Monday, July 7, 2014

Citizens of this Earth

Occupy Wall Street activist Cecily Mcmillan was released from Rikers Island prison, Wednesday, July 2nd;  in the press conference below, she describes the grisly experience of being dropped off by the Department of Corrections from a dark van in the middle of an unknown Queens neighborhood, in fear that it was "another set-up."  Fortunately, an immigrant rights activist spotted her, let her use his phone, and waited with her until help arrived.   

Full transcript of Ms. McMillan's press statement here at the Sparrow ProjectLocked up for 58 days after a felony conviction for elbowing a police officer who grabbed her breast, the former nanny and graduate student basically stated that, as a result of this unjust incarceration, she was even more committed to fight the corrupt powers that be, her press statement focusing particularly on women's rights in prison, and especially sufficient access to medical care for those women.  Standing in the same spot Pussy Riot activists spoke after visiting her at Rikers, Ms. McMillan described a prisoner named Judith with hepatitis C and cancer, coughing up blood and chunks of her liver, and who later died as a result of inadequate health care. Even though Judith was covered in her own blood, the prisoners were told that this "wasn't an emergency," and she was denied access to a doctor.

Ms. McMillan delivered a list of demands compiled by herself and women at Rikers including sufficient access to health care, educational and rehabilitative services, and more strictly enforced rules against abuses by corrections officers. She stated,
“Working with my sisters to organize for change in the confines of jail has strengthened my belief in participatory democracy and collective action. I am inspired by the resilient community I have encountered in a system that is stacked against us. The only difference between people we call “law-abiding” citizens and the women I served time with is the unequal access to resources. Crossing the bridge I am compelled to reach back and recognize the two worlds as undivided. The court sent me here to frighten me and others into silencing our dissent, but I am proud to walk out saying that the 99% is, in fact, stronger than ever. We will continue to fight until we gain all the rights we deserve as citizens of this earth.”


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