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Speech delivered at the Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March Aug. 19, 2017, in San Jose, Calif.: We’re out here in conjunction with all the people who are marching in D.C. on this day with the same message. We have a “justice system” that perpetuates the institution of racism in this country through its targeting of the most marginalized communities: people of color, women and the LGBT community.
Often when citizens of this nation think of “state repression,” images of Egypt, North Korea, Apartheid Palestine or Nazi Germany immediately spring to mind. U.S. state controlled media has become practiced at flooding our airwaves and attitudes with images of violent retaliation and systematic repression of dissent in other nations as a means to obfuscate the U.S. state’s engagement in identical activity in its own society.
On June 24, 2103, an SUV pulled up near a Muni shelter at West Point Road and Middle Point Road in Hunters Point. According to video images later collected by the police, someone got out of the vehicle and, standing near the rear of it, fired 23 shots with a 9 millimeter gun into the shelter, killing Jaquan Rice, 19, and injuring his 17-year-old girlfriend.
I have no doubt that Dr. King would be mounting a nonviolent poor people campaign to end rampant hunger, homelessness and poverty today. Let’s honor and follow Dr. King by building a beloved community in America where all have enough to eat, a place to sleep, enough work at decent wages. Dr. King is not coming back. It’s up to us to redeem the soul of America. He told us what to do. Let’s do it.
The notion that emotional feelings and love interest ceases at the gates of the prison is blatantly absurd. A huge majority of individuals in prison are equipped with the same meaningful desires to embrace their heartfelt feelings in spite of their situation of being restricted and unable to express them deservingly with passion.
Transitioning from a prisoner number to an adult person expected to take on adult responsibilities can be overwhelming for many ex-inmates, particularly those who were incarcerated for long periods of time. Each day many of us will share space with someone who has spent a significant portion of his life in a cage. Every one of us should be concerned because these men and women are of us and will be returning to us, our communities, many to our own families.
On Feb. 3 the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to pass an ordinance authorizing the construction of a new jail that’s much smaller than what had previously been planned, marking a major effort to downsize the city’s swelling prison population.
Those of us who seek a second chance know we owe our community. Failure is not an option for a community and a people who have seen so much turmoil, who have experienced so much oppression, and yet survived only because it was group effort. I seek the shadow of a wing to survive and then thrive.
Today, free speech inside the penitentiary is increasingly becoming a scant luxury, not the universally recognized right abstracted by federal judges. As early as March 2008, the San Francisco Bay View began receiving dispatches from California prisoners alerting the newspaper that prisoners in possession of the newspaper were being charged with gang affiliation and having their subscriptions withheld.
Due to the great outpouring of support in Michigan, Rev. Edward Pinkney has become the Green Party candidate in the 6th District Congressional race. He is running against incumbent U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a political heir to Whirlpool Corp.-Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment Inc.
When Election Day arrives in November, the state of Virginia will likely play a huge role in determining whether Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain is the next president of the United States. Unfortunately, the vote tally from the Old Dominion will be illegitimate because the state will disenfranchise nearly 350,000 individuals who are barred from voting because of felony convictions.