David Gilbert has been in prison since the early 1980s and somehow has managed to keep right on doing all he can from the inside to help many on both the inside and the outside.
David's sojourn starts out in a familiar way (involvement in civil rights, anti-war, anti-imperialist movements, helps found a major SDS chapter), takes a less common turn into the Weather Underground , and then moves in a direction only a handful of white activists have ever gone. David, and a few others, made common cause with a group of Black revolutionaries, the Black Liberation Army.
As described by the Denver Anarchist Black Cross:
"In the late 1970s or early 1980s Gilbert and other white activists took the name RATF (Revolutionary Armed Task Force), declaring their solidarity with the Black Liberation Army (BLA). In 1981, this group participated along with several members of the BLA in an attempt to rob a Brinks armored car at the Nanuet Mall, near Nyack, New York. While Gilbert and Boudin waited in a U-Haul truck in a nearby parking lot, armed BLA members took another vehicle to the mall, where a Brinks truck was making a delivery. They confronted the guards and immediately began firing, almost severing the arm of guard Joe Trombino and killing his co-worker, Peter Paige. The four then took $1.6 million in cash and sped off to transfer into the waiting U-Haul. The truck was soon stopped by police, who were looking for black, not white, perpetrators, and therefore did not suspect Gilbert and Boudin. Officers questioning the couple were then attacked by BLA members who emerged from the back of the vehicle. Two police officers, Waverly L. Brown and Edward J. O’Grady, died in the shootout. Gilbert fled the scene with other RATF and BLA members but was later caught by police, tried, and sentenced in 1983 to 75 years for three counts of felony manslaughter. His extremely long sentence for participating in this action (especially when compared to Kathy Boudin’s 20-years-to-life, from which she has been paroled) may be due to his decision not to participate in his trial, not recognizing the authority of the state to try him."He has not sat idle while in prison. He has helped with HIV and AIDS education, published numerous articles, book reviews, essays. He works for prisoner rights and is also a longtime advisor and collaborator in the annual Certain Days Free Political Prisoners Calendar project.
According to the New York DOC, David has been transferred to Auburn CF. His address as of June 24, 2011 is:
Auburn Correctional Facility
PO box 618
Auburn NY 13021