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imperialism & war | prisons & prisoners

Longest Jailed Nuclear Resister Helen Woodson Needs Support

Helen Woodson, jailed for all but a few days since 1984 for a series of nonviolent direct actions against nuclear weapons, war, and the desecration of the environment, will be released from prison in the United States later this year. She'll need support, if you are able to help.
January, 2011

Dear friends,

Over the years we have spent time in prison and/or supported other activists who have been in prison for acts of conscience. We write to you now with a special request on behalf of Helen Woodson.

Back in November of 1984, Helen was part of the Silo Pruning Hooks action. She went to a Missouri nuclear missile silo along with Larry Cloud-Morgan, Fr. Carl Kabat OMI and Fr. Paul Kabat OMI. With sledgehammer and jackhammer, the group followed the biblical mandate of Isaiah to turn swords into plowshares. They were convicted and received a varied number of years of prison time for their action.

With the exception of a few days, Helen has been in prison ever since. (A couple of times in past years when released, she immediately engaged in an action that resulted in arrest and being returned directly to prison for violating parole.)

She is scheduled to be released in September of 2011 after 27 years behind bars.

Helen is looking forward to getting out, and at the age of 67 and with health issues, has decided to now retire from activities that might return her to prison.

It's been a long time since she's lived on the outside. She'll leave prison with a sweatsuit, plus books that she's accumulated. That's it.

Since she will leave prison with no source of income or health coverage, she plans to apply for government assistance, but it can take six or so months for someone to find out if they are eligible to receive benefits. In the meantime, in addition to things like food and clothes, she'll need to purchase medications for multiple health problems, at quite a significant cost. So she has asked friends to raise funds on her behalf (not money to be used while she is in prison, but for the things she'll need once she's released).

Her living situation once she's released is still uncertain. It has been challenging for her to develop a plan that the Bureau of Prisons and Department of Justice find suitable since Helen will be subjected to many conditions and restrictions after her release. The couple who have invited her to live with them are still waiting to be contacted to answer the questions and receive the home visit needed to determine if Helen will be allowed to live there. Helen is very much hoping that they and their home will be approved. If not, she is not sure where she will be able to live, and it's possible additional money will need to be raised to enable her to rent a small place to live.

In the meantime, until this becomes more clear, it will ease her mind significantly if she can at least know that she'll be able to pay for the medicines she needs, and things like a winter coat. Can you help?

Since the beginning of the nuclear age, many thousands of people in the U.S. and around the world have been arrested for anti-nuclear civil disobedience, and hundreds have spent time in prison for these actions. None of these people (not even long-imprisoned Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu) have spent more time in prison than Helen Woodson. We ask that you join us now in providing her with needed support as she embarks on this huge transition after her many years in prison.

Please be as generous as you are able! Any amount, from $1 to $1000, will be gratefully received. Checks and money orders can be made payable to the Nuclear Resister (with "for Helen" written on the memo line) and sent to the Nuclear Resister, PO Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733. Secure online donations can be made via paypal at the Nuclear Resister website at < http://www.nukeresister.org/donate/>www.nukeresister.org/donate (on the final screen please click on "add special instructions to the seller" and note that the donation is for Helen).

Thank you.

Peace,

Jacqueline Allen-Doucot
Hartford Catholic Worker

Elizabeth McAlister
Jonah House

Felice Cohen-Joppa
The Nuclear Resister

Anna Brown
Kairos Community

homepage: homepage: http://www.nukeresister.org


jeez 05.Feb.2011 14:06

rex

"With the exception of a few days, Helen has been in prison ever since. (A couple of times in past years when released, she immediately engaged in an action that resulted in arrest and being returned directly to prison for violating parole.)"


yeah, like robbing a bank in Illinois. what a hero.

To Rex (and everyone else) 05.Feb.2011 16:04

Jason

She didn't rob a bank out of greed, she did it as a protest or action. Read below:

Three days after her 1993 release from prison in the Whiteman silo protest, Woodson walked into an Illinois bank and used an unloaded! starter pistol to get $25,000 from a teller.
According to press reports, she piled the money on the floor, burned it and told witnesses: "Money is evil. You don't believe in God; you only worship money."
Woodson explained her protest in March. She contended that much evil in society including nuclear weapons, toxic chemicals, abortion and capital punishment is legal.
"The laws of the United States, upheld by the federal courts, are thus themselves weapons of mass destruction," Woodson said. "And so my warning was, and is, the truth."

ok 06.Feb.2011 10:47

rex

When you force someone into action by threatening them with a firearm, you kind of lose your moral highground, regardless of how noble your "protest" or action is.

I'm sure the teller who was being forced to hand over money, and the other people in the bank with the robber, were really impressed and had their worldview changed.