• Danica Johnson

Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"

Mindful Movement Mondays

Hello family and welcome to Black History Month here at Creative Soul Digest. There has been a shift to focus on positive aspects of Black History rather than enslavement and the hardship that is our history. I, for one, fully support this and because of that want to spend this month discussing our amazing back excellence, our fight against adversity, acknowledging organizations that are uplifting our communities, and all things for the culture. WE GO HIGH!!

2020 was such an important year to let the world know we will not stand quiet, and, to show the world we are a united force to be reckoned with (all eyes on us). Since, we have seen many businesses and movements supporting Black Lives and standing in solidarity with us. Of course, here at Eclectuals WE BEEN DOING THIS, and we want to continue to educate and support our brothas and sistas. To begin this month’s Mindful Movement Monday I want to discuss change and movements for prison reform as well as youth programs. Let’s start with movements for prison reform.

The Case for Prison Reform

It’s simple really…the prison system is the continuation of enslavement. Mass incarceration is a huge problem in are country for the simple fact that it’s racist. It attempts to do nothing to fix the problem nor solve the social injustice crisis. It instead puts our men, women, and young people in concrete walls and steel cages. How do we fix this broken system? What’s the solution to correcting the system that continues to institutionalize our people so unjustly? Abolition is ultimately the answer since it’s been rooted in our country’s history. It’s a practical program rooted in how people sustain and improve their lives, cobbling together insights and strategies from disparate, connected struggles (TheMarshallProgject). As the Marshall Project has said “ We know we won’t bulldoze prisons and jails tomorrow, but as long as they continue to be advanced as the solution, all of the inequalities displaced to crime and punishment will persist. We’re in a long game.” Many in the movement believe “full dismantling of the carceral state and the institutions that support it. “(level.medium). However, before we can do this we have to start with "investing in a future that puts justice and the needs of the community first” (Colin Kaepernick). What that means is we can’t move forward if we don’t have a system in place to support and uphold justice in our community, or a plan for successful rehabilitation of those who have been placed in the system. We need our communities to feel safe and for programs to be put in place to support the next generation to stop the cycle. I can go on and on about what’s wrong and what’s right and the steps we MUST take but instead I’ll leave you with people to follow and some articles to read.

Alliance for Global Justice

Jericho Movement

The Chicago Community Bond Fund

The National Bail Out Collective

The Marshall Project Articles

Grassroots Law Project

List of Political Prisoners in the US

This was an interesting read and I bet most of you were unaware of this. There’s a list of 54 political prisoners that was done by humanitarian NGO’s of people whom were imprisoned for political reasons. The correct definition of a political prisoner is this: someone who opposes or criticizes the government of their country and political activity. I don’t know about you but the past 4 years and last month alone we’d have most of the country arrested and held as political prisoners. Since we didn’t here’s the list of those that have been held as political prisoners for years and why:

1. Byron Shane Chubbuck (Oso Blanco)

a. Imprisoned 1999

b. Sentence: 80s years

c. Affiliation: Zapatista Army of National Liberation

d. Known by his indigenous name Oso Blanco, Blanco is serving an 80 year sentence for

a series of bank expropriations throughout the southwest. He is part of the wolf clan

Cherokee/Choctaw and was raised in New Mexico. He was known by the FBI as the

'Robin Hood' since he was believed to expropriating funds to assist the poor and

indigenous people fighting for independence in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas


2. Leonard Peltier

a. Imprisoned: 1976

b. Sentence: two life sentences

c. Affiliation: American Indian Movement

d. Known as an activist for Native American civil rights he was charged with first degree

murder of an FBI agent in a shoot out at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. It

was later revealed that ballistic evidence was withheld and his conviction was changed to

aiding and abetting. The controversy surrounding his case was that the people he was

accused of aiding and abetting were found not guilty because they acted in self-defense.

3. Luis V. Rodriguez

a. Imprisoned: 1981

b. Sentence: death penalty, commuted to life sentence

c. Affiliation: Independent

d. Rodriguez was convicted of first degree murder of two highway patrol men and was

given the death penalty which was later overturned to a life sentence. Rodriguez was

known for his work with the youth as a counselor. He was also once affiliated with the

Brown Berets, a Chicano-Native American militant organization against racism and other

social injustice.

4. Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (Hubert Gerold Brown)

a. Imprisoned: 2000

b. Sentence: Life sentence

c. Affiliation: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

d. Brown is also known as H. Rap Brown and was the 5th chairman of the SNCC. He is a

civil rights activist and served as the minister of justice with the Black Panther Party. His

autobiography Die Nigger Die is also well known. Brown is serving a life sentence after

the shooting of two Fulton County Sheriff Deputies in 2000. Otis Jackson, a man

incarcerated for other charges claimed that he committed the shootings not Brown however,

the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this appeal in 2019.

5. Janet Holloway

a. Imprisoned: 1978

b. Sentence: 100 years eligible for parole after serving 30

c. Affiliation: MOVE

d. MOVE was a group of 9 men and women and was described as a cross between Black

Panthers and the hippie movement. They campaigned for respect for nature and for equal

rights and treatment of black Americans. Janet and many others were imprisoned in August

1978 after police a police siege of their home. Due to their unconventional attitudes they

were always in conflict with neigbours and the Philidelphia Police. After the siege an officer

was shot and killed. The five men and 4 women were all sentenced to 30 years to life in

prison. Janet and Janine were the last of the four women in the group to be paroled or die

behind bars.

6. Janine Philips

a. Imprisoned: 1978

b. Sentence: 100 years eligible for parole after serving 30

c. Affiliation: MOVE

d. MOVE was a group of 9 men and women that was a cross between Black Panthers and

the hippie movement. They campaigned for respect for nature and for equal rights and

treatment of black Americans. Janet and many others were imprisoned in August 1978 after

police a police siege of their home. Due to their unconventional attitudes they were always

in conflict with neigbours and the Philidelphia Police. After the siege an officer was shot

and killed. The five men and 4 women were all sentenced to 30 years to life in prison.

Janet and Janine were the last of the four women in the group to be paroled or die behind


7. Joy Powell

a. Imprisoned: 2007

b. Sentence: Life plus 16 years

c. Affiliation: Equality and Justice for All

d. Here’s one that will blow your mind!! Pastor Powell was a former activist and Pentecostal

Pastor from Rochester, New York whose career was built on fighting against gang violence

and police misconduct. In 1995 she was raped by a correctional officer and after

appealing to authorities to investigate the matter she was denied and ignored. Since she

coordinated protests calling for police accountability. Her son was also a victim of gang

violence when he was shot and killed in a gang shooting in which he was a bystander. In

2006 she was arrested and charged with felony assault and burglary after a pawn shop

broker gave her description to the police as someone who had sold him stolen

merchandise. Despite the lack of evidence and her entire congregations testimony that she

was with them leading bible study the night in question she was convicted by an all white

jury and sentenced to 16 years in prison. She maintains her innocence stating that this was

not only false but politicaly motivated due to her attempt to bring criminal charges against

the deputy who raped her. In 2009, while serving her sentence charges were brought

against her again for a 1992 murder after a jailhouse informant claimed to have witnessed

the homicide and claim she was involved. Coincidentally this happened as support was

mounting to appeal her original charge. In 2011, she was convicted of second degree

murder based on the testimony of the informant and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison

which wouldn’t start until she completed the previous 16 year sentence. WOW!

Folks there’s many many more! A list of 54 political prisoners in which 28 are BLACK!!! I’m almost certain each one of these cases involves law enforcement as well. I’m bringing this to your attention for awareness and to call for action. While the spotlight is on us let’s put it to good use. If you aren’t sure where to start reach out to one of these organizations and lend a hand in the fight. We call for a fair trial, the release of those wrongfully imprisoned, and a better justice system. FIGHT THE POWER! Click here for the full list

Okay I won’t rant. I do want to put y’all on some youth mentorship programs though so here’s a few to be in the KNOW about…

The Fight For Our Youth

National Urban League

A civil rights organization founded in 1910 that spearheads the development of social programs and “elevating the lives of African Americans and other underserved communities.” This organization provides job training, housing, workforce development, and community development.

Youth 1st

Is a Christian based organization in Los Angeles that works with at risk youth to provide mentorship and small group discussions.

No Kids in Prison

These folks are on a mission to close juvinille detention centers and focus on investing in youth community programs for kids. Check out their website for all the facts and information they have on the “how” and “why” and how you can be a part of this vision.

Peace 4 Kids

This amazing organization works with kiddo’s in foster care to provide stability, consistency, and trust in an effort to instill insight and resilence into those at risk. They work with little ones as young as 4 and up into adulthood. They are based in the Los Angeles area and have been around for 30 years.

Color Compton

This organization is on a mission to build community with the youth while also exploring identity, history, and art. They believe in helping the youth develop their own narrative while also building leadership skills so that they can play a vital role in community activism.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

This organization is nationwide and their goal is to provide one on one mentorship with an adult and young person in hopes of fostering and inspiring relationship that helps the young person achieve their full potential. The age range is 7 through high school.

There’s many more but these were just a few I wanted to highlight. Be sure to check out what’s happening in your local community so you can lend your support as well. In order to change things we must be the change and inspire it within our youth.

Last thing is looking at some amazing book programs for those incarcerated. At the core first and foremost Eclectuals is a bookstore with the goal to educate, expand minds, and feed your mental diet while quenching your souls thirst. We believe in supporting our brothers and sisters by giving them the same opportunities to educate and enlighten while we fight for them outside and they fight the battle inside. Here’s a few amazing programs to know about:

Books For A Cause

Books to Prisoners

Locations: Alabama, California, Ohio, Oregon, Illinois, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Vermont, Louisiana, Washington, Wisconsin,


Read Between the Bars


Pages and Time

Prison Library Project

Prisoners Literature Project


Pages for Prisons


Prison Book Connection on Facebook @ ctprisonbook


Books to Prison Project


Open Books Prison Book Project


X Books


Liberation Library

A volunteer run and abolitionist organization that provides books to young people in Illinois prisons and jails. Founded in 2015 the readers are given a choice of what materials they’d like to read or would find interesting. I love their model, “Our model encourages our readers to have choice and ownership in a world where they are often devoid of both.”

Chicago Books to Women in Prison

Reading Reduces Recidivism


Pages to Prisoners Project


Great Falls Book Through Bars

Prison Book Program


Unitarian Universalist Ann Arbor Prison Books


Women's Prison Book Project


Big House Books


Prison Books Program

New Jersey

Books Behind Bars

New York

Buffalo Books Through Bars

Books Beyond Bars

Ithaca College Books Thru Bars on Facebook @ICBTB

NYC Books Through Bars

North Carolina

Prison Book Collective

Saxapahaw Prison Books

Transmission Prison Project


Rogue Liberation library



Rhode Island

Providence Book Through Bars


Tennessee Prison Book Project


Inside Books


Books Behind Bars

West Virginia

Appalachian Prison Book Project

Okay folks that's all I have for you on this Mindful Movement Monday. I'll have more good stuff for you all week and next week as we finish Black History Month Strong. Besides all the amazing stuff I've already provided I have more recommendations for you below. Continue to support Small Black Business Owners while we still navigate through surviving this Pandemic. Check ya Later...

--Be Free

Your family at Eclectuals

"Where we mind your mental diet!"

Book Recommendations

Murder Incorporated by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis

Support Black Business

Partake Foods

Clare Paint

Coffee Recommendations

Eclectic Sunset

A sumatra and Indonesian coffee from the Ketiara collective (women farmers). It's a dark, earthy, deep, full bodied, and complex coffee. It's flavors are creamy, sweet, spice, and butterscotch.

We Are Someone You Should Know

--We are purveyors of literature, gourmet coffee, fashion, style and art." We believe in cooperative economics in the black community locally and nationally thereby promoting and/highlighting other black artisans and black owned businesses through our book subscription Eclectic Crates and our Artisan Market of goods and services.

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