As many of you know, #OpPenPal began as #OpValentine approximately one year ago, when a group of activists banded together to encourage the people of the interwebz to send love via snail mail to our imprisoned comrades for Valentine’s day. (Not to buy in to the corporate holiday, but to use it as an excuse to shed light on those who most need our love and support.) We were amazed at the enthusiastic response and decided to keep the project going year-round.
Through the past year we’ve seen friends arrested, convicted, and sentenced – but also some who had charges dropped, won cases and, when very lucky, have been freed. It’s been an incredible journey and we appreciate everyone who has joined us along the way.
We have great plans for expanding our prisoner support efforts in 2014 and we hope everyone reading this will continue to play an active role. In the meantime: the next month is dedicated to #OpValentine!
Being a part of #OpValentine is easy:
1) To find a prisoner (or multiple prisoners) to write to, simply take a look at our mailing list, or check out lists posted by other groups such as the Denver ABC or Black and Pink.
2) Send your selected prisoner(s) a postcard, valentine, or letter. Keep in mind that fun things like stickers, glitter, and glue/tape are considered contraband in many facilities. Be creative and find ways to make your cards and letters bright and cheerful without such add-ons.
3) Some suggestions: Prisoners love hearing news, local updates, funny stories, or pretty much anything interesting. They also love photos, so feel free to include some (printed on regular computer paper), or use an approved service like FlikShop or FotoPigeon.
4) Tweet photos of your valentines to us at @OpPenPal using the hashtag #OpValentine to help us build a photo gallery. (See last year’s badass gallery here.) All photos will be reposted anonymously and without attribution.
5) Tell all your friends!
Think of this as a backward compatible interweb solidarity action. A snail mail DDoS of prison mail rooms across the country, if you will. For the next month let us commit to flooding these soulless facilities with messages of love, hope, support and solidarity. Every letter makes a difference. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.
We do not forgive injustice.
We do not forget our imprisoned comrades.
Expect Mail. Lots of it.