Mutual Aid for MA Prisoners during COVID-19

We're all being told to wash our hands, stay home if we're sick, and make sure to socially distance, all in interest of communal health and well-being. But what if we were prevented from taking any of these basic steps to keep ourselves and others healthy? What if we were unable to access something even as simple as soap?

This is the current situation for the  nearly 17,000 people currently incarcerated in Massachusetts.

Help us get soap and other items to our neighbors inside to help mitigate the deadly harm of incarceration. Donate now to help us raise $3,250, the amount needed to send $10 for soap and other hygiene items to Black & Pink's  MA inside members and #DeepeerThanWater 's organizers and partners inside.

This will cover the $10 for 250 people, plus the $3 transaction fee charged by the private company AccessCorrections, profiting off the care of our community.  To help get the money in by sending it via AccessCorrections, click here. 


WHO WE ARE

Black and Pink's mission is to abolish the criminal punishment system and to liberate LGBTQIA2S+ people/people living with HIV who are affected by that system, through advocacy, support, and organizing. Black & Pink Boston creates an open family based on abolitionist principals and composed of currently incarcerated members, "free world" members, and those who have experienced both sides of the wall.

#DeeperThanWater is a coalition of organizations dedicated to exposing the rampant human rights abuses that prisoners in the United States are subjected to, using the lens of water justice as an entry point. The coalition was formed in light of the dire conditions in Massachusetts prisons, with particular emphasis on MCI-Norfolk, whose coffee-colored water has made national headlines for dangerous levels of sediment including neurotoxic levels of manganese and outrageous levels of rust that leave prisoners with skin lesions and gastrointestinal distress.

WHO I AM 

I am one of the Chapter Coordinators of Black and Pink Boston. We are raising money for our members who are locked inside prisons across New England, as well as for prisoners affiliated with our sibling orgs, #DeeperThanWater, Families for Justice as Healing, and BIJAN. The funds will be spent on purchasing soap and other basic hygiene items by people currently incarcerated. The money will be withdrawn from this fundraiser, and put into my personal account. From there, we are working with a team of people to disperse the money directly into the canteens of those incarcerated. Once receipt of deposit is sent back to our team, I will directly reimburse the depositors.


FULL STATEMENT FROM BLACK & PINK BOSTON AND #DEEPERTHANWATER

As our communities work to identify ways to care for one another during the global COVID-19 pandemic, the National Bail Fund Network has put out a call  for organizations around the country to make sure our loved ones inside jails and prisons around the country have access to the supplies they need to stay as safe and healthy as possible during this time. While the ultimate goal is and always will be total decarceration and the abolition of the carceral state, in the meantime there are millions of people around the country who won’t be allowed to come home.


As an answer to the National Bail Fund’s call, and following the tremendous organizing by groups like Survived and Punished--  who have already raised well over $6600  to send soap and cleaning supplies to people in New York prisons-- Black & Pink Boston and Deeper Than Water are teaming up to make sure that our people inside Massachusetts have what they need and we need your help to do so.


Prisons are inherently toxic, and ultimately, decarceration is the only answer. While harm reduction initiatives like these are essential to maintaining the survival of our loved ones inside, the ultimate answer always has and always will be total decarceration, as this is the only step that can truly mitigate the tremendous harm done daily to our communities.


However, our people on the inside need protection right now from the harms of infectious disease. If COVID-19 gets into prisons and jails, the spread will be rapid and deadly due to overcrowding, poor conditions, and medical neglect. Joining in the call from organizations nationally, we will do what we can to reduce harm now by ensuring our loved ones inside have soap, hand sanitizer, bleach, and other cleaning supplies to follow the public health directive for protective hygiene to prevent disease. 


How can you help?


If you only have a moment, please donate to this GoFundMe  All money that is donated will go directly to mutual aid efforts. 

Please fill out this form if you are willing to help us send money directly inside. We will get in touch with you with instructions, names, and contact info. We will then reimburse volunteers directly; just send us a receipt and a way to reimburse you. This will help us expedite the process of getting supplies directly to the people who need it. 

See this call to action from Families for Justice as Healing   to join the movement for clemency now. The more people we can bring home, the safer and healthier our communities will be-- both outside and prison walls. 

While we can supply funds for personal hygiene items, the state tightly controls what goes in and out of prisons. Only the state has the ability to supply facilities like NCCI Gardner-- whose open dormitory layout puts prisoners at elevated risk-- with items like face masks and bleach to mitigate the spread of infection. Failure to do so would be unconscionable. Join us in demanding that the state provides soap, masks, and disinfecting wipes at no cost to those who are incarcerated for the duration of the pandemic. Tweet at @MassGovernor and @MACorrections using the sample tweet below. 

"I just joined @BlackAndPinkBos and @DeeperThanWater in sending soap and supplies to our loved ones at highest #COVID19 risk inside MA prisons. Join us in demanding that @MACorrections distribute soap and wipes at no cost to prisoners for the duration of the pandemic."


The state has failed and will continue to fail to protect the health and well-being of our loved ones inside jails and prisons. We will continue to step up as a community to provide what the state refuses to provide. Please join us.


In solidarity,


Black & Pink Boston
#DeeperThanWater Coalition

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Organizer

Katie Omberg 
Organizer
Cambridge, MA
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