Send love & letters to Sherrie Anne Andre

Picture of Sherrie Anne Andre. Photo source – Counterpunch

UU young adult, community organizer Sherrie Anne Andre (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is currently serving a 30-day prison sentence in North Dartmouth, MA.

Sherrie is serving the maximum possible sentence for an arrest from a non-violent direct action protest in August 2018, in which Sherrie and others blocked the entrances to the Bristol County House of Correction (where they are now imprisoned) and the ICE facility therein.

 

“A group of activists/organizers and I deployed and blockaded the exits and entrances of the Bristol County House of Correction,” said Andre. “The part I participated in was setting up and climbing a 24 to 26 foot pole tripod and I blockaded one of the entrances to the facility in front of the guard house on the access way to the facility, which is actually a public access way. We were on the public access way, which is where anyone who is going to exit or enter the facility would have to go.

“On that day we didn’t blockade the entrance for very long because the police or the Sheriff’s officers arrived pretty quickly in a vehicle and began kind of berating us and yelling at us and threatening us with violence and harm and quickly dismantled the structures we were on with no regard to our safety and pulled the structures down – bringing our bodies straight down to the concrete.”

“I personally landed very hard on my tailbone. Then the police began to utilize pain compliance on me to get me to remove myself from a piece of equipment that I had used to lock myself to the poles. I tried not to move because I was always taught that if you fall from something really high you shouldn’t move, in case there’s spinal damage. But the police took that to be mean that I was being non-compliant, which is why they chose to use pain compliance to try to get me to move.

“The officers began to cut off my equipment and ropes with knives or scissors , which was kind of scary because there’s now a bunch of men standing over you – after they dropped you from the sky – with weapons and then dragged my body off to the side, to remove a piece of equipment I was locked into. Then they arrested me and other folks and brought us to jail.”

— Quotes from Sherrie Anne Andre, in interview with Steve Ahlquist, published on upriseri.com

 

The FANG Collective, which Sherrie co-founded, is calling on supporters to send letters, books (through a commercial distributer), and donations for Sherrie’s commissary and court expenses:

 

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Letters & books can now be to sent to Sherrie while they serve a 30 day prison sentence at the Bristol County House of Correction:

Sherrie Andre, ID 193414, Cell G04
Bristol County House of Correction, 400 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747

All mail MUST include a return address. More info about sending mail to the facility can be found here: https://bcso-ma.us/visitors-mailinginfo.htm
.
ALL BOOKS must be shipped directly from a publisher or a commercial distributor.
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As many of you know, on Monday Sherrie was found guilty of disturbing the peace and trespassing. Shockingly, they were given a 30 day prison sentence, the maximum possible sentence.
In addition to sending letters and books to Sherrie, you can also:
Donate to FANG to support the costs of the trial. FANG is also sending money into Sherrie’s commissary: http://bit.ly/FANG-Collective

Pledge to take action: http://bit.ly/ShutDownICE

Read more about the Shut Down ICE campaign: www.ShutDownICEnow.org

#ShutDownICE #FreeThemAll

— From FANG Collective on Instagram


IMPORTANT NOTEIt’s probably better for Sherrie’s safety that you do not discuss their arrest/action in your letter writing (at least not in great detail). Considering that Sherrie’s arrest was related to protesting the prison that they are now locked inside of, there is a heightened risk of guard retaliation. Your letter writing matters and helps keep Sherrie safe. Try to avoid generating attention that may cause Sherrie harm and targeting by guards (who open all mail to screen it for contraband).

Here are some great tips for writing to political prisoners from Block Party / It’s Going Down:

Writing to prisoners is one of the most important aspects of support. Letters from relatives, comrades and new friends is a lifeline for those inside and provides connection to the outside world. One of the hardest things for many prisoners to cope with is the feeling of isolation – being cut off from friends and family and everything they know in their lives on the outside. Prison and jail are designed to be isolating, but communication from the outside can cut through isolation and remind those inside that they are never alone.

In many cases, contact from the outside lets the prison authorities know that there are people on the outside who care and are monitoring the situation. For example, religious freedoms and special dietary requirements (halal, kosher, vegan, etc) are more likely to be adhered to if a prisoner is obviously not forgotten.

Here are some important reminders for you prior to writing your letter to prisoners:

● Every letter is potentially read by the guards, so don’t write anything that might incriminate yourself or others. Do not write about illegal activities. The rule of thumb here is don’t put anything in a letter that you wouldn’t say directly to the police.

● These are political prisoners and you should obviously let them know you support their politics, but don’t start praising them as heroes. “Hero letters,” can add to the State’s repressive tactics and help label people as “leaders.” If someone is caught up for a political action they probably don’t want to be seen as martyrs – they’re just normal people, so write to them like normal people rather than fawning! Human connection is more important than heroism.

● Don’t EVER promise things you can’t deliver. Whether you’re promising books, commissary money, et cetera – breaking promises to someone inside is not in line with supporting them.

● Political literature – be careful! Unless the prisoner asks for it, avoid sending any overly contentious political material in as it can potentially cause them issues with the prison. There’s no problem sending this kind of thing as long as you ask the prisoner first and always respect their wishes!

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This is an administrative account for UU Ministry for Earth (UUMFE).