When I first embarked on this journey people would ask me, “why as a preacher are you passionate to fight youth prisons and close Jamesburg?”
First regarding the very concept of youth prison as a preacher from the Christian tradition I must be led by the first public sermon Jesus preached
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor!
Second Jamesburg is symbolic
IT IS SYMBOLIC OF THE DANGERS OF MASS INCARCERATION,
THE NEW SLAVE ECONOMY OF THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
AND THE INHERENT WICKEDNESS OF THE SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE!
It is symbolic of a lie which perpetuates the myth that black kids are inherently criminal. It is symbolic of an entire system that seeks treatment, care and residential facilities for troubled white children but retribution, prison bars and a $200,000 per year per child cyclical revenue source on the backs of troubled black kids. Simply put Youth prisons in NJ profit off the shackling of young black bodies and the time for abolition is now!
We reject the lie that our kids are unredeemable!
We reject the lie that the kids in Jamesburg or Hayes should be judged by the worst thing they’ve ever done rather than the best person they can ever be!
We reject the lie that white kids can be rehabilitated but black kids can’t be saved!
We reject the lie that any child is beyond the reach of God’s grace!
We challenge social justice organizations throughout the state to stand on the side of justice and not fall under the pressure of whisper campaigns and special interests.
We challenge everyone who cares about children to reimagine how can WORK TOGETHER to stop draining $200,000 per year per child out of our kids and start pouring $200,000 per year per child into our kids!
It’s time to stop using Black children to feed the prison economy and start using those same dollars to invest in their mental, spiritual, behavioral and educational economy
BECAUSE TRUTH BE TOLD 150 YEARS IS ENOUGH
150 years is enough of targeting black children!
150 years is enough of sitting on the side lines hoping the problems go away
150 years is enough of Destroying black communities to underwrite personal financial interests
150 years is enough of targeting black children of putting personal agendas before our babies
150 years is enough of fighting harder to keep prisons open than we fight to open the doors of opportunity
150 YEARS IS ENOUGH