Tamms Year Ten

Press Conference/New Endorsers by ljhopes
March 7, 2008, 9:06 am
Filed under: Uncategorized


Friday, MARCH 7 at 9am and 8pm.
Listen to the show Eight Forty-Eight on WBEZ which is 91.5 FM.
The show airs at 9am, and then again at 8pm.

Thanks and blessings to everyone who attended the press conference. There were 56 people and even some press (5 members of the press).Afterwards, a TY10 spokesperson Stephen Eisenman (who has written about torture) was on the Cliff Kelley show on WVON for 30 minutes!

People discussed all aspects of this atrocity. Stephen Eisenman, author of The Abu-Ghrab Effect, detailed the facts about Tamms, and why prolonged isolation is condemned as torture. There were powerful accounts from Larry, Jerome and Akkeem, three men who spent years in Tamms—and were among the first to arrive. As always, they are the most persuasive reason to stop this prison from operating. They even gave us insights that we hadn’t heard before–and Akkeen held up awesome placards (he is always reminding us to be visual). Jean Maclean Snyder gave us a legal reality check about this place–and who said an attorney can’t give a rousing speech? Mary L. Johnson spoke about her son who has been in Tamms for ten years–and what it has done to his family. She said it is like visiting a tomb to see him behind the glass wall, but when someone dies, at least you can touch the body. She called for everyone to use the love and higher power God has given them to help the sons of other people.

Audience members spoke, and poets performed.
–Doris talked about her visit to Tamms with Rep. Lou Jones, and the scratch marks on the plexi-glass of a room where they keep mentally ill people when they first arrive
–Denise talked about prisoners not being allowed to use the bathroom if they need to in the middle of a visit (many prisoners have urinated while shackled on the concrete stool rather than end a visit with a loved one)
–A man spoke about the control-unit at Marion to put Tamms in a historical context nationally, and in Illinois
–Sharon spoke about inhumane visitation policies–searching cars and denying non-contact visits
–Jim Chapman said we give the IDOC too much credit. They are totally broke and don’t know what they are doing
–After the press conference, Richard Wallace blew us away with his spoken word poems, accompanied by an incredible singer.
–Baba Griot got up to read, and first honored a man explaining that it is a Swahili practice to ask permission to read from an elder. He read in Swahili before he performed poetry about Tamms. It was a privilege to hear him!

We need volunteers for upcoming Year Ten events, and for the ones in April. Let us know if you are coming and want to help! Actually, we need volunteers for everyhing you can think of! And Sheelah of our sponsoring group RATIO needs volunteers right now–people who can help them install (hammer, drill, saw, hold items) the work. And people who are not shy about performing.

We need to encourage our elected officials in both houses of General Assembly to attend the House Prison Reform Committee Hearings on Tamms C-MAX. This is what we want–for our representatives to come hear the facts about Tamms C-MAX. We will be asking you to join us in calling your legislators, and if you have personal relations with them already, all the better. Teaching them about the issue long before we call for legislation is the way to gather support for this–no reason to take them by surprise. Plus, elected officials need “the protection” of knowing that there is public concern about it. A little bit of your effort here will make a huge difference.

We are at the point in this campaign where we cannot grow without you. Please introduce this campaign to other individuals, groups and organizations–and help us figure out how we can work together on this. We need your solidarity and networking action.

We are honored to have the endorsement of Man and Women in Prison Ministries–thank you. Please let us know of other groups who would like to endorse.

And now we have six art groups! What other political campaign can say that? (CAFF, Temporary Services, Feel Tank Chicago, Anti Gravity Surprise, Chicago County Fair and Insight Arts) CAFF is working with us in so many ways–what comrades we have in Cheap Art for Freedom!

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