FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT: SOME OF OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND IMPORTANT MOMENTS (2014-2020)

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Contact: freealabamamovement@gmail.com

1. 2013-current. FAM was founded in 2013, and officially launched in August 2013.

2. January 1, 2014. Organized first multi-prison non-violent and peaceful work strikes, boycotts and protests in Alabama.

3. 2014-2019. January 2014, several FAM leaders and organizers were targeted by ADOC and placed into solitary confinement, including its founder Bennu Hannibal Ra-Sun and co-founder Kinetik Justice Amun, both of whom remained in solitary confinement for the next 5 consecutive years. Despite FAM’s non-violent and peaceful organizing, FAM leaders were retaliated against, beaten, tortured, food poisoned, and arbitrarily denied basic constitutional and human rights, including mail, visits, phone calls, humane housing, deprived of natural light, and more. Even in the face of strong opposition and repression by the state, FAM was able to continue to move ahead in the struggle for Freedom.

4. 2014-2016. Conducted at least one multi-prison work strike every year in ADOC, plus the National Prison Strikes. After the initial strikes on January 1, 2014, all other Strikes, Boycotts and Protests were led by FAM from solitary confinement.

5. 2014-2018. Family members and supporters conducted over 20 protests outside multiple Alabama prisons and other locations, including in Clio Alabama, Donaldson CF, Holman CF, St. Clair CF, Limestone CF, Tutwiler CF, Kelly Ingram Park, Edmund Pettus Bridge, ADOC Headquarters, State Capitol, and the Alabama Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Headquarters (#ParoleWatch).

6. 2014 (currently being revised). Published book FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT (known as the “manifesto”) on January 2, 2014.

7. 2014- current. Created first multi-medium social media platforms as part of prison-led organizing strategy, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, WordPress blog, Blogtalk radio, and website.

8. 2014-current. Created Free Alabama Movement YouTube channel. Have since released over 200 exclusive exposè
videos from inside ADOC. FAM’s bold and aggressive tactic of guerilla filming spawned a new era in the Prisoner/Enslaved-led Human Rights Movement. Incarcerated Activists all across the nation began using cellphones as a powerful weapon in the narrative around criminal justice reform, prison reform, and abolitionist freedom struggle.

9. 2014-2016. Created, produced, directed first-of-its-kind inside-led, underground Blogtalk radio show, “THE PEOPLE’S PLATFORM”.

10. 2014. Published “A Flicker Turns Into A Flame”

11. 2014. Drafted the “FREEDOM BILL”

12. 2014-current. FAM leaders and members have conducted over 100 media interviews from inside with outlets such as:

San Francisco Bay View
New York Times
LA Times
BBC
China NOW
Wall Street Journal
Al Jazerra America,
Democracy Now,
Roland Martin
Montgomery Advertiser
al.com
Huffington Post



13. 2014-current. FAM has been featured in several short-documentaries, including two w/ HBO/Vice, and two w/ Al Jazerra.

14. 2014-2019 Hunger Strikes. State retaliation and abuse against FAM leaders led to hunger strikes that spread to multiple prisons over a span of 5 years, exposing ADOC as a barbaric and inhumane institution.

15. 2015. Published “Let The Crops Rot In The Field” and laid out “The Solution:FAM’s 6-Step Plan of Action 2015.” These documents and the plan outlined therein established the framework for building the infrastructure that led to the first nationwide, Inside-led national initiatives and actions based on work strikes, boycotts and protests. FAM’s infrastructure elevated the profiles and voices of Inside-led organizations nationwide and has hosted and facilitated the organizing of EVERY Inside-led national event since 2015.

16. 2015. Nationwide S-TO-P CAMPAIGN against McDonald’s, highlighting the school-to-prison pipeline.

17. 2015-2016. FAM led multiple peace initiatives under the Universal Peace and Unity Summit. Over this period of heightened violence, FAM was the only entity able to lead multiple successful peace accords in the tumultuous ADOC. FAM never had an incident of violence associated with any of its multiple work strikes and boycotts, and ADOC recorded its lowest levels of violence during FAM activities.


18. 2016. Historic September 9, 2016, 45th Anniversary Attica Rebellion Nationwide Prison Strike. Largest prison strike US history. Over 24 states and 30,000 freedom fighters.


19. 2013-2018. During the height of FAM organizing, ADOC saw the total prison population drop from appx. 30,000 to appx. 23,000, before rising again.

20. 2013-2018. During the height of FAM activism, the Alabama Parole Board created an emergency board and granted over 4000 paroles. The number of parole grants began to lessen in 2018, eventually recording record lows in 2020.

21. 2013-2019. As a result of FAM’s exposure of living conditions and intensive media coverage, two Alabama prisons closed (Holman and Draper).

22. 2015 and 2019. FAM witnessed two Governor-appointed Prison Reform/Oversight Committees that were created to address issues highlighted by FAM advocacy and exposure.

23. 2014-2016. FAM saw two conservative sentencing reform measures passed.

24. 2014-2016. FAM’s exposure of ADOC central to class-action litigation filed by Bryan Stevenson and EJI, Southern Poverty Law Centers, and Southern Center for Human Rights.

25. 2016. In an unpredictable and surprising action, in 2016, ADOC correctional officers at Holman CF adopted FAM’s strategy and led their own work strike, where they were protesting, among other issues, the same ADOC leadership and inhumane living conditions as highlighted by FAM. While not all issues were the same between FAM and the officers, the impact of FAM’s influence for change was undeniable.

26. 2016. FAM’s exposure of ADOC, pro se litigation, and advocacy work led to “first-of-its-kind” statewide investigation of all Alabama men’s prisons by the US Department of Justice. These investigations produced two separate reports, both of which found the ADOC to be violating the civil, human and constitutional rights of those serving time in ADOC custody.

27. 2017. An anonymous ADOC employee released a trove of over 1000 graphic, gory photos depicting violence and barbaric savagery inside ADOC. While a select few of these images were made public, many in the mainstream media withheld 800 of these photos, protecting ADOC and collaborating in their mutual interest.

28. 2018. Campaign to Redistribute The Pain 2018, a nationwide bi-monthly boycott of canteen, collect phone calls, visitation vending machines, and incentive packages.

29. 2018 National Prison Strike. Following FAM’s visionary approach to organizing prison labor nationally and relying on the infrastructure put in place leading to FAM’s historic September 9, 2016, 45th Anniversary Attica Rebellion Nationwide Prison Strike/Boycott/Protest, the 2018 Nationwide Prison Strike took place after the Lee County, South Carolina riots. FAM’s leadership and national Campaign to Redistribute The Pain 2018, spanning the entire year of 2018, were integral to the 2018 National Prison Strike. Since that first nationwide effort in 2016, FAM inspired at least 5 other inside-led national events.


30. 2012-2019. Assisted in filing over 250 excessive force, police brutality, ethics complaints, and Section 1983 civil class action lawsuits against ADOC officials.

31. 2014-2020. FAM’s advocacy and activism produced intensive media coverage that resulted in investigations, forced resignations, demotions and firings of at least one ADOC Commissioner (K. Thomas), Associate Commissioners G. Culliver and J. DeLoach), Wardens (Estes, Davenport, E. Evans, and others.

32. 2015-current. FAM’s advocacy and activism led ADOC to adopt policies requiring warden training and rotations. Results are negligible though due to a lack of accountability enforcement, although a few wardens have shown negative pattern behavior resulting in resignations or other forms of termination.

33. 2019. FAM’s hunger strikes exposed and led to the end of ADOC’s secretive and highly inhumane “bucket detail” and extortion schemes by officials at Limestone CF. FAM leaders caused the end of the 25+ year careers of Warden DeWayne Estes and Captain Patrick Robinson, and civil litigation.

34. 2015/2019. FAM jailhouse attorneys, who have filed pro se litigation on his behalf for years, uplifted the story of Willie “Fire Plug” Simmons on their WordPress blog. FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT’s network of activists and contacts who played a vital role in uncovering this story and facilitating Mr. Simmons’ access to press went uncredited when Mr. Simmons’ story exploded and went worldwide.

35. 2019. Launched #ParoleWatch2020 in response to the Charlie Graddick-led Bureau. FAM is the only organization in the State to conduct protests at the Bureau of Pardons and Paroles Headquarters. Graddick resigned effective November 31.

36. 2014-current. FAM’s influence over the course of 7 years has inspired the creation of or brought close collaboration with over 40 organizations, including Unheard Voices, Free Mississippi Movement, APSP, UHURU Movement, Free South Carolina Movement, Mississippi Southern Belles, Free Ohio Movement, FAM Queen Team, T.O.P.S., IWOC, JLS, United Black Family Scholarship Foundation, End Prison Slavery in Texas, Amend the 13th, Decarcerate Louisiana, NABPP, Faith In Action, The Plus Party, Be Frank 4 Justice, Abolish Slavery National Network, EPIC, Ida B. Wells, and many, many more.

37. 2020. Statewide host of August 22, 2020, National Day of Freedom and Justice events.

38. 2020. Co-Presenters for the Harvard Prison Divestment

39. 2020. Co-lead organizers for the October 26-30, 2020 Plus Party #FreeThe13th 5-Day Virtual Rally.

40. 2020. Host of the December 6, 2020, Abolish Slavery Alabama event, marking the 155 year anniversary of the ratification of the 13th Amendment and the exception clause that allows slavery and involuntary Servitude to continue as punishment for crime.

41. 2021. On January 1, 2021, FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT is calling for a #30DayBlackout Boycott and Strike.

42. Our greatest accomplishment is the awareness, education and Spirit of Freedom that we were able to share with over 10,000 men in the ADOC; the tens of thousands of men and women behind cages, walls and fences in America who participated in the 2016 and 2018 nationwide strikes/boycotts/protests; and innumerable others we have impacted around the world. FAM’s banners have hung in four continents around the world, Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.

Special Thanks to the Ratcliff Family and the San Francisco Bay View Black Newspaper. As always, there are some people and organizations that rise above the rest and stand in such a way as to merit special consideration. For FAM, this honor goes to the Bay View and Mr. and Mrs. Ratcliff. We can’t even recount the many deeds or the many ways. All we can do is stand in awe, admiration, appreciate, respect and Love. ❤️


We are not done yet. . .

Contact: freealabamamovement@gmail.com


SUPPORT:

The price of Freedom comes at a great cost to Freedom Fighters behind the walls.



JUSTICE FOR THE GADSDEN 6



(Clockwise from top left: Roland Martin, Melvin Ray, Fred Brown, Steve Stewart, Curtis Richardson, Archie Hamlet)


Introduction


WHEN CHILDREN ARE EXPLOITED BY THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM IN ALABAMA

Thirty-one years ago on March 24, 1988, six Black children, all under the age of 17, Fred Brown, Archie Hamlet, Roland Martin, Melvin Ray, Curtis Richardson and Steve Stewart, were arrested by Gadsden police in the early morning hours around 1:00 am, for a department store burglary. After their arrest, these six children were taken to the police station for a three-hours long interrogation. The children were not represented by attorneys and their parents were not present during this interrogation.


The interrogators were an all-white group of 4 to 6 detectives. When the interrogation was completed around 4:00 am, these children were charged with over 30 felony offenses involving several unsolved burglaries in Gadsden.

Just a few hours after this early-morning interrogation ended, police and the district attorney’s office then marched these children into court for an initial appearance hearing that quickly turned into a full fledged probable cause detention hearing. None of the children were represented in court by an attorney, and none of their parents were present. It was just the judge, police, and the D.A.


At the hastily erected probable cause detention hearing, which was orchestrated by the juvenile court judge, the DA and police, the judge allowed the D.A. to stipulate to probable cause in behalf of all six children to ALL 30-plus charges pending against them. This illegal probable cause stipulation would then be used to justify continued detention of these children and removal from their homes, parents and siblings.


Juvenile Court Judge Robert E. Lewis’ order states:
“At detention hearing probable cause stipulated to and child ordered detained. . .”


As the above court record shows, attorneys were not appointed until April 6, 1988, two full weeks after the arrest and “probable cause” stipulation were made. Meanwhile, the Gadsden 6 remained in detention for over a month, until April 27, 1988, when the juvenile court judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to transfer these children to adult court. The juvenile court judge granted the prosecutor’s motion to transfer on the same day that it was filed, without conducting a transfer hearing or even notifying anyone that the motion had been filed.


None of the children were present when this motion was heard, no one was served notice of the prosecutor’s motion, the children did not have legal representation to review the motion or present evidence in their behalf, and none of their parents were present when the motion was heard or granted. Injustice was administered behind closed doors when no one was looking. . .


ON TO ADULT COURT . . .


Once in adult court, the Gadsden 6 were given an ultimatum: plead guilty to all charges and go home that day with sentences of time served and probation, or take a chance on trial and spend the next decade of their lives in prison. The authorities in Gadsden saddled these young black children with over 20 adult felony convictions that would follow them for the rest of their lives, and through a process that guaranteed injustice, as no one was present during the juvenile proceedings to protect the constitutional rights of these children or the parental rights of their parents.


These illegally prior felony convictions have been used in subsequent adult proceedings to enhance many of the Gadsden 6’s sentences under Alabama’s draconian habitual felony offender law, resulting in an additional 50-plus years of illegal time being served, including two instances where life without parole was illegally imposed.


Join the Gadsden 6’s demand for justice !!!


All proceedings and convictions be declared null and void and removed from their records.
All records in juvenile and adult court be expunged.
Compensation and acknowledgement of the wrongful nature of the proceedings used against them, including full legal pardons.
Sign our petition to the Alabama Legislature and the Alabama courts to rectify this injustice put upon the Gadsden 6 by the Gadsden Police Department, the Gadsden DA, and the Juvenile & Adult Divisions of the Circuit Court of Etowah County, Alabama.


Follow the GADSDEN 6 on Facebook @ Justice For The Gadsden 6..

(July 29, 2019 court hearing in Montgomery, Al)

JUSTICE FOR THE GADSDEN 6

On March 24, 1988, six Black children were arrested around 1:00 am, and charged as juvenile deliquents in Gadsden, Ala. for allegedly attempting to break into a department store.

These children were taken to the police station and interrogated for appx. 4 hours by a group of appx. 4 to 6 white police officers. At no point during this interrogation were their parents contacted. There were no attorneys present. When interrogation ended several hours later, the Gadsden 6 were charged with over 30 felony charges for burglary and theft.

A few hours later that same morning of March 24, 1988, the GADSDEN 6 were taken to an initial appearance hearing that suddenly turned into a detention hearing. The GADSDEN 6 was still without parent or attorneys.

At the detention hearing, the GADSDEN 6 were surrounded by appx. 6 white police officers, two white juvenile officers, and a white prosecutor. The record shows that probable cause was stipultaed to on all 30 charges.

“At detention hearing probable cause stipultaed . . . “

ONE PROBLEM

Probable cause means that there is reasonable to believe that a crime has been committed and that the defendant committed it. This fact was stipultaed to on all 30 charges.

But STIPULTAED to by who??

The GADSDEN 6 were all children. None of them had attorneys and none of their parents were present. There were only 6 Black children and appx 10 white men present. Who stipulated for the GADSDEN 6 to 30 felony charges on the same day of their arrest ? Children cannot stipulate to anything without counsel and / or their parents present.

The record shows that an attorney was not appointed up April 6, 1988, two weeks AFTER the stipulation was entered.

“4-6-88 . . . J. B. Lofton

These cases were subsequently transferred to adult court without a hearing, where the GADSDEN 6 were convicted of adikt charges At least 3 GADSDEN 6 members suffered 4 or more convictions each, rendering all of them eligible for treatment as a habitual offender and subject to a sentence of life or life without parole if they ever charged with another felony offense.

All of the convictions imposed against the GADSDEN 6 are illegal because they were not represented by counsel or parents at all critical.

Join the call for Justice for the GADSDEN 6.

a) Full Pardons

b) Expungement of all records

c) Compensation

E.P.I.C. !!!! News You Don’t Want To Miss

Today, September 5, 2020, organizers with E.P.I.C. org. (Ensuring Parole for Incarcerated Citizens) held their 24th consecutive protest at an Ohio prison is support of Freedom and Justice. E.P.I.C. has protested at 24 of the 28 Ohio prisons, and they have no intention of stopping.

E. P. I. C.

E.P.I.C went LIVE today on social media and FAM and the FAM QUEEN TEAM are promoting and supporting these amazing organizers in every way possible.

FAM and FAM QUEEN TEAM is asking all of our supporters, friends and allies in the Ohio area to reach out to E. P. I. C. and support their amazing effort.

There FB group information is below. We need boots on the ground in other states supporting as well. This is what dedicated activism looks like that changes things. E. P. I. C. is leading by example. Let ALL join in and do something EPIC.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=659444598285769&id=100026607050570&sfnsn=mo&extid=IjO2wnBqC8A6YEM3

PLEASE SHARE WIDELY.