Posted on July 3, 2017 by Victoria Tiedemann

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” – Abraham Lincoln, letter to H.L. Pierce, Apr. 6, 1859
There is an estimated 57,700 people in slavery in the US, today.  While that is only 0.02% of our population, that is still 57,700 people too many.
When the Declaration of Independence was signed, the 13 colonies still had slavery legalized!  There were 697,681 slaves, accounting for 17% of the population. We know that the numbers of states and slaves grew.  Then the Civil War took place.
We have talked a lot about modern-day slavery here, but it is time to bring up a documentary called 13th that we highly recommend you see.   After the Emancipation Proclamation was put forth, many white people tried to find ways to still control those who were formerly slaves.  The 13th amendment made a loophole to keep those with African blood in a new form of slavery: incarceration.
Many former slaves, including young boys, were made to work hard labor if they were caught for petty crimes.  This does still continue today, especially if the black man is poor.
There are 2.2 million people in prisons in the US, today.  We have the largest prison inmate count in the world.  1 in every 3 black men has a likelihood of being put into prison today, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
30% of the US population is black, while 60% of those in prison are black.
According to the Sentencing Project, 58% of black youths are moved from juvenile detention to adult prisons.
While some people claim that many are in prison because they did wrong and deserve to be there, they often have not researched why certain people are in and if it is really reasonable for them to be in for the length of time that they are given to be there.  Today, inmates are given 15-40 cents an hour for hard labor jobs, which doesn’t seem too different from how low of pay slaves on plantations may have received pre-Civil War period who were oppressed.
Once these inmates are let out of jail, they also have low and unfair opportunities for making good jobs or to reestablish themselves into society, causing the cycle to continue; often as we see it in our human trafficking research that we have shared with you.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” ― Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail
Is this really the land of the free?



2 thoughts on “Freedom? Are we really living in the Land of the Free?

  1. Another point as food for thought, with all the background checks for regular everyday jobs i.e. office jobs – it makes it even harder for former inmates to get jobs. It begs the questions, when is someone’s debt to society paid? And was the length or process even fair in the first place?
    Also, justice is very class oriented. Your defense is as good as your dollar can carry you. And unfortunately if you are financially strapped, a quality defense may not happen for you.
    Lastly, a few key questions need to be asked. 1.) How do we level the playing field for low income individuals 2.) How do we revisit permanent solutions to race and class bias to eliminate unjust incarcerations?
    Speaking out is good, but taking an affirmative legislative role by holding public servants accountable is better . And then the laws have to be enforced. Just suggestions to think about.
    This as a very informative article. It is a subject not discussed enough.

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