While we are celebrating the great glorious highlights of black history, we still have a long way to black liberation. One of our biggest highlights: Mass incarceration. The United States of America has more prisoners than any other country in the world per capita and it is a direct result of racism. The criminalization of black and brown people, which started during slavery, is so ingrained in American culture, it is enumerated in the Constitution’s amendments. There may not be an end in sight to racism but we can beat its systems to get to liberation. In order to beat the systems, we must arm ourselves against the knowledge of how it works. Here are some resources we think could help you get acquainted on the subject.
Ava Duvernay’s The 13th (2016) touches on the systematic creation of mass incarceration in America. Both The Kalief Browder Story (2017) and The Last Day of Freedom (2015) are personal accounts regarding people who were incarcerated. Both kinds are important to understanding the narrative of mass incarceration. These titles are all currently available on Netflix’s streaming service.
Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow (2010) is perhaps one of the most talked about resource on this list. The critically acclaimed book traces the history of mass incarceration through the lens of other racially biased systems in America. The author even makes an appearance in the aforementioned 13th documentary.
For a day by day construction and up to date news on prison reform and activism, follow these people on Twitter.
Bresha Meadows Is Out From Behind Bars—But What About Other Abuse Survivors? https://t.co/qKIJJjuLdn
— #GeniusTweeter (@prisonculture) February 9, 2018
— Prison Public Memory (@PrisonMemory) February 8, 2018
“At a time when the number of people being detained in New York City jails is shrinking, state parole violators represent the only subgroup of offenders that is growing.” https://t.co/k8CizHYVXm
— DecarcerationProject (@DecarcerateNYC) February 12, 2018
Founded by Dr. Cornel West and Carl Dix in 2011, Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) lists their purpose as an organization that “exists to stop the slow genocide of mass incarceration and all its consequences.”