Bryant Arroyo, calling from SCI Coal Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. Title of piece is, “New York People’s Forum.”
Caged in the throes of the Eastern Anthracite region at SCI Coal Township, geographically located in Northumberland County, next to the Schuylkill County. Today, I, Bryant Arroyo, am esteemed, honored, and privileged to have been invited for the first time to speak at the New York People’s Forum, to all the social/environmental advocates, and the young aspiring stakeholders and stewards of our planet Earth.
Schuylkill County is considered to be the number one cancer cluster hotspot in the nation. The average rate of cancer deaths in Schuylkill County is 190 per 100,000 people; that is 50 more people compared to the average county in the United States. It should not be a surprise to you to know that many of the cancer deaths are comprised of Blacks, Hispanics, Latinos, and poor whites, who died in the incarcerated state and federal communities, consisting of three state and two federal prisons, totaling five within the region of Schuylkill County, PA. In 2005, I visited the law library and requested for the Environmental Impact Statement, a study required by the Environmental Protection Agency, and to my shock and dismay, it read like an apocalyptic nightmare.
I authored a formal objection letter to individually/collectively defy the prison rules, which prevents and forbids any unauthorized group activity and/or prisoners signing petitions. In short, I successfully debunked the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections policy in an unprecedented, historical, uncommon maneuver, organized and mobilized over 902 prisoners to sign and mail their formal objection letters that were sent to the Mahanoy Township supervisors. An $860 million coal gasification plant was supported by powerful corporations like JP Morgan, Sasol fuels of Africa, Bechtel, Texaco, and politicians like former President George Bush, Jr., Governor Tom Ridge, late Senator Arlen Specter, and ex-Senator Rick Santorum, had to submit.
On 4/5/17, I received an email from [indiscernible] inviting me to share the concerns to oppose the federal prison plan to build and construct on top of a toxic polluted poison mine site in Letcher County, Kentucky. In this instance, I used the same blueprint to formulate the proposed formal objection letter in opposition, by mobilizing and organizing 200 to 300 prisoners at SCI Frackville, which were sent to the United States Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons, Mr. Isaac Gaston, Site Selection Specialist, in Washington, DC. This was another unprecedented, historical feat, wherein it was the first time Pennsylvania prisoners at SCI Frackville mobilized a civil protest on behalf of federal prisoners in another state, Letcher County, Kentucky, which ended up scrapped.
Since the 1980s, there has been over 600 U.S. prisons intentionally built on top and/or around/near toxic Superfund sites, a financial band-aid to boost and stimulate the economically-depressed hinterlands. This is where the hidden subsidies come into play, called “gerrymandering,” which is the actions of changing the borders of an area prior to an election, so that one person, group, or party has an unfair advantage. For example, if I’m from Philadelphia and imprisoned in Northumberland County, the Census Bureau would count me as a resident in their community, which automatically qualifies their county to receive the benefits of local and state federal funding for Northumberland County, not Philadelphia. As of right now, any Pennsylvania prisoners who have been convicted and sentenced to 10 years or more will be counted in the Census Bureau of the county you are imprisoned at, another asset and investment that benefits them by continuing to exploit us as their resources to enrich and build up their communities, schools, churches, fire halls, et cetera.
Finally, I want to share my thoughts with all of the social/environmental justice advocates and aspiring youth who are the future stakeholders and stewards of planet Earth. “An injustice here or there,” as Martin Luther King stated, in part, “is an injustice everywhere.” Nelson Mandela stated, “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.” With that said, it would behoove you to communicate, correspond, get enlisted as an email contact, set up virtual visits with prisoners who are involved with the social/environmental justice advocacy inside the nation of prisons. This would free the bars of your minds. We must give to every will to live the same reverence for life that we must give to our own.
Thank you for your stewardship of the planet Earth. In solidarity, peace my brothers and sisters. To get enlisted in my email account, go to www.connectnetwork.com. If you would like to send any monetary gifts, go to www.jpay.com. Also, you can read the interviews at Workers World, workers.org. Just type my name and the search engine will take you directly to my articles published by Workers World. If you want to hear some of my recordings, go to prisonradio.org.
Inside the nation of prisoners, Bryant Arroyo, from SCI Coal Township, on behalf of Prison Radio. Out.