This campaign was inspired by Betty Heron’s 80th Birthday on April 8, 2020. Aging people are vulnerable always inside of prisons but especially during a respiratory viral pandemic.
April 8, 2020 Betty Heron. 80 years old. 35 years in
Pennsylanian Betty Heron, for whom April 8th is her 80th birthday, has served 38 years at SCI-Cambridge Springs. Heron was convicted of killing her abusive husband in 1982 and sentenced to life without parole. “He systematically and continuously abused me, mentally, physically, and emotionally. It was going to be one or the other,” she states. According to Survived and Punished, the majority of people serving Life Without Parole (LWOP) in women’s prisons, are survivors of abuse, including intimate partner battering, childhood abuse, sexual violence and trafficking.
Euisoon Cho turns 64 this year! The PA Department of Corrections lists her birthday as April 26th but her friends tell us her birthday was the 8th of April. What other things could the DOC have wrong about incarcerated people? Euisoon has served 16 years of her life sentence. Her friends also tell us that she has a quiet nature, enjoys all the elements of gardening – from flowers to insects, and regularly reads Korean newspapers to keep up to date on what is happening in her homeland. At her age, Euisoon is at a high risk of lethally contracting Covid-19 while incarcerated.
Jean Saxon turns 61 years old today, April 17th! She was a nurse before being incarcerated and loves the meaningfulness of that work. She has maintained her innocence of the crime held against her througout the 15 years she has served of a life sentence, and her age puts her at risk for contracting the coronavirus while in prison. @governortomwolf please free Jean today! #LetGrandmaGo #releaseagingpeopleinprison #releasethevulnurable #enddeathbyincarceration #freeher
Today, April 21st, is Jessica Strohl’s 49th Birthday! Jessica is a loving mother and grandmother. She has two daughters, two granddaughters, and one grandson. She loves crafting and cooking and gets very creative with both! She has served 25 years of her life sentence, and though a young grandmother, Jess is still at increased risk having to weather this COVID storm in prison.
Happy 63rd Birthday Henrietta! @governortomwolf #letgrandmago .. Today is Henrietta Harris’s 63rd birthday. She has served 41 years of a life sentence and her family wants her home! While incarcerated, Henrietta has be a phenomenal mother despite the distance, and is a grandmother and great-grandmother to two young great-grandchildren. She was only one vote shy of receiving commutation and should be home now regardless of the crisis at hand. But Covid-19 poses a serious threat and now there really is not a just case to keep Henrietta in prison instead of letting her support her family and be supported by her extensive family. Join us today, April 10, in honor of Henrietta Harris’s 63rd birthday for a day of digital action imploring Governor Wolf, Lt. Governor Fetterman, and PA legislators to use their power to free Betty and other aging and vulnerable people in PA prisons. For example: the Governor could use his reprieve power to release people, state lawmakers could pass an emergency law, Lt. Gov could expedite commutations, AG Shapiro can advise and support the Governor and Lt. Governor and vote YES on commutations. -call your reps
Julyl 4, 2020 – Mechie turns 67.
April 22nd is Jennifer Rhodes’s Birthday! As she turns 62 years old, she reflects on having served 29 years of a life sentence. Known among friends as having a fun balance of sassy and sweet, she has had an active career transcribing braille while in prison and when released looks forward to assisting with advocacy for others. She is also a poet and an artist; the bird on this card is from one of her paintings and the text is an updated poem she originally published in 2003. She had a knee replacement recently and has fought off cancer previously but is currently undergoing chemo treatments for leukemia. The threat of Covid-19 is real for Jennifer and all incarcerated people. Let her out so that she can spend her remaining years with her three children!
April 14,2020 – Debra Ward turns 61 today! She has served 37 years of a life sentence, and was incarcerated at the young age of 24. She’s loyal, devout and a lover of jokes, but is most proud to be a loving mother to her son Carl. After all this time she should be free to be with her family, especially now that the Coronavirus poses such a threat to her health while in prison