The prison cell where Malcolm X was confined back in the 1940s has been transformed into the first of 1,000 projected “Freedom Libraries,” thanks to the vision and hard work of another former-prisoner-turned-activist, Reginald Dwayne Betts.
The Virginia Defender
Established in 2005 as The Richmond Defender, The Virginia Defender is a free community newspaper, published quarterly for the Virginia Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality. Print distribution is currently 12,000 and statewide. The online publication launched in Summer 2020.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: LETTER FROM BRANDON SEWARD, GREENVILLE
Brandon Seward’s letter to the editor about mass incarceration.
IN OUR OPINION: NOT EVEN CLOSE
Things are not going well, to put it mildly. Take a break, then get back to it.
NEW NATIONAL COALITION SUPPORTS OPENING COINTELPRO FILES
A newly formed coalition of more than 30 activists and advocacy groups is promoting a federal bill that would force the FBI to allow full disclosure of COINTELPRO, the FBI’s program that targeted civil rights, antiwar and leftist organizations with the aim of disrupting their activities, no matter how legal and Constitutionally protected they might be.
AUGUSTA COUNTY: UNION ORGANIZING AT HERSHEY PLANT
Workers at the Hershey Chocolate plant in Stuarts Draft, Va., filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board Jan. 18 to be represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ International Union (BCTGM). According to the Staunton News Leader, workers say the main issues are a lack of time off, disrespect on the job and frequent changes that are poorly communicated by management.
‘WE DEMAND JUSTICE FOR VA. PRISONERS!’
There’s a quote at the bottom of this page by the famous Russian novelist Dostoevski: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” More people should visit Virginia’s prisons and jails.
D.C.: POLITICS & PROSE UNIONIZES WITH LOCAL 400
Politics and Prose, an independent bookstore with three locations in Washington, D.C., is the first bookstore in the district to unionize. The approximately 100 workers are now represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400. The Virginia Defender spoke to Isa Salazar of the Politics and Prose Workers Union Organizing Committee about the process of getting organized.