[Ppnews] Update Letter from Eddie Conway

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Jun 26 06:58:16 EDT 2010


Greetings to everyone,

I wish you all well and hope that this letter finds you in good 
spirits. The past few months have been full of good and exciting news 
as well as some that was saddening. I honestly don't know where to begin.

Jack Johnson, the other BPP member who was held on the same charges 
as me, was released from prison in May of this year. This was news 
that I found both good and bad. I was pleased to see the brother gain 
his freedom after forty years of fighting this corrupt and racist 
criminal justice system. However, I am still being held illegally 
after four decades and nothing can make right the destructive actions 
of the COINTELPRO operations. This does however push me to work even 
harder for my release.

The saddest and hardest time of this whole prison ordeal just 
recently hit me. My mother, Eleanor Conway passed away in early June. 
Though she died peacefully in her sleep, her transition has left the 
family sad and in pain. This was due in part to my inability to start 
the grieving process by viewing mother as she made her final rest, or 
attending her funeral. While I recognize that my mother has made her 
transition to join the ancestors, the loss is still too profound for 
words because my mother was so dear to me. During this time, I fasted 
and reflected upon her life, and eventually found some degree of 
spiritual comfort. I thank all of you who faxed letters, sent email 
messages and made calls to the secretary of public safety on my behalf.

In the midst of this period of grief, another issue came up that 
caused confusion and concern among family, friends and supporters. 
This is the issue of my relationship to Sister Nzinga. For clarity, 
we have been divorced for over seven years. I am married only to 
gaining my freedom and living with a little sunshine in my life.

The fundraising effort has received much support; we are now less 
than $10,000 short of our target. This money goes to pay the legal 
team that is being headed up by Phil Dantes. For some, it may seem 
discomforting to speak of freedom and money together. I find it 
surreal, something reminiscent of a time when the terms were clear 
and people of African descent had to buy their freedom or steal it, 
but this is the reality of the present day criminal justice system. 
Freedom ain't free. That said, thank you to all of you who have 
purchased the book, The Greatest Threat and helped to organize 
events. The next letter will provide a legal update, and information 
about what people can do to help with the legal effort.

My supporters are planning several events for the summer and fall. 
The main happening is an August 20th program featuring the artist 
Emory Douglas who has donated a print that we will be using to raise 
funds. He will be on hand to sign prints; there is a flyer for this 
event enclosed in this letter or attached to this email. September 
23rd, AFSC, AK Press and the Creative Alliance in Baltimore will host 
a pre-release event for my memoir Marshall Law: The Life and Times of 
a Baltimore Black Panther. Local activists and artists will be 
reading selections from the book. We are also interested in planning 
programs in other cities.

On the prison front, the Friend of a Friend (FOF) mentoring program 
here in this institution continues to grow. The program successfully 
graduated our first class of men who received mentoring. Of this 
group, we have several who will become mentors; we have other 
activities scheduled for the summer ranging from mediation training 
to theater activities. FOF keeps many men in the prison connected to 
the outside community, and helps them to thrive despite 
incarceration. Through this program, we have created a community 
service/outreach project. Collectively, mentors and mentees have 
adopted the United African Alliance Community Center run by Bro. Pete 
and Sister Charlotte O'Neal in Tanzania. The members of FOF had the 
opportunity to meet Sister Charlotte when she came to the prison back 
in April. The men felt so moved by the O'Neal's work that we pulled 
together a fundraising effort for UAACC, and we plan to continue our 
support of the work of our brother and sister.

At present, I am in good health, but I still have high blood 
pressure, and often I am in a battle with the medical department each 
month to get the necessary medication. At the time, I am 
contemplating legal action if the issue continues. Finally, as the 
economic situation continues to worsen for oppressed communities, we 
must focus some of our efforts on building solid networks. It is 
critical that we learn to set aside differences that are petty and 
squash some of our real disputes so that we can work together across 
communities. Basic survival should be a part of the dialogue anytime 
groups come together because many of our people are scrounging for 
bread and land. There is a need now for the same social programs that 
the Black Panther Party implemented 44 years ago. The need never went away.

In Struggle,


Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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