Discrimination against Spanish speakers
Note from Jane: This is the first letter in which Elisabeth expressed how much racism and discrimination there is against the women who do not speak English. The guards and officials favor the women who do speak English, and those who do not are often left feeling confused about what is being said, or unable to articulate their concerns. There is one social worker for all of Batavia, both men's and women's sections; she is bilingual in Spanish and English but also intensely overworked.
January 5, 2020
Hi, Juanita. I hope you had a nice visit with your family. I have been fine, thanks to God, And to you, because of you I was able to talk to my mama. In truth, you are a super marvelous person, because you look out for me and worry about me. Thank you for remembering my birthday and for sending me the card. It was really pretty. Thanks so much, friend Juanita.
I am sad because I have had to spend another birthday here, imprisoned, without being able to share the day with my family and friends. I never imagined, friend, that my time in this country would be so awful. I never though that here I would be treated like a criminal. I have a big lump in my throat, friend, and I don't know how to get over this feeling. Today, I feel like my life no longer has meaning. I have spent one year and one month imprisoned, having to put up with officials who treat who treat us badly because we don't speak English, because we are immigrants. They are racist and I can't take it any longer, in the bathroom, when we eat, at the tables. I feel like I can't take it any longer. Sometimes I think it would have been better to have been killed than to be in this place, where they are killing me slowly. This is a death within life.
Take care, my friend. I send much love and always hold you in my heart.