Sending Love to our Political Prisoners

WESPAC‘s Criminal Justice Committee writes letters and joins a statewide movement

On February 18th, 2009 WESPAC’s Criminal Justice committee hosted a letter writing event to show support for a variety of political prisoners whose parole dates are coming up and who have overserved their prison sentence.  Long time WESPAC member and administrator for the Anti-Racist Alliance, Surya Peterson said he feels that it’s important to talk about political prisoners during Black History month because they are our forgotten heros."  During the event we made support cards and signed clemency letters for New York State political prisoners and other notable prisoners like Mutulu Shakur and Mumia Abu-Jamal.

We also used this time to reflect on how WESPAC and  Westchester County can make a greater effort to support political prisoners. A majority of the discussion was about how we can learn from mistakes and successes of past and current attempts to free political prisoners.  

WESPAC board member, Sundiata Sadiq, who is helping to organize the first NYS Prisoner Justice Conference in Albany on March 27, 2010, talked about how we can use this conference to broaden our support group. We all agreed that becoming part of a statewide movement to fight against an unjust prison system would only benefit our local efforts. The Criminal Justice committee is sending a delegation from Westchester to the conference. If you would like to join our committee contact Roger: (914) 316-8833 or [email protected]. If you want more information on the conference contact Sundiata at  [email protected]  .

Below is the mission of the conference:

The goals of the conference are to bring together under one roof a wide range of New York State organizations and individuals working on a diversity of prisoner justice issues to share ideas, information, energy, strategies, hopes and inspiration.

The issues to be addressed include public defense, sentencing, racial disparities, Rockefeller drug laws, parole, disenfranchisement, juvenile justice, targeted and vulnerable prison populations (immigrants, Muslims, trans people, political prisoners, mentally ill, elderly, long termers).

The issues will be summarized briefly in the morning session, for an overview of prisoner justice work throughout the state. In the afternoon sessions, participants will come together cross-issue and cross-region to inform, discuss, analyze, and strategize.  

The conference will be an opportunity to network, to model successful practices, to coordinate strategies for change, and to create ongoing communication among organizations and movements working for prisoner justice in New York State.  

The process of planning for the conference is part of building this statewide communication and collaboration. All prisoner justice organizations and activists are invited to join the NYS Prisoner Justice Coalition formed to plan the conference. There are statewide conference calls for all participating organizations and individuals, with updates on the progress of the conference and an opportunity to have input into the planning.

For more information on the conference check out:  

For resources on Political Prisoners check out:

Jalal Sabur, WESPAC Foundation Community Organizer