Again this year, VINE Sanctuary staff, supporters, and volunteers will gather on February 14 to write cards and letters to imprisoned activists and to inmates who have become vegan while incarcerated. And again we invite you to join us, in person or virtually, as we send some sweetness to prisoners on Valentine’s Day.
If you happen to live in or near southern Vermont, please feel free to join us in the upstairs room at the Springfield Food Co-op from 6 to 7:30 on Valentine’s Day. (The snacks are on us!) Otherwise, we urge you to set aside an hour for letter-writing on February 14 or–even better!–organize your own letter-writing event by inviting friends over to your place or inviting the public to join you at a local library, community center, or coffee shop.
Not sure what to write? Here are some tips for writing letters to imprisoned people. Don’t know to whom to write? You’ll find names and addresses of four currently-incarcerated vegans as well as links to other lists at the end of this post.
If this post has inspired you to plan to write at least one letter this Valentine’s Day, please pop over to our Facebook event page and join the event.
Organizing your own letter-writing event? Please do visit that Facebook page, where you will find a flyer that you can customize to advertise your event and where, as the event approaches, we will be sharing other resources, such as a pdf of addresses and tips that you can print to use at your event.
Below, you will find addresses and some information about the prisoners to whom VINE will be writing this year. You can find addresses for other prisoners here (eco prisoners), here (AR prisoners), and here (right-hand sidebar has list of all known political prisoners in the USA).
Marie Mason is serving the longest sentence (almost 22 years) of any Green Scare prisoner. Even though no person was injured in the acts of property destruction to which she admitted as part of her plea agreement, this sentence is similar in length to that given to killers. (Equivalent, but non-political, property damage would typically result in a much lower sentence.) Marie has just turned 51 and is a mother of two. In addition to environmental activism, she was also active in the labor movement.
Marie Mason #04672-061
Federal Medical Center
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127
For more information: supportmariemason.org
Manuel Salas is a 25 year-old vegan animal rights activist who is imprisoned for acts unrelated to his activism. In prison, he has had to fight for vegan food and has suffered penalties as a result of that activism. From behind bars, he has started the National Animal Rights and Anarchist Network (NARAN) and also has been active in raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Manuel C. Salas #504212
Columbia Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 900
Portage, WI 53901
For more information: supportmanuel.com
As stated by his support website, “Eric McDavid is a political prisoner, currently serving a 20 year sentence in federal prison for ‘thought crime.’ He was arrested in January 2006 (as part of the government’s ongoing ‘Green Scare’ campaign against environmental and animal rights activists) after being targeted by an undercover informant who formulated a crime and entrapped Eric in it.” In a recent letter from prison, he wrote, “w/N this cultural climate the Path is not easy or simple by any means – making it all the more important 2 find those unique, ever changing, beautiful & sustainable ways 2 aid & nurture each other.”
Eric McDavid 16209-097
FCI Terminal Island
Federal Correctional Institution
PO Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731
For more information: supporteric.org
Fran Thompson was an environmental and animal rights activist until the events that landed her in prison. A farmer who had been stalking her and had threatened to kill her broke into her rural home, at which point she shot and killed him. Her claims of self-defense were rejected by a prosecutor against whom she had campaigned in the past. Unpopular in her rural community due to her activism, Fran faced a hostile judge and jury and is now serving a life sentence, in the course of which she has sometimes had difficulty obtaining vegan food. Thompson is said to be a no-nonsense person who disdains sympathy and sentimentality — so she might be an apt person to whom VINE supporters sharing those characteristics might write. She can receive only letters and non-polaroid photographs, so do not attempt to send anything else.
Fran Thompson 1090915
CCC, 3151 Litton Drive
Chillicothe, MO 64601