I’m writing to many of the people I have met through volunteering at San Quentin. This is a funding request and I know you have had many such in the last month so I understand, you have to choose your priorities. Please take the time to look at the attached appeal just to get a sense of the situation and give something if you can.
My former Berkeley High student and friend, Chris Hollis, has been in California prisons – currently at Salinas Valley Prison – for the last 15 years. He went in for shooting (accidentally) his good friend Meleia Willis-Starbuck – also a student of mine. So many of us were devastated by the loss of Meleia and the pain of that tragedy continues. The story is too horrible and too tragic to recount in full. I actually wrote a book prompted by the terrible experience (An Empty Seat in Class: Learning and Teaching after the Death of a Student).
While I join everyone else in the story in believing Chris screwed up badly, I also feel responsibility to him – for him to get a chance to repair the harm, to bring good into the world. I have visited him (not often but about once a year) and sent books. We did a “victim-offender dialogue” with Meleia’s family.
Chris will soon be going in front of the parole board where he hopes to be finally given his freedom. And yes Meleia’s parents will be there, via Skype, to support his release on parole.
He needs your help to pay for an excellent lawyer, Charles Carbone, who is a well-known specialist in parole process. He will start in May to prepare Chris and his supporters to present their case and bring him home.
Please read more on this case in the link below and donate generously – any amount helps. And please share.
In love and solidarity,