I’ve been thinking about powerlessness today, about how, in the same instance, I feel both powerless and magnificently powerful. I think we have created so many binaries that do not—cannot—mirror the complexity of life, of our spirits. Truth leads us from our hearts, not our heads.
Yesterday, I read an article (linked below) published by Britney, a prison inmate in Texas, calling for justice, help, and change. I sent quick notes to both Britney and the editor of the paper that printed her article, to thank them for their bravery in sharing this story.
The editor responded, thanking me for my words and writing, “I was especially thrilled to get that letter from Britney. We have thousands of subscribers in prison but not enough women. They're so much more vulnerable, and just being a subscriber can get you in big trouble. Though many women in prison use our free pen pal service, few write the brave truths that she did. I hope her story will empower more of her sisters.”
I’m so grateful she reminded me of that, of Britney’s vulnerability in writing that letter. I had almost forgotten how vulnerable she is, what courage it must have taken to write that publicly; how she is at the mercy of those who confine her. I had forgotten because her personal, spiritual power oozes out of every word of that letter. In her call for help, we sense her strength, her essence.
We need more of this. More publications and people willing to tell their stories. These stories show humans at their most human—in their strength, their weakness, in their complexity. In an honesty that cannot do other than light the torch of honesty within us.
If you’re feeling called, please take a few moments to send Britney some love. Her address is printed at the bottom of her article, published here.
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Since writing this, I've been engaged in a growing email exchange with the paper's editor. She wrote to me with this message,
"Your encouragement comes at a moment of crisis for us, and I hope you don't mind that I added you to our Riseup list for occasional email alerts. I'll be sending out an appeal soon. Please don't feel any pressure. We do have a few readers with enough money that they're able to share; I just hope they will."
Her publication, the San Francisco Bay View, has been covering police abuse, economic and environmental racism, and media monopoly for 25 years. They are coalition builders who strongly support the anti-war movement, both abroad and in the violence at home. If you resonate with their mission and only if you are blessed with a little extra to share, please consider donating.
Support San Francisco Bay View here.