Submitted to It’s Going Down

Tonight in a show of solidarity with the National Prison Strike and with local prisoners, around 30 people made their way to the outskirts of town to rally outside of the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. DWCF gained national attention and notoriety in 2013 when it was found to have the highest rate of reported sexual assaults of prisoners by guards and staff. The rate that was self reported by women held in the prison was four times the national average.

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In attendance there was a mix of anarchists, radicals, those who are formerly incarcerated and the loved ones of those who are currently incarcerated. Together folks made noise, held banners and taunted a couple guards with chants and heckles. A few people spoke about their experiences of incarceration or working with those on the inside.

While striving to honor the struggles that are closest to home, folks put some serious emphasis on recent occurrences within the women’s prison. Over the Summer a woman from DWCF took her own life after being denied mental health support and enduring taunting by guards to kill herself. Tonya Herron threw herself from the third tier of the unit, where other prisoners saw her die and the guards went on to taze her broken and lifeless body. Some women from the prison wrote this poem in her honor as well as about their own experiences of incarceration:

A Poem for Tonya Herron

– Written by women prisoners inside Denver Women’s Correctional Facility inspired by the loss of a friend inside this summer

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was she . . .

I feel overwhelmed with the images flashing through my mind. It hits like a tsunami sometimes and takes all my strength to not feel like I have no rights, am no longer a human being, because that’s what is pounded into my head. I can still hear the thud on the wall from her body falling. I can imagine the blood from her jump and still see that poor girl’s body naked and strapped down, completely helpless, yet still surrounded by demons tazering and hitting her.

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was she . . . so are the rest of us . . . our lives matter . . . stop all the abuse . . .

Never being noticed by family or the people who are supposed to care. Empty and lost. Needing love. Needing a family who won’t hurt you. Until it’s too late. Someone comes to death or dies. Just to see who cares.

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was she . . .

Each of you . . . me . . . each of you —life, death will never cease —never forgotten—how could our time together ever be forgotten? I will never be the same — go on— why? Did you hear my heart break? Yet another day— I’m lost—empty. Filled yet not— speech is leaving me, sealed with us. Never forget.

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was Tonya Herron . . .

I have seen so many different kinds of abuse at D.W.C.F. (Denver Women’s Correctional Facility) from suicide, to guards being abusive, and negligence in every department.

Everything feels so futile right now.

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was Tonya Herron . . .

I care. I cannot get the image of guards dropping vending-machine snacks from tier three in unit 3.  Watching M&M’s drop in jest of Tonya Herron, the woman who jumped a week before from that same spot. Fell on her neck and died instantaneously. Suicide is entertainment for correctional officers at the D.O.C. I care. Do you?

I am a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a mother, a fucking human being, and so was Tonya Herron . . .

The prettiest smiles hide the deepest secrets; the prettiest eyes cry the most tears. The kindest hearts have felt the most pain.

R. I. P. Tonya

These women in DWCF are still in the process of trauma and grieving the loss of Tonya. They also continue to fight for their own selves on the inside. They continue to fight for their freedom and to be returned to their children, their friends, their loved ones. Send them some support and solidarity.

To write and support some of the women: (feel free to send political, loving, and fun content to all these folx!)

Catrina Vega #136625

Alexandra K Veron #166642

Christy Villegas Miller #167701

Leah Chavezbaros #151993

Inmate Name, ID Number

Denver Women’s Correctional Facility

P.O. Box 392005

Denver, CO, 80239

From the high plains just to the east of the Rockies to the prison rebels of Florida and Alabama, we send our solidarity. Fire to the prisons!

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It's Going Down
It’s Going Down is a digital community center from anarchist, anti-fascist, autonomous anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements. Our mission is to provide a resilient platform to publicize and promote revolutionary theory and action.