Risin' up from the gulags of the largest incarcerating system in the world and from its streets and workplaces! Amplify the voices of those behind the walls!
10 DEMANDS of Hunger Strikers & WAYS to SUPPORT BELOW
UPDATES AT http://virginiaprisonstrike.blogspot.com/
May 22nd, 45 prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia began a hunger strike to protest inhumane and torturous treatment and the warden’s refusal to resolve their grievances. We’re working to build exposure and a list of endorsers as fast as possible.
Sign PETITION HERE!
We’re also asking people to send short, personally written letters to everyone possible within the VA prison system to inform them of what’s going on. We have contact information for dozens of men detained in both Red Onion State Prison and Wallens Ridge State Prison. We’ll prioritize ROSP and WRSP and then branch out across the state. The Virginia Department of Corrections will try hard and fast to silence this and keep it from spreading, so we will have to act quickly.
If you’re willing to write a letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the contact info you need. We will also provide you with suggestions for creative ways to talk about the strike that have a better chance of getting through the mail room censors.
In solidarity, Heyward and Supporters of VA Prison Hunger Strikers
Press Contacts: Solidarity with Virginia Prison Hunger Strikers
What: Press Conference
When: 11 AM
Where: VA Department of Corrections, 6900 Atmore Dr. Richmond VA (at the DOC sign on the corner of Atmore and Wyck St.)
RICHMOND – On Tuesday May 22 as many as 45 prisoners at Red Onion State Prison, comprising at least 2 segregation pods, will enter the first day of a hunger strike protesting deplorable conditions in the prison and ongoing abuses by prison staff. For the men participating in the strike this is their only recourse to get Red Onion warden Randy Mathena to officially recognize their grievances and make immediate changes to food, sanitation and basic living conditions at the prison.
Supporters from DC and Virginia along with prisoner family members will hold a press conference at 11 AM in front of the VA Department of Corrections, in Richmond at 6900 Atmore Dr., to urge Warden Mathena, the Virginia Department of Corrections under Harold Clarke, Governor Bob McDonell, state Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb and other state and congressional legislators to act on behalf of justice and human rights.
A statement released by one of the hunger strike representatives said, "We’re tired of being treated like animals. There are only two classes at this prison: the oppressor and the oppressed. We, the oppressed, despite divisions of sexual preference, gang affiliation, race and religion, are coming together. We are rival gang members but now are united as revolutionaries.”
Some of the prisoner’s demands include the right to have fully cooked meals, the right to clean cells, the right to be notified of the purpose and duration of their detention in segregation, and a call for the end to indefinite segregation. Red Onion has been repeatedly criticized since it opened in 1998. A 1999 Human Rights Watch report on Red Onion concluded that the "Virginia Department of Corrections has failed to embrace basic tenets of sound correctional practice and laws protecting inmates from abusive, degrading or cruel treatment."
After exhausting legal and administrative channels, prisoners are holding this hunger strike to bring these abusive prison conditions to light. This action comes at a time when many are speaking out against the expanding prison system in the United States in an effort to uphold their human dignity and basic human rights.
Letters signed by residents in Congressional District 9 will be delivered to the Senators office later in the week and concerned citizens from across Virginia and the nation will be pressuring the Virginia DOC to meet the prisoner’s demands.