the prison industry

Black LBGTQ History Icons

Marsha P. Johnson

  • A leader of the Stonewall Riots. According to several eyewitnesses, Marsha was the one who “really started it”. She was “in the middle of the whole thing, screaming and yelling and throwing rocks and almost like Molly Pitcher in the Revolution or something”
  • Dedicated her life to activism:
    • Co-founded the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (later renamed Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries)
    • Ensured that the young drag queens, trans women and other street kids on Christopher Street were fed and clothed. Marsha also housed them whenever she could. 
    • In the 1980s, she was an activist and organizer in ACT UP. 

Stormé DeLarverie

  • Also a leader in the Stonewall Riots - has been identified as the “butch lesbian that threw the first punch” against the police officers.
  • Several eye-witnesses recollections also recognize her as the cross-dressing lesbian that yelled “why don’t you guys do something” at the bystanders that evoked the reaction from them that helped make Stonewall a defining moment in history.
  • Unofficially worked at gay bars who otherwise couldn’t afford security.

Bayard Rustin

  • Was a leading strategist of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement between 1955-1968:
    • The formidable behind the scenes figure of the civil rights movement who organized the March on Washington
    • Through his influence, the civil rights leadership adopted a non-violent stance.
    • Is and was often overlooked in African-American history because of the public’s discomfort with his sexual orientation.
  • Supported LGBTQ rights and movements.
  • Was posthumously awarded Rustin the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Miss Major Griffin-Gracy

  • Another leader in the Stonewall Riots.
  • Has been involved in community efforts since 1978. She has worked at local food banks, provide services for trans women suffering from addiction or homelessness. During the AIDS epidemic she also provided healthcare and funeral services.
  • Is currently serving as the Executive Director for the Transgender GenderVariant Intersex Justice Project, working to assist transgender persons who are disproportionately incarcerated under a prison-industrial complex.

Alvin Ailey

  • At the young age of 22, Alvin AIley became Artistic Directer for the Horton Dance Company where he choreographed as well as directed scenes and costume designs.
  • Formed the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 1958 but continued to choreograph for other companies.
  • Ailey’s signature works prominently reflects his Black pride.
  • Is credited for popularizing modern dance. 
  • Was also posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

Feel free to add anyone I’ve missed!

6

This is exactly what Coretta Scott King warned congress about in 1986.

Jeff Sessions will fear-monger and stoke anti-Blackness by using everything from casual racism to deeply racist stereotypes, to justify the mass incarceration of Black people for non-violent, victimless “crimes” like marijuana usage.

The Trump Administration is in full White Supremacy mode.

slate.com
The FBI Faked an Entire Field of Forensic Science
For more stories like this, like Slate on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The Washington Post published a story so horrifying this weekend that it would

“‘Of 28 examiners with the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit, 26 overstated forensic matches in ways that favored prosecutors in more than 95 percent of the 268 trials reviewed so far.’ The shameful, horrifying errors were uncovered in a massive, three-year review by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project. Following revelations published in recent years, the two groups are helping the government with the country’s largest ever post-conviction review of questioned forensic evidence.

Chillingly, as the Post continues, ‘the cases include those of 32 defendants sentenced to death.’ Of these defendants, 14 have already been executed or died in prison.”

Let this sink in for a minute.

theguardian.com
'Straight up bullshit': inmates paid $1 to clear homeless camps they once lived in
In Portland, a supposed beacon of progressive politics, the practice of using prisoner work crews is painted as a win-win – but that’s not how some see it
By Thacher Schmid

In many places in the US, the fraught job of clearing out a homeless encampment is given to professionals. In San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, for example, the job often falls to city employees in public works or sanitation departments, who might get paid upwards of $16 an hour.

But in Portland, which prides itself on being a paragon of progressive politics, inmates at the county jail get $1 a day – enough to buy a Butterfinger at the commissary – to do the work.

Some of the inmates sifting through or dismantling homeless dwellings were previously homeless themselves, making for a bizarre merry-go-round. The job can make it feel as if their worlds are colliding.

Jeff Nelson was homeless for 13 years and on an inmate work crew for six months. He remembers dealing with a well-tended tent in Portland’s Hollywood neighborhood – like one he might have lived in himself.

“You looked in there, and the bed was all made, and family pictures, and that was someone’s home,” he said. “And they made us take that down, and throw it in the fucking trash. And it’s like, what are you doing?”

He added: “It’s just straight up bullshit, but that’s the way the system rolls, and we have no choice [but] to roll with the system.”

(Continue Reading)

10

What a complete shit show. It’s like a scene stolen from Get Out.

NOW can we finally drop kick the Clintons, the DLC and neoliberalism out of the Democratic Party? Can we at least stop pretending that they’re progressives, instead of neoliberals with a “benevolent” plantation owner mentality?

If you haven’t already seen it, now is probably a very very good time to watch 13th, a documentary about how prison labor is legalized slavery.

Bill Clinton was bad enough for Black people: Think about all the harmful anti-Black legislation he actively supported, like the Crime Bill of 1994 (mass incarceration), TANF (gutted welfare), how he signed legislation that blocked Pell Grants from going to prisoners seeking education, to how he blocked parents with drug arrest records from receiving food and housing assistance.

And now remember Hillary’s racist super predators speech (who needed to be “brought to heel” like animals), and how it took her 20 years to give a tepid non-apology, and how she literally had to be BEGGED to stop taking money from the private prison industry. The Clintons are foul.

YES, we still need to get rid of Donald Trump. No one is losing sight of that. But we can chew gum and walk at the same time. To beat Trump by wide margins we need actual progressives in 2018 and 2020. Not Third Way “moderates”. Not centrists. We need—we demand—progressives. By now it should be painfully clear that we can do better than Bill or Hillary Clinton. They are a political gift to Republicans and a liability to progressives. Any political influence that the Clintons hold over the Democratic Party needs to be completely rejected and eliminated. And that includes revamping or eliminating the rigged Super Delegate system.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that the prison industrial complex goes far beyond just the fact that prisons exists.

It’s every single major corporation in the world benefitting from paying slave wages for prison labor

It’s private prisons enforcing quotas to incentivize the state to arrest and convict at higher rates

It’s the war on drugs treating (mostly black and latino) non-violent drug users as hardened criminals

It’s the school to prison pipeline

It’s a country where homelessness is criminalized

It’s mandatory minimum prison sentences

It’s imprisoning civilians for years without bail Before they get a trial

It’s prisoners leaving prison in debt because the slave wages they were forced to work for didn’t cover the cost of food and a bed

It’s former prisoners losing the right to vote

It’s employers discriminating against former prisoners

It’s abuse and substandard living conditions.

It’s a corrupt police state that falsifies evidence and unfairly targets minorities.

The problem is that a lot of y'all still just think of prison as a place where bad people go. It’s not. Most of the bad people are in board rooms, on the golf course, at the bank, in the white house. The truth is, prisons in America are just a business. The lie that they keep you safe is just an ad they can run.

Abolish the prison industrial complex

Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.
—  Howard Zinn

Considering how often that you hear that there aren’t any jobs available, the prison-industrial complex sure never seems to run out of things for inmate slave labour to do.

theguardian.com
Chelsea Manning: to those who kept me alive all these years, thank you
When I was afraid, you taught me how to keep going. When I was lost, you showed me the way...
By Chelsea E Manning

Step 1: Insist that prisoners be used as a source of slave labor, because it costs a lot of tax money to imprison them.

Step 2: Ignore the fact that if we repealed laws against victimless actions, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.

Step 3: Ignore the fact that if we rehabilitated criminals to make them less likely to reoffend instead of turning them into life-long criminals, we’d imprison fewer people and save a lot of tax money.

Priest Responds To Gang Members’ ‘Lethal Absence Of Hope’ With Jobs, And Love

Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle has spent 30 years working in LA with gang members and young people transitioning out of prison. The organization runs cafes, restaurants and other businesses and employs former gang members hoping to get out of that life.

Father Greg has witnessed lots of violence, and buried over 200 young people, including one this week. But he says he continues to find God in the insight born of sadness. And he continues to pray—but his prayers aren’t a way of asking God for favors or to fix things. “Prayer is not going to fix our healthcare system. Stop it. Don’t think that. You actually have to do something about guns. You can’t just pray,” Boyle says. 

His new book is Barking to the Choir.