Wake Up, Massachusetts!

Wake Up, Massachusetts!

Donald Perry3

By Donald Perry, Uncensored, On The Record and On Film
In Washington Irving’s tale Rip Van Winkle slept for 20 years but even he finally woke up. Now, it is our turn to wake up and take immediate action to oppose Parole Chairman Josh Wall’s nomination for Judgeship in Massachusetts.

My name is Donald Perry. I’m a MA parolee and advocate for prison reform. Furthermore, I am one of many victims of Mr. Wall’s arrogance and over-all abuse of authority. Case in point, as most people know, August 3, 2011 while on parole I gave someone a ride…was pulled over after the person bailed out of my vehicle. In the process, stuff was left in my car that I assumed belonged to my passenger. Later, I was informed that there had been some break-ins in the area and the bag left in my car contained stolen merchandise. For my part though, I proved that I was home when the break-ins occurred and finger prints plus foot prints at the crime scene exonerated me further of committing a crime. The District Attorney assigned to the case ultimately charged me with receiving stolen property. Subsequently, there was a 4 day trial. The jury deliberated for about 2 hours or so and I was unanimously “acquitted” on “2” separate counts of Receiving Stolen Property.

I was on parole though and on the day of the acquittal I was returned to Walpole State Prison on a “Parole Warrant”, i.e. instead of being free to go home. This warrant was promptly lodged against me once I’d been taken into custody by MA State Police. To this day the Parole Officer that I had at the time has never spoke with me to find out what actually happened the morning of August 3, 2011. Once I returned to Walpole, I was subjected to a variety of assumptions and mistreatment by parole personnel under the supervision and leadership of Parole Chairman Josh Wall.

During my incarceration I was represented by Attorney Luke Ryan and his father, former First Justice of Northampton District Court, Judge Michael Ryan. Neither could believe the way they were treated by Parole Personnel. According to former Judge Ryan,“ You have to surrender your humanity. Your treatment is so degrading.” He goes on to say, “They don’t practice the common courtesy of the court system. There was no constitutional protections.”

Subsequently, after my earlier stated acquittal and exoneration of allegations of committing any crimes, it took about 8 months for me to go before a full parole panel to petition to be re-paroled. Based on the parole warrant and repetitive statements by parole personnel, publicly people were lead to believe and I was even prepared at my hearing to be thoroughly interrogated to determine whether or not I committed a crime or violated any of the conditions of my previous parole. Surprisingly though, my hearing lasted for approx. 2 hours and a half. The majority of this time was spent questioning me about several past romantic relationships, the fact that I had held several different jobs, etc. with about 5 minutes or so discussing the events of August 3rd. After the hearing it took another 7 months to get the panel’s decision. I was finally released 6 months later. That means I remained incarcerated for 1 year and 7 months after proving via the above-stated facts that I didn’t commit a crime or do anything to violate the conditions of my parole.

Chairman Josh Wall was not at my Revocation Hearing or Parole Release Hearing. We have never talked and he has never questioned me about any of the events of August 3rd. However, when interviewed by film-producer Joe Berlinger for his debut in the recently produced 8-part justice documentary called “The System” Mr. Wall states “ I’m not exactly sure what his role was but in some way he/Mr. Perry was connected to breaking into his neighbor’s house and the Parole Board can’t tolerate that.”

I resent Mr. Wall’s statement for “2” reasons:

#1. The truth supported by clear and actual facts of being alibied… forensic evidence and an acquittal by a jury proved on August 3rd I did not commit a crime or engage in any activity to violate the conditions of my parole.
#2. Since my incarceration in 1983 I’ve worked hard to turn my life around. In fact, as a Black man I’ve often had to work twice as harder as anyone else to accomplish the smallest goal. As a result, in the past 25 to 30 years I’ve diligently invested a lot of waking hours, energy and effort into achieving my accomplishments thus-far. Recently, Colorado Cure referenced my strife and accomplishments when stating “Donald Perry, paroled in 2001 after nearly 19 years of incarceration has become a poster-child for successful re-entry. He finished college and became an advocate for the homeless, a community servant in high regard.”

I have never met Mr. Wall nor have I ever had a conversation with him. But, during his interview Mr. Wall callously and wantonly dismissed my life’s struggle with mere speculations and assumptions. This act was not fair nor remotely humane or even grounded in conviction. Mr. Wall tries to justify his action when stating “The important piece of evidence is that Mr. Perry had the Ipad and he’s being followed by the police.” He goes on to say, “”When you put these pieces of information together, if you’re experienced in these matters like parole board members would be who have assessed situations, it wasn’t a difficult call to make.”

For anyone capable of thinking for themselves and analyzing what Mr. Wall is saying this still doesn’t make commonsense. Case in point, how can he or the parole board possibly refute the factual evidence demonstrating that I didn’t do anything wrong? And, if he or the parole board could actually prove I committed a crime or violated the conditions of my parole, shouldn’t they have kept me in custody???

None of that makes sense and retired Judge Ryan adequately accessed the situation when he said, “It’s just so arbitrary. If you believe in American values and the rights of the constitution…these people don’t. As a matter of fact I said to Luke, I think it’s un-American. They have no respect for a jury system. The right to confront your accuser. The right to have impartial people decide your fate. There’s none of that in this parole system.”

This is just my story, but multiply it by the hundreds if not thousands of people who have been and are currently being ill-affected by the abusive procedures and practices of the MA Parole System, you will agree that Josh Wall should not be rewarded for his supervision and leadership of the MA Parole System. In years to come this debacle is going to cost the state of MA millions upon millions of dollars it can ill-afford.

So, wake up Massachusetts out of your slumber. It’s time to crawl out of your cocoons and take immediate action to oppose Josh Wall’s nomination for a judgeship.


July 18 Speak Out in Solidarity with the Palestinian Struggle for Justice


Altar, memorial to honor lives lost Altar to honor lives lost, memorial in Northampton MA

Join us again for a rally and march
in solidarity with the people of Palestine

on Friday June 18 at 7pm
Northampton Town Hall

Details on facebook

Stand out in solidarity with Palestine

Over 20 people came out today in answer to the call of standing in solidarity with the people of Palestine during the most recent attacks by the settler state of Israel.  Organizers from Code Pink, The International Socialist Organization, Western MA Peace Committee, Western Mass Coalition with Palestine and various other people came forward.

We made memorials and did a short march through downtown Northampton to honor the lives lost and those who are still resisting.

Since late June when three Israeli teens went missing, Israel has been massacring the people of Gaza and the West Bank in revenge, going so far as to declare that…

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WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED | Eviction Blockade

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(video from Michelle William, MassLive)
Jeff Solivan Vs. Mel Watts
Springfield No One Leaves

“Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are the two largest mortgage holders & forecloser’s in the country. But they are owned by US, the taxpayers, after they were bailed out in 2008! Rather than working to support local communities and provide affordable housing, they are refusing loan modifications with principal reduction, evicting families no-fault, preventing common sense buy backs for people after foreclosure (Mass AG Sues Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae over Foreclosure Policy), and have refused to contribute almost $1 Billion in congressionally mandated funding to the National Housing Trust Fund which would create & maintain affordable housing, stimulate the economy and create jobs!”
Springfield No One Leaves/Nade Se Mude

A Communal Reading of a Lecture by Frederick Douglass




“To work for ‘a more perfect union’ we need to start to understand complexities we’ve never really worked through.”








In his fiery July 5, 1852 speech, the great abolitionist orator Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence …

Sponsors: AFSC, Amherst Human Rights Commission, Amherst NAACP, David Ruggles Center, Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, Leverett Peace Commission, Mass Humanities, Mass Slavery Apology Project, NE Peace Pagoda, Peacenet, Project Unspeakable, Sankofa Foundation of the Pioneer Valley, Sojourner Truth Memorial Committee and Traprock Peace Center.

Find out more about the “Reading Frederick Douglass” statewide collaboration at http://www.masshumanities.org

download the flyer –> RFD Flyer

Inventing Terrorists

Project SALAM

We’ve been working on our database of domestic “terrorism” prosecutions since about early 2009, and have been working on the Report over the past year and a half. It’s been slow, since it’s a completely volunteer effort. But I think it’s good quality work, combining legal experience with these cases, Steve Downs’ ability to see the big picture (I get lost in the details), lots of data analyzed , a great database written by Lynne Jackson, and superb editing and advice on how to make the report more professional from Jeanne Finley.

Please check out the Report, there is a link to it at this site. Basically what we did was to look at all the cases which DOJ termed “terrorism cases” and analyze them to see how many were what we call “preemptive prosecution” cases. As defined in our Report, “preemptive prosecution is a law enforcement strategy, developed…

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Acclaimed Syrian writer doubles as a taxi driver

Acclaimed Syrian writer doubles as a taxi driver, Al Jazeera


Lydia Davis, Osama Alomar, Sjon, PEN America Literary Festival

Lydia Davis, Osama Alomar, Sjon, PEN America Literary Festival

I read in a book the following piece of wisdom: “He who remains silent in the face of injustice is a mute Satan.” I went out into the street and saw Satan everywhere.
-from Fullblood Arabian, Osama Alomar

Osama Alomar is a kind of superhero.

Purchase Fullblood Arabian
Osama Alomar pursues his literary ambitions in exile

Vanessa L

Remembering JFK on his Birthday

Remembering JFK on his birthday
Today · · Taken in Northampton, Massachusetts
Project Unspeakable Committee members remember JFK and his legacy on his birthday! Celebrate the life of a man dedicated to change and speak what is unspeakable – upload a photo of yourself with a sign stating what JFK means to you.
#ProjectUnspeakable #HappyBdayJFK


Donald Perry and the Massachusetts Parole System

Donald Perry

Panel discussion last night; Over 50 people came out to listen to Donald Perry’s story, Northampton

Donald Perry was released from MCI Shirley on March 20, 2014.

Donald Perry, Elaine Arsenault, Vira Cage, Attny. Luke Ryan and Robin DiAngelo talk about Donald Perry’s incarceration, release, the prison industrial complex and the racism & white supremacy that fuel this system. Video coming soon.
Organized by OutNow and Arise for Social Justice.

former soup kitchen organizer raps system
stay connected – Updates about Donald Perry
The System – An Al Jazeera original series

Vanessa L.

Clean Up The Mines

The radiation from these mines is everywhere.
It is in our air, our water, our food and our land.
It is accumulating in our bodies and permanently altering our human DNA chain. It has caused the people of the northern plains to have the highest cancer rates in the country.
A Call to Action

The Uranium Exploration and Mining Accountability Act calls for a moratorium on uranium mining in the U.S. until all open mines have been cleaned up. This bill was written by Charmaine White Face and the Defenders of the Black Hills.

Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva has agreed to raise the bill & Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern has agreed to sponsor it.

Nipponzan Myohoji Japanese Monks and Nuns are currently leading activists on a 47 day walk to Washington D.C. where they will have an audience with congressional officials to raise the bill and other pertinent bills related to environmental safety and demilitarization.
Learn more about the bill and what you can do to help
visit defendblackhills.org