Six years behind bars so far
Chelsea will be 28 on Thursday 17th December 2015, and birthday vigils, meals and other commemorations like letter writing to prisoners sessions, will be held by supporters to celebrate her in various locations in the United States and Europe, including London and Dublin.
There will definitely be meet-ups in Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Bucharest, Crescent, Detroit, Dublin, London, Mainz, Oakland, Philadelphia and Vancouver, and there are rumours of same for San Francisco and Pennsylvania. This will be Chelsea’s 6th birthday behind bars.
NB. See end of post for dates, times, locations.
For more about Chelsea, who she is and what she has done (a lot!) see ‘Who is Chelsea Manning?’ here.
Since Chelsea was first revealed as the WikiLeaks whistleblower of the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Log, the Guantanamo Files, the State Dept Cables, and other key documents of great importance to the public, as well as the infamous Collateral Murder helicopter cockpit video, she has received various awards in recognition of the importance of her political stand.
One of the Advocate’s 40 Under 40 for 2015
And this year she was honoured as one of The Advocate’s ’40 UNDER 40′; ’40 exemplary people under the age of 40′, for being a great trans* ‘fighter’:
The Advocate’sannual list of 40 exemplary people under age 40 has a message we think all generations should hear. This year the 40 Under 40 series highlights young LGBT people fighting intersectional battles in our greater community. Read the article…
Read the article about her at The Advocate. When she was informed she’d been included in the list she said:
“I was very shocked to find out that I was named on your list. I am very, very honored. I hope that this list helps us realize that we have all these different intersections between the different communities out there and in here that we can use to start to work together. We should really examine the way our society is set up in such a way that the most vulnerable among us are usually doomed to fail.”
She says that such acknowledgements are very welcome, when she is still fighting ‘so many battles every day’ – battles with prison authorities, who are still obstructing, amongst other things, her need to consolidate her female identity by, for instance, growing her hair. However, she makes it clear that there are no similar struggles with inmates, and she says ‘I genuinely feel accepted by everyone else I live with’.
Chelsea still demurs at the idea she’s a hero, and doesn’t appear to have a very powerful sense of the remarkable amount she has achieved in her 28 years, though even her output since she has been incarcerated is impressive, contributing political commentary to the Guardian, and writing 139 page draft bills for Congress, proposing how the surveillance overkill might be fixed (!). Instead she says:
“I think the major accomplishment of my life, so far at least, is that I am still alive, and that I am still very optimistic about the future.”
and actually, you have to say that it is, indeed, an achievement worthy of note for her to be able to say she feels that way, and a demonstration of the indomitability of her spirit, considering she is in her 7th year in prison, having been sentenced to a disgraceful 35 years for following her conscience! Well, we think you’re brilliant, Chelsea!
NOTE There were celebrations of Chelsea’s Birthday in Mainz at a War Resistors International letter writing to prisoners session on 11th Dec; in Berlin at the 6th event of the Disruption Network Lab – ‘STUNTS: Distributed, Playful and Disruptive’ on 12th Dec; and in Detroit at a newly opened ‘parisian cafe’ – Detroit Vintage Coffee Shop on 12th Dec., and there’s more to come below.
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday Where You Are – Locations
Join supporters of Chelsea in these locations to mark her 28th birthday, and her 6th behind bars.
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in London
When: Thursday 17th December at 12.30 (till about 2.00)
Where: Trafalgar Square North Side London WC2N 4JJ (Charing Cross Stn & Tube)
Contacts: Queer Strike 0207 482 2496 Payday 0207 267 8698 (www.refusingtokill.net)
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Dublin
When: Thursday 17th December 6pm
Where: GPO, O’Connell St Lower, Dublin, Ireland Dublin 1
Contacts: See https://www.facebook.com/events/532677070227542/
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Bucharest
When: Thursday 17th December 2015 at 19.00
Where: Piata Universitatii (University Square)
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Brisbane
When: Thurs 17th Dec 17th. 4-6pm
Where: King George Square
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Boston
When: Saturday 19th December 2015 at 1pm
Where: Park Street Station Entrance on the Boston Common
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Crescent
When: Saturday 17th December at 5.30
Where: El Palmo Mexican Restaurant, 224 N. Grand Avenue Crescent, OK 73028
Contact: More here
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Oakland
When: Thursday 17th December 2015 at 5.30
Where: Ballroom 4799 Shattuck Ave. – Oakland
Contact: More here
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Philadelphia
When: Saturday 19th December
Where: Crossroads Women’s Center, PA
Contact: Tel: +1-215-848 1120 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Celebrate Chelsea’s Birthday in Vancouver
When: Saturday 19th December 2pm
Where: Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson St at Howe St, Downtown Vancouver
Contact: More here