I’ve been home in Seattle for a week now. I’m planning to be in Sacramento for the Legislative hearings on August 23.
Because of this hunger strike, Bryan has finally told his family and friends about the truth of life in the SHU, but I doubt their ability to comprehend exactly how horrible it is. Even with my previous exposure to prison life though my advocacy work with Washington State prisoners, I still had a hard time really believing descriptions of the SHU at Pelican Bay. But being at Bryan’s side and hearing it directly from him, I was able to listen and resign myself to his reality. That helped me to see why he was willing to go to the lengths of a hunger strike and risk possible death.
So how to communicate to my Seattle friends and associates about what is going on there? How do I bring their consciousness from zero to work for change? As I pondered this, a friend of mine asked me to join her to catch a movie while her kids were at a play date. On a whim, she asked if “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” would be OK?
As I watched this movie about apes being used for research purposes and then contained and warehoused at a “reserve” for primates, my horror increased. I watched as apes were isolated and subjected to all types of torture, having gruel slopped into their cages, being degraded by the men in charge of their care, being attacked by high power water hoses, it went on and on. The descriptions that Bryan and others personally have told me about life in the SHU were being depicted right there on the screen. Really, what that movie depicted as horrible treatment for the apes, was no worse that what SHU prisoners say they endure on a regular basis…and from Bryan’s description, the worst of it all is the isolation.
I’m really not sure where this post is going, other than I know that we MUST work for change. I think I will recommend that you read a blog by Jerome Nathaniel:
Here’s a small quote:
Here’s a small quote:
"When we hear demands and see prisoners protest, we shouldn’t get too lax and fall into the passive role of the empathetic spectator-they are actually demanding us to get up and do something. Awareness is their victory; change is our responsibility.”
Please read his blog, I'm at a loss for words but he had great thoughts and ideas...and I felt inspired after reading it.
Jerome Nathaniel - Pelican Bay strike is over, but the hunger continues