by Ronald Brooks
Decarcerate Louisiana is an interstate network of social change organizations of people inside and outside the prison system taking action against the re-emergence of slavery and Jim Crow segregation that has manifested through the 13th Amendment, racialized politics, the wars on drugs, poverty, gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, lack of education and economic opportunities, lack of access to decent and affordable housing, lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare, and the criminalization and mass incarceration of racial minorities and poor people for prison farm labor, industrial exploitation, profits, subjugation and control.
Decarcerate Louisiana and its sister organizations, Decarcerate PA, Decarcerate New Jersey, The Free Alabama Movement, Texas Prisoners Campaign for Human Rights, The California Prisoner Coalition for Human Rights, PICO, Acorn affiliates, US Action, National Action Now, National People’s Action, Industrial Areas Foundation, et al, are all grassroots and multicultural NGOs or nonprofits working together as part of a larger, wider movement to redirect funds from law enforcement, jails and prison construction into investments for human welfare that create access and opportunities in communities that are conducive to human advancement and human dignity.
Decarcerate Louisiana is an interstate network of social change organizations of people inside and outside the prison system taking action against the re-emergence of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.
We operate from the premise that society was made for the refinement and uplifting of mankind, and that the highest ideal of mankind is achieved when surrounded by the optimism, enthusiasm and encouragement of a supportive environment. Thus, we are moving to bring back LBJ’s Great Society and are organizing across race, class, gender, sex, religion and all identity lines.
The members of Decarcerate Louisiana take the position that you fight crime and other social ills that people face with anti-poverty programs and/or creating access to opportunities so that all people can thrive and self-actualize as strong families, strong communities and sustainable local economies. Therefore, Decarcerate Louisiana is campaigning for community reinvestment; a moratorium on jail and prison construction; education and rehabilitative programs for prisoners; abolition of the death penalty, prison slavery and all sentence enhancement laws; more eligibility and access to parole, pardons, furloughs, conjugal visits, clemency and other forms of restorative justice as well as strategic release upon a showing of good behavior.
The Decarcerate Louisiana organizational body consists of a president, assistant presidents, vice presidents, secretaries, treasurers, sergeants at arms, rank and file leadership, honorary members, auxiliary members, general members and volunteers.
The members of Decarcerate Louisiana take the position that you fight crime and other social ills that people face with anti-poverty programs and/or creating access to opportunities so that all people can thrive and self-actualize as strong families, strong communities and sustainable local economies.
As a grassroots social change, people-power movement, Decarcerate Louisiana will be conducting fundraisers and organizing various workshops to start up classes on leadership, politics, personal growth, public speaking, legal defense, litigation, community organizing, public relations and all such other initiatives conducive to human development, human progress and justice for all of us.
A history of the problem
In the 1960s and as a result of massive street demonstrations and protests against poverty and the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson instituted the Great Society and encouraged the states to implement social welfare programs as a means of fighting crime and a remedy to solve domestic violence. However, with mounting pressures from the war, the president himself began to neglect his domestic program by diverting resources and attention to Vietnam, so that politicians on the far right began ravaging it from within in the name of public safety and propaganda, declaring, “If you do the crime, you should be caught, convicted and punished.”
As a result, right-wing fanatics mapped out a Southern strategy and conducted the wars on poverty and drugs in a racist way that targeted racial minorities and poor people, cutting the social safety net, criminalizing and imprisoning them at rates so high that today the United States leads the world in incarcerating its people. In 1965, Louisiana went from being ranked 13th nationally in putting its citizens behind bars, with a rate of 109 prisoners per 100,000 in population, to number 1 among the 50 states, with 38,030 in prison, a rate of 816 per 100,000.
Founded in the spirit of human fraternity, Decarcerate Louisiana’s core purposes are to organize for self-determination, reclaim our God-given democratic freedoms, and create a people-centered, not property-centered, society and world that guarantees to every sentient human being an equitable and just constitutional system that works for all of us, not just some of us.
Join us in resistance and solidarity from inside to outside the prison system in an undertaking to educate and mobilize ourselves for dignified struggle to abolish the modern institution of slavery which operates today as a mean coalition consisting of the police, the courts, racist and bigoted judges, unscrupulous prosecutors, ravenous and greedy sheriffs, cash-strapped school districts, under-funded indigent defense systems, and unfriendly and hostile prison officials.
Join us in resistance and solidarity from inside to outside the prison system in an undertaking to educate and mobilize ourselves for dignified struggle to abolish the modern institution of slavery.
For peace and justice for all, take the following actions right now to become a member or supporter of Decarcerate Louisiana:
- Read Decarcerate Louisiana’s organizational documents on our website, decarceratelouisiana.com;
- Read all other articles, prisoner artwork and other such materials on the site;
- Participate in the conversation on our blog that’s linked to the site;
- Contact the president or assistant president(s) or an honorary member to register to become a member;
- Make a financial contribution to help secure, maintain and sustain Decarcerate Louisiana’s educational workshops and brotherhood programs;
- Scout your neighborhood or community for artists who can draw pictures of people, places, things and ideas that support the movement of Decarcerate Louisiana;
- Scout your neighborhood or community for artists who can rap or sing and want to connect with Decarcerate Louisiana;
- Scout your neighborhood or community for students, organizers, activists, workers, lawyers, public officials or anybody who wants to connect with members on the inside and work with us more directly via phone calls, email or snail mail in learning, building, sharing and growing together in love, solidarity and struggle;
- Update your social media profiles, sharing the movement of Decarcerate Louisiana with family, friends and other like-minded people who share similar concerns and values;
- Appeal to your organization(s) to send a solidarity statement supporting the freedom and liberation movement of DL.
All Power to the People!
Ronald Brooks, founder, director and president of Decarcerate Louisiana
Send our brother some love and light: Ronald Brooks, 385964, General Delivery, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, LA 70712. We thank Big Man and Carole for forwarding this letter to the Bay View. Ronald can also be reached at DecarcerateLouisiana@gmail.com.