Monday Update on efforts launch in direct action in October to Stop “Stop & Frisk"

After a strategic session in July 2011, "Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That Network" mobilized @Riverside Church commemoration of "Attica" took to the streets in Harlem Sunday September 18th, marching to Stop "Stop & Frisk" as a first step to their purpose: to initiate an effort to accelerate the movement to stop the injustice of mass incarceration and police brutality; and the racially biased policies and practices of the police, the courts and the U.S. legal system; and to support prisoners’ human rights, and of the formerly incarcerated. We call on all to join us.

Here is a report back from the Harlem parade...

Carl Dix & Cornel West
Carl Dix & Cornel West
Monday, September 19, 2011

Dear Friend:

The effort to launch direct action in October to Stop “Stop & Frisk” is on! Yesterday at the African-American Day Parade in Harlem , a few us distributed more than 4,000 copies of the Call for this action. The Call was welcomed by many, many people. We have to thank District Council 37 (a trade union organization) for inviting us to march in their contingent. On Saturday, I spoke to a college class about Stopping “Stop & Frisk,” and 26 out of 31 students put their contact info on our sign up sheets. Also over the weekend, a few people added their names to Cornel West’s and mine as issuers of the Call. They were Herb Boyd, the author and journalist based in Harlem; Efia Nwangaza of the Malcolm X Center in Greenville, S.C.; and Rev. Omar Wilkes from Brooklyn, N.Y. All this is good, and there is a lot more to be done to make this an effort that no one can ignore. We need your involvement to make it possible to do that.

The next major event we need to get fliers out at is Think Outside the Cell—a conference being held at Riverside Church on Saturday, September 24th, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Michelle Alexander and others will be speaking there. This event should attract hundreds of people who are concerned about criminal justice issues, and we have to blanket it with fliers on the Day of Stopping “Stop & Frisk.” Come out and be a part of doing that. If you know of other events that need to be flyered, either let us know, or get fliers and get your own crew together to and make sure it gets flyered.

We have produced materials that need to be spread everywhere. There’s the Call for the action. I just did a video on it that is up on YouTube. (Click here to watch it..)..

I need all of you all to watch it, tell me what you think about it, and send the link to everyone you know. And ask them to watch it, tell us what they think about it and send the link to everyone they know. We also have a letter asking college professors and high school teachers to bring someone into their classes to talk about Stopping “Stop & Frisk.” If you know any teachers, get this letter to them and ask them to invite us into their classes. We also have a letter calling on organizations and individuals like professors, lawyers, social workers, doctors. actors, authors, and others to get involved in this effort in any way they can. They can add their names to the Call, help spread the word on it, come out on the day of Stopping “Stop & Frisk,” give money to help produce literature and other materials and more. (We should soon have tax exempt status for this effort, which means people can make tax-deductible contributions to this effort. We’ll let you know when that happens and send suggestions on how we can make use of this.) You can get copies of these letters from the Network to Stop Mass Incarceration" web site. Or write us and we can send you a master copy of them.

You can get involved in other ways. We need to reach as many professors as we can. ... If you can help with that, contact us. Or if you want copies of the letter so you can do that on your own, let us know and we’ll see to it that you get copies.) We need to email it to all the professors we can contact. (This is something you could do from a computer at home or even at the library.) If anyone can help with that, let us know.

...And if you have any other ideas for what we should be doing to Stop “Stop & Frisk,” please let us know.

Carl Dix
"Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That!" Network

Our View and Understanding
2.4 million‐plus people are locked up in prisons across the US — that’s more than any other country in the world! Most of those incarcerated are Black or Latin. Fact: One in every eight Black men in their twenties is in prison or jail on any given day. These numbers should shock the conscience of the nation. But too many do not question racially targeted mass incarceration because the authorities justify it as effective in stopping crime. This is simply not true; black people are incarcerated at many times the rate of white people despite similar rates for committing offenses. This racially targeted mass incarceration results from whole generations of inner city youth being criminalized; of poor communities being saddled with substandard schools that fail to educate our youth; and from the disappearance of employment opportunities in inner cities and rural areas.

Those in prison are often subjected to conditions that amount to torture — substandard diets, segregated and brutalized on the whim of prison guards, often confined to cells 24‐7 and denied human contact for weeks at a time. These conditions are so horrible that thousands of prisoners in California recently went on hunger strike, putting their lives on the line to assert their humanity and demand decent treatment. On top of all this, after people serve their sentences, our society stamps them with a badge of dishonor and shame, discriminating against them when they seek employment, denying them access to public housing and government loans and even the right to vote!

We Are Better Than That! Network” is initiating an effort to accelerate the movement to stop this injustice, and we call on you to join us.

Mass incarceration is a system of social control targeting especially Black and Latino youth that has been aptly called "the New Jim Crow". Many different forces are doing important things to expose the injustice of mass incarceration. But an important ingredient has been missing from this mix. It took dramatic mass resistance to rivet the attention of society on the old Jim Crow — racial segregation and the lynch mob terror that enforced it. And it will take the same kind
of determined mass resistance to stop the New Jim Crow!

In the days leading up to the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, our Network will unleash powerful resistance targeting mass incarceration and the consequences it enforces on millions of people in this country. For example, in New York City a ‘Day of Stop‐“Stop & Frisk”’ is planned. In the week before October 22nd, a neighborhood heavily impacted by the illegal, unconstitutional
Stop & Frisk policy of the NYPD will be flooded with people from different backgrounds standing together to declare: ‘No One’s Rights Will Be Violated Today!’ In other areas, our Network will target gang injunctions, do actions around conditions in prison and other ways
mass incarceration comes down on the people.

If you feel mass incarceration is an outrage: if you think young people should not be treated like criminals because they are Black or Latino; if you think people shouldn’t be subjected to torture because they’re in prison; if you think former prisoners shouldn’t be forced to wear badges of shame and dishonor — join us. We must no longer allow this injustice to be perpetrated in our names — WE’RE BETTER THAN THAT!

Contact us and strategize together with us to figure out how to unleash dramatic mass resistance against this injustice. Bring someone from the network to speak at your school; your church, mosque or synagogue; or in your community. Get connected to resistance being
planned in your area. If there is nothing planned in your area, plan something.

We don’t have to accept this as the way things have to be. All this is the result of conscious policies put in place by those at the very top of this society. We can and must rip aside the cloak of "post‐racial America" and reveal the ugly reality that lies beneath.


September 15, 2011

Stop Mass Incarceration: We're Better Than That! Network
c/o P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station
New York City, New York 10002-0900/USA

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