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1Reckoning With Violence

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MAR 9  Anti-Oppression/Mass Incarceration, Seattle
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Reckoning With Violence
 By: Michelle Alexander
Opinion Columnist of the New York Times
 

 We must face violent crime honestly and courageously if we are ever to end mass incarceration and provide survivors what they truly want and need to heal.

When Chicago’s police chief, Eddie Johnson, looked out at the sea of journalists to share the breaking news that Jussie Smollett, a well-known and beloved actor, had allegedly staged a violent racist and homophobic attack against himself, he said with great emotion: “Guys, I look out into the crowd, I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention.”

Chicago is besieged by horrific levels of violence, including thousands of shootings and hundreds of homicides each year. More than 500 people were killed in 2018, down from 664 in 2017. This ongoing tragedy cannot be blamed on any lack of aggressiveness on the part of law enforcement. Indeed, if wars on crime and drugsmilitarized policing“get tough” sentencing policiestorture of suspects, and perpetual monitoring and surveillance of the poorest, most crime-ridden communities actually worked to keep people safe, Chicago would be one of the safest cities in the world.

Despite the abysmal failure of “get tough” strategies to break cycles of violence in cities like Chicago, reformers of our criminal justice system in recent years have largely avoided the subject of violence, instead focusing their energy and resources on overhauling our nation’s drug laws and reducing penalties for nonviolent offenses.

It’s not difficult to understand why. After all, violent crime was used by politicians for decades to rationalize “get tough” rhetoric, declarations of war, harsh mandatory minimum sentencing, and a prison-building boom unlike anything the world has ever seen. The tide has turned somewhat, but reformers are proceeding cautiously, reaching first for the low-hanging fruit.

To Read Full Article
Incarceration in America
The Inside Story
AOMI Workshop Reminder
This Saturday March 9, 2019
**FREE** This Saturday we will discuss the roots of racism and mass incarceration and how it intersects with other forms of oppression. We will also develop a basic anti-oppression framework especially for individuals interested in going into prison as a volunteer.
Freedom Project believes that a successful social movement needs collaboration between members working to break down oppressive systems from the inside and the outside. On the inside, Freedom Project presents Nonviolent Communication and mindfulness in prisons.
Copyright © 2019 Freedom Project, All rights reserved.


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