I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Monday, October 3, 2011

Chalking the Police: ASU Coverage.

Protestors flock to downtown jail, chalk streets with anti-police slogans

Downtown Devil - ASU

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

More than 140 people gathered Saturday in front of the Fourth Avenue Jail in Phoenix for National Chalk the Police Day, chalking protest slogans in response to New England arrests in June.

The event, promoted by Arizona CopBlock on Facebook, began in protest of eight people arrested in New Hampshire for chalking the street with anti-police phrases.

Lisa Houricane said she chalked the sidewalk because chalking is a way to practice free speech and express grievances peacefully.

“I’m in solidarity with those that are protesting the arrests that happened in New Hampshire,” Houricane said. “Arizona is the hostile home of Joe Arpaio who has been terrorizing the local community for far too long.”

Houricane said she also plans to attend Occupy Phoenix, a protest against big corporations and Wall Street greed slated for mid-October.

“It will be interesting to see how people are going to be able to deal with and survive in this economy,” Houricane said.

Houricane added that she is searching for new solutions such as sustainability through organic gardens.

“People will have to look for other possibilities,” she said.

The Facebook event for Chalk The Cops encouraged protestors to bring anti-state, police and prisons signs.

Protestors chalked slogans on the sidewalk in front of the jail, including “A cop can kill you and get away with it,” “Liberate Phoenix” and “Fuck Cops.”

One protestor, Jack Greentree, chalked a picture of a birdcage on fire to represent Phoenix and its prison system.

“We are being held back from what we need to be–human beings,” Greentree said.

Peggy Plews, who has been chalking for a couple of years, said she chalks when the spirit moves her and will even go to the justice department to chalk when she wants to get some attention. Plews cited City Hall and various banks among some of her favorite places to chalk.

“Today is just fun,” she said.

Plews, a prison abolitionist, has chalked memorials for state prisoners that have died while in prison. She recently has come into trouble for using paint to create a memorial in her back alley. Graffiti Busters was called, and Plews was prosecuted.

“A cop rubbed out the name of a 16-year-old that had hung himself in prison in one of my memorials,” said Plews. “I wasn’t going to let that kids name get rubbed out again so I used paint.”

Suicide and homicide rates have doubled in state prisons, she added.

There was a strong police presents at the protest, but no one was arrested.

Sheriff Joe Arpiao had announced he would show up with his chain gang at the event, but he chose to attend a speaking engagement instead.

Rico Cain drew chalked a multicolored anarchy sign and explained his reason for attending the protest.

“I’m acting, activating my spirit that has laid dormant for so long,” Cain said. “I’m not an enemy of the state but sometimes the state makes an enemy out of me.”

The protest began at 10 a.m. and ended at noon in front of the Police Department headquarters in downtown Phoenix.

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