We came together to reclaim our humanity

In: SF Bay View, Dec. 2nd, 2013by Michael Zaharibu Dorrough

To the extent that it is possible, we have been following the legislative hearings and we are hopeful – cautiously optimistic – that something meaningful and permanent will result from them.

We are all mindful of the promises made by some legislators in 2000 that efforts would be made to change the inhumanities that are inherent in the SHUs and exacerbated by the state, the pitting of prisoners against one another, isolating prisoners away from their families and loved ones and housing us in areas that are hostile to us (the complete illness). But we are also mindful that this time the legislative hearings are being held as a result of struggle and sacrifice.

It is what Frederick Douglass meant by “If there is no struggle there is no progress … Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” He also said, “Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.”

And it was magnificent [during the hunger strike] to see inside the walls, to actually struggle together, people from different cultures and spaces. (The hospital here was overwhelmed nightly.)

And it’s really important that we separate ourselves from the state-created gang narrative that has been responsible for so much discourse [and discord] amongst us for so long.

This coming together to reclaim our humanity required political maturity on everyone’s part, young and old alike, throughout the system and the organizing efforts of the many, many progressives out there were and are equally magnificent. It serves as a basis for our hope.

And more than anything I wanted to write to say, from all of us here, thank you (and that is such an understatement) to you, the Bay View and everyone throughout the nation and globe for your courage, leadership, faith and friendship, support and inspiration and love.

There is still so much work to do and freedom to win and we look forward to the struggle ahead with you all. Until we win or don’t lose.

Send our brother some love and light: Michael Zaharibu Dorrough, D-83611, Cor SHU, 4B-1L-43, P.O. Box 3481, Corcoran, CA 93212.

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Zaharibu: we are being isolated in Corcoran-SHU! No medical Checkups! Stripped of property!

Since July 8th, 30,000 prisoners have started a hunger strike in California protesting the solitary confinement policies which can lead to people being kept in the SHU (Secure Housing Unit) for years, decades even.
Michael Zaharibu Dorrough has been in the SHU for 24+ years.

Since the hunger strike began, the prison authorities of CSP-Corcoran have moved Zaharibu and his cellmate who are both on hunger strike to another unit: 4A 3R. This is a unit used for “debriefers”, which means prisoners who have informed the prison officials and gang investigators (IGI) on other prisoners concerning gang membership.

Here is a letter from Zaharibu, which he wrote to a friend outside on July 14th:

Zaharibu Dorrough: we are being isolated in Corcoran-SHU! No medical checkups! Stripped of property!
From a letter by Zaharibu Dorrough to a friend:

7/14/13

From a letter by Zaharibu Dorrough to a friend:
7/14/13
Forgive me for not being able to write sooner. It has been very, very tiresome. [Thinking of you
all has been quite the motivator]
On Thursday, 7-11-13, the warden here ordered the supposed leaders of the protest be isolated from good people. That meant that the reps from each cultural group from the section that we were in: 4B-1L, C section have been moved. Myself, H., two Southern Hispanics, and two Northern Hispanics. 
We are now housed in: 4A-3R. [And three of the guys have been housed in 4A-3L] These blocks are designated as SNY/PC buildings . All of the guys in this building [as well as 4A-3L] are informants. They have debriefed.
A day after we were moved here, mattresses were placed in front of our cell. This we designed to re-enforce, psychologically, the feeling of being isolated. And, I guess, to prevent us from receiving food or beverages from anyone. It’s so silly that is borders on being offensive. We have absolutely nothing at all in common with any of the people housed in the building. There is no reason at all to communicate with or accept anything from them. As is said, it’s a building full of stool pigeons. This is the CDCR’s version of sending us to a black site. The conduct of these guys would be comical were it not so disrespectful. You cannot help but hear the idiot shit that is directed at us. And it’s not just daily, it’s all day.
It’s an Absolute Madhouse.
Moving us down here was an extremely tense situation. The warden did authorize that force be used to move us. And it came very close to that happening. It was incredibly irresponsible of the warden. And a clear case of trying to provoke us into a military posture.
We were naturally stripped of our property. And, just as predictable, some of our personal property items came up missing. Thermals, photos [they took the only two copies of the photo I had of me],dictionary, stationary. I’ll have to replace some of it when I am eligible for my package. The Prison Focus, Bayview, gone! At this point it’s the kind of thing that causes you to think and say-when it’s too hot for everyone else, it’s just right for us!-
We have not been to yard in almost 2 weeks. We have not been allowed to shower in a week.
We received no medical attention. NO WEIGH-INS, NO vital signs checks-nothing. A nurse came to the cell this morning, stood approximately 3-4 feet from the cell, stated “drink plenty of water”, wrote something down and walked away. I called her several times in an effort to explain to her that we are both experiencing [assuming this is Zaharibu and Heshima] light headedness, extreme fatigue, nausea, blurred vision, cold chills, dizziness. The nurse just ignored me and kept walking. It was very obvious that she was reading from a script that she, perhaps all of them have been given. And it is either to not say anything at all to us-or only the bare minimum….
Ordinarily, efforts such as those being made by the state now [Everyone was issued a 128, a Chrono alleging that our participation in a statewide hunger strike with gang members and associates in support of “perceived overly harsh SHU issues”, is gang related activity. And our continued participation will result in progressive disciplinary action] occur in response to efforts, just as enthusiastic, by those of us who have been under the yoke of tyranny for far too long, resisting.
I know that it has been said before, but it is worth saying a thousand times …you all are amazing, brave and inspiring people. Whatever victories that result from this struggle will, in no small measure, be because of your contributions, support, and commitment.
                                                Please take care
                                                 Always with you
                                                             Love, hugs   Zaharibu