Project MI gets so much AMAZING content by our AWESOME Facebook group members, that we want to share the week in review with our members everywhere!
First, the prison for profit issue faced by our group in our efforts for reform is real. This article posted by Project MI’s Legal Professional Liaison, Attorney Corbin Carpenter, discusses the enormous rates that incarcerated persons must pay phone companies to speak to loved ones and even their attorneys. As Attorney Carpenter notes, “[t]he unnecessary, exceedingly high rates to  hear a loved ones voice and talk to them is despicable to say the least.” As noted in the article, “[a]nything which limits one’s opportunity to be better connected with family is cause for concern. I have had numerous cases where clients, especially indigent ones, were unable to talk to loved ones because they had no money on their accounts.”
Also, this week brought a healthy dose of local activism in Memphis over the demand for removal of confederate monuments. Pastor Earle Fisher’s article in the Tri-State Defender, Symbol’s Matter makes the point that activists can focus both on the symbolic issues involving racism, such as the monuments, AND the policies impacting fairness in the justice system. Pastor Fisher, along with activist Tami Sawyer, have been instrumental in the resistance of Memphis monuments glorifying the confederacy.
In the meantime, other social advocates fall on both sides with regards to whether pursuit of the confederate monuments is a good idea. However, as noted in the Facebook post in which the article featured, we must learn to support and respect the resistance and activism of others, even if it is not the exact way we would go about resolving the social issue ourselves. That is, we can do this work in our own ways, and yes, “we can walk and chew gum” as Pastor Fisher’s article notes. Additionally, MI supporter Ms. Sharolyn Payton made an excellent point on her live Facebook feed earlier this week, that we can all do this work in a way consistent with our own unique gifts. We need our protesters, our planners, our policy makers and everything in between. All of these efforts matter, and are necessary, because we let all of these things NOT matter for way too long!
Other articles involving local matters were posted this week, including this article discussing Memphis Mayor Strickland’s view on the role of racial politics on the question of confederate monuments. Also, a Shelby County jailer was relieved of duty after posting a meme containing the N-word on social media.
Several upcoming events were also posted, including Just City’s Trolley Night (tonight, 8/25 at 6pm), and an ACLU People Power event next Tuesday, August 29th at 6pm. And apparently, rap artists J. Cole and Common are to host a concert in Sacramento, CA to benefit criminal justice–what a great way to use star power!
Also, thanks to all that came out to our MI Justice League meeting on Monday 8/21. Although we did not get much coverage of our discussion on bias in the justice system, we learned a great deal from the brothers of the Nation of Islam who showed strong support on behalf of Minister Anthony Muhammad of the Muhammad Mosque 55. Thank you for your great showing of support of our mission! Additional thanks to MI supporter Suzanne Jackson for posting information about the NOI’s conflict resolution program, mentioned in the meeting.
Be educated, be active, be vigilant!