Courtesy: Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons
This Tuesday, I climbed the vast hill behind Landis Green and wandered into the lighthouse that is the Westcott building. It’s safe to say my journey was not without companions: lines and lines of vibrant youth bustled outside of Westcott, wrapped around Williams and down past the always open Sweet Shop, all waiting to sit and listen to the magnificent Angela Davis. I was one of the first people in line.
Angela Davis was dressed against the Tallahassee cool in a warm green scarf as her message about social justice and reform was delivered to an engaging and animated crowd. For a large part of her lecture, she mentioned the recent Florida Prison Strike: Operation Push and encouraged us to support and rally behind the prisoners.
Operation Push emerges from Miami where prisoners are taking a stand against unfair labor conditions and price gouging by refusing to work, clean or cook for 30 days. The prisoners have organized and released several statements expressing their intentions and organizations have rushed to stand in solidarity with the prisoners.
The prisoners have called for Americans to wake up to the mistreatment of prisoners, the overpopulation of prisons, the systemic ways minorities are subjected to lengthy prison sentences, the rape and abuse by guards, the abhorrently low pay and the expensive basic needs items that are held in the commissary.
The goal of Operation Push is to grab the attention of Governor Rick Scott and get him to listen. The prisoners want to act nonviolently and create change by hurting the pockets of the prison system. According to the prisoners, “This will cause a total breakdown.”
Here in Tallahassee, efforts to secure better prison conditions have already begun with a protest that took place outside of the Florida Department of Corrections on January 17. The protest focused on the slave-like treatment of prisoners and the push to reinstate parole in the state of Florida. If you would like to be an agent of change in this movement, share their story and show support to #OperationPush.
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