Launch Event: Free Russell Maroon Shoatz Campaign
“25 years in prison + 50 years of age = OUT”
April 17, 2012, New York City, NY—On May 5th, 2012, Scientific Soul Sessions (SSS), a collective of revolutionary artists, farmers and organizers based in New York City, will launch a campaign to free RUSSELL MAROON SHOATZ, a 70-year-old political prisoner who has spent the last 40 years of his life in various penitentiaries across the United States.
Thirty of those forty years – including the last twenty – have been spent in solitary confinement, or the “hole”, where he is held in his cell for 23-24 hours every day, deprived of social interaction and environmental stimulation in conditions widely acknowledged as torture due to their traumatic psychological impact.
Along with a coalition of supporters, organisations and rights groups, SSS is calling for an end to Maroon’s unjust imprisonment in what he calls the “torture chamber” of the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Greene, a maximum security prison where he is forced to wage a daily battle for sanity and survival.
We DEMAND that Maroon be immediately released into General Population, along with other prisoners who share his ‘detention statistics’: 25 years in prison+50 years of age = OUT!
Maroon’s imprisonment is an outrage on many levels: not only has his family been denied their brother, father and husband for four decades; but the entire prison population has also been denied a teacher and organizer of unparalleled prowess.
Despite not violating prison rules in over 20 years, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has deemed Maroon a permanent security threat based on his efforts to educate other prisoners about human rights, personal empowerment, and the importance of participating in movements for social justice.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, the legendary death-row prisoner and activist, recently summed up Maroon’s importance as a political figure when he wrote to SSS: “I am enriched by [Maroon’s] brilliance and his insights. His sheer brilliance on topics far and wide—his analysis – has forced [me] to step up my game—and go deeper. I am indebted to him for it.”
What: Launch of the international campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz! An evening of music, spoken, word and discussion on Maroon’s life, featuring Theresa Shoatz, Maroon’s daughter and Philadelphia-based prison justice activist; Fred Ho, internationally renowned saxophone player and composer; Arturo O’Farrill, legendary Cuban-American pianist; and Magdalena Gomez, poet and veteran of the Nuyurican Poets Movement.
When: May 5th, 2012, 6-8pm
Where: St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 521 W 126th Street,New York, NY 10027
This event is FREE and open to the public!!
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/387367071285847/