Spring Greetings Maroon’s Global Support Network!
Welcome to another installment of our monthly newsletter. Much respect and deep gratitude to everyone who’s reached out and stayed engaged with the latest developments in Maroon’s case.
A special thank you to those who came out for last month’s Mahogany Stroll, our successful Maroon Wear Fashion Freedom Fundraiser in Philly! We’re so grateful to all the designers who donated clothing and supported this event: Hamlet Tallaj from Hamlet’s Vintage, Shelyta Shoatz Vanhorn from Tranquility Wearable Art, TAR, ZED’s Gifts, UCBC, Movie Star Handsome, ThoroughBred Attire, World-Town, and Tru Design. Thank you to all the amazing models for WORKING THE RUNWAY!!! And thank you to Malikah from One Art for the beautiful venue!
This month, we bring you another international media write-up on Federal Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy’s ruling in support of Maroon, a save-the-date for Maroon’s trial in Pittsburgh, a farewell to political prisoner Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langaan, a petition to support political prisoner Robert Seth Hayes, and part one of an audio interview with former political prisoner Ashanti Alston, regarding his own activism with the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberation Army, and its connections to today’s Black Lives Matter movement.
As always, please feel free to contact us directly with your thoughts, questions, and ideas to support our work on behalf of Maroon and all u.s.-held political prisoners.
Please also consider contributing to our ongoing fundraising for Maroon. No amount is too little, and all contributions make an impact.
You can connect directly with Maroon by writing to Russell Shoats #AF-3855, SCI-Graterford, P.O. Box 246 Route 29, Graterford, PA 19426 – 0246
The Shoatz Family and Friends
International Press for Maroon!
In the aftermath of last month’s ruling by Federal Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy that Maroon’s suit against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for violations of his 8th and 14th Amendment rights must go forward and be decided by a jury trial, international press outlets have begun to cover Maroon’s case history and the potential his trial holds to challenge the long-term and politically retributive uses of solitary confinement against U.S. prisoners. Check out Renée Feltz’s article, “Former Black Panther Granted Trial to Contest 22 Years in Solitary Confinement,” published two weeks ago by The Guardian. And if you missed it in last month’s blast, here’s Victoria Law’s article, “How a Former Black Panther Could Change the Rules of Solitary Confinement,” published in The Nation.
Please help spread these articles to your individual networks, particularly to those who may not yet know about Maroon’s history and imprisonment. As we move forward to Maroon’s trial, we’ll need as much support as possible to make his case known farther and wider than ever before.
Save the Date! Maroon’s going to Court!
A tentative trial date of July 11, 2016, has been set for Maroon. We’ll of course be packing the courtroom in a show of support, and will be building up to the date with a number of events and fundraising initiatives, about which we’ll let you know more in the coming weeks. In the interim, we ask that those of you who may be able to join us in the courtroom, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, save the date of July 11. If anyone in the network has capacity to organize a fundraiser for this mobilization please do! If you are in Pittsburgh and want to help on the ground please contact – firstname.lastname@example.org
Details to follow as soon as we have them…
Maroon Has Wings – Interview with Ashanti Alston
Please check out the first installment of an interview with Ashanti Alston, former Black Panther, soldier of the Black Liberation Army, and political prisoner of a decade and a half. Allston speaks about the impact Maroon had on him while he was incarcerated, embracing his own resistance to authority within the Panthers, and organizing for Black Lives as a teenager in the 70’s.
Did you know Ashanti and his life long comrade, Jihad Abdulmumit were the first teenagers to be tried as adults in New Jersey AND they defeated the Feds who were trying to frame them in that case?
Ashanti also discusses the Black Lives Matter convening in Cleveland, the importance and preciousness of relationships, studying in prison, escape attempts, all that you risk when you engage in the struggle, and all that you love when you’re committed to justice.
This interview was recorded in Providence, Rhode Island by etta cetera in early February with the company of Biko and Yasmine.
Thank you Ashanti for sharing your experiences, wisdom and encouragement with us. Thank you for reminding us to continue to keep up the STRUGGLE WITH THE HOPE OF WINNING.
Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langaan joins the Ancestors
We send our heartfelt condolences to the family and supporters of Wopashitwe Mondo Eyen we Langa, who died of respiratory failure on March 11, 2016, at the maximum-security Nebraska State Penitentiary. Mondo was serving a life without parole sentence for the 1970 murder of an Omaha policeman, a crime he vigorously denied all the way to his prison deathbed. Active in his youth with the Black Panther Party and the United Front Against Fascism, Mondo attracted the unwanted attention of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover who ordered Mondo and his colleague Edward Poindexter removed from the streets.
We invite you to read Michael Richardson’s article at Moorbey’z Blog and Linda Kennedy’s article at the San Francisco Bayview, both of which pay touching tribute to Mondo’s committed activism and artistry before and throughout his imprisonment. Rest in peace and power Mondo!
5 Minute Solidarity Action! Support Seth Hayes
Robert Seth Hayes has been incarcerated since 1973. Like Mondo and Maroon, Seth was a victim of the FBI’s illegal COINTELPRO activities. Prior to his imprisonment, Seth worked in the Black Panther Party’s Free Breakfast for Children program. His knowledge of the effects of racism on the Black community convinced him that the Black Panthers’ program of community service and community self-defense was what was needed.
A husband, father, grandfather, and brother, Seth has been behind bars for 43 years. He is nearing his tenth parole hearing, scheduled for June of this year, and a petition in support of his release, directed at Tina M. Stanford, Chair of the New York State Board of Parole, has begun circulating. We invite all of Maroon’s supporters to lend your names and signatures to the petition. Free Robert Seth Hayes!
Our thanks and love as always for your continued solidarity.
Free Maroon! Free Em All!
The Shoatz Family and Friends