Together, we have built a campaign based on the slogan, “No state execution by COVID-19 in the prisons.” What we mean by this is that a conviction should never equal a death sentence. The people currently in our prisons are sitting ducks. For example, in Marion prison in Ohio, 80 percent of the prisoners have acquired the coronavirus.
On June 6, we rode down to Avenal state prison, 3 hours from the Bay Area. Many of the people in our thirty-car caravan had family members inside of this penitentiary. When it became known that 800 people inside this prison had COVID-19, people burst from their cars and ran to block the entrances and exits of the prison.
I’ve never seen anything quite like this. It was totally spontaneous, because we had planned to stay in our cars. No, there wasn’t no social distancing, but I joined in nonetheless. Eight hundred people with COVID-19 locked away in this prison. Needless to say, the authorities don’t want to let anybody out because they get 70,000 a year per head. Remember, this is the Prison Industrial Complex. They make money from our suffering.
Tomorrow we’re going back to San Quentin to continue our struggle. We urge you to come join us!
Below we present video footage from ILWU Locals 10 and 34’s port shutdown and caravan on May Day of this year.