January 12, 2021 –
Anonymous submission to North Shore
For the 12th* year in row, folks in Hamilton rung in the new year with a noise demo outside the Barton jail. COVID has changed a lot of our organizing context this year, and made a lot of traditions harder to keep, but was too important to miss.
If anything, COVID has exacerbated many of the existing horrors of prison. Barton prisoners saw the loss of visits for big chunks of this year, only winning them back for a period of time through a series of courageous hunger strikes. There is the constant threat of the pandemic spreading through the jail, as we’ve seen at countless other institutions. The administration’s response to the pandemic has been to further erode prisoner’s basic “rights”.
This year also saw the strengthening of relationships across the walls, with folks finding new ways to connect to those on the inside and amplify prisoners’ voices.
A crew of about 20 met up and set off fireworks on all sides of the prison, to a spirited response from inside. Even with some additional challenges this year, it felt really important and worthwhile to preserve these moments of connection and celebration. As long as there are walls and cages keeping our neighbours locked up, we must find ways to be vocal, creative, and committed in our fight to free them.
To a 2021 of resistance and solidarity, and a future without prisons.
*it might be 13th. accounts vary. by all accounts it’s been a long time.