I am writing this letter in hopes that it will help shed some extra light on what the Jonestown Memorial means to the survivors and family members left behind. My mother, Leslie Wagner-Wilson, and my oldest brother are survivors of Jonestown and escaped on the tragic day of the massacre. The rest of our family did not make it out. My mother lost her mother, husband, sister, brother, niece, nephew, and countless friends and extended family. I knew about Jonestown growing up, I knew it was the reason our family consisted of only my mother and brothers. I knew it was the reason there were no summers at grandma’s house, or shopping dates with Auntie, or camping trips with Uncle. But, what I never understood is why I had not read about it in history books at school, or why every documentary I watched focused on Jim Jones and not those who were betrayed and deceived by him. I never understood why my mother never had a place to visit when she felt she needed to be close to her family again. It was almost as if the victims were nameless and faceless. I just want everyone to know that they aren’t. They had families, and friends, and a leaf on a family tree. They were Americans. Most of all, they were human beings, which means they deserve a place to be remembered. The Memorial is not to honor Jonestown as a place, it is to remember and commemorate those who died in search of a more peaceful way of life. Please do not let this Memorial become a victim of someone’s ego and pride. Jim Jones caused so much hurt and pain to so many people. Please allow them to finally have some closure and a place to go to remember over 900 people that deserve to be remembered and have a final resting place.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
Monique Inez Malone – daughter of Leslie Wagner-Wilson