Message From Prisoners United of Silicon Valley Suspending 11 Day Hunger Strike

Editor's Note:

Listen to the audio recorded message from inside the Santa Clara County Jail from Prisoners United members suspending the 11 day Hunger Strike.

An embrace of solidarity is extended to our family and community of supporters behind our current hunger strike. Now, today’s update. As of today 4/26/18 we were met with administrative representatives. It was made clear to us that the purpose of this informal meeting was not to negotiate but instead to open up communication. Administration communicated that our concerns were not being ignored, but due to the Chavez lawsuit litigations they - administration - are unable to address a large part of our concerns. Although our concerns are being addressed within the Chavez litigation itself, we Prisoners United see this communication within itself as a step forward. Aside from that, small gains, victories were made through today’s communication. Small, but meaningful changes will now be made in order to ensure the fourth floor population will receive its full 3 hours of out of cell time every other day, which was not happening prior to our current strike. In addition, proper sanitation, daily cleaning will be taking place for the showers, phones, tables, neutral programing areas, so on and so forth. This sanitation will not cut into our out of cell program time. Now, regardless of the fact that these were already existing policies it still was not taking place prior to our current strike. Yes, we understand these gains can be seen as small tokens in comparison to ours and our supporters sacrifices, but for the time being we are willing to accept these gains in good faith. On our part, we made it absolutely clear as of tonight, after we refuse our last meal at dinner on 4/26/18 we will in good faith suspend our current hunger strike with pending reservations of possibly reinstating this strike depending on the outcome of the Chavez case or if and when a need should arise. Afterall, we are talking about basic fundamental rights of being seen and treated with equality, dignity and respect here in Santa Clara County Jail under Sheriff Laurie Smith in 2018. So even though we are ending or suspending our current hunger strike our fight for equality and equal and fair treatment is far from over. We have and will continue to stand up for ourselves as long as there is a need. We will eat and then we will eventually reevaluate our options. For now, even though the current new classification system has excluded and failed many of us we will still try to work within the system. We will continue to reach out to the Board of Directors and communicate with De-Bug. We will continue to bring attention to issues of abuse of discretion and inequality, so on and so forth. For those of you who may be interested, periodically we will try to do our best to keep you, our supporters informed of any progress or setbacks. Hopefully together we might be able to serve as somewhat of our community watchdog of our own where these issues are concerned. And of course come elections, those of us here who can we will exercise our right to vote. Through these hunger strikes regardless of the obstacles and decades of separation, we Prisoners United have literally managed to unify hundreds of prisoners regardless of race, creed, religion or classification. We have been able to communicate with intelligence, purpose, understanding and respect. This has allowed us to see beyond our differences in order to acknowledge what we share in common. And that is a need for change so that policy is applied across the board and equality is afforded to each and every one of us, not just a selected few hand picked by classification. That type of abusive practice should no longer be applied.  Now as far as you our family community of supporters even in the midst of your own daily grind struggle and hardship of trying to make ends meet you still found ways to support us. We know it might not always be popular, some of you might even have county government jobs and it could be intimidating going against the local sheriffs office, but there you were still showing that us and our issues are important to you. Sometimes even marching with a sign in your hand chanting cantors of support. Providing concern, time, energy, prayers phone calls and emails, just know that it all matters and everything counts. From the amount of supporters at the last rally on 4/23/18 it is clear to us and I'm sure that it is clear to administration that our community of support is in fact growing. That would in itself demonstrate that this is not about gang issues and classification administration needs to take responsibility and equality needs be applied as part of the new culture of reform. We prisoners united sincerely and righteously thank each and every one of you individually and collectively. We believe you have displayed the true definition of community, your support is heartfelt and we believe  that it is you guys that actually make the difference in our success. Our success is shared with you. Thank you, gracias, in solidarity Prisoners United of Silicon Valley.

- Prisoners United of Silicon Valley

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