Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wanda's Picks June 27, 2012 CA Women Prisoners Special

We are dedicating this broadcast to the women and men behind bars, literally and figuratively. Our first guest, Professor Angela A. Allen-Bell is Assistant Professor of Legal Analysis & Writing at Southern University Law Center in Louisiana. She speaks to us about the 40th Anniversary of Angola 3 inmates Albert Woodfox & Herman Wallace's stint in solitary confinement and the actions April 17, 2012 in Baton Rouge. She also gives us the context and results of Woodfox's recent 3 day hearing and the momentum built to ensure his release this time. Visit

Angela A. Allen-Bell is a 1998 graduate of the Southern University Law Center (SULC) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After law school, she spent ten years working at an appellate court and, in this capacity, gained an expertise in appellate law. In 2008, she went to work as a law professor at (SULC). Professor Bell is a committed public servant whose scholarly interests include social justice, civil rights, human rights and prisoner rights issues.

Professor Bell finds great solace in the written and spoken word. She writes and publishes poetry and legal articles. Additionally, Professor Bell often speaks in schools and to professional organizations, as a motivational speaker or about cultural competency or on legal, social, criminal justice or human rights topics.

Her proudest accomplishment is remaining true to her Christian principles in all she does. A prayer intercessor recently described her as a “minister of justice.” After thinking on this, she reread Jeremiah 5:1 and humbly owned the label, knowing that God said “give me 1 who seeks justice” and realizing that the pursuit of justice is where her soul abides.

Her list of publications follows:

• Angela A. Allen-Bell, Perception Profiling & Prolonged Solitary Confinement Viewed Through The Lens of The Angola 3 Case: When Prison Officials Become Judges, Judges Become Visually Challenged and Justice Becomes Legally Blind, 39 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (spring 2012).

• Angela A. Allen-Bell, Bridge Over Troubled Waters and Passageway on a Journey to Justice: National Lessons Learned About Justice From Louisiana's Response to Hurricane Katrina, 46 Cal. W. L. Rev. 2 (Spring 2010).

The next hour we speak to Hamdiya Cooks, Administrative Director at of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children. She speaks about Georgia Horton, who is currently up for parole, and what it means to go to the board hearings. As former executive director of California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Mrs. Cooks also updates us on the proposed conversion of Valley State prison, also in Central Valley, Chowchilla, CA. Mrs. Beatrice Smith joins Mrs. Cooks to continue our conversation about Ms. Horton. We also speak about long term incarceration and its impact on both the prisoner and her family. Mrs. Smith, a formally battered woman, left three young children when she was incarcerated for 16 years. The youngest was ten. She talks about rebuilding or mending severed relationships. Both she and Mrs.Cooks talk about the CA Habeas Project.

Sabina Zuniga-Varela, "Medea," speaks about her role in Luis Alfaro's BRUJA at Magic Theatre, Ft. Mason Ctr., San Francisco through July 1, 2012. Visit

Born and raised in New Mexico, daughter of a Civil Rights Activist and a Vietnam Vet, Sabina was raised on red and green chile, elk meat, jazz, and Cat Stevens. A graduate from the prestigious MFA program at the University of Southern California, she currently resides in Los Angeles.

She is a founding member of Teatro Nuevo Mexico, a Latino theater company and current member of the Latina theatre troupe Las Meganenas.Currently she tours with Will & Co. in the show Portraits of Courage: Latinos Shaping a Nation written and directed by Colin Cox.

Zuniga Varela is recipient of the 2007 Best Female Performer of the Year from the NM Hispano Entertainers Association for her portrayal of Frida Kahlo in Still Life, produced by Camino Real Productions, which opened at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque and subsequently toured to San Miguel Allende, Mexico

She was honored to perform the roles of "Masha" in Three Sisters, directed by Kate Burton, "Feste & Antonio" in Twelfth Night, directed by Andrew J. Robinson, and 6 various roles in an original piece entitled Forget My Name, directed by David Bridel. Other favorite roles include "Dunia" in Tanya Saracho's El Nogalar, inspired by The Cherry Orchard, the title character in Luis Alfaro's Electricidad and Rosaura in Jose Rivera's Sueño.

Zuniga Varela is also a certified Special Education teacher (MA in Gifted and Twice-Exceptional Education), with experience in social justice theatre curriculum development.

We close with the second, third and fourth, part of an interview with Georgia Horton June 10, 2012. Because she is in a CA Correctional Facility she has to make multiple calls for us to complete the interview. I get almost to the end of the fourth. About seven minutes is missing.

Write letters of support for her parole hearing July 11, 2012 to: Georgia Horton W33911, Central California Women's Facility 512-20-3L, P.O. Box 1508, Chowchilla, CA 93610-1508.

The 40th Anniversary shot courtesy of Professor Allen-Bell is in the pants suit to the right of Albert's brother Michael Mable (in white t-shirt, front row).

Mrs. Beatrice Smith and Wanda Brown, formerly incarcerated. W. Brown was released a few months ago after over 20 years. Hers was the first Habeas case in San Francisco County. Photo credit: Wanda Sabir

Actress, Sabina Zuniga Varela (Sabina's website)


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