Some words from Cleveland4 supporters on this day.
The Cleveland 4 are always in need of funds, Right now we don't even have enough to send them 50$ each for next month. The majority of their commisary donations go to food, phone calls, letters, hygeine products and clothes. Every penny donated is a HUGE help. http://www.gofundme.com/cleveland4
It's been two years since the Cleveland 4 got arrested. It's been 2 years since my whole world went flying in every direction while I frantically tried grasping on to the pieces. I remember the days before they were entrapped and taken away. They where used and they were taken away because we decided to fight back against injustice. They are gone because we decided to fight back against corruption.
I'll never forget their first day in court; the sound of their chains rattling against the floor of a Cleveland federal court room. I had never seen them so distraught, so gray. I tried my best to mask my tears. It took everything I had not to scream and reach out to them to hug and tell them "It's going to be ok!"
The first visit was heart wrenching. I hardly slept the night before and I drank coffee for the first time on my way. Chain smoking every ounce of nicotine I could possibly fill my lungs with. Then we sat in that CCA lobby. I remember thinking how cold it felt. Unwelcoming.. My hands shook as we went through those first set of bars. It felt suffocating sitting between those locked metal doors, just waiting to see my friends, my comrades, my family. We talked, and smiled, and tried to laugh as much as we could muster. Tried talking as fast as we could because every second was closer to having to leave. Then I went to see Brandon, my lover at the time. I didn't know what to say. I didn't want to bring up what had happened, I just wanted to give him an hour to be happy, not dwell on what had run through his mind every moment since the arrest. He just needed to smile. All I could think to do was press my hand against that plexi-glass that separated us from leaping into each others arms. We pressed out foreheads together and just smiled, taking in as much as we could. I'll never forget how heart breaking it was to leave that day. The few hours it took to drive home seemed like a eternity, a never ending highway.
It's been almost a year and a half since I saw someone I considered a comrade take the stand and help the FBI use my closest friends as martyrs, in a sense. When he took the stand, my hand instantly grasped onto my comrade to the right of me. Our hands interlocking as we tried out best to muffle our tears. It hurt, and for a moment Tony even stopped, and said he wouldn't go on. The glimmer of hope only lasted for a moment, and he continued.
It's been just as long since they got sentenced. Since they decided how long my friends would be stolen away for their own political agenda. Some part of me held hope that the judge would throw it all away, shaming the FBI for targeting my friends, for targeting people who wouldn't have done a thing if it weren't for them. I lived with them, I spent hours have deep conversations. We shared meals, we cuddled, we laughed. If I would have known how quickly those moment would be stolen away, I would have cherished them in that moment so much more then I did. I wouldn't have argued about the dishes, I wouldn't have left for meetings thats didn't go anywhere.
Now the only thing I can do for them is support them, and give them every bit of support that I can. Prison support is nerve grinding, it tears at your heart because there is always more that needs to be done. There is always fund-raising to be done; prison is expensive. Someone will need stamps, or soaps, or warm clothes so they don't freeze in the night when the prison decided 30 degrees doesn't call for turning on the heat. I will have nights where I don't sleep because I can't visit them. I will take planes, cars and trains to see them states away. One day they will be home.
They are my friends, and I will not abandon them. I will be there every step of the way, I'll be there to embrace them when they are released, and they will always stay close to my heart, no matter what happens.
One of the things I get asked most is "How do I write them? What do I say?" and the answer is simple. "Hello, How are you?" Those who are incarcerated don't have that ability. They can't write you first, or message you on facebook, or tweet at you when they want to talk. You have to make the effort, You have to reach out first. Tell them about your day, your job, school, how you hate the weather. You can make them smile, make them feel loved if you just try, and reach out. You can make sure they have shoes that keep their feet warm on the cold concrete floors. You can make sure they can stay warm during the winter, just by donating a few dollars.
Make someone smile today, and write the Cleveland 4. Make sure they know they are not forgotten, and that they never will be. Send a book, donate a dollar, send the crossword from your newspaper. It will mean more than you know.
"2 years ago tonight, 4 Anarchists and close friends of mine, Doug Wright, Brandon Baxter, Connor Stevens, and Joshua Stafford were entrapped and caged by the state. Now they are in medium and maximum security prisons under constant threat of being sent to a CMU. This is one the threats we face for anarchism, what happened to them with happen again, we will be jailed or killed, this is inevitable for those who strive for the liberation of all people. My boys where real life revolutionists willing to take action for what they believed, threatening capital, this has its consequences and the State sent a provocateur to drug them and trick them and skew there will to action into what took place 2 years ago tonight. i miss them and work hard to carry on the fight, i dont want my boys to come back to the same world that locked them away i want what they want (A)."
"It took months of the FBI drugging my friends to convince them then force them by threatening them to accept explosives. This was a coordinated attack to shut down our group. We were engaged in such acts as providing meals to the community, making informational resources available to underprivileged populations, advocating growing food and gardening, being against pollution from coal oil and gas that has decreased the quality of life in our region, helping those who came to us unlawfully being pushed out of their homes from the foreclosure crisis and a myriad of issues. See we were getting too good at creating change. When we had meetings and public conversations people were coming and we were all listening to each other. My friends are revolutionary's activists family members and good souls. The FBI couldn't stand it and thus figured out how to break us down. Today marks the 2 year anniversary my brothers were entrapped by the FBI and our lives changed forever. They are a living testament to our hopes and dreams for a better world and I salute the sacrifice my friends make today and every day. If you want to know more please read their stories letters and words of hope at www.cleveland4solidarity.org bless the struggle down with all tyrants this aggression this modern police horror will eat itself one day and we will rise to be free or die free as we do every day I love you Brandon, Connor, Skelly and Doug and I always will"