Category Archives: Updates

Shoutout to Black and Pink newsletter!

In the March issues of Black & Pink Newspaper, there was a segment titled: “26 Concrete Things to Do to Abolish Prisons in Illinois,” which came from Project NIA. But I’m sure the list can be applied to any state, just applying those rules to your own state. They are:

1. Fight against the proposed Chicago Public School closures.

2. Learn about and advocate for restorative and transformative justice.

3. Join the Mental Health Movement which is fighting to save our existing mental health clinics from closure in Chicago.

4. Interrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Support the Yes to Counselors, No to More Cops in Schools Campaign.

5. Interrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Teach youth how to catalogue police harassment and overdiscipline at school.

6. Support the young people from Fearless Leading by the Youth (FLY) as they organize to bring a needed trauma center to the Southside that will serve EVERYONE.

7. Close Dwight Prison Now – Tell your legislators.

8. Learn about the history of policing, violence, and resistance.

9. Support the efforts of several community organizations to close the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (JTDC) and re-direct the funds to community-based alternatives to detention and to programming that will support youth.

10. Support youth-led efforts like the Street Youth Rise Up Campaign (organized by the Young Women’s Empowerment Project) which are documenting and organizing against institutional violence.

11. Join the Chicago Anti-Eviction Campaign.

12. Invite youth members of the Know Your Rights Project to speak with their peers and adults about their rights in the criminal legal system (especially with law enforcement).

13. Join parents across Chicago who are organizing for quality education and against the school-to-prison pipeline through POWER-PAC and Community Organizing & Family Issues.

14. Get educated about the PIC.

15. Host your own teach-in about the prison industrial complex.

16. Support organizations that are fighting against immigrant detention and deportations.

17. Support and join the campaign to Raise the Minimum Wage in Illinois (and everywhere else).

18. If you care about programs that affect the lives of children, become an advocate with Illinois Action For Children.

19. Support and join the Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce to create and disseminate RELEVANT curricula for young people.

20. Reach out to those currently locked up behind bars.

21. Stop relying on and calling the police to solve any and all community problems.

22. Join the Illinois Campaign to End the New Jim Crow as they organize against police violence.

23. Start a Creative Resistance Project like the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials.

24. Refuse to serve on juries for drug cases or consider nullification if you do serve on drug cases as a juror.

25. Open your wallets and contribute needed funds to local organizations.

26. Pay attention to the laws that are being proposed at the city, state, and federal level. Ask yourself if the proposed law is going to “extend or curtail the reach of the PIC.” If the answer is extend it, then mobilize to oppose these laws.

Another thing I really enjoyed [from the newsletter] was a piece about gender. It said:

Gender IS:

-A spectrum

-A range of expression

-How you relate to yourself

-A personal identity

Gender is NOT:

-Just male or female

-Defined by body parts

-Sexual orientation

-Defined by chromosomes

I really liked it, so I wanted to share that.

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Drama from the DOC and Snoop Lion, and March and April quotes

Hi everyone! Sorry for the delay, for I have been through a whirlwind of b.s. at the hands of DOC. Of course they wouldn’t care about the things I love to do like my blog posts because they are too busy being dumb-asses making decisions they feel are best for me I don’t know WTF is on these peoples’ noggins, but I can surely say that it has to be a lot of hollow space up there.

Anyways…it’s spring! Unfortunately, it’s off to a bad start here in Minnesota. We’ve been getting snow like crazy, in some parts over a foot of snow. Poor Mother Nature… seems like she’s not in a good mood. Not that it’s her fault. When are people going to realize that global warming is an actual thing, and that if we don’t change the way we care for our planet, it won’t care for us.

I just think about all the energy that is wasted by prisons alone. At any jail or prison I’ve been to I’ve noticed that they leave lights on 24/7! Now think about all the other jails, prisons, juvenile centers, etc., etc. around the world that does exactly the same thing. Now think about how much energy could be saved without them, hmmm… see where I’m coming from? We could save a lot of resources, actually, with abolishing prisons. I can give you a million other things that the resources put into the PIC can be redirected to, that can both build the economy and prevent people from being victims of the PIC.

So other than the DOC and the PIC getting on my nerves, people in general have been really annoying. I’ve never seen people say such dumb shit in my life. A goldfish with a two-second memory is smarter than some of the people of this world, and I say that with all sincerity.

First off, let me start with a comment Mr. Snoop Lion said about gays and the rap industry. He said that gays would never be accepted in the rap industry because rap is such a “masculine arena.” How remedial of a comment was that? Like, WTF Mr. Lion! I like your music, but it’s only dumb-founded, ignorant b.s. like that that will withold the progression of equality in the world, and frankly it was just a dumb-ass statement..

For one, it just goes to show that people still have a stereotypical idea of what “gay” is and that there is no possibility of masculine, or even hyper-masculine, gay and bisexual men in the world. Well, guess what?… THEY EXIST! For two, to say that “rap is a masculine arena” is a underhanded insult to both masculine gay and bisexual men and also to feminine men, trans, GNC (gender non-conforming) and cissexual women who are rappers. It’s clear that women are just as much of a force in the rap industry just as any man is, so why is it so unfathomable that someone that is QLGBT-GNC can’t be such a force in an “arena” that really have no gender “boundaries” or “guidelines”? How can one just say that a person can’t do something because of their sexual identity and/or orientation. That’s like saying we can’t have a black president. Well, you see how that turned out. Twice!

I hate that as time progresses and we evolve, the ignorance and idiocracy of close-minded people keep us, or at least try to, in an unevolutaionary state. At some point others have to accept that diversity exists. And not only does diversity exist, it is what makes us thrive. It is what makes us all uniquely individual. So diversity should be allowed in all aspects of a society. In schools, in the work force, hell, even at home!

As you know, I said that for every month this year I was going to give a quote. But as I mentioned earlier, I was caught in a lot of drama, therefore I didn’t have the opportunity to do so. So I’m still going to give March’s quote along with April’s. Here they are:

March

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

April

“love is the voice under all silences,

the hope which has no opposite in fear,

the strength so strong mere force is feebleness:

the truth more first than sun, more last than star”

-e.e. cummings

CeCe’s back in St. Cloud: Show her some love!

Dear CeCe Supporter,

As was previously announced, CeCe was transferred  to MCF-Stillwater, at her own request, at the beginning of March.  She was enrolled in the Atlantis treatment program there, which operates in a separate unit from the general population.  She was glad to be at Stillwater for a number of reasons, but was quickly frustrated with the program because of issues ranging from blatant transphobia in the program to the snitching culture that is fostered within it.  We are unclear on the specifics, but she was kicked out and placed in segregation within a few weeks of being there, and received an additional 30 days onto her sentence as a disciplinary measure.  After repeated pleas from her and her advocates to remain at Stillwater and be placed in the general population there, she was instead transferred back to St. Cloud recently.  She remains in segregation.

We are still unsure where she will be placed for the remainder of her sentence, but in the meantime we are calling on folks far and wide to write to her immediately!  Send her your love and let her know she is not alone, that we are all watching out for her, and that we got her back!

Chrishaun McDonald
OID#238072
Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud
2305 Minnesota Boulevard S.E.
St. Cloud, MN  56304

 

Keep an eye on this website, or sign up for our mailing list, for the latest information.

With many thanks and lots of love,

CeCe McDonald Support Committee

CeCe has moved to Stillwater!

As of March 2013, CeCe has transferred from the Minnesota state prison in St. Cloud to the prison in Stillwater, MN. She anticipates that she’ll be in Stillwater until her expected release date in December 2013. If you write CeCe, send her books, or visit her, make sure to check for her updated address!

Lucky for her supporters in the Twin Cities, Stillwater is much closer than St. Cloud. Unfortunately, visiting days are a little more limited, and CeCe is only allowed to have 16 hours of visits each month. If you plan to start visiting CeCe, let us know at mpls4cece(a)gmail.com so that we can make sure that everyone who wants to gets a chance to fit in visits each month.

Help find Sage Smith!

As of late, I received word from our family out in Charlottesville, VA (shoutout to Joe, Donna, Luis and all at APOC) that a young (trans) girl has went missing as of Nov 20th, 2012. What’s even more saddening is the lack of effort given by the Charlottesville “Police” Dept. Again, we see that the term “protect and serve” is limited to those they feel deserve their time and efforts, especially seeing that I also got word that two college students (as of recent) (Caucasian and cissexual) went missing, and news was all over it! A foundation in honor of one of the women was even started, yet police and media have been extremely dismissive of Sage’s case.

So now it’s our time to shine people! We can get involved! We need to show sage, Sage’s family, friends, and our family in Charlottesville that we got their back@ Please I urge everyone to please, please, PLEASE get involved! Call the Charlottesville Police Department and tell them to get busy finding Sage! Nothing will be done unless we make them! Just think, this could’ve been your brother, sister, friend, cousin, or it even could’ve been you, and I know and you know that if it were us in their shoes we would want all that could be done in our efforts to be done, right?!? Please people again, I urge you to get involved. We can’t let another of our own slip away! Let’s get justice!

Go to https://www.facebook.com/FindSageSmith

GET INVOLVED!

You can get in touch with APOC at:

302 8th St. Nw

Charlottesville, VA 22903

Additional information and updates will be posted!

Support Estrellita!

Dearest friends,

I want to thank everyone for their support and their fundraising to make sure that I maintain and otherwise. But now I want you to divert your efforts to our sister, Estrellita, who needs our help. Please help her and show her the same love and support that you all gave me. All the information is posted, so let’s save our girl and get this done for her!

Love, CeCe

***

Queer political prisoner in detention needs your help!

This holiday season, give the gift of helping an inspiring young political prisoner be freed from the confines of the immigration detention center in Florence, AZ where she is currently held. Her name is Estrellita and she is seeking help paying her bond, which she expects to be around $3500. Here is what she writes:

“Hola, mi nombre es Estrellita y estoy detenida en Florence, AZ. Yo necesito de su ayuda. Mi familia me odia por ser homosexual, y no tengo el apoyo de nadie, solamente de Casa Mariposa y Raul. Mi situacion es la siguiente: Ya pedi asilo politico y ya fui a la entrevista y pase. Lo unico que me falta es de la fianza y las cartas de apoyo. Les boy a agradecer toda mi vida si me ayudar con la fianza. Yo se que afuera hay angeles y se los boy a agradecer mucho. Mi corte la tengo para el 31 de energo para lo de la fianza. Ayudenme please please!”

“Hello, my name is Estrellita and I am detained in Florence, AZ. I need your help. My family hates me for being homosexual, and I do not have the help of anyone, only Casa Mariposa and Raul. My situation is the following: I asked for political asylum and went to my [credible fear] interview and passed. The one things left are the bond and letters of support. I will be grateful for all of my life if you help me with the bond. I know that outside there are angels and I will appreciate them very much. My court for bond is January 31. Help me please please!”

The Rainbow Defense Fund will be collecting funds for Estrellita, with the goal of raising $3500 by January 31st so she can be released as soon as a bond is set. Please donate online through Paypal or send a check made out to “Restoration Project, Florence” to: Attn: Rainbow Defense Fund; Casa Mariposa; 127 N. Palomas Ave; Tucson, AZ 85745.

Thank you so much!

31 Days of Giving

So the season of giving is upon us, and for this year we should think outside the box. With all of the suffering and turmoil going on on in the world, “giving” should mean more than cashmere sweaters or the latest technical device. So here is the 31 days of giving list. Please do what you can and help those less fortunate, or that can make a change in someone’s life. This is what I want for Christmas.

Day 1

Help train a service pet by donating $5 to canineassistants.org. This small gift covers the cost of feeding a puppy for a week. These puppies are being trained to aid people with disabilities.

Day 2

Nearly 50 million Americans are facing hunger, so by giving $21 to feedingamerica.org  you can help provide food for a family for two weeks.

Day 3

By donating your old phone to cellphonesforsoldiers.com, they can recycle them and use the proceeds to buy calling cards for our troops abroad. If you think about it, you’re helping the environment and helping a soldier make a call to someone they love!

Day 4

A $50 donation to uniteforsight.org gives surgery to one of 94 million people who are blinded or visually impaired by cataracts.

Day 5

Help rehabilitate women who’ve been trafficked by going to senhoa.org , who hires survivors to make jewelry, and help them safely transition back into society.

Day 6

Go to bethematch.org to see if you’re eligible to donate bone marrow, which can save the life of someone battling blood cancer or any other blood or bone illness.

Day 7

By going to cityyear.org and signing up you can tutor and assist in an at-risk classroom for 10 months. Each year, a million teens drop out of school, but the time you invest can take away one less person from that, and help a teen graduate!

Day 8

More than 800 babies are born with HIV daily in Africa, but by donating $50 to m2m.org, they can teach an expecting mom how to avoid tranmission.

Day 9

Donate your wedding gown or veil to bridesagainstbreastcancer.org, and they’ll sell it at a bridal show and help pay for support groups for patients.

Day 10

At projectnightnight.org, a $20 donation provides a blanket, book, and stuffed toy to one of the 334,819 kids in shelters nationwide.

Day 11

Beautify a city park by giving $15 to tpl.org which goes toward playground equipment in a new or renovated green space for boys and girls across the U.S.

Day 12

$50 to nursefamilypartnership.org coaches five first-time moms about healthy pregnancies and smart parenting.

Day 13

Save a life in South Sudan and donate $5 to doc2dock.org which helps them ship unused supplies from hospitals here in the U.S. to remote clinics, where shortages threaten lives.

Day 14

Giving $25 to youngwomenforchange.org donates a desk to the first-ever female-only web cafe in Kabul.

Day 15

$10 to petfinderfoundation.com vaccinates four shelter dogs or five cats, keeping them ready for adoption.

Day 16

Invest in health by giving $50 to actionforhealthykids.org, which buys PE tools for a class in a struggling district. 17% of America’s youth is obese and this can help our youth to be healthy and live longer, healthier lives.

Day 17

Go to stjude.org and donate to help children with deadly illnesses like leukemia and cancer. These kids can use all the help we can give them, so no donation is too small or too big.

Day 18

In honor of Yeardley Love, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend, and all the other countless acts of domestic violence, you can go to joinonelove.org and educate yourself and others to prevent abuse.

Day 19

$25 to givekidstheworld.org helps affected families take a vacation to its Florida resort. You can pay for a terminally ill child’s getaway!

Day 20

Volunteer from your desk and go to sparked.com. The site asks about your skills and passions, then gives ideas for using your talents to better the world.

Day 21

Help fight lung cancer and donate to lcfamerica.org. Proceeds fund research to predict, detect, and treat the top cancer killer among Americans.

Day 22

Take care of amputees and donate $300 to brac.net which provides a prosthetic arms or leg to a Haitian who lost a limb due to the 2010 earthquake.

Day 23

Order a new book from worldbooks.com for your or/and a friend, and they’ll send one to a needy child in the U.S. or abroad.

Day 24

Spend a day at one of Women Build’s 27 sites and help put a low-income family into a home.

Day 25

For $25 to deaeducationalfoundation.org , one girl can attend afterschool dance classes for 10 weeks, which means you’re helping keep an at-risk youth drug-free and off the streets.

Day 26

Help TYSN help our at-risk trans youth by providing safe space, training, education etc. by donating at transyouthsupportnetwork.org  and help the organization I love with all my heart. Any donation works!

Day 27

Spent $120 on a feed tote full of gourmet snacks (deandeluca.com) and, 15 meals go to kids in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.

Day 28

Soothe a scared kid and send stuffed animals to projectsmile.org; police officers and paramedics will hand them out to trauma victims.

Day 29

For $150, landesa.org secures a plot for a woman in India to live and grow food with her family.

Day 30

teamrubiconusa.org uses your $11 donation to keep a veteran ready to deploy to crisis areas, like New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy.

Day 31

Every dollar to happyheartsfund.org helps rebuild schools after devastation around the globe.

Now! With your heart filled with giving you can start the New Year with a new outlook on life, and feeling good about being a humanitarian. Also, if there is any organization that was not mentioned that you would like to donate to, then donate. What matters is that you’re making a difference for someone out in the world. i love you all, and have a wonderful and Happy Holidays!

Sincerest love,

Honee Bea

On Trans Day of Remembrance: A Proposal

In light of Trans Day of Remembrance, this letter is more of a proposal to the LGBTQI community, specifically to my wonderful sisters of the “transnation.” My objective of this letter is to share ideas and ignite a spark in the women (and I use the term woman broadly to express all women and not having to put “trans” in front of the term. We are all WOMEN, be it that that’s what you identify as, and I don’t speak for all women but those who identify as such) to change our perspective of our communities (be it our neighborhoods, abroad, and the LGBTQI communities) and ourselves.

I want all my beautiful people to take the time to process this proposal, and take an initiative to better our communities and ourselves. To put forth an effort to have our voices heard and to let the world know we exist and the issues that affect us aren’t being acknowledged, nor solved.

This all came about from a letter that I received, followed by some paperwork for review for the Trans Youth Support Network‘s (TYSN) Leadership Development Program, and a Tarot reading I gave myself. But it all made sense when I was trying to sleep, which is usually when I have these epiphanies, and the word “collaborative” steadily flashed in my head and it continued until it was clear to me, as in it I opened my mind’s eye. I sat up and pieced it all together and there bloomed the inspiration to put this together. I want to share these series of events that led to the light-bulb going off over my head, and my proposal to people all over who want to make changes and have OUR voices heard.

It all started with a very artistic letter (which I’m sure took a while to write) from Alexander K. out in Philadelphia. I’m going to share this with you all, then I will incorporate my feelings of what I read in my conclusion of this proposal:

Dear CeCe,

I am writing to you from the City of Brotherly Love—Philadelphia.

Last Saturday, I marched alongside 300 of my brothers and sisters, neighbors, family, and friends at the second Philadelphia Trans March.

It was amazing to see such a display of strength and solidarity from our community and allies in the wake of tragedy. Last month, we lost a young (trans)woman of color to violence. Her name was Kyra Kruz, and she is remembered as a bright and truly beautiful person—already such a vital force of good in Philly, and taken [my emphasis] from us too soon, as it happens too often.

My time with Kyra was brief, yet her impact was priceless. As a teenager the first time I really came out as trans, as much to myself as other people, was at a group for trans and gender questioning youth Kyra revived and breathed new life into as a leader.

 The trans community in Philly, like the whole, is large and diverse, and I’d be lying if I said we’re one big happy family. But we are a family. Even though, at times, we might treat each other poorly, our time together brief, even if we’ve never met. Sometimes we forget about it. But it can be such a source of profound joy, and the only was to get through the worst things in life. I was remembered of this during a vigil held for Kyra at our LGBTQI community center, where the service had been delayed to allow the entirety of staff and young people from the youth center. In particular I was incredibly moved by the presence of the Center’s trans and questioning youth, and words from Kyra’s co-visionary and co-mentor. He spoke about his decision to bring them to show them the importance of standing together in pain as well as celebration, instilling hope and an earnest call for love and support.

I consider you a part of our family.

A sister.

My sister.

I have heard your story from close friends and strangers, and although in many ways distant, it is a blessing beyond words that you are still with us.

Solidarity,

Alexander

Now, prior to this I’ve had many conversations with my lovely friend and colleague Katie Burgess (Executive Director of TYSN) about my future beyond the “concrete chaos,” which includes my position at TYSN and how my position of leadership can bring a change to TYSN and how the “world” views (trans)women, for the better. And after reading the letter from Alexander, having this feeling of anger and sadness from the death of Kyra, it felt that I wanted to take on this challenge of being a leader now more than ever. It was fate that at the moment of having these feelings, I received a review packet of TYSN’s Leadership Program with all these wonderful ideas and solid policies. And of course, me being the optimistic and sometime overly-anxious person that I am, I was so charged to get to business.

And like any person with optimism, sometimes it can be scary and overwhelming, especially when it’s a job or craft that one enjoy and cherish, like this is for me. And I don’t know how to handle it, all these ideas and feelings and wanting to go all in. So I felt a little lost and had all these questions that felt unanswered. For me, I go to my faith which is anything spiritual. From prayer to yoga, I do it all. For this, I was drawn to my Tarot cards (thanks Kat!) and it seemed like they read into my soul and hit dead on. I asked the deck: “How does leadership and my future come together and how do I handle it, and is this where I should be (referring to being a leader)?” After I asked, I closed my eyes and took some deep breaths. I pulled four cards and laid them out. I opened my eyes and there was the Two of Bones (ed.: this card speaks to the magical  nature of change, and life as a series of decisions to be made), the Instructor (aka the Hierophant) (ed.: this card reflects on institutions, hierarchies, and tradition; the image is of an instructor who has “created or inherited her institution and … is now devoted to maintaining it”), Mentor of Bottles (ed: The Mentor of Bottles represents a leader who acts with responsibility, mastery, experience, calm, and tolerance.), and The Code (ed.: This card speaks to the rules and structures that hold power in communities, which can benefit us as well as constrain us.).

After giving myself such a relevant and accurate reading, I know that this is where I belong (referring to being a leader). That most times in our lives we question our greatness, and sometimes feel that we won’t or can’t deal with the pressures of being leaders, to own the power to have authority and make changes, even if it’s what we want the baddest in life. And from the Leadership Development Program review, I know that our beliefs can be passed on and taught to our future leaders of the LGBTQI community. To have rights and a voice. To be able to walk  in this world, not afraid and actually feel like a human being and not a shadow in a corner. At TYSN, we believe that our trans youth know themselves, believe in each other, can create the basis of respect by understanding our fears, are all teachers and learners all the time, that we are all mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons, but most importantly we are all worth it, worthy, beautiful, strong, more than a binary, are able to become self-actualized, can and have already succeeded as a person, and of course, leaders. We need to understand this now more than ever. We need to not only celebrate for Trans Day of Remembrance, but also become self-aware and ready to put an end to our community being the focus of violence. Of course it is more than important to recognize and pay homage to our fallen, but we also need to put our feet down and start being real leaders and making this stand. And personally speaking, if it’s true that this is my personal journey as a leader, I want to lead my troops to victory. I can’t continue to say “how bad” that another brother, sister, mother, father, partner, friend is gone from blind-hatred. From ignorance and discrimination.

I would have rather been punished for asserting myself than become another victim of hatred. No, I’m not saying violence is key or all people should react the way I did, but our communities, whether here or abroad, have become the victim of malicious and hateful crimes. We need to start now. Make your voices heard. Reach out to the lawmakers, hell get it to the president if we have to. But we need to stop and work from inside out. We need to find strong leaders who can handle the pressures of being just that. Also we need to stop “throwing so much shade” to each other. All that anger that we direct towards each other should be directed at its true source, the people who treat us badly. The politicians who act like we don’t exist and don’t focus on the rights and safety of the LGBTQI people, especially (trans)women. I would be lying if I said that I once wasn’t a shady girl, but now I am a woman who wants to be a role model and a leader for the (trans)woman of the 21st century. To be unmarginalized and recognized for who I am, and who we are: strong, wonderful, loving women, and that we are people. That femininity can be as, if not more, strong and resilient than masculinity. That we deserve the same rights as any heterosexual, cissexual, or any person who objects against our being. It kills me to know that a man, or any person with a penis, can get a “genital pump,” with medial insurance, but we as (trans)women have to struggle with costs for GRS and other trans related medical issues, some of which hare not even considerable for insurance coverage. Crazy, right?

So my proposal is for all the organizations who are for growth of the (trans) youth, for the growth of OUR communities and such, to now take a collaborative into effect. To connect and extend to other organizations. To start building leaders and making changed for the better. At TYSN we believe that we can bring the (trans) community together, that we can foster the creation of POWERFUL art, that we can change the world, that we can create empowerment, that we can work with existing systems and outside systems to create resources for self and community and importantly, that we can overcome adversity and build a whole, balanced, and successful life. And I know we want that for all our (trans)women around the world. We need for our mission to promote racial, social, and economic justice for trans youth, with freedom to self-define gender identity and expression. I love my people and I want us all to succeed. It won’t be long before I’m out and I want to be involved with all those who are willing to step up and get ready for a revolution, and it will not be televised!

Before I go I want to give a shout-out to Janet Mock, for shouting me out in her wonderful interview about trans issues and her life from Marie Claire with Colorlines. Thank you for being such a strong, successful, positive (trans) women and showing us in a non-typical and stereotypical idea in the media. Much love to you lady! xo

This will be it for now, and I’ll be sure to follow up on this and on my future leaders. TTYL my lovelies!

“If you can achieve the thought, you can make it happen!”

Sincerest love,

CeCe

aka

Honee Bea

Participants of “Rally” outside St. Cloud Prison respond to lockdown

St. Cloud, MN – On Friday, September 14th, nine people from Minneapolis staged a motorcycle ride to St. Cloud Correctional Facility to visit a friend who is imprisoned there. When they arrived, they discovered the prison facility on lockdown and SWAT teams guarding every entrance.  They later learned the lockdown was in response to their planned motorcycle ride.

This is their message to inmates in the St. Cloud prison, their families, and loved ones:

We were visiting in solidarity with our imprisoned friend to show that they have love, friendship, and long term support.  We aim to build human connections across the wire.

We regret that families and prisoners were denied visits on Friday.  It was the SWAT teams at the gates and the prison bureaucrats in their offices who made this a reality.  As several of us have spent time incarcerated, we know that prisons look for every excuse to isolate and deprive prisoners of human connections.  We hope that visitation was restored quickly.

We want the dignity and humanity of the inmates respected.  We question what prison officials find to be a threat–our love and commitment to those behind bars?

Perhaps, for in our hearts we hold dreams of a world without prisons.  If you are listening, know that your struggle is ours until this prison society is abolished.

#####

 

Update from CeCe in St. Cloud: July, 2012

The call-in campaign for CeCe to get her correct dosage of hormones was an incredible success!  The prison’s health administration were so “inconvenienced”, they were compelled to clear the issue immediately.CeCe is doing fine and looking fabulous.  She is steadily devouring the books that everyone is sending – currently she is reading Angela Davis and is totally inspired.

She spoke a bit about the push from some supporters to launch large-scale campaigns to get Gov. Mark Dayton to pardon her, and/or to have her moved to a women’s facility.  She talked about how these campaigns would not only not benefit her, but how they exceptionalize her in a way that she doesn’t want.

The pardoning process would not only be painful for her, but were she even to get considered, it wouldn’t be until after she served her sentence.  She thinks about people incarcerated for much longer terms than she, and for incredibly minor offenses (mostly drug related). Even if the emotional hardship of the process was something she felt up for, and even if the slim chance of it working actually succeeded, the outcome of her getting a pardon while others sat in prison is antithetical to her values and the whole reason she is struggling against this racist system in the first place.

As for being transferred to a women’s facility, her thoughts are:  Prison sucks.  Period.  CeCe is not safe in any prison, women’s or men’s.  Prisons are not safe for anyone.  Period.  CeCe asserts (as do we) that incarcerated individuals should be able to decide for themselves where they would be safest within the system.  For now, CeCe is fine being in a men’s facility.  For supporters to push for her to be transferred from one hell to another only serves the purpose of misdirecting energy away from the real problems of incarceration in the U.S., and the problem of the Prison Industrial Complex as a whole.

To sum it up:  CeCe does not want supporters to launch long-term campaigns on her behalf that exceptionalize her situation..  Also importantly, these specific campaigns: a pardon from Gov. Dayton and getting transferred to a women’s facility, wouldn’t actually be beneficial to her at all.  Short term campaigns such as call-ins to administration, and media blasts, are targeted efforts that let the DOC know that CeCe has widespread support, and it sends a message that we are watching them and will respond to prisoner’s needs – CeCe’s today, and other incarcerated trans people tomorrow.

CeCe sends her love and gratitude to everyone who called-in on her behalf.  She wishes that every wrongly incarcerated person had the same incredible support that she has, and prays for a world without bars, a world without cells.