My name is Kelsey Erickson and I am originally from Carlisle, Massachusetts but I consider Ithaca home.
I realize that it is a great privilege for me to be able to decide to go to jail. Many people do not have that choice. In modern day America, there are more people of color incarcerated than there were slaves. That is an extremely unsettling and shameful truth. And many more, like Michael Brown are unjustifiably murdered at the hands of policemen. My act of going to jail for this short period does not even scrape the surface of the unbearable conditions that African Americans are subject to.
On my way back from a protest at Cove Point I attended a Ferguson teach-in in Baltimore and was especially moved by what Reverend Heber said. He said that we cannot change the fact that we have privilege, but we can chose to use it responsibly. I believe that by doing jail time, I am showing my commitment to exercise my privilege responsibly. I am voluntarily giving up my freedom to demonstrate the abuses of privilege that are happening all across the country. Abuse of police who arrest and kill innocent people. Abuse of employers who refuse to hire or pay minimum wage to people of color. And the abuse of mega-industries like Crestwood that the audacity to invade a community, condemn their health and safety, ignore the suffering of fracked communities in Pennsylvania all so they can maximize their profits.
I am voluntarily giving up my freedom to reveal the severe injustices that industries like Crestwood but I stand in solidarity with Michael Brown and countless others like him who have been unlawfully murdered by a corrupt and racist police force. Furthermore to show my solidarity with the Pennsylvania communities that have lost their livelihoods to the fracking industry and for those who have lost their voices due to gag orders, I will be fasting and holding silence for the duration of my jail sentence.