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10.24.2012

fund this: hyphen stories on richard aoki and hawaiian prisoners



If you didn't know... Hyphen is an award-winning nonprofit publication, run by an all-volunteer staff. Most of the contributors work pro bono, but Hyphen is currently trying to raise some money to pay writers, photographers, multimedia producers and editors a modest stipend for a couple of special projects.

One is a feature story and multimedia on Hawaiian prisoners who are "exported" to a desert prison in Arizona, thousands of miles away from their families and roots. The other is an in-depth story on former Black Panther Richard Aoki and recent revelations about his life. Here are some more details on the Aoki story:
Hyphen editor and writer Momo Chang and contributor R.J. Lozada are working on a story about Richard Aoki, a former member of the Black Panther Party. In August, the San Francisco Chronicle and other media outlets published a story stating that Aoki was an FBI informant. Since the news came out, there has been an explosion of reactions, mostly from Asian Americans, leftists, scholars and historians.

For this project, Hyphen would like to provide more context about Richard Aoki's life and explore issues such as Asian-black relations, hero worship and other themes in a reported, in-depth story. You'll hear directly from those who knew Aoki, as well as Aoki himself in newly released audio, as part of our nifty multimedia package.

We hope to provide a balanced report about Aoki and the recent news by including a variety of perspectives, providing more context about his life, the recent findings and other information from our own investigative efforts.
Here's some more information on the Hawaii story:
Eloy is a sweltering, dusty prison town in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s also home to more incarcerated Hawaiians than any other places in the U.S.—including Hawaii. It’s part of a long process of prison outsourcing that began in the 1990s. Delbert Wakinekona was one of the very first Hawaiian prisoners transferred out of state. Over 40 years, he made his way through a series of prisons, eventually landing in Eloy.

The stark change in landscape, from the islands to the desert, is just part of the shock for prisoners like him. Time and again, studies have shown that contact with friends and family helps to lower recidivism rates but for many of these Hawaiian prisoners, visitations are an impossibility; a $2,000 trip to a desert penitentiary is a hard financial pill to swallow for most prisoners’ families.
This two important stories could really use your support. For further information, and to make a contribution, go the the campaign pages here and here. And for more information about the awesome journalism Hyphen is doing, visit the magazine's website here.