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Black and Pink at FREE HER Rally in Washington D.C.

Free Her Rally

My name is KC Mackey, and I’m a volunteer for Black and Pink, an open family of queer and trans prisoners and free world allies who support each other. Our work towards abolishing prisons is rooted in the experiences of currently and formerly incarcerated people. I am here to read to deliver messages from 3 of Black and Pink’s incarcerated trans women family members. 

“My name be Ms. Lakesha N. and I am a woman who is transgendered, incarcerated, 28 and working for Justice and Equality for the whole of us. I am currently housed in an Indiana Department of Corrections Control Unit. On my perspective for change…. Sue, Sue, and SUE! … If we collectively enforce our constitutions…we can and will get the changes we are constitutionally entitled to. Change in the Criminal Justice system? SUE! Change in medical care? SUE! the U.S. and state legislatures for making and enforcing laws and policies that deprive us of our rights to [medical care]…If a state or federal court chooses to disregard laws in your criminal or civil case…SUE! 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2000) gives us the right to sue those acting under orders of the State or Federal laws for violating out rights!”

“My name is Sherri, I’m 46 years old [and] MtF transgender … and my daily struggle with prison officials who cannot look beyond my appearance … has ostracized me to the point of nearly ending my life. I know that the discrimination suffered by the LGBTQ community within the California Prison System must not go unchallenged…Is it my hope that these words will be published and ignite a combined force for change, becoming a voice that is so powerful that our cry for equality simply can no longer be ignored. Personally, I believe that it is about time for a really big rude awakening. Prison officials need to get it through their bureaucratic backsides that the days of the big brush-off are coming to an end. Even after all of the hell that I’ve been forced to endure, it is still very important to me to care and do my part to try and make a difference in this world. No matter how far I get knocked down, I always manage to brush myself off and get back up.

“My name is Nina, I’m a 42 year old transwoman locked up on a level 4 yard in California. As I navigate my way through these prisons, I remain unbowed. My oppressors … who dislike “my kind” because their minds are unable to process and accept [me] aren’t of real concern to me. My focus remains on a better tomorrow for our family. It doesn’t matter what state you’re imprisoned in or the color of your skin, if you are LGBTQ you have an obligation to embrace your family with everything that’s good in you. We are a fractured community in most cases behind these walls. I hear so many stories of heartache, loneliness, and abuse that never seem to end with a mention of support. So I challenge any and everyone who is reading this. Find peace and comfort with those who are LGBTQ in your prison, embrace them and help each other with your struggles. Only then will we define the meaning of family.”

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