Kite Line is a radio program devoted to prison issues around the Midwest and beyond. Behind the prison walls, a message is called a kite: whispered words, a note passed hand to hand, or a request submitted to the guards for medical care. Illicit or not, sending a kite means trusting that other people will bear it farther along till it reaches its destination. On the show, we hope to pass along words across the prison walls.
November 24, 2023: Block Cop City
Since 2021, a diverse movement in has challenged the construction of Cop City, which is slated to destroy Atlanta's South River Forest. The forest is also known by its Muscogee name, Weelaunee. The movement has created new intersections between abolitionist and environmental politics, since it is defending a forest with important ecological elements for the surrounding Black community, in order to protest the creation of new police training facilities.
In the movement's latest phase, a new coalition called Block Cop City made an ambitious proposal for mass, non-violent action. That action forced the city to suspend construction that day- and as of our airdate- has not resumed in the days since.
Here are selections from the statement issued by Block Cop City about the mobilization:
On November 13th, a bold and joyful procession of roughly 500 people marched along a public road to the proposed Cop City construction site. Holding banners and giant puppets, and accompanied by drummers and a brass band, Block Cop City activists reclaimed Atlanta's rich civil rights legacy from politicians who continue to tarnish it with every voter disenfranchised and each tear gas canister thrown. Despite the violent response by police, activists minimized arrests and harm through careful planning, extensive preparation, and close attention to lessons learned from generations of revolutionary struggles against repression and authoritarianism.
Despite numerous stated commitments from religious leaders and city officials to honor the right to protest, armed riot police terrorized the crowd with tear gas grenades, attack dogs, clubs and ballistic shields.
As other protestors took to planting tree saplings in the Weelaunee Forest, journalists were forcibly separated from the crowd and threatened with arrest by police. We condemn this infringement of these journalists' rights as well as the arrest of protestors including the Indigenous activists arrested while visiting Tortuguita's altar in the Weelaunee Forest over the weekend.
The movement to Stop Cop City and Defend the Atlanta Forest is undeterred by today's police aggression.
Photo credit: Mia Beach
October 13, 2023: Surveillance and Social Media
On today's Kite Line, we are sharing more research conducted collectively by Micol Seigel's Inside-Out class. Last spring, this course brought together students at Indiana University and students held by the Indiana Department of Corrections. This presentation is focused on the tension between surveillance and sousveillance, a term for when apparatuses like social media and smartphones are turned around and used against state violence and official abuses.
Thanks to the students who wrote and recorded this project.
August 25, 2023: Transforming Trauma- Voices from Inside-Out
Content Warning: This episode contains references to sexual trauma and harm.
We start off this episode with our monthly round up of prison disturbances, as compiled by Perilous Chronicle- followed by some recent prison news.
We close our episode with a feature created by students as part of Dr. Micol Seigel’s Inside Out program at Indiana University. As mentioned on the show previously, the Inside Out program was started a means of bringing together campus-based students with incarcerated students for a semester-long course held in a prison, jail or other correctional setting. This feature was written, recorded, and edited by students inside and outside of the prison walls.
Dr. Seigel would like to thank the staff of Plainfield Correctional Facility for their assistance in guiding the Inside-Out class.
Advocacy Into Action
And now we return to the second part of our conversation between Micol Seigel and Amanda Hall. Last week, Hall talked to us about how her firsthand experience of incarceration led her to her current work in prisoner and re-entry support. And now she talks through her continuing advocacy through Dream.org and the ACLU.
You can find out more about Amanda’s work and Dream.org on their website.
July 7, 2023: Experience Into Advocacy
For this episode, we share the first part of a conversation between Micol Seigel and Amanda Hall. Hall talks to us about how her firsthand experience of incarceration led her to her current work in prisoner and re-entry support. We will air the second part of this conversation next week.
You can find out more about Amanda's work and Dream.org on their website.
June 2, 2023: The Atlanta Solidarity Fund
On the morning of May 31st, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department raided a house and arrested three staff members of the Atlanta Solidarity Fund. The Atlanta Solidarity Fund is a non profit organization that supports those arrested for protesting or otherwise prosecuted for involvement in social movements. Over the last year, the fund has focused on supporting those arrested for their involvement in the national movement to Stop Cop City, which opposes the construction of what would be the largest police training facility in the US, set to be built over an urban forest in South Atlanta and most notably featuring a 'mock city' for urban combat training and riot control.
The solidarity fund has posted bail and offered jail support to those arrested in relation to the movement.
This week's house raid is just the most recent attack on the struggle to Stop Cop City, which has experienced extreme repression by the state of Georgia this year. In January, an activist opposing the construciton of Cop City, Manuel Terran, also known as Tortuguita, was shot and killed by Georgia State Troopers, with over 57 gunshot wounds. Georgia police have made over 90 arrests in the past two years related to the movement, and 42 of those arrested are being charged with domestic terrorism.
The attempt by Georgia government to attack a nonprofit providing legal support, however, is a new development in this ongoing campaign against Georgian's civil rights. This is a part of a prosecutorial strategy of characterizing the entirety of Atlanta's popular Stop Cop City social movement as a terrorist organization. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp released a statement with this week's raid, promising to "track down every member of a criminal organization, from violent foot soldiers to their uncaring leaders."
UPDATE: On June 2nd, Judge Altman questioned the prosecution’s basis for the case and granted bond to all three defendants. He said, "“I'm concerned about some of the same things that the defense attorney mentions about the line between legitimate free speech and crossing into illegal violent acts... Paying for camping supplies and the like—I don't find it very impressive. There's not a lot of meat on the bones of the allegations that thousands of dollars are going to fund illegal activities."
The National Bail Fund Network is collecting donations for the Atlanta Solidarity Fund on a temporary basis as of May 31, 2023. All funds raised here will be used to support bail and legal defense funds of those being arrested and prosecuted in Atlanta.
More information at bit.ly/localbailfunds
Informational and Engrossing
Everyone should listen to this podcast.. it’ll open your eyes to the prison system, and to US American systems of injustice in general.
Best prisoner podcast hands down
I LOVE kiteline! It’s a woman-made syndicated radio program. They are so easy to listen to. Kiteline features interviews with prisoners, activists and professors which are as often funny and inspiring as they are sobering and sad. Interviews are paired with historical and sociological lessons on prison issues.
If only more people listened to this podcast and heard the stories of how prisons abuse their power. This podcast through interviews with scholars and people struggling in the system show the disastrous effects and harm produced by our prison system. Anyone interested in prison abolition should listen to this podcast.