[Ppnews] Angola 3 Celebrates Common Cause with Common Ground

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Aug 28 16:09:59 EDT 2009

To Serve the People
Angola 3 Celebrates Common Cause with Common Ground

We are not surprised that Malik Rahim is being hailed as one of the 
heroes of Hurricane Katrina.  In 1997, Malik rediscovered information 
on our case and made it his mission to bring attention to the plight 
that Albert, King, myself and so many other Louisiana prisoners have 
endured in being unfairly convicted and sentenced.  The Angola Three 
went from obscurity to international recognition thanks to Malik's efforts.

Malik has brought the same energy and vision to his groundbreaking 
work with Common Ground Collective.  His vision has expanded to meet 
the magnitude of response required to deal with the crisis at hand. A 
lifetime of service beginning with the Black Panther Party and 
continuing with programs for ex-offenders and housing advocacy are 
the strong background that Malik draws on in his current efforts. 
Joined by a remarkable array of young, skilled professionals and 
activists, together they are creating a model for cooperative 
community needs-based service programs and collective action.

The Angola Three are proud to be affiliated with Malik and Common 
Ground and join in their call for legal assistance in assessing the 
cases of numerous individuals arrested and imprisoned after the 
hurricane, many of whom have not yet been charged and sit in limbo 
while the state continues to keep its court system closed 
post-Katrina! Angola, a 5000-capacity facility, has had an increase 
of 3,000 prisoners, mostly men, but some women as well. This has 
caused severe overcrowding. Many prisoners are living in tents and 
all are being double bunked - even CCR is not exempt.

At the same time, Govenor Blanco is calling for a special session of 
the legislature to address the prison situation in Louisiana, which 
incarcerates more individuals per capita than any other state in the 
union.  Faced with a $4 billion deficit, Blanco is looking to the 
prison industrial complex as a place to start cutting dollars. Blanco 
is reportedly reviewing the elimination of the life sentence laws and 
wants to change life sentences to fixed sentences so that prisoners 
have a chance at parole.  She is soliciting proposals from groups 
doing prison work in Louisiana.

The Angola Three would like to see Common Ground Relief submit a 
proposal to this forum. We have long believed that the 
life-without-parole sentences presently being served by thousands of 
Louisiana prisoners are inhumane, not to mention financially 
senseless.  The Louisiana legislature should enact changes in the law 
that would allow lifers to rehabilitate themselves and earn release 
from prison. This would be a humane and realistic approach to 
sentencing reform in Louisiana.

Additionally, the current fiscal and structural crises in Louisiana 
appear to provide an appropriate time to raise the issue of 
eliminating the death penalty and substituting fixed sentences as an 
alternative cost-saving strategy. We look forward to working with 
Common Ground in their continued efforts to provide services and 
strategies in the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. As 
Malik has stated, it is time to supplant the slave syndicate that has 
prevailed for so long in this state. Malik also talks about the 
spirit of Emmett Till saving New Orleans from total destruction.  We 
believe it is the spirit of Loubertha Johnson, Malik's mother who 
passed from this life in September of 2004 that is blessing the 
efforts of Common Ground Relief!

Power to the People,

Herman Wallace,
Angola 3

Herman Wallace
Elayn Hunt Correctional Center
Unit 5, D-Tier
PO Box 174
St Gabriel, LA 70776

Albert Woodfox
CCR, Lower A5, # 13
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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