#EyesOnTexas! Across the Nation Families and Activists Stand with Texas Prison Strikers
CONTACT: Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), a committee of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), 816-866-3808, firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 9, 2016
From Austin to Houston, Phoenix to the Bronx, Kansas City to Alabama to Milwaukee, Providence, Denver, Tuscan, Minneapolis, Arkansas, and beyond, family, friends and loved ones of Texas prisoners are gathering for a National Day of Action an Education today, Saturday April 9th.
Inspired by the powerful actions of thousands of human beings behind bars in 7 prisons, at least 4 of which remain on strike -- the banner of abolition is rising. “This strike has been a long time coming,” said Dee, member of Austin’s Anarchist Black Cross. “Texas was built on slavery. We’re coming together until that cycle of abuse and exploitation is over”.
Judy, whose son is in prison in Texas and who lives in Wichita Falls, TX, is holding her breath. “It’s hard, being out here. We worry what will happen to them, locked in, surveilled, beaten, getting nothing but two peanut butter sandwiches a day”. But she is proud of what the hundreds of men and women on the inside: “We know it has to stop. It has to. This seems to be the only way”.
Strikers demands include better living and working conditions, objective timelines for release on good/work time, an end to a $100 medical co-pays that prevent access to health care, an independent grievance committee, and an end to a vast array of human rights abuses. Texas prisons lead the nation in sexaul assault of inmates and have seen a spree of overheating deaths due to lack of air conditioning.
“We’re seeing a mass movement inside prisons right now,” said Nick Onwukwe, former prisoner and co-Chair of the IWW’s Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee. “Our task is to grow the mass movement against prison slavery on the outside, and that means national scale organizing. This isn’t the first strike and it won’t be the last”.
In fact, a coalition of in-prison groups including IWOC are calling for a coordinated protests across states and prisons this September 9th: “Forty-five years after Attica, the waves of change are returning to America’s prisons. This September we hope to coordinate and generalize these protests, to build them into a single tidal shift that the American prison system cannot ignore or withstand. We hope to end prison slavery by making it impossible, by refusing to be slaves any longer.”
And so we say: Amen.