12 February 2016

Remarks by Hugo Pinell’s Daughter

(Class-Struggle Defense Notes)

Following are excerpts from a presentation given by Allegra Taylor, daughter of Hugo Pinell, at the Bay Area event on January 31.

Why are we here and why is it important? The difference that the PDC makes in the lives of prisoners is so profound and it touches deep and long. The stipend that appears to be something that is so minor, it really takes them further. And then they have things they can do and share with their family as a result of the support they are getting here.

So this would have been my dad’s 29th year, had he still been here with us, of being a recipient of PDC stipends. One time I asked my dad, “What do you do with your stipend money?” He said, “Oh honey, you know those nice cards and stuff that you get, sometimes I get cards with them. Sometimes I buy snacks and share them with the other prisoners. And sometimes I just leave it sit there for a big order.” I guess they get to order once or twice a year....

When prisoners don’t have family members or somebody who’s there to support them, it makes serving their time that much more difficult. It hardens their heart against people because of their loneliness and feeling like nobody cares. I often wonder how did my dad manage to live almost 46 years in solitary confinement. October of the year that they killed him—it would have been 46 years.

The impact that we make on prisoners by reaching out to them: by sending a card; putting money on their books; if you can visit, visiting even if it’s once a quarter or once a year. That one visit makes a big difference.

My dad fought for prisoners’ rights because of what he experienced firsthand and what he witnessed with his own eyes. The assassination of my dad was deeper than we can all even think, but the one thing I feel deeply in my heart is that they never wanted one Hugo Pinell to experience a “win.” With all the political things going on now around the prison system, the last thing that they wanted to see was one Hugo Pinell walking around in general population and there being peace on the yard....

Ever since my dad’s murder, I have been trying to figure out where I go from here and how do we pick the pieces and what needs to be done still. Sometimes I just want to lie down and just say: “Forget it.” And then I remember the fight. And then I remember the years, all the years that my grandmother waited for him to come home. And when he was almost there, they took that from her.

I’m going to continue my dad’s work. It’s delicate right now because of the situation at hand. There is going to be a trial soon. There’s going to be an arraignment in March. But I made up my mind. Prisoners’ lives matter and they might not matter to the people that they offended, hurt, stole from—but they matter. And they have families. And they’re not just a prisoner. We as a people come together on one accord to support somebody that people look at as less than, or nothing, or useless, or throwaways—just a criminal. Those same people are somebody’s dad, somebody’s son, brother, sister.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1083, 12 February 2016)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.