Free From Jail, Imprisoned by Debt

This opinion piece by Libero Della Piana was written for OtherWords and appeared in Truthout. At 36, Marcus White has spent half of his life in prison. Today he’s no longer behind bars, but now he’s imprisoned by something else: debt. When White was sentenced, he was saddled with $5,800 in criminal fines and fees.Continue reading “Free From Jail, Imprisoned by Debt”

Racism on Campus is Nothing New. A Sustained Anti-Racist Campus Movement Would Be.

As a first-year student at Brown University I was detained for trespassing by campus security. In my own dorm.  In sock feet. You see, I left my dorm room to go to the bathroom and didn’t bring my college ID along. I guess I should have known better. As a black student it was alwaysContinue reading “Racism on Campus is Nothing New. A Sustained Anti-Racist Campus Movement Would Be.”

#BlackLivesMatter. #UnitedWeFight.

Saturday, a group of ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ activists protested at a Seattle public event to celebrate decades of Social Security and Medicare. Our affiliate organization, Washington Community Action Network! was a cosponsor of the event. The event featured U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders. Sen. Sanders was unable to speak to the crowd because of the protest. The issuesContinue reading “#BlackLivesMatter. #UnitedWeFight.”

Banning Racial Profiling is Long Overdue

It didn’t get much media attention, but the U.S. Congress banned the use of federal funds for racial profiling last week by voice vote. This adds to the existing federal rules which ban federal law enforcement agencies and joint task forces from racial profiling (excluding airport security. We have our eye on you TSA!). OfContinue reading “Banning Racial Profiling is Long Overdue”

20 Years Later, Can We Finally End Excessive Policing?

The movement against police violence — a movement perhaps best summed up by the slogan Black Lives Matter — is at a turning point. Of course, police abuse of power is as old as policing itself. Racist and disproportionate police misconduct, and violence targeted at communities of color, is just as lasting. But it seemsContinue reading “20 Years Later, Can We Finally End Excessive Policing?”

Ferguson Mandate: Time to Change Police Policies and Practices

The Ferguson grand jury has announced its decision in the killing of Michael Brown. The Alliance for a Just Society joins with millions of people who are outraged and incredulous that no indictment was made of officer Darren Wilson for killing the unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. An indictment is notContinue reading “Ferguson Mandate: Time to Change Police Policies and Practices”

Ferguson October Draws a Rainbow of Solidarity

In the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, the case of Dred Scott was first heard in 1847. Dred Scott and his family sued for freedom from their slave owner on the grounds that they had been removed from a “slave state” and brought to U.S. territories in which slavery was illegal. The caseContinue reading “Ferguson October Draws a Rainbow of Solidarity”

Ebola Should Remind Us of Our Values and Priorities

After months of being ignored by much of the mainstream media and U.S. government, the ebola epidemic in West Africa has become headline news. The reason is that a traveler from Liberia—one of the West African countries most severely impacted by the outbreak of the disease—came to Dallas, TX infected with ebola. The deaths ofContinue reading “Ebola Should Remind Us of Our Values and Priorities”

Arrested for Standing on a Sidewalk

It’s a familiar scene. One parent takes their children into a restaurant to use the restroom while the other parent waits outside. It’s been done by many of us — as parents, aunties, uncles, siblings. When kids have to go, they have to go. But on July 19 this year, this simple and innocent scenarioContinue reading “Arrested for Standing on a Sidewalk”