Who Is More Important: I or We?

Sankofa2Today, November 6, 2014, there sits over 2.5 million people in the prisons, jails, and immigration detention facilities throughout u.s.a. In one form of another, most of us are “subjects” to a government program called mass incarceration.

The people who have been the targets and victims of this program are mostly poor, black and brown, but also include every nationality and race in u.s.a. Some are collateral consequences, while others are mentally ill. The thing that all have in common is that we are being oppressed by our own government for the service of a for-profit business model that has taken over America’s prisons. For addicts, there is no rehabilitation. For the mentally ill, there are no services. For those who committed “crimes”, there is no educational or job training. There is only a profit motive for ALL. There is no doubt that there are also many innocent, overcharged, self-rehabilitated, and simply underserving people still trapped with no way out.

With these facts in mind, its understandable that alot of people have desires to see their loved ones released. But the issue is: How do we as a collective come together and bring all of these forces together to come up with a plan that will free EVERYONE who is deserving ? I ask this question because we see alot of people promoting “their” cause, to the exclusion of so many others. Is it fair, or even realistic for someone to expect other families who are experiencing the same thing to support “your cause”, while not addressing theirs? What makes one person’s loved one worth fighting for, but not the other? But even more egregious, why would anyone have the audacity to ask other people who also have a loved one incarcerated to support “your” petition, “your” cry, or “your” individual cause, to the neglect of that other person’s cause who you are asking to support your cause?? Why can’t the petition-drivers draft a petition that demand Justice For All, instead of Justice for One?

In Free Alabama-Mississippi Movement, we are demanding “Justice for All”. There is no one in our eyes who is more deserving than someone else in this fight against mass incarceration. I can’t fathom the hurt and confusion that some mothers, fathers and children must feel when they are approached by someone who also has a loved one incarcerated and that person is asking them to sign a petition, attend a Rally, or donate to a cause to help get someone else free, but with no regard for their own loved ones freedom. The more effective strategy would be to bring both families together and everyone work together to improve the circumstances of both. The motivation, enthusiasm and willingness to sacrifice would be greater, and the results will be surer. Think in terms of U-N-I-T-Y and we will all see success sooner.

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