Successful Hunger Strike in North Carolina Prison

Published May 28, 2021

Successful Hunger Strike in North Carolina Prison

The following report was submitted to a statewide prison newsletter, from an organizer at Bertie CI, in eastern North Carolina. His name is kept anonymous because participants have faced continued retaliation.

Peace to all the comrades out there standing against oppression. After being forced to live in unclean conditions in Bertie’s Restrictive Housing Unit, myself and a small group of brothers stood in rebellion against only being allowed to clean our cells once a week, and not being allowed proper PPE during the pandemic—where proper self-hygiene could mean the difference between life and death.

We engaged in a hunger strike that lasted almost six days before our demands were met and we were brought proper cleaning supplies, face masks, and hand soap. Even though we kept things peaceful, the system hates unity, and in retaliation they sent officers to strip us of our property. When we refused, officers on the Prison Emergency Response Team (PERT) hit the unit and forcibly removed and beat some of us. This led to our fellow convicts flooding their cells and refusing cell searches.

It was a small victory in an uphill battle, but through it all, it made me proud to see not just blacks but whites as well come together for a common cause that affected all of us. Together we can’t lose, regardless of race or creed we in this together.

Until every cell is empty, stand up and stay strong.