Chris and Rec speak with Johanna Fernandez, (pictured above at left/on Mumia’s right) professor of History and Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College of CUNY and writer and producer of Justice on Trial: The Case of Mumia Abu Jamal. Connecting the campaigns to free political prisoners with other movements to attain racial justice, dignity, humanity, and self-definition, this episode of TRGGR Radio discusses Mumia Abu-Jamal’s current situation on Death Row, the state of the international movement for his release, and its relationship to the addition of Assata Shakur to the Most Wanted Terrorist list.
Our second guest is Kim Adino, speaking about the international organization Better Future and the cultural and educational work they engage in with youth in the Dominican Republic through the Women Worldwide Initiative. On the way out we briefly discuss the track, Neurotic Society, that Lauryn Hill was forced to release.
Part 1: Featuring Johanna Fernandez
This week Chris and Rec collaborated with TRGGR family Rosa Clemente and Abby Hernándes to critique Rick Ross’s recent lyric that promotes sexual assault. Recognizing this lyric as only one manifestation of a larger culture that is complicit in rape culture, we unpack what Rosa Clemente terms the ‘Rap Industrial Complex’ and call for outspoken accountability from both men and women through media channels and within our communities. While critical media outlets such as TRGGR speak out against pervasive patriarchy, we discuss how to move forward in confronting rape culture before, during and after these individual incidents surface in major media channels.
TRGGR host, Chris Tinson, recently sat down with longtime activists Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, Founding Director, University of Arkansas Little Rock Institute on Race and Ethnicity, and Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director of the Correctional Association of NEW YORK, which monitors conditions in state prisons. She is the first woman and first person of color to head the 170-year-old organization. Aiyetoro and Elijah discuss reparations, prison reform, black women leadership, and the Obama presidency.
Over the past two years incarcerated men and women in some of America’s most notorious prisons including Georgia, Ohio, California (on two occasions), and now in Virginia, have organized in protest to a range of human rights abuses behind bars. In most of these cases, incarcerated men and women have issued their protest in the form of hunger strikes. On Tuesday, May 22nd, prisoners at Red Onion State Prison in Wise County, Virginia went on hunger strike; today is day four of their strike. Red Onion State Prison is Virginia’s first super-maximum security facility, which began admitting incarcerated individuals in 1998. In 1999, just a year after its opening, Human Rights Watch reported that, “the Virginia Department of Corrections has failed to embrace basic tenets of sound correctional practice and laws protecting inmates from abusive, degrading or cruel treatment” at Red Onion. For insight into the strike and the strike demands, we are joined on the phone by ADWOA MASOZI of the Institute for Policy Studies, and MAC GASKINS, a former inmate at Red Onion State Prison. They are two organizers with a newly formed coalition called Solidarity with Virginia Hunger Strikers. Visit the site to read the HUNGER STRIKE DEMANDS.
Part 1: VA Hunger Strike
Part 2: Exonerations, Brian Banks, Black Male Unemployment, Mumia
Mac Gaskins is from Richmond, VA. He considers himself a liberated prisoner, having spent 14.5 years in prison with 4 of those years being inside Red Onion State Prison. Mac is anti-prison/PIC activist and organizer, and a founding member of Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change (SPARC).
Adwoa Masozi is from Newark, NJ. She has been an organizer since the age of 9 when she started a food program feeding the homeless in the cities of East Orange and Newark, NJ. Since then, she has been active in NJ groups like People’s Organization for Progress and NJ Peace Action. Currently, she’s a member of Supporting Prisoners and Acting for Radical Change (SPARC) and EMPOWER DC.