My name is Jaya and I am the granddaughter of a political prisoner who has been incarcerated my whole life. I am a junior in high school and this is my first year of homeschooling. I love to learn and explore and discover the world as it is, was, and could be. People often ask me why I decided to switch from traditional school to homeschooling. High School had been difficult for me prior to homeschooling, not because the subjects were more difficult, but because everything had to be slowed down and paced out to ensure everyone could grasp, and later, test on the material.
Radical attorney and former political prisoner Lynne Stewart died Tuesday, March 7th at the age of 77 following an extended battle with cancer. In her lengthy career, this “people’s lawyer” defended Black Panthers, Weather Underground members and other outsiders. As Lynne explained in a 2015 interview with Guernica, "I'm particularly committed to the political people who needed defense. They're out there fighting the government on behalf of everybody."
Last week I presented at the 2016 Rebellious Lawyering Conference at Yale University. The largest student-run public interest law conference in the country, RebLaw “seeks to build a community of law students, practitioners, and activists seeking to work in the service of social change movements.”
As we move into Autumn, I’m reminded that until recently my work at this time of year focused on our fall granting cycle. I spent my days doing outreach to potential beneficiaries, connecting with current grantees, and helping new applicants understand our guidelines and application process.
[guest post by RFC founder, Robert Meeropl]
For Love and Liberty, a collection of photographs of Tom Manning’s paintings was released last week. I was eager to see the finished product. I have a remarkably multi-faceted relationship with Tom Manning, given that we’ve never met.
Geronimo “ji-Jaga” Pratt died last week. He spent 27 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. It took place in Los Angeles while he was 350 miles away under FBI surveillance. Pratt was a target of the FBI’s notorious COINTELPRO program, along with hundreds of other Black Panthers, Puerto Rican Nationalists, American Indian Movement members and other anti-imperialists and radicals.
Last Saturday’s RFC reception in Seattle, the second event in a series of 20 to celebrate our 20th anniversary, was a big success. Once again, we had a bigger crowd and raised more than we anticipated. Those who attended were very engaged. I was particularly impressed by the lively in-depth discussion we had after my talk. We ended by addressing the issue of the RFC’s definition of “political prisoner.”
I first wrote about the case of the San Francisco 8 in my Executive Director’s report in the Summer/Fall, 2007 issue of Carry It Forward, the RFC’s newsletter. In 1975 a judge dismissed all charges against three Black Panthers because they had been tortured into “confessing” to slaying a San Francisco police officer in 1971.