UltraViolet – Spring 2022

(download .pdf of UltraViolet – Spring 2022)

IN THIS ISSUE

Measure twice, cut once: or how to stop a pandemic with math
Housing Desperately Needed
Palestinian Land Day
Dennis Cunningham
Gweneth Dietrich/Rose May Dance
LGBTQI Refugees In Kakuma Need Our Support
Update: Texas attacks Trans-youth
Close the Schools, House the Rich
Prisoners Submissions
-Corruptarado
-Corruption Exposed Corcoran CA
-The Horrors of Hell
-Shorts from Inside
Florida is wiggy, wild and drugged out, but not in a “gay” way
“I’ve got a little list”
Freedom
The MOCHA Column
Ukraine: What Do We Know? What Can We Do?
Victory at San Francisco State: University Must Apologize for Violating Academic Freedom, Panel Finds
Alameda County DCC: End Support for Israel’s Colonial-Settler Policies

Articles that didn’t make the print copy

City College Update
More submissions from prisoners

Measure twice, cut once: or how to stop a pandemic with math

Dateline Washington D (as in Dewey Decimal) C (as in centimeters)—after decades of resistance to  adopting the metric system, government officials realized that adopting a new way of measuring covid cases could solve all its problems with a sagging economy, inflation, and a divided electorate.  By converting new covid cases into base 25 and ignoring hospitalizations in red states, the CDC was able to announce that the pandemic is virtually over and masks are no longer in fashion.

photo illustration

“I always knew that trigonometry would come in handy one day, I discovered if you divide everything by the cosign of 33 and then subtract pi you can pretty much solve any problem,” Said Doctor Angel Dewey of the Center for Decimal Control.  “We realized after 2 years we were using the wrong kind of math on covid and getting bad results, so we recalibrated our yardsticks and now the problem is solved! We will be recalculating gas prices next using the most up to date crypto-chain-blockage numerology—which makes a $6 gallon of gas is just 33 scents!”

When reached for comment Professor of mathematics and statistics, Huge Homographic, first started giggling uncontrollably and said the new policy changes reminded him of an old sexist hetero-normative joke about the subjectivity and the size of genitalia: “But seriously, this is a great step forward in using mathematics and statistics to serve the ruling class and ensure that reality fits any desired outcome.”

Dept of Energy spokesperson Gussie Gusher told UV that they were relieved to see the new mathematical calculations. “Now we won’t need to introduce Forever Gas,” Gusher said.

Housing Desperately Needed

Homefulness is a houseless, landless people’s self-determined solution to homelessness in Oakland CA according to Poor Magazine, a grass roots nonprofit organization and the developer of the 4 brand new multi-family buildings in East Oakland.  All 4 have been finished for a year, ready to house homeless families but despite the thousands of people sleeping on the streets, city officials won’t let anyone move in. 

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, cofounder of Poor Magazine, says that the city of Oakland makes it impossible for small nonprofits without code expertise and a lot of money to navigate all the rules and regulations.  It’s taken months and thousands of dollars to address the never ending list of requirements.  Poor Magazine, which also runs an aid organization, youth newspaper, school and radio station, has been working on the MacArthur Boulevard project for more than 10 years. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in piecemeal donations to buy the property and build the townhomes, which will house between eight and 12 homeless people, rent-free. The money comes from Poor Magazine’s “Solidarity Family” — a group of dozens of people who donate their time, skills and money. The group eventually hopes to open a cafe that will help pay for the property’s ongoing costs.

photo of mural

But the project has run into obstacle after obstacle. The city doesn’t answer calls or emails asking questions about the permitting requirements, leaving Poor Magazine to interpret complicated city ordinances on its own.  Among other regulations, the city recently required 3 parking spaces so the nonprofit raised more money and finished the parking spaces in January.   It cost $34,000 to level the ground, pour the concrete and move a utility box that was in the way.  But that wasn’t the end of it.  Each subsequent city inspection pointed out something else Poor Magazine had to fix.  They’d fix it, and then the city would come up with something else.  Now Poor Magazine is on the hook for $40,000 in ‘Impact’ Fees.  City officials issued Poor Magazine’s building permit in May 2016, and waived the fees until March — a grace period that now has expired.  Adding to the ridiculousness of it all, the bulk of that $40,000 bill, which the homeless advocacy group is unable to pay, would go toward helping the city build affordable housing.  

So the houses sit empty.  On March 1st, Poor Magazine organized a protest.    Carrying tents and planning to spend the night, they occupied the planning and building dept. in Oakland’s “Shitty Hall”, but left when the police were called.  The organization is asking people to call the Oakland Building Department, (510) 238-3941, and leave a message of support for the Homefulness project. Urge the city to drop the ‘Impact’ Fees and provide a Certificate of Occupancy so that the four finished buildings can finally be open for people to move into.  Everyone should have a home.  It is a basic human right.

Dennis Cunningham

Dennis Cunningham

In March, Dennis Cunningham, age 86, died of cancer.  He had been living in San Francisco since 1982, part of a community of left-wing activists and radical lawyers.

Inspired by the 1963 March on Washington, Dennis went to law school at night and passed the bar in Chicago just in time to defend people arrested in the riots that followed the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and at the protests of the Democratic National Convention. Together with other lawyers and organizers working with the National Lawyers Guild, he founded the People’s Law Office in Chicago.  They participated in many cases involving protesters, prisoners and prison rebellions, including the 12 year prosecution of FBI agents and Chicago police involved in the 1969 murders of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.  Dennis was also involved in the defense of dozens of prisoners accused of being ringleaders in the rebellion at Attica State Prison in 1971. After that case was won and the criminal charges were thrown out in 1976, Attica Brothers led by Big Black and Akil Al-Jundi convinced Dennis, Liz Fink and other Guild lawyers to sue the state of NY.  After 25 years of litigation, there was a multi-million dollar settlement.

photo of Dennis Cunningham

Dennis relocated to the Bay Area and working with the Guild, continued to represent protesters: at the 1984 democratic party convention, at anti-nuke actions at Livermore Laboratory, anti-apartheid demos, the police sweep of Castro St. in 1987, actions by Food Not Bombs, Act Up and many others.  In 1992, Dennis and his law partner brought a case against FBI agents and Oakland police officers after a car bomb assassination attempt against Earth First! activists, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. 

Recently, Dennis was part of bringing a class action suit against the Santa Rita Jail and the Alameda County Sherriff on behalf of women prisoners who were subjected to horrible and constant mistreatment.

Over the past 40 years, many activists in the Bay Area have been represented by Dennis Cunningham including several members of LAGAI and Gay Shame.  He will be missed.

Gweneth Dietrich/Rose May Dance

Gweneth Dietrich, known to many of her friends as Rose May Dance, was an activist for peace, social and environmental justice throughout her life. She made mutual aid, solidarity and protesting creative, fun and spiritual She was loved for her bawdy humor, breaking into song or poetry, extravagant dress and hats, community celebrations, psychic and magical acumen, and much more.

Rose grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and became involved in activism against the Vietnam war as a teenager. During her college years, she drove women to Canada, where they could obtain legal abortions. She moved to the Bay Area in 1975, and one of her first jobs was mapping toxic sites, which led to a lifetime of environmental justice work.

photo of Rose

She worked for twenty years in the Harm Reduction Movement, counseling active and recovering injection drug users. She trained and counseled the counselors and street outreach workers at the Urban Health Study in San Francisco in “how to reach the hard to reach.” She also used that environment as a crucible for developing methods to overcome burnout as well as to create healing ways for healers.

In 1988, Rose was one of the public health activists to found the San Francisco needle exchange, known as Prevention Point. The program, started as a direct action with no public support, revolutionized HIV/AIDS prevention services and became a model for the rest of the country. When consulted by friends who were planning to start the Seattle needle exchange a year later, Rose told them, “It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.”

In the early 1980s, Rose helped to found Reclaiming, an organization dedicated to feminist, earth-centered activism and spirituality. She co-developed hundreds of rituals over the years as well as many classes, songs, chants and liturgies. She taught magic and ritual activism all over the world.

She was a master hypnotist and certified hypnotherapist, working at Harborside Health Center, in Oakland. On her hypnotherapy website, she wrote, “The focus of my hypnotherapy practice is both practical and spiritual. For meaningful growth in our lives, we need both bread and roses — food for the true body and the body of down-to-earth matters, and food for the spirit and dreams.”

She was deeply committed to active nonviolence and was arrested dozens of times protesting militarism, racism and environmental destruction. One of her cousins wrote, “Gwennie normalized the act of protest for me from the time I was little. She protested as an act of faith. She protested at the beginning of each war the US participated in and I remember her modeling standing up to the system when she chained herself to the School of Americas to protest the teaching of war.”

She raised a queer kid with total openness and support, and opened her home to numerous other kids who needed a safe and loving place to be. She was an adoptive parent, and had a child from whom she was separated by adoption for many years. They later connected and she developed a close relationship. She had two granddaughters.

Gweneth/Rose died on New Year’s Eve, and we know she would have loved to know that every year, people will be partying on the day of her death. As someone who loved to wear pink, she would also be happy to have died on the same day as Betty White. She was no saint, and she could be infuriating, but she’s mourned by hundreds of close friends, students, mentees, initiates, colleagues and co-resisters who carry her in our hearts.

What is remembered lives.

LGBTQI Refugees In Kakuma Need Our Support

We are writing to you because we know that women’s and lesbian lives and safety are as important to you as they are to us. We are a group of lesbian activists working to forge international connections for peace and justice. In our work we have met a powerful group of LGBTQI folks living in the Kakuma refugee camp in the Turkana County of northwest Kenya. Kakuma Camp has a special unit, Block 13, where all the LGBTQI refugees are placed . There are 26 lesbians living there now, 17 of their children and about 10 other LGBTQI folks. While this has allowed them to make important and supportive connections, it has also placed them in danger by making them easy targets for homophobic violence. They are a small minority in the camp population that reached 180,000 in 2021.

Two gay men were set afire, killing one and maiming the other. More than once Block 13 has been fire bombed, and lesbians regularly face rape and other violent attacks. Because of these assaults, they cannot leave their residences after dark, and there is little help available, either in preventing violence or accessing medical treatment after these aggressions. Our LGBTQI relatives are trapped: they must face the daily uncertainties, violence, and inability to work and gain resources and they have no way out.  The  UNHCR has not processed Block 13 residents’ refugee status — for years for some of them. This is much longer than the usual time frame for refugees. Nor have they been allowed passes to be able to move outside of the camp in Kenya. They are absolutely stuck with no relief in sight.   This is an untenable situation and a human rights disaster.

photo of refugees with transgender flag

Recently, the small amounts of water and food that were accessible at the camp reception has been stopped as well as providing the basic essential of rice.  The LGBTQI refugees of Kakuma are worried that without refugee status, they will have  no  resources of where to  go or what they can do.

The LGBTQI refugees of Kakuma are working to get out. They have attempted to contact the UNHCR seeking protection and refugee status in order to relocate to permanent homes in safer countries. They have received no response, and lesbians in the camp have asked us to approach women’s as well as LGBTQI organizations around the world to start a letter writing campaign demanding action from the UNHCR.

This is what we are asking of you right now:

❖  Email the UNHCR as an organization, demanding that attention be paid to this vulnerable population who are being attacked based on their Queer identities. The letter we wrote is available as an example, with the addresses of people to send it to, at https://tinyurl.com/3z48exsh.

❖  Ask others to email the UNHCR as well,  in hopes that a large number of letters will draw attention to this important issue.

This is what we are asking of you for the future:

❖ Educate yourself about the situation in Block 13 of Kakuma Camp. Here’s a few info links.

ORAM Kakuma Report, https://www.oramrefugee.org/kakuma-report

Morningstar online Report UK, https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/lesbians-kenyan-refugee-camps-need-our-help

Amnesty International Kakuma Report

❖ Contact your members of Congress to demand accountability from the UNHCR concerning the lives of LGBTQ refugees and if they are not satisfied let them call for the defunding of UNHCR

Please pass this on to any other groups you may know that would support the LGBTQI people of Kakuma.

Thank you for this and for all the work you do!

Seattle Kakuma Support Group – Tina Gianoulis Sue Hodes Janice Gutman Jan Denali & DJ Lower

Update: Texas attacks Trans-youth

In a blatant attack on families, medical practitioners, and other adults who support trans youth, on February 22, 2022 Texas governor Greg Abbott directed the state’s Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) to investigate gender-affirming healthcare for transgender youth as “child abuse.” The non-binding directive also tries to force mandatory reporters, like medical professionals, to report anyone seeking gender affirming healthcare for child abuse.  These actions target anyone who takes steps to support trans youth in accessing gender-affirming treatment, and led to DFPS opening investigations into several families.  A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Texas, and Lambda Legal just succeeded in obtaining an injunction on the investigations while the case moves forward, although that will likely be appealed by Texas.

And its not just Texas, other states like Alabama have anti-LGBTQ bills pending that would seek to end and criminalize healthcare for trans youth.

This transphobic attack is not surprising from a governor who tried, but was unable, to get a ban on gender-affirming healthcare through the Texas legislature this last regular session, or in special sessions.

Close the Schools, House the Rich

by deeg

Eleven of Oakland’s 80 public schools are being closed, merged, or having their programs reduced during the next two years.

Despite massive community protests ranging from hunger strikes to town halls to marches and rallies, two Oakland schools, Parker K-8 and Community Day, are on this year’s hit list and will be closed in June.  An additional five other schools, originally proposed to be closed this year, will be closed in June 2023 — Korematsu, Horace Mann, Brookfield, Carl B. Munck and Grass Valley. Rise Community and New Highland Academy will be merged in 2022, and Hillcrest and La Escuelita will decrease the number of grades they teach.

Ninety-three percent of the students in the schools scheduled for closure are identified as lower-income, English learners or foster youth, as compared to 80 percent for the district as a whole. 43 percent of the students in the targeted schools are Black, which is double the percentage in the district as a whole. No school which has greater percentage of white students than the rest of the district is targeted for closure.

photo of banner at protest

Poor Magazine and the Homefulness community is part of the fight to save the schools including, Parker. Tiny wrote,

“This is a family school, they are tearing families apart. We have to make sure this school stays open for K-8 students. The School Board didn’t do an equity analysis on these schools before they put them on a list for closure,” said Misty, a warrior known for her work with Moms4Housing as she stood outside Parker Elementary School, a powerful comeUnity school located in Deep East (Occupied Huchuin) Oakland, which along with so many more schools in majority Black and Brown neighborhoods are facing the insanity of sudden closure .

Oakland is not unique. A number of factors are wrecking public schools all over the country. The first is a concerted decades-long campaign to privatize public education – including vouchers and charter schools. Now using the buzzword of “critical race theory” the racist, anti queer/trans, pro-prayer-in-school right wing “community” is sick of the ideas that could possibly be available in public schools. They prefer that old time religion. For over thirty years, legislation and court decisions have undermined public education and supported “parental choice.” This has bled enrollment from public schools and diverted public school funds.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated school underfunding. In California, public schools were closed for much of 2020. Schools attempted to continue education through distance learning, generally online. For elementary school kids, this meant a loss of school as childcare for working parents. Teachers were required to work long hours, often doing double shifts to cover online classes. Online learning required internet and computers, which oddly enough were not as widely available in poor communities, particularly low income communities of color. Oakland and other Bay Area school districts purchased and distributed laptops to students, and in some cases arranged for free or low-rate internet access, and this helped improve access, but as of May 2021, according to the Public Policy Institute of california, “nearly 40% of low-income students still lack reliable internet access; so do a third of Black and Latino students.”

When schools reopened by state mandate at the end of the summer 2021, the schools had done nothing, or less, to improve ventilation or other conditions that might reduce the risk of disease.  The now-forgotten omicron outbreak from November 2021 to January 2022, led to quarantines and local shutdowns, which impacted daily attendance. California’s school funding levels depend on average daily attendance (ADA), not enrollment. For the current school year, the legislature allowed districts to use pre-pandemic attendance. But this year’s funding will be based on current attendance. While the declines in enrollment and attendance may be temporary, the effects of the millions to tens of millions of dollars in cuts per school district will cut services, teachers, and schools, which will not be easily restored.

Meanwhile, the state is expected to end this fiscal year (June 30 2022) with over ten billion dollars in budget surplus, and the state projects even more surplus in the fiscal year starting July 1, a surplus that will be so large that money may end up creating tax breaks or rebates to the people who least need them.

Community Day is the one school in Oakland available to students who have been expelled from other schools. It is scheduled to close in June. The school community – students, parents, staff and neighbors, have demanded the school be kept open, particularly since there will not be time to transition all of the students to other schools. Zack Haber reported that John Yee, president of the OUSD board, is  pushing to build housing on the site. Yee and Joshua Simon, a real estate developer and a major player in housing policy (read YIMBY), visited the site on February 25, without even signing in at the school.

Closure of a school is the first condition that must be met before a district declares the land to be “surplus” and therefore available for sale or lease. The money to be gotten from closing a school is a factor the California Board of Education recommends in “Closing a School Best Practices Guide”, which states that in choosing which school to close, a district should consider “Value – if maximizing revenue from the sale or lease of surplus schools is integral to decisions regarding which school to close, then, of course, a property appraisal and assessment of the interests in and proposed uses for the property are vital…”

Daly City Community Garden

The Daly City Community Garden, now scheduled for destruction as part of the serramonte del rey (SDR) project, is an example of how districts, local government, and real estate developers have worked together to turn public school properties into market rate housing, sometimes with just enough projected “affordable housing” to claim it meets state and local requirements.

In April of last year, the jefferson union high school district (juhsd) published a plan to build over 1100 apartments on a site that formerly had been occupied by the serramonte high school. Serramonte high school was closed in 1981, but was briefly reopened in 1993-1995. It then became the administration building for the district. A separate project to create 122 units of “workforce [staff] housing,” was approved in 2020 and is being built on a different part of the site. Although the staff housing project had been claimed as providing 100 percent “affordable” housing, a report by Daly City staff found that only 12 units would meet city and state requirements. The 1100 newly proposed units are all market rate, except for approximately 110 units that would be affordable (up to 120 percent of area median income), not low income (up to 80 percent of AMI).

photo of protest at community garden

Part of this construction project included destroying a community garden that had been started in 2001 for juhsd students, and developed into a community garden. It is the only community garden in daly city. Daly city is a community that used to be predominantly working and middle class, and which, like the rest of the Bay Area, has been under huge gentrification pressure. It is a densely populated area, with a large immigrant population. It has one of the smallest “urban canopies” (trees) in the area, only 3.5%. The garden has about 15 percent of the existing trees in daly city and is reported to be home to the mission blue butterfly, an endangered species. It also contains a natural wetland (bog).

The gardeners and 4 Daly City have been joined by other community groups including the Serramonte Ridge Renters Association, JUHSD Alumni for Green Schools, Preservation Ancient Traditional Indigenous Lands, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Pacifica Social Justice, Youth vs Apocalypse, the Palestinian Youth Movement and Gay Shame, as well as many individual indigenous people. Like much of san mateo county, daly city is unceded land of the Raymatush Olone people, a people that is not recognized by the u.s. government.

Daly city has an “inclusionary housing ordinance” which requires new housing to include 10 percent very low income and low income units, that are distributed throughout the project, and are built at the same time as the rest of the project. The SDR development does not propose any low or very low income housing. Ninety percent of the 110 “affordable” units would be located in one plot of the project, which is planned to be built at some future date. The project has not applied for or obtained any funding for low income housing units.  Nonetheless in February the daly city city council gave preliminary approval for the project.

The union for the juhsd employees is strongly supporting the project saying it is the only way that teachers will get a raise. According to most estimates (the district refuses to disclose the finances of the proposal) the district would not make any money off the project for at least 10 years after approval. The developers and juhsd claim that the garden, which they plan to destroy before any more construction takes place, will be replaced by double the amount of “green space” by which they mean the lawns between buildings.

This is probably a good time to mention that california has a number of laws that are intended to limit cities, counties and “special districts” from giving away public lands to private interests. There are specific restrictions in the education code on selling or leasing school property, including that land must first be made available for use for low-income housing and for park and recreation purposes. Other conditions may be waived by the state department of education. Sales or lease of other public lands are supposed to comply with california’s “surplus lands act” but enforcement of any of these provisions, or the california environmental quality act, requires community groups to raise tens of thousands of dollars for multi-year lawsuits, while the government entity involved defends with public money.

Critics of the juhsd proposal, including us, have pointed out that juhsd has not followed the laws in many ways, that the project does not meet local or state criteria for affordable housing, and that the city gave preliminary approval for the project prior to even getting an environmental impact report. The city and the juhsd have also failed to provide public records.

As with so much that we do, it’s a bambi vs. godzilla struggle. The local press is in love with the idea of using school land to both fund education and develop more housing for people who can “afford” $3500-$5000 per month rent or more.

And developers are using these same tactics everywhere, often with the same consultants. For example, in san jose, the oak grove school district voted this year to sell the former Glider Elementary School to developer True Life Companies for $26.6 million. When the district closed the school in 2018, they said they would not sell the land but in 2020 decided to sell.

According to the San Jose Spotlight, San Jose community advocates have pointed to a specific conflict of interest in the deal, since dominic dutra, the school district’s consultant, is a real estate agent, and receives a commission from the sale. The community has been raising money to fund a lawsuit, and are also going to petition the city council to stop the sale.

Victory on E12th Street

On March 2, the Oakland city council voted 5-3 to stop the sale of the public land on East 12th Street to private developers who planned to build 360 units of predominantly market rate housing on the site. The Save E12th Coalition formed in 2014. A couple of years later, the East 12th St. Alliance formed, and came to include SEIU 1021, California Nurses Association, Oakland Education Association, Urban Strategies Council, Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Oakland Community Organizations, People of Color Sustainable Housing Network, and Urban Habitat. In 2016 the Alliance developed a “people’s proposal” for the site. Several lawsuits were also filed because the proposed project violated california’s surplus lands act.

After the March 2 vote, the Save E12th Coalition sent the following email after the victory at city council:

Dear supporters of the Save E12th Coalition!!!

💥 Seven+ years of organizing has paid off!!

💥 Last night the City Council cast a decisive 5 to 3 vote denying the 6th extension to the luxury tower development on the East 12th St Remainder Parcel, and committing once and for all to affordable housing on this public land!!

💥 We started this PUBLIC LAND FOR PUBLIC GOOD fight in 2014 and along the way lifted the voices of our communities, we organized for Oakland to stem displacement and gentrification, and worked to prioritize dignified and affordable housing for those who need it most.

💥 Along the way our efforts inspired the public lands policy for Oakland, contributed to improving conditions for our houseless neighbors, said no to luxury towers on public land, and said yes to maximizing affordable housing on E12th St!

💥 It took a lot of us to get here. Neighbors, organizers, union reps, legal teams, journalists, architects, landscape architects, planners, radical developers, students, movement chefs, artists, & entertainers, and city council members all worked tirelessly. 

💥 All throughout we always insisted on maximizing affordable housing on E12th St and WE WON!! Thank you for all of your support over the years!

The city council has not committed to any alternate proposal, and we can be sure that there will be plenty of profiteers on the way. But congratulations to Save E12 on their victory!

Prisoners Submissions

-Corruptarado
-Corruption Exposed Corcoran CA
-The Horrors of Hell
-Shorts from Inside

Corruptarado

As always the latest UV is enjoyable and informative.  As an old gay radical, a veteran of the anti-war movement (1965-1975) and an activist for injustice system reform, I am happy to see the small article “New Amendment Needed” on page 4.

In this state [Colorado], we call it Corruptarado because the law is whatever the judge says it is: prison labor is the life blood of all its prisons.  From maintenance to kitchen workers to laundry workers to para-pros in education, all the work is done by prisoners, paid about $.90/day and punished if they refuse.  The prisons would be forced to shut down if they were forced to stop the slave labor or pay minimum wage to the workers.

Two significant national organizations that I am in contact with, sent me great information as to the efforts for abolition.  I encourage you to contact them and gain knowledge and encouragement from the material they send.

  1. Prison Policy Initiative, Andrea Fenster staff attorney, PO Box 127, Northampton MA 0160, http://www.prisonpolicy.org
  2.  Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. Alia Nahra, special assistant, 120 Broadway #1750, New York, NY 10271, http://www.brennancenter.org/

Three years ago, the voters in Corruptarado took the “slavery as punishment is just peachy” out of the State constitution.  The gutless legislators wouldn’t touch the issue for fear of being called soft on crime.  The change in the law was ignored by the CDOC, as was expected.  Slavery as usual continues.  So no prisoners, family members and other activists realize that we will need another voter action that bans slavery as punishment.  One lawyer in Bailey CO filed a class action asking for minimum wage but it was denied for technical reasons.   Another lawyer in Denver is planning to file an action over the work or be punished issue.  But we do not know when that will happen.  John Taylor #148535, CDOC/Unit FCF, PO Box 999, Canon City CO 81215

Corruption Exposed/Corcoran CA

I just wanted to share [excerpts from] an article I wrote of us prisoners who came together putting our differences aside and took this prison to federal court.  Corcoran SATF state prison has been deemed a corrupted prison in the federal courts and is now being monitored through an installed robo-system in the whole prison; in the day rooms, the yard, the chow hall, the classrooms and work places.  The correctional officers are wearing body cameras for the protection of the prisoners who were abused and targeted by excessive force by corrupted Green Wall officials. 

This took a lot of us prisoners to come together and push legal paperwork, working with the Prison Law Office in San Quentin and the ACLU to make a change here in Corcoran, Kings County CA.   Now the next step is for us prisoners to push on the judicial system here to expose the corruption in the courts, the corruption in the public defender’s office and in the district attorney’s office.

I’ve read a lot of your “Shorts from Inside” in UltraViolet.  And I am saddened by the abuses a lot of you from the LGBTQ go through in different prisons across the country.  You are not alone!  Your best weapons to fight back are Penal Codes, case laws, constitutional rights, the ACLU and the Prison Law Office.  We blew the ‘whistle’ here and got results.  Now this prison is being monitored by the feds.  Come together and fight back with your “mind and voice”; with pen and paper through grievances, class actions, lawsuits.  Never give up LGBTQ family and friends and protect your human rights!

I’m always open to help anyone with advocacy.  With love and respect; in struggle and solidarity; exposing Green Wall C.O.’s in corrupted prisons, Angel M Garza #BI7852, COR-SATF/G-2-17-4Up, PO Box 5244, Corcoran CA 93212

The Horrors of Hell

Hello my loving family.  Once again, the ADC [Arkansas Dept. of Corrections] showed just how much they ‘cared’ for me by putting me on “Preventative Measures” (suicide watch).  This is what happened.  I contacted mental health because the urge to perform self-surgery on myself had returned for the 3rd time in 4 years.  I felt brave enough to try to take matters into my own hands and I wanted to succeed this time where I had failed the last 3 times.  I told the counselor that it was in no way a suicide attempt (murder of my child making ability maybe but let’s face it that needed to be sacrificed!), that I knew what to do and had what I needed to do it and I stressed that it was only the urge.  I guess I didn’t stress it enough.  The counselor went and spoke to her boss and in the boss’s infinite wisdom, I was locked up!

I was told that I was only supposed to be there for 3 days, somehow that 3 days turned into 8!  8 days of 24/7 lights; 24/7 screaming inmates; being woken up every 15-20 minutes.  And the cream of the crop, I was not allowed a shower until the day of my release, and by that time, a city water pipe had burst and all we were left with was glacially cold water.  Yet another thrilling horror show given to you by those who think having a badge on their shirt makes them masters over all others!  I still want to “operate” but I be damned if I tell them that again.  Well, that’s the latest from my corner of hell.  I would appreciate any correspondence; it gets lonely here in hell.  I toast to my true family, my love runs deep.  Long days and pleasant nights,  Elaine Moone (James Owens) #139166, 300 Corrections Dr. Newport AR 72112

drawing from prisoner
By Jessie Milo #P40495, CSP-Corcoran, PO Box 3476, Corcoran CA 93212

Shorts from Inside

I really need help in Florida with the staff that works in the numerous mailrooms of the many prisons of the ‘Florida Department of Corruptions’, oops … Corrections! They are not allowing me to exercise my rights to receive the LAGAI/Ultraviolet for all the bogus reasons listed in the rejection notices!  But they easily let in supremist materials of all kinds, genres and religions!! So in Florida, UV cannot meet any of these criteria. Can y’all fix it so we can get it in Florida – please?! Peace, love and solidarity for the rainbow. TMC, Chipley FL [ed. Note: we did receive many rejections from FL and unfortunately do not know how to fix it.  Some of the reasons included “articles … threatening bodily harm … containing personal info about another inmate … presenting a threat to the security of the correctional system.”  Any suggestions welcome.]

As a gay man in a federal prison in Canada it’s folks like you and the newspaper that keep us in touch with the outside LGBT2SQ community. Thank you for allowing us the chance to remain normal. JM, Ontario Canada

Hello to my new family. I just received a new issue and when I saw my article, “Lost Soul” it made me feel really good to see that I could share my words and my story with everyone. What you do with this newsletter to help spread love and support to all of those who need it.  I’ll cherish every newsletter that I get and I hope to make new friends who I can connect with and share words of wisdom with each other. MP, West Liberty KY

I received the Winter 2022 issue of UltraViolet and it was very eye opening.  Its one thing to feel like you’re not alone in your struggles but it’s another thing to know. To read stories about the hate filled lives of others upset me as well as humbled me. That bratty voice saying that “it’s all about you and your pain” was instantly silenced.  Giving me someone else to feel and fight for!  We have to come together to stop this hate, ignorance and injustice! JJ, Saint Louis MI

Hey, I wanted to let you know that I Loved this issue! The article by Kate reads like a TV show pilot.  I was and am hooked!!! Please write more.  Bo Brown was awesome.  I wish I could see the documentary. Lisa’s piece was good too.  I also made the same connections with BLM and I been seeing COP26 on world news and yeah.  That piece about the houseless by Toshio and Miya was beautiful! I love the calling out of people. I loved the image of eminent domain being used to take back land from rich tax-evaders and use it to shelter people.  That should be a movie, I’d watch it, a feel good story of what or how things could be or should be!  Thank you for enlightening me.  You are all awesome!!!  I got phone time, gotta go………JM, Corcoran CA

Thank you so much for all the wonderful issues you sent me.  It doesn’t matter if the newsletters are outdated … my mom used to tell me that her unread stack of newspapers were still news to her if she hadn’t read them yet.  HA.  That works for me.  DP, Ashland KY

Hello family. I get so happy when I get the new UV. I write most everyone that gives their address and info.  Each person that writes me back is great.  They care about me and they keep me strong and full of hope.  I was alone, now I am starting to feel better about life.  I am Bi-sexual and I really admired the strength that Transgender people have to be themselves.  Most people have no idea who they are all their lives.  I was a fire-fighter and construction worker most of my life.  I’m from a small town so my sexual preference was never there.  JP, Lancaster OH

Thank you for the newsletters, but sorry I’m not gay or any of the other stuff.  I’m just a straight guy.  Sometimes I still read the newsletters anyway and they have really helped me to become more accepting of people.  Thank you for that.  You can remove my name from the list.  WS, PA

Dear friends, brothers and sisters.  I came across a  few colored peces of paper.  I think they were called “sta-mp-s???”  Back in the pre 2017-18’s???  God only knows when, or if, we’ll ever get real mail like that again.  I figured you could use them better than I could, so enjoy!  Stay well and safe.  I’m just getting over COVID-#2 and this one was no joke!!!   Weakness, fatigue, felt like two 18-wheelers went over me and then backed up, about 20 times a day, for the last 8 days.  But I’m still grinding on.  Love, peace, Power and Resistance!   CT Jones, PA

I am happy to announce my name has been legally changed to Joy Brilliant.  I love the woman I am becoming.  JB, Kingman AZ

Shout out to all my family out there!  Don’t forget you are loved, you are unique, you are special and you mean the world to me.  Let your lights shine bright ‘cause that’s how we see you!  Love David in SC

Hello.  I have transferred and I know that this place is a little more lenient than the State.  This is a private facility so their rules are different, but it’s really up to who’s working in the mailroom.  Child, I’m very close to Pensacola FL and I’m from So. Fla. You know a girl is cold up here and these men I’ve met so far are colder (smile).  Well, this is all for now.  Rosie, Milton FL

I am an F to M trans, incarcerated in TX.  I’ve been a political prisoner and activist for 13 years.  As a published writer, I’ve been a whistleblower exposing the corruption, bribery, abuse, torture, racism and transphobia that exists in the female prisons of TX.  I’ve been fighting for justice for Trans prisoners in the female units to no avail.  As a Black Trans prisoner I have a target on my back that is epic.  Due to me exercising my constitutional rights of ‘Freedom of speech and press’, the warden and several of her minions locked me away in a collusive attempt to suppress me from writing articles and filing complaints.  If you can assist me in any way possible, please contact me.  I stand tall throughout this battle and remain positive.  #TransLivesMatter, #PrisonLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter.  Britney Gulley #1601283, Lane Murray Unit, 1916 N Hwy 36 Bypass, Gatesville TX 76596

Hi there!  I identify as a gay male and think the newsletter would be a wonderful resource to share with other LGBTQ+ inmates in my facility.  I was conflicted and felt so alone and afraid for over 20 years to truly be myself, but after therapy and sex offender treatment, I was able to free myself.  Thank you so much!  JM, Avenel NJ

Hello to all the members of the “LAGAI” team.  I give thanks to everyone for your wonderful work.  I’m grateful that you let me know that my message can’t be published in Spanish.  Good, by it being like that, I would like you to put my name and message in the paper.   I want to send a shout out to everyone and all those that receive and read the newspaper.  I’m very happy to receive it and even though I only know a little English, I like to hear the stories of my brothers and sisters.  I’ve been locked up since 2007 and I’ve learned to value my life and the lives of others; regardless of color, age, sex or nationality.  I have a lot more love and respect for my family LGBTQI.  I would like to continue getting to know them and finding out more.  My nationality is Mexican and my first language is Spanish.  To all those who want to get to know me, you are welcomed.  Epigmanio Gomez #660899, Kinross C.F. 4533 W Industrial Park Dr. Kincheloe MI 49788

Hey now!  I wanted to send you all my thoughts in hopes of you all publishing it in your powerful/beautiful and authentic newsletter.  I love me some UltraViolet.  Also, I ask that you all check out Inmate Link magazine, vol. 1.  I will be published in the February edition, as Kool Breeze.  First Transwoman to be published in there.   I am going to continue daily to reach for the sky so if I fall, I will land among the stars!  I ask every last person who is reading this to pursue perfection, excellence, happiness, elegance and greatness.  This is our moment; it’s time to do what’s best for us.  Love y’all, we all we got.  Summer the Breeze, Cameron MO