Thursday, April 1, 2021

Regarding The Farewell Of Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald --On Behalf Of The Family & Committee To Free Chip

Regarding The Farewell Of Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald

--On Behalf Of The Family & Committee To Free Chip

On Sunday, March 28, 2021, at 3:04 p.m., our brother, uncle, cousin, comrade and friend, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, joined the ancestors. For a week, he lay barely conscious in a Los Angeles hospital as he struggled to extend his life after suffering a massive stroke in California’s gulag known as Lancaster. Chip’s strength and dedication to life remained intact as he defied those doctors who said he would not make it through the night in the hours after his initial arrival at the hospital. A stalwart soldier, he fought until his very last breath. Chip died as he had lived: fighting.

Among the government’s many victims, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald was a member of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles. Incarcerated since 1969, he grew old in prison and was disabled many years ago by an earlier, less lethal stroke. Like millions of Black youth during the sixties, Chip, at the age of 17, joined the freedom struggle as the social justice movement rapidly expanded to include massive numbers of urban youth. The government’s conduct towards Chip proves that important elements of our society are guided by an irrational tradition that values vengeance over justice or reconciliation. This failure demonstrates the nation’s unwillingness to fully acknowledge historic wrongs perpetrated against Black Americans.

Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald was a social justice activist and it is inhumane to imprison activists for 50 years or more, particularly while others convicted of comparable crimes have served significantly less time. A closer look reveals the only differences between those serving shorter sentences and those serving longer ones are the political beliefs and affiliations some had with social justice groups like the Black Panther Party.

Chip never compromised, though he continued to the end to seek redress for this egregious wrong by working with his lawyer, family and defense committees to end his half century nightmare of a slow death behind bars. For us the living, Chip’s passing is a lesson to keep fighting the good fight. To give when perhaps it’s hard to give. And to live when perhaps life seems so empty. Chip’s life did not leave us without a clear message. During his final days in the hospital, the authorities felt the need to chain and shackle Chip to his bed. Despite the fact that he was hardly conscious, they saw this demeaning action as necessary. What they failed to understand is that you can neither jail nor shackle the spirit of liberation. May we all aspire to leave this same impression of daring to struggle until our last breath. And may Chip’s stalwart example give us the courage to dare to win.

All Power to the People!

Free All Political Prisoners!

A Service is being planned which may be in a month or so due to COVID, followed by a memorial. We want to also thank the many thousands who put their voices together to free Brother Chip.

_____________________

Bruce Richard on behalf of the family and Chairman of the Committee to Free Roamine "Chip" Fitzgerald - brucer@1199.org

50 Years of Injustice: Free Black Panther Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter Now! --An interview with author Michael Richardson

Ed Poindexter is in poor health! Every day counts! Please take action here.

Fifty Years of Injustice: Free Black Panther Political Prisoner Ed Poindexter Now! --An interview with author Michael Richardson

Written by the Jamal Journal

Investigative journalist Michael Richardson is the author of the 2018 book Framed: J. Edgar Hoover, COINTELPRO & The Omaha Two Story. Richardson's Feb. 5, 2021 article "Black Votes Matter Asks Nebraska Pardon Board to Release Former Black Panther Ed Poindexter," was published in the first issue of the Jamal Journal newspaper. In a new article published today, Richardson writes:

"Fifty years ago, April 1, 1971, was the opening day of the Patrolman Larry Minard murder trial in Omaha, Nebraska. Prosecutor Arthur O’Leary, Deputy Douglas County Attorney, used the opening statement to tell the jury false information. Co-defendants Edward Poindexter and David Rice (later Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa) were Black Panther leaders, officers in the local National Committee to Combat Fascism. O’Leary sought the death penalty in Nebraska’s electric chair for the two men who had been subjects of a year-long harassment campaign by the Omaha Police Department. Officer Minard was killed on August 17, 1970 when a bomb exploded at a vacant house where he and other policemen were searching for a screaming woman as reported by an anonymous 911 caller. The Black Panthers were blamed for the crime and the two leaders charged with murder. The bomb had been planted at the vacant house by a fifteen year old Panther wannabe, Duane Peak."

(Read the full article here.)

In our interview conducted earlier this week, author Michael Richardson discusses the role of the FBI's infamous COINTELPRO in the frameup of the Omaha Two and provides an important update on Ed Poindexter's urgent health situation. Richardson also explains how you can help Ed Poindexter, an elder in poor health who is a 50-year victim of an obvious and well documented COINTELPRO frameup. We highly recommend reading Michael Richardson's book to learn more about this extreme injustice that needs to end immediately. Free Ed Poindexter now!

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Judge Upholds Gag Order: Malik Washington now faces sanctions – and maybe a return to prison – for telling the press and public about a COVID outbreak at a private halfway house

This March 13 article was first published by the SF Bay View National Black Newspaper. Read the full article here.


(PHOTO: San Francisco Bay View editor Keith “Malik” Washington speaks at a rally in December outside UC Hastings College of the Law protesting harassment and “sweeps” of homeless people in the Tenderloin, led by the reputedly progressive law school located there. – Photo by Poor News Network)

Malik Washington now faces sanctions – and maybe a return to prison – for telling the press and public about a COVID outbreak at a private halfway house.

by Jackie Blandón

A federal judge refused to block the federal Bureau of Prisons and the private GEO Group from imposing sanctions on San Francisco Bay View Editor Malik Washington for speaking out about a COVID outbreak in the halfway house where he lives.

Washington now faces discipline that could include a return to prison.

The ruling, on Thursday, March 11, by Judge Jon S. Tigar mostly cited procedural issues – whether, for example, Washington had exhausted all “administrative remedies” before going to court.

But Tigar also upheld a BOP gag order and stated that Washington had no right as a person in custody to speak with a reporter about a public health crisis.

And in oral arguments, a lawyer for the BOP said that part of his concern was that after press coverage and political organizing around this case, Washington was “gaining notoriety” that could be bad for the Taylor Center, the private halfway house in the Tenderloin.

--Read the full article here.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Please support the prisoners on hunger strike against extended solitary confinement at Louisiana's notorious Angola Prison!

 A Feb. 23 article by The Advocate reports:

Prisoner rights advocates with the Louisiana Stop Solitary Coalition are slamming the department for failing to treat inmates humanely. 

"Having served 44 plus years in solitary confinement, I am fully aware of the brutality of solitary. Hunger strikes are brutal, so I know from personal experience how desperate these men must be to resort to this," said Albert Woodfox, who was released from Angola in 2016 after spending decades in solitary.

--Read the full article here.


(A press release that the Jamal Journal received supporting the hunger strikers is reprinted below in full.)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 24, 2021
CONTACT: mpwray@topdrawerstrategies.com; 225-395-9961


Amid Angola Hunger Strike Corrections Officials Admit Wrongdoing, Ongoing Misuse of Solitary Confinement

Community Leaders, Legal Experts Call for Action 

Baton Rouge, La. - As reported by The Lens Tuesday, prisoners at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (Angola) are on hunger strike after prison officials engaged in a pattern of segregating incarcerated people in solitary confinement longer than the disciplinary sanctions matrix allow, sometimes for months longer than is allowed under the guidelines. The Lens reported that the Department of Corrections openly confirmed, on the record, that it was utilizing confinement beyond the sanctions matrix timelines, a violation of the department's own policies on administering solitary confinement. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Free Malik Washington, Editor of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper



SF Bay View National Black Newspaper Editor Malik Washington is being severely retaliated against for releasing a public memo documenting a preventable Covid outbreak at 111 Taylor, an enormous GEO Group owned halfway house in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. The $2B+ for-profit prison company stole his phone and put a gag order on him in what is the most egregious attack on journalism and Malik's constitutional right to freedom of speech. They are now threatening to send him back to jail, and Malik has sued. For more information, see below :

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Free Russell Maroon Shoatz, an elderly political prisoner who was recently diagnosed with COVID-19; Please take action!

A December 11, 2020 action alert is calling for Russell Maroon Shoatz's immediate release!  


(Reprinted below is the full text of a letter written on November 23, 2020)

To Governor Tom Wolf, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, and Attorney General Josh Shapiro: 

Re: Russell Maroon Shoats, AF3855 SCI Dallas

We are writing to urge you to release Russell Maroon Shoats, #AF3855, currently incarcerated at SCI Dallas. As medical professionals familiar with the details of Mr. Shoats’s situation and health, we know that Mr. Shoats is in imminent danger of death if he remains incarcerated.