Letters from Damien

Damien Echols, August 19th, 2011

To all my friends and family, my attorneys and advocates, and to those of you from every corner of this earth who have stood beside us these long years, please know that I will forever be indebted to all of you for helping me to become a free man. Each and every day I was the beneficiary of acts of kindness and humanity from people of all walks of life, of all ages, nationalities, religions and political persuasions. The enormity of the support Lorri and I received throughout this struggle is humbling.

I have now spent half my life on death row. It is a torturous environment that no human being should have to endure, and it needed to end. I am innocent, as are Jason and Jessie, but I made this decision because I did not want to spend another day of my life behind those bars. I want to live and to continue to fight for our innocence. Sometimes justice is neither pretty nor is it perfect, but it was important to take this opportunity to be free.

I am not alone as there are tens of thousand of men and woman in this country who have been wrongfully convicted, forced into a false confession, sentenced to death or a lifetime in prison. I am hopeful that one day they too will be able stand with their friends and family to declare their innocence.

This whole experience has taught me much about life, human nature, American justice, survival and transcendence.

I will hopefully take those lessons with me as I embark on the next chapter in my journey and along the way look forward to enjoying some of those simple things in life like spending Christmastime, Halloween and my birthday with those I love.


From Jason Baldwin

Good morning, everybody! I want to say that this is the most joyous experience: learning to live, to love, and to soar higher than any past expectations. We live in a world where sometimes living is not about loving. However, all of you have shown me that the parts of the world you inhabit are about loving.

What happened to me happened without my consent. What all of you have done, you chose to do. You chose to step in and eliminate some of the darkness in this world. I find you all to be heroes, and I am glad to call you all my friends.

These new days have been a blur, full of hard-won and much-deserved fun, revelry and just getting to know one another and ourselves. I've probably said this countless times these past few days, but I've felt like a dandelion seed in the wind--pulled from one friend's arms to the next, to dance to the sweet tune of freedom. It's a beautiful sound.

Love and libre!
Jason Baldwin


From Holly Ballard

As this new reality starts to sink in, I have been thinking often and much about how to express my gratitude. For the extraordinary outpouring of love and support over these last couple of days; for all the kind thoughts, offers and gifts that have come our way; for the 18 years of unwavering belief in these men's innocence...there are no words.

After all I have seen and experienced this week, I am convinced that the entire universe has conspired to make 8/19/11 possible, and that includes each and every one of you. I wish that I had the capacity to respond to each and every one of your sweet messages, but the truth is I am as overwhelmed as I am overjoyed. (On a practical note, I have temporarily disabled my Facebook account because I just can't keep up!)

This journey is far from over, and I assure you that we can all feel your positive energy radiating wherever we are. So until we meet again, friends, be kind to one another and cling to the goodness that surrounds you. Be here now.

Love,
Holly Ballard

 

Dear Friends,

      I have an idea that you may be interested in. There's simply no way that I can correspond with everyone, it's not physically possible. It takes me an average of four hours to write a single letter, if it's to contain anything of meaning or value. It I did nothing but dedicate every waking moment to writing letters I'd still only be able to complete three a day. I don't want people to think their letters to me are wasted time, or that I don't appreciate them, because that is not the case. I love receiving your letters. I look forward to them every single day. So, my idea is this - what if I were to respond this way? You could ask questions, propose topics, or tell me stories, and I could respond through Brent. We could make it an on-going project.

Read more...

   

August 1, 2011

      The harvest season has finally arrived. Today marks its opening. Our next stop on the wheel of the year will be the autumn equinox. I’ve always seen the opening of the harvest as a kind of stairway we walk down to reach the dark and magickal part of the year where all the good things await. The cool, comforting energy that feels more like home than any place can. Today is the landing at the top of the stairs. All we have to do is put one foot before the other, and before you know it, we’ll be watching “The Great Pumpkin” again. And then . . . the hearing in December. If you come to the hearing, we’ll be celebrating my 37th birthday together. That will be exciting, won’t it? It will be my 19th birthday in prison.

Read more: August 1, 2011

   

July 27th, 2011

      Lately I’ve been a little irritable. Cranky. It stems from the discontent I feel with my current surroundings. Sometimes I just get tired of being surrounded by people who have no magick in them. It’s draining.

Read more: July 27th, 2011

   

July 25th, 2011

      Exactly one week from today it will be Lammas—the beginning of the harvest season. August 1st. A good way to celebrate Lammas is by crumbling gingerbread men and scattering them for the birds to eat. The gingerbread man represents the sun, and he “dies” at harvest time so that he can be reborn at the solstice. I adore the harvest season and all its symbolism—scarecrows, crows, hay, and pumpkins, etc. I also feel relief when it arrives because it means the hot, miserable part of the year is ending. Soon the frost will begin creeping in.

Read more: July 25th, 2011

   

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