April 9, 2015
Greetings Maroon supporters worldwide!

It’s been a momentous last couple years in the long struggle to free our beloved father, uncle, grandfather, and comrade. Thanks to your persistent advocacy, Maroon’s case, and the political pretexts to his over forty years of confinement, have garnered widespread attention and sparked outrage from justice-seeking people across the globe.

As of April, 2015, we have launched a new web presence at WWW.RUSSELLMAROONSHOATZ.COM. There, we will be posting updates on Maroon’s health, legal efforts, writings, as well as related news, campaigns, and culture. If you are interested in contributing art, poems, essays, or articles to Maroon’s blog, please contact maroonconnect@gmail.com.

We have also begun a brand new Email Announcement List. Even if you think you are already connected with us, please follow the link and sign up!

For background on Maroon’s activism and imprisonment, please see his Case History on Our Website.

Maroon Has Started Cancer Treatment

After repeated delays in treatment earlier this year, followed by an emergency outside call-in effort in February, Maroon has begun radiation treatment for prostate cancer. Beginning to document his Chronology of Major Health Problems, Maroon writes:

“As a seventy one year old Political Prisoner I have spent over forty three continuous years in over twenty three jails, prisons and a maximum security mental institution, with over thirty of those years being held in solitary confinement.

During that period … the most challenging health issues I have been faced with … fall in two categories: major difficulties with both eyes, and prostrate problems that have developed into prostrate cancer.

Over the years I have struggled to PURCHASE large segments of medical records the prison and mental institutions compile on me. In the absence of a court order, no copies of these records have ever been available free-of-charge!

At the present time I am in possession of those records, and my legal team has also acquired more, since it’s almost certain we will soon have to institute legal action to compel the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and its medical contractor(s) to provide me with proper medical care.”

Spring Maroon Book and Culinary Tour 2015

On March 28th, we launched the Spring Maroon 2015 Book and Culinary Tour. We’ll be hosting community discussions based on writings in Maroon The Implacable, breaking bread with healthy food, and strategizing around Maroon’s recovery and freedom. Throughout the U.S., all spring long, Maroon’s son, Russell the III, will be leading these events, some of which will include smoothies made with the special ingredient “Maroon Moss,” a blend of sea vegetables, apples, kale and lemon! To see if the Spring Maroon Tour is stopping by a town near you, please see the Itinerary.

Stand With Mumia!

As with justice workers across the globe, we are very concerned about the treatment of Mumia Abu-Jamal during his recent decline in health. We urge you to connect with the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and to Donate to Mumia’s Health Care Fund.  He needs independent, specialized medical attention, urgently. This is our major demand. We need to step up the pressure and oppose the attempt at state execution of Mumia by medical neglect. Free Mumia!

Social Media ‘Get Well’ Shout Outs for Maroon!

As we wish a speedy recovery and immediate medical justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal and his family, we want to inform supporters that Maroon has officially started the first of 44 treatments of radiation therapy. In light of Mumia’s current situation, the journey for the release of our loved ones and comrades has taken on a renewed sense of urgency. We must continue to raise the issue of medical treatment for an aging demographic of inmates in U.S. prisons. More importantly, we must stay vigilant in our conversations with loved ones regarding their medial records, Department of Corrections policies and procedures, and family rights. We have already lost many giants, men and women comrades in this struggle of revolution and freedom. We can’t lose them twice…

With the launch of the Spring Maroon Book and Culinary Tour, and our new online presence, we are asking supporters to send their thoughts to Maroon as he embarks on this medical journey. Your greetings can come in any form. Submit a spoken word piece, poem, music, rap, tweet, 30 second video, “get well” shout outs, etc. e-mail maroonconnect@gmail.com to have your greeting posted on the site,  and/or tweet @RussellMShoatz.

Support Maroon’s Global Network

As we embark on a renewed fight to bring Maroon home, the time has come for us to reach out to you for financial support. The Shoatz family has been the primary funder of this campaign since Maroon was initially locked up in the early 1970s. In the simplest of terms, we don’t have the resources to continue being this struggle’s main financial engine. Please hit the PayPal link below to contribute.

No amount is too little. Please also consider sharing this information with family members, friends, and colleagues who may be able to support.

We offer you our deepest gratitude, and our hope to celebrate greater victories with you in the months and years to come.

Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 2.44.26 PMStraight ahead!

The Shoatz Family and Friends

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Take action for Mumia – Update from the Hospital

Follow this link for Democracy Now!
Story with Johanna Fernandez of Bring Mumia Home Campaign

Bret Grote of the Abolitionist Law Center is in Pottsville at the hospital. He sent this out this afternoon. Here’s the latest on Mumia:

UPDATE: Yesterday morning, March 30, Mumia Abu-Jamal was rushed to the hospital after passing out at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Mahanoy. He was admitted to the Schuylkill Medical Center with a blood sugar level of 779. Today, he received visits from his wife, Wadiya, and his brother, Keith Cook. Mumia’s blood sugar had dropped to 333 as of a couple hours ago. This is still elevated and at an unhealthy level.

Mumia does not have a history of diabetes, but had been experiencing a series of symptoms that should have alerted medical staff at the prison to the onset of the disease. Instead, he was not given comprehensive diagnostic treatment and a medical crisis emerged that could have resulted in his slipping into a diabetic coma or worse.

Prison officials only relented and permitted visitation under immense public pressure from all over the world. Keep it up. If the prison had its way, nobody would know Mumia was hospitalized, nor would they have permitted visits or the release of any medical information to family.

Family and friends are not leaving Pottsville. Mumia is not out of danger and we will remain vigilant and mobilized. The state keeps trying to kill Mumia – spied on by the FBI since he was 15, shot in the chest and severely beaten on December 9, 1981, framed for a killing he did not commit and put on death row, held in solitary confinement under threat of execution for 30 years, and now denied competent, basic medical care. He is alive because the movement has fought like hell to make it so. The government of the united states of apartheid can never be trusted to protect the rights or respect the lives of Black people or those held in prison. Never forgive, never forget. Stay alert and ready to act.

Please call in reference to Mumia’s legal name, “Wesley Cook.”

To stay connected go to Bring Mumia Home

Richard Ellers
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
rellers@pa.gov
(717) 728-5311

 John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109

 Schuylkill Medical Center
700 E Norwegian St, Pottsville, PA
(570) 621-4000

SCI Mahanoy
Superindendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158

Free Mumia! Get well soon Mumia! WE LOVE YOU!!

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Spring Maroon Tour 2015

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Saturday  March 28th    7pm    Brooklyn, NY
SMOKE MAROON OUT!!! SOLD OUT!
@ Habana Niño Cigar Boutique 384 Tompkins Ave –  Book & Cigar $35 package still available online

Saturday  April 11th    7pm    Denver, CO
The Kick off of The Spring Maroon Tour!!!
@ P&L Printing 3827 Steele St in collaboration with ABC Denver & the SHOFAM  Free Spring Roll w purchase of Maroon the Implacable $20

Saturday April 18th    12pm    Wilmington Del.
“Champagne Brunch” 1012 Grandview ave.
Book, screening & openhouse/openbook $35

Sunday April 19th    11am    Philadelphia, PA
@ Atiya Ola’s Raw Food Cafe Sponsors Screening
The Ongoing Cost of Freedom with  Director Vagabond

Saturday April 25th 3pm Baltimore Md.
@ Terra Cafe 101 E 25th St.
Amedjill & #freemaroon Baltimore Sponsor The *#B-More Maroon* Event

Saturday  May 2nd 4pm Maplewood, NJ
@104 Harvard Ave.
Tj’s Juice Joint! Choice of smoothie, box tea set, or Maroon Moss (Kale, Apple, Lemon and the sea vegetable Moss) w purchase of Maroon the Implacable $20 free event

Sun May 10th 4pm Brooklyn NY
Free Maroon Senegal Sponsors Food 4 Thought!
@ Jollof’s Restaurant 1168 Bedford Av
A Roundtable smorgasbord of Maroon’s Ideas from Mosaic to the Hydra & Pop’s special Thieboudienne Recipe

Saturday June 13th 12pm Washington DC
Ladies 1st Book & *Brunch*$25 for ladies $35 men Brunch & book included
RSVP ONLY – All RSVP’s to rshoatz@gmail.com

DOWNLOAD FLYER HERE

Blessed Are Those Who Struggle: Fundraiser and Memorial Dinner For Political Prisoners

Tues Feb 24th at The Rotunda Banquet Facility – 401 Walnut Street – Philly

7pm – 10p  FREE Dinner & Amazing Program! Food and Music Free – Donations Greatly Appreciated & All proceeds go to our PP/POWS

Speakers Include: Pam Afrika, Dr. Muhammad Ahmad, Bill Brown, Marcus Shell & The Shoatz Family – Moderated by Sabukwe Bambata

Music by New Afrikan Arts Ensamble, Badd Kitti, and Mixed People

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1 Year Anniversary of Maroon in General Population

February 24, 2015 –Written By Russell the III

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of my fathers release from solitary confinement into the general prison population at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford. This long-sought move ended over 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement. It also marked the first time that Maroon had been in the general prison population in the state of Pennsylvania since 1983, when he was placed in solitary confinement due to his work with the Pennsylvania Association of Lifers to abolish life-without-parole sentences. For a 17-month period between 1989-1991, Maroon was held in the general prison population at the federal penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas.

Maroon brought suit in May, 2013, on the grounds that he had been subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that prison officials had deprived him of his procedural and substantive due process rights for keeping him in solitary confinement without meaningful review and on insufficient grounds. He is represented by Reed Smith attorneys Rick Etter and Stefanie L. Burt; Bret Grote and Dustin McDaniel of the Abolitionist Law Center; Daniel Kovalik of the United Steelworkers; and retired Reed Smith partner, Hal Engel.

On Monday, January 27, 2014, United States District Magistrate for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Cynthia Reed Eddy, issued a decision denying defendants’ motion to dismiss in the case of Shoatz v. Wetzel. The ruling allowed Maroon to move forward with the legal challenge to his more than 22 consecutive years in solitary confinement.

The campaign to release Shoatz from solitary confinement has also been gathering increasing international attention, including the support of five Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: Jose Ramos-Horta of East Timor, Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Jody Williams from the United States, and Adolfo Perez Esquivel of Argentina. Several U.S. civil and human rights organizations endorsed his release from isolation, as well as growing number of clergy.  In March, 2013, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment and Punishment, Juan Mendez, called on the government “to cease the prolonged isolation of Mr. Shoatz.”

While Maroon’s release from solitary confinement proved a significant step forward in the campaign to free him from prison altogether, our work to bring him home continues. As many of you know, Maroon was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, and was being denied adequate medical care. An emergency phone and letter-writing campaign directed at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections resulted in the onset of an aggressive course of cancer treatment.

The Shoatz family wishes to thank all those supporters who answered the call and advocated for Maroon. We’ll be keeping you abreast of developments in his treatment, and ask that you remain vigilant should the need to further advocate regarding his medical care in the coming weeks and months reemerge.

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Theresa, Maroon, Sharon, & Russell III – February 2015

 

Hold the Phone! Maroon’s Getting Treatment because of YOU!

UPDATE:   Human Rights Coalition sent out an action alert Tuesday morning regarding Russell Maroon Shoatz, the former Black Panther and political prisoner. Maroon had been informed that he has prostate cancer on December 9, 2014, and treatment has not yet begun.

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PADOC medical contacted the Shoatz family this morning and informed them of the course and schedule of the treatments that Maroon is going to be receiving for his prostate cancer. The treatment is set to begin this week.

THANK YOU to all who answered the call and advocated for Maroon. At this time we are asking supporters to hold off on further phone calls and letters. Maroon’s family and legal counsel will be in communication with him to ensure that he begins receiving the treatment without any further delay.

We cannot thank everybody enough. Hold off for now on further advocacy, but remain vigilant in the event that further action is required in the future.

In solidarity,
Human Rights Coalition and all those who love MAROON

Prison Officials Deny Russell Maroon Shoatz Treatment for Prostate Cancer – Call Prison Today

Action Alert –Prison Officials Denying Russell Maroon Shoatz Treatment for Prostate Cancer – Call Prison Today
 

Political prisoner and former Black Panther Russell Maroon Shoatz #AF3855 was informed that he had prostate cancer on December 9, 2014. Prison medical staff has not provided any treatment to date. Cancer does not wait for the prison bureaucracy. Maroon’s health, his life, and his rights are being violated every moment he is denied necessary cancer treatment.

Call SCI Graterford and PADOC Secretary Wetzel today and demand that Maroon be provided immediate, necessary medical care for his prostate cancer.  
 
Call:
 
SCI Graterford Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz: 610-489-4151
SCI Graterford Chief Health Care Administrator Joseph Korszniak: 610-489-4151
PADOC Secretary John Wetzel: 717-728-4109

Please be firm and respectful when talking to prison staff.

Talking Points:
1)    Russell Shoatz was informed that he has prostate cancer on December 9, 2014. He has not received any treatment to date.
2)    The oncologist told him in December that the cancer was “aggressive” and that treatment should begin in January.
3)    A urologist told him in January that he was going to receive radiation treatment.
4)    There is no medical reason for a two-month delay prior to receiving necessary cancer treatment. Russell Shoatz needs immediate health care, and continued refusal to provide this is illegal, and puts his life at risk.

 

If you would like to write a letter in addition to a phone call please address and send to the following address:

 

Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz
PO Box 246
Graterford, PA 19426

 

Secretary Wetzel
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050