Over the years long standing organizing efforts by class conscious prisoners in the Virgina state system’s two maximum security facilities (Red Onion and Wallens Ridge) have been met with systematic repression including beatings, assaults with electrical and chemical weapons, isolation in special segregation units, interdiction of communications and at least one shooting incident.
Most recently Kevin “Rashid” Johnson a founding organizer of the NABPP-PC (New African Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter) and author of the book “Defying the Tomb” has been subjected to an extremely restrictive communications regime including the suspension of all outgoing mail and deprivation of most telephone access.
This is being carried out within the context of a broader agenda on the part of the Virginia DOC to criminalize and smear prisoner organizing as “gang activity”.
According to a recent message from an outside supporter on Rashid’s current situation:
“Basically, they have stepped up their interference with his communication network and also their efforts to stigmatize him as a ‘gang-member.’
Under the direction of one M. Duke, a gang task-force member who wears a T-shirt with the inscription GANG UNIT (in very big letters), Rashid’s cell was raided and all of his stamps were taken. While his cell was being ransacked , Rashid questioned Duke, pointing out that the latter’s insignia was like a signal to incite violence on the part of the authorities. He explained to Duke that the NABPP opposes gang behavior and asked why he was being targeted. Duke’s only response was that he “just happened to be there that day.”
All Rashid’s phone connections have been blocked… He thinks that all his outgoing mail has been blocked. He asks that protest be made to state officials. He holds Tony Adams (an “investigator”) responsible for the cutting off of his lines of communication.
Rashid wants “noise” to be made — to protest the interference and also to protest the labeling of the NABPP as a gang.”
From Georgia to California and access the country the prison struggle is a key link in the broader class confrontation today and we need to support those organizing on the front lines under conditions of maximum repression and control.
Please call Red Onion State Prison at (276) 796-7510 or mail a letter to ROSP, PO Box 1900, Pound, VA 24279 to politely express your concern about the ongoing political repression and forward and repost this information as widely as possible.