I just didn't know what to do with myself today, having heard the news about men refusing water. I know that Bryan is one of them. So I drove to PBSP and with a few daisys picked from the ditch, just stood there holding vigil. I watched the entire afternoon group of CO come to work and the 1st shift leave. I also stayed until all the administrators, who left at 5:00, could see me . I had no hatred, but I would quietly wave at them and more than half (my guess) waved in a friendly, supporting way back.
How the Day Unfolded
At about 1:45 p, I went to the gate, where a member of the visiting staff was working. As he sees me whenever I visit, he knows me as well as any up there. I just showed him my ID, told him the men were refusing water and that in all probability Bryan was dying. I reminded him that I had passed a security check in order to visit and that I was going to be on public property and would not block traffic. I promised to be quiet and peaceful. He had no problem with me being there, but he did ask for me to remind him who I visit.
About 45 minutes later, a couple of cars with some guys in SWAT team looking uniforms got out and set up a tripod with video camera and made a big show of taping me. Hmmm, Capitol Hill police on horse-back couldn't scare me off in 2004 , so their "show" had little effect. When they saw that I didn't leave, they just left the tripod under the care of the gate staff and left.
Someone driving to work shouted out the car window, "HEY JULIE" and gave me a big wave. One of the visiting staff ?...that made me smile. Also an employee stopped and asked who I was holding vigil for. This employee didn't know that the men had begun to refuse water. The sympathetic response given was a much needed kindness that late in the afternoon.
Several family members of men in the SHU called, very upset about the men refusing water. I just listened and comforted. I also spent some time on the phone with Bryan's Mother. She is so strong and supportive.
Tomorrow I'll go back from 1:30 - 6:00, with a sign. Hopefully some friends? Also, California Prison Focus has lawyers, etc. at Pelican Bay on Wed and Thurs interviewing prisoners. They might stay at the tent, I can give them a ride to the prison and just be at their disposal, whatever they need.
I felt powerless, but now I feel that I took an action that let everyone from the prison who saw me know ...This is where I stand, in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike.