Stopping 'Pipeline to Prison' Rally March 29
3/26/2013, 1:03 p.m.
"Stopping the Pipeline to Prison and Ending the Prison Industrial Complex Through Education, Jobs and Justice," is the theme of the Friday, March 29 "Silent March and Call to Action," designed to increase national awareness of the disproportionate rates of arrests and incarceration of African Americans.
Led by the historic Metropolitan AME Church (MAMEC) and its Mighty Men of Metropolitan, in partnership with the NAACP-DC, the Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO, and others, the Silent March is a passionate plea to build coalitions across the nation to put an end to the "Pipeline to Prison" and violence that plagues African American communities.
"African Americans are being imprisoned at four times the rate of other American citizens, largely because of a lucrative 'pipeline to prison system' fueled by a voracious multi-billion dollar 'prison-industrial' complex, and a biased criminal justice system that singles out African American people for prosecution," said the Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, MAMEC senior pastor.
The one-mile march begins at 1 p.m., from MAMEC where it will proceed to Freedom Plaza in downtown D.C. The march will also take place during a time when many Christians around the world will celebrate Good Friday, symbolizing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
A March 25 press conference was held at MAMEC to announce the event.
In addition to Braxton, other participants included Michael Eric Dyson (author, radio host and professor of sociology at Georgetown University) and Courtney Stewart, chairman, "The Reentry Network for Returning Citizens."
"The community needs to see the faces of those who are most affected, have been targeted and disenfranchised as a result of the school to prison pipeline," said Stewart. "Ex-offenders] don't have any money, we don't make laws, we don't control the media and many of us can't vote therefore are eliminated from the political process...so it is up to our faith leaders to support us and send a message to the public and city officials."
Dyson added that, subjecting people to the 'life sentence' of a criminal record in order to fill prisons and feed a greedy prison industry has earned America a 'gold medal.
"We're number one in the number of people we put into prison," said Dyson. "This 'cradle to prison' mentality assaults our humanity and is a shame to us as a people and as a nation."