When my sister Alexandria first snorted heroin, she was 15 years old. She is now 32 years old. Since then she has been through so much. She has been in and out of detention centers, had a botched cancer surgery that hit a main vein that shoots pain through her body, has been trafficked for sex, has been tricked into unknowingly trafficking illegal firearms, and therefore, most recently spent a year in prison. That just barely touches on the trauma my sister has faced. She is currently writing a book about her experiences. It will be a good one.
This last May, she was released from Taycheedah Correctional Institution. When they released her from prison, during a PANDEMIC, she did not have any family to go to (I live in Illinois and she needs to stay in Wisconsin), and most of her "friends" weren't good influences for her to be around. She cannot get a steady job because of her felony status and the state of the economy. She has been sleeping in closets, on couches, and has occasionally had to resort to staying with bad men. Our mom is MIA, our father is mentally incapacitated, and the family is not handing out "free passes" anymore. It would be very easy for her to make money the "illegal" way like she used to, but she does not want to, nor should she have to.
I believe in her. I have kept our communication more open than I ever have before and know she really has a great head on her shoulders at the moment. She has been clean of drugs for over two years. She only wants to heal. She dreams of having her own apartment, her own space to feel safe in. She wants to go to school, she wants to one day help other 15 year old girls who snort heroin for the first time so they do not have to suffer like she has. She is staying strong.
I understand I am asking for charity at a time when the world is crumbling around us, but if it's going to crumble soon, I just want for my sister to be able to feel love and support. Anything you could give would go to helping Alex to have a cell-phone stay on for longer than 30 days so she can continue to seek work, to have proper feminine hygiene products, and to eat good food for her compromised immunity (she had cancer on her tongue).
Money is of course a great way to help if you can, but so is knowledge on any organizations in Wisconsin who help people like my sister at this time, please let me know. I will be in charge of the allocation of funds.
Also, PLEASE PLEASE keep pushing for the reformation of our crime and punishment techniques in America. They do not work. Alexandria, like so many others, has been a "criminal" since childhood, which is not true. I will never see her as a criminal. Although my family was not interested in understanding her struggle years ago, Alex is still alive and here to tell the story. She can one day save the lives of many others who will get sucked into the same cycle she did.
Thanks for listening. xo. Cody
- Lauren Iezzi
- Brenna & David DiStasio
- Candice Layman
- Stephanie Usher
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