I HAD INTENDED on finally posting about our last trip to Dozier but as I was editing that post, I stopped & finally started to really focus on Robert Straley’s notes & found myself getting so emotional that I decided to just start writing. Please bare with me as I’m writing exactly how I’m feeling at this very moment & am NOT going to edit one word….
I’VE BEEN SO discouraged lately…I’m only one person & I’m not sure that I’m THE person to continue the journey for this man…A man who should still be here to see an end to this 11 year battle against a state so stubborn that they’d just assume allow the town of Marianna To NOT Only continue to deny ANY WRONGDOINGS BUT have control of totally erasing the past. As I’ve sat here literally ALL weekend reading thousands of pages of notes, poems & the letters….Stacks of letters from ALL over… from men telling their stories of time sentenced to a place where their childhoods were beaten out of them. Some are addressed from various prisons…Not only a childhood gone but also adult lives lost. My heart aches knowing that this place sits guarded while children are still buried there. They should be returned to their loved ones & laid to rest so they can finally be at peace. They’ve served their sentences in Hell for too many years, let them go home.
AND NOW THERE are the new ones. A younger generation that have started reaching out. Recent students that have yet to come forward publicly. First one & now the list is up to 18. ALL beaten down, ALL struggling to move forward. I had a nice long ugly Oprah cry session & then began contacting State Officials. I sent emails, left voicemails & even put in an official request to be granted access to the guarded South Campus of Dozier. I then began going through that new list of 18, most only slightly younger than I, determined to find & contact each one. As I told the first, “It WILL Be Your Generation That Can Finally Help End This!”
SO WHILE I will end this post somewhat disheartened, I will quote Roger Kiser from his Eulogy at Bob’s memorial service….”11 Years Is A Very Long Time To Fight A War.”
IF A GROUP of men that were brutalized as children can go to war for 11 years, who am I to be wary after 4 years of knowing BUT really only months of fighting. As I prepare for our next trip to Jackson County, a trip that’s not too far away, I will keep fighting. It’s the least I can do for the brave group of men who graciously welcomed me with open arms.
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