For immediate release:
February 21, 2014
The international movement to free political prisoner Russell Maroon Shoatz from solitary confinement has achieved an historic victory: on Thursday, February 20, 2014, Maroon stepped into general population for the first time in 22 years. There is no doubt; this is a PEOPLE’S VICTORY!
The coordinated efforts of Scientific Soul Sessions (SSS) and the Campaign to Free Russell Maroon Shoatz – particularly those organized groups in NYC, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia – showed the true power of the people. When SSS (a multigenerational collective of revolutionaries prefiguring a new society and working directly with the lessons laid out by Maroon) sparked this international movement three years ago, Maroon’s name was hardly known beyond a small circle of dedicated prisoner rights activists. Over the past years – on the political, artistic, and cultural fronts – we have seen the founding of the Campaign, the funding and initial coordination of Maroon’s Legal Team, the publication of Maroon’s collected essays, and the organization of countless events and soul sessions across the US.
These achievements are only the beginning. By answering the calls to action, we created a tidal wave of momentum that must be maintained until it is unstoppable. The power of the people proved to be a far greater force than the system, which would have been happy to see Maroon die without ever again feeling the embrace of his loved ones.
In a matter of weeks, Maroon went from a feces infested dungeon inside the criminally insane Restricted Housing Unit at SCI Graterford with nothing – not even a blanket – to General Population because of the people’s vigilance, voice, and committed support to fight this injustice and stop the torture of Russell Maroon Shoatz.
This proves our strength to make the seemingly impossible possible. It proves that the pressure to free Maroon from solitary was greater than the state ever anticipated. The next step must be to demand Freedom Now for Russell Maroon Shoatz. We won’t allow less than complete freedom from incarceration for this freedom fighter and inspiring leader. Let us celebrate this victory by demanding FULL freedom for Russell Maroon Shoatz! We must stand firm and be prepared for our next steps and calls to action. Thank you to all for your committed and generous support; our future work together must be stronger still!