Chelsea Manning Talk

I attended Chelsea Manning’s talk on Monday night, and what stood out to me most throughout the entire event was her incredible resilience. Manning explained that at one point she was in solitary confinement for almost a year straight. I could not comprehend how she could have psychologically survived that experience, since isolation, even for a short period of time, is one of the worst kinds of torture. Not only did she survive this experience, along with other extremely difficult experiences such as homelessness, but she seems to have found a community and hobbies that bring her real joy and support. I do not think this should be taken as a feel-good story, since no human being should have to experience what she went through, but it did make me realize how incredibly strong she must be to create a meaningful life for herself after all that has happened.

Chelsea Manning’s description of life in prison forced me to question many of the stereotypes that are enforced in media. She spoke of a real community in prison, with inmates who would look out for each other and even break rules to give each other supplies they needed. She also said the most dangerous and violent people in prisons were always the people working there. While it did not surprise me that the people working in prisons abused their power, I had always assumed there would be lots of danger and violence coming from fellow inmates as well. I got this idea from TV shows like Orange Is the New Black. This stereotype probably makes it more difficult for formerly incarcerated people to find jobs and does not reflect the experience Manning spoke about. Manning even mentioned that she did not have a bad experience being transgender in prison and that many of the other inmates were just happy that she and her lawyers had “gotten one over” on the prison system by getting her access to hormones.

I was deeply moved by Chelsea Manning’s talk. The criminal justice system and prison abolition are issues I hope to be able to learn more about through an intersectional lens with Gender and Sexuality Studies.

5 thoughts on “Chelsea Manning Talk

  1. Thanks Claire for this summary! I’m very upset that I had to work during this talk, so I’m glad you posted about it and I got to learn a bit about her perspective.

  2. After reading your summary, I’m dissapointed that I wasn’t present. The prison system in America as it stands is filled with corruption and is in desperate need of reform.

  3. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Chelsea Manning talk. I also went to the talk and found the community she described to be nothing like the portrayals seen in TV shows, which greatly influenced my perception of prison life. I really liked how Manning connected this community to how she views the potential for intersectionality in activism work.

  4. Thanks for providing a great insight on how she was successful in creating a meaningful life for herself despite all the sufferings she went through. The issue of stereotypes enforced in media is an important aspect to consider. We often fail to realize the understanding the true nature of something if we don’t dig in in details . Such experience present in this article is a proof. Really liked how you connected this in relation to intersectionality in activism work.

  5. I liked reading your analysis. Unfortnately, I was unable to attend the Chelsea Manning talk. She is such a resilient person, and it is incredible that Davidson was able to provide us with the opportunity to hear her speak. I cannot even imagine what she went through in prison. It is powerful that you mentioned her saying that the most dangerous people were the ones working there. Although not surprising, it is just horrifying the ways that prisons abuse people.

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