‘My whole 18 months…that moment made it worth it’

Nov. 2014

Dear —,

How ya doing? I reread some of the feedback 6. I aches me thinking of what (one writer) will miss out on, but happy he’s still gonna pursue that dream in (another place). I also read my letter which I enjoyed, it sounds better than I thought. If only I could speak my mind as well as I write sometimes. Though my personal belief is if you don’t speak from the heart then it won’t sound good or genuine. Lately, I’ve been letting my emotions control me. I used to have them such in check. I feel weak. I think and reread earlier stuff I wrote, and what I’ve stood up for in my past, and see the hollow husk of the man I used to be when I look in the mirror. When I was homeless and in a crazy house I ALWAYS took up for others without even a second thought to my own self. Now I feel that’s just not in me. I don’t feel good or bad. I feel in the middle. That’s worst of all. At least if you’re bad you’re decided. How can I call myself a man and be undecided. I used to never self-criticize either, but now I’m y biggest abuser. I feel meek and frail anymore. I’m waiting to be broke. The only thing this world hasn’t yet done to me, break me. Yet I feel that’s what this plea is. If you kill his dreams and what he once stood for, what’s left of the an? I wanted to ask if you could look up something…Renouncing your citizenship and any role it can play in the criminal justice system. If that’s what it takes. 10 years is too long for me to wait to start a life. Also, I was looking for some books…You know I read about anything and you and the Prison Books Collective folks hit head on with all the books you send. I really appreciate a good book as a way to escape.

Also, I’m about to start a little project if I’m inspired that I believe will come of value. I need to concentrate more on reading that Jailhouse Lawyer’s book it is priceless in here. I found out they can’t do strip searches unless they have “reasonable suspicion” that a detainee has a weapon or contraband of some sort. And “reasonable suspicion” means the official searching you must have specific facts for suspecting you of having contraband. They do that shit when they want. Plus they do it as a whole pod instead of an individual basis. They can’t have “reasonable suspicion” that the whole pod is hiding something in their ass. Lol. Ima try to put some shit together before I go. Like a section 1983 to use against officers that work here. Plus a basic guideline of our rights, once I memorize and fully understand them. But I might be here another 18 months…I just wish I had a good lawyer working on my behalf. Well, a paid one should I say. I know who my lawyer’s really working for. Maybe God will provide, maybe not. I’m just tired of being in the middle, confused and still. I want an answer to get on my feet and start moving…

I got awesome news! Today we got some lunchmeat with bread, basically a cold meal, as our 2nd ‘hot meal.’ Me and a fella named —- were just talking yesterday about how these trays need to be readjusted. Well, we are the first to get our trays and he says “this is just the shit we was talking about. We need to send ’em back.” I agreed and was upset myself–we started low first saying “send them back,” then gradually got louder. I spoke up making eye contact with others telling them the bs this was. Eventually it caught on as others with a good pod rep started saying “send ’em back.” So around 10 of us threw our trays to the door. I don’t know what happened after that, but eventually everyone started grabbing their trays again. A guy from Bloods supposedly grabbed a Crips’ tray. This caused tension in the pod to the point where it was noticeable. the c.o. on duty thought it was all over the trays, thinking we were about to riot. So he called Sarge — in. He talked to us, telling us he thinks it’s bullshit, too. He said it’s Aramark’s fault that the menu’s being changed…So really it looked like the pod was about to riot over bs trays which we used to our advantage. I was next to —- when he called the Captain or whoever basically telling them ‘what the hell are you feeding them this for?’…And now we know Aramark is the real villain. It’s a start. Just our pod caused this, imagine all 10! — has some awesome ideas, you should write him…we will achieve change. This is proof. Just our pod caused a disturbance. From the acts of less than 10 people. Imagine 10 in each pod. That’s 100 people. That is all we need. Others will fall in. We have been very unified lately, thank God. Like a couple of days ago the whole pod went wild because a new c.o. tried to act tough. the whole pod started screaming and kicking doors. When he started calling out numbers of who he would write up, the pod kicked louder. He had to call the sarge. I don’t want to do bad, I just want this place to be better. Like Lucasville’s TB shot was the breaking point, I believe these trays are gonna do it here. I want other pods to know this…It’s only a matter of time before they take me down. I have to make my mark for us all first. Do what has to be done. Yet wherever they move me will just spread the insurgent spirit. My whole 18 months of feeling of no progress, that moment made it worth it. We must keep pursuing while we have ground..Another Thanksgiving and Christmas in here will suck but not so bad if us inmates start making moves. Time here can be progress, but only if we’re constructive instead of destructive….Praying we can make positive nonviolent change.

For the best,

S. Y.

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