Prisons and Policing

April 2013 pro-immigration protest at US Capitol. (Source:

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up.

G. K. Chesterton

In 1949, a delegation of Native Americans went to Capitol Hill to discuss their conditions with lawmakers. After meeting with Vice President Alben Barkley, the Sioux leader Chief Ben American Horse said to the Barkley, "Be careful with your immigration policies; we were careless with ours."

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The notion of the scary, criminalized black man who couldn’t walk with impunity in white people’s neighborhoods did not begin with Trayvon Martin. It didn’t begin with young Emett Till pulverized by grown white men for whistling at a white woman. It went before scary black Nat Turner left the plantation and dared to defend himself against slavery. I cannot think of a time that the white man was not afraid of this proud African man as he terrorized him and his family in unspeakable ways to bend his mind and body into submission. When he stole, not only his freedom, but his right to be a member of the human race.

Saturday, July 20 rally to “end the senseless violence, to demand justice for Trayvon Martin, to focus on healing, to honor the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and to seek a brighter tomorrow.”  Photo by Bill Hughes.

Street journalist, Bill Hughes, covers three actions this week: the "March For Justice" on Saturday, the fair development demonstration on Wednesday, and the "Flush the TPP" action on Tuesday.

Joe Burbank/Getty Images: George Zimmerman, right, talks with attorney Don West during a recess in his trial.

If you have a black friend, can you be a racist? Or as white anti-racist lecturer Tim Weis offered, if you are married to a woman, can you be a sexist? The answer is a resounding, yes. That is not just the conjecture of liberal-minded, loopy thinking “race baiters”. That is the finding of sober and scientific study.

Photo by Bill Hughes.

On Sunday morning, July 14, 2013, a press conference was held in response to the “not guilty” verdict in the controversial George Zimmerman case. He was charged with the murder of an unarmed, seventeen-year-old, Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, which occurred on Feb. 26, 2012. McKeldin Square in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore was the site of the press conference. Representatives from the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC Baltimore) shared their views on the case and their plans for “future protests.” Speaking on camera are The Rev. Cortly C.D. Witherspoon, Sharon Black, Lee Patterson and Steven Ceci.

Protesters gathered in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C. to protest the verdict in the Florida trial of George Zimmerman. Photo by Allie Morris/PBS NewsHour

This is a day not only to mourn Trayvon Martin, but justice in America, as well. George Zimmerman was not the only one on trial. America was on trial in that southern courtroom. The black hoodie made famous by Trayvon’s supporters, becomes a shroud because justice was buried in that “not guilty” verdict. Even the shiny words of a black president, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin” could not uphold the fantasy of a “post-racial” America in this Jim Crow flashback.

Photo by Bill Hughes.

One of Baltimore's best street journalists, Bill Hughes, covered two actions from last week. On Tuesday, July 2nd, a demonstration was held at the Social Security Headquarters in Woodlawn, where activists spoke out against proposed cuts to Social Security benefits. On Friday, July 5, hundreds of Baltimore males march against violence on North Avenue.

Trayvon Martin In Post Racial America by vagabond ©

This sick American behemoth, pronounced post-racial by the Roberts Court, can’t lick its addiction to feeding our jails with young black males while at the same time enriching the coffers of the prison industrial complex. The Trayvon Martin Case is just the shiny tip of a very large iceberg that has caught the attention of the media, political activists, and everyday Americans, but this case is by no means unique.

Photo By: Sarah Liz Perrich. You can follow her blog about current life in Turkey (including the Turkish uprisings) here:

A little over a year ago, I found myself sitting in a newly-opened kitchen-café space in the Petralona area of Athens, sharing reflections on Occupy Wall Street with Greeks from the neighborhood's Popular Assembly. Popular Assemblies sprang up all across the city during the 2008 uprising sparked by the police murder of 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

Gezi Park Protests. Photo By: Sarah Liz Perrich

Koş means run in Turkish. When you hear it while you're behind a barricade, you do not ask questions, you run. This is the best way to avoid physical harm, whether from a gas cannister intentionally aimed at the head or trampling.


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