What was a sad reality last night was the fact that the main point and topic of discussion in the Democratic Presidential debate last night on CNN was about Black Lives Matter and the effects of Mass Incarceration in the African-American community, and when I looked around at 99% of the black men in prison they were watching the Hip Hop awards on BET while paying no attention to the debate.
I look at the news and see all of the beautiful people of all ethnicities, black, white, brown, yellow, who are assertively pushing the Black Lives Matter and Mass Incarceration agendas protesting in the streets and on social media, and see how the brothers in here are not even concerned with these issues at all besides the fact that they stand a chance of being released earlier. President Obama and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan reinstated Pell Grants for prisoners to be able to pay for college credits and it was of little concern or importance to most prisoners that I know.
I write this because it saddens me to see so many people give so much of their lives to redressing the Prison Industrial Complex pandemic in our country but how many prisoners “really” are not invested into preparing themselves for a successful re-entry back into society. All of us who have loved ones incarcerated must continue to inform and remind them of the sacrifices that people in society are making to assure that they have an opportunity to not only return to society but to not be discriminated against for employment, housing, and education due their ex-felon status. We have to impress upon them that they have a responsibility to develop civic awareness and become committed to being returning citizens and not criminals.
Halim A. Flowers