By China Martens
Lately I am so influenced by reading my Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind collaborator and pen pal—mama, zinester, photographer, activist, and now author— Victoria Law’s book. It’s funny to find how much I think about it, and the ideas it has generated in me. That, for one, life not behind bars is not that different, in some ways, from life behind bars — although prison is a hella ALOT more extreme. Women prisoners’ resistance really inspires me: about the little things we could do in our own lives to get together and fight injustice – along with the bigger picture of things, but that little things NOW make a difference. I am thinking about writing an article about sexual harassment in the work place, a restaurant (I want to leave unnamed for now) where my young roommate and daughter used to work at. Reading my friend’s book, l I feel I have a better framework to understand these things. Isn’t that weird? But lately I am just seeing so many connections between different things. (seeing the connections between the mostly male managers and female wait staff – with the mostly male prison guards and the female inmates- and how you are punished for speaking up against injustice.) Life is not jail, its not as extreme – but when you are poor in a bad job climate and afraid of losing your job, there is a certain power imbalance that can be abused there. Also the way, that things happen, are so similar (again in such a small scale, I don’t want to belittle the seriousness of prisoners issues) – But just if they can fight and stand up for their rights with such dire consequences and also make changes, shouldn’t we be able too?
Learning more about the conditions in jail for women has been a good experience to make me more knowledgeable – instead of thinking “oh yeah, that must be really fucked”, cuz you know what? The oldest expression is true: knowledge is power.
These things inspire me. Women Prisoners’ Resistance inspires me.