“Do you remember the 21st night of September? Love was changing the mind of pretenders. While chasing the clouds away.” -Earth Wind & Fire
It wasn’t quite the 21st night, but on September 24th love filled the 8th floor of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Mrs. Martha Wright holds the hand of her grandson, Ulandis Forte, as she sits across from officials at the FCC telling them a story of a grandmother who simply wanted her grandson to come home. She understood what so many families of prisoners know too well, it’s imperative to stay connected but that connection comes at a heavy price. Following an advanced screening of the film Middle of Nowhere, FCC officials hear from Mrs. Martha Wright and other families deliver testimony on how phone calls from prison were both a necessity and luxury.
“He’d call saying ‘we won’t talk but a minute’ but he had three kids to talk to, and me. Three kids plus Mom? Ten minutes goes fast, and we could barely afford that.” – Mrs. Viola Richardson
September was a month to remember in the Campaign for Prison Phone Justice. Here are some of the highlights followed by a news roundup.
9/4-Civil Rights organizations and the Media Action Grassroots Network meet with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to urge action on the Wright Petition before Thanksgiving.
9/11-Chairman Genachowski holds a Twitter Chat and responds to a question about prison phones.
9/21-The Consumer Advisory Committee at the FCC passes a resolution in support of the Wright Petition.
9/24-The FCC hosts an advanced screening of the film Middle of Nowhere followed by testimony from Mrs. Martha Wright and other families impacted by the expensive phone calls.
09/25-New Mexico Public Regulatory Commission passes a resolution supporting the passage of the Wright Petition.
9/26-The Campaign for Prison Phone Justice leads a delegation to meet with Congressman Keith Ellison in Minneapolis. The delegation secures a letter from Congressman Keith Ellison to Chairman Genachowski urging action now.
What to watch for in October?
The release of the film Middle of Nowhere, which is supporting the campaign by gathering signatures for an online petition urging the FCC to pass the Wright Petition. Check out the list below for the date, city, and location nearest you.
Opening on Friday October 12th
New York-AMC Empire 25, 236 West 42nd Street New York, NY 10036
Los Angeles-Rave 18, 6081 Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90045
Philadelphia-UA Riverview, 1400 South Christopher Columbus Blvd, Philadephia, PA 19147
Atlanta-Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
Washington D.C.-Regal Gallery Place, 701 7th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Opening on Friday October 19th
Chicago-AMC River East 21, 322 East Illinois Street, Chicago, IL 60611
Miami-AMC Aventura 24, 19501 Biscayne Blvd, Aventura, FL 33180
Detroit-AMC Southfield 20, 25333 West 12 Mile Road, Southfield, MI 48034
Bay Area-Landmark Shattuck, 2230 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94704
Seattle-AMC Southcenter 16, 3600 Southcenter Mall, Tukwila, WA 98188
Houston-AMC Studio 30, 2949 Dunvale Road, Houston, TX 77063
Cherry Hill-AMC Loews Cherry Hill 24, 2121 New Jersey 38, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002