Day 58. Again, I am awake well before sunrise. The moon now looking like God’s thumbnail, waiting to hitch a ride with the passing sun. I didn’t watch the sunrise, my nose was in a book called Skylark, Sing Your Lonely Song. I dreamt last night of the house I lived in when I was born. I was brought home from the new hospital in the snow of Samhain, 18 months after the hunger strikers of 1981 began to cross over. In this dream, I walk upstairs. There is a T.V. left on, but no one in the room. I turn around and look at the T.V. Pornography is on the screen. I try to be un-averse. But it feels so desacralizing. I am repulsed. That’s all I remember of the dream.
More names. I can count 8 names now. I was well aware the day the hunger strike started on July 8. I’ll admit to not paying attention until day 45 when I was in Seattle and I saw the sign counting the days at the Black Coffee Co-op. It hit me. A red haired girl with a copy of a book called Ten Men Dead in her hand walked by.
J. Heshima Denham, 41 , Corcoran State Prison SHU. Denham has been in the SHU for over a decade following validation as a member of the Black Guerilla Family. As evidence of gang activity, he has reportedly has his cell raised by prison guards for Japanese artwork involving dragons; the dragon is a symbol of the BGF.
Michael “Zaharibu” Dorrough, 59 , Corcoran State Prison SHU. Dorrough has been in the SHU since 1988, following validation as a member of the Black Guerilla Family. He has subsequently been kept in the SHU for reasons including writing for black nationalist newspapers and eulogizing a deceased inmate who was a BGF member.
Mutope Duguma (James Crawford), 46, Pelican Bay SHU. Incarcerated since 1988, Duguma has been in the SHU since 2001, following his validation as a member of the Black Guerilla Family; a charge he claims is false. “I was involved in gang life as a young man in South Los Angeles, like many other young black men from broken communities, but I was never a member or associate of the BGF. I never even met a member of the BGF during my first decade in prison,” he has written. He claims he was targeted for political activity, and last year won a lawsuit against CDCR for withholding his mail on the basis that his political writings constituted “gang activity.”
Kijana Tashiri Askari (Marcus Harrison), 41, Pelican Bay SHU. Following validation as a Black Guerilla Family member, he has been in solitary confinement since 1994.