Retiring Arizona Prison Watch...

This site was originally started in July 2009 as an independent endeavor to monitor conditions in Arizona's criminal justice system, as well as offer some critical analysis of the prison industrial complex from a prison abolitionist/anarchist's perspective. It was begun in the aftermath of the death of Marcia Powell, a 48 year old AZ state prisoner who was left in an outdoor cage in the desert sun for over four hours while on a 10-minute suicide watch. That was at ASPC-Perryville, in Goodyear, AZ, in May 2009.

Marcia, a seriously mentally ill woman with a meth habit sentenced to the minimum mandatory 27 months in prison for prostitution was already deemed by society as disposable. She was therefore easily ignored by numerous prison officers as she pleaded for water and relief from the sun for four hours. She was ultimately found collapsed in her own feces, with second degree burns on her body, her organs failing, and her body exceeding the 108 degrees the thermometer would record. 16 officers and staff were disciplined for her death, but no one was ever prosecuted for her homicide. Her story is here.

Marcia's death and this blog compelled me to work for the next 5 1/2 years to document and challenge the prison industrial complex in AZ, most specifically as manifested in the Arizona Department of Corrections. I corresponded with over 1,000 prisoners in that time, as well as many of their loved ones, offering all what resources I could find for fighting the AZ DOC themselves - most regarding their health or matters of personal safety.

I also began to work with the survivors of prison violence, as I often heard from the loved ones of the dead, and learned their stories. During that time I memorialized the Ghosts of Jan Brewer - state prisoners under her regime who were lost to neglect, suicide or violence - across the city's sidewalks in large chalk murals. Some of that art is here.

In November 2014 I left Phoenix abruptly to care for my family. By early 2015 I was no longer keeping up this blog site, save occasional posts about a young prisoner in solitary confinement in Arpaio's jail, Jessie B.

I'm deeply grateful to the prisoners who educated, confided in, and encouraged me throughout the years I did this work. My life has been made all the more rich and meaningful by their engagement.

I've linked to some posts about advocating for state prisoner health and safety to the right, as well as other resources for families and friends. If you are in need of additional assistance fighting the prison industrial complex in Arizona - or if you care to offer some aid to the cause - please contact the Phoenix Anarchist Black Cross at PO Box 7241 / Tempe, AZ 85281.

until all are free -

MARGARET J PLEWS (June 1, 2015)


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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Governor's Reply and I: Correspondence with the ADC.

Some of you may remember that I wrote to the Governor a couple of weeks ago about Davon Acklin, William Macumber, and the other prisoners that she's leaving to die behind bars - regardless of their illnesses, crimes or innocence. Yesterday I received a reply to that letter from the Office of Constituent Services at the Arizona Department of Corrections. Below is that email, followed by my response to it. I doubt I'll be hearing from them again - I kind of hit "send" when I was trying to "save" and proof it. This gives you the update, though.

FYI: the people I cc'd my response to are Charles Ryan (the Director of the ADC) and his corporate counsel, Karyn Klausner (who was pretty cool when she was a criminal defense attorney, in my book, because she stuck up for that 8-year old St. Johns kid that prosecutors wanted to charge as an adult for killing his dad. Still, try to avoid messing with her.)


BETTY CASSIANO Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM
Good morning Ms. Plews,

Your e-mail message to the Arizona Governor's office concerning Arizona Department of Corrections inmate was forwarded to me for response.

I sincerely appreciate your concern for both inmates and want to assure you that the Arizona Department of Corrections provides health care to incarcerated offenders consistent with community standards. Quality care and services responsive to the offender population include: medical services, mental health services, dental care, primary nursing care, and pharmacy services. Keeping offenders healthy is the basic platform from which the offender is prepared and supported to successfully complete basic education, work skills and experience, and recreational and leisure skills essential to building good citizenship and self-sufficiency. The Health Services Bureau also assists inmates in learning to develop and sustain personal wellness through ongoing education designed to augment healthy living while diminishing life-style habits that can lead to poor health and a decreased quality of life.

As you may know, medical information is strictly confidential and not available to inquirers in accordance with federal and state statutes.

Information about the Arizona Department of Corrections is available on the public website as follows: . I invite you to access the site for additional information about the Health Services Division and other areas of interest to you. The Constituent Services page provides access to a handbook which includes information about many areas of concern as well as a listing of applicable policies and contact numbers.

Betty J. Cassiano
ADC/Constituent Services Office

Peggy Plews Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 4:42 AM
Dear Mrs. Cassiano,

Don't believe everything that Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) health services administrators tell you - they either don't know squat, or they have a propensity for lying. In fact, their department can't even keep their medical records straight or accounted for. Davon needs a liver biopsy for anyone to be able to say how ill he really is (or isn't) from Hep C, and he needs genotyping to determine his chances of surviving this thing with early treatment. Unfortunately, resources are instead being spent trying to deflect his mother and I in our attempts to help him.

These are just stalling tactics - as is being referred to you. She and I are both done with the games.

I suspect it's going to cost Arizona more to fight us than it would have to competently diagnose and treat Davon early in the course of his infection, because now we're out to change the whole system. We may not be able to bust him out of there in time to prevent further damage from the virus, but he's going to end up getting options for medical care either now or later - all we need to do is to escalate this issue enough that the visibility brings other ADC families to us wondering why their mentally ill kid wasn't offered Hep C treatment, too, and we have a class action suit. In the meantime, you have a lot of highly-paid people spinning in circles doing absolutely nothing for that boy. That's a pathetic waste of precious taxpayer money, and we already spend more on you than on our schools.

As for standard medical protocols - "we're just following the leader" is no excuse. You've been warned specifically that neglecting Davon's medical care because he has a serious mental illness is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and your algorithms giving you that out are based on research that's over a decade old. Did you realize that? Did Ryan or Karyn Klausner? They'd better not be counting on their dental staff for guidance about whether or not the ADC is following good medical protocol regarding Hep C. Given the advances in the areas of diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment in recent years, that's malpractice in my book. Furthermore, the argument that he's too close to his out date to begin treatment now (because you want to assure that he completes it) is pretty flimsy. You all know full well that Julie would make sure he continued his treatment once released - especially after all this. Few prisoners have as supportive a family to go home to as Davon does.

What the American Correctional Association has to say about your protocols and standards is the last thing that will impress me - they're paid off by prison profiteers and have elected as their president the man who's presided over Mississippi's DOC as their prisoner mortality rate has shot up to the second highest in the country. In any case, I think every entity that promulgates the same standards that the ADC uses to determine who and when to treat for Hep C should also be sued for violating the ADA and the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA). I'm sure to find a good attorney in each pertinent jurisdiction who will agree with me.

So, please don't bother writing to me again if you're just going to give me the standard line of ADC BS, as you do so well. It just pisses me off, and it disrespects those dying inside. Your people don't even know how sick Davon is because they refuse to do an adequate medical evaluation - lest a specialist finds something you have to treat (or get sued over for not treating) out of your grossly inflated budget. They apparently haven't even checked him out themselves, yet - for all the communication that Julie has had with you people all this time, now she's being told that unless Davon fills out a health request himself, he doesn't have any symptoms. That's very disconcerting - and the standard MO for departments of corrections trying to keep down health care/litigation costs by denying when prisoners are sick and putting up barriers to care in the first place. All of you are treating Julie like she's some kind of idiot - she probably knows more about Hep C now than most of your "experts". And she's learning fast where the money for Hep C + prisoners comes from and goes to (not to prisoners like Davon, clearly - the mentally ill, that is. They're apparently all a bad risk).

Don't bother trying to talk to Julie again either, by the way - all you seem to do is insult her.

As for disseminating info about funding mandates and ADA/CRIPA obligations (we're going to make new case law. Just watch): we have more than just Facebook and my blogs for public consumption. We see a whole lot of lives at stake here and are willing to put ourselves on the line over this - and our alliances now include the crew keeping a 24/7 watch at the capitol. They came to our vigil in May and cried as Julie told them about her son, while I passed out Spanish language literature about hep C. Then they blessed us with drumming and sage. Several former prisoners with Hep C came up to Julie to give her a hug and thank her for talking about it to fight the stigma; they always got the message that they're just criminals and therefore not worth saving. It was all pretty powerful. My brother has the video and is going to try to figure out how to put it on You Tube. I've also been contacted by a journalism student who does film editing and we discussed doing a project on Hep C in prison, using AZ as an example of what prisons do wrong. Especially to the mentally ill, who clearly aren't worth the expense or hassle of even finding out if they need treatment or not...

Unless you want to be the example of someone doing something right by the most vulnerable people in custody, instead. I kind of doubt Ryan will choose that route, though.

As for ADC's health services educating anyone, particularly prisoners: all Davon knows about his illness is what he feels and what his mother tells him. Clearly the people paid to "educate" patients and the public about Hep C aren't doing their job, or we wouldn't end up doing all this. I've read the literature they hand out on Hep C. After describing how ill one can get, one such fact sheet sarcastically concludes: "As you can see, it's better not to get this in the first place." Why am I writing a blog about Hep C and posting the latest research, not them? What did they do to recognize World Hepatitis Day in May? We want harm reduction programs in place both in and out of prison - this is absurd for this disease to still be killing people in 2010 when we know how to stop it. Prisoner health is public health, so don't think this starts and stops with you and no one else should worry about it. Remember ACT UP? You haven't seen anything yet. This (the first two photos below) was just to cheer Julie up - I staged it during AM rush hour in front of Fox News. Saving Davon is what this comes down to, not just freeing him.

Once we aren't competing with SB 1070, we're going to be out there raising hell and digging up more witnesses and claimants. We can be pretty creative; I'll escalate it as necessary to get local and national media on this, and I have a lot of friends who are sympathetic to prisoners and down for just about any kind of direct action that counters state violence - which is what I consider medical neglect of institutionalized persons to be. I have no fear left in me and very few inhibitions - I was already assaulted the night we did the candlelight vigil (hence my silence on the anniversary of Marcia's death - I was abandoning my home that day), and my car was vandalized two days later (nearly killed me on the highway when my tire went). All coincidence, I'm sure, that just knocked me off my feet for a little while - blessings in disguise to teach me that no matter what happens to me, exposing you people is the right thing to do.

As is exposing the Governor's brutality, who still has to answer for leaving Macumber to die. Even the New York Times is watching him (and now Liptak knows about Davon, as well), so please try not to kill him before he gets out of there. By the way, I can see the DOJ Googling your dead prisoners. I think they're on to you already for all those murders since Brewer/Ryan took over, aren't they? Maybe for the suicides, too - including that boy on the minors unit this spring. I have a packet to send off to them anyway, just in case they hadn't heard about everyone or didn't know that others cared out here.

Finally, rest assured that I know how to find everything I need on the ADC website now - I even notice what isn't there - and please don't ever refer me to your handbook of propaganda again for answers to serious questions like these.

Thank you for your time.

Margaret Jean Plews

(this email will be forwarded to the Governor's office and posted on my websites, lest it gets lost in the ether.)

Brewer Save Davon 719.JPG

Morning Rush Hour: July 19, 2010 (W. Washington St/7th Ave, Phoenix)

Brewer all signs 719.JPG

Morning Rush Hour: July 19, 2010 (W. Washington St/7th Ave, Phoenix)

ADC 716 Free Davon.JPG

Early Afternoon: July 16, 2010 (W. Jefferson St/15th Ave.; across from the ADC)

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Prison Abolitionist
Arizona Prison Watch
Arizona Juvenile Prison Watch
Hard Time: Hep C in AZ Jails and Prisons
Free Marcia Powell

¡El pueblo unido, jamás será vencido!

Perryville: The silent fall of Geshell Fernandez.

(UPDATE: September 21, 2010)

I tried to dig up some
information about Geshell other than court records, but there isn't much out there. In 2007 the courts had her address listed as "transient". Some of Geshell's convictions included drug-related charges and assault, all of which suggest that she was dually diagnosed with a serious mental illness and a substance abuse disorder. As recently as January 09 she had to be restored to competency in order to plead guilty to her crimes.

She had an even worse record in prison: within six months of killing herself, Geshell had been charged with assaulting both another prisoner and a guard. She was considered a 5/5 custody risk and housed in maximum security.

I just keep wondering, though: if she was so ill that the Department of Corrections couldn't manage her without putting her in max, then why wasn't she in a psychiatric hospital? Did they think she was
just being "bad"? That's why women with mental illness get more than our fair share of brutality, chemical restraint, and solitary. Our deviance isn't just a sign of distraction or distress, it's an outright rejection of the social order that Power depends on to maintain control. For that we need to be punished, apparently, to keep the rest of the women in line.

I didn't find any indication in my search that Geshell's family is around - couldn't find an obituary, even. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more information about this woman's life. She was only 28 when she died.

- Peggy Plews (09/21/2010)

--------------------from the original post, all I knew-----------------

Suicide in a community increases the risk to those most susceptible to follow suit. The number to the national suicide hotline is posted in the side column. The reason to call if you need to is in Phil Ochs' song, also in the side column. Stop, listen, call.

Our condolences go out to this young woman's loved ones.


1601 W. JEFFERSON PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85007 (602) 542-3133

For Immediate Release

For more information contact:

Barrett Marson

Bill Lamoreaux

July 23, 2010
Inmate Death Notification

Goodyear, Az.- Inmate Geshell Fernandez, ADC#196933, died while in Arizona Department of Corrections custody early Friday after apparently committing suicide.

Medical responders attempted life saving measures in her cell but Fernandez was pronounced dead at 12:48 a.m.

Fernandez, 28, came to ADC in November 2009 after a conviction from Maricopa County for aggravated assault and a drug paraphernalia violation. She was serving 7.5 years and housed at ASPC-Perryville in the Lumley Unit.

The death is under investigation by the Department.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Prison Health is Public Health: UN

Got this from the UNSHACKLE list-serve - join it if you haven't already and are serious about these issues. This argument also applies to Hepatitis C - only it's even more infectious and prevalent than HIV/AIDS...


UN warning on AIDS in prisons


Associated Press Writer

VIENNA (AP) -- The U.N.'s top investigator on torture and punishment warned Friday that overcrowded prisons are breeding grounds for AIDS.

Often, inmates are held in inhumane conditions in which the HIV virus is spread through the use of non-sterile drug injection equipment, sexual contacts, tattooing and sharing of razors, Manfred Nowak said.

"There is a global prison crisis," he told an international AIDS conference.

Nowak, who has visited detention facilities around the world, urged authorities to inform prisoners of the risk of HIV transmission and to offer them free condoms, HIV testing and counseling. He also pressed prisons to offer needle and syringe programs, opiate substitution therapies and methadone treatments.

"Science tells us exactly what we have to do, it's just a question of political will to implement it," Nowak said.

In addition, prison guards should live up to their obligation to prevent rape and other forms of coercion that thrive in packed environments.

"One of the most important measures to prevent HIV transmission would be the reduction of overcrowding," since it leads to violence and conditions that are conducive to the spread of the virus, he added.

Nowak said that, although reliable figures are hard to come by, the prevalence of HIV in prisons is generally much higher than in a country's wider population.

In Ukraine, for example, the prevalence of HIV in prison is at least 10 times that of the overall population, he said.

Dmytro Shermebey of the All-Ukrainian Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS - who was diagnosed with HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis after spending nine years in a Ukrainian jail - stressed that inmates have a right to both treatment and protection from the disease.

"They have the right because they are human," Shermebey said.

While about 10 million people are incarcerated every year, some 30 million enter and leave prisons annually - making it a public health problem for society, according to Nowak.

"Prison health is public health," he said.

Prisoners of the NAACP: The Untapped Resource

Got turned onto this by Charlie through the national CURE list-serve, or I wouldn't even have known there were prison branches of the NAACP. Not a lot makes me weep that isn't tragic - this did. I just developed a whole new level of respect for the organization. Congratulations to the prisoners of Branch 4003 of the NAACP - and thank you. Your persistence has no doubt opened the door to new possibilities for others.

NAACP's prison branch in Cameron gets its wish to host conventioneers

On Saturday, 20-some NAACP convention-goers walked through the metal detectors at the maximum security prison in Cameron, Missouri, to participate in a historic event. After years of planning and pleading, prisoners with the NAACP Branch #4003 at the Crossroads Correctional Facility were granted permission to host a seminar at the prison as part of the civil rights group's 101st convention in Kansas City.

Among the attendees: Effie Jones Bowers, a black student who desegregated Hall High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. "She has a thousand-watt smile," says Jon Marc Taylor, a Crossroads inmate and Branch #4003's convention and resolutions chairman.

NAACP Xroads.jpg
The banner reads, "Prison Branches: 'The Untapped Resource?'"

The event "went better than we had ever hoped for," Taylor tells The Pitch. "It was a historic, tremendous program."

Conventioneers showed up at the prison around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and were treated to a catered lunch between discussion sessions. Topics included the disproportionate number of African-American men incarcerated in U.S. prisons and the challenges that felons face when they're released back into society. When the seminar ended at 3:15 p.m., Taylor says, "The guests didn't want to leave. We almost literally had to push 'em out the door."

Because of space restrictions, only 28 of the 60-some NAACP prison branch members took part in Saturday's events. Factors like seniority in the group helped determine which inmates attended.

Other attendees included Paula Skillicorn, widow of Dennis Skillicorn, a death row inmate who was executed in May 2009; Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative; the Rev. Elston McCowan, the Missouri NAACP's prison committee chairman; and Niaz Kasravi, the NAACP's national senior program manager for law enforcement accountability.

Taylor expressed gratitude to the leadership of the NAACP and to Larry Denney, Warden at the Crossroads prison, for allowing the session to take place. "We are pleasantly surprised by the level of cooperation and support we've received, and we really hope this is a great example of where we can go forward in the future with programs," Taylor says.

Where there is Darkness, Light....

This is stunning. In a time and place where we've come to expect the worst from our public servants, Mr. Romley seems to be emerging as a man who is willing to put his job - serving the people - before his career. Unfortunately, that's something of a miracle here.

I can think of a few people who could learn something from this, beginning with the governor herself. As some of you may know, she's left a man she knows to be innocent, William Macumber, to die in a prison cell.

I can also think of a few more innocent souls whose nightmares have yet to end.
Courtney Bisbee is one. Andrew Thomas buried the evidence that will exonerate her. God willing, Mr. Romley will have the political courage to set someone free again. It's one thing to correct an injustice done on the watch of another, however. It's something else altogether to admit and fix the ones we own.

Mr. Romley has a long history here; I hope he's willing to take responsibility for that as well. If so, even people like me might vote for him then. If not, we may just give up believing there's enough difference between any of them to bother voting any more at all. For now, however, we're grateful for this ray of light in the darkness that envelops the wrongly convicted, and for the hope that it brings to their loved ones.

Blessings to you, Lisa Randall: welcome to the rest of your life. May you be forever free.


Charges Dropped, Nightmare Ends for Peoria Woman

KSAZ Fox News

Updated: Thursday, 22 Jul 2010, 7:22 PM MDT
Published : Thursday, 22 Jul 2010, 7:22 PM MDT

PHOENIX - A beloved babysitter for nearly three decades found herself charged with murder in the death of a baby under her care. But now, a prosecutor has dismissed those charges.

"I can finally breathe. It's been a long 3 and a half years of hell," said Randall as she came out of a courthouse Thursday. Her ankle monitoring bracelet will finally come off.

In 2007, Lisa Randall's odyssey began as she faced the death penalty when 4-month-old Dillon died while in Randall's Peoria home in day care.

A medical examiner has since ruled the 4-month-old boy's death as undetermined, but Randall's attorney, David Cantor, says the child died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (S.I.D.S.)

"Lisa was the victim of a witch hunt," said Cantor. "She had a police department with a detective who did his first homicide investigation, and his last, he didn't know what he was doing. And the medical examiners based everything on the information given to them from the detective, which was faulty."

The detective had said the baby suffered blunt force trauma, but when there was an autopsy, no skull fractures were found.

"Rick Romley, once he took over and Andrew Thomas was out, we finally had a voice of reason. They put it to an incidents review committee and they voted 8-0 and said this case needs to be dismissed in the interest of justice."

All charges were dropped and a court tossed out the case. Randall may decide to file a civil lawsuit against the Peoria Police Department and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

This is the first prosecutor-initiated dismissal of a capital murder case in at least 10 years in Maricopa County.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Scott Watch: Mother and Child Reunions

An update from Sis Marpessa on the Scott Sisters. There's something about love across generations that makes Hell hurt a little less. Blessings to Mrs. Rasco from Arizona - it's going a little nuts in the streets here, but we're still with you all. For everyone else, let's get on all this before Monday - there are three concrete things listed that we can do right now to help.

Actually, skip the part below and head on over to the Free The Scott Sisters' blog instead - there's an awesome, soulful tune that comes up with the current page (hit the player to the left if it doesn't start automatically). Listen to it as you read this update there, buy a t-shirt if you can, and put your brain to work again on how we're going to get the State of Mississippi to free these women (and keep Jamie alive in the process).

Finally, if anyone out there is in or near Chicago in a couple of weeks we could use a hand - and a few good signs. I'm Peggy, and I'm posting this shout out all over the country - please contact us if you might be in a position to do an action there. My email is

Enjoy the reunion...


Greetings all,

Mrs. Rasco just returned from visiting with Jamie and Gladys and wanted everyone to have an update right away. Jamie no longer has evidence of infection and the boils that were on her body have cleared up. She is, however, still very weak and exhausted from her dialysis and at times during the visit was speaking while her eyes were closed. She told her mother that she wants and needs a kidney transplant.

Thanks to you supporters, Mrs. Rasco was able to get in to visit Gladys!

Mrs. Rasco said that Gladys was so happy to see her that she picked her up off of the ground and kissed her, to the delight of everyone in the visiting room! It was truly a beautiful moment. Gladys' daughter, Courtney, was at first denied due to a claim that she was not on the visiting list. Thanks to the efforts of Sondra Humphrey, Director of MS CURE, Courtney was able to finally visit her mother the following day for one hour. Mrs. Rasco is very, very grateful for her

The Scott Sisters are still in need of pro bono legal representation and we are asking for an individual, group or class to please help develop ideas for these women's legal defense. This is incredibly their 16th year on this outrageous charge, the injury just grows each and every day that their lives are hijacked in that place and their children and grandchildren suffer without them.

1. Please purchase t-shirts to help with fund raising efforts!! We need folks to wear them to help raise awareness as we need everyone to begin talking about this case so that no one can say that they have not heard about it.

Visit and get yours today!

2. Additionally, both women said that they have practically exhausted their commissary funds and anyone who wishes to donate to the women directly may send donations via , register for Access Corrections and use each of their name and number to make your donation.

Jamie is #19197 and Gladys is #19142.

3. Ask Color of Change to feature the Scott Sisters at, and also copy and paste in an e-mail to:

Thank you! More updates will come soon!


Please continue to advocate on behalf of Jamie and Gladys Scott, their children and families need for them to return home alive, the time is NOW!

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
HOTLINE: 202-353-1555
PHONE: 202-514-2000
202-307-6777 fax

Christopher Epps
723 North President Street
Jackson, MS 39202

Governor Haley Barbour
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150
Fax: 601-359-3741
(If you reach VM leave msgs, faxes, and please send letters)

SB 1070: B.A.N. Info Sessions (Southern AZ)

Infórmate, Prepárate, e Únete!
Reminder: Upcoming Information Sessions
Border Action Network
(Acción Fronteriza)
(Busca la segunda parte en Español)


- At 6 PM tomorrow (Friday, July 23rd) an immigration attorney from Tucson, Mo Goldman, will speak about the U.S immigration process and answer relevant questions. (Presentation in English with Spanish translation)

- On Saturday, July 31st, at 6:00 PM., B.A.N. member Griselda Moya-Flores will offer a class on basic traffic laws. (Presentation in Spanish with English translation)

Both of these events will take place at the B.A.N. headquarter office at 842 S. 6th Ave (approximately the intersection of 6th Ave. and 19th St.)


- At 10 AM on Saturday, July 24th, Immigration Attorney Mo Goldman will speak about the U.S. immigration process and answer relevant questions. This event will take place at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 749 E. 11th (intersects at D Ave). (Presentation in English with Spanish Translation)

- On Saturday, July 31st, B.A.N. Policy Director Jaime Farrant will present an SB1070 update. Details to come soon. (Presentation in Spanish)


- At 5:30 PM on Wednesday, July 28th, there will be an immigration Q&A with attorney Luis Parra. Location information to come soon. (Presentation in Spanish)

Thank you again for your support and we hope you can attend and Inform Yourself, Prepare Yourself, and Unite!

With gratitude,

Border Action Network Staff

Aviso : Sesiones Informativos


- Este viernes, 23 de Julio, a las 6:00 de la tarde, abogado de Tucson, Mo Goldman, va a hablar y contestar preguntas sobre el proceso de inmigración en los EEUU. (Presentación en inglés con traducción en español)

- Sábado, 31 de Julio, a las 6 de la tarde, un miembro de nuestra organización, Griselda Moya-Flores va a ofrecer una clase sobre las leyes de tránsito y manejo. (Presentación en español con traducción en inglés)

Los dos de estos eventos van a tener lugar en nuestra oficina en 842 S. 6ta Ave. (la esquina de Ave 6ta y 19th St.) en Tucson, AZ. 


- Este sábado, 24 de julio, a las 10 de la mañana, abogado de inmigración Mo Goldman va a hablar y contestar preguntas sobre el proceso de inmigración en los EEUU. Este evento va ser en St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 739 E. 11th Ave. (cruce con D Ave). (Presentación en inglés con traducción en español)

- Sábado, el 31 de julio, director político de B.A.N. Jaime Farrant presentará las noticias más recientes de SB1070. Tendremos más detalles muy pronto. (Presentación en español)


- A las 5:30 por la tarde, habrá una sesión de preguntas y respuestas con abogado Luis Parra. Tendremos información del lugar muy pronto. (Presentación en español)

Muchísimas gracias otra vez por su apoyo, y esperamos que puedan asistir y Infórmate, Prepárate, e Únete!

Con agradecimiento,

Acción Fronteriza

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Don't Buy! Don't Work! Don't Comply!

(The embedded image is not from No More Deaths. It is my editorial for the evening. - Peg)

Forward widely!
(This is a mass conspiracy, folks!)

------------A Calendar of Resistance, from No More Deaths--------------


below are the many ways you can participate in opposing SB1070. As most of you already know, the law is to take effect on Thursday, July 29th. There are lots of things happening in Phoenix over the next week or so. Please forward this e-mail to everyone you know, get out, get involved, voice your outrage!

Represent NMD...wear your NMD t-shirts to these actions!

1. Wednesday, July 21: Training on Non-Violence and Civil Disobedience - 6:00pm

LOCATION: Phoenix Quaker Meeting House (1702 E. Glendale, 17th Street and Glendale)

If you are planning to participate in the National Day of Non-Compliance on the 29th and want to know about the realities of CD, you should come to this training! Get the facts, know your rights, be trained.

2. Thursday, July 22: Injuncion Hearing Against SB1070 - 9:00am

LOCATION: Sandra Day O'Conner Courthouse (401 W. Washington)

This is the day that many of the suits against the Law are being heard. Come to protest outside the courthouse all morning! Bring signs, sunscreen and water!

3. Saturday, July 24: Policing the Police Training - 2-4:00pm

LOCATION: Unlimited Potential (6520 S. Central Ave, three blocks south of Southern)

Sheriff Arpaio has promised to hold another racial profiling sweep on July 29th and/or 30th, as soon as SB 1070 goes into effect. We need to have dozens of volunteers out on the street to monitor and document the activities of the sheriff's deputies on those days. Attend one of these trainings and learn how to safely and legally observe the police during this sweep and in your own neighborhood.

4. Saturday, July 24: Diamondbacks Boycott and Protest - 4:30pm

LOCATION: Meet at Tonatierra (7th Street and McKinley)

Join Puente in thier ongoing boycott and protest of the Diamondbacks. Meet at Tonatierra to walk over to the stadium. Bring your signs!

5. Wednesday, July 28: Prayer Vigil - 6:30pm

LOCATION: at the Capital

There will be an interfaith prayer vigil at the Capital on the eve of the law taking effect. All are welcome!

6. Wednesday, July 28: Policing the Police Training - 7-9:00pm

LOCATION: Phoenix Quaker Meeting House (1702 E. Glendale, 17th Street and Glendale)
(in case you missed the one on July 24th)

7. Wednesday, July 28: La Comunidad Resiste Contra SB1070 - 7-11:30pm

LOCATION: Civic Space Park (424 N. Central Ave)

Join hundreds for a gathering and demonstration downtown!

Bring games, blankets, chairs, instruments, art supplies, friends!

Food and music will be provided!

8. EVENTS ON Thursday, July 29:

Day of Non-Compliance! Don't Buy! Don't Work! Don't Compy!

- Sunrise Interfaith Prayer Service - 6:30am

LOCATION: Trinity Cathedral (Central and Roosevelt)

- Procession to Federal Courthouse - 9:00am

Procession will begin at the Trinity Cathedral on Central and Roosevelt, right after the prayer service.

Actions, speakers, rally to be held at the Courthouse

- Gathering at Cesar Chavez Plaza (ALL DAY)

Folks will be gathering between the Courthouse and Cesar Chavez Plaza (across from the courthouse) all day. Come out with your signs, bring water, and sunscreen!

Add your name to the fight: Repeal SB 1070

Greetings NMD volunteers!

We need your help!

NMD-Phoenix is working with the Repeal Coalition to begin a yard sign campaign opposing SB 1070.

Specifically, we're going to target businesses that will publicly oppose 1070 and place the yard signs in their windows.

We will give/sell yard signs to individuals to place in their yard. Also, churches will take them and give to their members.

Here is where we need NMD volunteers to help:

1. Come to an organizing meeting on Friday night to discuss the logistics of campaign.
- We will meet at my house (Laura's house) located at 1633 E. Willetta Street
- Meet at 5:00pm

2. Volunteers are needed on Saturday morning!
- We will meet at 9:00am to visit businesses and ask for their support, give yard signs, have them sign petition/pledge.
- we will meet at Tonatierra to distribute signs and give you locations to visit

We really need everyone's help in getting the community involved.

If you cannot attend either meeting, but can visit a business, or know of a church that will take the yard signs and display them, let me know!

We've ordered 100 signs to distribute across the valley.

Call me to pick up signs ($3 donation)

HELP! Please let us know in what capacity you can help.


Laura Ilardo
No More Deaths-Phoenix

Phoenix New Times dissed by Sheriff Joe.

In my book, that means they're doing something right, and everyone else is colluding.


‘Section 1070′ tent city expansion to unveil July 21

Capitol Times
July 20th, 2010

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced July 20 that he will be opening a new section of his tent city jail, just for those convicted under Arizona’s new immigration law. The new section of the outdoor jail will be called “section 1070,” according to a Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman.

The new section will be arranged inside the existing tent city area in south Phoenix, since expanding the boundaries of tent city would require approval from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, with which the sheriff has had high-profile public fights involving budget issues.

But the board of supervisors told the Arizona Capitol Times before Arpaio’s announcement that any changes to tent city would need to meet safety and liability requirements, and that despite his assertion that he gets the final say on what happens at his jail, the board needs to provide the proper checks on his practices.

Arpaio will hold a press conference to formally announce and display his tent city addition at 3 p.m. July 21. The announcement coincides with the 17-year anniversary of the opening of tent city. The sheriff’s office will be giving “hot chocolate cake” to all the inmates to celebrate the anniversary. A spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office said all media except the Phoenix New Times is welcome.

Race, Space and the Production of Inequality.

This is a great new course coming open at ASU - I've heard that the professor, Wendy Cheng, is dynamite, and it comes recommended by HLT Quan, one of the best out there. She take this stuff very seriously and doesn't give out endorsements lightly.

Just from the brief description provided, it looks like Cheng does a pretty sophisticated analysis of the topic. What I find most interesting are her plans to explore how national boundaries/borders are erected and what structures (including racism) reinforce them.
So, if I can get ASU to let me back for the fall, I'm going to try to enroll myself - I only need one more upper level Justice Studies class to graduate.

For those of you lucky enough to do so, sign up soon - I think classes are less than three weeks away now.


JUS 394*: Race, Space and the Production of Inequality (LN 75829)
Tue/Thurs 3:00 – 4:15 pm
Instructor: Prof. Wendy Cheng

This course is an introduction to critical scholarship on race and space in the United States.
We will (re)consider definitions of race and racism, and how the intertwining of race and differential access to space has shaped patterns of power and inequality
throughout the history of the U.S.

We pay special attention to the making and maintenance of national boundaries;
regional histories; spatial typologies within metropolitan areas; and the differential racialization of Asian Americans, Latinas/os, African Americans, and Native Americans.
Readings and discussion are organized in part around key spatial typologies
such as border, ghetto, suburb, and prison.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Policing the Police: Next week's COPWATCH training

Hey all: here's the info for the training on the 28th, before the racial-profiling activities planned by Arpaio and the MCSO once SB 1070 goes into effect. We really need people to turn out for the trainings so you can come on patrol on the 30th. If you can't make it this weekend, head out to this one next week. It's a good training with great people and it's a way to really make a difference. Showing up with your own video camera is a bonus, but you don't have to be out there shooting any deputies - you just need to be diplomatic and take good notes.

After you're done with the training, come join us at Civic Space Park (424 N. Central Ave, where the New Fair Trade Cafe is) - we'll be having a rally to gear up for the 29th.

See you out there.

Phoenix Copwatch

If you can't be there, or if you're already trained, please share this with anyone who might possibly be interested! We need dozens of volunteers for that day.


Phoenix Friends Meeting House
(Also the locale for Fiddler's Dream Coffee House)
1702 E Glendale Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85020


Wednesday, July 28th

PHX COPWATCH Training coming up

This training will be on a Saturday afternoon to accommodate folks who couldn't make the weekday trainings. Please spread this far and wide. And if you can't make this one, there will still be one on July 28th.


Unlimited Potential
6520 S Central
Phoenix, Arizona 85040


Saturday, July 24th

Africa Today with Marilyn Buck

What an amazing woman. Click on the KPFA icon for the interview (mp3 file). There's also an interview with her attorney, Jill Soffiyah Elijah (a pretty incredible woman herself) at the website for the Friends of Marilyn Buck.

After all that, you should head over to kerspledebeb to sample the CD of her poetry from prison, Wild Poppies. She reads a handful herself, but most are read by other people from around the world who were themselves political prisoners. My favorites are probably "Thirteen Springs" and one that isn't with the samples, "To Vieques, in Solidarity" (which is read in both English and Spanish - the Spanish version is the most beautiful).

Finally, I'm so sure that you'll want to buy a copy for yourself - and a couple to have on hand as Christmas gifts - that I'm giving you that link too. Enjoy.

Fight HIV and HEP C with Sentencing Reform.

This is going down this week, folks. Wherever you are in the country, please call or e-mail your congressman today, and specify both HIV and HEP C as concerns. This action comes in from the Sentencing Project via our friends at UNSHACKLE.



This week, people in the worldwide fight against HIV/AIDS are gathering in Vienna for the International AIDS Conference. But there's important action we can take right here at home.

Members of the CHAMP Network and Project UNSHACKLE know that mass imprisonment is fueling the spread of HIV in this country. Obama's new National HIV/AIDS Strategy also notes the links between imprisonment and HIV:

Although the available data suggests that relatively few infections occur in prison settings, there is evidence that some people with HIV who had received medical care while incarcerated have difficulty accessing HIV medications upon release-affecting their health and potentially increasing the likelihood that they will transmit HIV. High rates of incarceration within certain communities can also be destabilizing. When large numbers of men are incarcerated, the gender imbalance in the communities they leave behind can fuel HIV transmissions by increasing the likelihood that the remaining men will have multiple, concurrent relationships with female sex partners. This, in turn, increases the likelihood that a single male would transmit HIV to multiple female partners.

CHAMP and Project UNSHACKLE believe that sentencing reform - meaning that less people are locked up, and for shorter periods - is a crucial part of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Please join us in responding to this action alert from the Sentencing Project (below), calling on Congress to reform sentencing policies as a part of the fight against HIV/AIDS. When you make your calls, please be sure to say that the new National HIV/AIDS Strategy says that "High rates of incarceration within certain communities can also be destabilizing... and can fuel HIV transmissions":

Tell Congress To Vote Yes for Crack Cocaine Sentencing Reform

This week, the House of Representatives may vote on legislation, recently passed by the Senate, to reduce the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine to 18 to 1. The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, S. 1789, would also eliminate the simple possession mandatory minimum (5 years for 5 grams without intent to distribute), limit the excessive penalties served by people convicted of low-level crack cocaine offenses, and increase penalties for high-level traffickers. The U.S. Sentencing Commission estimates the changes could reduce the federal prison population by 3,800 over 10 years.

Champions for sentencing fairness are urged to contact their representative in the House today to ask them to vote yes for the Fair Sentencing Act. Call the U.S. Capitol Switch Board at 202-224-3121 and ask for your representative. They will patch you through to the correct office.

Once you reach your representative, tell them you support the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, S. 1789 because:

• The current 100 to 1 cocaine sentencing disparity is unfair. The five-year penalty for possessing as little as five grams of crack cocaine is the same for selling 500 grams of powder cocaine. The law imposes excessive prison sentences for low-level crack cocaine offenses that often exceed penalties for offenses involving powder cocaine trafficking.
• The current 100 to 1 cocaine sentencing disparity exacerbates racial disparity in federal prisons. Over 80% of those serving time for a crack cocaine offense are African American, despite the fact that two-thirds of users are white or Hispanic.
• The Fair Sentencing Act, S. 1789, is an historic opportunity to advance justice and restore faith in the criminal justice system.
• The Fair Sentencing Act will also save taxpayers money. Replacing the irrational 100:1 ratio with a new 18:1 ratio will save $42 million over five years, according to Congressional Budget Office.

When you have completed your call to your representative, please email and say how it went. Also, please consider forwarding this email to a friend.

Thank you for joining the effort to reduce the crack cocaine sentencing disparity. A broad consensus among criminal justice experts, law enforcement organizations, and policymakers has emerged that concludes the current 100 to 1 disparity cannot be justified. Organizations endorsing reform include: the NAACP; Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; American Bar Association, American Civil Liberties Union; the National District Attorneys Association; and the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association.

“The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.”
- Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Lessons in liberation: ACTing UP.

From the UNSHACKLE list-serve, well worth joining. This comes off of the AIDS and Social Justice blog at Wordpress. It's high time we start acting up, too, in our fight for prisoners affected by Hep C...


Che Gossett on AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya’s legacy and the intersections between all movements for liberation

At Movements For Change, an event in honor of Kiyoshi Kuromiya on June 10th in Philadelphia, student activist Che Gossett incited a room of sleep-deprived AIDS activists to shouts and tears, reminding us why we are doing this work and inspiring us toward new ways of doing it. The event was hosted by longtime activist Chris Bartlett at the Church of St. Luke and The Epiphany, where ACT UP Philadelphia meets each Monday night at 6pm, and strategized for the future while remembering Kiyoshi, a beloved member of ACT UP who died 10 years ago.

“Kiyoshi believed in intersectionality long before that was a term people used,” Chris said in his opening remarks. “He brought what he learned from the Civil Rights, Gay Liberation and other movements to all of the work he did, and wherever people struggled for human rights and dignity, he was there.”

Che generously shared the text of their talk with us here. Enjoy!

“The white middle-class outlook of the earlier [homophile] groups, which thought that everything in America would be fine if people only treated homosexuals better, wasn’t what we were all about…We wanted to stand with the poor, with women, with people of color, with the antiwar people, to bring the whole corrupt thing down.”[1] Kiyoshi Kuromiya

This quote, especially the call to stand with the poor, women, people of color, anti-war people and for a radical alternative is what, in my understanding, animated Kiyoshi’s life. To me, it represents the core of his legacy and stands as an imperative for discussions of the future.

My talk is supposed to be about the future of gay rights, but how do we talk about a future that, as defined by homo-normative groups and political formations like the HRC [Human Rights Campaign], neither centers nor sometimes even includes those categories Kiyoshi mentions — women (trans and non trans), the poor and people of color? How can we hold a mirror up to a future in which we are not reflected? How is it that we, as queer and transgender people of color are evacuated and disappeared from a future we helped to create?

The Lawrence v. Texas legal decision that struck down sodomy laws has been heralded by gay rights groups, yet it is haunted by the racial violence of its past — the legal basis for the police invasion of Lawrence’s apartment was not “consensual sodomy,” but a false report of a weapons disturbance — the Harris County police dispatcher was called and told, “There’s a nigger going crazy with a gun.”[2] How is it that this racialized past now exists as a sign of a post-racial queer future? In which gay rights are the new civil rights, and the civil rights battles of the 60s have been won? How did we move from gay and trans liberation to queer neoliberalism? From gay anti-capitalism to the depoliticized neoliberal gay market niche? How did we get from the gay anti-imperialism of the Gay Liberation Front, the Philadelphia chapter of which Kiyoshi and Basil O’Brien created in May of 1970[3], to homonationalism — the marriage and military rhetoric — of today? Why, instead of fighting US imperialism, and standing in solidarity with anti-occupation struggles and against political repression, such as the recent Israeli military attack on the Gaza aid flotillas — are queers rushing to join wars rather than protest police and state violence?

In light of this political context, it’s all the more imperative that Kiyoshi’s legacy and the force of the quote be held out as a beacon with which to guide our collective, empowered and self-determined queer and transgender liberationist and feminist futures.

Kiyoshi was born in prison — an internment camp — in 1943, and he never stopped trying to “get free.” For most queer and transgender people of color, prison and police are a defining feature of reality. For many low income, no-income and houseless, queer and trans people of color, the distance between prisons and pride parades is not a chasm but instead, overlapping terrain. This is the terrain upon which prisoner justice, trans justice and abolitionist organizations — Institute for Community Justice, Transforming Justice, Critical Resistance, Hearts on a Wire and Prison Health News — operate in struggle. This is the political terrain, the ground on which ACT UP Philadelphia launched a campaign to decriminalize condoms in Philly jails, took over the BETAK nursing home so that people living with AIDS could have residential space, started an extra-legal needle exchange, and it’s the ground where ACT UP continues their fight against the criminalization and stigmatization of HIV/AIDS. This ground — St. Luke’s Church, is sacred ground, not in a religious sense, but in an activist sense, in a loss and mourning sense, in a memory sense and in a strength and hope sense.

The criminalization of HIV/AIDS was not limited to Reagan’s neoliberal regime, where the President’s Commission on HIV/AIDS funded only those states with criminal disclosure laws, but is happening presently, through the prosecution of black gay men as pathogenic and bio-terroristic threats, ranging from Gregory Smith to Daniel Allen. In November of 2009, Daniel Allen, a black gay Michigan resident, was charged with “bio-terrorism” for the “use of a harmful biological device,” his own (non-HIV-transmissible) saliva.[4] Segregation of incarcerated HIV positive people continues today, legally, in the South in states such as Alabama — the same state that is sending incarcerated people to clean up the BP oil spill[5] — and in Mississippi.[6] The stigmatization of HIV positive incarcerated people, many queer and transgender and of color, is not a new feature of the carceral apparatus, but only a current instance of a long and sordid historical pattern that dates back not only to 1974 when lesbians and gays (and those presumed to be) incarcerated in Florida’s Polk County Jail were segregated from the general population and made to wear pink bracelets, but also to the violence of the Holocaust and the Nazi pink triangle.[7] Reagan’s endorsement of HIV disclosure penalization statutes coincided with his allegiance to the continuing racialized “War on Drugs,” which emerged during the Nixon administration and extended throughout the Reagan and later Clinton presidency as where we get the “Three Strikes” law. The growth of the prison industrial complex, the assemblage of laws criminalizing HIV and addiction, all overlapped with and was underpinned by neoliberal economic policy in the 1980s and 90s.

Yet in the 70s, radical queer organizations organized in prison while being supported on the outside. In 1977, the George Jackson Brigade at Walla Walla prison founded a group that condemned sexual violence against gays. At New Jersey’s Rahway State Prison, the “Gayworld Organization” was formed, and the “Self-Help Alliance Group” (SHAG) was formed at Angola prison in 1984.[8]

This history of this overlapping and cross-movement participation traces back to the Black Panthers’ Revolutionary Peoples’ Convention held at Temple University in 1970. The convention represented a convergence of movements, for gay liberation, women’s liberation and third world and people of color liberation, that are usually seen as separate. A week before the convention, Philadelphia police, led by commissioner Frank Rizzo, raided the offices of the Black Panther Party and publicly forced several Panthers to strip naked at gunpoint, to be photographed by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Imagine the big Black Panthers with their pants down”[9] Rizzo was quoted as saying — and to me, what Roland Barthes calls the “punctum”[10] of the photograph, or the part that pierces, is that in it, and in their act of police violence, the psychic humiliation of slavery and the auction block resurfaces in the image of the stripped black body.

Yet even in the face of this repression, 10,000 to 15,000 people attended the convention. Radical queer organizations from across the nation, inspired by Huey P. Newton’s August 21st “Letter to the Revolutionary Brothers and Sisters about the Women’s and Gay Liberation Movement,” published in the Black Panther newspaper, attended. Ortez Alderson, a gay black man and leader in the Chicago Gay Liberation Front and Third World Gay Revolutionaries drafted the “Working Paper for the Revolutionary People’s Constitutional Convention,” which outlined a radical anti-racist and anti-homophobic philosophy. Kiyoshi Kuromiya spoke at Temple University’s McGonigle Hall representing the “Male Homosexual Workshop.”[11] Afeni Shakur spoke to a workshop run by the Radical Lesbians. Trans justice activist Sylvia Rivera participated and met with Huey P. Newton. Inspired by gay liberationist activism, two London School of Economics students who attended and likely saw Kiyoshi speak, went back to London and started their own Gay Liberation Front. (I’m currently researching overlap and tension between the London GLF and the British Black Panthers — one member was the radical black feminist and squatter activist Olive Morris). Following the People’s Convention, Ortez Alderson was arrested for breaking into an Illinois draft board and was incarcerated for a year, first at Peoria County Jail for three months, and then he was transferred to a prison in Ashland County, Kentucky. While imprisoned in Kentucky, Alderson and three other queer men of color attempted to form a gay liberation chapter. In a 1972 interview with Motive Magazine titled “On Being Black, Gay and In Prison: There is No Humanity,” Alderson recounted his experience and activism inside:

What I’m trying to relate is the experience of how it was for me as a black and as a gay man to be within the jail system of America…The confrontation came on Gay Pride Day, June 28th, because we wanted to have a Gay Day celebration in prison. The prison officials said we could not have this celebration. At this point, we got up a petition attacking the institution’s discrimination against homosexuals. Craig, Green, Davis and myself were immediately arrested by the goon squad and put in the hole..[12]

Alderson would go on to become a central figure in both NYC[13] and Chicago ACT UP chapters.

I think one crucial dimension of the struggle to disrupt and heal from the historical trauma and violence of COINTELPRO, the FBI war on the black liberation movement — the MOVE bombing of 1985 and police raids targeting Revolutionary Action Movement in the 60s — and the government surveillance and infiltration of national queer organizations such as the Gay Activist Alliance, Gay Liberation Front and more recently ACT UP Philadelphia, the dismantling of welfare and the rise of the prison industrial complex, the criminalization of HIV/AIDS, institutionalized transphobia, racism, sexism — is to, as the movie and the principle “Sankofa,” suggests — “go back and fetch it” — to remember our history, our struggle, our survival, our fierce and fabulous power. Sankofa is an Akan word, often pictured as a bird with its head stretched backwards, and symbolizes a return to the past as a way to be self-determined and whole in the future. What happens when your past has been denied, suppressed and disappeared in history books and in academic institutions by those who operate as what Gramsci called “experts in legitimation”? Kiyoshi’s legacy and the intersectional nature of his involvement in civil rights, black power and queer liberation movements is a direct refutation of that violence.

Cornel West often talks about the etymology of the word human, and the Latin word “humando,” which means “burying.”[14] Sitting amongst Kiyoshi’s life work collected in over 50 boxes in the William Way Center, I felt an overwhelming combination of humanity and humility — my own humanity and humility in the face of Kiyoshi’s life work, and the force of his enduring humanity and courageous humility. That is what I feel now in this room of people here to honor him, it’s what I feel in the sense of collective possibility that emerges when community members come together for radical change. Sitting in that room, surround by artifacts — symbols and representations, Kiyoshi’s pictures and files — his presence was substantive, his historical importance for queer and trans people of color’s history, is indelible, striking and symbolic — just like the lighting bolt and clap of thunder that cut through the sky when he passed.[15] What humanity and what humility! I am proud to say how much he meant to me, even though I never physically met him. His presence is as real as ever, and I want to personally thank him for all of his untiring work, to thank those here who knew him in life and cared for him towards the time of his death, to thank those who carry on Kiyoshi’s legacy, to thank those who fight to open up spaces and horizons of radical futurity we can all be a part of.

[1] Highleyman, L. (2007, May 4). “Who Was Kiyoshi Kuromiya?”. Seattle Gay News . Seattle, Washington, United States of America., p. 30

[2] Eng, D. L. (2010). The Feeling of Kinship: Queer Liberalism and the Racialization of Intimacy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press., p. 36

[3] Stein, M. (2004). City of Brotherly and Sisterly Loves. Philadelphia: Temple University Press., p.316

[4] Heywood, T. A. (2009, November 17). “HIV-as-terrorism case could make legal waves”. The Michigan Messenger .

[5] Ferrara, D. (2010, May 29). Prisoners hired in oil relief efforts, trained for hazardous materials work. Retrieved June 9, 2010, from

[6] ACLU. (2010). Sentenced to Stigma. Washington, DC: ACLU., p.10

[7] Welch, M. (2005). Ironies of Imprisonment. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE., p. 65

[8] Kunzel, R. (2008). Criminal Intimacy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press., p. 122

[9] Hevesi, D. (1991, July 17). Frank Rizzo of Philadelphia Dies at 70; A ‘Hero’ and ‘Villain’. The New York Times , pp. pgs. 1-2.

[10] Barthes, R. (1980). Camera Lucida. New York City: Hill and Wang., p. 26

[11] Teal, D. (1995). The Gay Militants/How Gay Liberation Began in America, 1969-1971. New York City: St. Martin’s Press., p. 171

[12] Alderson, O. (1972). “On Being Black and Gay In Prison: There is No Humanity”. Motive Magazine.

[13] Thanks to Mark Harrington for informing me of Ortez Alderson’s participation in ACT UP NYC on June 10th at the “Remembering Kiyoshi Kuromiya” gathering at St. Luke’s Church in Philadelphia PA.

[14] West, C. (2000). The Cornel West Reader. New York City: Basic Books., p. 551

[15] Sosa, A. (2010, June 11). Remembering Kiyoshi Kuromiya, Kiyoshi Video. (M. Seaman, Producer, & Mighty Head Entertainment/Philadelphia Fight) Retrieved June 12, 2010, from Philadelphia FIGHT:

JT Ready's Fascist, Racist Militia

This is one of those twisted people who like to hear about migrants dying in the desert...He's a supporter of Pearce, Thomas and Arpaio, of course.


Man with neo-Nazi ties leading patrols in Ariz.

by Michelle Price - Jul. 17, 2010 09:35 AM
Associated Press

Printed in AZ Republic

Minutemen groups, a surge in Border Patrol agents, and a tough new immigration law aren't enough for a reputed neo-Nazi who's now leading a militia in the Arizona desert.

Jason "J.T." Ready is taking matters into his own hands, declaring war on "narco-terrorists" and keeping an eye out for illegal immigrants. So far, he says his patrols have only found a few border crossers who were given water and handed over to the Border Patrol. Once, they also found a decaying body in a wash, and alerted authorities.

But local law enforcement are nervous given that Ready's group is heavily armed and identifies with the National Socialist Movement, an organization that believes only non-Jewish, White heterosexuals should be American citizens and that everyone who isn't White should leave the country "peacefully or by force."

"We're not going to sit around and wait for the government anymore," Ready said. "This is what our founding fathers did."

An escalation of civilian border watches have taken root in Arizona in recent years, including the Minutemen movement. Various groups patrol the desert on foot, horseback and in airplanes and report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol, and generally, they have not caused problems for law enforcement.

But Ready, a 37-year-old ex-Marine, is different. He and his friends are outfitted with military fatigues, body armor and gas masks, and carry assault rifles. Ready takes offense at the term "neo-Nazi," but admits he identifies with the National Socialist Movement.

"These are explicit Nazis," said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project. "These are people who wear swastikas on their sleeves."

Ready is a reflection of the anger over illegal immigration in Arizona. Gov. Jan Brewer signed a controversial new immigration law in April, which requires police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers have a reasonable suspicion that the person is in the country illegally.

But Brewer hasn't done enough, Ready said, and he's not satisfied with President Barack Obama's decision to beef up security at the border.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said there haven't been any incidents with the group as they patrol his jurisdiction, which includes several busy immigrant smuggling corridors. But Babeu is concerned because an untrained group acting without the authority of the law could cause "extreme problems," and put themselves and others in danger.

"I'm not inviting them. And in fact, I'd rather they not come," Babeu said. "Especially those who espouse hatred or bigotry such as his."

Law enforcement officials said patrols like Ready's could undercut the work of the thousands of officers on duty every day across the border, especially if they try to enforce the law themselves in carrying out vigilante justice.

Ready said his group has been patrolling in the desert about 50 miles south of Phoenix, in an area where a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy reported he was shot by drug smugglers in April.

Bureau of Land Management rangers met Ready's group during one patrol, and they weren't violating any laws or looking for a confrontation, said spokesman Dennis Godfrey.

The patrols have been occurring on public land, and militia members have no real restrictions on their weaponry because of Arizona's loose gun laws.

The militia is an outgrowth of border watch groups that have been part of the immigration debate in Arizona. Patrols in the Arizona desert by Minutemen organizations brought national attention to illegal immigration in 2004 and 2005.

Such groups continue to operate in Arizona, and law enforcement officials generally don't take issue with them as long as they don't take matters into their own hands.

Border Patrol spokesman Omar Candelaria said the agency appreciates the extra eyes and ears but they would prefer actual law enforcement be left to professionals.

Former Minutemen leader Al Garza recently created the Patriot's Coalition, which uses scouts and search-and-rescue teams to alert the Border Patrol and provide first aid to illegal immigrants.

Depending on the availability of volunteers and the scouts' evidence of border crossers, patrols can vary from several times a week to once a month, Garza said. The operation is about 500 people, and includes a neighborhood watch program, legislative advisers and a horseback patrol, he said.

Technology, rather than manpower, is the focus of Glenn Spencer's American Border Patrol. The group is based at his ranch near the border. The five-man operation flies three small airplanes to ensure that the Border Patrol is present and visible along the international line.

Spencer also uses Internet-controlled cameras and works with a group called Border Invasion Pics, which posts photos of people they suspect are crossing illegally.

"Sitting out there with a bunch of volunteers looking for people is generally a tremendous waste of people and time," Spencer said. "And it's also dangerous."

Ready said he's planning patrols throughout the summer.

"If they don't want my people out there, then there's an easy way to send us home: Secure the border," he said. "We'll put our guns back on the shelf, and that'll be the end of that."

Too Many Deaths.

It's so disturbing to know that there are actually people in this state who celebrate this kind of heartbreaking news...


Illegal border crossers are dying at record rates this month

Brady McCombs Arizona Daily Star | Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010

Since July 1, the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office has handled the bodies of 38 illegal border crossers, said Dr. Bruce Parks, chief medical examiner. That midmonth total puts July on pace to match or break the single-month record of 68 in July 2005.

"I never thought we would see that again," Parks said. "It's scary. Maybe the rain will slow these down."

Parks said his office has been picking up and examining between one and four bodies of illegal immigrants daily since the beginning of the month. Field agents were on their way to pick up four more bodies Thursday, he said. Most of the people are being found recently deceased.

The deadly month puts 2010 even further ahead of the pace from the past three years. From Jan. 1 to July 15, the office has handled 132 bodies of illegal border crossers, up from 93 at the same time last year and 102 in 2008.

It's been a deadly decade for illegal immigrants trying to cross through Arizona. The bodies of more than 1,750 men, women and children have been discovered since 2001 - about 175 a year.

The Pima County Medical Examiner's Office has handled about 1,600 of them.

The fact that the deaths continue at such high numbers despite widespread indications that fewer people are crossing the border has led many experts to conclude that illegal border crossers face a deadlier trek than ever across Arizona's desert.

Apprehensions in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector have decreased each of the past five years; remittances to Mexico have declined and anecdotal reports show the economic recession has slowed illegal immigration. Yet more people are dying than ever.

Border-county law enforcement, Mexican consular officials, Tohono O'odham tribal officials and humanitarian groups say the buildup of border fencing, technology and agents has caused illegal border crossers to walk longer distances in more treacherous terrain, increasing the likelihood that people will get hurt or fatigued and left behind to die.

The Border Patrol disagrees that it's pushing illegal immigrants into more hazardous terrain and points to its rescue efforts as evidence that its presence prevents deaths rather than causes them.

Contact reporter Brady McCombs at 573-4213 or