Manning went on hunger strikes, attempted suicide on at least two occasions, and underwent gender reassignment surgery during her incarceration
Before leaving office in January, President Obama formally commuted most of Chelsea (neé Bradley) Manning’s 35-year-sentence for leaking classified information and documents to Wikileaks. The commutation was a divisive one, with many believing that her actions were treasonous, pure and simple, while others believed that she was serving a public good by sharing information with the public.
Her stay in prison was no less contentious as Manning went on hunger strikes, attempted suicide on at least two occasions, and underwent gender reassignment surgery during her incarceration.
Now, on May 17th, she’s slated to be released from prison to become a free woman. Her friends and family have launched a GoFundMe effort to ensure that she’s able to provide for herself once she’s freed.
The project’s page explains how the crowdsourced money will help Manning.
“Funds raised will be used to pay for Chelsea’s rent, utilities, health care, clothing and other living expenses for the first year after she is released.”
The goal of the page is to raise a lofty $100,000, which might cause many to wonder if this is truly being done to fund a year of living expenses or to financially express gratitude for her actions.
The GoFundMe page’s language suggests it’s both, with the above statement somewhat incongruous with this earlier statement:
For the past seven years, Chelsea has been incarcerated. She survived solitary confinement, systemic denial of health care and years of being separated from her friends and community. Through it all she has remained a steadfast voice for liberty and justice and an inspiration to so many. We now have a chance to show our appreciation for all that she has given us.
Either way, in just two days, Welcome Home Chelsea has raised $48,500 towards its goal, so it’s looking likely the target will be met.
Just one day in, Chelsea expressed her gratitude for the outpouring of financial support via Twitter:
Awww <3 Thank you all so very much for pitching in & helping me start my new life ^_^ https://t.co/LGSdkQDdvY #welcomehomefund— Chelsea E. Manning (@Chelsea E. Manning) 1486510038.0