As I mentioned in this week's Bird column, a group of Phoenix advocates and activists have banded together to hold a memorial service for Marcia Powell, the 48-year-old woman who died last week at Perryville Prison after being left in a human cage for at least four hours in the blazing Arizona sun. According to Middle Ground Prison Reform's Donna Hamm and criminal defense advocate Jameson Johnson, the service will take place at Encanto Community Church, 2710 North 7th Avenue, Phoenix, on this Saturday, May 30, beginning at noon.
Pastor Liana Rowe will preside over the service, and Donna Hamm will speak on the issues surrounding the case. Hamm also indicated that Charles Ryan, Interim Director of the Arizona Department of Corrections has informed her that he wishes to pay his respects. If he shows up, that alone will be worth attending for, if you ask me, as Ryan is the guy who gave the order to discontinue Powell's life support after she was transported to the hospital.
Those involved, including members of the local Quaker community, are accepting donations to defray the cost of cremating Powell's remains. Donations can be mailed to Middle Ground Prison Reform, at the address on its Web site at middlegroundprisonreform.org. Donations should be marked with the note "For Marcia Powell."
Asked why he felt a service like this was necessary, Johnson said he believed it was the right thing to do.
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"She was marginalized her entire life," explained Johnson, who said he never met the woman and knew her through news reports. "I just want to give this woman a little dignity."