Friday, January 17, 2020

The Prisoner’s Herbal by Nicole Rose

Focusing on common plants and do-it-yourself recipes, the thoughtful information shared in The Prisoner’s Herbal by Nicole Rose of Solidarity Apothecary holds so much potential for cross-pollination within and beyond the barbed wire and prison walls that seek to divide us. Writing from personal experience of having been locked up and connecting with plants at many levels, Rose has documented the various ways people may be able to integrate “weeds” from the yard, as well as medicinal fruits, vegetables, and spices into their daily lives while on the inside.

This book is important not only because is it full of information about familiar plants and simple yet powerful remedies made with them, it shares this info in a down-to-earth, accessible way and within the context of truth-telling about colonization and the impact of state violence. Rose writes about remedies for everyday ailments and health concerns such as high blood pressure, infections, and wounds, as well as the stress, trauma, and PTSD that so many experience, especially those living within the dehumanizing environment of prison.

I can see this book – with its beautiful cover of a gorgeous, vibrant dandelion in bloom against a grey concrete wall – and the valuable information contained within it rippling out through cellblocks, recipes shared in the cafeteria, plants recommended back and forth from either side of the tables in the visiting areas. As this book was written with so much care and thought as to what is accessible and possible within the extremely restricted experience of incarceration, it can be translated easily to the outside once folks are released, as it focuses on plants available in the spice section of grocery stores, the medicinal “weeds” thriving in parks and community gardens, and what’s available in convenience stores. The wealth of information held in this book can spread like dandelion seeds, back and forth through phone calls, letters, and visits between those on the inside and those on the outside, as well as through prison abolition organizations and books to prisoner projects.

Integrating herbal medicine such as food, teas, and compresses into our lives has been practiced world-wide since forever. This book makes vital information often withheld from those who are locked up available to everyone. Within a prison system that seeks to deprive people of their freedom, this book supports us in reclaiming our health and healing so that we can connect with and draw strength from the plants around us, and shares with us the empowering knowledge and skills to take care of ourselves and each other.

Please support the Solidarity Apothecary by making a donation and/or buying a copy of the The Prisoner’s Herbal, Overcoming Burnout, or some of Solidarity Apothecary’s gear so that more copies of The Prisoner’s Herbal can reach those on the inside.

Reading "The Prisoner's Herbal" by Nicole Rose of Solidarity Apothecary &
writing cards to U.S. Political Prisoners on these lovely postcards created by 
Chelsea Iris Granger. For more info see my blog post 
"Writing to (Political) Prisoners" with many links. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Plant Ramble for Border Kindness

Plant Ramble for Border Kindness 
with Dana L Woodruff of Dandelioness Herbals
Friday Aug 2nd, 2019  5:30-7pm
Plainfield Farmers Market, on the lawn of the Grace United Methodist Church 
Plainfield, Vermont 

Image may contain: flower, plant, nature and outdoor

Let's TGIF together and get to know (better) the plants all around us in the village.  We'll focus on a few abundant local  "weeds" and the food, medicine, and lessons that they offer. This plant walk will be part super basic plant identification, part storytelling session, and part herbal first aid/wellness class.  We'll share simple recipes for making food and remedies to share with our community and loved ones, and discuss ways that plants support social justice movements near and far.

We'll gather at the Plainfield Farmers Market (on the lawn of the Grace United Methodist Church) at 5:30pm and then we'll make our way over to the Rec Field, visiting plants along the way.  All ages and experience levels welcome. Event is sprinkle or shine (if it's really pouring we'll postpone).  Please RSVP if you can via email: dandelion778 (at) yahoo (dot) com or send a message via Facebook to Dandelioness Herbals.

By donation $1-100+ cash at the plant walk or via Paypal, no one turned away for lack of funds. This event is a fundraiser for Border Kindness.  If anyone would like to contribute to our collective donation w/o attending the plant walk, you can send $ via PayPal to or send me a message.

Border Kindness is an organization based in Mexicali, Mexico, that has been providing 1,500 meals daily, supporting members of the migrant community in intense summer heat, including those that are being deported from the US and left in an unfamiliar area, sometimes without even their shoes."Border Kindness provides migrants, refugees, and the displaced with comprehensive services that include food, shelter, clothing and medical care. Our programs and interventions are designed to identify, protect and nurture the most vulnerable – including women, children, elderly and families. Border Kindness believes everyone should have the opportunity to live free of pain, hunger, intimidation and fear.  We believe everyone is our neighbor." For more info, click here.

We will ramble from the church on flat, paved sidewalk down Mill St to Rec Field Rd. There are no steps to the Rec Field, but there is a medium-steep, unpaved hill down to the field. There is a parking lot with plenty of parking and Port-a-Potty that is not wheelchair-accessible at the Rec Field. Please let me know if you have any questions.Please bring water and whatever else you need in order to be comfortable for our time together (sun, rain, bugs, etc). Plant walk will be in English, with Spanish clarification throughout if anyone would like.Carpooling encouraged, feel free to post on this page to coordinate.   The church is on the GMT/RCA Route 2 Commuter bus between Montpelier and St. Johnsbury for those who would like to arrive via bus from either direction (though the plant ramble will end after the last bus).

For more info, please click here.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Reciprocity and Reparations: Ways to Give Back as Herbalists

Reciprocity and Reparations: Ways to Give Back as Herbalists

For those of us who support community healing and know that dismantling racism is at the very foundation of this, there are many ways that we as herbalists can show up for and support each other. Whether sending first aid supplies to those stopping pipelines, remedies for tear gas exposure and grief to community members affirming that Black Lives Matters, teas and glycerites to free and sliding-scale clinics, salves to the US/Mexican border, or fundraising for people of color-led projects, there are many details we can be attentive to so that our herbal support is truly rooted in solidarity. We’ll explore not only the practical details of coordinating herbal donations, but how we can do so in a way that interrupts the all-too-common ‘white savior’ complex and ego tripping. Deeply exploring our intentions and impacts strengthens our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the plants, so that we can make and share good medicine and be part of cultivating collective healing.

The description above is for a workshop that I'm teaching at the New England Women's Herbal conference August 23–25, 2019.

This page is a space where folks can share resources, thoughts, and questions in the comments below.  The comments are moderated, so your message will not appear immediately, but I will approve it soon as long as it pertains to the topic, is helpful for community dialogue, and isn't racist/victim-blaming/otherwise problematic.  {Sorry for the inconvenience, but it's become necessary due to spam and trolls}  I will be adding resources created for and from this class in the future here on this page.

I am also co-teaching an intensive with Ayo Ngozi and Stephanie MorningstarIntersections Between Herbalism, Health, and Justice: Moving from “Allyship” to “Accompliceship."  I will post a link to the handout here after the conference.

The first resource to be posted here is this important video:
"Freaked out by police? Pissed about ICE? Outraged at gentrification? What should we do? People are overwhelmed, pissed, and scared right now. This video is about how mutual aid projects are a way to plug into helping people and mobilizing for change. Check out the mutual aid toolkit at for more inspiration and information about starting mutual aid projects where you live!"

"If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together." ~ Lilla Watson, Indigenous Australian visual artist, activist, and academic

Monday, November 26, 2018

Support Remedies Without Borders/Remedios Sin Fronteras!

Please help us celebrate the project's 12th anniversary by making a donation!  

Remedies Without Borders/Remedios Sin Fronteras is an herbal medicine-making project supplying humanitarian aid organizations with salves, lip balms, foot powders, and other remedies for those on either side of the human-made US/Mexican border.  Remedies are distributed to those crossing the Sonoran desert, those who have been deported, and those presenting themselves for asylum, as well as long-term volunteers and residents of militarized border communities.

Heal-All Salve/Pomada Curalo Todo on the left, Muscle Rub/
Pomada para Dolor Muscular on the right, with Renée Barry's beautyfull art

The story:::

In 2008 I learned about No More Deaths/ No Más Muertes, a humanitarian aid organization in Arizona providing water, food, and first aid care to those crossing from Mexico into the US through the Sonoran Desert.  I was teaching community herbal medicine-making workshops in Vermont and surrounding areas and after reviewing their needs list I got in touch with them to see if the herbal salves and lip balms we were making would be useful.  They said yes and I sent the first shipment of remedies in 2009.  The project has evolved over the years and now includes muscle rub, antifungal salve, foot powder, aromatherapy sniffers, healing perfumes, and elixirs and sprays for emotional support and energetic protection.  We’ve received really positive feedback about how the remedies have supported those crossing the desert during extremely intense, difficult, and traumatic journeys as well as those providing desert aid support and community organizing in the borderlands.  The remedies are made with much care – from planting calendula and other seeds in the spring, tending and harvesting the plants, transforming them into remedies, creating labels in Spanish with images of healing herbs, bottling and labeling them all, and packing and sending them off to Arizona/Sonora.  Donations of herbs have been shared from many gardens, near and far, as well as beeswax and other supplies.  Remedies have been made collectively at a local college and high schools, herbal gatherings and community workshops, with mentees, and with family and friends - both youth and grownups.  Sometimes we do a mapping activity together where we trace our ancestry, grounding the remedies in a heart-centered place of solidarity.  

In 2015 we received a grant from Herbal Aide.  Having the grant money meant we could buy salve containers in bulk, we could purchase proper and more durable labels, and we were able to send a lot more remedies.  In the winter of 2016/7 I fundraised thru YouCaring and thanks to everyone's generosity, I met my goal.  The majority of funds went towards covering expenses (supplies and shipping), and a portion also went towards funding my first visit to the Sonoran desert.  I wanted to become better acquainted with the people, projects, plants, and land there.  Though I appreciated the many years of email and phone communication, there were certain conversations I felt needed to happen face to face, specifically around remedies to heal sexual trauma.  Being able to visit the desert aid camp and offices, I was able to see how the remedies were being used, how they could be improved, and what other remedies might be needed.  Over the past few years I've connected with the Kino Border Initiative/Iniciative Kino para la Frontera in Nogales, Sonora and I was able to visit their comedor, where those who are preparing to cross the desert and those who have been deported and left in an unfamiliar place with few to no resources can receive clothes, food, and first aid care, as well as call their loved ones.  I was also able to visit their women's shelter, an experience that has inspired remedies for the project (see photos below) as well as a separate herbal project at our local domestic violence shelter in Central Vermont.

Our fundraising goal now is to raise $4000, with the vast majority of this money going towards getting more remedies to the border.  We need more containers for salve, lip balms, foot powder, tinctures and elixirs, etc.  We need to cover postage for multiple shipments.  We need to buy supplies such as alcohol for tinctures and oil for salves.  This year we're also excited to connect with other organizations to explore potential collaborations and we also want to continue supporting those most impacted by racist and xenophobic policies and practices, as well as the caregivers and community members who have been forced to live with checkpoints, racial profiling, and militarization.  A small portion of funds will be put aside for a future visit to the desert to deliver remedies and continue to cultivate relationships with the people and projects receiving and distributing the remedies.  

Please help us grow this project, any amount is much appreciated!

From hand-harvested herbs infused in oil to Heal-All Salve.

DONATIONS can be made 4 ways:::  
2. PayPal to Please include a note that the money is for Remedios Sin Fronteras/Remedies Without Borders
3. Check made out to Dana L Woodruff (please email for mailing address)
4. Cash given in person  

 Healing perfumes inspired by the visit to the women's shelter in Nogales, Sonora.  Made with herb-infused oils, homemade flower essences, essential oils, and gemstone powders.

Feel free to share this link with others who love plants, herbal remedies, im/migrant justice, collective liberation, and healing justice.  Thank you so much!  

Tracing our ancestries activity, exploring immigration past and present.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

How To Support Families at the Border and Abolish ICE!

Friends have been in touch recently, moved by the horrific family separations at the US/Mexican border, to see how they can support the children and families being traumatized by this new policy. This current situation – whether it’s family separation or family detention – is inhumane and inexcusable. And also U.S. immigration policy and practice has been a complete nightmare for a long time. Mass detention and deportations, sexual abuse and death at the hands of those “just doing their job” at the border and in detention facilities, corporations profiting off of putting people in cages and politicians pushing to build more facilities and fill every bed. Border patrol destroying life-saving humanitarian aid supplies like water placed in the desert by volunteers, some of whom are facing federal charges for working to ease suffering and prevent deaths that are very much intentionally orchestrated by government policy. And on and on… Many are feeling a sense of urgency and it’s important to gather that collective energy and channel it into action. Also, the situation is ongoing – it’s not a matter of changing one policy or making the system a tiny bit less horrible. Immediate change is important, and also we need *sustained collective action*

When folks ask what they can do now, my first thought is *Support the Groups That Have Been Doing This Work* There are organizations all over that are doing crucial work, both locally and beyond borders: Gathering community support thru letters and petitions and raising bail money to get neighbors and loved ones out of detention, providing legal advocacy and translation, organizing to become sanctuary communities and for Fair and Impartial Policing Policies that stop local and state law enforcement from working with and as federal immigration agents, rallying to get trans people out of detention where they are particularly vulnerable, doing humanitarian aid work and search and rescue missions in the borderlands, border communities resisting checkpoints and working to end militarization and harassment, and on and on. People are coming together to raise awareness and co-create brilliant strategies of community response to what’s happening locally and beyond. Whatever added crises that the powers-that-be cause on top of the everyday crises impacts all these groups and their efforts.

I’m listing some ways that people can support ongoing justice work. Please add more suggestions, resources, and events in the comments! Thank you.

First Day of No School Rally: Stopping Family Separation Now Rally, Mon June 25th 6-7:30pm, Vermont State House. 
Families Belong Together Rally, Sat June 30th In D.C. and around the country 

It can be really difficult to understand the many layers of policies and lived experiences and constant changes with immigration. There are many people and groups raising awareness about immigration policy, “prevention through deterrence” strategies, and mass detention and deportation thru a historical lens challenging racism and xenophobia. Some news sources to check out are Democracy Now! and AJ+/Al Jazeera. You can follow organizers and artists such as Alan Pelaez and Jennicet Eva Gutiérrez who are making connections between anti-black racism and xenophobia, transphobia and the criminalization of migration, and organizations such as No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, Mijente, Puente Human Rights Movement, Mariposas Sin Fronteras, Kino Border Initiative / Iniciativa Kino para la Frontera, and We Belong Together.

There are community organizations all over who are doing the important daily work of addressing the root causes of im/migration, mass detention, and deportation. Groups are resisting racial profiling and the targeting of immigrant communities, changing policy at the local, state, and national level, challenging white supremacy in our schools and creating/defending ethnic studies curriculum, and working in coalition with other organizations working for racial justice, trans liberation, indigenous rights, reproductive justice, disability justice, and more. What are you most drawn to? You can connect with groups in your local area, and you can also find groups that may be geographically far from you but that are in alignment with your values and resonate with what you are most passionate about. 

There are many ways to be involved. You can spread the word about events, write letters to the editor, provide transportation or food for events, get organizations you’re already connected with (your union, faith organization, craft group) to support grassroots community organizations. Attend events and panels organized by (or that at least include!) people of color-led organizations. Listen to what they are asking for in terms of support and help provide resources that are requested. You and/or organizations you’re connected with can become a sustaining member of a grassroots group, giving a monthly donation so that groups can focus less on fundraising and more on campaigns and long-term vision. With time, as you continue to show up and cultivate relationships based on solidarity, other ways of giving support may reveal themselves. 

Team up with others to understand how ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) is impacting YOUR community. Who is ICE targeting in your area? How are people responding and organizing? How are people holding your local and state law enforcement accountable and ending racial profiling and collusion with immigration officials? Who is addressing systemic racism and xenophobia? In Vermont, you can support Migrant Justice / Justicia Migrante and Justice For All by showing up to rallies, joining them at the Statehouse to support important legislation, donating money or helping to organize a fundraiser. Following their Facebook pages and signing up on their email lists will help keep you in the loop. If you don’t know of any human rights/immigrant rights groups in your area, you can check out the ACLU in your region to see what projects they’re working on and who they’re collaborating with. And speak with your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers! Wherever you live, surely there are others around you who are outraged by all that is happening and teaming up can help support our collective mental and emotional health. It also builds courage so that we can speak out against racism and xenophobia whenever and wherever we encounter it. 

Simply reading the news, let alone directly being impacted by immigration policies and actively working for justice, can be heartbreaking. It’s important to take care of ourselves and each other however we can. The most basics of self-care/survival can easily fall by the wayside when we are feeling so much. Constantly facing dehumanizing words, images, and policies can take a toll on our health at many levels. We can support each other to stay hydrated, get some sleep, get some movement (physical, emotional, etc), eat (nourishing foods are great, and so are comfort foods or whatever we can eat/afford), take our herbs/medications and get to health appointments, share time together and/or have time for solitude, get outside or visit a garden or look at beautyfull images of flowers and trees, whatever we need to do.
You can also check out this In Case of (emotional) Emergency form  

Longer lists of groups to support here

For those who love plants and herbal remedies: For the past 10+ years I’ve made herbal remedies for those crossing the Sonoran Desert and those providing humanitarian aid in Sonora, Mexico and Arizona. If anyone would like to make a donation towards this project, I have left this fundraiser active here

Message from Free the Children Coalition “A lot of people are feeling helpless regarding the kidnapping of children and their internment. It seems that people are feeling the desperate situation requires desperate measures, and they are right. But PLEASE keep in mind the potential harm to those you are trying to help with measures that can cause unintended consequences for the vulnerable children and the immigrant community. Check your privilege. Shutting down an ICE facility, taking over a Congressional Office, demanding statements, identifying those who are profiting from these centers are all good options….” More here 

Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border: Lawyers, translators, donations, protest. (article) "The best way to stop the horrific separation of children from their families at the border is to pay attention to what is happening to their parents…(who) are being criminally prosecuted, facing up to 20 years in prison for simply migrating. It is this criminal prosecution for “illegal entry” and “re-entry” by the Department of Justice that allows for the government to take children away, put them in cages, or send them to live with complete strangers, while their parents sit in private prisons.” 

The Racist History of Illegal Immigration (video – graphic images) here

…Please list more resources and organizations in the comments!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul: upcoming 2-part workshop

upcoming 2-part workshop:

***Nourishing our Nervous Systems for the Long Haul***
with Dana L Woodruff of Dandelioness Herbals

even busy bees need to rest

Feeling frazzled? Drained? Burnt out? Let’s carve out some time together to replenish and rejuvenate in this 2-part work/playshop. We will explore ways to nourish our nervous systems by drawing on simple self-care practices and medicine-making with common abundant herbs that grow here to support ourselves, our loved ones, and communities. In both sessions we’ll make calming remedies collectively both to bring home and to share with community based organizations.

This is a hands-on class with lots of show (& taste) and tell and learning directly from the plants and each other. We will focus on practical ways that we can integrate relaxing herbs both internally and externally into our everyday lives. While created with caregivers, gardeners, and community organizers in mind, all experience levels and backgrounds are welcome.

This 2-part workshop takes place Friday Oct 27 and Friday Nov 10 5:30-7:30pm in Plainfield, VT.

Space is limited, please reserve your spot soon by emailing

Accessibility: There are 3 steps in front of the building and 4 steps inside, with a rail at both set of stairs. The bathroom is quite small, an accessible bathroom with a ramp is available next door. The event is held in a public space and cannot be assured to be scent-free. Scents: We will be using essential oils (unless someone is not able to be around them, please be in touch if scent is a concern and participants will be contacted and asked to refrain from wearing fragrances). Transportation: Location is in Plainfield along the Route 2 Commuter bus route. Start time accommodates arriving via bus, but misses the last buses both east and west. Carpool encouraged. Ages: To create as relaxing an environment as we can, this workshop is for adults and teens/pre-teens that want to participate. No childcare provided unfortunately. Language: Workshop will be in English, with Spanish clarification throughout if anyone would like. Please be in touch with any accessibility questions or concerns.

The 2-week series is $30-100 sliding scale ($15-50 per class including materials fee, according to what you are able to pay). If you’re interested in participating, but the cost is out of reach, please be in touch.

Facebook event page here.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Support and Collective Healing for US Political Prisoner Herman Bell

Update!:  Herman Bell is now in general population! He was told that the charges will be dropped! Visit Free Herman Bell for more information on how to best support him.

From Herman (written earlier) with many thanks for all of our efforts:

September 27, 2017

My dear brothers and sisters,

Thank you for the outpouring of cards, letters, healing-love and energy that you sent me in response to the unprovoked brutal assault on me by NYS prison guards at Comstock, NY – a vicious slap aside the head from behind and shoved to the ground. I protected myself as best as I could. I sustained multiple kicks, punches to the face and eyes, repeated head slams into concrete, and 2 cracked ribs. They tried to bury me with raining blows, not knowing that I am a seed. But the burning pepper spray sprayed into my eyes and mouth is what did me in – and yet, here I am.

Now I know why visitors bring flowers and candy to the hospital. I was immediately sent, however, not to a hospital but to the Box for “assault on staff,” so the cards and letters and love you sent me were my flowers and candy. You did great!

I was astonished, not by the outpouring of your support, but by the enormity of it.

People are coming together and are standing up. They are finding that they are not entitled to the rights and freedoms they think they have as americans. Instead of the consideration americans – many of them voters – deserve, they are ignored by authoritarian and elected officials.

They lack healthcare, suffer from unrestrained police violence, mass incarceration, lack a living wage, experience poverty and homelessness, and suffer from a toxic environment. People are standing up against these injustices, insisting that their demands be respected and addressed.

The social injustice, jackboot repression, racist attacks, discrimination, wealth disparities, unemployment, lack of affordable housing (the list doesn’t just end there), creates waves of fierce discontent which ls gaining steady momentum, becoming a full-blown cleansing tsunami, the force of which is irresistible.

And that force is you, the People, coming together and taking a stand. My flowers and candy is your outpouring of support for me, our political prisoners, the mass incarcerated and the voiceless.

To write each of you (I’ve literally received hundreds of letters) a personal “thank you” at this time would be impossible. So, I send this “thank you!” instead.

Thank you! I thank you deeply one and all for the empathy, outrage, love and support you’ve expressed in the face of the assault on me. May our resolve to produce social change remain unshakeable.

Herman Bell
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589
(most updated addresses for U.S. Political Prisoners, with birthdays, posted here)

Some of you may know Herman Bell, who is a US Political Prisoner, former Black Panther, movement elder, Victory Gardens Project co-founder, Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar co-creator, father, grandfather, husband, and mentor to many both on the inside and the outside.  How is Herman connected with herbs and herbal justice?  In the 15 years since I was a volunteer at the Victory Gardens Project, near my hometown in Maine, Herman and I have corresponded.  He is a friend and mentor to me.  The Radherb Collective, which I was a part of for many years, took inspiration from the Victory Gardens Project.  Over the years, though our letters and face-to-face visits, Herman has helped shape who I am as an herbalist, how I make remedies, and my understanding of the the way herbs and social justice are completely entwined.  

Herman is 69 years old, has been incarcerated for 43 years and has been denied parole 7 times.  On Sept 5th Herman was assaulted by a group of officers at Great Meadow Correctional Facility.  He was singled out, brought to an area away from all the other inmates to where there is no video surveillance, and guards began beating him.  The account is personally really difficult for me to read, and the thought that he could have died in the attack is beyond upsetting.  He did survive the attack.  He was then taken to the infirmary where he waited for hours and did not receive adequate medical care for the beating he had just endured.  He had the medical staff note that there were no abrasions on his hands or any other indication that he assaulted a guard.  He was transferred to another facility hours away where he has been held in solitary, continues to be denied medical care for the head trauma and other injuries inflicted on him by the guards, and he is also facing the serious charge of assaulting an officer.  He continues to experience headaches, his vision is affected from being maced at close range, and two ribs were broken in the attack.

Anyone who knows Herman knows he did not assault an officer.  Herman is an elder who has not had an infraction for over 20 years (when he participated in a strike over inmate conditions), he was only days away from finally having a family visit (which he'd been denied without justification for over two and half years), and he has been preparing for his next parole hearing in early 2018.

Immediate action is needed

1.  We need to flood the Commissioner with messages of support demanding that Herman receive medical attention, be removed from solitary, have the charges against him dropped, have access to family visits, and that the officers who attacked him be fired.  You can simply cut and past the sample letter here, or add your own personal message.  Here is a pdf of the letter that you can print out, sign/address/date, and send.  If you are able, please print out extra copies for friends and family to also sign and send in.  Also, if you are able, please send this same letter to: Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of New York State, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224.

2.  Please take a few minutes to send an email to the Commissioner and Governor.  (Sample email below)

3.  People are also encouraged to write to Herman to show support.  (Address below)

4.  Please spread the word!!!  If you have other organizations that you are connected with, please share this message with them and encourage friends and family to send letters as well.  This information can be found online here.

Here is a sample email that you can simply cut and paste:


Anthony Annucci
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
(518) 457-8134

Cc: Governor Andrew Cuomo
(212) 257-6405

Dear Commissioner Annucci (Governor Cuomo):

I am writing in concern and outrage over the unprovoked beating by Great Meadow C.F. correctional officers of Herman Bell, #79C0262.
On September 5th, with no provocation, five or six correctional officers assaulted this widely respected elder. These guards punched and kicked Mr. Bell all over his body while he was on the ground. He was kneed in the chest and stomach, breaking two of his ribs. One guard then grabbed his head and slammed it into the ground three times, at which point Mr. Bell thought his life would be ending. He was excessively maced at close range all over his face and eyes, causing temporarily blindness and inability to breathe.

Mr. Bell is accused of assaulting one of the officers. This charge is absurd. The assault on Herman Bell is part of an epidemic of violence by NYS prison guards against the incarcerated population--an epidemic documented by the New York Times and other journalists, as well as by criminal justice agencies.

The idea that this 69-year-old man would have hit an officer is ludicrous, as he was about to have a family visit (the first in two and a half years) and was beginning preparations for an appearance at the Board of Parole this coming February. Mr. Bell was looking forward to the family visit with great anticipation, and he is optimistic about his chances at the Board, given recent changes in parole regulations and the appointment of new commissioners. There is absolutely no doubt that he did not commit any infraction on September 5th; he also has not had a ticket in the past 20 years. Mr. Bell has been imprisoned in the NY State system for over 38 years and has never been accused of assaulting staff.

This brutal assault by Great Meadow guards constitutes not only staff abuse but also elder abuse. Mr. Bell will be 70 years of age in four months. He was badly injured in the beating. Mr. Bell requires both a CT scan of his head and an ophthalmology examination.
I write to demand that you take these actions:

That Herman Bell be immediately given adequate medical screening and attention at an outside hospital;

That CO J. Saunders and the other officers responsible for the beating be fired;

That the ridiculous charges brought against Herman Bell be dropped immediately and that he be returned at least to general population (he 
had been on the Honor Block at Great Meadow and despite his request was never given a reason for being moved to general population);

That Mr. Bell’s family visits be reinstated;

That Mr. Bell be moved to a facility where his family visiting can take place and be rescheduled at the earliest possible date.


More info about the assault and a longer sample letter (which points out that the attack is a form of elder abuse) to print out and send to the Commissioner available here.


Herman's new address:::

Herman Bell
​Shawangunk Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 700
Wallkill, New York 12589

(most updated addresses for U.S. Political Prisoners, with birthdays, posted here)


For anyone reading this during the weekend of Sept 23-24, feel free to join us in the Collective Healing for Herman Bell from wherever you are.  People are gathering together from across Turtle Island/the US, Lebanon, Ireland, and possibly beyond to send Herman healing energy to heal and strengthen his body and spirit. Emails and letters to the Commissioner and Governor are vital.  Sending Herman our love in this collective way is another that we can manifest our support and solidarity.

For those in Central Vermont, there will be a Letter Writing Event to Support Herman Bell on Sunday Oct 29, 2017 from 2-4pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, 64 State St, Montpelier, VT.  More info to come.

at the park sitting with the oak trees to draw strength to send to herman. 
with protective and healing herbs. yarrow, calendula, & plantain. and healing waters.

For more information and updates:

Denied Family Visits: Bell’s daughter-in-law, kihana miraya ross, reflects on how vital visits are for both Bell and their family

The Scourge of Racial Bias in New York State’s Prisons: A New York Times investigation draws on nearly 60,000 disciplinary cases from state prisons and interviews with inmates to explore the system’s inequities and the ripple effect they can have. 

Video of Herman and his family here

Jericho Movement working for the freedom of all political prisoners

The Freedom Archives 12,000 hours of audio and video recordings and thousands of documents about social justice movements locally, nationally, and internationally from the 1960s to the present. The Archives features speeches of movement leaders and community activists, protests and demonstrations, cultural currents of rebellion and resistance.

Video of Herman and his family here