(PHOTO: At the New York State Capitol in Albany, former political prisoner Laura Whitehorn calls for the release of prisoners in response to COVID-19.)
A funny thing happened on the way to getting our Spring newsletter out...
The whole universe stopped and all of a sudden, there are now more people in lockdown then ever before- albeit, it's lockdown at home, which in almost every instance is far better than a 6x9 cell. However, it's a form of isolation that most of our supporters, friends and family never dreamt they'd be experiencing.
Albert and King are sanguine as always, using the skills they honed in decades of lockdown and appreciating the perks of locking down on the outside.
We'd hoped the March newsletter would have been filled with all the special events that Albert was attending and the awards and honors he is receiving, as well as an update on King and Kenyatta's building project. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, just about everything has been postponed, cancelled, modified, televised or simply forgotten about. Albert should have been in Marin doing a special keynote for Marin College's Umoja program a few days ago. The New Orleans ACLU was then planning to honor him at their annual event on April 2nd.
At this point, things are looking pretty quiet, at least through June. As many of us are discovering, things like staying home, breaking our routines and not being able to visit and travel, has both it's upsides and it's downsides.
For Albert, it's an opportunity to spend some time at home, resting. He's been on the go since his release and this is a rare opportunity to rest. King and Kenyatta's plans to open their space soon have been upended, but the work on their project continues and they hope to be able to be open by Fall.
We asked Albert and King about how they managed to endure decades in a small box. They have some advice for those of us new to 'sheltering in place.'
First, develop a routine, something that provides some structure to the day and keeps you engaged in some activity.
Second, exercise as much as possible. Move your body!
Third, take the time you have to learn new things. Albert and King did this through reading, reading and more reading. Those of us at home with an internet connection can take online classes, watch you tube videos and more. This is a great opportunity to expand your skills and horizons.
Fourth, communicate with your loved ones by phone, letter, or online conferencing. With all the technology at most people's disposal, there's no reason to be totally isolated.
Finally, King recommends giving yourself time to sleep and dream :-)