James Kilgore is a writer, an educator, and a social justice activist who teaches and works at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spent six years in prison, during which time he drafted his three published novels. He is the author of Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time (The New Press). He currently lives with his family in Urbana, Illinois.
Bill Ayers is University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.
A wide variety of organizations will hold street protests, symposiums, campus actions, outreach to prisons and courthouses. Initiated by revolutionary communist leader Carl Dix and Union Theological Professor Dr. Cornel West, the Call for the month is endorsed by families of those killed by police, former prisoners, clergy, academics, and community organizations, and public figures such as Chuck D, who recorded for the Month, and Alice Walker, whose poem “Gather,” is dedicated to Dix and Dr. West.
Dix has said “Like so many others I saw the video of police choking Eric Garner as he cried out ‘I can’t breathe.’ In Ferguson, MO I stood at the spot where a cop gunned down Michael Brown and left his body lying for hours. I protested his murder, and was picked out for arrest because I spoke in support of the youth righteously demanding ‘THIS MUST STOP!’ In October, tens of thousands of people from many different backgrounds will join together all across the country to act to stop it.”
Oct 1, 8:30am Chicago Protest at Cook County Jail & Press Conference
Speakers will include:
Gregory Koger, former prisoner and revolutionary communist activist with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Gregory is a torture survivor who spent over six years straight in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons. He spent most of August in Ferguson, MO.
Hannibal Salim Ali, former prisoner with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network, whose nephew, Anjustine Hunter was killed by police in Tennessee;
Mark Lewis Taylor of Princeton Theological Seminary* and founder of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal;
Bill Ayers, Distinguished Professor of Education and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois*, Chicago (retired).
Family members of prisoners, ex-prisoners, family members of people killed by the Chicago police, students, community activists, revolutionaries, religious leaders.
Oct 1, 5pm Chicago Protest at Thompson Center & Press Conference
Speakers at Thompson Center at 5pm include:
Gregory Koger, Stop Mass Incarceration Network;
Ricky Ford, father of Denzel Ford shot 8 times by Chicago police;
Stephanie Curtis, Roosevelt University Students for Stop Mass Incarceration Network
Charles Perry, Trinity United Church of Christ*
Leon Bailey, Ph.D., Roosevelt University*
Brian M. Orozco, Attorney with Greg Kulis and Associates*, who has worked on criminal, civil, and family law cases for inmates in both California and Illinois, interacting with over 150 incarcerated clients in the process.
“People who are locked down in segregation units of this society’s prisons, condemned as the ‘worst of the worst,’ are standing up against injustice, asserting their humanity in the process. We must have the humanity to hear their call, and answer it with powerful support!”
Emergency Call! Join Us in Stopping Torture in U.S. Prisons!
More than 80,000 people in prison in the US are held in long term solitary confinement. They spend 22 hours or more each day in small, windowless and sometimes soundless cells. They are placed in solitary arbitrarily and have no channels to challenge being put there. Many are denied human contact for months, years or even decades. These conditions fit the international definition of torture, and studies have found that these conditions can drive people insane.
12,000 California prisoners stood up to change these conditions by going on a hunger strike in 2011. They suspended that hunger strike when the authorities agreed to improve conditions. But authorities haven’t improved the conditions, and the prisoners have declared that they will once more put their lives on the line.
WE MUST HAVE THEIR BACKS! Long term solitary confinement is a horrific injustice. United Nations experts on torture have called on all countries to end it, but the US has arrogantly rejected these calls.
The authorities hope to isolate the prisoners and crush their hunger strike. We must not allow this to go down. We must reject the authorities’ justifications for the horrors they are perpetrated – that these prisoners are brutal thugs, “the worst of the worst,” and deserve the treatment they are subjected to and that these conditions are required to keep society safe. And we must reject the morally unconscionable stance of doing nothing while this torture is happening because it isn’t affecting “us.” Instead we must stand with the prisoners who are standing up.
The publication of the Emergency Call in the Los Angeles Times will make this torture more widely known in society. Its moral clarity on the utter unacceptability of torture must reach millions. Help raise the $25,000 needed to get it published by early July, 2013.
The widespread torture in US prisons MUST END! Will you join us in standing up to it? Will you sign this Emergency Call! and spread it to others? Will you make a generous financial contribution to publish the Emergency Call and encourage others to do so as well? Will you join Cornel West, Bill Ayers, Luis Valdez, Cynthia McKinney, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Chuck D, Marjorie Cohn, Carl Dix, Peter Schey, Robin DG Kelley, Blase Bonpane, Wayne Kramer, Rev. George F. Regas, Fr. Bob Bossie, SCJ and scores of others to Stop Torture in U.S Prisons?
You can donate online at http://stopmassincarceration.net/donate, or send a check payable to “Alliance For Global Justice,” a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt organization, with “Stop Mass Incarceration” on the memo line to:
Stop Mass Incarceration Network
P. O. Box 941
New York, Ny 10002