Month: January 2016

Statement from Marius Mason for the Trans Prisoner Day of Action and Solidarity January 22nd 2016

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Happy New Year, Family and Friends! Many, many thanks for so much support and care over this year from both long-standing friends and new pen pals. I feel very grateful and am always humbled by the encouragement and resources sent my way by folks who are doing so much already to increase our collective chances for survival. The news has been full of stories about someone winning the big money pool that has accumulated for the US Lotto – but the most important “win” has nothing to do with money. I am betting on the movement to win big this year: in getting more control over their communities and defending against police brutality and racial inequality, in winning more victories for animal and in the defense of wild spaces, in creating social relations based on respect, dignity and compassion for all people….irregardless of their race, orientation, creed or gender presentation.

Thank you for coming together today, to hold up those members of our community who struggle so hard behind walls to keep their sense of self intact. Sovereignty over our selves, our bodies is essential for any other kind of liberty to be possible. By reaching out to trans prisoners, you affirm their right to define themselves for themselves – and defend them against the overwhelming voices who claim that they do not exist, that they must allow others to define them. In the isolating environment of prison, this is toxic and intimidating, and amounts to the cruelest form of psychological torture. By offering your help and solidarity, you may just save a life. I know that for the last year and a half, as I have struggled to assert myself as a transman, as I have advocated for the relief of appropriate medical care for my gender dysphoria – it has been the gentle and loving reminders of my extended family of supporters who have given me strength and courage to continue. Please join me in offering this help to so many others who need it to keep going. Never underestimate the healing power of a letter, those letters have kept me going…and I want to pass that gift on, if you will help me.

Thank you again for coming together on this day, for connecting to those on the inside who truly need you, who need you to see them as they really are and striving to be. Until the prisons are gone, we need to work hard to support those of us inside – especially those of us who are not always as visible to the rest of the world. We are always stronger together.

Marius Mason
January 2016

supportmariusmason.org

January 22 – Trans Prisoner Day of Action

This is a call to action against the system which seeks to erase our very existence. The survival of trans and other sex and gender minority people is not a quaint

conversation about awareness, but a struggle for us to live in a world so determined to marginalize, dehumanise, and criminalise us – especially trans women, and especially Black, brown, and indigenous trans people.

We are discriminated against in every area of society including housing, healthcare, employment. Our survival is often precarious and many of us survive by work which is also criminalised – making us even more of a target for police harassment and the crime of “Walking While Trans’’.

Once incarcerated, trans people face humiliation, physical and sexual abuse, denial of medical needs, and legal reprisals. Many transgender people are placed in solitary confinement for months or years, simply for being trans. Trans women are usually placed in men’s prisons, where there is a massive increased risk of experiencing sexual violence.

Just as our lives are violently repressed on the outside, trans people experience extreme suffering and death within the walls of jails, prisons, youth facilities, and immigrant detention centers.

Trans Prisoner Day of Action on January 22nd is a day to acknowledge the experiences of trans and other sex and gender-minority prisoners. It’s about collaboration. It is about forging new relationships and dismantling the isolation of prison. It’s about resistance to state violence. It’s about solidarity between those who experience the violence of the system first hand and those for whom the state hasn’t come yet.itpsd

Many prisoner support and prison abolition groups around the world do so much excellent work writing letters to prisoners, educating the public with  letters to editors and articles for the media, holding protests and marches, organizing queer communities to phone in and demand that trans prisoners be treated with respect and dignity, calling for an end to incarceration. Trans Prisoner Day of Action aims to make this work accessible to all who are in support – we encourage you to hold vigils for those in our communities who have been taken by State violence, to hold an event, host speakers, screen films, invite presentations, and hold workshops to spread the word on the experience of trans prisoners, share knowledge, and build strategies of resistance. Have dance parties and raise funds for people and groups already doing amazing work. Take action. Let’s join together and show our conviction in supporting each other and ending prisons once and for all.

This project was first imagined by Marius Mason, a trans prisoner in Texas, USA. Since then, through his friends and supporters, an international collective of people both inside and outside of prison walls have come together

to make Trans Prisoner Day of Action a reality. We are trans and non-trans folks and friends and supporters. We join a long tradition of trans and queer people resisting state violence.

Join with us in the struggle for freedom.

To learn more visit: transprisoners.net

“for those who struggle…” on Oscar Lopez Rivera

Puerto Rican , Political Prisoner, Oscar Lopez Rivera turns 73 today, and has been in federal prison since 1981. Take the time to check out this short documentary on Oscar Lopez, and then check out the website below to learn more about the campaign to free Oscar Lopez Rivera.

This is a short documentary about Oscar López Rivera who has been inside the United States prison system since May 29, 1981. He was imprisoned for struggling for Puerto Rican independence. This documentary is meant to inform the public on a little known topic that has made a big impact on the Puerto Rican/Latino communities all over the world.

This documentary started out as a 2011 Spring Semester film project for my Moving Image Production II class at Columbia College, Chicago. The original 8 minute cut received an A-, however I felt there was more information to be told so I made this 12 minute cut.
Enjoy!

For more information on the campaign to free Oscar López Rivera please visit: boricuahumanrights.org