Finding Brown Pride in Prisoner Letters

I am inspired by the solidarity, the passion and the Brown pride I found in the prisoner letters written to La Gente.

The prisoners go out of their way to educate themselves and to ask questions. I am inspired that people outside of the higher education path are conscious of the anglo-oriented education system that disorient and rob us of our history.

I respect the prisoners for seeking consciousness without many resources offered to them.

La Gente Newsmagazine has been distributing its quarterly newsmagazine to incarcerated individuals since our first issue in 1971. The influx of letters and support from prisoners was a catalyst for the creation of a section for their contributions called Sigan Luchando, which first appeared in the April/May 1993 issue.

Each letter has its own personality. Some are in cursive, some in calligraphy, and some as if typed on a computer.

They incorporate Spanish and Spanglish.  They are formal, and polite. It is as if I was in their cell patiently listening to them.

Their eagerness to be informed and their contribution of poems and artwork added to my excitement of being a part of this newsmagazine.

I know my voice, like the voice of the prisoners’, will be heard.

7 replies
  1. Diana Cuevas
    Diana Cuevas says:

    Love it! I read some of this prison letters myself and it made me feels so proud of being part of this newsmagazine as well!!!! Good Job Jackie! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Diana Cuevas
    Diana Cuevas says:

    Love it! I read some of this prison letters myself and it made me feels so proud of being part of this newsmagazine as well!!!! Good Job Jackie! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Jesus Martinez
    Jesus Martinez says:

    Oh my gosh!!! That’s what life is all about, You are living your passion. I love the fact that you are doing something for individuals that don’t have much help in expressing themselves! The fact that you & La Gente Magazine have been doing this for a while is great! I admire your inspiration in helping others speak their voice. Don’t stop doing what you do best senorita, keep fighting for what you want. You are closer than you think. I’m proud of you. I can relate to these guys & i know the feeling of speaking your mind and not given the chance to be heard. Live each day of your life inspired. Y Que sigan luchando!

    Reply
  4. Ryan M
    Ryan M says:

    Hey Jackie! I realized today how lame it was mentioning that I saw your article and didn’t read it. I just read it and have to say that’s an amazing impact La Gente has had on the prisoners. This letter tells of a man unafraid to continue fighting in the setting of repression unclothed. Remarks about his role in building dorms at UCLA should not go unheard among a population that ignores and passively destroys those they don’t see.

    This letter is additionally touching given that one of my mom’s good friends used to be a guard at Corcoran Prison for many years. It seems to be a daily struggle for me to reconcile my colonial history (English, German, Spanish-and Mexican,gofigure) with such manifestations that are continuing this legacy today.

    I too am enraged about our education system that demands honor to the grand American bobbleheads in history while actively passing off the ‘others’ as meaningless. I’m hopeful that critical inquiry is not going to be forever damned in primary and secondary school’s, but such practices go against all progress in understanding our place in history and the things we can learn from it.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed your piece, and I’m sure it will spark deeper thoughts about our culture of denial (in its myriad forms) and the necessity of solidarity with those suffering.

    Reply
  5. Ryan M
    Ryan M says:

    Hey Jackie! I realized today how lame it was mentioning that I saw your article and didn’t read it. I just read it and have to say that’s an amazing impact La Gente has had on the prisoners. This letter tells of a man unafraid to continue fighting in the setting of repression unclothed. Remarks about his role in building dorms at UCLA should not go unheard among a population that ignores and passively destroys those they don’t see.

    This letter is additionally touching given that one of my mom’s good friends used to be a guard at Corcoran Prison for many years. It seems to be a daily struggle for me to reconcile my colonial history (English, German, Spanish-and Mexican,gofigure) with such manifestations that are continuing this legacy today.

    I too am enraged about our education system that demands honor to the grand American bobbleheads in history while actively passing off the ‘others’ as meaningless. I’m hopeful that critical inquiry is not going to be forever damned in primary and secondary school’s, but such practices go against all progress in understanding our place in history and the things we can learn from it.

    Anyways, I really enjoyed your piece, and I’m sure it will spark deeper thoughts about our culture of denial (in its myriad forms) and the necessity of solidarity with those suffering.

    Reply

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