Here comes another piece of writing by Thomas Porter. For this one, How to Navigate Oppressive Environments, I need to give some explanation beforehand. Given that he describes the dire circumstances that form his daily reality, now there is another obstacle that is now thrown his way.
Thomas asked me to sign up for video visits, which I did. At first, my application was accepted and then, barely a second later, I received another email informing me that my application was rejected. No explanation was given. That email came from GTL, the company that provides means of communication between prisoners and loved ones.
For over a month I went back and forth with GTL, asking for clarification, and I was getting absolutely nowhere with them. It was extremely frustrating. Finally, they gave me a clear answer – for which I had to wait 5 or 6 weeks – and told me that the decision to accept or reject video visit applications didn’t lie with them but with the visiting department at the prison where Thomas is.
Incidentally, I had already called the prison before that and the visiting staff told me kindly that they had “no idea what was happening and that the fault lay entirely with GTL” and that it was “a terrible company”.
I wrote the email address that GTL provided me, a government email regarding visitation inquiries. I’m guessing that this email arrives at the same department that I called a few weeks ago …
I wrote them on 29 October 2021. Then I wrote them again on 8 November. I still haven’t received an answer. There is legally no reason to reject my request for visitation application and it is obviously based on some pathetic, personal thing from a staff member against Thomas. Just another abuse against an inmate, what else is new, right?
Another pen pal told me that prison staff often do their best to discourage people to communicate with their loved ones in prison by throwing obstacles their way and ignoring their emails and calls until they give up. The truth is that many give up, which is why they keep on doing it. However, I’m not going to give up. I will keep on writing them until I get someone decent enough to give me a reply and do the job that they are paid to do.
They are not paid to discriminate based on race or the nature of a crime from the past. They are there to do a job, and abuse, neglect, and racism is not part of their job description, yet, it seems to be an issue all the time. They treat people they’re in charge of in a way they wouldn’t like to be treated by others. I’m sure that there is also some decent staff but so far I don’t know of any yet.
So, below I’ll share Thomas’s thoughts. Please let me know your thoughts and questions in the comments at the bottom of this blog post. Thank you for reading!
Lila C Duville
By Thomas Porter
How can we navigate oppressive environments with core practices that build community resistance and more loving ways of Living, not just surviving?
I live within an environment where it is culturally acceptable to have usury on your mind and within your heart every day. Games and Lies are forms of hiding insecurities or so much damage within,
Yet I practice kindness and smile meditation in what I just told you to me is a damaged environment, I struggle and battle my own depression and even frustration when I see those around me accept their circumstances as if nothing could be better than this very moment.
It’s like I’m emotionally drowning every day and my mind and heart is tired from the swimming I must do to survive another journey.
Yet at my core in the darkness of my depths I hear that Warrior ask me: “Okay, what does giving up get you at this very moment?”
I respond: “Emotional death.”
So, he says: “Swim on and the tide will aid you. And what is the tide, Thomas?”
“Members of #TeamStayStrong!” ;3)
“So keep your practice of kindness and smile meditation because in the end of this journey there will be appreciation from your soul” ;3)
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