How Surviving Solitary Confinement Changed my Life

From the look on her face, and the way she entered my room, I knew my mother was about to say something serious. Leaning against her walker, she watched me move closer to her. “It will be harder for you to be in prison than it was for me to be in a concentration camp,” she said. “Mom,” I said, “you were in Auschwitz. How can you possibly compare the two?” “I was 12 years old then, and you are 60,” she replied.

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Kalief Browder

Evie Litwok spoke on Let Your Voice Be Heard regarding the imprisonment and suicide of Kalief Browder this past week.

Kalief Browder was a prisoner at Rikers Island when he was a teenager for three years for stealing a backpack. Because he wanted to prove his innocence instead of pleading guilty to try to do less time, he was held at Rikers Island, even spending time in solitary confinement. He was never charged with a crime. Despite his attempts to rise above his experience by getting the equivelent of a high school degree and enrolling in community college, he never really got over what happened. He killed himself on June 14, 2015.

Read more about Kalief Browder here.

Does the LGBT movement ignore inmates?

More than 20 years have passed since the Supreme Court ruled in Farmer v. Brennan that prisoners could hold prison officials accountable for “deliberate indifference” to their safety. The landmark decision, issued on June 6, 1994, affirmed a constitutional responsibility on the part of custodial officials to protect those in their custody.

Today, however, LGBT inmates – particularly transgender women of color – experience harassment, discrimination, and violence while incarcerated, as well as alarming rates of being sucked into the criminal justice system. Prisoners’ rights advocates claim that the mainstream LGBT movement, now riding high on an unprecedented streak of victories in recent years, has largely ignored this set of concerns. (more…)

Hurricane Sandy caused the evacuation of all In Harm’s Way.. Except the Incarcerated

Hurricane Sandy caused the evacuation of all In Harm’s Way… Except the Incarcerated

“Conversations” in America do not become part of the “American Narrative” until tragedy hits. Hurricane Sandy caused immense tragedy requiring a conversation on climate change. Across twenty states, people died, homes were destroyed, power remains out for millions, water and food are scarce and thousands remain trapped in their homes. America knows it is not prepared for dramatic and severe weather changes. (more…)