Why We Strike – Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers: J. Baridi Williamson

Pelican Bay Prison.Pelican Bay State Prison. (Photo: Jelson25 / Wikimedia)J. Baridi Williamson has spent 20 years in SHU. Williamson sent Truthout contributor Victoria Law “Why We Strike” in 2012 after she sent him the one-year hunger strike anniversary Truthout article. He wanted to make sure that she knew why prisoners were striking.

We strike for freedom, justice and humyn rights against prolonged isolation and torture in US/California solitary confinement prisons/facilities/units/cell dungeons across this nation’s mass imprisonment complex. We strike for freedom of mind-spirit and humyn social being, to be able to think naturally without being subject to thought crime repression, political persecution and communication suppression, thought control. Freedom to feel natural without being subjected to sensory deprivation/disorientation; to taste natural, wholesome and sufficient foods; to feel natural sunlight; to listen to diverse multicultural music – jazz, R&B, soul, hip hop, Native, etcetera, and to be able to speak-express our natural humyn selves with our families, communities and the outside world at large, as the late/great New Afrikan civil rights attorney and Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall so eloquently articulated:

“When the prison gates slam behind an inmate, he does not lose his human quality; his mind does not become closed to ideas; his intellect does not cease to feed on a free and open interchange of opinions; his yearning for self-respect does not end, nor is his quest for self-realization concluded. If anything, the need for identity and self-respect are more compelling in the dehumanizing prison environment.” (U.S. Supreme Court case Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396 (1974)).

We strike for the freedom of being physically able to get out of the cramped SHU cell, walk around in a large space and to naturally move our bodies’ arms, legs, heads, etcetera, in daily exercise activities, equipment. Freedom from being unjustly kept buried alive inside these modern-day solitary confinement dungeons. We strike in solidarity with and for other oppressed and poor people’s struggles and against manmade backward laws-systems-policies-institutions of rule, social population control and repression, mis-education, corruption, exploitation, mass imprisonment, etcetera. We strike against torture!