Breaking: California Prison Inmates Launch Biggest Hunger Strike in US History

| July 11, 2013 | 0 Comments

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California prisons are being rocked by an event that has been called the largest hunger strike in California history.  Inmates at 33 prisons, 30,000 in total, are in their third day of the strikes, during which they are demanding access to adequate food, education and fair rules with regard to being placed in solitary confinement.

The strikers have given thanks to those around the world who support them, and are asking for the decision-makers in California to enter into good-faith negotiations with the inmates. We are grateful for your support of our peaceful protest against the state-sanctioned torture that happens not only here at Pelican Bay but in prisons everywhere. We have taken up this hunger strike and work stoppage, which has included 30,000 prisoners in California so far, not only to improve our own conditions but also as an act of solidarity with all prisoners and oppressed people around the world.

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Protests have taken place all over the country, mainly from the family members of the incarcerated, as well as those who support their cause.  America only has five percent of the world’s population, but houses more than 25 percent of its inmates. Much of this incarceration wave has hit the African American community especially hard, where one out of every nine black children has an incarcerated parent (compared to one in 57 for white children).

“We have suffered along with our family members and loved ones who are locked in cages across the state, particularly those thousands who have been condemned to indefinite solitary confinement. And now we are joining them in fighting back.” says Dolores Canales, of California Families to Abolish Solitary Confinement. “Our strength is in our numbers, our solidarity with one another, and our absolute belief in our ability to change this inhumane system.”

The inmates are calling on sympathizers on the outside to support their cause.  They are claiming that the system is in violation of basic human rights and that the hunger strike is a peaceful manner by which they hope to confront the system that has turned prisons into a place that only creates criminals rather than productive members of society.

“Long term isolation is out of step with international law, the U.S. Constitution, and what is morally right,” said Gabriel Huerta who has been held in solitary confinement at Pelican Bay for years. “We’ve tried everything at our disposal. A hunger strike is our last alternative. We can’t do this alone; we need you, the public to support us by writing to the Governor and other representatives. We need you to express to them that you do not want your tax dollars to be spent on unjust and inhumane policies, but to fund other things like your children’s’ education.”

Source: Your Black World

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