Monday, June 27, 2011

Our visits this past weekend...

I’m writing this from Crescent City, CA.  I arrived Friday and pitched my tent in the Shoreline RV Park and Campground.  I announce this so if you come to town you can wander over to my big blue tent and say “hi”.  I am at an RV park in the center of town with about 200 RVs and 3 tents.  My neighbors are already looking out for me – I feel very safe. 

When my friends expressed concern that I was making my name and location available on the internet, I told them that being an advocate/activist requires one to be recognizable and available. I am primarily here for Bryan but I’m also here for families coming into town to visit their loved ones who are on participating in this hunger strike.   Because we are all in this horrible situation together, it is important that we provide companionship and support for each other.

Anyway, I got a good night’s sleep Friday and saw Bryan Saturday morning for the two hour no-contact visit (in a booth, glass between us, using phones, conversation taped, camera in the corner watching/recording).  He looked well and is totally committed to the upcoming hunger strike.  We got a two hour visit Sunday morning again and that’s it until next weekend. 

Our Sunday visit was much more peaceful.  The logistics of what will be happening and the big picture issues of the strike and conditions in the SHU were discussed on Saturday.  On Sunday, Bryan and I spent a lot of time talking about the physical dangers of being on a hunger strike and the specific ways his body would begin to degrade as the weeks went along. He doesn’t have access to any of this information, so I shared what I learned at  “How to Go on a Hunger Strike Safely” from WikiHow and  “Starvation” from Wikipedia.  As the strike progresses, I will be documenting Bryan’s physical and psychological condition. 

Bryan is aware that I am posting his letters and we hope that by reading them you will learn about him and life in the Pelican Bay SHU.  In his early letters, he softened the truth about the harsh conditions of the SHU and focused on telling me about himself.  As we got to know one another and became friends, his letters became more honest and graphic in depicting the horrors of life in the SHU.

I will be keyboarding his letters into this blog as quickly as possible over the next few days….I tried to scan his letters, but he writes so small and on both sides of the paper so they don’t reproduce well.  On every surface of every letter, envelope and item is stamped in big red letters:  (this is a little smaller than the actual size)


to indicate that it has been review and approved. (and scanned for future review?).  The postcards do scan well… I’ll put them up as soon as I figure out how to post them.  

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