The latest from Tre - 11/18/08
A Letter from Tre (sorry for the delay in posting)
Nov 4th, 2008
Hello to you all!
Greetings from Herlong, CA. This place is positioned in a valley with mountains surrounding in all directions. Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets have blessed me while sitting barefoot in the grass they only recently planted. Up until about a month and half ago it was all dirt and rocks.
I've been playin' music every day since my arrival on Oct. 8th. I'm writing songs with a bro named Ryon and practicin' with a few guys who are very talented musicians. Anyone can check out a guitar and go outside and play for hours (which is exactly what I do)! The air is fresh and clean (we're high in the Sierras away from any city pollution). I'm able to be outside most of the day (at least for now; once I'm assigned a job that'll change). This is the most sun and outside exposure I've had in almost 5 years. It feels fantastic!! My skin is turnin' a deep golden brown. A yoga class is offered 5 days a week as well as Pilates and other fitness/wellness modalities. There is even a wellness library.
On the recreation yard (which is where I spend most of my time) there is a huge dirt walkin' path (twice around is a mile). In the center are 2 baseball/softball fields, a full soccer field, 3 basketball courts, 6 handball/racquetball courts, a volleyball pit, horseshoe pit, exercise bars and equipment and 2 bocci lawns (my Italian ancestors will be very pleased). There is an indoor rec. hall with a basketball court, many cardio machines, a ping pong table, fitness rooms (where we do yoga), an arts and crafts room and best of all... a music/band room. I'm on a waiting list to receive practice time for the band room. Ryon and I are forming a band with 2 other guys. I'm plannin' on doin' as much art and music as possible while I'm here. We can acquire paints, canvases and craft material. Some guys are makin' all kinds of things with yarn and crochet hooks (hats, mittens, dolls for their children, etc.).
At Present, the BOP (bureau of prisons) doesn't provide vegan meals. Almost everythin' they serve has some kind of animal product in it, so it's very difficult to receive much vegan food here. There are some fruits and veggies available and some kind folk have been sharin' some fresh food with me. They sell avocados in the commissary, so I've been downin' lots of those!! Unfortunately, earlier this year, the BOP discontinued the salad bars at all the prisons throughout the U.S. What nonsense!! There seems to be only 1 other prisoner here who eats a vegan diet -- a kind, Rastafarian brother from Jamaica. He's been locked up 17 years! (If anyone feels motivated to write him, I know he'd love a pen pal: Karl Bashford [Soloman is his nickname] 17752-083). Soloman and I are continuing to address our dietary needs with the Chaplain and the administration. There really is no reason for them to deny us vegan diets. The food is available and can be provided. We just need to be persistent. Vegan support groups (like VIPS) are appreciated.
I've met some decent folk while I've been here. Some guys were locked up in Arizona with Jonathan Paul and had many complimentary things to say about him. The BOP won't bring Jonathan here while I'm here and they won't let me go to Sheridan while Josh Harper is there. They think if they keep us activists divided, then the movement will be squashed (divide and conquer). They couldn't be more wrong. The resistance is growing and the level of awareness and consciousness regarding our need for stewardship and sustainability is steadily rising! In the prisons, racial segregation is commonplace. It's not as much of an administrative policy as it is a prisoners code. The cells are double bunked and only people of the same race live together. In the mess hall the tables are racially separated. (We don't dare sit at a table that is not our race, even if we are friends with some of the guys who sit there.) Even on the living units, in the common area, each race has their own TV. This may seem backwards and at times it is quite ridiculous, however there are deep prison codes that dictate accepted behavior among prisoners and it actually keeps things fairly peaceful and harmonious. It doesn't mean that people don't talk to, play sports and music with, or hang out with others from a different race. It's more like a social code among prisoners that a certain amount of segregation is wanted and needed to prevent constant violence and acrimony. There are about 800 prisoners here and when we are out at rec, the entire population can all be out together (this never happens though, because many stay inside the units). This is the most prisoners (and certainly people) I've been around in a long time. Sometimes on the unit which I was located at MCDC in Portland, there were only 6 of us and we were prohibited from interacting with anyone else. From what other guys tell me who've been to other prisons, this one is fairly laid back with much less drama, tension and violence than many other pens. It is a medium security and sometimes can have advantages over a low.
If all goes well I should be out of here by May '09 and take a greyhound back to Stumptown/Portland. (Isn't that crazy?!) After more than 5 years of bein. locked up, they're gonna just kick me loose, give me a bus ticket, and tell me to report in 3 days to the halfway house in Portland! I will be at the halfway house for 1-6 months and may be able to finish out my sentence (ending Nov. 11, 2009) at home under house confinement.
In the meantime, if anyone wishes to visit, let Shawna know ( email@example.com) and I'll send you a visiting form. Anyone outside of immediate family has to consent to a background check in order to be on my visit list. I can have 15 non-immediate family visitors. All who want to send some photos of yourselves, I can receive them and I'd love to see your beautiful, smilin. faces!
I thank you all immensely for your love and support! It won't be long now before we're standin' Face to Face. Blessed be to all the healers doin' their magical work. May there come a day when the oppressors throughout this world awaken to their divine potential.
In the meantime, our love, passion and commitment continue. Until all Beings Are Free..no compromise!
In love and solidarity,
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