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Richmond IndyMedia Live! Every Tuesday, 12:30 - 1PM on 97.3 WRIR LP-FM, and streaming online from wrir.org!

LOCAL Announcement :: Civil & Human Rights

Protest Against the Prison System December 10th-11th, 2005

On December 10th, 2005 there will be a rally against the abuse of human rights which is the prison system. The event will take place at the Oliver Hill Courthouse across from the Richmond Jail. This will be followed by a deeper discussion of these issues and on Sunday there will be a caravan to Red Onion State prison from another vigil/protest.

For more information visit www.signalfire.org/Dec10/, call Art at 1-804-467-6408, or email us at antiprison (at) yahoo.com. There will also be a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday November 22nd at the Pace Center (700 W Franklin St) for those who would like to become involved in the organizing process.

The world will be celebrating International Human Right’s Day and many will use this occasion to remind others of those human rights abuses that still occur throughout the world. Unfortunately for us, human rights abuses are not only perpetrated by the governments of foreign nations but are committed by our own government for this reason we must act now and make our voices heard above the steady din of denials. Denials that come from those in our government who either wish to deny these events outright or to make us believe that they are events happening only in faraway places like Guantanamo Bay or in Abu Ghraib, not in our very own communities. These tactics, however, that are used to keep control in the United States’ racist war on terrorism are very often the same ones that are used in the United States’ racist war on drugs and poverty a war which has had many casualties in Virginia.

Currently our domestic prison system in the United States holds over 2 million people a large majority of which are not the murders and rapists that are constantly used as justifications for this system that focuses on punishment for social crimes. Perhaps this is the reason that the incarceration rates of the most disenfranchised populations in this country are the highest with 8.4% of black males and 2.5% of Hispanic males being incarcerated compared to 1.2% of the population of white males. Compare these statistics to the fact that once these people are incarcerated they will be guarded by a staff that is mostly white. The tension that this creates is well documented in a 1999 Human Rights Watch report done at Red Onion State prison, a maximum security prison in Wise County, Virginia that will be one of the focuses of this weekend of action. In this report former inmates describe an intense atmosphere of racism by using a number of racial slurs when referring to inmates.

Unfortunately this is not the end, Inmates in prisons throughout the country and especially in Virginia are subject to a number of punishments such as beatings, being assaulted with stun guns, chemical sprays, being strapped down or “administrative segregation? where inmates are separated from all human contact except for the staff that brings them their food often for the most arbitrary of reasons. This creates an unbearable atmosphere of fear in addition to the regular deprivations. Inmates in Virginia’s maximum security prisons are confined for twenty hours a day in a cell with windows that are often specially treated to prevent the prisoner from looking out and a light that the prisoner cannot adjust, even when attempting to sleep. Certainly we cannot say that these conditions are something that any human deserves to live in for years of their lives.

In order to object to these abuses on International Human Rights day activists from throughout the state of Virginia will gather at the Oliver Hill Courthouse (1600 Oliver Hill Way old 17th St.) in Richmond, VA for a rally starting at 2:30 pm to remind the community that these Human Rights abuses occur under our very own noses and to show that the abuses in the Richmond City Jail and Abu Ghraib are all a part of the same picture. After the rally there will be an opportunity to have a deeper discussion of these issues at a location which will be announced at a later time. The next day, Sunday Dec 11th, we will go to Red Onion State Prison, one of the Maximum Security Prisons that have been built in Southwestern Virginia, to hold a vigil/protest to show both the people inside and those keeping them inside the prison how we feel about this entire system.

For more information visit www.signalfire.org/Dec10/, call Art at 1-804-467-6408, or email us at antiprison (at) yahoo.com. There will also be a meeting at 7pm on Tuesday November 22nd at the Pace Center (700 W Franklin St) for those who would like to become involved in the organizing process.

 
 


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