Georgia Prison Strike & Why We Need Our Own Media
Did you know one of the largest prison protests in US history took place last week? If you said no that’s not surprising considering it was not covered by corporate funded mainstream media. The word got out through conscious bloggers like Davey D, effective uses of social media like Twitter and Facebook and by the hard work and efforts of some a the few independent and unafraid media outlets we have left.
According to the Final Call Newspaper (the last standing black owned weekly international newspaper),
“Fed up with bad food, unjust treatment, poor education and inadequate health care, thousands of inmates in Georgia’s prison system staged “Lockdown for Liberty,” a peaceful protest on Dec. 9, according to activists”
The Final Call sent it’s national corespondent Charlene Muhammad to speak with some of the actual prisoners on strike,
“Part of our purpose for doing this is that Georgia is the only state that does not pay it’s inmates at all. Some guys in here work seven days a week and they don’t get a dime,” said Dondito, one of the strikers, who requested anonymity.
He said despite reports by the Department of Corrections that no inmates have been hurt, several in Augusta have been beaten up to unrecognizable points, according to their families. “The DOC and internal affairs have been to most of the institutions today, pulling inmates out, trying to find out who are the leaders and who have the cell phones because this was organized so well and done so strategically, it snuck up on them,”
Also instrumental in getting the word out is the always thorough, unapologetic and strong, Black Agenda Report. Black Agenda Report was also able to get in contact with prisoners who broke down how the Georgia state corrections officials were attempting unsuccessfully to disrupt the non violent protest,
“They transferred some of the high Muslims here to max already,” one prisoner told Black Agenda Report this morning. “They want to break up the unity we have here. We have the Crips and the Bloods, we have the Muslims, we have the head Mexicans, and we have the Aryans all with a peaceful understanding, all on common ground. We all want to be paid for our work, and we all want education in here. There’s people in here who can’t even read…
“They’re trying to provoke people to violence in here, but we’re not letting that happen. We just want our human rights.”
Democracy Now, a daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 900 stations, and pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the United States, sat down with longtime prison activist Elaine Brown of the newly formed group Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners’ Rights for an on air interview. Elaine Brown talked about how the strike came together,
“These men created what is effectively a spontaneous decision by networking with each other and saying, you know, “We’re tired of all of the abuse we’ve been suffering here,” as so many other prisoners before them have said. “We’re going to do something, but the something we’re going to do is not to try to initiate a violent response or initiate violence, but to simply say we will not work until we’re paid, and the other demands and petitions that they have made, as you’ve outlined. And they made a decision that that would be on December 9th.”
The demands of the prisoners are simple:
* · A LIVING WAGE FOR WORK
* · EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES
* · DECENT HEALTH CARE
* · AN END TO CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS
* · DECENT LIVING CONDITIONS
* · NUTRITIONAL MEALS
* · VOCATIONAL AND SELF-IMPROVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
* · ACCESS TO FAMILIES
* · JUST PAROLE DECISIONS
The Georgia Department of Corrections is at http://www.dcor.state.ga.us and their phone number is 478-992-5246. Contact them to express your support for these reasonable and just demands
And let’s make sure we support not only the Prisoners in Georgia who peacefully organized, but also those independent media outlets bold enough to cover and print the truth about America’s injustice system.