Sunday, March 4, 2018

Organizing for the 25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising

Twenty-Five years after the longest prison uprising in which people died, the full story has not been told. April 11, 2018 will be the 25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising, a defining event in the history of criminal justice and prison systems in Ohio and the United States.

Lucasville stands out from other prison uprisings in many ways that deserve greater examination. The uprising claimed 10 lives over 11 days and ended in a negotiated surrender, the terms of which the State of Ohio refused to honor by targeting those who negotiated with them during the uprising.

We have distributed two documents, assembled by Staughton and Alice Lynd, esteemed labor lawyer historians from Youngstown, Ohio. The first describes the uprising and subsequent prosecutions in greater detail, exposing the state's behavior during the uprising, and extensive prosecutorial misconduct in the trials following it.

The second is a list of people willing to be interviewed for the 25th anniversary of the uprising. These contacts include:
- Niki Schwartz, who Ohio brought in to negotiate the peaceful surrender
- Defense attorneys from the trials
- Prisoner survivors, including those on death row, those still in prison, and those who have been released.
- Activists, film-makers and organizers.

Five men have been condemned to death and many more to long sentences served almost entirely in solitary confinement at the Ohio State Penitentiary, a supermax prison built in the wake of the uprising. These prisoners have been influential writers, activists and organizers beyond their own cases, and despite their very restrictive conditions of confinement and isolation.
Their 2011 Hunger Strike partially inspired the interracial solidarity of the Pelican Bay Hunger Strikes, which expanded to include over 30,000 prisoners. Siddique Abdullah Hasan, one of the death row survivors, was a lead organizer of the September 9, 2016 national prison strike and protest, the largest prisoner-led protest in history.
The impact and historical resonance of the Lucasville Uprising is still felt in Ohio and beyond 25 years later. The consequences remain dire, and the story remains largely untold. Please review these materials and consider covering the 25th Anniversary of the Lucasville Uprising.

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