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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.
In one voice, rising from the cells of long term solitary confinement, echoed in the dormitories and cell blocks from Virginia to Oregon, we prisoners across the United States vow to finally end slavery in 2016. On Sept. 9 of 2016, we will begin an action to shut down prisons all across this country. We will not only demand the end to prison slavery, we will end it ourselves by ceasing to be slaves.
Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced legislation on Thursday, Sept. 17, that promises to ban government contracts for privately run prisons and jails within three years. Implementing such a plan would be an ambitious effort, as it would give authorities more than 100,000 additional inmates to manage – the number held in private facilities as of 2013. The bill’s immigration provisions are similarly bold.
The solution must exist within our form of struggle. The resistance currently resonating across Latin America is not just saying “No” to what they do not want, but at the same time constructing what it is they want to see. They say it is no longer enough to be against a system of exploitation and domination, because we have the power to create the alternative.