I’ve been writing to Felix Garcia for a while now. He is a Latin@ Deaf* man serving life for a murder his Hearing brother has confessed to. Felix has been in prison for over 30 years and many of those years were spent alone – amongst hundreds of other men – all Hearing and non-signing – a virtual sentence to solitary confinement for no crime other than being a Deaf man walking.
You can see Felix and other Deaf men and women in the Deaf in Prison documentary that H.E.A.R.D will be screening June 27-29 | 12am-11:59pm. If you can host a group viewing in your area – let HEARD know so they can list it. (you can see a list of different locations that are hosting a screening at http://www.behearddc.org/ scroll down for list)
See Trailer for the event and documentary below
I hope more and more Deaf people and allies will get involved with HEARD and start advocating for rights of Deaf people in the criminal justice system (Tmw 6/23 HEARD will be at a Teach-In on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) discussing sexual assault of deaf, blind and disabled persons.)
For an update on Felix’ case – see Pat Bliss’ write up and scroll down for links to sign the petitions – http://deafinprison.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/life-holds-no-guarantees-update-on-felix/
Its hard for me to write about this subject because it feels so hopeless and overwhelming but as Felix always reminds me, our “words help.” Karen Christie’s poem does a superb job expressing the plight of Deaf, Deafblind and other people in prisons. Thank you for letting me reprint it here KC. Thank you Pat Bliss (Felix’ advocate), Talila Lewis (TL) and all the good folks at HEARD and the Deaf in Prison blogsite for all you are doing.
Felix and friends – stay strong.
And others like him
by Karen Christie
I imagine it started as a misunderstanding
Behind your back
so the right
To remain silent
I imagine it led to miscomprehension
of the lawyers vocabulary, the court proceedings,
the uninterpreted expressions
And the right
To be represented
I imagine the worst miscarriage of justice
Was the cruel and unusual sentence
To years of solitary confinement
Among other inmates
Whose physical proximity
Endangered and violated
your arrested life.
HEARD trailer for the Deaf in Prison screening and discussion groups