“Kash is the poster child and prime example of bad turns good,” wrote a 67 year old Minneapolis mother, asking a judge to consider the fruits of his J6 defendant Kash Kelly’s life.
At age 19, Kash Kelly left behind the familiarity of gang life. He stepped out on faith and transformed into an involved father, diligent provider, and example to others. His YouTube channel and in-person speeches touched thousands of lives across the country through their emphasis on “love and unity over hate and division.”
Kash was imprisoned over a year ago after incurring two misdemeanor trespassing charges during the events of Jan. 6th. This occurred at the same time he began serving a federal sentence from a case over a decade earlier, when he was previously involved in a gang. His preliminary J6 hearing was put on hold several times and resumes again on May 24th.
At first, Kash wasn’t sure what to expect when he arrived in DC prison.
“The preconceived notion about a lot of the people in here because of the media was that they were racist, or they’re white supremacists. You know when I first got here, I was even a little worried about it.”
“In getting to know people, that was definitely not the case. They looked at me like ‘what are you doing here?’ And I told them. And the other guys were like:
‘You know, we were there for the same reason. We’re not racist. My best friend is black. Or somebody is married to a black woman.’
It’s totally not true. It’s an eye opener. There’s more than the perception that goes on in politics. They need that narrative.”
Since then, Kash has educated prison staff on how fellow J6ers haven’t shown racial bias towards him. After speaking the truth, guards persecuted him in retaliation.
Nonetheless, those imprisoned pre-trial with Kash continue to share food with one another to the astonishment of the guards. Hear him talk more about the uncommon unity in the J6 section of the jail:
Or, read his remarks below:
Kash Kelly: You know, we’ve got a little place in here where we donate commissary to each other. Like for people that don’t get commissary, we have a whole table spread out and the guards like freaked out about it. They’ve never seen that happen in the whole time they’ve worked here– you know, people sharing their commissary.
Like yeah, it’s ‘cause we don’t want to see nobody going hungry.
Laura Elizabeth Jenkins: Wow, I wonder why the staff has never seen that?
Kash Kelly: Well, I mean over on the other side, they’ll stab you for commissary. They rob people over there. But here, anybody-if someone comes up and says they don’t have something, they walk up and we’re like- ‘hey, I’ve got you,’ ‘I’ve got you ‘bro, here.”
And you don’t have to pay anybody back or nothing like that. We don’t have debts or nothing like that in here.
And so, people feel more confident. If there’s somebody in need then- like my mom said when I was growing up, you know if there was a kid that came over, one of my friends, and they was hungry-they’ll have their Ramen noodles. And you know, we never turn anybody away. So that’s something that just-everybody here feels the same way so we come together.
Laura Elizabeth Jenkins: Wow, I’m sure that does a lot in giving people the strength because everybody is kind of waiting on these court dates and every day-you know, it’s almost every thought you choose to think could be a glorifying thought or it could be a frustrated thought. That is itself if an opportunity to really live your values and principles.
Kash Kelly: Yes, exactly.
Laura Elizabeth Jenkins: I’m sure this is a whole different way of thinking. There’s other people who haven’t experienced what you have [jail phone interrupts with one minute warning]
Kash Kelly: Right. I try to tell everybody that just be-don’t think about the situation. Don’t wish it was better or fight how bad it is. Just look at it and exist because somebody’s got it worse. And a lot of people in this facility, you know, we’re blessed to be where we are. Because over on the other side, they’ve got it a lot worse than we do.
The message- I know you were about to ask about if there was a message- is to stay united, that’s my mantra. Unite. Don’t Fight. Be Street Light. And only you can be the change that you wish to see in the world. And when you’re stressed out you’ve gotta remember to pray because that’s how good things come about. Without God, everything will fall apart.
Kash also expresses gratitude for those who have helped his children during his incarceration. The Streetlight Unity Movement he created in his local community continues to thrive and provide an impactful support system not only to Kash, but others as well.
“Everyone can agree that society benefits if Kash is given the tools to succeed as a positive influence for his family,” states Chicago attorney Joshua Adams, who defended Kash in his previous case.
”Kash is surrounded by people who love and care for him and want to see him succeed. Most importantly, they want Kash back in their lives and at home.”
You can contribute to Kash’s GiveSendGo fundraiser here.
American Gulag will continue sharing Kash Kelly’s insights and documenting pre-trial prison conditions as his case develops.