Since June 10th, 2012 prisoners at the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Center (commonly known as GDC or Jackson State Prison) have been on hunger strike. The numbers have fluctuated, as men have joined and men have had to drop out. The ones that joined sought to strengthen the resistance against their treatment and imprisonment, while the men who had to stop did so, not because they lacked the will to fight, but because of the toll their starvation was taking on their bodies. After weeks of no food, these men could no longer tolerate the mental, physical and emotional traumathey were forced to endure in order to get the attention of those on the outside.
Here in Atlanta, we have heard the cries of our brothers trapped behind bars and have begun to wage a campaign against the prison and the officials that are making the lives of these prisoners unbearable. While it appears that Warden Humphrey and Brian Owens, the Commissioner of the Department of Correctionsin Georgia ignored them, we choose to not let the decisions of these 14 men to subject themselves to death, in the fight for respect and better treatment, to go unnoticed.
Inspired by the courage and bravery of these men, as well as the work of Delma Jackson (wife of Miguel Jackson), families, friends, activists, revolutionaries and the like joined together in solidarity with the prisoners.
Several solidarity events were planned such as rallies, speak outs, noise demonstrations, letter writing sessions, etc. all to send them love and support from the outside. Inspired by the men, some Atliens also sprayed graffiti throughout the city to help spread the word about their hunger strike.
As of last week, Miguel Jackson, Delma’s partner, ended his 45-day strike after receiving commitments on video and in writing that his demands would in fact be met. There is some controversy about whether or not those who agreed to the demands will only give them to him; therefore, KJ decided to stay on strike even after the other men ended theirs to confirm that not only will Miguel’s demands be met but that the changes will be implemented for all the men in Jackson State. At this time, the attorneys and those involved with the families are still working to see what the outcome will be.
The Fight Continues…
Despite the fact that most of the men have had to end their hunger strikes and that there is uncertainty as to whether or not their demands will be met, we know that the fight against Jackson State (and all prisons) is not over. The more we confront the power of the State, the more it lashes back. As evidenced by the posturing of local law enforcement at recent demonstrations and rallies, the State no longer wishes to give us a platform from which to criticize it. We will not let them intimidate us or keep us from achieving the freedom that we so rightfully desire. For every person locked behind bars, murdered by the State, hunted down and killed by the police, we find more reasons to resist. The fight against Jackson State Prison is not over and the fight against the State has only just begun.