My name is Peter Mukuria. I’m calling in from Red Onion State Prison here in Virginia. Um, so I’m calling in, um, in regards to my dear friend, um, who I recently learned passed away. Um, so last November, um, at the beginning of the month, I spoke to a comrade and a great close friend of mine, whom I spoke to quite often.
So she was on her way back from the hospital and, instantly, I inquired about what was wrong and was she okay? Um, she started to tell me that she wasn’t feeling well. So she went to the hospital to be checked out and to have some tests done. Um, but the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. As she was telling me this, [inaudible] started to cry and I immediately became alarmed.
I tried to comfort her, but her being this selfless self, she attempted to shift the conversation onto me by asking me how I was doing. And I wouldn’t let her switch the topic this time, because I knew something was seriously wrong that she wasn’t disclosing to me. Yes, she continued to tell me not to worry.
Um, we concluded the call. Cause we did on any other call by saying, “I love you, to talk to you soon.” Um, I then mailed her a gateway- a phone card. I tried calling her a week later: no answer. I sent her an email: no answer. This was unusual, because in the five years of knowing her, she always responded.
I started thinking perhaps she was with her family for the holidays. And in January, she, uh, I received the issue of San Francisco Bay View newspaper. And as I was reading it, I came across an essay titled, um, “Rebecca Hensley Memorial.” So Rebecca L. Hensley was my dear friend who passed away. I was and still am in utter disbelief.
I still call her hoping that she would answer. I still write her hoping she would respond. And that this was just one big mistake and nightmare. See, Rebecca was unique. She cares for others more than she did for herself. And I used to tell her how much she needed to go on some kind of vacation and just take a break and just focus on herself.
Um, she was an advocate, a voice for the voiceless, a revolutionary, abolitionist, and just an incredible care human being whom I was honored to have known and considered to be a comrade and a close friend. Um, it was heartbreaking having to discover over her passing away from reading a newspaper, but had it not been for San Francisco Bay View newspaper, I probably still wouldn’t know, or it would have took longer to find out.
I really miss my friend, Rebecca: the laughter, debates, conversations, jokes, um, she was inspiring, encouraging, and a fierce fighter. To know Rebecca is to love her: she is that amazing. You know, I once heard something along the lines of some people come into our lives and their footprints quickly wash away, but others leave footprints and we are forever changed by their presence in our lives.
Undoubtedly Rebecca’s footprints will always be in my heart. You know, though Rebecca is no longer with us. We are truly gained a guardian angel upwards and onwards. We’ll have Rebecca concluded every letter and email. So as I conclude this commentary, I’ll conclude with the words of my dear friend, Rebecca L. Hensley: “upward and onward.”
I love you, Rebecca. You’re dearly missed. Your friend, your brother comrade. I thank you for listening, thank you for your time.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.