Today marks the 6th year of Eric’s arrest and incarceration. I’m not quite sure why I always feel compelled to commemorate this day – the memories it awakens bring so much pain, anger and frustration. It is not something I eally want to remember. It is also something I can never forget. That day forever altered the course of Eric’s life – and the lives of all his loved ones.
But I also know that it is our responsibility to remember. To remember why Eric was arrested in the first place – not because anything burned down or was damaged, but because he dared to think he could change things. And that he didn’t have to wait for permission from those who would never give it. Eric was arrested – and sentenced to an inordinate amount of time – because of his politics
We also must remember what it really means to show solidarity – with Eric and all of our other comrades behind bars. We must remember that they are still here. They are all still a part of our movements and we need to act – every day – to include them. And, most importantly, we must carry on the struggles for which they have given so much.
And we need to remember that sometimes things do change overnight. Sometimes our loved ones are ripped from us. There is no way to really prepare for such a heartwrenching experience, but what we can do is remember to use the time we have now to be good to each other. Love fearlessly. Never take for granted the time we share with each other. It is a precious gift.
Recently, Eric and I had something returned to us that was taken 6 years ago. I have no one to thank. It should never have been taken in the first place. But I cannot tell you how overjoyed I was at its return. On November 21st, during our visit at Terminal Island, Eric reached across the “coffee table” sitting between us and grabbed my hands. Eric and I had not been allowed to sit and hold hands in almost 6 years. Human touch is such an integral part of leading a healthy, happy life. Not being able to touch the people you love is tortuous. It is cruel and inhumane. (Imagine watching a loved one cry and not being able to wipe away their tears, or hold their hand…) Touch deepens our connections with each other – it moves beyond language into a realm that words cannot contain or explain. Of course, the powers that be know all of this, which is probably why it was denied us for so long. We are acutely aware that it could be taken away again at any moment. But for now we are reveling in every second of it.
And so I remind myself of this, too – don’t ever take these things for granted.
Eric and I both would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all of you. It is abundantly clear that so many people have not forgotten. Eric continues to get mail from people all across the globe – please keep it coming! He loves hearing from you. You are his connection to the outside world – to the movements and places and ideas he cares about. Keeping those connections is incredibly important to him.
And to all of you who have donated to Eric’s support fund – you have no idea how grateful we are. These donations not only help Eric with things like stamps, food and personal items from commissary and time on the telephone – they also help fund visits for him and his loved ones. These visits are key to keeping everyone sane. It would be impossible for us to visit as often as we do without your help.
Eric and I feel your support on a daily basis. “Thank you” could never be enough…
Eric is 6 years into an almost 20 year sentence. Sometimes that thought is almost overwhelming. But then I remember. I remember Eric and who he is and how he has held onto that throughout this whole ordeal. I remember all of you and how much love and support we have felt coming from all directions. And I remember that we can do this.
With so much love,
jenny (eric’s partner)
Please remember our other friends, too! Marie Mason is turning 50 this month. Visit her website: www.supportmariemason.org for more details on how to send her a birthday card or a note of support.