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Photo of me being a stereotypical 20 something, on the coolest rooftop in Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 2009. (Photo by Chelsea Manning.)

Six Years So Far

What I Have Learned Being in Prison These Last Six Years

Chelsea Manning
May 27, 2016 · 2 min read

Sometimes it is difficult to make sense of all the monumental events that have occurred in my life over the past six years.

I have faced many struggles: my pre-trial time in solitary confinement, the charges against me under the and the unconstitutionally vague , the lack of proof by the government that the disclosures actually harmed the United States’ national security or diplomatic interests in any significant way, and my eventual conviction and sentencing to an unprecedented 35 years in prison.

And through it all, one thing has remained clear: It is important to read everything. To absorb everything. Act as your own filter for information. Search for your own answers to questions. If we rely on others to digest information for us, than we can’t say that we truly understand why we have done what we’ve done and where we will be going. We cannot, and will not, understand the world looking at information filtered through one lens.

This appeal is about more than just me personally. It’s about the chilling precedent set for future truth-tellers, journalists, and whistleblowers. It’s about free speech and a free press. It’s about your right to know the truth — to have access to enough information to allow us as a society to make informed decisions.

Because of the incredible support that I receive from my friends, my family, and countless people from all over the world, I manage to not only survive, but to grow, learn, mature, and thrive as a better, more confident person. Because of your support, esteemed lawyers Nancy Hollander, Vincent Ward and my detailed counsel, Capt. Dave Hammond, were able to take the time to compose and file a thorough, compelling brief. Because of your voice, we also received .

Thank you to all of the amazing people and groups who have supported me in the past, and who are continuing to support me today, as we now prepare for the next vital stage in our legal fight: The reply brief and oral arguments to be presented in my appeal.

You can work towards improving my situation, by donating to my , , and following my accounts on and .

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