Dear Family and Friends,
Louisiana incarcerates a large amount of its population. One in 86 adult Louisiana residents is doing time, nearly double the national average. Over 50% are imprisoned for non-violent crimes (the primary charge is traffic violations), and many are held without trial for obscene lengths of time (Following Hurricane Katrina, some New Orleanians were held in prison for up to 3 years without ever being convicted of a crime). In the last generation, we have seen the prison industry sprawl across the United States to become a “growth industry,” taking basic injustices and turning them into an absurd carnival where human beings become mere bodies whose dignity is mined for profit. You may remember hearing about horrid human rights violations committed by prison personnel at prisons like Abu Ghraib in Bahgdad in recent years. Similar crimes occur in Louisiana state prisons on a regular basis, but often go unnoticed and unchecked. For more information about injustices committed at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, visit http://www.uncleguidosfacts.com/2012/04/angola-louisiana-prison.html
In addition to Louisiana’s somewhat special condition within the United States, there is now an increased need for prisoner support and re-training as the State cuts funding from the kinds of programs that keep those who are imprisoned, and those who are free, connected as a whole population. To satisfy this great need, The Cornerstone Builders’ Bus is a program that provides a free monthly bus service for New Orleanians who have loved ones in five Louisiana detention facilities. At least once a month, the Cornerstone Builders’ Bus Project rents a 55 passenger bus and makes the trek from New Orleans to these facilities around the state, at an average cost of $1,000 per trip. To listen to interviews with a co-founder of Cornerstone Builders’ as well as interviews with Louisiana residents who use the bus to see their loved ones, visit http://www.nolatoangola.org/about-cornerstone-builders-bus-program/
From October 19-21, I will be participating in an event called “Nola to Angola”, during which I will be bicycling from New Orleans to Angola State Penitentiary (the largest prison in the United States). The purpose of the ride is to fund the Bus Project, which makes possible the much more difficult journey of those families that remain bonded while separated by the distance, by fences, by bars and glass.
Our goal this year is to raise $6000, or half a year of bus rides for families to 5 different correctional facilities upstate. The buses are always full.
If you support this bus, sponsor me as a rider by donating directly to the paypal account at firstname.lastname@example.org, visiting http://www.nolatoangola.org/ and clicking the “Donate” button, or mailing in a check to:
Nola to Angola
PO Box 792344
New Orleans, LA 70179
Checks should be made out to “Second Zion Baptist Church Bus Project,” with “NOLA to Angola” and my name in the memo. You will be sent a thank you e-mail or letter as a receipt.
I’m asking for a dollar a mile, or $160. Pledge what you can.
As riders, we are funding our own meals and support costs, so every dollar you give goes directly to connecting families trying to reach and sustain each other against all odds.