Bernardine and I spent yesterday with our dear friend and brother—and the co-padre of our youngest son, Chesa—David Gilbert. David was a founder and early leader of the SDS chapter at Columbia University, and we talked, naturally, about the 50th anniversary of the historic rebellion there. We shared a zillion stories and memories, celebrated the sweetness and brilliance of our kids, and looked forward to more.
That’s always bittersweet, and often quite difficult, because David is in his 37th year behind bars, serving a 75 years (minimum time inside) to natural life in New York state prison. Thirty seven years in a cage; 37 years with inadequate and spotty health care; 37 years without proper food or exercise or intimate human connections.
David is now 73 years old (2 months older than I am!) and incarcerated—I repeat—for 37 years.
Think about that: 73/37…37/73.
David is healthy and well, as astute an observer of the current scene (white supremacy, Black Lives Matter, Trump and impending fascism, the threat of expanding war, Undocumented and Unafraid, #MeToo, the youth uprising) as anyone we know, and, as always, upbeat, encouraging, and inspirational.
You cannot send books or food or packages, but if you have a moment you might write to David, or even plan a visit—he is 15-20 minutes from the Buffalo airport:
Wende Correctional Facility
3040 Wende Rd
P.O. Box 618
Alden, NY 14004-1187.
You have to use the full address, and the envelope must have a full return address.