• John & Vivett Dukes

The Sustaining Harmful Effects of Mass Incarceration on Black and Brown Communities

Natalie GH, a recent visitor to my FB page, wrote profoundly accompanying words alongside the following pic from my page that she shared on her FB page. 

The words she wrote were so powerful and the statistics she quoted were so impactful that I had to share them on this forum. All of us on this website have been touched by mass incarceration in some way, shape, or form. Our communities are being attacked on every side. The strategic stripping away of our men from our homes and our communities leaves WOC as sitting targets for physical, emotional, financial, and mental attacks. Black and Brown children are left with gapings holes in their hearts and minds that often go unaddressed. This pain often manifests itself in the form of low academic performance and disruptive high-risks behaviors like drug use, teenage sex, and gang activity. The sustaining harmful effects of mass incarceration are so grave in poor Black and Brown communities that beloved children's education program Sesame Street has recently introduced a character by the name of Alex, who has a father who is in prison. As I read this article, Sesame Street Creates a Character Whose Father Is In Prison, I couldn't help but notice how many things "Alex" expresses about how he feels having a parent who's in prison that my own daughter Alexis shared in her most recent blog post. Art imitates life in such an uncanny way.

As you read Natalie GH's truth, may your eyes be [further] opened to just how dire the need for prison advocacy and social activism efforts for an end to mass incarceration really are.

One in 3 Black men can expect to be imprisoned at least once in their lifetime. The stats are close to this for Indigenous American men, followed by Latino men. Over the years, the stats have gotten far worse for WOC as well. This is how they destroy our communities and keep a new system of slavery going that devastates families of color and keeps POC, especially Black American families, from being able to move forward, from ever knowing a healthy life, generation after generation. The impact is so severe that there is nearly no Black American not affected in some way by this. The odds and traumatic impact are even greater for Black families in working class/working poor hoods. Let's not forget that when Black men and women get a felony where white people who do the same crime don't, they are also stripped of voting rights, housing and welfare rights, the right to be part of a jury, and so on. And this is all only when POC are "lucky" enough not to be point blank murdered by police.

Still Speaking Our Truth,

Vivett and John


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