Young beacons of light, you are stepping up boldly into your historical mandate, and have divorced yourselves of the psychopathic obsequiousness of so many before you, you who have honored your generation’s mission by crossing the line of injustice, artificial pillars of institutionalized racism, classism, gender bias and “new Jim Crow” justice, you who with steel-toed protests and the shrill cry of righteous indignation have put the beast on notice wit a burning indigestion demanding that BLACK LIVES MATTER.
We, your fathers, your uncles, who have been disappeared, held hostage, tortured and murdered from within the Short Corridor Communication Management Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison and solitary confinement units throughout the prison industrial slave complex (PISC) honor, uplift and love you.
In doing so, we admonish you to not get weary in your righteous struggle, to use the history of our New Afrikan Liberation Struggle, beginning with the Holocaust of slavery, our existence in this land without justice since 1619 and the entire historical miscarriage of justice as your guide. Understand that “by any means necessary” is your birthright and means just that.
Therefore, don’t allow yourselves to be corralled and micro-managed by the ostentatious parasites who sold the slaves along the road of political halfway measures. They are not beholden to you or justice for Black lives, but instead their benefactors and whatever crumbs they can smuggle.
Beware the sloganeers who would with self-serving intent co-opt your rally cry. Demand that anyone who would call himself your ally acknowledge your leadership. So when athletes, Black lawyers, court officers and congressional staffers post with hands up and banners saying “Don’t Shoot,” “Black Lives Matter,” demand they join, fund and support the forming of Black defense guards, Black legal defense committees and a national Black united front.
Organize yourselves now for longevity after the corporate media and fair-weather friends sell you out in a whitewash of back page opinionated articles designed to emasculate your just outrage. Do so by extending the meaning of “Black Lives Matter” to the abolishment of the root cause of our continued murder and slow genocide: the prison industrial slave complex (PISC).
Make them understand that if Black lives matter, then the lives of the thousands of Black men, women and juveniles being illegally and indeterminately held in the tortuous sensory deprivation solitary confinement chambers such as the SHUs at Pelican Bay, Corcoran and Tehachapi and other such places matter.
Men such as Randall Sondai Ellis, who as a 16-year-old juvenile – a kid! – in 1981 was convicted of a crime in which he was not the shooter and unceremoniously thrown in prison with a life sentence. He has been illegally and unjustly confined in solitary confinement for 33½ years now as a result of alleged association with so-called “gang members.”
The state has used this housing as justification for repeated parole denials, the last being in 2009. This is an ongoing and continuing “war on our youth.” Sondai should’ve been freed 15-20 years ago.
If Black lives matter, make it clear that your just outrage extends to and will not tolerate the “con game” (see “CDCR’s new con game to undermine our class action suit” in the December 2014 Bay View) being run on the public and California Legislature by the PISC, CDCR and PBSP, wherein men like Ricky Kaidi Matthews, Sondai and others continue to be held hostage in tortuous solitary confinement awaiting sham case-by-case reviews after having been lied to repeatedly by prison administrators.
They were repeatedly promised, as a result of the historic hunger strikes in 2012, they would be reviewed to determine if they will be released from SHU according to the date of their original validation – 1988 and 1990 respectively. Yet when it comes to these men being reviewed, the rules suddenly change and become less fluid, denying them equal treatment under the law, while the men who were placed in the SHU when it opened in 1990 have been given reviews and either moved out of SHU placed into a so-called Step Down Program towards such relief.
This is clearly an arbitrary process, as men in other SHUs have also been given so-called CBC reviews who have not spent half the time that Kaidi and Sondai have spent in solitary confinement. This is unacceptable.
As you continue in your righteous struggle toward revolution, be sure you adhere to the principles of Maat and the seven crowning virtues of truth, propriety, reciprocity, balance, justice, order and harmony. Demand an end to long-term solitary confinement and CDCR torture.
RELEASE THE HOSTAGES, and justice for Sondai – if Black lives matter!
Akili Castlin, the author of “Who Am Eye,” spoken word available at