I’m a woman on California’s Death Row. I have been on Death Row for over 23 years. I think this newspaper does a lot of good and I like that you write about women on Death Row. But before people make assumptions about us, they should talk to all of us. There are women here who were horribly abused by men and that caused them to be here. They need a “voice” too. I worry that they are forgotten. If you speak for us, I feel that you should include our voices.
Kerry Lyn Dalton
I just finished reading Kunlyna Tauch’s article “An Inter- view with former Death Row prisoner”(May 2019) and I just gotta write…
I’ve had this just gotta write feeling several times while reading this issue, but this time I actually picked up my pen!
This is an incredibly fabulous, down-to-earth, intelligent, heart-opening newspaper- The San Quentin News.
It’s shocking: the depth yall communicate. Article after article… all relevant to humanity.
Thank you and God bless you!
“Crimmigration” law can be very complex, so it receives less attention from the advocacy community than its relevance war- rants. There are not a lot of low- cost immigration legal services in the Bay Area that have the capacity or expertise to manage cases with criminal convictions. This is definitely an area that needs the investment of many more allies,
training, and resources. It would be great to see an immigration system that allows for more community participation, so there is space for the families and friends of people in proceedings to have a say in the defense of their loved ones. I think it is important that the communities of incarcerated immigrants be included in expressing their stake in the outcome of the cases, and influence the decision-making process.
It would be great to see Bay Area organizations re- imagine ways they can create equity in the current balance of inequity. Sometimes we only see our limitations, but there are many ways to be creative if we really put our heads together. Immigration and criminal justice issues are intertwined with housing issues, education issues, and public health issues, too.
Many people want to help but don’t know how. Collaboration is essential for an issue that so polarizes our country. On a micro-level, conversations are important to keep having. Our society needs to keep up, stay ahead, and consciously decide how to accept, reject, or transform messages that our government and media produce. Today, those messages tend to vilify immigrants, which can also distort messages about immigrants with criminal records in cynical ways. The mes- sages that pit immigrants against each other for the sake of political favor and appeal reveal our divisions and discourage strength in unity. Our country has a habit of dichotomizing immigrants in a “good immigrant vs. bad immigrant” scheme. This eventually undermines everybody who buys into that narrative. Many advocates still rely often on photos and stories about vulnerable women and children, which risks estranging people who don’t fit into the box (men, people with criminal convictions, etc.). It is always important to humanize any peo- ple we objectify; women and children are no exception. Our country fails to adequately care for women and children in so many ways already, so it seems far from being ready to care for everybody else, too. However, it’s important not to fall into this deficit mindset that make us pick and choose among many people in need. We should talk thoughtfully about the experi- ences of all immigrants, listen to them respectfully in all their complexity, acknowledge them as human, and build consensus about policy from there. The policy that we write and vote for needs to work for more people than the small populations it serves now, and not at any one group’s cost. Accounting for complexity is the key to building toward a vision that includes the voices of all people and validates everybody’s worth.
By Nayeon Kim
Dear San Quentin News
Last year I read an article about an Inmate Johnson
winning a scholarship from the Chung Ahm Scholarship Foundation. Thanks to that article, I applied for a scholar- ship and won one too. For that I am grateful.
Thank you, Sincerely, Alvarado