I want to say that for 25 years I have been visiting a death row prisoner in Louisiana. This started as an offshoot of some activism — it was never my intention to become sole emotional support for a condemned man — but it has happened.
It has been pointed out to me that my position in this is unusual in a number of ways I am at this moment too tired to write out. One of the points I raised, in the call I made on the matter, was that when all of this began there was a community of support for persons in similar positions and that community has since evaporated. One of the ways in which my position is new is that, in the current climate this person, who is now 60 and has been on death row as long as I have been a professor, is more likely to die on death row than to be executed.
Being on death row is not the same as being in a punishment cell but it does mean 23 hour cell restriction. This is not good for the mental health of anyone, and specially not over decades.
If I had someone in town to talk to about this relationship, this activity, this experience, it would be easier. By “someone” I mean someone also doing what I am doing. There is so much to say about all of this.
One thought on “No es fácil”
This is so typical for me. When I break up nobody ever sees it coming, nor do they believe I mean it. They are always amazed that I do. In the fourth grade I broke up with a friend and it made such an impression upon her that she wrote me many years later to say that in fact she had never been mean to anyone in the same way again. I also, on my own initiative, filed a letter with my parents stating preferences for custody and visitation in the case of divorce, and quit the Camp Fire Girls because the whole organization seemed so infantile and petty. I am now about to break up with every last vestige of the Sr. Helen model of prison activism I have been roped into somehow. I am as convinced I am acting in a revolutionary manner for my own liberation as I was when I did those things in the fourth grade. I mean it, people, and I am not going to be kind or diplomatic any more.