A SHOUT OUT TO ASMODEE GAMES
The power of a letter often goes beyond the words it contains. A letter can bring joy or tears. It can raise your voice. It can draw attention to, for good or for ill, a cause or issue. It was the letters I’ve written that drew attention to my wrongful conviction, but also my ability to write as a useful skill. What started as a means of coping with my captivity & reaching out for help has slowly developed into something bigger. The study of the law. Becoming a contributing writer & a level of political activism I’d never considered pursuing before. All of it started with a letter.
In June of 2022 I wrote a letter. Actually I wrote eight letters to eight different gaming companies, Asmodee among them. I had hoped to impose upon their good nature of their humanity, as well as their marketing savvy, to solicit donations in the form of new games. The VA DOC is not known for its focus on reformation or rehabilitation & certainly not for its support for justice & truth. The VA DOC has one purpose: to generate profits by holding human beings captive. To that end it regularly skews or misrepresents statistical data & cuts every corner it can find to cut, including food & medical care. So it should come as no surprise to find that the apportioned budget for prisoner entertainment is paltry at best & too often not spent on prisoner entertainment purposes.
So I sent these eight letters, as much as a break from fighting my case, & the system, as anything else. After all, all politics & activism makes Jack a dull boy. A couple of weeks ago, in September, approximately two months after I sent my letters there was a response. One of the administrators, Chief of Housing & Programs (CHaP) Mr.Kinser, tells me one of the companies I wrote sent a response. Two games, 12 copies of each game — Two for each pod on the compound. Not so small a response by my standards. I sent seven more letters to the companies who did not respond.
People will tell you, as they have told me over & again, that changes will not happen, no matter how many letters you write. I write over 2000 letters each year, 40 + stamps per week. I’ve gained regular pen pals. I’ve been invited to become a contributing writer, & to submit my writing to numerous publications. I have recently found a way to get my case back before the courts. & I convinced a gaming company to help us by providing just a little bit of light to those of us in the depths of the shadow….All of it through the power of a simple letter.
David Annarelli is a father, musician, activist & political prisoner. Among those who print his writing he is a contributing writer at Prison Journalism Project.