Introducing We're Still Here: A Series of Stories from Lifers in PA Prisons

We're still here with fists raised

We are thrilled to share a new project we’ve been working on with people inside Pennsylvania state prisons. WE'RE STILL HERE is a multimedia project featuring stories from people sentenced to Death By Incarceration that will be released over the coming months.

The first installment includes essays, interviews, and art from three people with deep roots in our movement. Tran Loc was born in the city of Hue in Central Vietnam four years after the Tet Offensive, one of the largest military campaigns in the Vietnam War, flattened the city. He shares about his struggle to survive after coming to the U.S. with his sister at the age of 19. Phillip Ocampo—featured with his mom, Mrs. Dee Dee, in Amistad’s documentary No Way Home—reflects on the relationships that have shaped him during his time inside: his love for God, his mother, his grandmother, daughters, and the grandkids he maintains a close bond with across prison walls. Tom Schilk is a talented artist who was born and raised in Kensington. He writes meditations on love and loss, addiction and recovery, and created a playlist for We’re Still Here.

In these firsthand accounts, lifers share who they've become during their time inside and how they’ve cultivated a sense of purpose. We hope you’ll bookmark the page to return to these stories regularly as we update our website with new material.

Over 5,000 people in Pennsylvania have been robbed of hope for a positive future due to Life Without Parole sentences. They are daughters, siblings, grandparents, students, artists, mentors, people of faith, people in recovery, people pointing the way to healing, hope, and justice. For many decades now, they’ve woken up every day in a system that’s tried to kill them. They want you to know they’re still here, fighting for healing justice for victims of violence, for themselves, and for oppressed people everywhere.