It Just Ain’t Right
This message of solidarity was sent by innocent Death Row inmate, Kevin Cooper, to a demonstration in support of women prisoners in Central California Women’s Facility. Some 400 supporters’ of women prisoner rights gathered at this Chowchilla Freedom Rally, held January 26. Jabari Shaw, a former prisoner in San Quentin State Prison, and a leader in the prisoners’ rights movement, delivered the message.
Everyone knows, or should know, that the United States of America is the world’s largest prison state. It imprisons more of its own citizens than any other nation on this earth. There is something about this fact that “Just Ain’t Right!”
This is especially true when it comes to this country’s majority citizens, its women. Women are the largest part of this country’s population, and are the fastest growing group of its imprisoned people. And, my Brothers and Sisters, this “Just Ain’t Right!”
Way back in the day, like in the 19th century, and who knows, maybe even before that, certain women decided to stand up and speak out for their human rights. They fought for women’s suffrage, as well as for equality. In doing so, these women paid a very high price. These women fighters often were brutalized, bloodied, beaten and outright murdered for taking the stance they took.
They did not make these sacrifices so that today’s women in the 21st century could be imprisoned as they currently are. That is not how they envisioned women’s equal rights. Nor did they expect for women to be forced to live in overcrowded prisons, suffering medical abuse and neglect, or subjected to all of the daily abuses that they currently face. They did not want for women to be placed on death row, and then, for what may be the first time in their entire life, to be treated equally as men by enduring the same execution rituals and be murdered by the state in the same way. No, this is not what they had in mind when they rose up to demand a better way of life. This historical oppression of women wasn’t right then, and it ain’t right now!
It is up to all of us for once and for all to help bring an end to the current plight of our sisters. We must help to bring about an end to their suffering. Because if we don’t do it, it won’t get done!
We all know that no matter what the people say who speak on behalf of this corrupt and broken-ass system of oppression, that these negative and life-threatening abuses of prisoners are illegal, immoral, inhumane and just ain’t right, no matter how one looks at it!
Historically speaking, all women have suffered, often in silence, often ignored. This fact is magnified by those women who are imprisoned. It’s time for their voices to be heard, and it’s up to all of us to make it happen. If we don’t, we can no longer blame the system, we will have to blame ourselves for not exposing these issues. If we let them down, we let ourselves down, and that “Just Ain’t Right!”