Correspondence and connection with people inside is essential
Through the pandemic, CR steadfastly continues to build connections across cages and walls. Since Covid-19 and Shelter-in-Place, we are rerouting all the collect calls to our office that we receive from people inside through a robust and creative volunteer-staffed system. The Abolitionist newspaper editorial collective has produced 2 issues of the paper this year, each going to over 4,500 people inside, completely for free. Your subscriptions fund this essential publication for abolitionist struggle and strategy across prison walls. Learn more and see details on each issue here.
CR Oakland and CR Portland chapters are corresponding with thousands of people inside. As sister chapters, they are sharing socially-distanced Prisoner Mail program strategies and lessons with each other as we improve our essential programs. CR’s volunteer networks and are always looking for volunteers. Please contact us to be connected!
Critical Resistance Portland’s achieved the goal of their 2020 Write Them All campaign and have individually contacted all the people currently imprisoned in Oregon with handwritten letters offering resources, information on abolition, and community connections. Over 1,200 volunteers made this monumental effort go (51 new volunteers in February alone) and mailed over 14,000 letters inside. Over 1,000 imprisoned people have engaged back directly and Write Them All has grown our connections with imprisoned people immensely. Every gift will help us maintain these essential connections!
On February 1st, 2021, the Imprisoned Firefighter Fundraiser (hosted by CR PDX with Oregon movement partners) exceeded its goal by raising over $60,000! This spring, we redistributed hundreds of dollars to over 200 of the active imprisoned Oregon firefighters from 2020 fire season, so they can purchase essential goods and resources inside. From the direct funds we were able to distribute to the firefighters, to the infrastructure that allowed CR to bottomline the fund distribution, your gifts made this mutual aid project possible!
Lastly, our national office and Portland network also organized to get essential forms to people inside, informing all 12,000 Oregon prisoners and our over 4,500 Abolitionist newspaper subscribers about vaccination options. This effort followed our previous work to get essential forms regarding CARES Act stimulus checks to all of these imprisoned comrades so they could receive funds. We are committed to providing information about essential healthcare and resources to people most vulnerable in the pandemic.
We have finally wrapped up the Write Them All campaign, through which we sent outreach letters to 14,000 people caged in Oregon State prisons. We have been strengthening our data management system to respond to letters more quickly, and have launched a volunteer training series for outside participants to better respond to letters, including topics such as “Radical Mental Health” and “Writing to People Imprisoned for Sexual Harm”. From help with scanning letters, to organizing our information systems, we have learned and grown so much in the Write Them All program. We are excited to continue deepen our programs connection with incarcerated participants while skilling up outside participants!”– Kate S., Critical Resistance Portland