Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 5: A Day of Justice for Trayvon!

June 5 will be 100 days since George Zimmerman, a vigilante, wannabe cop murdered Trayvon Martin. 100 days since Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon, stalked him and gunned him down. Now we are being told that it’s time for us to get out of the streets and let the justice system work. This is BS! The system was working when it let Trayvon’s murderer go free. It took weeks of people all over the country taking to the streets in outrage to force the authorities to arrest Zimmerman and charge him for murdering Trayvon.

People need to stay in the streets demanding justice for Trayvon. It will take continued mass resistance to have any chance to get justice in this case.

innocence; torture-like conditions faced by those in prison and former prisoners forced to wear badges of shame and dishonor after they’ve served their sentences. It is way past time to say NO MORE to all of this.

June 5 must be a day of mass resistance! Wear your hoodies, and make stickers and posters saying “WE ARE ALL TRAYVON, THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM IS GUILTY!” Get this message everywhere. Take it to the high schools. If you’re in college and your school will be out of session by June 5, take this message wherever you will be on that day.

When you add up the numbers of those facing racial profiling, those warehoused in prison and those who are discriminated against after they leave prison and combine that with the families and loved ones of all these people, you get a reality of tens of millions of people living lives that are enmeshed in the web of the criminal “injustice” system. On June 5 and beyond, we need to break the silence on all this and end the shame. Tell your story of being abused at the hands of the cops, the courts and in prison. Spread the slogan,


CONTACT us nationally & get involved:
Stop Mass Incarceration Network: 866-841-9139 x2670
CONTACT us in Chicago & get involved: 312-933-9586 Make it KNOWN:
Post pictures and text at: Post videos on Email us pictures, text & video links

Thursday, April 19, 2012

People From Across Chicago Converge to say NO to Mass Incarceration!

National Day of Resistance - Say NO to Mass Incarceration!

Contact: Grant Newberger, 312-217-2202,

Thurs April 19
5:00 p.m. Rally at Federal Plaza (Dearborn & Adams) Chicago
7:30 p.m. Chicago Police Board Meeting - Olive Harvey College

People From Across Chicago Converge to say NO to Mass Incarceration!
-- Chicago Police Murders Fuel Local Action--

Chicago 4/19 -- Representatives of Occupy El Barrio and Occupy 4 Prisoners will join local poets, clergy, as well as activists in the cases of victims of Chicago police shootings such as Flint Farmer, Rekia Boyd, and Ricky Bradley, to initiate a nationwide movement to combat mass incarceration.

People everywhere, including local Chicago churches such as Wellington Avenue UCC, have delved into the problem of mass incarceration, greatly assisted by the best-selling book, "The New Jim Crow," by Michelle Alexander. The Trayvon Martin murder and recent arrest of George Zimmerman have galvanized the public nationwide, and people in Chicago have all become aware of the violence against people of color through high-profile cases such as the police shooting of Flint Farmer. The community has come together around the need to protect immigrants from persecution, incarceration, and deportation, particularly with resistance to the erection of an ICE facility in Crete, IL. Several weeks ago, approx. 500 people gathered at UIC for the "Forced Out" conference on deportation and incarceration. Local advocacy groups such as the Community Renewal Society are aggressively pursuing campaigns to reverse the consequences of mass incarceration and stigmatization of people with records. Occupy the SouthSide has initiated a campaign to "Stop the American Genocide (STAG)."

The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has called for a National Day of Action to Stop Mass Incarceration on Thursday, April 19th. These national actions has everything to do with, and joins with, the upsurge associated with this “Trayvon Martin moment.”

On April 19th everyone who is concerned about injustice will join in saying — NO TO MASS INCARCERATION! There will be rallies and demonstrations in cities across the country, from New York to Houston, to Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. College and high school students will hold teach in’s and other actions on their campuses. There will be cultural events held on that day. And the architects and enforcers of mass incarceration will be challenged over the inhumanity of the policies they are inflicting on society. Why? Because,

More than 2.4 million people, most of them Black or Latino, remain warehoused in prisons across the country;
Black and Latino youth are treated like criminals by the police and the criminal justice system, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive their encounters with police to prove their innocence;
Former prisoners wear badges of shame and dishonor even after they serve their sentences — discriminated against when applying for jobs, denied access to government assistance, not allowed in public housing, denied the right to vote.

In a short statement being released and circulated nationwide, it declares:

“It is time and way past time to stand up and say NO MORE! Our youth are being treated like criminals—guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. The vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin concentrates the racial profiling that leads into more than 2.4 million people being warehoused in prison and the millions more who are treated like second-class citizens even after they’ve served their sentences. April 19th must be a day of standing up and saying NO MORE to all of this. Join us to organize a day of teach ins and rallies in high schools and colleges; a day of youth, tired of being demonized, taking to the streets—joined by many others from different backgrounds, races and nationalities who stand with them; a day of speaking bitterness to the way the whole criminal justice system abuses millions of people. All saying in a powerful voice: NO to mass incarceration and all its consequences.”

April 19th Convergences (so far):

Atlanta: 4:00 PM Downtown at the Five Points MARTA Station for a protest, speak-out, street theater and march.
Chicago: 5:00 pm - Federal Plaza at Dearborn & Adams
Houston: 3:30 pm—Convergence, intersection of Cleburne and Tierwester, March to Houston Police substation.
Los Angeles: 4:00 pm - Pershing Square, 5th & Olive, Downtown LA; 5:00 PM - March to LAPD Headquarters.
New York City: 4:00 pm - One Police Plaza, downtown Manhattan; 5:30 pm - March to Union Square.
San Francisco Bay Area: 12 noon - Rally, California State Building, Van Ness & McAllister - March to Federal Building, 7th and Mission Streets.
Seattle: 3 pm—speak-out and picket, King County Jail, 5th Ave. & James St., downtown Seattle.

National Signatories:
All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party (GC); Gbenga Akinnagbe, Actor; Rafael Angulo, Professor of Social Work, USC; Edward Asner, Actor; Lawrence Aubry, Convenor, Advocates for Black Strategic Alternatives; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Lucy Bailey, Independent, LA Ca; Nellie Bailey, Occupy Harlem; Carissa Baldwin-McGinnis, Director of Peace and Justice, All Saints Church. Pasadena, Ca.; Jared Ball, VOXUNION Media, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Social Justice Committee, Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists; Rev. Dr. Dorsey O. Blake, Presiding Minister, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples; Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director, OFFICE OF THE AMERICAS; Herb Boyd, Harlem-based author, educator, journalist and activist; Bob Brown, co-director, Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael) Institute; Elaine Brower, World Can't Wait, Military Families Speak Out; Richard Brown, Former Black Panther Party; John L. Burris, Civil Rights Attorney; Rev. Richard “Meri Ka Ra” Byrd, Senior Pastor, KRST Unity Center of Afrakan Spiritual Science; California Coalition for Women Prisoners; Kendra Castaneda, Prisoner Human Rights Activist with a family member in CA State Prison Segregation Unit; Denika Chapman, mother, and Marco Scott, uncle, of Kenneth Harding, Kenneth Harding Foundation; Eric Cheyfitz, Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane Letters, Cornell University; Solomon Comissiong, Executive Director, Your World News Media Collective (; Community Futures Collective, Vallejo CA; Drucilla Cornell, Professor, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Rutgers University; Colin Dayan, Robert Penn Warren Professor in the Humanities, Vanderbilt University; Oscar De La Torre, Founder/Executive Director, Pico Youth and Family Center, Santa Monica, CA; Emory Douglas, Black Panther Party/Alumni; Carl Dix, Revolutionary Communist, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Kevin Epps, Independent Filmmaker/Activist; Glen Ford, executive editor, Black Agenda Report; Dr. Henry Giroux, Department of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada; Rebeca Guerrero, Los Angeles, CA; Jeff Haas, Civil Rights Attorney, Activist and Author of The Assasination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther; Kelley Lytle Hernandez, Professor of History, UCLA; Nicholas Heyward Sr., father of Nicholas Naquan Heyward, Jr., killed by NYPD; Jeremy Hiller, Education Not Incarceration; Mike Holman, Executive Director, Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund*; Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) members Mary C. Singaus, Douglas MacMillan, Margaret Hutchinson, Stephen L. Fiske, Susan Anderson, Ed Fisher, Anthony Manouses, and Andy Griggs, Los Angeles CA; The International Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Melvin Ishmael Johnson, Director of Dramastage-Qumran Workshop; Mesha Irizarry, Idris Stelly Foundation; Tom Kleven, Professor, Thurgood Marshall School of Law; Cephus 'Uncle Bobby' Johnson, Oscar Grant Foundation; Robin DG Kelley, Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA; Robert King, Freed Angola 3; Wayne Kramer, Jail Guitar Doors USA, Co-Founder; Patricia Krommer CSJ, Pax Christi So. California; Roshanak Kheshti, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies, University of California, San Diego; Sarah Kunstler, Esq., National Lawyers Guild NYC*; Laura Magnani, American Friends Service Committee; Joe Maizlish, Los Angeles, CA; BM Marcus, Community Director, Comm. Advocate Organization, Brooklyn NY; Dr. Antonio Martinez, Institute for Survivors of Human Rights Abuses, and co-founder of the Marjorie Kovler Center for the Treatment of Survivors of Torture; Carlos Meza, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Janet Gollery McKeithen (Unity Methodist Clergy), President, Methodist Federation for Social Action, Cal-Pac; Peter McLaren, School of Critical Studies, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand; Rev. Darrel Meyers, Presbyterian Church USA; Nancy Michaels, Associate Director of the Mansfield Institute for Social Justice and Transformation; Aaron Mirmalek, cousin of Leonard Peltier, LPDOC, Oakland, CA; Gregg Morris, Assistant Professor, Journalism, Department of Film and Media Studies, Hunter College; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, author of "The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime and the Making of Modern Urban America; Rev. Sala Nolan, National Minister for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, United Church of Christ; Oakland Education Association Representative Assembly; Occupy Education, Northern California; October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation (New York Committee); Kelly Phillips, Symple Equazion/ author of "The Art of Frowns to Smiles"; Laura Pulido, Visiting Professor, Department of Black Studies, UCSB; Professor, Department of American Studies and Ethnicity, USC; Willie and Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View Black National Newspaper; Anthony Rayson, curator of South Chicago Anarchist Black Cross Zine Distro; Rev. Dr. George F. Regas, Rector Emeritus, All Saints Church, Pasadena, CA; Joyce Robbins, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Touro College; Dylan Rodriguez, Professor and Chair, Dept. of Ethnic Studies, University of California, Riverside, and founding member of Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex; Stephen Rohde, Chair, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace; Lila Salas, Occupy Whittier; Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freedom Church; Dan Siegel, Civil Rights attorney; Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law, U.C. Berkeley; Ellen Snortland, author, activist, performer; Jahan Stanizui, Culver City Interfaith; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can't Wait; Heather Thompson, Departments of African American Studies and History, Temple University; Paul Von Blum, African American Studies, UCLA; Jim Vrettos, Professor of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Anne Weills, National Lawyers Guild; Cornel West, author and educator, co-initiator of Campaign to Stop “Stop and Frisk”; Tim'm T. West, Community Activist, Youth Advocate, Hip Hop Artist/Poet; Hadar Aviram, Associate Professor, UC Hastings College of the Law*; Anita Wills, Occupy 4 Prisoners; Clyde Young, Revolutionary Communist, and former prisoner;

*For Identification Purposes Only.
Update: April 13, 2012

Facebook event page at
More Info:

- END -

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Attend Chicago Police Board Meeting to Demand Justice


The next public meeting of the Chicago Police Board is scheduled for Thursday, April 19, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. at Olive Harvey College, 10001 South Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago. This meeting will take place in Chicago Police Area South, which includes the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th & 22nd Police Districts.

Members of the public are invited to attend and are welcome to address questions or comments to the Police Board. The Superintendent of Police (or his designee) and the Chief Administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority (or her designee) will also be at the meeting.

Prior sign-up is required of those wishing to address the Board—contact the Board's office at 312-742-4194 by 4:30 p.m. of the day before the meeting to add your name to the list of speakers. In addition to receiving input from the community, the Board reports on disciplinary actions and other matters, and receives a report from the Superintendent.

For more information, see the Journey For Justice: WHAT DID REKIA DO? website.

Monday, April 16, 2012

New Slide Show

Check out this powerful new video on the Stop Mass Incarceration campaign, with "Sorrow Tears and Blood" by Fela Kuti in the background while harrowing statistics about this racist New Jim Crow system of slow genocide parade before your eyes. Spread the link, please, and see you at 5 pm Thurs at Federal Plaza, Chicago, to Stop Mass Incarceration!

Poster for April 19 National Day of Action to Stop Mass Incarceration

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chicago’s IPRA: Indiscriminate Police Rampage Authorization?

Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority is a piece of the process that justifies & propagates the criminalization and mass incarceration of Black & Latino people, assisting in the cover-up of egregious crimes by Chicago police.

The Independent Police Review Authority is known by the acronym IPRA. Don't the facts suggest that IPRA really stands for:


You decide ...

IPRA by the numbers*
  • Police shootings – 2007 to September 2009: 138, fatalities – 44
    (there were at least 7 more police involved shootings in 2009 after September, including at least 3 fatalities)
  • IPRA Police shooting investigations completed: 11, on fatalities? -- 2
    (Year of shootings investigated: 1 from 2006, 7 from 2007, 3 from 2008)
  • IPRA findings of fault in police shootings: 1
    (“officer inattentive to duty” because he fired his gun accidentally. He argued he had shot the person intentionally but IPRA didn’t believe him.)
  • IPRA Investigations of general police misconduct closed – Sept 2007 to Sept 2009: 4,774
  • IPRA findings of Police misconduct from closed investigations: 88
    (only 32 of which were citizen complaints, the rest being police complaints against police, domestic violence complaints against Police, and procedural complaints)
One thing is certain – if you are a cop, IPRA’s got your back!!

*Information from IPRA’s website and IPRA’s published reports as of Jan 2010; updated totals incorporating 2010 and 2011 data currently being prepared.

A look at the human side
The numbers above give the cold statistics. But statistics can’t begin to convey how cold IPRA really is. Imagine the pain of the families of people killed by the police when IPRA won’t even tell them the name of the cop or cops who did the killing!!

CASE STUDY: Corey Harris
Corey Harris, 17 years old, was a basketball star at Dyett High School. Interviewed on television, his varsity basketball coach said, “He had natural leadership abilities and we had high accolades for the kid. We thought he was going to be a tremendous asset for us, not only on the team but in the school as a whole.” In September of 2009 Corey Harris was shot and killed by an off duty cop. According to witnesses at the scene, this cop had initially fired indiscriminately into a crowd of youth fleeing from a shot fired in a fight. The cop then chased Corey, who – by the police’s own admission was unarmed – down an alley and shot him in the back. Four months later IPRA hasn’t even taken the officer’s testimony or released his name.

CASE STUDY: Aaron Harrison
In August of 2007 Aaron Harrison was shot in the back and murdered by a cop on Chicago’s west side. That shooting came less than a week after police had beaten Lester “Roni” Spruil to death in the same area and sparked a small uprising in the neighborhood. Shortly afterward, with much fanfare, the creation of IPRA was announced. Aaron’s case would be its first high profile investigation.

March 6, 2009 IPRA released its report. After interviewing numerous witnesses who testified that Aaron had no gun IPRA focused on the testimony of a single alleged witness who, when stopped by police for a narcotics investigation, told them he had information that could help them in the shooting case around Aaron. He claimed to have seen Aaron with a gun earlier on the day he was shot. He is alleged to have described how he had brought this information to a local preacher who told him to keep quiet about what he knew.

IPRA never interviewed the preacher to corroborate the story. In fact IPRA never even interviewed the witness. Instead they relied on reports of interviews by police detectives and reports from the discredited Office of Professional Standards describing the existence of this witness and his testimony. When speaking, under oath in the wrongful death suit brought by Aaron’s mother the “local preacher” testified that he had never met such a person. And IPRA had never asked him.

In addition to this mysterious witness who cannot be found, IPRA’s report on the shooting of Aaron describes a DNA report on matter found on a gun that was “recovered at the scene.“ Though Aaron’s finger prints are nowhere to be found on the gun (and remember, Aaron was murdered in August so it isn’t like he was wearing gloves) the DNA report “doesn’t rule out” Aaron. In further analysis, presented in the wrongful death trial IPRA’s DNA results are refuted.

The IPRA investigation of the Police murder of Aaron Harrison exonerated the police using two pieces of evidence to trump the testimony of numerous witnesses and other physical evidence. The two pieces were the questionable testimony of a witness who may not even exist and ambiguous (and later discredited) DNA analysis.

CASE STUDY: Oscar Guzman
In April of 2009 Oscar Guzman, a 16 year old with autism, was standing outside his families restaurant on 26th street when police, thinking he “fit the description” of a suspect stopped to question him. Unable to answer their questions he fled into the restaurant where the police caught him and, despite the families entreaties, beat him over the head with metal batons. In December, 8 months later, IPRA responded to a lawsuit Oscar’s family was filing with a written statement announcing it would “not sacrifice the thoroughness of an investigation to meet a timeline.”

With IPRA things have gone from Bad to Worse
Since IPRA replaced the old Office of Professional Standards (OPS) the previous policy of removing police involved in shooting incidents from the streets while the investigation is pending has been eliminated. Now police are back, leering and threatening the community, the day after they kill. But which of them even did the shooting? There’s no way to know unless one witnessed them at the scene and read their name tag. Because IPRA keeps that information deeply hidden, along with everything else, objectively hampering any effort to get some measure of justice for the victim. Lawyers for families seeking redress for the wrongful death of their loved ones describe how very, very difficult it is to get crucial information out of IPRA – even with a subpoena!! And two years after the fact IPRA is still stonewalling on many investigations.
  • Freddy Latrice Wilson, a rapper know as “the Saint” was gunned down by police outside the studio where he recorded – shot 18 times – on September 28, 2007. IRPA is still investigating.
  • Johnny Goodwin, 21 years old, was waiting at the bus stop for his mother to escort her home late in the evening of August 22nd, 2007. Undercover cops jumped out of a car, chased him down and shot him to death. No IPRA finding has been released on the case.
  • Meliton Recendez, 15 years old, was shot to death by police September 28, 2007. There is no report on that at IPRA’s website.
  • Johnathan Pinkerton, 16, was shot in the back by police on June 11, 2007 and paralyzed from the waist down. His mother has heard nothing from IPRA for more than two years. IPRA has issued no finding.

These are only 4 out of 127 shootings IPRA is still sitting on. Truly IPRA has the Police’s back!!

A system where police not only regularly beat, brutalize and kill people, but which invents “Independent” authorities to defend those very actions has long outlived its historical usefulness!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chicago Spring: STOP Mass Incarceration

About a thousand people participated in Chicago Spring actions on Saturday, April 7, starting in neighborhoods throughout Chicago in the morning, and converging for teach-ins, training, and networking in Grant Park in the afternoon, followed by a meal and GA at "The Horse" at Michigan and Congress in the evening.

Occupy the Southside held a program in the morning as part of its "Stop the American Genocide (STAG) campaign. It showed a film about the Rwanda genocide, and then held a discussion about mass incarceration, the New Jim Crow, and the genocide facing people of color in America today.

Occupy El Barrio held a rally at the Metropolitan Corrections Center (MCC) against ICE detention and other forms of mass incarceration. The marches from the other neighborhoods converged with them at the MCC, and then they marched on to Grant Park together.

Members of Occupy 4 Prisoners held a teach-in on mass incarceration in Grant Park.

Be sure to join us for the Chicago April 19 rally on the National Day of Action to STOP! Mass Incarceration!

Photos of Occupy the SouthSide and MCC: FJJ