JUSTICE FOR LAURA! Donate Now!
On January 28th our friend Laura was swept up in the mass arrest of an Occupy Oakland march. Laura was one of the 30-40 out of 400 arrests that night to get charged with a felony charge of Burglary, because she was caught inside the YMCA desperately attempting to escape the outright brutality displayed by OPD that night. Not only did she get bogus felony charges, she was cruelly denied her medication by Santa Rita for over two days.
I was with Laura that night, and was arrested inside the YMCA as well. I witnessed the suffering Laura experienced. She was first told that she would be able to take her medication if she brought it with her to Santa Rita but once she got there it became clear that she would be without medication for at least a week, that is, if she’d get access to it at all. For someone who suffers from anxiety and clinical depression, having her medication withheld from her added layers of emotional suffering and distress to Laura’s stay in jail.
A few days into our arrest, Laura and I were both transferred to general population. Laura found the psychological stress extremely difficult to deal with. She was forced to either face serious withdrawal and panic attacks in jail without her medication, and no real promise that she’d ever get it, or she could put up bond and get out as soon as possible.
Because Laura was charged with a felony, her bail was posted at 50,000 dollars, which meant that Laura had to pay $4,000 dollars of her own money to get out of jail. She decided to practice self care and post bond for herself, which means she will never see that money ever again.
So all in all- Laura was forced to pay $4,000 dollars for bogus charges that would have been dropped had she been able to stay in jail. She was not able to stay in jail because she had special needs for her medication, which she was cruelly denied.
Laura is a tireless organizer and has been for many years. She has spent hours and days and weeks organizing on the Oakland Anti-Repression committee. She has spent so much of her time caring for others who have faced state repression. She has organized support outside of jail, she has helped write letters, figure out people’s bail situation, communicate with the NLG, throw fundraisers, etc. Laura is a feminist who has been an invaluable source of support for me and countless other women. She is the kind of person who is always there for other people, who is a consistent foundation of support in many radical communities.
We cannot let the OPD and the “justice” system get away with this kind of abuse to our sister, comrade and friend Laura. As activists who understand the ways in which this system enacts special punishment by not meeting the needs of people who are differently abled, we have to take a principled stand and not allow Laura to suffer and pay this money back by herself. We should stand in an act of solidarity and distribute this burden equally among ourselves and make sure Laura is not punished by the state for having special emotional and psychological needs.
Laura needs to pay rent, to be able to continue to live and organize under this system, this means we need to raise this money with urgency and purpose. We can’t let the state damage our movement by isolating people to face undue burden. DONATE NOW!
Send this to everyone you know! Donate $5, $10, $15, $20 dollars. Anything you can! Please. This is not right!