Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chip Fitzgerald on hunger strike

April 25, 2010…


Chip is demanding a transfer out of the hole at Corcoran State Prison where he has been for over a year.

In response to his unfair housing in Administrative Segregation (“the hole”) Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald is currently refusing food. In support of Chip we ask that you call Warden Raul Lopez to DEMAND that Chip be transferred out of Ad Seg and into general population immediately.



559-992-8800 (phone) Extension #5008
559-999-4636 (fax)
Monday, April 26, 2010

Dear New York Jericho: According to one of Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald's reliable supporters, Mr. Fitzgerald (ONE OF OUR LONGEST SERVING POLITICAL PRISONERS) is on about the seventh day a hunger strike at the Corcoran State Prison in California. From what I understand, he has refused to eat food or drink water for at least seven days. Mr. Fitzgerald undertook the hunger strike to protest against prison officials locking him away in solitary confinement for the last two years. From what I understand, Mr. Fitzgerald believed that he should have been released on April 8, 2010. When the warden, Mr. Raul Lopez, refused to release Chip Fitzgerald from solitary confinement on April 8, Mr. Fitzgerald threatened to go on a hunger strike -- and to remain on the hunger strike until death. After some debate about the issue, Mr. Fitzgerald started the hunger strike about seven days ago.

According to Emani Bey (Mr. Fitzgerald's supporter in Oakland, California), Warden Raul Lopez threatened to force feed Mr. Fitzgerald tomorrow, on Tuesday, April 27, 2010. However, the humane way to arrange for Mr. Fitzgerald to eat food and to drink water would be to release him from solitary confinement and into the general prison population. After doing so, Mr. Fitzgerald would willingly eat food and drink water. In the meantime, Mr. Fitzgerald strongly implies that he will kill himself with this hunger strike. In recent letters, he told his supporters "good bye". If I am not mistaken, he also expressed regret that he would not see them again.

At this time, the activists organizing a campaign to save Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald's life plan the following: (1) to persuade Mr. Fitzgerald to drink water so that he will live for a much longer period than he would if he continues to refuse water and other forms of nourishment; (2) call and write Governor Arnold Scwharzenegger at the address and telephone number listed below (and by email and Twitter through his web site) for the purpose of demanding that Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald be released immediately from solitary confinement and into the general prison population, that Mr. Fitzgerald not be force fed, and that Mr. Fitzgerald be treated humanely; and (3) call and write Warden Raul Lopez of Corcoran State Prison, Secretary Matthew Cate of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation ("CDCR"), and the ombudsman for CDCR for the purpose of making the same demands.

Since Chip Fitzgerald has forsaken food and water for up to seven days, he could die in the next few days or be force fed as early as tomorrow. In either case, we need to recognize that Chip may be suffering from depression. We need also to recognize that he needs to see his family, his friends, and good lawyers, all of whom need to encourage him to live, but all of whom also need to work with him if he chooses to continue his hunger strike. On this point, these people need to persuade Mr. Fitzgerald to drink water, no matter what else he decides to do. Fasting without water could result in death in from seven to ten days. On the other hand, a person who fasts while drinking healthy water could live for as long as sixty or more days. Hence, if Chip drinks water, he would give us more time to work on his behalf.

I write this email as an emergency notice about this tragedy. I have yet to research Secretary Matthew Cate's address and telephone number. However, we need to act immediately. In other words, we need to pressure Governor Arnold Schwarzegger, Warden Raul Lopez, and the ombudsman for the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation to free Mr. Fitzgerald from solitary confinement. I suspect that locking Mr. Fitzgerald in solitary confinement for two or more years straight at sixty-one years of age (his birthday was April 11), and doing so to a man who has lived in prison for the last forty years, constitutes a form of emotional and physical torture. I suspect that this torture has seriously compromised Mr. Fitzgerald's emotional well-being and judgment. At the least, he must be emotionally and physically exhausted from prison. Unless we act now and show Mr. Fitzgerald that the liberation movement will save him from solitary confinement and other forms of mistreatment, we may well lose this brother. For this reason, I send this email to you on an emergency basis. I also copied below the email from Ms. Emani Bey, the sister who alerted me and others about the crisis.

Thomas Ruffin
Black August Planning Organization & Nat Turner Rebellion

P.S. Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald's identification number in the California prison system is #B-27527.

Raul Lopez, Warden
Corcoran State Prison
(559) 992-8800
(559) 999-4636 (fax)

Governor Arnold Schwarzegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, California 95814
(916) 445-2841 (office)
(916) 558-3160 (fax)

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