As you can see below, we are helping to collect signatures for a statement in support of the Georgia prisoners strike that will be released publicly within the next day or so. A significant number of organizations, professors, advocates, and faith leaders have already signed on. Please respond quickly and pass it on.
A Moment for Movement-Building: Statement of Solidarity with Georgia Prisoner Strike
On December 9, 2010, thousands of prisoners in at least six Georgia state prisons initiated the largest prisoner strike in U.S. history, uniting across racial boundaries to demand an immediate end to the cruel and dehumanizing conditions that damage prisoners, their families, and the communities they return to.
Prisoners are demanding a living wage for work, increased educational opportunities, decent health care, an end to cruel and unusual punishment, decent living conditions, nutritional meals, vocational and self-improvement opportunities, access to families, and just parole decisions. These demands are not only fair and just, but mandatory under international human rights law and the U.S. Constitution.
And it is not just Georgia where these conditions exist. Prisoners throughout this country are subject to routine dehumanization, violence, denial of basic medical care, separated from their families, exposed to illnesses, and obstructed from accessing the court. Jails and prisons throughout the U.S. are routinely in violation of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment, the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It is imperative that members of the legal community, human rights advocates, social justice activists, faith communities, and concerned members of the general public mobilize in support of prisoners and their families in this urgent moment. Georgia prison authorities have reportedly reacted to the peaceful strike with violence. The threat of retaliation will remain for the foreseeable future, and we must rise to the occasion with increased vigilance and action.
We are especially asking that members of the legal community recognize their unique role and serious responsibility in working to support prisoners and communities targeted by policies of mass incarceration.
The transcending of the politics of racial antagonism by the prisoners in Georgia striking for their human rights and human dignity is a profound call for the renewal of visionary mass movements for social justice and freedom in this country. Our communities outside of these walls are in dire need of human rights as well: health care, educational opportunities, jobs, food, housing, peace, and a livable planet.
In building an integrated, mass movement for human rights inside and outside the prisons we are also working to undermine the conditions of social, economic, and political inequalities that fuel crime and violence.
We are asking that others sign onto this statement of solidarity and make a commitment to take action in support of the prisoners in Georgia, to take action in support of prisoners rights, and to help build a historic mass movement against mass incarceration and for universal human rights and dignity.
Please visit this link
(http://www.petitiononline.com/wagesnow/petition.html) to view and the
current signers of the Solidarity Statement, which is in essence a petition
to the people of this country to take concrete actions to build this
movement. So many people have been committed to this for years already, and
because of the bold and dignified stand taken in Georgia we have an
opportunity build on these efforts.
Please direct people on your lists to visit the link above to sign the
statement from now on.
Human Rights Coalition (hrcoalition.org) (www.ontheblockradio.org)
Center for Constitutional Rights