[The following letter was sent to all who registered for the 2017 FTP Convergence, but we felt there was pertinent info in here for the rest of you as well. Have a look, take some action, write some prisoners to tell them about it, and pass it on.]
Greetings Toxic Prison Fighters,
Earlier this month we held our second annual national convergence, bringing together environmental activists with the community of people involved in prisoner advocacy and prison abolition. We also addressed issues which surround this intersection related to labor, immigration, race, gender, sexuality and economics.
For those who were able to support the convergence with your attendance and/or donations, we offer our utmost appreciation. It was a groundbreaking and life-changing event, and it couldn’t have been possible without everyone’s contributions.
This email aims to keep you plugged in and engaged. Please use it as a guide to taking action and building this movement. Then pass it along to others who may also see the value in it.
In the coming weeks we will be releasing another series of audio recordings from panels and workshops which occurred over the convergence weekend (as we did last year.). Keep an eye out for that.
Throughout the weekend, we were also able to open lines of communication with prisoners who are still locked up, through direct call-ins with them, letters written to be shared, pre-recorded messages, and calls from support people who relayed messages on behalf of their friends or family.
It is out hope that this will not be a one-time correspondence or a one-way line of communication. To that end, we are providing ways to contact those who joined us in some way from behind the bars. You will find this list at the end of the email. We ask that you reach out to at least one of the individuals to let them know they are not alone, they are not forgotten. Unless you yourself have been inside, you have no idea how much a letter can mean.
But the one thing that may even be better than a letter is seeing a crowd of people gathered in front of the prison raising a ruckus, declaring their love and support for those locked inside. For those who were able to stay till Monday June 5th, you got to experience this for yourself. And we want to keep the pressure on to #CloseCarswell. Our primary demand is the immediate closure of the extremely repressive and isolated Administrative Unit. Make a call today to the Department of Justice and tell them there is no reason to keep this unit open: Department of Justice Comment Line: 202-353-1555. DOJ Main Switchboard: 202-514-2000.
In other news, since the FTP Convergence, we have received some major news on the Letcher County, KY fight against a federal prison on a former coal mine site. Two weeks ago the Department of Justice, which oversees the Bureau of Prisons, set in stone that they do not have a need for the new prisonand cannot justify $444 million to build it. While members of Congress could attempt to force it’s construction anyway—as Hal Rogers has done—we are in a much stronger position to fight and win than we were last month. Let’s keep the pressure on!
Pick a few that are closest to you and tell them the same thing… Better yet, show up at their local offices to deliver the message in person.
And as we know, revolution takes more than a few phone calls and emails, it also means we must get out in to the street. On August 19, prisoners around the country and their allies have called for a national mobilization in D.C. to End Prison Slavery. If you can get there, go. If you can’t, plan local events and actions. (For example, check out what FTP in Florida has in store.
And last, you may have heard word at the convergence about a new Immigrant Detention facility underway near Houston, TX, built and operated by GEO Group. We want to support resistance to this construction. Keep up with this issue through the TX-based group Grassroots Leadership.
P.S. We are looking for feedback from participants: What did you come hoping to get out of it and how does that match up with what actually happened? Please reply to this email with your answer and it will be shared among organizers in hopes of improving next years’ convergence.
P.S.S. If you haven’t already, check out the online version of Candice Bernd’s excellent article, America’s Toxic Prisons. Hopefully you got to pick up a hard copy in TX, but this is intended to be an ongoing multi-media series, so keep an eye on it and pass it around.
Some of the Prisoners who participated in FTP 2017
Marie (Marius) Mason #04672-061
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
Keith Cole #00728748
Wallace Pack Unit
2400 Wallace Pack Road
Navasota, TX 77868
Keith ‘Malik’ Washington #1487958
2665 Prison Road 1
Lovelady, Texas 75851
Kevin “Rashid” Johnson #158039
Reception and Medical Center
P.O. Box 628
Lake Butler, Florida 32054-0628
[He was just recently moved to FL from TX. Please drop a note.]
Dwight Marshall #168394.
N-20. 1000 St.Clair Rd.
Springville, Al 35146
[Ras David of the Free Alabama Movement]
Bryant Arroyo #CU-1126
1111 Altamont Blvd
Frackville; PA; 17931
Contact Shandre Delaney, the mother of Carrington Keys of the Dallas 6, at email@example.com or 412-403-6101.
[He is also currently facing retaliation as one of the Dallas 6 in PA. Please reach out.]
Patrick Pursley https://www.facebook.com/FreePatrickPursley/
Sean Swain #243-205
P.O. Box 120
Lebanon, Ohio 45036
Leonard Peltier #89637-132,
USP Colman 1,
P.O. Box 1033,
Coleman FL 33521
Please send letters to a few of these people to let them know about your experience at the convergence in TX, or your local organizing efforts where you live.