Letters to the Editor
I can hardly contain my excitement at the news I have to share with you. In the January 2016 El Ojo, you ran a poem I wrote called “In Solitary,” about Albert Woodfox, who was being held in a Louisiana prison. I am overjoyed to tell you that I received a letter from Amnesty International telling me that on February 19th, on his 69th birthday, Albert Woodfox had been released after having been incarcerated for 43 years, 40 of which was in solitary. This is the longest period in history that any US prisoner has been confined in such conditions.
On December 10th, 2015, on Human Rights Day, Amnesty International ran an event called “Write for Rights” in which members were encouraged to write to prisoners across the world that were being unjustly held. I was one of many who chose to write to Albert Woodfox. I sent him a letter written on a card with a lovely picture of Lake Chapala and included my poem. I also wrote to the Attorney General of Louisiana, urging him to release the prisoner. He was the person who was most instrumental in blocking the release of Mr. Woodfox, in spite of the federal judge having exonerated him three times from the crime he did not commit. I sent a copy of this letter to the US Ambassador in Ottawa.
I am enormously encouraged that it is possible for the power of ordinary people standing together for justice to actually affect change.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com