Paulina and Miguel directly next to us. I realized that something was very wrong with this entire situation.

Sloan Rucker took the initiative to request she be allowed to speak with Major Juan Nunez.

Sloan went up front to the administrative offices to speak with Nunez. When Sloan returned, her face was red and she was crying. As I watched my comrade and friend outwardly crying, I  remained calm and asked her what had happened. She said that Major Nunez and her had gotten into an argument over his decision to deny the contact visit and then Sloan said that Nunez had shut his office door and threatened her!!!

So of course I was extremely angry but I remained calm as Sloan talked to Miguel and Paulina and they were crying loudly!!

I remained calm and instructed Sloan to contact our Support Network and the office of Texas Representative Jarvis Johnson as soon as she gets somewhere quiet and can calm her nerves.

In the dark recesses of my solitary cell I did cry that evening.

I wept for Paulina and Miguel and I cried for my friend who has given so much of herself to aid in this campaign for humyn rights.

Sisters and brothers, I learned a very important and hard lesson that I needed to learn. Fascist Reactionary Pigs — are just that — and never should we mistake them for compassionate humyn beings!! I will never attempt to work with the oppressors again — I made a mistake.

But then, I made another mistake by ignoring the lessons I’ve been taught by my comrade Kevin ‘Rashid’ Johnson when it comes to analyzing the Historical Material Conditions of a situation. Major Juan Nunez has defined himself as a clear enemy of mine from Day #1!! Why in the hell would he show compassion, empathy, or sympathy toward MY FRIENDS?? And how foolish did I look by proclaiming to the World that TDCJ Prison Officials approved the Visit!!?? Then on the very day of the visit, all of our hopes are crushed!! Major Juan Nunez and Captain Skinner Sturgis toying with Miguel’s emotions so he would lose his temper and give them justification for their unethical and immoral acts!

Truly TDCJ has sank to an all time low in regard to the inhumane and unjust treatment of both prisoners and their Loved Ones.

This event has only strengthened my resolve to combat this corrupt system for the rest of my natural life! I hope you folks won’t judge me too harshly. I am humyn and fallible. THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES. Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!!

 

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In solidarity

In order to abolish slavery in Amerika we must acknowledge that it still exists!

By Keith “Malik” Washington, Chief Spokespersyn of End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

We cannot continue to make conscious decisions that ignore our past because those thoughts make us feel uncomfortable. Slavery happened here in Amerika and it is still happening, especially in Amerika’s numerous slave kamps and gulags which most call prisons.

I studied the Presidency of Barack Obama very closely and I noticed he constantly embraced an elitist or exceptionalist narrative when speaking of the United States. Former President Obama would give “the world” the impression that the US was a bastion of humyn and civil rights protections. When in reality the opposite is true – Amerika is just better than most at covering up the abuse and mistreatment of its citizens.

In an interview conducted by journalist Kamala Kelkar of the PBS Newshour Weekend, my friend and humyn rights attorney Ollie Jefferson said: “We have human rights violations here as much as in other countries.” Attorney Jefferson has spent most of her legal career working with immigrants so it goes without saying that she is very familiar with the criminal justice system in Amerika.

When we speak of prison slavery in Amerika, we think of forced labor and involuntary servitude and no-one says that this is not happening. However, there are other elements of slavery – the unsavory and despicable elements present in and out of Amerika’s prisons.

The torture, the sex slaves, the indentured servants, the political prisoners, the so-called eco-terrorists and the framed-up Muslims right here in Amerika.
The state of Texas hates it when I get to beating my ‘drum’ because the oppressors know there is nothing they can do to silence me. The tactic they have embraced is censorship claiming my words represent security threat information. I expose human and civil rights abuses, I engage in political and legal discourse in hopes of raising the public’s awareness.

The State sees nothing wrong with the current system, in their eyes all is well – but is it?

Let’s take a look behind the iron curtain and allow me to introduce to you Texas prisoner Omar Valdez. Omar has served approximately 24 years and 6 months on a 25 year sentence! Omar has spent approximately 22 years in solitary confinement right here on the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas. Omar has been denied parole over 11 times! Omar has spent years not incurring disciplinary infractions with the hope that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles would give him a chance to rebuild his life. They didn’t!

The Prison Legal News had a front page article in February 2017 entitled “TRAPPED: California wastes tens of millions of dollars a year keeping people in prison long after they’ve been rehabilitated – denying parole for arbitrary reasons and destroying lives in the process” by Sam Levin of the East Bay Express.

Now I want you to replace California with Texas and I want you to listen to Omar’s words and ask yourself “can’t we do better”? Without further ado I present to you Omar Valdez!

“Mr Malik, greetings, it is a pleasure to meet you. I appreciate you and folks like you who get out there on the ‘front lines’ fighting the good fight.
My name is Omar B. Valdez, TDC# 726686. I reside on the Eastham Unit located in Lovelady, Texas. I’ve resided here for the past 2 ½ decades! I’m serving a 25 year aggravated sentence for the charge of murder. I’ve been locked up since October 3rd, 1992. I arrived here on Eastham Unit on March 4th, 1996, and I’ve been here ever since! I have never left this unit.

I am in Administrative Segregation due to my previous gang affiliation. I have been a non-active ex-gang member since 2002. I made this choice in order to better my life and increase my chances of making parole. This did not help. TDCJ ignored my communications, my pleas fell on deaf ears!

I came to the realization long ago that no matter how good I did, it would have absolutely no bearing on my freedom. Nevertheless, I’ve continued to keep a very low profile and follow the rules. I’ve gone years at a time without incurring any disciplinary infractions. Sometimes 5, 6, even 10 years with not one infraction, to no avail. I received denial after denial after denial.

On January 30th 2017, I came up for parole for the 12th and final time. On March 10th 2017, I received my answer – parole denied – serve all! Well, now it’s June 2017 and I discharge my 25 year sentence on October 7th 2017, just a few months away.

TDCJ has given me no education, no job skills, nothing except solitary confinement and torture for over 22 years here on Eastham Unit.
There are limited resources we have back here in Ad-Seg. Unless you have money to pay for outside college courses, you are out of there. I would have thought that by now, after all these years, TDCJ and the State of Texas would have come up with some really incredible in-cell programming for us – they haven’t!

Many in free-world society are not aware of what we endure in these places. Brother Malik has only been here a few months, but I’ve been here for over 20 years to please allow me to enlighten you.
I understand this is prison and I’ve paid my dues for my crime, but does that justify me being subjected to live in unsanitary conditions? Rats and roaches all over the place, having to drink this contaminated water. At one point a couple of years back we were told TDCJ didn’t monitor or test the water properly for over a year.

Eastham Administrators put together an Inter-Office Communication which said “if you are experiencing a negative reaction of some type, put in a sick call, etc etc” Imagine that I said – they wait a whole year before informing us? Then they frequently post “boil notices” – how do we do that? We have no means to do that. So what are we to do? Go without drinking water? Thus far God has blessed me not to have had any serious problems, but I’ve experienced problems in my throat, like I lose my voice from time to time or I can’t talk too loud or I start choking and coughing. I don’t know if it is from the contaminated water or these chemical gas agents they keep using on us!
I do all I can to avoid the infirmary because they’ve shown me nothing but carelessness and negligence time and time again. UTMB don’t care about us – period. (UTMB is the University of Texas Medical Branch.)

I’ve seen a lot here at Easham. I’ve seen inmates get infected with TB, and I’ve seen folks get prescribed the wrong medication and it turn fatal. One time I saw a female sergeant coax a guy into committing suicide. Sad to say, but he was successful! Now that same sergeant is a Lieutenant right here at Eastham. Boy, if these walls could talk…

It has been hard to maintain my sanity all these years. Truth is one has to have a strong mind and strong will, otherwise it easy to be consumed by these walls. I’ve lost so many loved ones during this stretch. I lost both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, I lost my son and my sister! It hurts, you know? I’m paying for my crimes dearly.

So very soon I’ll be spit out into society at the age of 50. I have minimal job skills and education. I must ask all of you “what does this say about the Texas system? About their administrative segregation units? About the parole system? Thank you for your time and concern.
Respectfully, Omar Valdez TDC #726686”

Well, sisters and brothers, I really don’t have a lot to add to Omar’s story. It took some courage for him to come forward and speak out. I think a lot of us are tired of hearing people like Jason Clark and Robert Hurst, the spokespersyns for TDCJ, feed the public a bunch of deceptions and lies. As another session of the Texas Legislature comes to an end, the slavery continues inside Texas prisons.

Dare to struggle, dare to win.
All power to the people.

P.S. Breaking News! – Update
On May 18th 2017, 3 hours after Malik put the finishing touches on this essay, Omar B Valdez was notified by TDCJ staff that he is going to a pre-release program at the Estelle High Security unit in Huntsville, Texas! Omar vows to never return to prison. Let’s hope he can honor his words. After 24 years and 8 months in a Texas prison, the deck is unfairly stacked against him! Although he is elated to be leaving a couple of months early, he says the system is still very dysfunctional and broken.

In solidarity, Comrade Malik

Bio
Keith “Malik” Washington is a humyn rights activist currently incarcerated in Texas. He is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. Malik is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter). Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and he is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. You can view his work at comrademalik.com or write him directly at Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington TDC# 1487958 Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1 Lovelady, Texas 75851 (936) 636-7321 ext. (**009)

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End Prison Slavery in Texas UPDATE!!

On Monday – January 25, 2016 – I attended the 1st annual Parole Forum held at the Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony, Texas. The organizations represented were the: Texas Inmate Families Association (TIFA), the Region II Parole Board office, which is located in Palestine Texas, and a member from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Reentry Department gave a brief presentation.

Parole board member Michelle Skyrme actually did an excellent job fielding questions from prisoners. She was straight forward and didn’t give any false representations. WE HAVE MUCH WORK TO DO! The most significant comment  Ms. Skyrme made was when a prisoner asked her, “what bearing do parole credits (“good time” and “work time”) have on your decision to grant a prisoner parole?” Her answer was that credits don’t factor into her decision at all!! This is the exact reason why we decided to start this campaign in the first place.

In Texas prisons, we have been told that in lieu of actual pay for our labor in factories and prison jobs, we would be given “good time” and “work time” credits. But, because of flawed and misleading/deceptive language in the law the Parole Board is not compelled to recognize these credits. So in essence, we have been relegated to the status of slaves!! Not only do we continue to work for free, we work to maintain a system that mistreats and oppresses us. TDCJ does not have a vested interest in aiding us in returning to our families. Remember how hard the confederate states fought to protect their slave empire? Don’t think for one minute that Texas won’t fight hard to ensure we do not tamper with the Texas Government Code 498.003 which lays out this fraudulent “good time” system. This fight is a fight worth waging as it effects ALL TEXAS PRISONERS AND THEIR FAMILIES.

Jennifer Erschabek is the director of the Texas Inmate Families Association (TIFA). She gave an excellent presentation at the forum. One key thing I learned is that Jennifer has the ear of many influential legislators in Austin, home of the capitol of Texas. It would behoove us to research whether we can join forces with Jennifer in a pact of mutual solidarity in order to present our case to legislators.

However, more importantly, we would like to have a representative or two on our TEAM who will be willing to go into the chambers of the State capitol and articulate our wants and needs to state legislators as well as suggest prospective law changes. As prisoners our voices are totally ignored by the legislature. No matter how intelligent I may be, I am still viewed as a filthy no good criminal in Texas. So, we desperately need free world folks to champion our cause and amplify our voices.

We have been focusing on attracting the attention of a dynamic Baptist Pastor named Freddie Haynes. Pastor Haynes presides over the congregation of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas.

ACTION:

Comedian Steve Harvey has a very popular radio morning show which airs on a local radio station 107.3 FM in Tyler, TX. Please ask your family and friends to contact Steve Harvey via email, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the following message:

“Steve Harvey, would you please help the prisoners here in Texas get paid for their labor or have “good time and “work time” actually count toward the reduction on their sentences? We need the support of the Steve Harvey Nation!!”

Please contact Pastor  Freddie Haynes of Friendship West Baptist Church in Dallas. We need prayers and support!

 

All Power to the People!

Comrade Malik

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