A mosaic of faces came from all parts of the USA to stand in solidarity at Lafayette Square in DC on August 19, 2017. They were there to let the forgotten know they were not forgotten. It had a two-fold meaning for me because I was one of the forgotten, a prisoner, just under 3 yrs ago. And on that day I was standing with a sea of flavorful faces as a supporter and organizer for The Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March. In my silent thoughts, I know I am the prisoners’ ambassador.
I know the prisoners’ mind and what they are feeling. When I be still for a moment I can channel it from my own experiences…
When I was walking to Freedom Plaza and knowing the historic meaning that enslaved ancestors of mine probably paved these streets it made it that more real for me. When I watched Hugo ‘Yogi’ Pinell daughter cry as she gave her account about her father; I wonder how many other daughters had cried in this plaza before? I wonder how many other daughters watched their fathers be ripped out of their lives during slavery as well? And here we are about to march and have a rally on the 13th Amendment and the Legalized Slavery Clause. How much has things changed?
What is it about the prisoner’s humanity that is easily over looked by the ‘good folk’ of this God-fearing Nation? When you consider that most prisoners are locked up on crimes that they committed when they were young, you should assume they grew and matured passed a criminal mentality.
How prisoners are living I was living under those same conditions less than 3 years ago. If I do not tell you I was incarcerated, how would you know? All you would see is a handsome man. Just like you would not know I was college educated or a published author. I wear no identifiable marks of my former prison status.
I understood the need to rally people on an issue like Legalized Slavery. It is our social responsibility to heal the fallen that fell from grace of the community standards. We should not accept the commoditizing or let them be allowed to be used as beast of burden by corporate, state, or federal interests.
Who do we want to leave prison; a harden, bitter, convict or a self-developed and self-reflecting human? One is going to be a predator the other a community stakeholder, but which manifestation is going to live in our community is solo based on us.
If you think the 13th Amendment’s Slavery Clause is a good thing and making money off the prisoners and at their expense is a good thing then do nothing. But if you want a community stakeholder to return to your community then you better get involved.
Ubuntu- “I am what I am because of who we all are”