BENDERA

Red

Black

And Green

Be Our Colors!

Red

Black

And Green

Be Our Colors!

Red for the blood of our peoples

A people so strong and so regal

People who were treated unequal

African men, women, and children who were

Subjects of the most horrid evil

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‘They taking shoes again, which is some real bullshit’

Hello,

I’m doing ok, how are you doing? I hope this letter gets to you quickly and finds you in the best of health and spirits. How is the family doing? I hope all is well with you and your family. It’s ok, I’m doing a lot better now. Just had to keep my faith and stay strong. Yeah, I can’t let them break me down. Just got to hang on. Yes, they taking shoes again, which is some real bullshit! I feel the same way that pod by pod need to stand up and resist this garbage, but most are scared to stand up. Rec time is important and people can’t be getting hurt because we have the wrong footwear. Trust me, I’m telling (people) all I can, but it would help if y’all call and write in about it, please.

Thanks for the info. I guess this is it until next time.

In struggle,

Tanna

‘We must be that “one voice” so they will take us more seriously’

the following is from a mother of a man formerly detained at Durham jail and now in a state prison:

…Somehow all the families of those in prisons/jails need to bind together as “one voice” about the injustices and demanding for change. The system does not work to keep marriages and families together but rather works to tear them apart further by sending them far enough away from the families that it makes greater hardships on the family members to see them…as if it’s not hard enough having them here!

And- they take the food in prisons that the tax payers pay for and if the prisoners have left over food… Apple or orange or whatever…the prisons will not allow them to take them to their room to eat between meals or at night…the prisons throw it away! Now they give this food to them on the trays so why cannot they not keep and eat it? Because the prisons are a money racket! They want they to buy food from the canteen! They want you to pay the extra to put money in their accounts, extra money for phone cards to call home. Money everytime they are seen for the dentist or doctor.

Many think jail/prison is free…NOT!  And the burden falls upon the families!!

We as the families must start a petition or something to send to Senators, Governors, the President, to contact the news or whatever it takes! We must speak as “ONE VOICE!” We need someone or people who can somehow bind the families or people together to do this.

I have written the President, Governor, Senator, and Legislative person but not gotten any good response back. I write my state Senator and Legislative person frequently. We must be that “one voice” though so they will take us more seriously.

D.G.

 

 

Looking Back: Petition on 5C Led to Formation of IOA in 2012

the following was written for publication in feedback, to share with comrades inside.

How did it come to be that folks regularly demonstrate at the jail? How and why do people you don’t know write to you when you’re locked up out of the blue? Where does this little publication come from, and how did it get started? Because these are questions that people currently inside the Durham jail might ask, and because it is vital to keep up on history, from ancient times to the recent past, I’m going to try to briefly tell y’all about the brave inmates who got this all started.

On September 19, 2012, exactly five years ago, 33 courageous detainees on housing unit 5C at Durham County Detention Facility signed and mailed a letter of petition to Durham County Sheriff Michael Andrews. Fed up with numerous facts of daily life, but especially the jail’s failure to provide adequate basic necessities such as toilet paper and soap, writing materials, and its ongoing use of unsanitary food trays and drink dispensers, they mailed the petitions to others, also, including media and the state department of health and human services.

A short article about this petition/ protest ran in the September 22 edition of the Herald-Sun newspaper. This article was a clarion call to a small, multi-racial, multi-generational collective of people who were trying to figure out how to intervene with purpose in Durham’s political landscape.

To quote the last page of the detainees’ petition: “Our protest is simple. All we ask is that we be allowed adequate supplies to maintain proper personal hygiene, cleanliness, to be able to correspond with attorneys, courts, family members, and to be free from undue harm by the bacterially hazardous food trays and drink dispensers. It is unconscionable to think that in our progressive humane society that “pretrial” detainees should be treated with disdain, indifference, and such basic disrespect.”

 

Here it was: a group of detainees taking the stage of history and speaking up for themselves. We got in touch, we talked to friends, family and loved ones at the jail, and we did what they initially asked us to do, which was “amplify their voices” by creating a blog/website (called amplifyvoices.com).  People inside wrote back to those of us outside—a lot. Soon, more petitions came from other pods, along with more news, stories, analysis, manifestos and art. We were asked what our name was, and we began to call ourselves Inside-Outside Alliance.

 

The bravery displayed by those 33 signers cannot be overestimated. In fact, the person who sent the petition to Chris Wood at the Department of Health and Human Services, was told by Mr. Wood that “submitting petitions could be construed as inciting a riot.”(Sound familiar? Oh, they’ll get their riot someday…) Certainly detainees at DCDF had written petitions before. They didn’t know that this time, people outside were going to notice. They did it anyway, even though we are all taught to believe that nothing we do matters, that we cannot alter our conditions, that we cannot ignite a social war against official society. And those locked up? They’re simply told they ain’t shit. But those 33 didn’t believe that. And from that petition began this group, in which people outside have the back of people inside.

Many people who were instrumental in the founding of Inside-Outside Alliance, due to their tremendous analysis, wit, artistic talent, creativity and bravery, have moved on from DCDF and even from Durham. To all of those, I send a heartfelt thank you for leading the way. The same goes to others–detainees and family members, former prisoners and random activist-types–who have given their time, energy, and intellect along the way. People will continue to move through the jail system, and move through this city, but the idea of IOA—that struggles are being waged inside of jails against conditions and against an inhumane and white supremacist system—will remain. Who better than the detainees and prisoners to speak for themselves about the brutality of that system, and ways to overcome it and make the world anew? That, at its core, is what IOA is.

As I have done before, I will (very humbly) paraphrase the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara (who was talking about Vietnam and the need to wage anti-imperialist war): We need to create 2, 3, many IOAs! From a modest beginning, we have a modest vision, in the words of James Connolly: We just want the Earth.

Forever in struggle and with much love,

Steve L.

 

“this system don’t support us students”

Dear G______ W_______

I’m doing good right now, how about you?  Thanks for everything you doing, we need support in here & don’t worry you can share anything I say b/c the world need to know what is going on up in jail.  I’m with the L.O.D. group because my lawyer ain’t helping out at all, he just brought me a plea, for 4 years of prison time.  So I can sign but I didn’t sign it he told me if I don’t sign it then we will take it to trial, if you lose the trial you are going 18 to 20 years & is better to sign the plea he told me, but didn’t tell me anything about how could he help me.  My record is clean my first time been in jail.  I said this ain’t fighting for my rights, the lawyers & DAs working together to throw us in prison unjustly & I’m a student – I got the right to a fair trial.  No BS they saying to me I know that this system don’t support us students.  They saying I’m dangerous to society.  They are dangerous to society, b/c any student can fall victim in this sytem.  They will charge you with anything that fits your description & claim you guilty.  That’s sad that we live in a messed up world.  I think the video visitation is absurd they just trying to not let no one come & see us, the system is messed up I have been waiting for court & news about my case but all they give me is straight BS.  But thank you or being our voice out there.

Sincerely,

_____

 

‘They got a lie for every question people throw at them’

6-5-17

IOA–

What’s up IOA, thanks for writing. Ain’t nothing changed around here, it only gets worse. I do want to point out that the jail claims that they’re not going to do away with our face-to-face visits, that they added the video visits to give us more time with our family, in other words it’s pose to be a win-win for us. Damn shame! They got a lie for every question people throw at them. If it was all about us getting more visits with our family, then why not give us face to face visits all throughout the week instead of spending money on all this new equipment? Continue reading

CHECK THE MIRROR

L.O.D. has to be a vehicle of advancement.  It must be understood by all members and soldiers in this struggle that in and of itself ignorance is our greatest enemy.  Through ignorance we are made afraid.  Through ignorance we’re impoverished.  Through ignorance we remain unskilled and unmotivated in the working world and repeatedly fall victim to the many pitfalls that ignorance provides for us.  By designs drawn up and set in motion many years ago we’ve been trained to be so ignorant that we don’t even recognize our enemy.  In ignorance we blindly follow fads, trends, and the whimsical ideals of people just as uneducated, ignorant, and afraid as we are.  To stand FOR something is to stand AGAINST something.  Many have lived and died having never come to this realization.  What is it that you stand for?  What do you love that loves you in return?  Life or death?  Living in fucked up environments of racism destroying everything against the heart.

That is what L.O.D. represents.  The struggle.  The fight.  The stand against systems of ignorance, for the advancement of that which we hold dear to our hearts.  How long will you be a faker in your own skin?  Afraid to BE cause they say you can’t BE.  Afraid to do cause they say you can’t do.

A L.O.D. soldier is unafraid of the fears that ignorance provides.  A L.O.D. soldier’s greatest weapon is education.  “Know how.”  Plain and simple.  Once you know better you should show better.  If we knew better we’d do better.  In this technological age and time where the answers are provided at a button’s touch who can keep you from knowing something?  As an L.O.D. soldier you have accepted the responsibility for not only your own personal advancement, but also for that of your brothers and sisters in the struggle because the best way to get ahead in life is to help someone do the same.  The only way to break the cycle of this crabs in a bucket syndrome we’re stuck knee deep in is to stop being the crab.  Period.  L.O.D. is not a gang and will not adopt the so called principles of such.  What it is, however, is an alliance of like-minded individuals who’ve recognized the perilous situation we’ve had thrust upon us and hunger to be active in making a difference.  L.O.D. recognizes that the Enemy (this governmental machine) does not discriminate and neither shall we.  Any race, creed, color, or sexual orientation will and shall be accepted with open arms.  L.O.D. is a movement that begs the question: is this life or is this Death?  Where a person is born into a design of debt, poverty, incarceration, and death by age 30.

In today’s America there are two species of human being: non-felons and felons.  Felons, have become the new slave, alien, outcast, reject, undesirable, etc.  The promotion of ignorance in today’s society is at an all time high and it is this very ignorance that justifies the oppressive abuses we suffer at the hands of the law.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, EXCEPT as punishment for a crime.  Look it up.  We claim to be adults, but we’re afraid to speak up and speak out against the ignorance in our own neighborhoods that steals our children from us.  That same ignorance that claims our children is the very same ignorance that fuels the fears and frustrations of these quick trigger cops who kill seemingly in cold blood.

Living
In
Fucked up
Environments

Of
Racism

Destroying
Everything
Against
The
Heart

I salute the men and women of I.O.A. and thank you from the core of my heart for your courage and dedication to a selfless cause.  I’d been meaning to raech out to you guys for some time now.

As for your concerns about the complaints with this jail???…

My only complaint would be the lack of educational opportunities for the long term detainees.  I’ve made several requests myself to have some character education/ethics and choices work books sent in so that I can start a class but…instead, as you can see on the back side of page one, I’ve started a creative writing class and had a helluva turnout!  Months back I’d started a mens group in 4-D but I failed the young bros up there by letting my anger and frustration get the best of me.  In life – especially behind bars – people will treat you the way you present yourself.  I cannot echo the complaints you hear in every letter because hey…this is jail.  This building has saved many people from themselves, so as novel the thought of total abolishment of jail is, it would truly do more harm than good.  In a perfect world these prisons and jails wouldn’t be necessary.  Having spent 21 1/2 years day for day with no breaks in between in prison, I can honestly say it (prison) is needed.  I have met many a man who have lost all desire to change…if they ever possessed it to begin with.  Sad, but too true.  My Lord and Savior had different plans for me and so he filled me with the will to endure and to never give up.  He filled me with compassion and the desire to help mend this broken picture of society.  To let my own life and experiences be an example to our youth of not only what not do, but also of how to turn your life around for the better.

Man, I love it.  Inspiring substantial thought in people.

You have my permission to print this letter in its entirety and to use my full name.  I stand on every word I’ve written and fear no reprisal from staff.  I can honestly say that the vast majority of the staff I’ve encountered here are genuinely good people just doing their jobs to pay the bills.

In closing I’d like to ask you guys at IOA to see about sending me some materials (workbooks, etc.) to aid me in my task of creating a change.  Like I said earlier, ethics and choices, character education, anger management, stress management…anything that will bring something new and worthwhile to the boxes that these brothers and sister are unable to think outside of.  Help me help our society.

I am L.O.D.

Sincerely fearless and able,

Curtis Barnette

God bless y’all and I love you all.