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Letters to Our Family (March 2016)

Dear Black & Pink,

Well once again it’s me Ms. Jazzie Ferrari, writing once again to drop a few lines of wisdom to my people. As we already know the struggle is too real to be fighting with each other, now is the time to come together, I count braver she who controls her desires than she who conquers her enemies, for the hardest victory is victory over self. If we all achieved that, we’d have no enemies in each other. What good does it do to defeat our foes, if we are still defeating ourselves? We can no longer be our own worst enemy. In our transformed selves we all struggle between the good and the bad within ourselves, we need to ensure the victory of the goodness within us, which effects evil. Harming others ultimately harms ourselves, because we’re all in this together we need each other. We can’t afford to devalue lives, which devalues life itself. We have to be stronger than we ever been before. In this struggle with abuse of power, which I can’t get away from in prison I have no energy to waste on destructive thoughts, emotions and actions. Taking stock from a positive perspective, I utilize goodness wherever I can find it, even in my enemies. To the LGBTQ family I’m in this with everything I have, change have to come. There’s no turnin back. We got to stay pushing forward and push in unity. We have to stop talking and take action. We transgenders behind these walls I want y’all to know that all lives matter, but blacks is getting the worst treatment known to mankind. And I can’t sit back and not say nothing. Our voices must be heard. I just read the interview that y’all did with Cece McDonald and I love her and I’m sending my love your way because I’m with you I love the way you keep it too real. And to Laverne Cox, big props to you I truly hope to meet you one day. I love your work and pushing fir trans of color and to all the people that’s out in the free world please keep our voices heard, because we will always have something to say and we matter. Always willing to stand up for what’s right. Everything we do, we must do it together. Please love it’s the only hope that we got so love each other in a real way. Say it and mean it. We are the stronghold of the world, so just remember that. We are all we got so that’s all for now I love all y’all.

In solidarity,
Ms. Jazzie Ferrari

 

Mi Familia…

One of the greatest moments in my twenty two years of living was receiving the Black and Pink newsletter for the first time. It opened my eyes to a world outside my relatively small one. I can only hope you all accept me as graciously as it seems you have over 7,000 other prisoners. It took me coming to prison to really find myself and it took quite a bit of soul searching and adversity for me to accept myself. I’m at peace with myself at this point. But up until this moment I’ve felt like a hyena in the midst of lions. I’m a warrior in every sense of the word though so I take pride in the fact that even when I felt I was the only one in the trenches I held my ground and stood firm on what I know to be right and exact.

I feel like I’m home now so all the sacrifice was worth it. Black and Pink is the Promised Land.

I’m incarcerated in Ohio and just a few months ago there was an altercation that led to me getting my status raised again…see I’ve been a level 4 inmate “”max security”” for the past 2 years. Last year a gay friend of mine named Josh got into an argument with the leader of the *****. It was all over an imaginary bet that never really took place it was just that the leader saw Josh as an opportunity for exploitation and extortion. I’m not a fan of either one of them so I tried to step in and kill the situation before it got out of hand but things didn’t work out that way. Behind bars there is only so much arguing you can do and even less physical harm but all the same things kept rising to a boiling point. Eventually I got my level dropped and I landed on the same block as the gang leader and Josh. Josh decided he wasn’t gay anymore and joined the *****. To make a long story short the fact that I tried to aid and assist someone I saw as my brother didn’t stop him on participating when the ***** jumped me and the amazing thing is that although I didn’t start it my level got raised again as if I were the instigator.

As I write this I sit in a cell that I can touch both walls at the same time but I’m cool with that because I feel like I have an outlet now, a way to express my esteem and know that the people on the receiving end can reciprocate.

Thank you Black and Pink…

Sincerely,
The Alchemist

 

Hello friends & family,

I want to thank you all for reading B & P, because you are now educating yourself on the issues in our community. So, thank you, and thank you B & P for creating such a great newspaper.

My name is Mrs. Ge Ge, a transwoman currently incarcerated in PA. I am also the founder of an LGBT+ organization called L.I.G.H.T., which aims to educate fallen brothers and sisters on their rights. We teach readers of all kinds, about DOC policy, Politics, Health, and Law that affect us. We also strive to raise awareness to those individuals who do not identify as LGBT+. Our biggest goal is to unite all LGBT+ and Human Rights organizations and to end the P.I.C.’s (prison industrial complex) for profit criteria.

We have had some success on the battle field. We have fought, and have gotten approved LGBT+ support groups here in PA. And we have lots of other things to change about the way the P.I.C. treats individuals in PA. We are trying to expand, or perhaps start a trend on a country wide level. For that we need your help.

We need sisters and brothers who are incarcerated in other states to create their own form of L.I.G.H.T. in their facilities. This is done by supporting one another and putting aside your differences. We need you to educate yourself on Policies, Law, Health, and Politics so that you can educate others. Also I want you to build relations with outside organizations. Once you have established this, it is up to you to pass the wisdom. Show people where to, and how to educate themselves. Create a newsletter if possible. I give you the key to overcome oppression, so use that key to open that door.

It is up to us to stand up against the harm imposed on us by the P.I.C. Show them you will not tolerate this injustice anymore. Do this by fighting fire with fire. Use their own policies against them. Do this by showing them we can do this without violence or violating their policies. Then once you have that, you can push for change. Then we can make a difference on a country wide scale.

We must remember that we matter and that together we can make a difference. Therefore, power be to us, the one who seeks it.

I end this article by saying this. I vow to turn the other cheek, and show others that love defeats hate. I vow to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I also vow to educate myself so that I can educate others, and make the world a better place one step at a time.

If all that I do amounts to one drop of water in an endless ocean, then I ask, Is not an ocean but a multitude of water drops.

Peace & Solidarity,
From Mrs. Ge Ge & L.I.G.H.T.
SPREAD LOVE AND WISDOM not hate and ignorance

 

Dear Black and Pink family,

I first want to say “”hello”” to all of my LGBTQ family who are fighting this struggle with me each and every day, you are truly embraced by me. I also want to say I ave been brutally discriminated against by the administration here at the East Arkansas regional max unit’s classification committee. They use the PREA policy to force me to stay on ad/seg. I am a 31 yr old transgender woman; I have fought so hard to get released to the general population, but I keep getting denied, because I’m not ashamed of “”who I am,”” the warden stated to me in a response of my most recent grievance that I am labeled a “”victim prone inmate”” because I am a (open homosexual who has been in a homosexual relationship that was consensual) in all actuality a victim is supposed to be someone that has been “”raped or sexually assaulted””, I have never once been victimized by anyone here at Brickeys but continued to be labeled a victim prone inmate simply because I am a “”open homosexual”” (transgender inmate) that’s based on phobias and NOT facts, it’s wrong and dehumanizing. I’ve thought so hard about suicide, but have been unsuccessful on numerous occasions, I’m truly saddened because the Black and Pink family have been left in the dark about 5 different suicides in 2015 here at the East Arkansas Regional max unit of the LGBTQ family, our 5 LGBTQ family members were tortured into taking their own lives here in the ADOC last year in 2016 because of the strong, brutal, verbal harassment and discrimination they was subjected to here. Their cries for help was ignored. My name is Venus Williams—so many LGBTQ family member incarcerated here in the ADOC are scared to come forward and report this to somebody, but, I had to put my fears aside and take one for the team. I had to speak out about this, I am being punished because I am “”me.”” I am caged in a cell and treated like I am dangerous because I am not ashamed to be me, me and so many others need someone to help us here in EARU (max) we need advocates to help us enforce our rights to be free from this horrible treatment we are experiencing here, someone—anyone, if you are reading this hopefully you hear my cry for me and so many others here and take action. That would help so much. Thanks so much to whoever created this paper to give me the opportunity to speak out of the abuse her in Arkansas prisons! Also I want to say hello to Cece McDonald, you are so so admired and respected by me, and Ashley Diamond, you’re truly a survivor and you know exactly what I’m struggling through, because you experience the same abuse. Thanks so much for letting me share with love and respect to all my LGBTQ family, keep fighting for us please!

Sincerely,
Miss Venus Williams

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