People in Prison Organize Collectively for Survival. We All Need to Learn How.

“The ladies who had been already long-timers after I was simply coming in, they had been the sunshine in my tunnel. We had been all within the tunnel collectively simply making gentle,” says previously incarcerated organizer Monica Cosby. On this episode of Motion Memos, Cosby and Kelly Hayes discuss in regards to the emotional help networks imprisoned folks create to outlive establishments that punish signs of emotional misery, and what we are able to study from these efforts. Alan Mills from the Uptown Folks’s Legislation Middle additionally affords an replace on the battle for psychological well being care in Illinois prisons.

Music by Son Monarcas, Hushed and Ebb & Flod


Observe: This a rush transcript and has been calmly edited for readability. Copy might not be in its remaining kind.

Kelly Hayes: Welcome to Motion Memos, a Truthout podcast about issues you must know if you wish to change the world. I’m your host, author and organizer, Kelly Hayes. On this present, we speak about find out how to construct the relationships and evaluation we have to create actions that may win. When we now have talked in regards to the rise of fascism, and find out how to battle it, I’ve typically made the purpose that we now have loads to study from jail organizers, who function underneath probably the most fascistic circumstances in the USA. However amid this pandemic rollercoaster of hope, disappointment and uncertainty, I really feel like we even have loads to study from imprisoned and previously incarcerated organizers about find out how to maintain ourselves and one another psychologically throughout onerous occasions. So, at the moment we’re going to hear from Monica Cosby, a previously incarcerated Chicago organizer whose insights about mutual assist as a type of social life help are invaluable proper now. We’re additionally going to listen to from Alan Mills, the manager director of the Uptown Folks’s Legislation Middle in regards to the battle for psychological well being care in Illinois prisons, how COVID has affected the scenario, and what we are able to do about it.

We live in disturbing, unpredictable occasions. Many people are affected by local weather grief and anxiousness, and right-wing assaults on voting and reproductive rights have quite a lot of us on edge. Now, we’re nervously awaiting knowledge in regards to the severity of the omicron variant. We’re anxious, exhausted, and in some instances, downright battered.

Round this time final 12 months, the vaccine provided us a lightweight on the finish of the tunnel. Then got here Delta and now Omicron, and it seems like that gentle retains drifting additional into the gap. As I watch folks battle with these emotions, and battle with them myself, I generally remind myself of the hardships my ancestors endured, in order that I would dwell at the moment. However I additionally take into consideration what a few of my incarcerated co-strugglers are enduring proper now, and the way incarcerated folks have lengthy performed the work of cultivating hope underneath insupportable circumstances.

Jail organizing not often will get the eye that it deserves. Jail rebellions make headlines, however are sometimes stripped of any political context by company media. Jail labor and starvation strikes might garner some protection, however what will get subsequent to no consideration is the collective survival work of imprisoned folks. Even exterior of jail, most individuals experiencing a psychological well being disaster usually are not getting the assistance they want, however within prisons, circumstances are torturous, and what the state calls psychiatric “care” can typically quantity to an escalation of that torture.

Monica Cosby is a author and activist who organizes with Mothers United In opposition to Violence and Incarceration. I requested Monica how imprisoned people who find themselves training reciprocal care navigate psychological well being crises in a system that punishes folks for exhibiting signs of emotional misery.

Monica Cosby: Fairly merely, we’re refusing to desert one another. We’ve already been thrown away. We’ve been thrown away by the system. We’ve, to some extent, for a few of us, to a larger or lesser diploma, have been thrown away by our households and the people who we had out right here earlier than we went to jail. We have now been thrown away as a result of both we fucked up actually, actually badly, or we really feel thrown away as a result of individuals are out right here struggling and may’t be there for us. So for all the explanations we’re there. And we now have been thrown away and it’s refusing to throw one another away. That’s what quite a lot of it’s. We refuse to desert.

I mentioned this in a few different areas, after I learn after which I used to be watching Ruth Wilson Gilmore on one thing on YouTube and she or he was speaking in regards to the system usually as “organized abandonment.” And so I used to be like, “Effectively, then what we do in jail and the ways in which we take care of one another, simply refusing to desert.” We already know what it seems like to simply, don’t no one give a fuck. The decide didn’t give a fuck. The court docket system didn’t give a fuck. And we really feel perhaps to some extent, as a result of our folks out right here both can’t care for us or they gained’t as a result of they really feel like, “Effectively, you probably did that to your self, so we’re not going to ship you no cash for commissary. We’re not going to place cash on the telephone invoice. We’re not going to ship you a ebook or no matter.” And so no matter that case could also be, we now have been uncared about, and in different instances we really feel uncared about. And so it’s giving a fuck in regards to the subsequent individual.

And it’s additionally understanding that we’d like them, like I would like you to be okay, not simply because I care, however as a result of you could have a worth and your worth is likely to be you make the most effective motherfucking Christmas playing cards. You make cheesecake out of the cream from sandwich cookies and shit. You is likely to be making the most effective cheesecake, proper? However there’s something that you’ve got that no one else has, and we need to preserve it. And it’s additionally a means of, and I don’t know if it’s at all times acutely aware, however it’s additionally in a way of talking saying, “Fuck the system and fuck the police too.”

KH: Monica misplaced depend of all of the occasions she was ticketed and despatched to solitary throughout her 20 years in jail. Ladies in jail are punished at greater charges than males, and for smaller infractions. In Illinois prisons, ladies are regularly ticketed for “insolence,” and may wind up in solitary confinement over their verbal tone, or for making a goofy facial features. Researchers have found that isolation “will be as clinically distressing as bodily torture.” People who find themselves punished with isolation for exhibiting signs of psychological sickness typically deteriorate and manifest additional signs, which may result in a permanent cycle of punitive isolation. As Monica put it, folks taken away over psychological well being episodes in jail don’t at all times come again, and in the event that they do, “they could not come again the identical.”

The state of so-called psychological well being care in prisons is an issue that’s been overshadowed during the last two years by the astronomical variety of COVID deaths within the jail system. An correct accounting of COVID deaths amongst incarcerated folks is troublesome, attributable to obfuscation on the part of state governments, however we all know that thousands of imprisoned people have died of COVID. Researchers now say that an aggressive strategy to decarceration might have prevented thousands and thousands of instances of COVID-19 and saved tens of thousands of lives. However even amid this disaster, when jails and prisons have change into drivers of the pandemic, most individuals on the skin have failed to grasp the connections between their very own well-being and the well-being of incarcerated folks. And I’m afraid that COVID gained’t be the final time that our failure to acknowledge these connections proves disastrous.

According to the Department of Justice, there was an 85 % improve in suicides in state prisons from 2001 to 2018. That was previous to the nightmarish circumstances of the final two years. On the peak of the pandemic, as many as 300,000 incarcerated folks had been in solitary confinement. Many amenities across the nation have been on prolonged lockdown attributable to staffing shortages. Illinois jails and prisons had been, after all, ravaged by COVID in 2020. Prisoners in some amenities have organized and rebelled, however circumstances stay insupportable. If we’re having a tough time psychologically out right here, and many people are, think about what it’s been wish to be inside a type of amenities.

Thankfully, there are folks advocating for prisoners on the skin. Bail funds and abolitionist teams like Critical Resistance and Survived & Punished have campaigned for the mass launch of prisoners through the pandemic. Whereas far too many individuals stay imprisoned, many lives had been undoubtedly saved by campaigns to scale back the variety of folks in jails and prisons. The Uptown Folks’s Legislation Middle performed a distinguished position within the battle to prioritize the vaccination of imprisoned folks in Illinois prisons final 12 months, which was an outstanding and unlikely victory. Throughout our current dialog, UPLC’s government director, Alan Mills, provided some insights on how prisons produce and exacerbate psychological sickness, whereas additionally punishing folks for experiencing signs of misery.

Alan Mills: I believe that individuals don’t perceive what it’s wish to be significantly, psychological sick in jail, or to undergo from a critical psychological sickness in jail. It’s dangerous sufficient when you have an untreated psychological sickness on the skin, however being in a scenario the place you’re consistently underneath stress — the place arbitrary guidelines are enforced, primarily on the whim of a guard, and when drive is at all times current and also you threat being significantly injured at any time, if anyone decides that you simply’re not behaving proper — is only a totally different world. And I’ve seen, sadly, some actually critical self-injury when folks lose management over their lives. And the one factor they’ve left over is management of their physique. Some folks typically have a tendency to show that misery inward and have interaction in some very critical self-harm.

Some of the essential issues that individuals who have a psychological sickness can do, is discover a supportive group to be in, whether or not that be a person or a bigger group. Usually in jail, any kind of group like that’s thought of an unauthorized group and prisons view it the identical means that they’d view a gang. And due to this fact, these types of mutual assist organizations and people types of shut relationships with folks, can get folks despatched to solitary.

So a number of the most essential issues that individuals might do for themselves, with a purpose to assist with their psychological well being points, are, the truth is, thought of to be harmful by the state. And that’s simply one other instance of why prisons usually are not someplace that anyone who’s significantly psychological needs to be.

KH: In 2007, UPLC filed a category motion lawsuit towards the state of Illinois to problem the unconstitutional circumstances that mentally sick imprisoned folks had been experiencing. I requested Alan what issues had been like for folks in Illinois prisons on the time that lawsuit was initiated.

AM: We had obtained a whole bunch of complaints about psychological well being care all through Illinois’ prisons. We actually received concerned first with psychological well being care when the supermax in Tamms was nonetheless open, and it was filled with mentally sick folks. As Tamms closed, these folks all received dispersed to different prisons, so we determined we have to file a case about your complete state, as a substitute of only one jail.

The complaints ranged from every part, from no remedy in any respect, together with remedy — however I believe rather more widespread was, it was purely a medication-based, so-called “remedy,” and there was little or no continuity. Folks didn’t have remedy plans. Folks didn’t have constant diagnoses. So each time they’d see a psychiatrist, they’d be re-diagnosed and maybe remedy switched, and no ongoing evaluation or try to do any form of discuss remedy or anything. And positively, no try to ameliorate the circumstances within the prisons, which brought on or aggravated psychological sickness.

I believe that a number of the most excellent issues associated to people who find themselves very significantly psychological sick, Illinois was perhaps the one state that didn’t have a hospital for probably the most significantly psychological individuals who had been in disaster, and didn’t have any form of elevated remedy plans in any respect for anyone. So what that meant was folks spent most of their time both in segregation or sadly in “disaster rooms,” that means a room that was in principle, suicide-proof, however folks had been stripped bare, given a blanket and left there for actually years, in one thing that on the skin, you must measure in minutes or generally hours, however by no means days, not to mention years.

Folks would go into these disaster conditions and can be caught there. All of the remedy consisted of was anyone coming by each day and saying, “Are you going to kill your self at the moment?” And till you mentioned “no,” you stayed there. And if you happen to mentioned “no,” they’d put you again out, proper the place you got here from so that you simply had been simply in as dangerous form as you had been to start with, besides maybe you discovered to not complain anymore as a result of once more, being stripped bare and put right into a cell by your self will not be good for anyone.

KH: In Could 2016, UPLC entered right into a settlement settlement with the Illinois Division of Corrections to utterly revamp the best way folks with critical psychological diseases are handled in Illinois prisons. However even underneath the scrutiny of a federal monitor, the state has failed to satisfy its obligations. Amongst different infractions, IDOC has not performed an evaluation of what employees is important to handle the issues recognized within the settlement settlement. UPLC has continued to watch the scenario and to battle for the implementation of requirements of care the state of Illinois agreed to. A bit extra on that later.

However first, I need our listeners to take a second to consider the truth that every part Alan simply described occurred previous to COVID. In order dangerous as all of that sounds, we all know that circumstances have deteriorated throughout the board for incarcerated folks through the pandemic.

I additionally need us to remember that the circumstances Alan was speaking about are the circumstances underneath which Monica and her group on the within had been enacting their “refusal to desert” each other. I believe we must always all really feel challenged by that. When Monica spoke of the “refusal to desert” that knowledgeable the mutual assist that she and others prolonged to 1 one other, I requested her if she might give me an instance of what that refusal regarded like in motion, and her reply fairly truthfully moved me to tears.

MC: After I first received sentenced, I had 83 years and I didn’t see no gentle on the finish of the tunnel. However the ladies who had been already long-timers after I was simply coming in, they had been the sunshine in my tunnel. We had been all within the tunnel collectively simply making gentle. So there was a time when…. There was truly a few occasions I thought of simply, fuck, I simply didn’t need to be in jail anymore. My household moved out of state within the ‘90s proper after I was coming into the system. Whereas I used to be in Prepare dinner County Jail, I noticed them each week. After I went on cargo and my household moved out of state and I didn’t get to see anyone. I used to be unable to speak on the telephone. I missed my kids and I simply was fucked up.

I used to be fucked up and I simply didn’t need to do it no extra and was actively planning, like, “Okay, all people goes to chow at the moment. So I’m going to fucking cling myself off this rail right here,” and [I] tore up my sheet and shit gave most of my shit away. And Kimmy Keller, who’s out right here now, and Tammy Evans, who remains to be locked up… they didn’t go to chow that night time. They didn’t go to chow. And so they had been two of the individuals who I had given a few of my stuff to. And I used to be sitting on the high of the steps, simply ready on the door to shut, as a result of I used to be out of there. And I used to be like, “Fuck, I’m not doing this shit.” And so they simply got here and sat up there with me. That is like, they knew as a result of they’d both been there earlier than or they’d seen different folks in that area earlier than, however they knew what it was they usually didn’t let me go.

They simply refused to desert me. And so they simply sat with me. I’ve sat with different ladies who had simply … perhaps wasn’t current in our specific actuality that we’re dwelling in. I’ve sat with different ladies as a result of I bear in mind when anyone sat with me.

KH: Monica described the networks of care she skilled in jail as communities of people that had been invested in each other’s survival. In a death-making establishment, the place seen acts of solidarity are punishable offenses, the formation of a social life-support system is a rebellious act, and I believe it’s one we now have loads to study from. As a result of whereas most of us usually are not presently experiencing the horrors of the prison-industrial advanced, we live in an individualistic society that has conditioned us to desert each other.

Monica additionally talked in regards to the cultivation of pleasure as a type of mutual assist, and I believe that is particularly essential, as a result of lots of people are actually combined up on this topic. I didn’t even understand, till the final couple of years, that lots of people imagine pleasure is at odds with motion work, or a distraction from the struggles we face. They think about the indulgence of pleasure because the avoidance of battle, reasonably than a vital technique of sustaining our actions and ourselves. As Monica instructed me, the cultivation of pleasure generally is a type of mutual assist, and it will also be a type of riot.

MC: I can’t sing for shit. I’m not even going to strive. I don’t need to scare no one. However after I labored within the kitchen in Dwight [Correctional Center] again within the day for, I don’t know, for about six years, I used to be a part of the apprenticeship program. It took me fucking six years to graduate and it ought to have solely taken 4, however it was like a few journeys to seg [solitary confinement] and simply different shit. Jail shit. And we had a few people that used to simply sing within the kitchen, simply sing. I used to be one in all them and I might simply be goofing off. However we had folks that would, man, Kelly, they may sing. And occasionally, no matter COO or kitchen supervisor or no matter come by and be like, “Shut that shit up, lower that shit out.” No matter. And we’d be like, “All proper.” And sing any motherfucking means. After which they’ll write us a ticket. And so we’ll make up a track in regards to the ticket that they wrote, and sing anyway, and smile and giggle and dance across the kitchen whereas we’re doing our little kitchen jobs.

It’s the means we consistently make presents for one another. We consistently make presents for one another and these presents get taken as contraband and thrown away. Often, we get to discover a approach to mail them out to our youngsters or whoever. We fee all kind of items. A few of the greatest artists I’ve ever seen in life are within the fucking jail. And so we fee items. We make up holidays. We do stuff for Christmas and Mom’s Day and the opposite holidays and whatnot. However we additionally simply make up holidays simply because. And we feed one another. We make these incredible, incredible meals out of nothing. And that’s the ability that comes from …. as a result of most certainly we was already poor earlier than we received locked up. And so it’s determining find out how to be inventive with what little little bit of meals we had. And so we deliver that to the jail with us after which we get additional inventive. And so we have fun anyone getting their GED. We have fun folks simply getting within the GED class. We have fun each little fucking accomplishment as a result of it’s not a little bit accomplishment. It’s a big-ass motherfucking deal. We’ll have fun anyone who received a certificates for collaborating in a six week drug consciousness class or one thing. It’s the fixed celebration of simply us. We’re celebrating the truth that we performed did some shit. We wakened this morning. We wakened this morning. We have fun.

KH: I additionally requested Monica if she had particular recommendation for organizers and activists, at this second, based mostly on the teachings she discovered inside.

MC: Don’t be so fast to throw people away. Everyone fucks up. Everyone. Everyone. Irrespective of how distant you’re out of your final fuck-up, there’s most likely nonetheless one on the horizon for you. And so simply keep in mind that shit. And once more, simply not abandoning people, as a result of that’s actual straightforward to do. It’s actual straightforward to throw people away. The tougher factor is, solidarity is difficult. Ain’t no one’s ever mentioned that shit was going to be straightforward. It’s remembering to be in group. And group doesn’t imply having the one that damage me upside my head 24/7. That’s not what meaning. It simply means understanding that we’re nonetheless part of this and we’re nonetheless on this collectively. We simply ain’t going to be proper subsequent to one another. I nonetheless ain’t received to essentially such as you. You understand what I’m saying? However we’re nonetheless part of the identical group.

KH: I received a lot out of speaking to Monica for this episode, and I hope our listeners are having an analogous expertise, however I don’t need us to easily soak up this knowledge for the sake of bettering our personal lives or work. I need us to think about how we are able to domesticate the form of group life-support techniques that Monica is speaking about on the skin, and I additionally need us to recollect our obligations to our imprisoned siblings, who’re struggling an incredible deal proper now. As a result of websites of torture don’t magically change into websites of care throughout occasions of disaster. They change into one thing even worse, and our refusal to acknowledge or act towards these harms is an element of a bigger, indifferent, individualist mentality that’s holding us complicit whereas the world burns. So I need to circle again for a second to how issues are moving into Illinois prisons, and the state of the battle for psychological well being take care of imprisoned folks.

AM: Effectively, I might say that they had been making some progress, previous to COVID. That they had actually gotten, most individuals had been taking part in teams, though not practically as many teams as they wanted, and there was questions on a number of the high quality of these teams. Most individuals had been getting out of their cells 10 hours per week. That they had employed some further folks, however not practically sufficient. They nonetheless had backlogs in a lot of totally different metrics, together with appointments with psychiatrists, appointments together with your psychological well being skilled, et cetera, et cetera.

In order that they had been making progress, and all people had a remedy plan. Though these remedy plans weren’t at all times significant within the sense that you can take 5 remedy plans for 5 folks with fairly totally different diagnoses, and they might be all precisely the identical. At Pontiac Correctional Middle, which is the place we now have extra mentally sick folks than anyone else, anyplace else within the state. A lot of the so-called group remedy truly consisted of a film being proven. After which anyone from psychological well being standing up afterwards and saying, so what did this imply to you, for 30 seconds. So it wasn’t actually high quality psychological healthcare, however it was higher than it was earlier than.

COVID has actually stopped all of that. As with the remainder of the world, the jail was on lockdown. And now far an excessive amount of of the so-called remedy and different remedy is being offered by anyone coming to a cell and speaking via the bars of the cell to you, when maybe your cellmate is standing proper there, or a guard is standing out within the gallery and even worse, when you could have a door, which isn’t bars, however is the strong doorways. You’re screaming via a little bit crack on the door, and that’s clearly no approach to create any form of therapeutic bond between a therapist and the sufferers, is to yell forwards and backwards via a strong metal door.

So issues have deteriorated terribly. And what actually has not been performed is an evaluation of all these individuals who weren’t on the psychological well being caseload earlier than. We preserve listening to from individuals who mentioned, I didn’t have a psychological well being downside earlier than, however I’m flipping out now after being locked in my cell for nearly … God, we’re happening two years now, happening two years now. So we’re all very involved about how widespread, not essentially identified psychological sickness, however psychological points are within the jail system proper now. I think there’s much more want they usually have an enormous deficit in employees proper now. And due to this fact, they’re not with the ability to present a lot psychological well being care to anyone.

KH: So let’s speak about what we are able to do to help imprisoned folks proper now. Prisons are inherently violent locations and we aren’t going to remodel them into websites of care and rehabilitation, however we are able to help organizations like Uptown Folks’s Legislation that wage battles on behalf of prisoners. Simply final week, UPLC consumer Anthony Rodesky was awarded $400,000 for the Illinois Division of Corrections’ violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Act. Ten years in the past, Anthony developed a blister whereas pacing in solitary confinement. As a Kind 1 diabetic, he required take care of this harm — care he didn’t obtain. The blister received contaminated, and Anthony’s leg needed to be amputated consequently. Whereas no amount of cash can compensate for such a loss, folks like Anthony desperately want somebody of their nook. That form of work is essential, and it’s additionally drastically under-funded.

It’s additionally essential that we prolong direct help to imprisoned folks and their households, as Monica emphasised once we talked.

MC: Ship cash to folks in jail, look out for his or her households out right here, preserve cash in your telephone if you happen to can. Mothers United does the Callidarity, proper? So be certain that they’re straight, as a result of that cash’s going straight on folks’s telephones so that individuals can name. So it’s ensuring folks can name folks, ensuring [to] write, ship books. Go see folks when the fuck you’ll be able to. Help their households out right here and proceed to study. Proceed to study. Hearken to your [Kelly Hayes’s] podcast. Learn all of Mariame [Kaba’s] stuff.

And simply keep open. Keep open to studying and rethinking as a result of the factor you assume at the moment would possibly change in a 12 months or two. However keep open and keep fluid, I assume. Keep fluid and artistic. I believe in jail we now have to be fluid and artistic as a result of, although it’s so enclosed and smashed collectively, however there’s at all times a lot taking place, so that you at all times nonetheless received to be on level and remember and discover a inventive means round one thing and be form of fluid and artistic so you may get some shit performed.

KH: Alan additionally had some ideas on how these of us on the skin can present help for imprisoned folks, and why combating for the psychological well being care that prisoners are denied will not be sufficient.

AM: The extra you understand about, and the extra folks you meet in jail who’re affected by critical psychological sickness, you simply can’t get away from it. We have to acknowledge simply the diploma of ache that individuals are going via, who’re in jail. Maintain that in our thoughts at all times, and unfold the phrase. Discuss to your legislators, discuss to anyone you’ll be able to come up with about how that is simply not a civilized approach to deal with folks on this society.

However the different factor that I believe is absolutely essential — which I’m not suggesting it’s not taking place, as a result of it’s — is to proceed the agitation that’s taking place on the skin, for higher psychological well being care in the neighborhood. As a result of frankly, whereas I’m all for combating for, and have spent my life combating for making lives higher for folks inside, being in jail itself is poisonous to psychological well being. So there isn’t any means that we are able to in the end make it in order that prisons are place for people who find themselves mentally sick.

The one actual resolution right here is that individuals who have a critical psychological sickness have to be handled exterior in the neighborhood, earlier than they ever become involved with the prison justice system. So I might say, crucial factor folks can do, is to guarantee that that psychological well being system on the skin within the metropolis of Chicago is, and significantly within the West and South Aspect, which is the place most of our prisoners find yourself coming from, sadly, is strong. That they reverse the closure of all of the psychological well being facilities that they did and supply much more psychological well being care on the skin.

KH: Alan is 100% appropriate that whereas we now have to battle for the rights of individuals inside, we’re by no means going to remodel prisons into simply establishments with acceptable requirements of care. Demise-making techniques can’t be made good. They are often tangled with, and their harms lowered, and that work is crucial, however to remodel the world we dwell in, we’re going to must embrace that refusal to desert that Monica described. And that refusal have to be embedded in our responses to austerity, policing, carceral violence, the abuse of migrants and a lot extra. It should inform our calls for and enliven our solidarity. On this period of disaster, a refusal to deal with different folks as disposable will likely be a vital type of riot.

In case you are feeling moved to help imprisoned folks at the moment, both by supporting Uptown Folks’s Legislation, or Mothers United In opposition to Violence and Incarceration, whose Callidarity effort Monica talked about, I will likely be together with a lot of choices within the present notes of this episode, when it comes to methods that you may plug in and teams that you may have interaction with. I encourage everybody to decide on no less than one small activity to indicate help and solidarity for imprisoned folks this vacation season. This isn’t a straightforward time for any of us, however we now have to recollect our siblings inside, and do what we are able to to help them.

I do know that hope generally is a tough factor in these occasions. Personally, I’m an enormous believer in my buddy Mariame Kaba’s mantra that “hope is a self-discipline.” That concept has at all times been useful to me, as a result of I’m a task-oriented individual. Typically, after I’m actually struggling, I think about hope as a candle, and I consider myself as having a activity — one which’s a lot bigger than my very own destiny or my very own emotions. I’ve to protect that candle, and preserve it lit, to assist reignite different flames, and to maintain the tunnel from going darkish. Different occasions, I consider hope as a fugitive in want of shelter. And in these moments, I’m able to metal myself, and really feel sure that hope is protected with me, as a result of I might by no means give up it to our enemies.

As we wrap up this penultimate episode, earlier than we break for the vacations, I do need to share a couple of phrases from Monica about hope, and the way she held onto it throughout jail.

MC: Then for me it was curiosity and I didn’t even understand that that was my hope. It was my hope in disguise as a result of I didn’t assume I had any hope. I straight up wished to die and was planning to be out. And it was, what was the letter from my grand child going to be? Would I even get one? It was, I’ve had hundreds of roommates within the time that I used to be locked up, and a few of whom had been characters and I’ve been a personality myself occasionally. And so what’s this idiot going to do tomorrow? So for me it was staying curious.

Typically it was being interested in books, I might be means into books. Oh my God, Kelly, have you ever seen Wheel of Time but? It’s superb. It’s fucking superb. I learn a number of the books whereas I used to be locked up. And so if I used to be invested in a sequence of books, I used to be interested in what was going to occur to this character on this ebook.

KH: As I instructed Monica, I’ve not checked out Wheel of Time but, however I undoubtedly plan to, on her suggestion. I wished to verify I included these phrases from Monica earlier than we closed, as a result of I wished to remind us that hope can take many shapes, and that the issues that preserve us engaged and curious are deeply essential in darkish occasions. I hope we are able to admire and share these issues, and I hope we are able to stay curious, as a result of curiosity is crucial to our development, to our politics, and to our engagement with the world itself.

I need to thank Monica Cosby and Alan Mills for speaking with me about prisons, mutual assist and the way we are able to transfer ahead in these occasions. I additionally need to thank our listeners for becoming a member of us at the moment, and bear in mind, our greatest protection towards cynicism is to do good and to keep in mind that the great we do issues. Till subsequent time, I’ll see you within the streets.

Present Notes

  • The group Monica Cosby organizes with is Moms United Against Incarceration. Mothers United organizes mutual help and participatory protection in solidarity with moms who’ve suffered criminalization and separation from their kids. They’re at present holding a holiday fundraiser for telephone calls, toiletries and presents for incarcerated moms and their kids.
  • You’ll be able to study extra in regards to the Uptown Folks’s Legislation Middle and help their work here.
  • It’s not too late to take a look at Mariame Kaba’s 9 Solidarity Commitments to/with Incarcerated People for 2021. This doc affords instructed solidarity actions and teams to comply with to be able to study extra.
  • Survived and Punished is a community of teams working to finish the criminalization of survivors of home and sexual violence. You’ll be able to study extra about their work here.
  • Important Resistance is a corporation that “seeks to construct a global motion to finish the Jail Industrial Complicated by difficult the assumption that caging and controlling folks makes us protected.” You’ll be able to study extra about their work here.

Additional studying: