“Understanding” by Sonni Quick copyright 2015
I compose music for Jamie. Music to make you feel the emotion. Beautiful music that is a dichotomy against pain of imprisonment. Every piece is improvised when recorded. It will be offered with the sale of the book, “Inside the Forbidden Outside” (link to chapter one below) when it is published. It has a copyright. Listen and enjoy, but unlawful use in any way has consequences.
This was first written 3 years ago. It helps new readers to go back to the beginning. It helps to remind me how far we’ve come.
If you were to open a book – in the middle – and read a page or two and then closed it, would it be enough for you to know if you were interested in knowing the rest of the story? With many blogs you can do that because each post stands alone. You can flip through an archive and read bits and pieces, and that is okay.
This blog, though, is different. It has a story, like chapters in a book. To understand what happens to a life in prison you need to go to the beginning. If you don’t know the beginning then the end doesn’t mean as much. I have gotten so many thoughtful posts from people that brought tears to my eyes. They understood and they understood Jamie. Those people read more of the blog than one or two pages. If you read a page and press “like” Then I can see you were here. If you read and leave no foot print I won’t know you were there. Also, don’t forget to rate it by clicking on the yellow stars Then other people will be more encouraged to also leave their rating. Feedback and personal communication, that’s the fun part of writing a blog – meeting the people who read it.
Many times people log into this site through an individual post, especially when a wordpress blogger sees it as a new post. But when you come here through another website, logging on for the first time then this is the page you will see. From here you should go to Jamie’s Prison and My Name is Jamie These are also found by going to the menu at the top. You’ll understand more about his story when you go back to the beginning by looking at the dropdown list called ‘earlier posts by the month.
At the top of the site are pages, different from posts. Pages are not letters from Jamie nor are they part of the timeline. They are about issues relating to prisons. There are also writings in this section by Armando Macias who is on Death Row in San Quentin.
After that, go the earliest post in ‘earlier posts by the month’. There is a history that progresses. 2010 is the earliest posted, but there will be more going back to 2006 as our relationship began. But if you read only one post, it is like opening up a book in the middle and then closing it. Jamie’s life is worth reading about and it will open your eyes to our prison injustice system, prison politics and the fact there really is no justice in prison, or our police force.
By going to soundcloud.com/sonni-quick you will find many piano pieces I have recorded over the past few years. There are also a few pieces that aren’t mine but are artists I have supported and encouraged. It’s easy to bypass them if you want.
There are many reasons why we have so many prisons stocked with so many black people, and now immigrants. It’s a sad story, a testament of how we treat people we feel threatened by for some reason. We used to send immigrants back across the border, but not anymore. New prisons are now auctioned off to the highest bidder with the promise of an endless stream of inmates corporations can make money from imprisoning. Some businesses have closed up shop and relocated inside our prisons because inmate labor is so cheap. Exploiting human beings is something American corporations figured out a long time ago.
This is why we have the prison population we do. It isn’t that blacks commit more crimes, or Hispanics have done anything worse than anyone else who lives here. Immigrants come here under the illusion they might survive here it easier than in their home country. We are all humans beings who want our families to be safe and fed. But we are having a hard time providing for our own families so they aren’t welcome in what is left of the land of plenty. But we can use them in other ways for profit. It is the American way. The perfect example of that is the slave trade, only the slave trade never ended. It just changed names.
Our prison system has a use for people who don’t have white privilege. Walking while black, driving while black, and risking your life to come to this country is a good enough reason to fill the demand for prisoners needed by the prison industrial complex. Every few days I see another video of the way our police force deals with the black community. Taser and mace first. Ask questions later, maybe. The black population has a right to be very angry. I am scared for two of my grandsons who I know will have to confront this. I am white and they are black. It is easy to be white and say you aren’t racist – until it enters your life. Then you start to understand what generations of black people have always known.
So I will fight for this man you see below. Fight to see the day when he is paroled, if he is ever paroled. i want him to have a fighting chance to have a life he was never allowed to have, from the day he was 16 and was put in juvy for protecting his mother – a nine month sentence that lasted more than four years. This is a good man I have been writing to since he was in about a year and a half, and that started the end of 2006. He deserves a chance to have a life and to help raise his son. Please, please, share this blog with your own social media and help me, help him and my grandsons.
Think of this as a serial. You can also follow it through email if you aren’t on WordPress. This way each new post shows in your inbox. On the right hand side if you scroll down you will find links that will take you off this site. They are links to websites with specific information. It could be about the juvenile population that is locked up, or about the elderly, or solitary confinement. They give you more information on different topics.
And you can subscribe to my newsletter ITFO. Each month is about different issues. Maybe the children inmates, medical issues, gay issues or reentry.
When I began this blog it was because I wanted to find out why we only have 5% of the world’s population but imprison 25% of the world’s prisoners. Does our country have more criminals or do we make a strong effort to criminalize as many actions as we can, and give extremely long sentences for a reason? Those who seek power and money have turned our prisons into money making machines who exact cruel and unusual punishment on many of the slaves imprisoned. It has warped the way our country does business by letting businesses bid on contracts using inmates to manufacture items we use every day.
As you read you will begin to understand what kind of country we have become. This has been evident through much of our history, but has reached epidemic proportions. These American companies need to be made public so you can see who represents what the past plantations owners started. You would be shocked if you saw the list. Why pay someone even minimum wage when you can get it made practically for free.
I sincerely hope you come back often. If you leave thoughtful responses to Jamie in the comment section I copy and paste them to into emails I send him. He has to answer by long hand. I write to him through the website http://JPay.com If you would like to write to him directly it is very easy to do. He is in the state of Texas and his full name is James Cummings. His ID is 1368189. Writing an email costs the same as sending a letter, the cost of a stamp. I can imagine now the look on his face to receiving a reply from you. There is so little happiness where he is, so if what you read touches you in anyway please let him know. He would write back to you if you wanted.
I want to thank everyone so much for taking the time to leave the responses they have. It encourages me to keep writing.
Jamie’s story has been read in 135+ countries and that astounds me. It has truly made all of us one globe community. When Jamie gets out, sometime between now and 2023, he will be seeing a world greatly changed, with people who care about him and many who don’t. I believe something very positive will come of this and you will know you helped to do something that affected the life of another human being who will go on to affect many more. Thank You!
“The only legacy anyone can really leave behind when they leave this earth, is the effect they had on other people’s lives. That is what lives on. The making of that cause will have an effect on your own life.” A way of ‘paying it forward.’
Thank you, Sonni