Monday, July 27, 2020


This op-ed essay was first published in The Advocate on Friday, July 24th.

Time to Restore Justice for Louisianans Convicted by Split Juries
by Mercedes Montagnes and Jamila Johnson

As the nation moves to remove the monuments to racism throughout the South, consider the largest monument of all: hundreds of people locked inside prisons throughout Louisiana without the unanimous consent of a jury.

One of Louisiana’s Jim Crow laws allowed nonunanimous juries to disenfranchise black jurors. The practice was codified at an 1898 constitutional convention with the explicit purpose “to establish the supremacy of the white race in the state.”

Wednesday, July 08, 2020



A couple of months ago, David Sumera (#37063-034), who is from Louisiana, but serving in the federal system, had a Gran Mal seizure which left him paralyzed from the waist down. He shouldn't even be here! They don't have the facilities in place nor the staff to offer him adequate medical care. Recently, staff have not been giving him the opportunity to shower and clean himself so he is left sitting and laying in his urine and excrement.

On July 4th, David requested to be placed in the shower. His cellmate, Jason Lee, who is also from Louisiana, helped him get in the shower. On or about 5 p.m., David had a seizure. During and after the seizure, numerous officers and prisoners were eye witnesses to a Lieutenant Rene (White, male) saying to David (and I quote): "I hope he fuckin' dies." And he kicked him in the ribs.

I will write a grievance tonight, but please -- as soon as possible -- organize a Phone Zap to call Warden Chris McConnell at 318-765-3119 demanding that David Sumera be moved immediately to an appropriate facility where he can and will be given the medical attention and on-going care he needs.

As we know, federal and state prison systems have suspended visiting "privileges" using the COVID-19 pandemic as the excuse. This makes it even more important for us to act quickly and powerfully to hold administrations and staff accountable for the safety and care of those in their custody. Please act now.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Kush-I: "Rastafari Prisoners Persecuted at Angola"

Comrade Malik (Keith Washington) and Kush-I (Robert T. Smith) at USP Pollock

NOTE: This article was originally published in the San Francisco Bay View and has been re-published here with permission of the publisher and the author.

Rastafari Prisoners Persecuted at Angola
by Robert T. Smith (aka Kush-I) – San Francisco Bay View 7/5/20

In the Old Testament Scriptures, the God in the prophet Daniel’s vision had wooly hair: “And the hair of his head was like pure wool.” (Daniel 7:9) In the book of Revelation in the New Testament, the God in John’s vision also had wooly hair. “His head and hair were … like wool.” (Revelation 1:14)

The evil trick perpetrated and perpetuated by white supremacist forces historically has been to instill a feeling of inferiority in people of other races by denigrating their physical traits while exalting whiteness. This process and practice continue to permeate and corrupt the social systems of the United States and, in truth, the entire globe. 

The crusade to suppress Rastafari religious exercise stems from the fact that the root of this religion sprang from rich and potent Black soil that spiritually nurtures all nations. ONE LOVE.

Saturday, July 04, 2020

Love the SF Bay View? Let 'em know before it's too late.

Okay, y'all. Listen up. A lot of people inside and outside the walls have been reading and respecting the San Francisco Bay View national Black newspaper for decades. Mary and Willie Ratcliff have been holdin' down the community for 44 years, providing a platform for news, political education, inspiration, and sharing information. Now Mary has cancer and Willie has health challenges, as well, and both of them are in their 80s. But they're not walking away.

Mary has been grooming Comrade Keith "Malik" Washington (who'll be leaving the federal system in September) to take her place. But if the SF Bay View is going to survive, it needs some cash. Many folks have little to no money these days, but some can afford to break off a lil sumpin'-sumpin' to keep this community institution afloat. If you're one of those folks or you know someone who is (no matter which side of the wall they're on), hit this fundraising site or contact Mary at to send them some help in a different way.