A MASK OF LIFE AND DEATH
State and federal prisons throughout Louisiana and neighboring states like Mississippi are losing people who are incarcerated at rapid rates because sheltering in place for them, unlike us on the outside, is a death sentence.
Places like Oakdale Federal Correctional Institution, which has been deemed “ground zero” having the first case of COVID-19 in the state of Louisiana, houses 1700 men and as of May 1st, 60 have been infected with COVID-19 and 7 deaths. Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women aka St. Gabriel Women’s Prison holds 233 women and currently 211 of those women have been infected with COVID-19 with one third of them being asymptomatic and 2 women have already died. Angola has started fo place those infected with the virus in the notorious Camp J also known has “The Death Camp.”
Gloria Williams, affectionately known as Mama Glo who has been incarcerated in LCIW for nearly 50 years, since 1971, for robbing a grocery store (with others) with a toy gun where after a struggle with the armed store owner someone in her group shot the owner with his own gun. She was a 25 years old, mother of five, survivor of domestic violence, sentenced to prison for the rest of her life, currently Louisiana’s longest-serving incarcerated woman, and although The Board of Pardons unanimously approved her clemency application, Governor John Bel Edwards still has yet to sign her clemency application (it has been sheltering in place on his desk for nearly eleven months) and she, too, has now tested positive for Covid-19, receiving oxygen and antibiotics to fight pneumonia in both her lungs at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Hospital. She was recently returned to LCIW after her battle with the virus as her family and supporters continuing to fight for her freedom while Gov. Edwards…
60-year-old Queen Warrior LeSandrea Bartley has also been incarcerated in LCIW for 39 years for domestic violence; the murder of her abuser. She is one of the few that has not contracted the coronavirus… yet… thankfully. However, she is one of our elders. She has been a fervent mentor to so many behind the wall and is an AH-MAZING performing artist with The LCIW (Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women) Drama Club. Everyday she continues to encourage the women around her to stay and be strong and know that there are people on the outside fighting for them.
Yazoo Federal Institution in Mississippi houses 1728 men and 105 are currently infected with COVID-19. And these are just those that are incarcerated. Because we know that they literally can’t go anywhere, it is clear that the virus was brought in by staffers. And although there are laws in place (CARES Act, First Step Act—both for people who are incarcerated on the Federal side) the red tape is making it damn near impossible for them to be released.
There is much trepidation surrounding the coronavirus, especially regarding people who are directly impacted by the prison industrial complex, BAR NONE, Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center, Pave It Forward, Nola DDM (design| development| manufacture), and AYA Designs, LLC are partnering to create washable, reusable masks for people who are incarcerated as well as the employees as an effort to reduce the spread of the virus and keep everyone as safe as possible. We are also working to ensure that people who are incarcerated receive the bare essentials as most correctional facilities are on locked down and not distributing goods, allowing people to purchase goods, or just lacking the basic necessities like soap, toilet paper, maxi pads, etc. And some of these things were already extremely hard for women to access.
Collectively we have a vested interest in humankind, and we are clear that Black people, regardless of their socioeconomic status and/or upbringing-- know the horrific hand we have been and continue to be dealt-- are an important, effective, grand and much needed part of that eco-system.
Your donation will help us administer mask to the prisons that the BAR NONE staff have already secured yes' from.
The masks are to keep them as safe as possible and drive down exposure of the virus. Bringing them home will do much, much more! Please click fhe links for the petitions below, sign and share them!
#FREEALLPOLITICALPRISONERS #PRISONISNOPLACEFORCHILDREN #TOBECOVIDFREETHEYMUSTBEFREE #FREEOURELDERS #TIMESERVED #ABOLISHTHEPIC
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