United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect

Lancaster Protest - Pictures
April 2, 2005

The theme of the April 2 rally coordinated by United for No Injustice, Oppression or Neglect (U.N.I.O.N.) was "Nobody Hears Our Screams"

Warden Charles Michael Harrison and the Guard Assault Task Force he hosts at CSP-LAC Lancaster thought he could get away with murder until the U.N.I.O.N. families drew media attention to what has been going on there with a large picket.

Reinforcements came throughout the day, UNION Director Cayenne Bird seated and Susan stands in the background, flanked by young people upset about Lancaster's abuses.


The sign reads Eddie Arraiga dead Lancaster!

He was stomped to death by his cellmate in a prison within a prison, the cruel administrative segregation unit.  His cellmate allegedly killed him but there is no accountability for double celling two mentally ill inmates in the same tiny ad seg cell for 23 hours a day or more.  It was predictable that one or both of them were going to act out!  Arraiga screamed for help for an hour or more.  No one came.  Perez, a mentally ill inmate is being prosecuted but who will prosecute Warden Harrison for causing this preventable killing to happen? Several inmates have died or been permanently maimed at prisons statewide this year in similar circumstances yet the practice continues.

UNION Director B. Cayenne Bird who coordinated the event stands with Luis Telamontez of California Prison Focus who drove hundreds of miles to show solidarity.  Bird's son Eric K'napp was tortured at CSP-LAC for one year in an attempt to break him from filing complaints. K'napp suffers from PTSD which he acquired in prison.  Warden Harrison and Assoc Warden Fakhoury placed in a room smaller than a closet for five and a half months, cutting off his access to his family, the courts, and the mail.  K'napp has filed 30 legal actions for prisoners and ADA complaints on several prisons.  He is targeted for retaliation regularly as the UNION grows in size and has nearly died on three separate occasions since 2001.  The legislators are powerless to help and the Inspector General's Office makes no effort to hold anyone accountable for his continuous torture.  Just before the rally, K'napp was transferred to an equally dangerous facility, CSATF Corcoran where guards are a threat to his safety.  The sign Bird is holding says "Eric K'napp tortured here for filing complaints."  The sign Telamontez is holding says "Guard Assault Task Force Targets the mentally ill"  Several prominent activists joined in the protest including publisher Michael Novick and members of   Anti-Racist Action (not pictured)


Prison for the Poor, Profits for the Rich

Shirley Wetherwax and her family, stood in the wind and sun for five hours to alert passing motorists to murders and abuse going on at Lancaster.  Journalist Patricia St. Peter wore black and baked but held her up place on the picket line until we ran out of flyers. Some 400 families at Lancaster were asked to join the efforts of the UNION to save their inmates during the rally.

The rally was held in the middle of no where at CSP-LAC in an attempt to bring attention to the murders and abuses of inmates by guards there.  There were no toilets, no water, and no shade but almost everyone maintained their position. Two protesters who turned out against the beatings of George Jacobs take a rest.

Cars honked, people yelled support and we stood up against the strong winds of injustice. Our presence was made known to the entire City of Lancaster.

Photo by Daniel Wharmby

The loss felt by the mothers in the UNION caused them to converge upon the prison in protest. (L to R) Patty St. Peter, Robin Goods (mother of George Jacobs), UNION Director B. Cayenne Bird, Alexis Durango stood together to pass the message to all gang members - UNITE against the one true gang - CCPOA. Red, yellow, black, white, brown, the families came and stood together. Mamma bears told their cubs "do the same, form the voting block necessary to put an end to this madness with your families joining with the UNION."

Photo by Daniel Wharmby

Holding the banner for five hours was tedious Next time we're bringing poles.  Roasting in the sun, the family and friends of George Jacobs, kept the UNION banner high for all passing by to see that the families of inmates do understand organizing their own voting block, and will stand up when inmates are abused.

We formed a single file picket line all down the entire front of the prison.
The guards could not make eye contact with us.  One even flipped us
the bird finger.  We did not shirk from our responsibility as parents and
American Patriots to alert the other taxpayers what is going on behind
the walls of Lancaster. Murder and torture are considered business as usual.

Photo by Daniel Wharmby

This delightful family brought joy and sorrow to us all day long with their meaningful artwork and sweet dispositions. The little one on the chair was about three years old and never complained once, she is actually holding up her sign.  The children are our future and they will likely never forget the day they picketed with the UNION against injustice. Sign says Living Wills are a Death Sentence.

By the time April 2 came around, the entire City of Lancaster knew that angry mamma bears were coming to picket the prison. We were peaceful and followed the rules. A black and white sits in the background here watching the protesters. The First Amendment gives us the right to protest and it is always the NUMBERS of protesters that delivers the message or not.

  Photo by Daniel Wharmby

Dale Wetherwax spoke to literally hundreds of families as they exited visiting
and passed out flyers for hours. His sign "Welcome to Abu Lancaster, Come Again" really said it all.  He was very funny in appraising the sneers of the guards exiting. There is no doubt in my mind that Warden Harrison had a morale problem on Monday with the bullies in his prison.

Still grieving, Nancy Mendoza the mother of Daniel Provencio who was shot and killed by an un-named Wasco guard stood out in front of Lancaster Prison.  Also present were his sisters and brothers. The story has appeared internationally eight times and a special hearing will be held April 15 on 
changes in the death bed policy. As a result of this, many completely incapacitated inmates could be released from prison but it will be a battle over each and every one.  Nancy was an inspiration to everyone present.

About one hour before visiting ended, three guards rolled slowly past the picket line.  CO R. Hendricks was shooting us with a polaroid camera, possibly in an effort to intimidate us to leave before the visitors exited and we could organize our UNION larger. Notice he blocks his face and put his camera down as UNION Director B. Cayenne Bird comes up to his window
with her camera.  The shoot out begins.

The guards cruise along past Cayenne and begin snapping photos again.
This shot was taking as she ran up to the car to block their view, snapping
her camera in their faces. It was a real crowd pleaser and a clear message
that the Mamma Bears in the UNION are unresponsive to intimidation.

Then there is a camera shoot out for several minutes between Cayenne Bird and CO Hendricks. She allows him to photograph the UNION banner and 
the sign she is holding "Eric K'napp tortured here for filing complaints."  The guard tried to get people to pose for his shots and Cayenne ordered him out of the area.  Since we were on City Property and all had been arranged in advance, he had no jurisdiction or authority. They left without most of the pictures they had tried to take. We stayed for the visitor exit and did not fold
to this intimidation tactic.

The street sign behind this protester was appropriate Lane Ends, Merge Left

Every prisoner is Somebody's child

This little boy delivers the message that these are people's  loved ones being locked in cages and abused at Lancaster

These are the sweet hands of the daughter of a prisoner about 5 yrs old. 
Notice the woman crying in the upper left hand corner, the gun tower, 
barbed wire.  The name of her picture is "Help the Prisoners"  This child, 
too wise for her age, and has obviously seen too much pain. God help the children of prisoners left without fathers and sometimes mothers. We cried over this one as she drew for us sitting in the desert sand.

 Photo by Daniel Wharmby

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