Tag Archives: Sandra Steingraber

Sandra Steingraber: Why I Am in Jail

Protest at Crestwood facility at Seneca Lake, October 24, 2014. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.
Protest at Crestwood facility at Seneca Lake, October 24, 2014. Photo by Wendy Lynne Lee.

Author and anti-fracking activist Sandra Steingraber refused to pay a fine and was sentenced to two weeks in jail for trespassing when she protested at the Crestwood Midstream gas storage facility on Seneca Lake in New York.

By Sandra Steingraber, EcoWatch

Breakfast in the Chemung County Jail is served at 5 a.m. This morning—Friday, November 21, 2014—it was Cheerios and milk plus two slaps of universally-despised “breakfast cake.” Along with trays of food—which are passed through the bars—arrive the morning rounds of meds for the inmates who take them. Now comes my favorite time of day in jail—the two quiet hours between breakfast and 7 a.m. before the television clicks on and we are ordered to make our beds and the loud day begins. Between the end of breakfast and 7 a.m., most women go back to sleep. Now I can hear only the sounds of their breathing—different rhythms all—and, on the far side of the steel door—the occasional voices of the C.O.s (correction officers, a.k.a. the guards) and the walkie-talkie orders they themselves are receiving.

Sandra Steingraber, photo by Wendy Lynne Lee
Sandra Steingraber, photo by Wendy Lynne Lee

Meanwhile, my bed is already made and I have repurposed my small laundry basket—by flipping it upside down—into a table on which I am writing. And because I am a writer who is writing, I am happy.

I am also happy because I know that, by writing, I am fulfilling a promise to Ashley (not her real name) who brought me last night a sharpened pencil and a stack of inmate medical request forms to use as writing paper. After hearing my story—narrated through the bars of my cell as I am being kept in “keeplock” until the results of my TB screening come back—Ashley said, “I know about you Seneca Lake protesters. I read about that. But only once. You have to keep fighting. You have to write to the newspaper. You can do that from here, you know. You can’t just sit in your cell for 14 days and do nothing. You have to fight.” And then she ran off and found me paper. Continue reading Sandra Steingraber: Why I Am in Jail

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