A Word From Kelly
THE INTRODUCTION OF KELLY’S CAUSES
My name is Kelly, I am the founder of Kelly’s Causes and I am an advocate for Criminal Justice Reform, Prison Reform and Prisoners Rights. In 2020 I was one of the many in this world who was naive, blind or just ignorant to what was going on in this country for the most part. I was like so many others who didn’t really care about people in prison because it didn’t affect me personally, that is until I met someone who had been in prison for 28 years, I learned a lot that year. I was under the impression that we are all afforded a fair trial, I was under the impression that everyone in prison was guilty, I was under the impression that prisons were only horrible because they housed horrible people, I was wrong. The man who now calls me his fiancé, wife or old lady, was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to LWOP at the age of 16, he was arrested at 15. When I first met him through a pen pal program I didn’t know what he was in prison for only that he had been in there for 28 years at that point and that he had LWOP. We spent months getting to know each other before I finally broached the subject and asked him what he was convicted of, I had a feeling it was murder but I wasn’t sure. He had given me his middle name when we first started talking so when I asked about his sentence he gave me his full name and told me to look him up, I did just that. After reading what I found online I had to take some time to myself to decide how I felt about it and what to do from there. At that point I had already gotten to know him enough to feel like what I was reading online wasn’t the man I knew him to be, therefore I gave him the chance to explain it all to me. Every day we spoke or wrote each other I learned more and more about him, our system, the people in it, and myself. I have always been a forgiving and open minded person for the most part but everything I was hearing was opening my mind more and more as time went on. Not only was a child when he was convicted but he was one of the only ones in the state of Alabama convicted, sentenced and sent to state prison all in the same day, at 16 years old. He didn’t get a fair trial, the judge, jury, DA and court appointed attorney all knew the victim or their family and the judge was determined to make him pay for the rest of his life. Learning all of this questioned all my beliefs in our system, it made me start questioning so much. I have written letters to legislators, attorneys, the governor, the president, his judge anyone I could think of to try to help get him the second chance he deserves. I fight every day for justice for him but in doing that I am also fighting every day for all of the others behind the fences. No matter how much I do for him or all of the others I never feel like it is enough, I don’t have a law degree, I don’t know a lot about politics or laws, I don’t have a large following, I don’t have friends in high places but what I do have is a voice and I will use my voice as long as I can for those who can’t. I have a website, I have twitter, I have Facebook and I have petitions, I will keep spreading the word and hopefully opening people’s eyes as long as I can.
RALLY FOR CHANGE
Last year in the state of Alabama loved ones of those incarcerated came together and held two rallies in Montgomery, one at the Alabama Department of Corrections and the other at the State Capital. Along with the rally’s our loved ones on the inside had their own protest. Prisons across the State of Alabama basically came to a standstill as those inside refused to go to their prison jobs last year for just over a month. Not only do our incarcerated loved ones do all the laundry, cooking, cleaning, and maintenance, but at many prisons in Alabama they also have industries where they work for little to no pay. During this shutdown basic needs were not met by the prisons because they didn’t have the staff once all of the “free labor” wasn’t working. Typically three meals (or what they deem meals) are served 6 days a week for those not on a medical diet and 2 meals on Sundays and holidays. During the shut down two “meals” were served every day for that month and those meals were barely enough to feed a child much less grown adults, laundry wasn’t being done, garbage wasn’t being disposed of, visits were cancelled, store and snack line were cancelled, and people were being locked up or worse daily. These men did all of this to bring awareness to the growing crisis this state is facing in out 17 prisons. There are approximately 22,000 men and women behind bars in this state alone and for the most part the majority of them came together to protest basic human rights. This protest didn’t make much difference in our state but it brought national attention to a growing problem in our prison system not just in Alabama but nationwide. The United States, a so called “Free Country”, has the 2nd highest number of incarcerated individuals in the world and they are treated as less than animals, it is past time for a change.
On March 6th, 2023 the loved ones of those incarcerated in Alabama are once again coming together to protest at the state capital. We are not the only state in dire need of help and change, every single state with a state run prison needs help. There are almost 2 million people incarcerated in the United States, if at least one person for every incarcerated person stands up in protest at their own state capital they would have no choice but to listen. This is a national crisis and therefore needs to be a national rally. Spread the word, start planning and get it together and lets make a stand no one can ignore for these individuals who can’t stand for themselves. Lets start a movement and Raise our Voices for the Voiceless!!!