Jonestown’s Last Letter, 32 Years Later

This is my last letter.

I want you to know that I’ve lived and laughed here. We have created heaven on earth. With our own hands we have built, sowed, harvested. We have created all sorts of things: stuffed animals, wooden toys, soap. We have bartered and traded. We have cared for all with our wondrous medical facility. We have seen birth. We wanted to create a new world, free of racism, sexism, classism, and we did our best to make it here in Guyana.

 We were more than just Jim Jones and his vision… We had our own visions of what we wanted from this life. We built a self-sustaining community that was so very beautiful. Children, seniors…. People of all ages and races found sanctuary here: We found sanctuary here, not from the troubles of our leader, but from the racist, capitalist heart of America that we no longer wish to be a part of. We created something built to last.

Our hearts broke free of all of the boundaries that were set around us.

Don’t judge us too harshly. Our end was large, grandiose, really… but it doesn’t define us. We were and are so much more. Please remember the good days, all of the good things that we have done… Let that be our legacy.

This is my last letter. This is my last message home. I pray that you will get it and you will remember us… all of us.

(Bonnie Yates is a regular contributor to the jonestown report. Her other article in this year’s edition is Could Peoples Temple Have Survived? Her previous writings for this site are here. She may be reached here.)