This program is proving to be increasingly valuable to me with every meeting. I feel honored to surround myself with people who are willing to have real and relevant discussions about shaping the world around us with regards to prisons and prison culture. It is facilitated by people who are experienced, who are knowledgeable, and are honest.
We talk about the world not as we wish it to be, as we are told it is, but how we see it. We are learning the systems, as intricate and entangled as they may be, inside and out. We began this discussion going back to the end of slavery, when Black lives were heavily policed because there were no longer overseers to do so. We relate these to immigration laws, the war on drugs, the heavy policing of the LGTBQ community and how these are all the same yet different.
We begin to create an understanding around language and association as well and the way that language affects the world we live in. For example, in Ferguson this past fall, the media used the words riot and protest interchangeably, therefore they could rationalize using tear gas and rubber bullets on civilians in their own community.
Our conversations are frank and overwhelming at times but the entire experience is unique. I enjoy coming every other Saturday. I rarely leave feeling more joyful than when I came, yet I am always more optimistic.