Who Is Rebecca Hensley?
October 24, 2020
For those of you who are wondering, I don't have any diarrhea or vomiting, but I have a cyst the size of a lime in my right lung, a cyst the size of a walnut near my right ovary, something going on near one of my vertabrae and who knows what going on in my stomach. They removed two pre-cancerous polyps from my intestine. I now have three doctors and a whole barrage of fancy test specialists. My primary doctor has begun to suspect that the pain and nausea might be due to an ulcer. But they're really just still trying to figure it all out.
I pretty much just eat and sleep and do no work. Take care of your body. It's the only one you have.
October 10, 2020
For the past two weeks, I've been experiencing continuous nausea and pain (day and night). I've seen a specialist who ordered tests for this coming week, but at this point, they don't know what it is and I am played out and miserable. I can barely work at all. I'm snappish when people want me to do something. And I've lost 10 pounds and developed dark rings under my eyes. Send me some of whatever juju you have, okay? I expect to get through this, but it is SO not fun.
October 4, 2020
Herman "Hooks" Wallace -- widely respected and loved among men at Angola where he spent decades in solitary confinement as one of the Angola 3 -- died of liver cancer on this day in 2013, only a few days after a Habeus Corpus demanded his release. A month later, I published on my blog and responded to a letter he had written me two years before.
Albert & Rebecca ✊🏾APTTP
June 26, 2020
Specific objectives can be accomplished by sacrifice. But sacrifice for sacrifice's sake can emanate from a commitment to martyrdom -- which can be driven by ego. It is the collective will that will carry us into the future IF we can learn to abandon our tendency to practice unilateral decision-making in the name of revolutionary fervor.
Albert Woodfox didn't spend 43 years in solitary confinement to make a point. He never presented himself as a "leader." He never went out of his way to antagonize his oppressors, yet he never gave an inch. I learned a lot visiting him for the last seven years before he was released. He and I don't agree on everything, but watching what he accomplished and the way he accomplished it convinced me that following someone into battle just because they have the nerve to holler "Charge!" is not going to do anything but get us all killed -- which serves the enemy well.
Termites bring the house down just as successfully as fire, but they live to tell the tale. And allowing someone to call the shots because they believe they should be followed is simply trading one king for another.
[This photo is of a young Albert Woodfox long, long before he knew he would outlive his ordeal.]
May 21, 2020
Right after I visited Albert Woodfox the first time, I posted to my blog about the visit and Burl Cain blocked me from visiting Albert again until he was moved to another prison. This was what I said about Cain at that time: "White men like Attorney General Caldwell and Warden Cain...still believe that there is only one kind of power -- brute force. Scared or not scared, however, Caldwell and Cain have already lost the battle because they are recognized far and wide as the misguided monsters they are and they will carry the knowledge and the repercussions of the evil they are perpetrating even as I write to their woebegotten, isolated graves." This is still true.
April 19, 2020
BREAKING NEWS FROM ANGOLA:
I have received a report that on the morning of Saturday, April 18th, guards, led by a Lt. Williams, came into CBD at Angola (a dungeon with four 15-cell tiers holding two prisoners in each one-man cell) and, in three separate incidents, they gassed prisoners with chemical agents. The guards were not wearing the video cameras they are legally mandated to wear, which means they went into the attacks intending to lie about why they occurred. There is no question that such attacks in such a contained area affected all the prisoners on the tiers involved, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its complications.
Tensions among prisoners and among guards and other staff at the institution are running very high at this point. And Angola went into this disaster short-handed, but this is unacceptable. The prisoners would normally draft Administrative Remedy Procedure grievance complaints about this type of attack, but under present circumstances, their ARPs would miss the necessary time-driven deadlines and be ignored. They need us to step up and do something about this. At the very least, you should call Angola in the morning to do a wellness check on your loved one, if you are at all concerned.
April 17, 2020
April 12, 2020
JUST SENT THIS MESSAGE TO AN INCARCERATED CITIZEN INSIDE ANGOLA:
I woke up to news from all over the country about uprisings in various prisons. I get it. Pushed to the breaking point emotionally. Blowing off steam and driven by fear and frustration. Keep your head, my brother.
I know there's no sense to how it spreads. One is exposed and doesn't get it. Another (out here) NEVER leaves her apartment for 90 days and then picks it up from a package delivered to her door. Some get it and have no symptoms. Some have mild symptoms and then recover. A 100-year-old gets it and lives. A 25-year-old with no other health issues gets it and is dead in three days. They just found a case in a Yanomamo tribe in the rainforest. It'll make you crazy. I'm sorry, I mean crazi-er. And this is NOT gonna be over any time soon.
Like I said, keep. your. head. Counting on you, brother. Every day above ground is a good day. This ain't (as you point out) your first time at the fair. You didn't come this far by accident. Just keep doin' what you're doin' and see where it goes. Same as me. And everybody else.
I know it's worse in there. But remember, there are 5-year-olds hauling cocoa nuts through the jungle in Africa right now for Hershey to turn into chocolate bars for your sister's kids (or whoever). Seven hundred million people in the world live on less than $2 a day -- not in a bad week, but for their entire lives. We need to change the whole system -- not just the criminal justice system.
Stand in your courage. Lead with love. They call this the valley of the shadow of death and the only way out is through.
I'll be setting up a Facebook page for prisoners' families tomorrow. Hook your loved ones up.
April 8, 2020
A couple of weeks ago, a prisoner in Angola introduced himself to me via JPay email. Last Wednesday, i published his letter to the Governor of Louisiana on my blog. It has already had more than a thousand views. Last night, I published his poem to the virus that has us all so horrified right now. His is a voice in the wilderness I am honored to amplify.
April 1, 2020
March 26, 2020
I'm trying to provide a lifeline into Angola right now. 6300 men. Let that sink in.
Louisiana DOC has 7000 geriatric prisoners. Let that sink in.
They are passing out NO...that's ZERO...hand sanitizer or disinfectant cleaning supplies (even though the U.S. government has given them funding to do so). Word has it that it's being SOLD (to the staff?). Let that sink in.
They have doubled up every cell. Let that sink in.
Most of the "doctors" at Angola have lost their licenses or been otherwise professionally compromised before coming to the LA DOC. Let that sink in.
Angola is quietly taking prisoner transfers from the area with the second most COVID-19 cases in the state, moving them into a unit that has been condemned, and refusing to answer any questions about it. Let that sink in.
They'd apparently rather see them dead than release them. Let that sink in.
I just bought a printer/scanner/copier. I just bought a shredder. I'm in communication with various folks inside Angola every day. I'm riding this thing till the wheels fall off.
March 14, 2020
I'll be 74 next month and I'm diabetic. My doctors tell me I'm good for another 20 years. But I'll be leaving the University August 1st to do prison abolition work full time. From then on, I'll be living on a small pension, a small Social Security check, and Medicare.
Both Biden and Trump are on the record as intending to cut Social Security AND Medicare. This concerns me greatly because if one of them is elected and he follows through, my days will be numbered. My insulin keeps me alive and if I can't afford it, I'll die.
Right now, we're grieving the death of Nate Woods. Yet this country is trying to elect a President who will be able to take the lives of hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of people just like me without direct connection or accountability. We won't be hung or gassed, injected with poison or taken before a firing squad. But we will be murdered just the same. Don''t let that happen. Please.
February 26, 2020
Eight years ago tonight, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed by a man who doesn't even deserve to be named. When that man was acquitted of the crime of murder which he most definitely committed no matter what this White Supremacist country says, I posted a series of photos on my blog showing the tens of thousands of people in cities from coast to coast protesting the travesty of justice and grieving anew the loss of a beautiful boy who will never be forgotten.
January 5, 2020
Here is the first post on my blog in this new year. It features a poem written by an incarcerated citizen in Angola. Please feel free to share it and write the brother who submitted it to us.
REST IN POWER REBECCA HENSLEY ✊🏾