“Stressing Out But Still In The Fight.”
I told you all in my last commentary how Corrections Sergeant Reynolds here at Great Meadow singled me out of line, orders me into the Sergeant’s Bunker and begins to yell at and berate me for essentially exercising myFfirst Amendment right to freedom of speech. He threatens me and then has two correction guards ransack my cell property while I was at programs, leaving my property in disarray: my legal papers, schoolwork, college books, letters, clothes, and food items were scattered on the floor and pile on top of my bed.
That was three days ago. My cell property is still disorganized. This is so very frustrating because I’m a full-time college student with reading, essays, and lab assignments to complete. Plus I have three federal lawsuits and one state action I am forced to prosecute on my own because I cannot afford a lawyer. With my typewriter broke, doing my school and legal work is also very slow and cumbersome. On top of all of that, I have 11 young prisoners under my tutelage is to my UFD organization.
Despite the good UFD is doing, I’m still having a difficult time getting DOCCS to recognize and approve UFD. I had to launch a third federal lawsuit on my own, putting up $350 more of my money and placing me more in debt. What’s so upsetting is that indigent prisoners must still pay the full filing fee whereas indigent litigants not incarcerated get the entire fee way. But federal judges still give us blatantly biased opinions. $350 to me is like four months of living expenses. I have to pay over $1,300 in court filing fees only to have a federal judge hold me to impossible standards. I asked for a federal injunction to prevent me from being disciplined by DOCCS for my UFD organization work, only to have a federal judge shoot down my request.
It’s like those who have the power to make the prison system better and more just don’t care. But I haven’t given up the fight. What Sergeant Reynolds did to me only makes me go harder. One bad court ruling only makes me redouble my efforts. The system works to silence the voice of the voiceless. It beats us down over and over again. Many give up; they can’t handle the feeling of defeat, but you’re never truly defeated until you give up. I don’t give up. I’m fighting on.
This is Dontie Mitchell, better known as Mfalme Sikivu, reporting to you from Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, NY. Follow me on Facebook at @freeDontieMitchell. Thank you for listening, and God bless.
(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.