In response to a question posed by Critical Resistance (How can people on the outside support the political work of people on the inside?), I wrote a list of ten ways people outside can help us. The first two points were:
1. Organize and struggle with us, but allow us to be the authorities of own our experiences.
2. Don’t speak for us. We can speak. When we cannot, due to repression or threats from prison officials, use your freedom and privilege to amplify our voices and advance our issues.
Our allies heard us. Not only did they use their platforms to amplify our voices and convey our experiences with policing and imprisonment, but they also created platforms and opportunities just for us so we can post essays, comments and questions. Dan Berger used his online presence to post essays and questions, generating interest and understanding. Sarah-Ji Rhee and Charlotte Pope posted and promoted the work of inside activists, creating support and connections. Casey Goonan has worked tirelessly to create a platform for inside activists’ words to reach the public. His efforts have culminated in a website and Twitter account that enable us to reach out, learn more, connect widely and build deeply. Our debt to our allies is incalculable.
These walls serve a dual purpose: keeping us in and you out. Prison officials don’t want you to know what goes on behind the walls.They would have you consume the mainstream media’s depictions of us -stereotypes and caricatures. The work of our allies enables us to counter the images and narratives promoted by the beneficiaries of the PIC. Now, we are better able to connect with others, learn new ways of being, and struggle to transform ourselves and our world. We are truly grateful and astounded. The support and connections from you are life-enhancing and spirit-emboldening. We look forward to learning with and working alongside you in this struggle to build a world without cages.
Image by @abolitionmemes