Charmaine Pfender’s Dinner to Honor 30th Year in Prison a Delightful Success

Prayers, Hopes and Dreams for Char Alter beautified by South

Prayers, Hopes and Dreams for Char Alter beautified by South

About 30 people filled the Braddock Carnegie Libraries transformed space to honor Charmaine Pfender and the unjust length of time Char has had to spend incarcerated for defending herself from rape. Life without parole is death by incarceration.

While the evening was warm and sweet it was also very sad. Thinking of Char and all the women who are criminalized for defending themselves is heartbreaking. Here we are celebrating Char, her family and friends gathered round the tables with – her seat empty. Charmaine has been punished for 30 years for surviving and to this sentence we resist!

Donna Hill read a profound statement by Charmaine to the audience and Bret Grote updated us on the legal specifics of Charmaines case. We need to hire experts to help uncover new evidence to get Char back into court. So if you would like to make a donation it would be greatly appreciated.

We toasted to many things last Sunday, ending each toast with “Let’s Get Free”

Thank you so much for all who attended and shared their hearts! The night was lovely. We had quite a spread of food and different activities. Collectively we wrote a typewriter poem and created over 25 post cards and letters to be sent one at a time over the next month.

Click an image below to scroll through pictures of our beautiful event at the Braddock Carnegie Library! Below the photos is a poem written by Charmaine.

The following poem was written by Char for Mother’s Day years ago.

One Night

What happened one night ended lives,

What became of his mother?

I can’t begin to imagine

What became of my mother?

With such pain and disappointment,

It can’t compare.

Two mother losing children,

Two mothers in agony,

Both asking, “What went wrong?”

With my mother’s tears as a gauge,

I still can’t imagine the multiplier of

..his mother’s pain.

I am still alive; although lost in walls,

She can still see my face.

His mother has that, no more.

What would he have become?

How would he have changed the world?

What became of his brothers and sisters

…without his love?

What would have become of me?

I can’t go back and change time,

I can only begin by being responsible.

A burden so heavy, I am willing to carry.

To change all I was, to dispose of the “old” me,

Could never be enough,

Yet it is all I can do….

To hope to honor our mothers.

Charmaine Pfender (OO7423)


Transgender Day of Remembrance: Critique is Resistance; Resistance is Revolution

Commemorative Dinner for Charmaine Pfender!


A dinner to honor Charmaine Pfender who has unjustly spent the last 30 years in prison.

Sunday, December 7th at 5:30 PM (TIME CHANGED TO EARLIER!!)
at the beautiful historic Braddock Library
419 Library St, Braddock, PA 15104

Space is limited
so please rsvp to
$10-$25 sliding scale

Delicious pierogies catered by Kate Lasky!
Please let us know your dietary restrictions.
Meet Charmaine’s family!
Crafting stations!

Learn more about Charmaine’s story by clicking here.


The Prism Project will be on display at the Braddock Library during the dinner  –>The Prism Project was initiated by Richard Guy, South Fayette Correctional Facility and Mary Carey, The Braddock Carnegie Library. The Prism Project is a collection of artwork generated by people currently incarcerated at South Fayette Correctional Facility, that is available for check out along with over 120 other artworks made by local, regional and international artists.


In the News: Mom’s in Prison & 74 year old lifer gets free


Alex Campbell from Buzzfeed has a great series of articles:

These Mothers Were Sentenced To At Least 10 Years For Failing To Protect Their Children From A Violent Partner

For a BuzzFeed News investigation, here is a list of the cases we found and an explanation of the methodology we used to find them. posted on Oct. 2, 2014, at 9:51 p.m.


Arlena Lindley’s boyfriend Alonzo Turner beat her for months and murdered her child — so why was she sent to prison for 45 years? A BuzzFeed News Investigation.

When Battered Women Are Treated As Criminals

A preview of an upcoming BuzzFeed News investigation. Update: The investigation has been published — read it here.

Woman freed after serving 32 years in 1981 killing

la-me-ln-woman-released-from-prison-after-2014-001March 25, 2014 LA Times Mary Virginia Jones, 74, who was serving life without parole for her role in a 1981 murder, was freed from prison late Monday. Read More Here

Chin to the Sky : The Life Sentence of Avis Lee Debuts in Philly

avisshowposterphillyNovember 7th 2014   7pm – 8:30pm

Vineyard Community Church at 123 S. 51st St.

Short Play followed by community discussion afterword.

Chin to the Sky is a multi-media creative story telling of the circumstances surrounding the Life Sentence of Avis Lee. When Avis was 18 she was the look out in a robbery that ended in death. Avis is now 54 years old and has spent 34 years in prison. She has no chance of getting out unless her sentence is commuted. She never pulled the trigger. We believe she deserves a second chance. For more information about Chin to the Sky –go here!

Download the Philly Show Flyer Here

Flyer designed by Suzanne South

The reason we are debuting in Philly is because many of us are attending Decarcerate PA’s gathering on November 8th.

Stay tuned for Pittsburgh shows soon.

What is Commutation? A Visual Story

Below is a 5 minute video by Chris Mason taped at the August 28th Mobilization to Harrisburg in effort to Restore Meaningful Commutation for Lifers in PA. Narrated by Suzanne South with participation from Devon Cohen and etta cetera. The Contestoria takes you through the many steps one person with a life sentence must take in order to have a life without parole sentence commuted to life with parole. It was created by many members of Let’s Get Free and supporting artists – Andrea Chiotti, Andalusia Knoll, Grabiel Grafica.

What is Commutation? A Visual Story from Chris Mason on Vimeo.

Beautiful Day! Beautiful Women! Walking for Peace!


On September 27th, The Northside Coalition for Fair Housing sponsored the 7th Annual Women’s Walk for Peace. Over 200 people walked in the beautiful sun down Pittsburgh’s expansive northside hill. There were speakers at the top and bottom of the hill calling for people to unify in effort to stop violence against women and all people.  Andrea James Founder of Families For Justice as Healing, was the key note speaker.  Video shot by Amanda Johnson

Let’s Get Free was proud to march alongside members of New Voices Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh for Justice.

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