Tag Archive: Durham


drums!December 31st, 7:30pm at the jail in downtown Durham, 217 South Mangum Street

Friends, family, and comrades,

For several years now, thousands of people have gathered on New Year’s Eve at jails and prisons around the world to show our solidarity with the struggles of those inside and our hatred for prisons and the world that creates them, and to dedicate the following year to abolishing this modern-day plantation system. (more…)

New Blog Seeks To Amplify The Voices Of Durham Prisoners

durhamAmplify Voices Inside is a new blog put out by a group of concerned individuals from Durham. The blog seeks to amplify the voices of Durham’s incarcerated population and their loved ones. The blog was started as a response to a letter sent by inmates inside the Durham County Jail protesting their conditions. The letter received poor media coverage, so the blog’s authors created this blog to help expose the abuse at Durham County Jail and be a resource for the incarcerated and their families.  They are seeking more stories from folks inside Durham Jail and their family and friends.

Durham jail inmates complain of unsanitary conditions

From Capitalist Media

DURHAM – Thirty-three inmates in the Durham County Jail have complained in a letter of unsanitary conditions, including food trays, and ask for “adequate supplies” to maintain proper hygiene.

The letter asks that the inmates “be free from undue harm by the bacterially hazardous food trays and drink dispensers. It is unconscionable to think that in our progressive humane society that ‘pretrial’ detainees should be treated with disdain, indifference, and such basic disrespect.” (more…)

Durham Joins “Occupy for Prisoners” National Day of Action

On February 20th, Durham joined dozens of other cities around the US as part of a national day of action against the prison-industrial complex. At 5:30 a little over 50 people gathered around in front of the Durham jail to express our love and solidarity with prison rebels everywhere.

People waved black flags, banged on drums and pots and pans, chanted, and held banners, while prisoners in orange jumpsuits filled the windows to look and wave. (more…)

SpiritHouse NC presents: Collective Sun- reshape the mo(u)rning

Friday, February 24th at The Hayti Heritage Center 804 Old Fayetteville Street  Durham NC, Doors Open At 6pm, Show starts at 7pm $10  Tickets available online here.

“Rebellious kisses wake we children of the sun dancing fire freedom blooming red.”

Collective Sun is an intergenerational body of work exploring the impact prison and policing has on our bodies, our families and our communities.

Part performance, part art exhibit, and part audio installation. Collective Sun shares stories of resilience and hope, and reminds us to love one another until we can all be whole.

Through Collective Sun, families of color gain a voice to proactively address the impact of the prison industrial complex, creating a platform where art and culture become the means for solution-oriented, civic engagement in local/regional political actions.

Durham Joins Noise Demos Against Prisons and Jails Around the World

At 8pm on December 31st, Durham joined a long list of dozens (and perhaps hundreds?) of towns and cities around the world to protest prisons and jails on New Year’s Eve. Done to raise prisoners’ spirits and dedicate the year toward fighting the State, folks screamed at the walls, banged on drums, chanted “Our Passion for Freedom is Stronger than their Prisons”, and banged on street signs.

Police showed up soon, but were more or less hands off. Prisoners reacted by banging on windows and flashing lighters in unison with the music from their cells. At the end of the demo, the crowd lied down in the street to spell a giant, human “HAPPY NEW YR” with their bodies, so as to be visible from the top floors of the 7 story building.

Spelling out Happy New Year

Spelling out a human “Happy New Yr” greeting

See short videos of the demo (note these were taken on a cell phone, so are not high quality, but give you an idea of the NOISE)

A list of some of the cities participating can be found at http://anarchistnews.org/node/21236

The original call for the demos can be found at http://www.anarchistnews.org/node/19695?asid=a34bff6a

Much love to prison rebels everywhere!

Until every cage is empty…

NYE Noise Demo-Drum 12-31-2011

Drumming in front of Durham Jail, 12/31/11

NYE Noise Demo at Durham Jail

Demonstrating outside the Durham Jail on 12/31/2011

Durham Herald-Sun: New Wave of Prison Revolts Likely

(originally printed in the Durham Herald-Sun)

By Neal Richards
Guest columnist

Sometimes big news can happen right under your nose and you won’t hear about it. I spend much of my free time working with an organization called the Prison Books Collective, a Chapel Hill-based group that sends reading materials to prisoners and publishes their writing. And yet it took a hurried text message from a friend to hear about what is probably the biggest prison strike ever to occur in the United States.

Starting on Dec. 9, thousands of prisoners spanning six different facilities across Georgia refused to leave their cells to go to work. In protest of forced work without pay, poor food and health treatment, and a variety of other grievances, prisoners united across racial, religious and gang loyalties to self-organize a massive rebellion coordinated primarily by word of mouth and phone.

After six days of lockdown, during which guards turned off the prisoners’ heat and water and beat up suspected leaders, the prisoners decided to end their strike. The strikers have pledged to take further action if their demands are not met soon. One prisoner was quoted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying, “We did it peacefully and tried to do it the right way. But these guys are to the point that if this [the protest] don’t work, they’re going to go about it the way they know best [with violence].”

Despite relative media silence around the strike, word has spread, and supporters around the country have expressed solidarity with numerous demonstrations outside prisons. On Dec. 17, a demonstration occurred outside Raleigh’s Central Prison, with protesters banging on drums and holding signs that read “Love for All Prison Rebels” and “Solidarity with the Georgia Strikers.”

The Georgia strike is not just a rebellion against inhumane conditions, but also against a society that locks up more of its inhabitants per capita than any other country in the world. Historically, and particularly in the South, systems of incarceration and policing have been directly inherited from chattel slavery; two of the oldest prisons we send books to literally started as plantations. These systems thus extend beyond prison to the methods of policing and surveillance that permeate our daily lives. The solidarity demonstrations are not surprising: A rebellion against prison is bound to expand in a society in which workplaces and neighborhoods increasingly resemble prisons.

Every week, I correspond with prisoners around the South as part of my work with the Prison Books Collective. Based on what I’ve seen, this strike represents the beginning of a new wave of prisoners’ self-organizing. Considering that the American prison population has grown from roughly 300,000 to nearly 2.4 million people since the last wave of prison rebellions in the early 1970s, the next wave of revolt is bound to be deeper and more widespread.

For those of us who are troubled by this prospect, it is high time to reevaluate everything we think we know about crime, punishment and policing.

Neal Richards is based in Chapel Hill.