On September 14th, Decarcerate PA joined Tavis Smiley and Cornel West at Tenth Memorial Baptist Church along with others fighting against poverty, for food security, against foreclosures and more.
Sarah Morris from YASP, kicked off this section of the panel with a breakdown of the Decarcerate PA platform and the context of prison expansion in PA.
Josh Glenn also from YASP spoke of their work doing poetry workshops in the prison system as well some of the on the ground community realities of mass incarceration: "They're spending $685 million, this in just the State of PA to build 3 new prisons and expand 9 old facilities, but they cut $550 million from basic education. What does that tell you?"
Theresa Shoatz from the Human Rights Coalition spoke powerfully about the institutional torture of solitary confinement and attacks on her father because of his leadership and defiant voice. Theresa made a powerful case for the older generations to stay invested in the youth:
"We've got to be able to connect with our youth. Really it begins at an early age. As I've stated earlier, we have parents who were addicted to crack raising kids now, so we have to educate those kids. Whether it be through the arts, through music, we've really got to take the time out. I didn't think I had time to raise more kids. How many of us say my son will be 18, they're out of here, but they're never out of your life. So you do have to try and take a stand and work with our youth!.. Black folks have never gotten anything by saying: "Oh we gonna give yall something", we had to fight for everything that we had got, so you've got to fight to save your communities!"
More info on the poverty Tour at povertytour.smileyandwest.com
Pic courtesy of Jeff Rousette