Welcome OUT and Welcome Home Chelsea Manning. May 17, 2017

Posted: May 12, 2017 in *Celebration*, Call to Action, for your reflection, Our Stories

CHELSEA MANNING

International Victory Day!

May 17, 2017

DEFEND ALL WHISTLEBLOWERS

Chelsea Manning is going to be free! Celebrate with us!

Chelsea Mannings 35-year sentence was commuted by Obama. It was a victory for Chelsea of course, but also for all of us in many countries who supported her and benefited from her courageous whistleblowing: the international women and lgbtq movements, the anti-war and anti-racist movements, the movements of whistleblowers, war veterans, refuseniks and everyone who stands for justice.

On May 17, we celebrate Chelsea’s freedom in many cities:

So far events that we know of are also planned in Auckland (New Zealand), Beer Sheva Israel (organized by refusenik pilot Yonatan Shapiro, near prison where Palestinians are on hunger strike), Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Dublin (Ireland), London, Manheim (Germany), Philadelphia  and Seattle.

WE INVITE YOU TO ORGANIZE AN EVENT, no matter how small: a protest, a vigil, a party.  Please send us news of your event and we’ll help publicize it.

I watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians and artists. My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others.  – from Chelsea’s statement on her upcoming release

Like far too many people in prison, particularly transgender women, Chelsea Manning has had to survive unthinkable violence throughout the seven years of her incarceration…The transition out of these horrific institutions will not be easy… Her fight to be herself, to access the medical care that she needed, and to gain her freedom have transformed law and society for the better. The urgency of those fights for so many in our communities will continue, and Chelsea’s past and future work will no doubt be a critical force in moving towards a more just society for everyone.  – Chase Strangio, Chelsea’s lawyer

Letter from Chelsea to fellow prisoners – 13 February 2017

To those who have kept me alive for the past six years:  minutes after President Obama announced the commutation of my sentence, the prison quickly moved me out of general population and into the restrictive housing unit where I am now held. I know that we are now physically separated, but we will never be apart and we are not alone. Recently, one of you asked me “Will you remember me?” I will remember you. How could I possibly forget? You taught me lessons I would have never learned otherwise.

When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way. When I was numb, you taught me how to feel. When I was angry, you taught me how to chill out. When I was hateful, you taught me how to be compassionate. When I was distant, you taught me how to be close. When I was selfish, you taught me how to share.

Sometimes, it took me a while to learn many things. Other times, I would forget, and you would remind me.

We were friends in a way few will ever understand. There was no room to be superficial. Instead, we bared it all. We could hide from our families and from the world outside, but we could never hide from each other.

We argued, we bickered and we fought with each other. Sometimes, over absolutely nothing. But, we were always a family. We were always united.

When the prison tried to break one of us, we all stood up. We looked out for each other. When they tried to divide us, and systematically discriminated against us, we embraced our diversity and pushed back. But, I also learned from all of you when to pick my battles. I grew up and grew connected because of the community you provided

Those outside of prison may not believe that we act like human beings under these conditions. But of course we do. And we build our own networks of survival.

I never would have made it without you. Not only did you teach me these important lessons, but you made sure I felt cared for. You were the people who helped me to deal with the trauma of my regular haircuts. You were the people who checked on me after I tried to end my life. You were the people that played fun games with me. Who wished me a Happy Birthday. We shared the holidays together. You were and will always be family.

For many of you, you are already free and living outside of the prison walls. Many of you will come home soon. Some of you still have many years to go.

The most important thing that you taught me was how to write and how to speak in my own voice. I used to only know how to write memos. Now, I write like a human being, with dreams, desires and connections. I could not have done it without you.

From where I am now, I still think of all of you. When I leave this place in May, I will still think of all of you. And to anyone who finds themselves feeling alone behind bars, know that there is a network of us who are thinking of you. You will never be forgotten.

SOURCE The Guardian

To contact Chelsea: Tweet  @xychelsea  By post: details here.

In February, Chelsea wrote an extraordinary article thanking her fellow prisoners (below).

  • So tweet her (@xychelsea), send her a card or a photo to give her strength in these last days of her imprisonment. We must remain vigilant against any further persecution.

Send money to the Welcome Home Fund to help Chelsea reconstruct her life when she goes home.

For our comrades and friends in San Francisco:

CELEBRATE CHELSEA MANNING’S PRISON RELEASE!

 

On International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Chelsea Manning will come out of prison after 7 years.  Please join us at the following San Francisco Bay Area event:

Gather & Rally Wednesday, May 17th, 6:00pm-7:00pm

Harvey Milk Plaza (Castro & Market street)

Co-sponsors: Code Pink; Gays Without Borders; Queer Strike and the South African Human Rights Coalition

Rally on: Celebrating US Whistle Blower Chelsea Manning; Resistance to Trumps administration attack on LGBTQ people and families; Justice for LGBTQ victims of torture and Kidnaping in Chechnya; continuing transgender murders in US.

Facebook (for more info on IDAHOT), #IDAHOT & #IFED2017 Send co-sponsors and suggested speakers to: MRSFL96@aol.com and sf@queerstrike.net

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