The Beginning

A Brief Story of Our Past     

            FedUp! was founded in January of 2005 in response to reports of abuse reports at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP).  For two years FedUp! focused on countering physical abuse at Red Onion, along with two other high level security institutions located in the isolated, western district of Virginia - Wallens Ridge State Prison (WRSP) and Keen Mountain Correctional Center (KMCC). Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Frank Reid, Erika Zauzig, Grace Keller, Alexei Hong and etta cetera were the core working group.
            With a small group of people in Pittsburgh and a large number of people incarcerated in western Virginia, FedUp! documented abuse, advocated for individual people, distributed abuse logs, circulated a newsletter, and collaborated with community organizations in Virginia to raise awareness and protest conditions. People incarcerated reported that because of our activity conditions were improved and "abusive guards mellowed out."
            We realized that as long as prisons are designed and run as they are currently, there will always be abusive conditions and therefore - as long as there are prisons there must be concerned members of the community monitoring the behavior of the guards, staff and administrators and speaking up!
            In January 2007, FedUp! became a chapter of the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) and expanded its scope to include Pennsylvania.  Due to the increase of activity and interest in Pennsylvania and the many struggles we have working across state lines,  as of January 2009, HRC-FedUp! is no longer capable of advocating for people in Virginia.  
           In addition to recording abuse and advocating for people in prison, FedUp! has developed resources, conducted film screenings, created regular radio reports and participated in many workshops and community panels on a myriad of issues surrounding the struggles for justice related to the prison system.
           This Pittsburgh Chapter of HRC was influenced and co-founded by Russell Maroon Shoatz, Robert Saleem Holbrook, Jerome Coffee, Nuno Pontes, Lizzie Anderson, Andre Gay, Todd Tarselli and etta cetera. 
           Andrea Chiotti, Say Burgin, Bret Grote, Ruth Marshall, Johann Lynge, Amanda Johnson, Dominique Reed, Saundra Cole, Hannah Taleb, Shandre Delaney, Willie Harvin, Nikki Donnelly, Devon Cohen, James Tedrow, North Star,  Ben Crouse, Sigh Meltingstar, Amanda Overstreet and the Thomas Merton Center have been instrumental in supporting and continuing the work of FedUp!