Tuesday, November 13, 2007

McDavid Hunger Strike Day Five

Nov 13

Dear friends and supporters,

We wanted to give you the latest news about Eric’s medical and food
situation. Things are still quite critical, and we need everyone’s help
as Eric enters day five of his hunger strike.

After visiting the doctor on Friday night, the jail began offering Eric
the same medications he took for his pericarditis in the spring. Due to
his hunger strike, however, Eric is declining to take the medication until
the jail can tell him if there would be any adverse affects. They have
yet to do this. While his heart condition persists, it has lessened in
intensity. On Saturday he was finally able to lie down again, although
when he called us this morning (Monday) he said he had trouble getting to
sleep last night.

His hunger strike is beginning to take its toll on his body. This morning
he told us the circulation to his hands and feet is getting weaker, and
eventually he had to get off the phone because his legs were tiring.
Because Eric has not received vegan meals since a week before his trial in
September, he is starting his hunger strike with an already weakened body
and immune system. He informed us on Sunday that he has lost
approximately 20 pounds in the last two months (he discovered this when
they weighed him during his visit with the doctor).

Despite this, Eric stands firm in his decision to continue his hunger
strike. In fact, he has expanded the objectives of his hunger strike, and
is now requesting the following from the jail:

“A written, notarized and signed document consisting of the following
agreement between the parties involved, i.e. myself and Sacramento County
Main Jail:

1. A healthy provisionary diet will be provided by the jail that does not
consist of animal products and byproducts

a. This healthy, provisionary diet will be provided to individuals
requesting it due to their moral, ethical and religious needs

2. Within the next three months dates will be allocated for the meeting of
parties who fund, operate, manage and oversee issues dealing with the food
services at SCMJ; whereas the central intent will be to secure the
necessary steps in creating a complete vegan diet, as well as its
implementation at the soonest possible date [There are currently models in
place for vegan food in jails and prisons. Florida prisons recently made
vegan diets available to everyone who needs a “special diet” (kosher,
halal, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.) ]

3. This agreement would be binding to the current administration as well
as all successive administrations”

This means, in essence, that the jail must now not only feed Eric, but
also must change their underlying policies about vegan food. This
decision is motivated by Eric’s desire that no one have to endure this
struggle in the future. All prisoners should be afforded their right to
healthy, nutritional food – it is the jail’s responsibility to ensure that
this happens.

Eric knows this will not be an easy battle, and he needs all of us on the
outside to support him as much as possible. There are a number of things
you can do to support Eric at this time, including calling the jail,
spreading the word about his hunger strike, and sending him letters of

The most urgent thing you can do right now is call the jail and request
they agree to Eric’s demands AND that they respond properly to his medical
needs. Here are some things you should say when you call:

1) Eric's x-reference number: x-2972521 (if they ask, he is housed at the
main jail)

2) Eric needs to be given vegan food immediately. His heart condition is
almost certainly linked to his atrocious nutritional intake, and until
they provide him with healthy food, his heart problem will persist.
Because Eric is demanding that they talk to him about changing their
policy, it is imperative that they speak with him right away about working
on an agreement. You should request to speak with Captain Scott Jones,
the jail commander, about these issues.

3) Eric needs to receive an ECG, blood work and an x-ray ASAP. These tests
are imperative to determining other possible causes of the pericarditis.
Again, until they fully understand what is causing the condition, they
will only be treating symptoms.

The phone number to the Correctional Health Services Division is: (916)

You can also email them at: inmatepatientcare@saccounty.net.

Their website says that they log all calls and emails to the Correctional
Health Services Division and that you will receive a response within 24
hours (this has NOT been the case, as those of you who have called or
emailed probably know). If you get an answering machine, leave a long
detailed message, including your name and number if you would like to
receive a call back

You should also call the main jail line at: 916-874-6752 or 916-874-6905,
leave a message with them, and also request to speak with Captain Scott

Please spread the word about Eric and his hunger strike. The more people
we have working for his health and safety out here, the more likely he is
to receive the food and medical care he needs. We must not let the bars
and concrete silence his voice, but to do that we must be vocal ourselves.
We hope to post a flyer on the website soon that you can pass out around
town or use at events. Encourage your friends and family to call and
email the jail – it only takes a few minutes out of your day, but its
critically important for Eric. This fight is not only for Eric’s life,
but for all those after him who refuse to abandon their ethics and
compassion in jail.
And please keep writing Eric during this difficult time. Our letters help
feed his spirit, even when his belly is empty… For guidelines and info on
writing Eric at the jail, visit his website at www.supporteric.org.

Our deepest thanks to everyone who has been calling and emailing the jail
– we need you to keep it up!

We’ll keep you updated on this situation as more information becomes


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