Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 18: Hunger Strikers Staying Strong, Continue to Speak Out

Oct. 13, 2011 prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity

The courage of the hunger strikers continues in the face of severe
repression by the CDCR, as today marks Day 18 of the second phase of the
historic CA hunger strike.

Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity has received letters from hunger
strikers throughout the state, which have been severely delayed due to the
CDCR’s retaliation of tampering with strikers’ mail.

Chad, a hunger striker at Pelican Bay, details some of the retaliation he
has experienced for participating in the strike again:

In an effort to break my strike, they began withholding my pain
medication as leverage. At first cold turkey until I reminded them of
the Plata and the federal judge’s ruling that it is criminal to cold
turkey a long-time recipient of medications for chronic pain. So they
issued just enough to clear them, but so minute and ineffective to
cause extraordinary pain, from both disease and withdrawal symptoms.
When that failed they came to my cell and said I need to go to the CTC
[infirmary] because I’m so sick and totally disabled. It’s very, very
worse than SHU conditions. It freezes 24 hours a day and you are
entitled only to the linen on your bed, what’s on your back, and a

Chad, who suffers from end stage liver disease and hepatitis C, goes on to
explain how guards ordered him out of his cell when it was clear his
medical condition was worsening:

In an effort to ‘help me’ and ensure my dire health needs are met,
when I refused to go they extracted me. A very brutal act. They did
not enter as I prepared for, but instead, with three types of ‘toys’,
an overwhelmingly suffocating gas, or like an impenetrable cloud or
fog, filled my cell. Then they tossed in a type of gas bomb. Then hit
me with a direct spray of another gas. On the verge of passing out I
left the cell. Interestingly, all the taunting and provoking
challenges [by guards] abruptly ended when the video camera arrived.
What happened to me was wrong on so many levels.

Chad is currently in the prison’s infirmary under the care of the infamous
Dr. Sayre, who is notorious for abusing prisoners. Chad ended his hunger
strike after ten days.

Pelican Bay hunger strikers have also been transferred to Corcoran as
retaliation for striking. During the first round of the strike in July, 17
strike representatives at Pelican Bay were transferred to Corcoran, a
facility unlike Pelican Bay that is permitted to force-feed hunger

The CDCR has released that prisoners continuing to strike at only three
prisons: Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Salinas. However, prisoners at
Calipatria continue to write to the coalition & their loved ones,
declaring the strike is still going strong in Calipatria’s ASU. The CDCR
has continuously down-played Calipatria’s participation in the strike no
doubt in an effort to conceal the breadth of their torturous conditions &
practices across the state.

One prisoner hunger striking at Calipatria’s Administrative Segregation
Unit (ASU) wrote to us explaining the significance of the hunger strike:

Men of respect, men of honor, have committed their lives to the
struggle. Literally placed their lives on the line in order to put a
stoppage to all these injustices we are subjected to day in and day
out. People would rather die than continue living under their current
conditions. That’s why to me, it is a privilege, an honor to be apart
of the struggle, to be apart of history for the betterment of not only
“me” but for all those inside these cement walls…I have joined this
second hunger strike once again full heartedly with a smile on my
face. I will go as far as my body allows me to go.

Rallies and events outside of prison in cities across CA & the US,
(including San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and New York) are
continuing to support the strike. You can support the strike by helping
make 160,000 calls to Governor Brown by Wed October 19th, by attending a
solidarity event near you, or by organizing an event with your community.
Check out more ways to support the strike!

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