Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eddie Conway Update - January 2012

Revolutionary Greetings, to all my family, friends, and supporters.
The last few months have been a very busy time for me. I am very
happy to report that some progress has been made in several areas.
The best news to date is the progress with my parole situation. Since
my last update letter, my lawyer filed a request for a parole hearing
for me. I had the hearing on November 30, 2011. I met with two
commissioners and they decided to advance my case to the next level
of the parole process for persons with life sentences. That level
requires a psychological evaluation, which means that sometime in the
near future I will be transferred to another institution for a three
month evaluation. This whole process is called a Risk Assessment, and
once this level is completed the case goes before the full body of
the parole commission. There are ten commissioners and a majority
vote is required before the case can be sent to the governor who has
the final right to approve or deny.

Thanks to all of you who wrote support letters or sent cards. One of
the key reasons for moving my case forward was the enormous amount of
community support reflected by those letters and cards. You all
really helped, thank you once again. For those who did not know that
this process was underway, it happened fast, but there is still time
for you to write. The case will go before the full commission and the
members will once again read the letters of support. So please
continue to send letters requesting parole

Mr. David Bloomberg
6776 Reisterstown Rd.
Baltimore, MD. 21215

My lawyer, Phillip Dantes and his legal team has committed to filing
my case in court by the end of this year 2011. As of this writing,
that schedule is still being honored. We are looking forward to being
in court sometime in 2012. Once we have a date, I will make you all
aware via facebook and an update letter. We will be organizing a
fundraiser in the spring to help with legal and court costs.

Since my last letter I have had the opportunity to speak at a number
of events. I spoke with students and activist at University of
Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of California at Riverside, and
Students Against Mass Incarceration at Howard University. I also
spoke at several community events and book readings of Marshall Law
The Life and Times of a Baltimore Panther: the Urban Network in
Detroit, MI., Internationalist Books in Chapel Hill, N.C., and
readings in Chicago, Ill., and in Baltimore, MD. Some of these events
also included large groups form Occupy Riverside, CA. and Occupy
Chicago, plus students from University of North Carolina. In October
I participated in a conference of community leaders and activists
like Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle organized by Dylan Rodriguez
with the American Studies Association; their annual meeting was held
in Baltimore. I also had the opportunity to meet and speak with
National Black United Front members who visited me and offered some
encouragement for the survival of our community.

The work we are doing with the Friend of a Friend (FOF) mentoring
organization is going very well. The organization has developed so
many positive community leaders and mentors that I can no longer keep
up with all the new people around the system and out in the
community; that is a good thing and I am happy with both the group's
growth and direction. The (FOF) prison project is expanding into
another prison- with one more wanting the program; it is currently in
five Maryland prisons.

I will never be able to thank the American Friends Service Committee
(AFSC) for taking on this task and helping us save hundreds of lives
and put many positive activists back into the community. We are now
organizing our families outside with the support of a local church,
Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and Pastor Heber Brown. Members of a
Friend of a Friend are working with a local school to help provide
guidance to youth; they are starting a Freedom School in 2012, and
are also speaking at colleges in the region.

Our Neutral Grounds project has opened up a snack and beverage stand
to demonstrate our concept of "Do for Self". Since unemployment is
highest among people of African descent and even higher among former
prisoners we have to think of ways to employ ourselves, and create
our own economic opportunity. My family is okay in general. However,
I recently lost a brother-in-law; he was married to my sister for
thirty-nine years. Many of the family are planning a large holiday
dinner and I plan to call in to the gathering. I am still struggling
with high blood pressure, but I am exercising and trying to eat
right, but prison food only allows so much right eating.

One thing I wish I could do better is write everyone as soon as the
mail comes in, it's just not possible, but I greatly appreciate every
letter - thank you all. I am looking forward to the coming year, and
hope to see positive changes in the world. 2012 is an important year
for our community and as the economic picture continues to change and
capitalism collapses, food and basic needs will be in greater demand
for the most vulnerable people in our communities. We need to learn
and teach everyone how to grow our own food in local city gardens,
and meet our needs collectively. Block by block - help rebuild the
community- grew something to eat!

In Struggle,
Eddie Conway

via - Dominque Stevenson

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