Steve Champion: 9 days into his death row hunger strike

Date of Alert: 
Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Steve Champion: Nine days into his death row hunger strike, he’s lost 51 pounds

 From: SF Bay View, Oct 15th 2012

by Birgit Czerny

I just got back from my visit with Ajani [Anthony Ross] that went from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. [on Saturday, Oct. 13]. Everyone in the prison treated me very politely, very friendly. They granted an extension of our visit with generosity. We both thanked for this fair treatment – Ajani on his side of the glass wall and me on my side of the glass wall.
The following information comes from Adisa [Steve Champion] and Ajani and can and should be spread out into the public:

First: Adisa is doing very well and he is also being treated very well. He is in a strong mindset and very dedicated to his goal.

Today he weighs around 76 kilos (167 pounds), having gone down already within nine days from around 99 kilos (218 pounds).

Now the details:

He started his hunger strike on Oct. 4. He expressed it aloud and put a written sign, a written message on the little window of his cell. This written sign remains at the window of his cell door.

The next day, Oct. 5, he was pulled out of his cell and the people who are usually part of the committee that decides whether he has to stay at AC (Adjustment Center in solitary confinement) or not talked to him.

Adisa explained everything about his hunger strike, about the reasons for coming to that decision, his demands, and they asked him to stop the hunger strike. Adisa said NO. Other than that, they didn’t say much, but they documented everything.

Beginning on Friday Oct. 5, he’s been pulled out of his cell every day. They take him every morning into a room in AC, like a medical room for examinations. An RN takes his weight, temperature, blood pressure and writes everything down.

Two to three times a week they take him to the hospital. There the examination goes further; additionally, they take blood and do an ekg. And they give him electrolytes to add to his fluids, which he does.
On Monday, Oct. 8, the associate warden talked to him. The associate warden said he is going to come back next week (this means this coming Monday, Oct. 15).

Also daily there comes a psychiatrist who wants to talk to Adisa, but Adisa only ignores him.

Today, Adisa is going out to yard. Nobody is treating him badly or harassing him. He also receives mail.

Guards came to Ajani and were asking him if he will be part of the hunger strike, and he said NO.

Kherm [Carmen Lee Ward, who began his hunger strike on Sept. 23] is also still on hunger strike, and he is doing well; the prison guards and prison administration treat him fairly.

Nobody else has joined this hunger strike so far.

Adisa wants us to keep putting pressure on the warden and the CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation). He also wants more public attention.

Ajani also has been treated fairly by the prison system.

Birgit Czerny is the wife of Anthony Ross, or Ajani. He, Steve Champion, or Adisa, and Stanley Tookie Williams had been close friends throughout their incarceration on San Quentin’s death row. Ajani and Adisa were moved shortly before Tookie’s execution on Dec. 13, 2005, to solitary confinement in the notorious San Quentin Adjustment Center, where they remain nearly seven years later. Birgit is a Green Party member of the Frankfort Parliament in Germany. She visited Anthony this weekend. She can be reached at The Bay View thanks Professor Tom Kerr, Adisa’s editor and friend, for relaying this report.

How you can help
Read the first report on Steve Champion’s hunger strike and his demands here. He asks that we flood the offices of key prison officials with calls and emails:

San Quentin Warden Kevin Chappell, or (415) 454-1460
CDCR Press Secretary Jeffrey Callison,
CDCR Deputy Press Secretary Terry Thorton,
Tell them: “We are aware of Steve Champion’s hunger strike and concerned for his health. We look to you to respond to him promptly, constructively and appropriately.”

A petition addressed to Warden Chappell has been posted by Diane Bukowski, editor of Voice of Detroit. Sign it here.

Listen to the Pacifica Evening News’ excellent report, broadcast throughout California on Monday, Oct. 15

Send our brother Adisa some love and light to keep his spirits high through this ordeal: Steve Champion, C-58001, San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin CA 94974. And read his book, “Dead to Deliverance: A Death Row Memoir,” available at or Split Oak Press,