Blog

Why I Fight

[T]he slave went free; stood for a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.

-W.E.B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America

It is truly a shame that we live in society during an era when for many people of color, prison, is a right of passage. Many do not understand this. Just like many do not understand how Africans were brought to America and stripped of their culture, religion, the essence of who they were before American and made into Negroes. This is not the article to talk about the horrors of slavery and why it was so lucrative that even after it was semi-abolished [See 13th Amendment, Section 1, US Constitution & Oregon Constitution, Paragraph 1. Section 34, Article I] it was kept around through Jim Crow, mass incarceration, and convict leasing. What I want to briefly talk about is why I feel the need to fight against slavery and oppression in all forms.

Many have stumbled across the racial divide trying to find some sort of peace. Unfortunately, in this country oppression, particularly slavery, has never been Black and white. It has always been about economics. Enlightened individuals have understood this concept. Martin Luther King. Malcolm X, towards the end of his life. Hewey Newton, and many others. Freedom must come for one and all or it will not come at all. This concept, these ideas must be promulgated, particularly in a democratic society. Democracy is an advanced system that requires contemplation as well as participation. Consequently, there must be those on the front lines willing to peacefully struggle for their beliefs; to talk with any and everyone, especially those who do not believe as they do. There have been many examples of this, the most recent and successful being Stacy Abrams in Georgia.

I grew up in the Bay Area surrounded by Panthers. I would go with my grandmother volunteering at the voting polls and helping to register individuals to vote when I was seven years old. I learned early on that if anybody is oppressed, then we all are oppressed. If ICE is harassing my brown sisters and brothers, ICE is harassing us all. If Big Pharma is oppressing my white sisters and brothers in Appalachia, then Big Pharma is oppressing us all. If my Native sisters and brothers are standing up because of No DAPL land & water issues, then we all need to stand up. If a situation like Stonewall can happen and then be duplicated (at least publicly) three decades later, then nobody in the LGBT community is safe. This is why in this day of mass incarceration, neo-slavery, we all are slaves. It is a matter of coming together where we all intersect so that we all can be free. Otherwise, none of us will be free.

Prison is a contemporary creation, a new evolution of thought. Punishment for criminal transgressions in past societies was banishment, corporal, or death. Is slavery a natural evolution from this? Or are we better than this? I believe we are better than this. I believe in the affinity of the human being. We have an obligation to each other. To the
other.

In this time of mass incarceration where the crime does not meet the time and economics definitely plays a part in the bottom line of policing & corrections, Oregonians Against Slavery and Involuntary Servitude is a natural evolution of thought and evolution of action. I have to struggle. It is who I am, for better or for worse. I have no other choice until we all are free.