by Shaka Shakur, New Afrikan Liberation Collective
Does being convicted of a crime forfeit all your rights as a human being? Does being railroaded through a clearly unjust, unequal and racist judicial system forfeit your human rights? Guilty or not, I am still a person. I am a human being.
We need people to understand that the struggle for human rights, the struggle to be free and not murdered by the state or its agents doesn’t stop at the prison gates. People tend to ignore the Fergusons, the Baltimores and such behind the iron curtain of prison and mass incarceration until it’s a riot, slave revolt or a Lucasville that bursts onto your TV evening news programing.
People fail to understand that for decades we have fought the foaming-at-the-mouth racist rural prison guard who clutches tight the wooden club or baton as he bashes your head in or as he grips tight to the dog leash being pulled and yanked by some growling and foaming German shepherd that has been trained to bite, maim and kill Black.
For decades we have had to organize hunger strikes and demonstrations, file lawsuits, scream and shout to the mountaintops that we are being brutalized behind these walls mentally, physically and spiritually. That we are being destroyed, torn down and rebuilt into psycho-sociopaths – rebuilt and designed to keep the vicious cycle of catch and release going, to keep the vicious cycle of Black and Brown bodies parading through the system like an assembly line. Do Black lives matter behind prison walls?
How is it that a system that has fed on the bodies and corpses of Black and Brown people in order to keep the capitalism functioning can now be given diplomatic immunity? Reform? Really?
How can slavery and genocide be reformed? That’s like saying rape can be kinder and gentler. That’s like saying a Black holocaust can be whitewashed and made humane.
Oh, I forgot they had to save the niggas from themselves by murdering them! We had to save and protect the Black community by initially mass incarcerating and murdering its male population and now they have begun to target Black – New Afrikan – women.
For decades we have had to organize hunger strikes and demonstrations, file lawsuits, scream and shout to the mountaintops that we are being brutalized behind these walls mentally, physically and spiritually.
A best kept secret is that New Afrikan women represent one of the fastest growing segments of imprisonment in the country. Yeah, they just had to save and protect our community by destroying and undermining particularly the family structure, while shooting, chokeholding and lynching us under the color of law at every chance they got.
Yes, people, systematic genocide, in the minds of the state and its agents, is a cure-all for what ails the Black community. Mass imprisonment, lack of sufficient or quality health care, no employment or underemployment, failure to treat or prevent curable diseases, the closing down of public schools, hospitals, clinics and a heavy dose of drugs saturating our community are a cure-all for what hurts the Black community. You didn’t know?
Yes, people, systematic genocide, in the minds of the state and its agents, is a cure-all for what ails the Black community.
Don’t you find it strange that whatever region of the world the U.S military finds itself in, the drugs that are unique to that area are soon flooding our community? Seriously, DO YOUR RESEARCH.
When the Vietnam War was raging and the U.S. military was in Asia and the Golden Triangle (major opium-growing region of Burma and Vietnam), heroin and opium flooded our community. In the ‘80s when the U.S. military was deeply involved in counterinsurgency and counter-revolutionary activity in South and Central Amerika, you had cocaine and later crack flooding our community.
And now the U.S. has been in Afghanistan and Iraq for over a decade and heroin is again flooding our community – and prisons – like it’s the crack epidemic. How much of a coincidence? We charge the United States government with genocide.
Don’t you find it strange that whatever region of the world the U.S military finds itself in, the drugs that are unique to that area are soon flooding our community?
What if I told you that the same drug epidemic that now exists on the streets also exists behind these prison walls? As the physical and mental oppression in prison becomes more and more intense, the desire to escape that reality through drug consumption has become more and more intense.
Investigate just how many drug overdoses have taken place throughout the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) within the past 12- 24 months! This is despite the fact that in most institutions 50 percent or more inmates are on non-contact visits; you can see your family for only 30 minutes through a glass.
When you don’t have any jobs or vocational programs, when you can only take Bible-based college programs and financial aid and funding has been cut out for all other college courses and programming, when you’re locked in a cage 20-23 hours a day and you’re being fed food that isn’t even fit for a dog, you have a recipe for disaster for seeking to escape by getting high. People, we eat breakfast at 3:30 a.m., lunch at 9:30 or 10:00 a.m., and the last meal of the day is 2:30 or 3:00 p.m.!
So again I ask you, do Black lives matter behind these prison walls? Can I live? Can I breathe? Can I be treated like a human being?
HELL YEAH, OUR LIVES MATTER – AND WE ARE GOING TO FIGHT TO MAKE IT SO!
In struggle and love on behalf of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective,
Send our brother some love and light: Shaka Shakur, 135647, Pendleton Correctional Facility, 4490 W. Reformatory Rd., Pendleton IN 46064.