This June will mark one year since more than 30,000 prisoners throughout the state of California participated in a historic hunger strike, placing their lives on the line to call for an end to the torture of long-term solitary confinement. The hunger strike ended on its 60th day, after legislators vowed to take action.
Members of the Viatorian Community joined with more than 1,000 religious leaders throughout the United States last year in supporting the hunger strikers, and called for an end to torture by signing a petition that was delivered to Gov. Jerry Brown and Jeffrey Beard of the California Department of Corrections.
In preparation for Torture Awareness Month in June, we invite you to mark the one year anniversary of the historic California prisoner hunger strike by submitting a prayer for prisoners who remain in isolation one year later. The prayers will be printed on cards with the intent of delivering them to men in SHU (solitary confinement) in California.
On June 26, marking the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, religious leaders will gather in Sacramento in public witness to call for an end to torture in prisons in California and throughout the U.S.
We invite you to write and submit a prayer from your faith tradition, in Spanish or English or the sacred language of your religious tradition. Click here to submit your prayer.
It has been a year of legislative hearings, of retaliation against hunger strikers, of resilience and work for unity amongst prisoners inside — and families and communities outside. We are making progress. Legislation has been introduced in California that would end indefinite solitary confinement and bring an end to the ‘gang validation’ process that leads so many incarcerated, mostly people of color, to spend years and even decades in solitary confinement.
Thank you for your prayers and support.