June 17th, 2011
Dear Friends and SOA-Watchers,
Memorial Day is a holiday celebrated in prison with a big meal at noon - lots of barbequed hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, corn on the cob, etc - on & on. So when I tell you it was a barbeque I know you picture outdoor grills with smoke rising & good smells, people strolling around, visiting with each other. Well, in keeping with that vision, the grills were moved outside into the compound in the morning, complete with festive canopies in case of rain. Then, when it was time to move the food outside for grilling, the loudspeakers called "CLEAR COMPOUND" and we all had to go back & be locked in our units. When we were allowed out again, the cooking was all over, grills moved back inside, canopies taken down, and we just got in line like we always do to collect our food inside. Oh well ... we did have strawberry shortcake for dessert ...
And then shortly after Memorial Day, it got very hot for a few days. A preview of summer. There are 12 huge fans in the unit and although they keep the air moving a little, it's like living on the work floor of a big factory with noisy machines working 24 hours. Heavy roaring & rattling all the time and to talk over the noise everyone has to shout as loud as they can. Fortunately it has cooled off and I won't be here for the worst of the heat in the summer.
My out date is 1st July and I'm thrilled to be going home, but with that is an immense sadness to be leaving. This is a place of dreadful futility; almost nothing of value can happen here. If it does it's because of the strength & persistence of individual women who have found ways to survive. It is just heart-breaking to know women in their 30's who will be here for the rest of their lives, others who have no place to go back to & so many who will return to the same streets & circumstances that got them here in the first place.
As I get ready to leave I'm also thinking a lot about all the other Prisoners of Conscience who are still in prison or on their way back. In particular I'm holding in my heart Father Louis Vitale and Sister Arlette Platte. Father Louis and I crossed the line together at Fort Benning and he is now facing new charges and new time in prison. We both turned 79 this month. Sister Arlette has written me often, remembering the 3 1/2 years she spent here at Danbury. She is now in the detention center at Ocilla awaiting sentencing with others for the peace action at Y-12 [note: Y-12 is a National Security Complex and Uranium Processing Facility in Tennessee]. I hope she connects with women I came to know & love when I was there.
Again, many many thanks for all the support & concern you have sent my way. I've shared your messages & cards with many women here. Light a candle for them & hold them in your prayers.
Read more about the SOA Watch "2010 4", arrested at Ft. Benning for trespass and serving 6 months, for calling attention to the crimes of the SOA/WHINSEC.