Poster Workshop with Mary Tremonte

January 16, 2016, 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Union Gallery presents: Poster ACTION.
led by Mary Tremonte (location: The Studio @ the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, 36 University Avenue, Kingston) – $15

The Union Gallery invites you to join artist and OCAD University faculty Mary Tremonte for an interactive poster-making workshop with an activist slant. Using insight and techniques gained from her longstanding role as a community-based artist and co-founding member of Justseeds Artist Cooperative—a global network of activist print-makers—Mary will facilitate opportunities for participants to engage with a broad range of artistic strategies and representational materials over the course of the afternoon. Focusing on prison abolitionism as the overarching theme—an important consideration for a city like Kingston that houses multiple operating and non-operating prisons—participants will be able to donate their posters to prison justice groups, or post them around the city. A selection of the posters will be displayed in the project room of the Union Gallery in 2016.

Mary Tremonte is an artist, educator, and DJ based in Toronto via Pittsburgh. She works with “printmaking in the expanded field,” including printstallation, interactive silkscreen printing in public space, and wearable artist multiples such as queer scout badges. Mary has exhibited, presented lectures and workshops, and performed in Toronto, Pittsburgh, throughout the United States, and internationally. Through her work she aims to create temporary utopias and sustainable commons through pedagogy, collaboration, visual pleasure and serious fun.

There is limited space so please email ugallery@queensu.ca to register and drop by the gallery to make your payment by January 12, 2016.

tremonte

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Winter 2015/2016 Newsletter Now Online

The Winter 2015/2016 edition of our newsletter “Over the Wall” is now available online. It features a piece by Nyki Kish about the criminalization of queer prisoners at Grand Valley Institution for Women; a reflection piece on Kingston’s Prison Justice Art Show by co-organizer Jarrod Shook; a memorial to Peter Collins written by a close friend on his support committee; and a short review of Ed Mead’s Autobiography.

Visit our Newsletter page to view and download, and please forward widely!

Posted in Announcements, Collins Bay, Frontenac Institution, GVI, Jarrod Shook, Local Prisoners, Newsletter, Peter Collins | Leave a comment

Call-In Campaign: Being Queer Is Not A Crime! Support Prisoners At GVI

UPDATE: CALL-IN CAMPAIGN HAS NOW WRAPPED UP WITH SOME SUCCESS. PLEASE SEE https://gviwatch.wordpress.com FOR MORE INFO.

We received word of this from our friends in Southern Ontario. Please forward and share this call-in campaign details with your networks, supportive churches or activist groups. Sharing it is super important, but please give the prison a call yourself too.

BEING QUEER IS NOT A CRIME!

_-share publicly with friends, family and amongst your networks-_

At Grand Valley Institute for Women (GVI), a federal prison in Kitchener, Ontario there has been a recent crackdown against LBTQ2+ prisoners and/or prisoners in relationships amongst themselves. Intimate relationships between prisoners are being attacked by a clique of guards acting without apparent direction or oversight from the Corrections Canada administration. We need your support with a call-in campaign to end these practises.

Continue reading

Posted in Actions, GVI | Leave a comment

Book Launch: Lumpen, The Autobiography of Ed Mead

Book Launch and Discussion with Author Ed Mead (via Skype) and Publisher Karl Kersplebedeb

7pm on Tuesday, November 17th at the AKA Autonomous Social Centre
Red and Black House, Queen and Wellington (map) (enter by ramp)
Wheelchair Accessible
Facebook event here

We are thrilled to host the Kingston launch of Lumpen. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear from author Ed Mead via Skype and publisher Karl Kersplebedeb about this exciting new text and pick up a copy! See below for a full description of the book. For more info contact us.

***

NEW BOOK BY ED MEAD, FORMER URBAN GUERRILLA, POLITICAL PRISONER AND REVOLUTIONARY INSIDE PRISON ORGANIZER

More than a memoir, Lumpen: The Autobiography of Ed Mead takes the reader on a tour of America’s underbelly. From Iowa to Compton to Venice Beach to Fairbanks, Alaska, Mead introduces you to poor America just trying to get by—and barely making it. When a thirteen-year-old Mead ends up in the Utah State Industrial School, a prison for boys, it is the first step in a story of oppression and revolt that will ultimately lead to the foundation of the George Jackson Brigade, a Seattle-based urban guerrilla group, and to Mead’s re-incarceration as a fully engaged revolutionary, well-placed and prepared to take on both his captors and the predators amongst his fellow prisoners.

Through his work organizing against conditions in solitary confinement, and then with queer prisoners in the legendary Men Against Sexism, followed by his exile from Washington to the dungeons at Marion, Brushy Mountain, and Florence, Ed Mead’s practice stands as a rebuke to the inhumanity and indifference which surround the world’s largest prison system.

As the late Black Liberation Army soldier Safiya Bukhari observed, “we must at least write our history and point out the truth of what we did—the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Ed Mead has done that here, recounting his life’s story with unflinching honesty, providing a model of personal integrity and revolutionary creativity and determination for us all.

What People Are Saying

“Lumpen is a page-turning retelling of Ed Mead’s life, from his early days growing up on the frontier of Alaska, to the frontiers of prisoner organizing from inside and later outside prison. The everydayness of his descriptions of how the George Jackson Brigade came to be, to the simple necessity to form Men Against Sexism while behind bars, reminds us that everyday justice can lead us to extraordinary places. In a mostly ahistorical queer left, this book is a must read!”  -Ryan Conrad, editor of Against Equality: Queer Revolution, Not Mere Inclusion

“There are many who talk the talk. Ed Mead is one who actually walked the walk. In fact, he’s never stopped walking it, an example of commitment and integrity from which there’s much to be learned. His autobiography should be read by everyone serious about the struggle for liberation.” -Ward Churchill

 

lumpen_edmead

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Remembering Peter Collins

memorial

Peter Collins, artist, activist, dear friend and brother, passed away
August 13, 2015. He is remembered for his work for justice, his creativity,
his sense of humour, his kind heart and his unwavering integrity.

Join us at a gathering in Kingston, on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee
territory, to remember Peter on Sunday, August 30th from 2-4pm at AKA
Autonomous Social Centre, the red and black house on Queen St at Wellington
St, up the ramp.  This is an opportunity to reflect on Pete’s art and music
and to share memories. All are welcome and refreshments will be provided.
For more information about Peter, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/PeterCollinsSupportCommittee

************

We are having a memorial service for my brother Peter Collins who passed
away on August 13th, 2015.

Please join us Saturday, August 29th, 2015 from 1-4pm for a service in
Ottawa (Algonquin Territory). Reflections on Prison (In)justice: The Life
and Work of Peter Collins
Location: Room 4004 (4th Floor), Faculty of Social Sciences, University of
Ottawa, 120 University Private

In lieu of flowers we are asking for people to donate to:

CFRC Radio @  https://cfrc.nationbuilder.com/donate with “Calls from Home
Hotline” in the memo

You can also send a cheque to:
CFRC Radio (with Calls from Home Hotline in the memo)
Lower Carruthers Hall, 62 Fifth Field Company Lane
Queen’s University, Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Calls From Home is a radio project that aims to bring prisoners and their
family members and friends together once a month through community radio.
Calls From Home collects voicemail messages from loved ones and broadcasts
them over the airwaves on the last Wednesday of each month from 7-8PM.
Peter regularly listened to and participated in interviews for this program.

Posted in CFRC, Events, Local Prisoners, Peter Collins | Leave a comment

Spring 2015 Newsletter now online

The Spring 2015 edition of our newsletter “Over the Wall” is now available online. We released it for International Workers Day on May 1, 2015. Visit our Newsletter page to view and download.

Posted in Newsletter | Leave a comment

Terminally Ill Prisoner-Activist Peter Collins Needs Your Support

Please consider lending your support to this campaign to get compassionate release for Peter Collins, a prisoner at Bath Institution who has been heavily involved in prison justice struggles for three decades through artwork, advocacy and peer education. Details about his work and his situation are outlined below.

If folks want to get in touch with the people who wrote this message, you can email mtl.prisoner.coordination@gmail.com

-EPIC

*

*Terminally Ill Prisoner-Activist Peter Collins Needs Your Support*

Peter Collins is a long-time prisoner-activist, incarcerated for the 1983 murder of a police officer in a failed robbery.

Prisoners’ rights activists in Canada will likely know of Peter’s work around Prisoners Justice Day, and his activism around various issues pertaining to the expanding prison system in this country. Peter has drawn, painted, silk screened dozens of images to commemorate PJD for the past 31 years. He has done interviews, written papers and recorded statements talking about the significance of remembering those who have died behind prison walls (and in other carceral spaces) and of continuing to fight for the rights of prisoners and their families. Activists in the United States may have seen Peter’s graphic contribution to the California prisoner hunger strikers of recent years, a drawing of a Pelican gagged with barbed wire. (The California prisoners’ hunger strikes having originated in the Pelican Bay supermax.) Peter has supported campaigns against violence against women and did several art pieces and songs about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Peter participated in the Anti-Violence Project and came up with strategies for anti-bullying campaigns in schools. He has written hundreds of articles, done countless radio interviews, presented at conferences through audio recordings, created short films and written policy papers.

Last year, Peter was diagnosed with an *aggressive form of bladder cancer*. In January of this year (2015), Peter learned that the cancer had spread throughout his body, and that he*probably does not have much time left to live* (possibly months).

As a consequence of Canada’s racist “double punishment” policy, Peter is under a deportation order to the United Kingdom, where he was born but hasn’t lived since 1967. This order would be enacted immediately upon his release from prison – i.e. he would be transferred directly to immigration detention to await deportation. For this reason the parole board has objected to his release as it has no mechanisms under its control to gradually ease him back into society. *This catch-22 situation has been used to block Peter’s parole since 2008.*

Given Peter’s cancer diagnosis, if he is not released soon, he will die in prison. Peter is not contesting his deportation to the UK. He has a strong circle of support in the UK, family members who can provide him with a home, and has been in contact with UK police officials who have conducted community assessments at his family home and do not oppose his return to the UK. There have been two Public Protection officers assigned to Peter’s case, and who are ready for his return. *What Peter requires is that the parole board grant him compassionate release, “parole by exception”. *We understand that case management at Bath Prison are supportive of Peter’s release.

*We are asking you to write a letter on Peter’s behalf*, to:

Parole Board of Canada
516 O’Connor Dr,
Kingston ON,
K7P 1N3

and cc. Cheryl Kerr:

Cheryl Kerr, Parole Officer
Bath Prison
P.O Box 1500
Bath, Ontario
K0H 1G0

Below is a list of points to raise in your letter. Please use these or any other information you feel is relevant in writing a letter. When writing, we encourage you to include any academic or professional qualifications and/or to use your organizational letterhead, as applicable. As the prison bureaucrats have Peter’s life in their hands, it is best to be polite and not provocative, as it is Peter who will pay the price if they react badly. A sample letter is provided below, which you should also feel free to cut and paste from.

Please also send a copy of any letter you send to us, at
mtl.prisoner.coordination@gmail.com

Points to raise:

  • Peter has been rated low risk to re-offend, and has followed all directions in terms of his Correctional Plan, completing all programs for which he is eligible
  • In 2011 Peter’s Correctional Plan Progress Report noted that *“Mr. Collins is a self-starter and he has developed an excellent support network, both in Canada and in England.”*
  • In 2012, the Parole Board noted that: *“You [Peter] have not incurred any institutional charges since 1996 and you have been described as polite and respectful. You long ago completed your correctional treatment plan with positive program reports and have involved yourself in volunteer work and education to improve your skills. You are recognized as an accomplished artist and have used your talents to assist various charitable organizations. You have spent much of your time working in the harm reduction field and have been recognized for your efforts by outside organizations and professional in the field.”*
  • Peter has demonstrated his ability to function outside of prison during multiple medical and compassionate escorted temporary absences
  • While in prison, Peter has worked with the Prisoner HIV/AIDS Support and Action Network (PASAN), and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • In 2008 Peter was the Canadian recipient of the Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights jointly sponsored by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch
  • Peter has been eligible for full parole since 2008, but because his deportable status places him in a complicated catch-22 situation
  • Peter has expressed great regret for murder of Constable David Utman and has spent his time trying to make amends for his actions
  • Peter has been in prison for over 32 years, and has remained conviction free for the past 18 years
  • In addition to the daily help and supervision Peter would receive from his family in the UK, he has secured the commitment of a dedicated Circle of Support and Accountability in England, to provide support. Members of the Circle include a former magistrate, university law faculty, a violence-prevention worker, and a teacher
  • British Authorities have no concerns about Peter returning to England to live out his final days
  • If this process is allowed to proceed too slowly, Peter will become too sick to travel
  • Section 121 of the Correctional and Conditional Release Act, which addresses parole by exception, states that parole may be granted at any time to a prisoner who is terminally ill. This applies to any prisoner, including someone serving a life or indeterminate sentence. Peter is entering the 32rd year of a Life 25 sentence.

It is important to note that British Public Protection Officers have no concerns about Peter returning to England to live out his final days. Unfortunately though, if the Parole Board leaves it too late, Peter may become too sick to be able to travel overseas.

As such, I am asking that you support Peter’s request for compassionate release.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at mtl.prisoner.coordination@gmail.com

Posted in Local Prisoners, Peter Collins, PJD | Leave a comment

May Day 2015 in Kingston!

May Day March and Free BBQ!
Friday, May 1st, 2015
5pm: Free BBQ in Doug Fluhrer Park
6pm: March Downtown

On May 1st, 1886, 40,000 workers in Chicago—and half a million across the United States—participated in a three-day general strike demanding an eight-hour work day. A week-long struggle resulted between protesters and police, and ultimately eight protesters were arrested, convicted without evidence, and executed. Their executions are widely regarded as some of the most overt political assassinations of radicals in North America, and May 1st has since been marked as International Workers Day in their honour. Since 2006, May Day has also been widely marked as a day to protest racist immigration policies in Canada and the United States and demand status for all. Strikes, pickets and protests take place around the world on May 1st to honour and celebrate the struggles of workers, immigrants and poor people all over.

In Kingston, we are gathering for May Day for the sixth consecutive year. Join us at 5pm for a free BBQ in Doug Fluhrer Park followed by a spirited march downtown. Come hungry and bring your neighbours, co-workers, classmates and friends!

For more information contact maydaykingston [at] riseup [dot] net

Posted in Actions | Leave a comment

Call for Submissions: Over the Wall Issue 3 (Spring 2015)

OVER THE WALL is a twice-annual newsletter about strikes, actions and struggles going on inside or around Ontario prisons. The purpose of this newsletter is to share information about prison issues and prison-related actions with supporters and potential supporters on the outside. Over the Wall is put out by End the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), a prison abolition group based in Kingston.

Issue 1 (Spring 2014) focuses on the federal prisoners strike against major pay cuts to prison labour, and strikes in the immigration unit in Lindsay against indefinite detention.

Issue 2 (Fall 2014) features report-backs, statements and analysis from Prisoners Justice Day 2014.

We would like to release this issue in anticipation of International Workers Day (May 1st), also known as May Day. We are looking for submissions on anything related to struggles inside or against prisons in Ontario, but here are a few suggested topics to get your wheels turning:

– Ongoing resistance to prisoner pay cuts and elimination of CORCAN incentive pay;
– How prisoners could be affected by provincial COs going on strike;
– The skyrocketing incarceration rates of Native women and Black men;
– Initial experiences in new units becoming operational now;
– The public debate about segregation and how prisoners contest its use… etc.

If you have a story or article that you’d like us to include, or if you’d like to receive the newsletter by mail, email us at epic [at] riseup [dot] net, or write to:

EPIC
427 Princess St, Suite 409
Kingston ON K7L 5S9.

Please send submissions for this issue so we receive them by April 1, 2015. This is an ongoing project, so feel free to send us news and information for future issues whenever you like.

*

About May Day: On May 1, 1886, 40,000 workers in Chicago—and half a million across the United States—participated in a three-day general strike demanding an eight-hour work day. A week-long struggle resulted between protesters and police, and ultimately eight protesters were arrested, convicted without evidence, and executed. Their executions are widely regarded as some of the most overt political assassinations of radicals in North America, and May 1st has since been marked as International Workers Day in their honour. Since 2006, May Day has also been widely marked as a day to protest racist immigration policies in Canada and the United States and demand status for all. Strikes, pickets and protests take place around the world on May 1st to honour and celebrate the struggles of workers, immigrants, and poor people all over.

Posted in Newsletter | Leave a comment

Bill C-51 and the International Day Against Police Brutality

The following text is taken from a flyer we distributed at the rally against Bill C-51 in Kingston on March 14, 2015.

*

Tomorrow, March 15th, is the International Day Against Police Brutality.

Police inflict terror on our communities – they harass, humiliate, beat, and even murder us with relative impunity. They send our loved ones to jail, and they protect the rich and powerful through targeted repression against the poor, immigrants and communities of colour.

Bill C-51 will expand Canada’s policing apparatus by granting CSIS and the RCMP a wide range of new powers to combat “threats to Canada,” such as warrantless searches, preventative arrest and nearly infinite surveillance powers. But Bill C-51 is only one part of a larger, ever-expanding policing apparatus. When we limit our protest to one bill, one police agency or one exceptional power we can lose sight of the fact that terrorizing communities and crushing resistance is a primary function of any police, whether it be CSIS or the Kingston cops. The RCMP, Canada’s first police force, was created to imprison and murder Native people resisting Canada’s westward expansion. It is what police have always done and will always do, so long as they exist. This is why we are making the link to March 15th and calling for a world without police.

We can’t rely on the state to protect us from its own political police. Opposing Bill C-51 has brought us together today, but we can’t let reformers and politicians trick us into thinking a legislative amendment, improved oversight or another political party in power can really change what is fundamentally a system that protects a rich, white ruling class against the rest of us. The events in Ferguson and across North America this past year have reminded us that it is possible to fight back against the police, and we are inspired by those pushing cops out of their communities (rather than lobbying to buy them body cameras). We can imagine a world without police, prisons or borders. Let’s start here and now.

Posted in Police, Repression | Leave a comment