This past weekend a member of Austin ABC went to the Fight Toxic Prisons conference in DC to build relationships with others engaged in the struggle to end mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and those involved in direct prisoner support.
Fight Toxic Prisons (FTP) is a fairly new campaign exploring the intersections of the environmental justice and prison abolition movement. FTP’s mission is to “conduct grassroots organizing, advocacy and direct action to challenge the prison system which is putting prisoners at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, as well as impacting surrounding communities and ecosystems by their construction and operation. At this time, FTP is focused on opposing the construction of a new federal prison in Letcher County, Kentucky.”
Of course, it’s no coincidence that the conference was held on June 11th, the annual day of solidarity with political prisoners and prisoners of war, initiated by supporters of Marius Mason and Eric McDavid in 2010. Each year, June 11th offers a time for inmates and their supporters alike to renew their commitment for prison abolition, as well as strategize new tactics. This year was no exception, with over 300 strong at the conference from organizations across the nation.
While there, an ATX ABC member was given the opportunity to speak about Jan 22, the international day of solidarity with trans prisoners, initiated by trans inmate Marius Mason, who is currently incarcerated in Forth Worth, TX. More specifically, time was allotted to speak about Vanessa’s current lawsuit against TDCJ. This opened up an important, yet often ignored topic of transgender inmate healthcare and support. When it comes to inmate support, we emphasis leadership from those on the inside, and clearly with such a brave step as challenging TDCJ’s policies in court, Vanessa is steps ahead. Her letter to Jan 22 supporters (see previous post) urges those on the outside to sign the petition, and take the initiative to get more directly involved in this struggle. The workshop became an open discussion on how we can best move forward in our ongoing campaign to best resist against a system designed to ignore the health and well-being LGBTQ inmates.