Letter from Opelika Jail Print

Prison solidarity! Theresa Cusimano - SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience sentenced to 6 months for her nonviolent action against the School of the Americas - wrote a few words to be shared with the SOA Watch community. Theresa will be released on July 11, 2012. At the time of writing, she was had served almost half of her sentence at the Opelika County Jail in Opelika, Alabama. On February 23, her cellmate committed suicide, and Theresa was the one who cut her down. Theresa has since been moved to Federal Medical Facility Carswell, in Texas.

UPDATE: JULY 11, 2012 - Theresa has been released from FMC Carswell!



"...In the United State, we spend out national treasury on all things military. After Reagan's rule, we declared war on the mentally ill. We cut public health care, privatized health care for those who can afford it and the rest can go to jail to get their prescription filled! Here the bi-polar, ADHD, teen moms, victims of domestic abuse and the terminally ill will receive daily medication, sleep on a cold steel bunk atop a two-inch high mat with a roof over their heads. As you may recall, I entered frustrated and disillusioned. This second time around certainly reminds me of my incredible privilege of being born into an upper middle class family. It reminds me why justice work is central to our existence. Sharing cannot be an option... it must be required if we are ever to pretened we are a merciful community of citizens.

"Within this context, my cellmates offer me their underwear, their socks, their sheets when they notice my shaking won't go away. They share everything that they buy off the stores if anyone put $10 or $20 in their accounts. You can see in their eyes a desire to be loved and listened to. The cable T.V. is a luxury they enjoy in jail as they schedule their days at the pop culture of the Kardashians, Locked Up, Mob Wives, the Bachelor and Sweet Home Alabama. Things get really exciting when horror movies or "A Thousand Ways to Die" comes on. I've not yet seen their ability to absorb violence challenged. The words hardy, resilient, survivors were created in our collective vocabulary because of them. I sit in awe.

"So I wake up and thank God that mine is NOT a life sentence and write my silly little letters to legislators begging them to stop exporting our culture of violence. I feel ridiculously insignificant as I observe all of this around me. But my presence seems to provide entertainment... as if I am E.T. instead of T.C. I'm convinved my purpose for being here was to hold my cellmate, gently as she died and pray over her. It makes me wonder how we, as a society might more gently hold the living. ..."


Theresa also asks the movement to write letters to the commander of Ft Benning, "to ask him to cut WHINSEC from Ft. Benning's budget as he makes recommendations for Congress for military cuts!!":

Major General Robert B Brown
M.C.O.E. Commanding General
Fort Benning, GA 31905