The Free Virginia Movement
By Uhuru B. Rowe, Founder
REVISED May 12, 2017
WHO WE ARE
The Free Virginia Movement is an Inside-Out/Outside-In all-inclusive, coalition-based statewide movment and organizing effort founded by incarcerated people in the Virginia Department of Corrections in solidarity with the class struggles of Black, Brown, poor, low-income, disenfranchised, and working class people, to redress inhumane and harsh prison conditions; racial, class, and gender bias in the criminal legal system; the effects of mass incarceration and felony disenfranchisement laws on Black, Brown, poor, low-income and working-class communities; and the miriad of other laws, policies, and practices and procedures which discriminates against people because of their race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, age, or disability. We recognize that incarcerated, Black, Brown, poor, low-income, oppressed, disenfranchised, and working-class people, are all victims of capitalist oppression and exploitation, Inside and Outside of prisons.
Continue reading “The Free Virginia Movement”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
March 1, 2017
WHY THE FREE VIRGINIA MOVEMENT?
A Federal law known as the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) includes a provision called the Violent Offender Incarceration and Truth in Sentencing Incentive Grants (VOITIS) which provides grants to state and local correctional systems to expand their capacity to incarcerate violent offenders and impose larger and more determinate sentences.
Continue reading “Announcing the Free Virginia Movement!”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
February 1, 2017
Imagine this: You have slaved hard on your lousy job where you are overworked, underpaid and under appreciated. But, somehow, you’ve manage to maintain your sense self-respect, self-worth, and dignity. You eagerly anticipate receiving your paycheck at the end of the week, and rightly so! Your mortgage or rent is past due. Your refrigerator is almost empty. Your children need school supplies. Your car needs fixing. And when it’s all said and done, you’ll barely have enough money to pay off your student loan and credit card debt. You make your way to your boss’s office to receive your paycheck. As you examine it to see how much of YOUR money the government (and even your boss) stiffed you out of this time, something catches your eye: Your employer– under instructions from the government, he/she explains–has deducted 10 percent from your earnings to be stored in a government-controlled personal trust account until it has a balance of $1,000 and which will be payable to you at an unattainable age (e.g. 100-years-old). Even worst, your employer invests this deductible in stocks and bonds and any increments or profits derived therefrom will be used for their own personal pleasure or benefit. Wouldn’t this obvious extortion and exploitation make you mad as hell and ready to strike?
Well, this is how incarcerated people feel in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) when this “10 percent” is deducted from the funds sent to us by our loved-ones (many of whom are poor or working-class people) and from the slave wages we make from prison jobs which pays as little as .35 an hour.
Continue reading “Exploiting and Extorting Prisoners in Virginia for Profit”
DO INCARCERATED BLACK LIVES MATTER?
IF SO, SUPPORT UHURU’S CLEMENCY REQUEST
Uhuru Rowe is a self-educated, socially conscious, politically active brother, who has been incarcerated for 22 consecutive years in the Virginia (VA) prison system where he has often experienced retaliation from prison authorities because of his political beliefs, organizing activities, and for speaking out against inhuman prison conditions.
Uhuru was involved in a robbery back in 1995 that resulted in the shooting deaths of two people. Though Uhuru was not the trigger-man, he accepted responsibility for his actions and entered a non-cooperating guilty plea which sealed his fate. The sentencing guidelines recommended a maximum sentence of only 13 years, but former Richmond circuit court judge, James B. Wilkinson, who was known to be a racist, ignored the recommendation and sentenced Uhuru to an aggregate sentence totaling 93 years. This sentence is an unprecedented 80 years over the guidelines recommendations! Continue reading “Do Incarcerated Black Lives Matter?”
Why We Can’t Go Free in Virginia
By Uhuru B. Rowe
August 18, 2016
Every year, hundreds, perhaps thousands of bills are introduced and passed by congress into law on the federal, state, and local level without the knowledge of the average American citizen. Most people are unaware that they can show up at committees when these bills are being debated, analyzed and voted on by politicians and voice their opposition to said bills in an effort to prevent them from becoming law. Many bills are introduced, passed and signed into law with little to no input from the public, especially from those who will be adversely affected by these laws. One such law is the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.
Continue reading “Why We Can’t Go Free in Virginia”
By Uhuru B. Rowe*
June 10, 2016
Well, it seems another Virginia (VA) Governor may bite the dust. Recently, CNN reported that Democratic VA Governor, Terry McAuliffe, is under investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Dept. of Justice for alleged improper financial contributions made to his 2013 Gubernatorial campaign by a Chinese businessman estimated to be worth $1 Billion. Continue reading “Virginia State Republicans’ Proxy War Against Poor, Black and Brown People and the Birth of the Free Virginia Movement.”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
February 18, 2016
“The Commission did not specifically address reinstating discretionary parole due to the limited time for the Commission and the interrelated and complex issues (including incomplete data), which made this issue difficult to address in the time period allowed….,” Governor Terry McAuliffe revealed about the Commission on Parole Review in the Executive Summary section of his December 4, 2015 Governor’s Commission on Parole Review Final Report and Recommendations (Final R&R, p. 5).
This statement came as a surprise to Virginia prisoners sentenced under the draconian no-parole (85 percent) law, our loved-ones and community grassroots organizations because we all were extremely optimistic that the Commission would do the just and fair thing and recommend that parole be reinstated. But, what is even more shocking is that the Commission did not even consider or address the issue of parole reinstatement even though this was the main reason why the Commission was established in the first place. Continue reading “The “Non-Review” of Parole Reinstatement by the Parole Review Commission”
By Uhuru B. Rowe
January 20, 2016
Today marks the 21st year of my incarceration here in Virginia. I remember quite vividly the first day I arrived at the old Richmond City Jail on the 20th of January, 1995. I was barely 18-years old, 140 pounds soaking wet, with no facial hair, naive and completely oblivious to the many struggles that lay ahead of me. Whatever innocence I retained after experiencing and surviving the deadly streets of Richmond was snatched away from me when the jail bars slammed closed behind me. I was thrust head first into a predatory prison environment full of hopelessness, violence, madness, insanity and chaos. Back then, if someone would have told me that after 21 years I still would be in prison, I would have found such a statement quite humorous. But spending decades in prison as I slowly transform from a vibrant teenager into a middle-aged adult with a salt-and-pepper beard is no laughing matter. Continue reading “21 YEARS A PRISONER”