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Letters to Our Family (November 2014)

Dear Black and Pink,

I have been receiving your newspaper since March of 2014. I see there are a lot of transwomen who write from California Prisons. The stories of abuse by inmates and staff seem to never end. The prison I am at in California is well known for transwomen since the early 80’s. Of which at the time there was around 200 or so of us. At the present this prison has around 10. With such a low number we are truly outcasts in every way here.

My message is simple to the California transwomen in prison. We need to put focus on our respect and medical needs before we can attempt to tackle issues like sex changes, make-up, and female clothes. We have the right to be respected and to receive proper medical treatment. I know the 602 process is difficult. But in order to make a change, the paperwork is the proper way to begin. If staff is disrespecting you and you feel you aren’t receiving the medical care you should have, then do a 602. And follow it to the diction. The only way to change, is all of the transwomen STAND TOGETHER with the 602’s. And then flood the courts with the lawsuits. Contact members of the assembly, the newspapers, and news stations. We can only achieve greatness if we set an example. There are enough transwomen in California prisons to make a difference and changes. SO get busy. I love you all.

Own where you are in life!
Lisa, California

 

Black and Pink,

Foremost I’d like to send my love out to all my LGBTQ family. My name is Robin, and I’ve been reading the Black and Pink newsletter for over a year. I’ve seen beautiful letters of love, tearful letters of loneliness and heartbreak. I’ve viewed letters of heart crushing atrocities committed against my people, I’ve seen outstanding artwork and poetry from talented people. I’ve got to witness my family come together to Fight against the prison administration to try to right wrong doings, as in the case of Jenni from California. I’ve viewed articles of LGBTQ standing up to the “powers that be” that try to make laws and prison policies to take away our identity, and every story, article, poetry, and piece of artwork touches my heart. I have the most beautiful family. They may try to put us down, but we will always rise and overcome. (If you get to read this letter,) every time someone tries to put you down, every time you feel lost or forgotten, remember that you are never alone, you have a family that is there for you. Pick up a pen and write a letter, draw a picture or write a poem and all your LGBTQA Black & Pink family will be with you in heart and spirit.

My love is always with you,
Robin, New York

 

Dear Black & Pink,

My name is Ray, I’m a 32-year-old Black bisexual male, and I’m proud of what I am and what I stand for. I am also proud of Monica Jones and Jennifer (BabyGirl) as well. I truly believe that Monica and Jennifer are both displaying an enormous amount of Courage, Wisdom, Beauty and Strength just by doing the things they are doing and by sayin’ the things they are saying.

I am applauding Monica Jones because I read the article in the May 2014 issue about Monica Jones being arrested for “walking while Trans.” I personally believe that they didn’t convict Monica simple because of “manifesting prostitution,” I believe in my heart that they convicted her because she is a transgender woman and they don’t want to take the time to understand just who she is or what she believes in. But through it all I believe that she will stand strong because I don’t have to know her just to know that like many other transgender women, Monica is strong and courageous as well.

And I read about Jennifer’s Advocacy campaign and if I’m correct, I believe Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you want to see in the world,” and the reason why I’m applauding you is because that is what you are being. Jennifer, whether you know this or not, your Advocacy Campaign gives faith and hope to many people who wake up in the morning without any faith and hope. Not only are you an inspiration to transgender women in California, but you are also a huge inspiration to the LGBQ/T community all over the world.

I hope the Black & Pink Newspaper continues to grow and prosper. I hope the California Prison Chapter continues to grow and prosper. And Jennifer and Monica, I hope that your courage, your wisdom, your beauty, and your strength continues to grow and prosper.

You in the Black & Pink family matter because ALL of you are beautiful inside and out.

Love,
Roy, Texas

 

Dear Black & Pink,

And to all my brothers and sisters that’s in the struggle.

Once again this is Ms. Jazzie. Getting at my LGBTQ family with some advice on relationships in prison. I been in prison for about 17 ½ years, and in this time, I had my share of bad relationships. But I refuse to have anybody treat me less than the queen that I am. I don’t care how much money you got or you the baddest or how fine you are, one thing I will not tolerate, and that is the hitting shit!! I don’t play that at all. Period!! You’re going to respect me and I’m going to respect you.

I know that a lot of the girls become a victim, because of their financial status. And with no outside support, I know that it can be hard. Just because a man take care of you, it doesn’t give him the right to put his hands on you. I have seen girls put up with this bullshit because they feel there’s nowhere else to go. I myself love to have the best of everything and my man make that happen. And I’m always willing to help the girls out. Yes I been blessed to have a good husband, who care and truly love me, but he also encourages me to do for myself. Just because my people on the outside left me for dead, that is not an excuse to feel sorry for myself, and not to try to better myself.

So I’m letting all my LGBTQ family know that it feels good to be independent. And men love that. Don’t let no man control you. So I challenge my LGBTQ family that’s behind these wall, and in the free world, to dig deep within yourself to find the willpower to move forward no matter how hard it get. Instead of putting your sister down, pick her up. I truly believe that we can make a difference, but we must stick together. I want the girls to know that they are special and deserve to get treated no less than the queen she is. Walk with pride, purpose, and dignity. Brothers and & Sisters let’s work together so no one is abused physically & mentally. I want you to be happy and make sure the person you with makes you happy, and makes you feel like the woman or man you are. Don’t limit yourself and don’t mess up a good thing once you find it. Well, that’s all for now. So stay strong and keep your head up.

I love you. Your sister in the struggle 4 life,

Ms. Jazzie, California

 

Corporate Crime vs Street Crime

Greetings of peace and love and may this letter find you richly spiritually blessed. I’m writing to share what I believe all of our brothers and sisters of Black & Pink and society at large needs to know: the difference between street crime vs corporate crime and the truth.

We need to reassess our understanding of crime and ask why it is that corporate crime advances virtually unhindered, while localized “street crime” has become such an obsession for so many. The answer lies somewhere in the mixed realm of our own hidden fears as a society and our sense of powerlessness in the face of crime, and the immense power of vested interests who gain so much from the current situation.

The Oxford English Dictionary gives a three-part definition for the word “crime.” It is an act 1) punishable by law, 2) as being forbidden by statute, or 3) injurious to the public welfare.

As a society we focus almost exclusively on the first and second definitions, neglecting the third. Crimes are written into law at any given point in time by governments through congress, legislature, assemblies, decrees, or proclamations. Certain actions (for example traffic offenses) are made unlawful in order to protect what politicians perceive to be the interests of the common good, or else to protect and advance their own interests and those of their supporters. Thus, what may be a crime in one country, for example prostitution or cannabis (pot) smoking, may not be a crime in another.

The first two definitions do not demand a moral underpinning, though many laws and statutes obviously have a moral dimension. It is the third definition of crime as being “an act injurious to the public welfare” that implies a moral basis. The words demand a moral evaluation as to what constitutes public welfare or common good. This is precisely the point at issue in many areas involving corporate crime.

Corporate crime is endemic the world over. Very few are ever held responsible for its devastating effects. It reaches into virtually every aspect of our lives, yet so widespread is its influence, we are often unaware of its presence. It hits us in so many ways: from the added on costs in our supermarket to the pollutants in the air we breathe, from the hidden costs of our banking and financial systems to the cost of medicines we take for our illnesses. The tentacles of corporate crime touch all these areas and many more.

Yet we rarely speak of it, read of it, or hear of it for any sustained period. We have become totally preoccupied with individual “street crime,” although corporate violence and crime inflict far more damage on society than all the street crime combined. Just one major tobacco company, for example, arguably kills and injures more people than all the street criminals put together. Public corruption (Wall Street) pollution (BP Oil), procurement fraud, financial fraud, and occupational homicide inflict incredibly serious damage on workers, consumers, citizens, and the environment. So, why on earth is our criminal justice system geared to sifting the poor and minor nonviolent offenders, pretending it is dealing with crime and social harm, when all the major harm is being done by the hidden rulers of our world, the multinational corporations?

A major reason for this is the consistent presentation by the media of crime as being primarily personal. Through newspapers, radio, the internet, and especially tabloid talk shows, and in news and entertainment on television (Cops, America’s Most Wanted, etc.) crime is deliberately portrayed in manageable portions of murder, home invasions, muggings, burglaries, and theft, allowing the age-old notion of scapegoat full rein. We all sit back in our chairs and like to see the “bad guys” caught.

The public perception of crime is largely shaped by corporate media and tabloid television, which focus overwhelmingly on street crime, illegal drug use, robberies, and theft. If these media devoted proportionate time to the corporate muggings and homicides that are carried out through occupational accidents and starvation wages like at Wal Mart, public perceptions would shift to reflect reality more accurately. This will never happen. The same big business people who perpetuate corporate crime control the media through colossal advertising budgets, cross-directorship and ownership.

Yet all over the world the politicians and this same media have foisted upon the public the notion that major welfare (SSI) payments to the unemployed, the sick, the injured, the hungry, and the homeless are unaffordable (but America has trillions of dollars for war) because they cost too much. Beneficiaries are often presented as parasites preying off public funds. Benefit fraud is almost a cause celebre. People everywhere are being made to work for their welfare/SSI money as if they were responsible for their own plight. Yet, for example, tax breaks and handouts (bailouts & corporate welfare) for the rich 1% of the nation ($600 billion) consume three times the amount that is spent on the poor through benefits ($200 billion). Legal it may well be, but morally, this is big crime!

Troy, California

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