Thoughts about the day ahead…. I never know how my day will be or how it will end. I try to have a routine so I will be more prepared for my release plus I like for things to be a certain way. I know that every day I am away from my family and friend I can’t get back but I have ways to stay in contact with them…. not all but some who have reached out to me. Its hard being here and some times I have to remind myself that one day I will be home and I will make the system look at the way they treat us.
I should not have to live in fear but I did for a long time. The system breeds FEAR. The same system that put me behind bars for defending myself . The system tells me everyday that no one cared about what happened to me or people like me. So, now I have taken a stand even from behind these wall and I will be heard I will not be silenced. The only way to change anything is to make your voice heard and there is a way to do that without any violence. Write to the people in charge get petitions, have peaceful, marches, and easily TOGETHER to help change things that needs to be changed. You will face opposition and resistance but if we continue to push we will succeed.I believe it… Do you believe it too?… I hope every one has a safe and productive day. May God bless you all. Be safe and take care.
~ Words of Ky
Today has been a very bittersweet day. I turned on my computer today to be inundated with the news of Chelsea Manning’s release from prison. Shortly after, her first steps to freedom twitter post went viral. There are a number of emotions, thoughts, and questions that I have struggled through today.
My first feelings for her are elation. No matter what you feel about why she was locked up, Chelsea has served her debt to society, and then some. She deserves to be free, and now she will be able to live her life on her own terms.
Then heartbreak. Most incarcerated trans folks spent a lot of time in Solitary Confinement (“for their protection”), making the Post Incarceration Syndrome much worse. PIS is no joke, and it is a debilitating type of PTSD that only those who have been locked-up can truly sympathize with.
In comic books, the story line is always the same… A group of humans is harmed, victimized, or oppressed by someone who believes themselves to be superior or powerful. A hero steps forward and stands up to defeat the oppressor. The people see the “Hero” standing-up and find their courage to fight back against the oppressor. While the hero may win the battle, it is the community and their support for the hero, which ultimately defeats the villainous oppressor and prevents him from returning. Ky is the “Hero” of a very real comic saga. He lives at the center of multiple oppressed communities, ( trans, POC, incarcerated, and survivors), and he needs the support of his communities to bring change.
On February 21st, Ky was pulled out of his dorm and told to pack up his property. Prison Security removed Ky from his dorm and placed him in solitary confinement. The next morning, he was called to his counselor’s office. She told Ky that the DA on his case has requested Ky be transferred to the county jail for a hearing on March 15th and that his status was “Pending Release”.
We believed this to be very hopeful and positive information. “Pending Release” in MOST cases,, means that you are going home. Over the next few weeks, we did all that we could to confirm this information. We also went into overdrive and did all that we could to prepare for the possibility of Ky coming home. If Ky was being moved to a county facility, I would be allowed to visit him for the first time in 3 years. If he was being released, I would need to make sure he had clothes, personal items, shoes, etc. We started a short fundraiser to help cover travel costs so that I could see Ky, document the hearing, and possibly bring him home. I was the hopeful Idealist…. The Dreamer… During this time, Ky sat in solitary, feeling very uneasy about the entire situation.
Ky is the realist and has become very accustomed to being screwed over by the state. During the 20+ days, Ky sat in solitary feeling very uneasy about the entire situation. We had very limited communication, just a few phone calls and emails. My hopes were up and he was insisting that I keep calling the county courts to find out what was going on. I called repeatedly, and every time, they told me that Ky’s name was not on the calendar. Nearly every person I spoke to seemed to think he was being released.
On Tuesday, March 14th, I loaded up my car with our luggage and stopped to pick up my friend who would be joining me for the trip. Shortly after arriving at my friend’s house, I got a call. One of our support team had finally managed to get in touch with the DA’s office. The hearing was postponed until March 22st and it was to “correct a clerical error” in Ky’s sentencing. Ky would not be coming home. My heart dropped, I drove home and unpacked Ky’s think, then I cried for days.
The following Tuesday, I packed my bags, picked up my traveling buddy, started our journey for the second time. This time, I was going with the hopes of seeing Ky for the first time in almost 3 years. I was hopeful because if the state is resentencing Ky and giving him the correct time for his Involuntary Manslaughter Plea, he would be able to re-apply for parole, and probably be released within a year. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. See the video to find out what happened on the day of the hearing.
As devastating as the hearing was, there were some silver linings to the visit. Ky was given basically unlimited access to the phone in the county facility. While spending time with family and loved ones, Ky was able to talk to his brother and sister, for the first time in many years. We were also able to document nearly everything. The trip brought us closer to Ky and his family, and for that, we are eternally thankful.
When I first started trying to find help for Ky, I tried to contact every civil rights organization in the country. My thought was that his situation was such a huge violation of justice, we would have no problem finding a lawyer to help. I sent Ky’s story to TLC, ACLU, Stonewall Bar Association, Southern Poverty Law Center, Southern Center for Human Rights, GLADD, and the list goes on.
Most of the responses were automated and basically said, “I’m sorry we cannot help you at this time”. While many individuals who work for these organizations are very supportive of Ky and have offered help, we haven’t received any support from the actual organizations themselves. All attempts of direct contact seem to dump us into automated phone or email systems.
Smaller, grass roots organizations helped get us in the door with the SCHR, and they reviewed Ky’s case. They wanted to file a habeas corpus for Ky. After reviewing the case, they eventually came back and said that their would be not point in filing an appeal or a habeas corpus, because the presiding judge, Judge R. Rucker Smith, will deny these motions. Basically, it would be a waste of time and resources.
Then another group came in and attempted to help Ky. In the beginning, they were very helpful, but eventually, they stopped listening to him and refused to talk to me. They showed up at the prison and tried to get Ky to pursue a habeas, and he refused. I got a call from Ky that day asking me why I didn’t tell them about what happened with the SCHR. Since these lawyers refused to speak to me, I had no idea that they were even planing on visiting him. He was furious. By not talking to me, they wasted valuable time and resources. Even after writing a document specifically telling them to speak to me before making any decisions, I was told by one of their lawyers that they do not have to speak to me at all. This continued on with this group for some time. When a member of this organization contacted Ky’s mother, making empty offers to help their family, and then began harassing her, Ky wrote them, and told them that he was no longer interested in his services.
I have managed to speak to several lawyers about Ky’s case. Lawyer after lawyer , they all say the same thing. The problem is the plea deal.
- regardless of the fact that they denied his right to self defense
- regardless of the fact that he was too heavily medicated to make a sound decision
- regardless of the fact that they threatened to lock up brothers away for life
- regardless of the fact that they lied to him about what the charges were
- regardless of the fact that they told him that it didn’t matter that he was raped…
Ky signed a plea deal. It doesn’t matter how they bullied him into signing that deal, all that matters is his signature. By signing this plea deal, he effectively signed away any rights to future actions in regards to his case.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about the legal system, “No” does not mean “No”, it means “find another way” . If we can’t get the state to correct the injustices that they committed against Ky, we can make damn sure they pay for it.
So at this point, we are looking for someone who can represent Ky in a federal against the state. I’m not going to list all of the details of what we have, but I will say that we have more than enough evidence to provide grounds for an action against against the state. They violated every civil right Ky had as a human being… he deserves justice.
First I would just like to thank everyone who views, reads, shares, supports journey. There is so much that has happened in these last five year of my life, and I am thankful that i have not had to walk this path alone.
Some one recently asked, ” Would you go back and change what happened, if you could?”
The answer is NO. I would not change anything that has happened to me. This experience has taught me more about myself and humanity than any experience I could have ever had in my former life. I know that it has given me the courage to speak up and let other people know that they are not alone. There have been times when I was so down and out that I was fearful of what would happen next and how I would make it through it all.I really hate being away from my family, friends, and the people who care about me. I have became close with a few individuals here and others I have to just keep in my sight.
By now, word of the recent parole decision has spread. They do not want me to be released until July 2021, but I will continue to push for my freedom. With this being said, I hope to continually be active with all who would like to continue writing me. However, if you are thinking about writing me, PLEASE, write Governor Nathan Deal first… I’m asking that anyone who thinks I should be out, write to the people who are in a position of power. Flood their mail boxes with letters. Sign my petition and make Governor Deal aware of the injustices that have happened and are still happening in his state. As much I love receiving mail from everyone, it would mean so much more if your time, resources, and stamps were used to help me gain my freedom. His address is :
Governor Nathan Deal
Office of the Governor
206 Washington Street
111 State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Thank you so much again and may you all be blessed. Be safe and take care of yourself.
Words of Ky P