25 Years After Lucasville: Two Perspectives on the Uprising
This week is the 25th anniversary of the longest prison uprising in US history in which lives were lost. The rebellion, which lasted 11 days, took place at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, more commonly know as “Lucasville,” in April 1993. The disturbance broke out on L Block, which housed over 400 people. Over the course of the uprising one correction officer being held hostage and nine prisoners were killed.
The most immediate cause for the riot was a group of Muslim prisoners’ refusal to take a tuberculosis test which was going to be administered in a form that would have violated their religious beliefs. But serious grievances had simmered under the surface at Lucasville for many years, and ultimately the prisoners’ demands far exceeded Muslims’ opposition to TB shots, addressing concerns about conditions of confinement held by the entire inmate population.
After 11 days a negotiated surrender ended the siege. Prisoners gave up control of L Block in return for the state’s concession to a “21 point plan” responding to their demands. Afterwards, authorities engaged in widespread retaliation, including the targeting of five individuals who were perceived as leaders for capital offenses. To this day, the Lucasville 5, as they are called, sit on death row for murders that numerous investigations have proven they did not commit. To reflect on the Lucasville uprising 25 years later, Disembodied Voice spoke with two individuals who were involved in the event in very different ways. First, we hear from Mosi Paki, who was present on L Block during the rebellion and served 19 years, most of it in isolation, after the siege ended. We will then hear from attorney Niki Schwartz, who represented prisoners during their negotiation of the 21 point plan that ended the siege of Lucasville. You can visit http://lucasvilleamnesty.org/ for more information and for updates on how to get involved. To hear past episodes we’ve aired with interviews of former Lucasville Uprising prisoners or other topics, check out our site. An Update on ICE Raids around Asheville This is from an official press release which came out this morning regarding continuing activity concerning ICE raids in Asheville NC:
News began to arrive early this morning that ICE was continuing their activity throughout Buncombe County. Local organizers have been monitoring unmarked vehicles that have been driving through West Asheville neighborhoods and the surrounding areas. Due to these mobilization efforts, no one has been detained. CIMA and the WNC Sanctuary Movement encourage community members who fear for their safety to remember your rights. You may refuse to open your door or let ICE agents in unless the agent has a warrant signed by a Judge. If they have a warrant, you may ask for them to slide it under your door, and it must have both your correct legal name on it as well as your correct address in order for it to be valid. Only a court and /or Judge warrant is enough to enter your premises. Do not lie or show false documents and do not sign any papers without speaking to a lawyer. You may also ask for an interpreter.
Consider coming out and supporting members of affected communities this evening at the Catholic Charities Diocese of Charlotte’s immigration forum, “For You Were Once a Stranger in the Land of Egypt – Immigration: Why We Care and What We Can Do.” The forum is being held this afternoon, April the 15th at 5:00 pm at St. Eugene Catholic Church (in Asheville). Mayor Esther Manheimer and Sheriff Van Duncan are invited to attend. Come voice your concern about ICE ripping families apart in our community. We appreciate your support and for more information please follow the CIMA (Compañeros Inmigrantes de las Montañas en Acción) and Nuestro Centro Facebook pages online.
If you have any information which would contribute to helping keep affected communities safer in the Asheville Area, the hotline to call is 1-888-839-2839. Please make sure that the information you have is both verified and up to date if you call this number! You can also check out CIMA or Nuestro Centro NOT on fedbook.
Update for Herman Bell’s Parole The hearing began around 3pm. The Judge relayed at the outset that he did not plan to issue a decision today, and that the temporary restraining order would remain and not be lifted until a decision was rendered. The Judge also asked that the hearing be focused primarily on standing. The question is whether a member of the victim’s family (Diane Piagentini) has “standing” in court and in this case. Without standing, the case cannot go forward. Each side then had around 10 minutes to give their arguments on that issue, which they did.
Again, no decision was rendered, and there wasn’t much indication of how the Judge would rule. The Judge did say that he understood the urgency of the case and that Herman‘s liberty was at issue, and that he would begin making a determination on Monday.
June 11th is Every Day
The folks who are organizing the worldwide day of action and solidarity with Marius Mason and all long term anarchist prisoners have released their announcement for the scope and prisoners (including ones in Germany, Chile, Greece, and the U.S.) alongside a message for this year. We’re just going to excerpt the very end of the call-up here, but here’s the end of it and you can find the whole thing at june11.noblogs.org
June 11th is an idea, not just a day. June 11th is every day. And ideas are bulletproof. Let’s breathe life into the rest of the year and renew the celebration of anarchist prisoners’ lives by carrying on their struggles alongside them.
In short: It’s a call-out, so we’re calling on you! June 11th is what you make of it. Follow your heart and fill the world with beautiful gestures. There is no action that is too small or too grand.