Episode 29: The Legacy of Black August: Freedom Struggles from Prison Today

August 26, 2020

On Episode 29 of the Activist Files, communications assistant Alex Webster speaks with TRANScending Barriers executive director Zahara Green and Abolitionist Law Center executive director Robert "Saleem" Holbrook about what Black August means to them and the ways that they continue its legacy in their work. They discuss the importance of honoring the solemnity of the month, how current and former prisoners are the embodiment of Black August, and how we must take this moment to remember those freedom fighters who are still inside. They also highlight the ongoing work to challenge transphobia in both prisons and in organizing, the impact of COVID-19, and how abolition is an undertaking that requires entire social transformation.


Black political and activist prisoners:

Ashley Diamond; Southern Poverty Law Center's prior case

Fred "Muhammad" Burton

Russell "Maroon" Shoatz; Abolitionist Law Center's case

Arthur "Cetewayo" Johnson

Joseph "Jo-Jo" Bowen

Mumia Abu-Jamal;  Abolitionist Law Center's case

Center for Constitutional Rights, Abolitionist Law Center, and others work together on a case challenging death by incarceration in Pennsylvania 


Article on Zahara Green's case

Articles on Ashley Diamond's previous case

Articles on TRANScending Barriers' re-entry support work and sex work decriminalization advocacy

Article on Black Philly Radical Collective action calling for release of political prisoners


TRANScending Barriers

Abolitionist Law Center

National Jericho Movement

Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Black & Pink

National PREA Resource Center

Human Rights Coalition

Amistad Law Project

Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project

Writings and publications

Kuwasi Balagoon, A Soldier's Story (including article by Akinyele Umoja)

Dan Berger, Captive Nation

George Jackson, Soledad Brother

San Francisco Bay View 


Zahara Green started their advocacy for transgender rights while incarcerated, and has been an advocate in the transgender community for over 10 years. The co-founder and executive director of TRANScending Barriers, Zahara also acts as board president of Black & Pink, and works with the National PREA Resource Center to end sexual abuse in confinement. Zahara spends most of their time working towards the liberation of their people.

Robert "Saleem" Holbrook is executive director of the Abolitionist Law Center. He is a co-founder of the Human Rights Coalition, an organization composed of family members of prisoners that advocates on behalf of prisoners' civil and human rights, and sits on the advisory boards of the Amistad Law Project and Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project.