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Around the country, activists and organizers are concerting efforts to ensure that our right to vote is fully recognize, restored and respected for all of us!
Jeremy Bearer-Friend, a YP4 Leadership Academy fellow currently with Justice Now, just posted to Feministing:
Prisons are bad for everyone--not just for the people in cages within them, not just for the children who have lost their parents to them, or the social programs who have their budgets cut because of them.
Prisons distract us from the root causes of violence and ultimately exacerbate the deeply entrenched challenges of racism, sexism and transphobia facing our communities.
Check out this important Washington Post article about how the gains made against crime in the nineties are falling apart. There are two crucial factors at play. One is that America tried to lock up anyone we could find associated with the drug game and someone who went in a small time dope-boy is coming out mad hard. Real rehabilitation programs, job training, GED programs are getting cut and prison rape, murder and violence is rising. Folks experiencing this are the ones coming back into communities (lots of implications for AIDS too, but that's another story). The other interesting point is how people are not dying over drugs and territory as much as over respect issues. The place where my family lives, Boston, is falling apart this summer with murders and a large percent have to do with honor, how someone looked at you, exc. The debate I would like to get started is how much hip-hop is fueling kids to react to any slights as points of honor to be defended to the death. Reputation is everything; whoever goes farthest to defend it gets the most respect. I think we need to invest a lot more in violence prevention and mediation training programs because at one point they did a lot to reduce teen violence, but they have since been cut back a great deal, particularly in Massachusetts.