According to Kingstonist’s final poll of 2010, the Limestone City’s most defining headline of the year was the closure of our Prison Farms. We received a generous number of photos and videos from the protests, while the most significant submission came by way of a letter via our Community Soapbox. Months later, Patrick Thompson’s account still evokes the same sense of loss, as well as pride towards those who were willing to face charges and imprisonment. While the fate of the Prison Farm land remains to be seen, I want to remain optimistic that future developments won’t be marred in controversy, and negativity.
Today is Prisoners’ Justice Day, which is a day of mourning, remembrance, advocacy and protest for those who’ve lost their lives while serving their sentences. With that in mind, yesterday’s scene involving citizens from all walks of life attempting to block the removal of the remaining livestock from the Collin’s Bay institution seems fitting. With 15 people arrested ranging from a 14 year old girl to an 87 year old grandmother, the protester’s efforts were certainly not in vain. The story gained national media attention throughout the day, and as illustrated by various opinion polls, support for our Prison Farms is higher than we originally measured.
I’ve provided my thoughts on this issue in the past, and so, in light of yesterday’s events I thought it best to hear from one of the folks who was arrested during the protest. The following letter was published on Save Our Prison Farms, and while it provides insight into yesterday’s democracy in action, it also offers inspiration regarding the long road ahead.
Dear Prison Farm Campaign Supporters,
My name is Patrick Thompson, and I am proud to count myself as one of those arrested today.
Today was a great day for me. Yes, the cows are gone, which is an incalculable loss, but there was a sense of community and purpose that I have never felt. Thank you all for that. I was moved to tears by Dianne Dowling’s speech. Tears for the realization that this is not the country that we have been taught we live in, and that solidified my commitment to become “unlawful”. Yesterday singing O Canada, I felt that “we stand on guard for thee”, means us, citizens, stand guard. Today I am proud to say we did stand on guard for our democracy.
Sitting in jail, looking around at my fellow patriots, was incredible and peaceful. Everyone seemed tranquil, and it is my perspective that it is because everyone felt 100% just in their actions. We have upcoming legal concerns to deal with now, but that feels of little consequence, with such a strong sense of purpose. It is imperative for people to know, we still have a friend continuing the fight in detention. Unwilling to accept unjust conditions of bail from the crown, he has decided to forgo food and remain. Truly he is a giant among us.
And just as he continues the fight, so must we. If this government doesn’t want prison farms, then we don’t want them. We must stay motivated and engaged. We must ensure this government never obtains a majority. We must ensure whoever comes after this regime remains accountable, transparent, and attentive to the peoples will. It is not an easy road ahead, but we can rebuild prison farms, we can reclaim our inherent control of democracy.
Please, do not be dismayed by the loss of the cows. This movement is vibrant, strong and just. I cannot express my appreciation and gratitude for the tireless work the organizers of this campaign, and the thousands of supporters. We have made a difference, and we will not stop the endless journey towards a more perfect society.
P.S. I apologize for rambling and/or grammatical errors. I’ve been in prison for the last 15 hours and am a little tired.
Please drop off a few comments below regarding your thoughts on yesterday’s events.
Submitted to Kingstonist’s Community Soapbox by: Patrick Thompson.