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Black August: A Commemoration of Freedom Fighters

For our monthly People's Platform event, ONE DC commemorated Black August, as reflected in People's Platform principle #7, which calls for decriminalization, demilitarization, and prison abolition. We attended in solidarity a prison letter writing night organized by Stop Police Terror Project-DC and HU Resist, an event centered around writing letters to incarcerated people to show our commitment and support to their struggle.

During the event, we had the privilege to hear from Jihad Abdulmumit on a live phone call. Jihad is chairperson of the National Jericho Movement and was a political prisoner for over 20 years, targeted by the state for his activities with the Black Liberation Movement. Jericho is a "movement with the defined goal of gaining recognition of the fact that political prisoners and prisoners of war exist inside of the United States, despite the United States’ government’s continued denial...and winning amnesty and freedom for these political prisoners."

Attendees writing letters to incarcerated people

Jihad Abdulmumit provided an update on the Jericho Movement and the victories they've seen with their strategy to get members of the movement who are incarcerated because of their political views released from prison. As a response to questions posed by those in attendance, Jihad explained the importance of writing letters to incarcerated people. Knowing they have the support of the community is critical to encouraging and sustaining prisoners mentally as they struggle for freedom from state repression.

You can learn more about the National Jericho Movement here.
The People’s Platform is a movement of low-income and working class DC residents of color and people who share our values and vision. We seek to organize, educate, fight for and win truly affordable housing, sustaining work, and wellness for all in DC. Our monthly People's Platform general body is a space where we work towards our goals by prioritizing political education and leadership development in our work.

Support the Nationwide Prison Strike

The Black August People's Platform occurred in the midst of a nationwide prison strike.

Men and women incarcerated in prisons across the nation declare a nationwide strike in response to the riot in Lee Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison in South Carolina. Seven comrades lost their lives during a senseless uprising that could have been avoided had the prison not been so overcrowded from the greed wrought by mass incarceration, and a lack of respect for human life that is embedded in our nation’s penal ideology. These men and women are demanding humane living conditions, access to rehabilitation, sentencing reform and the end of modern day slavery.

Demands:

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human
    shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell grants must be reinstated in all US states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

Learn more about you can support the Nationwide Prison Strike by clicking here.