Reportback from Progress for Science's July Letter Writing Session: Feeding two birds with one scone
Every month or two Progress for Science gets together for a political prisoner letter writing session. We start each gathering with a brief update on what is going on in cases we have been following and with some tips and dos and don’ts of writing to animal rights and social justice comrades behind bars. We cover what can get your letter rejected, what can make problems for them inside as well as what to write about - how to support and start a dialog with someone you most likely don’t know personally. In our May session we focused on the MOVE 9. Imprisoned since 1978, they were members of a Philadelphia-based vegan black liberation group which included animal liberation in their philosophy and activism. We also encouraged our attendees to write to our friend Kevin Olliff/Johnson and let everyone know what is happening in Kevin and Tyler’s cases.
This month, we decided to cut two carrots with one knife and join in with the No New Animal Lab campaign and add Skanska and University of Washington bigwigs to our letter recipients. They aren’t in prison but they are building one! Meeting last Friday at the home of one of our supporters, we wrote as usual to those on the inside who are paying a heftier price for their activism than we are. But we also wrote short and to-the-point notes to execs at Skanska, the Swedish construction company which has flushed its self-vaunted ethics down the toilet in the pursuit of some bucks in order to build the underground animal lab at the University of Washington, and letters to the officials at the university responsible for putting this project – a step into a new dark ages of vivisection dungeons - in motion and/or for continuing it despite the concerns of the student body and the community.
As always, our activist group, which this time included two teens, brought and shared vegan treats and one P4S organizer provided some homemade little blueberry corn bites from heaven. We also chatted about responses we’ve gotten from previous sessions, about progress in the NNAL campaign and current events in activism and the world at large; we also took a short walk - so magical on a summer evening - lost our host's cat, found our host’s cat: all in all a good productive time was had.