March 27, 2013
Nancy C. Harvin
Janis D. Hazel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Historic Metropolitan AME Church Leads Local and National Effort to Stop “Death Nails” of Prison-Industrial Complex, Unemployment, and Indifference Killing Black Families
(WASHINGTON) “Stopping the Pipeline to Prison and Ending the Prison Industrial Complex
Through Education, Jobs and Justice,” is the aim of a Good Friday Silent March and Call to Action on Friday, March 29 at 1 p.m. Led by historic Metropolitan A.M.E. Church (MAMEC) in coalition with over 40 local and national partners, the marchers will gather at the church, 1518 M Sts. NW, and walk silently to Freedom Plaza, 14th and Pennsylvania Ave. NW, the site for a rally. As a symbolic gesture of Good Friday, participants will carry crosses. More than 2,000 supporters are expected to participate in the event which is designed to increase national awareness and action around the disproportionate rates of arrests and incarceration of African Americans, and to stimulate urgency for ending increasing gun violence which daily claims the lives of Black men and women in the nation.
“African Americans are being imprisoned at four times the rate of other American citizens, largely because of a lucrative ‘pipeline to prison system’ fueled by a voracious multi-billion dollar ‘prison-industrial’ complex, and a biased criminal justice system that singles out African American people for prosecution,” says the Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Braxton, senior pastor of the l75-year-old church in Washington, DC. Braxton sees these ills as “death nails” in the nation’s black communities and a parallel to the crucifixion of Jesus.
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, keynote speaker at the Freedom Park rally, adds: “I’m here to show solidarity with all folk of color and others who have been ensnared in a prison system which is hungry for profits while eating poor people’s bodies’ whole. I am marching and speaking on behalf of the millions who are racially profiled, inappropriately stopped and frisked, unjustly detained, and disproportionately incarcerated. The pipeline must be clogged, disabled and destroyed.”
Led by the Mighty Men of Metropolitan, the Stop the Pipeline to Prison Partners include the NAACP-DC, Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO, 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, DC, a number of local elected officials from the District, Maryland and Virginia; the Council of Churches, and many others. ”We must organize ourselves, step up to the plate and do our part to reclaim our young people, educate our children about the collateral consequences of arrest and prison records, restore our broken family structures and values, and put an end to this vicious cycle that is destroying our communities,” says Rev. Braxton. “We must also do all we can to support gun legislation which will help stem the tide of weapons that are taking precious lives away from us much too soon.”
“Stop the Pipeline to Prison and End Gun Violence” Partners to Date Include:
Rt. Rev. William Phillips DeVeaux, Sr., Presiding Bishop, 2nd A.M.E. District
The Honorable Rodney Slater, Former Secretary of Transportation (President William J. Clinton)
Ernest Green, Member, Little Rock Nine
Councilmember Yvette Alexander, Washington, D.C.
Councilmember Anita Bonds, Washington, D.C.
Councilmember Muriel Bowser, Washington, D. C.
Councilmember John Chapman, City of Alexandra, VA
Councilmember Henri Gardner, City of Bowie, MD
Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, Washington, D.C.
Councilmember Vincent Orange, Washington, D.C.
Councilmember Obie Patterson, Prince George’s County, MD
Councilmember Ingrid Turner, Prince George’s County, MD
State Senator Douglas Peters, MD
100 Black Men of Greater Washington, D.C.
Lennox Abrigo, National Action Network-DC
Denise Rolark Barnes, TheWashington Informer
Roach Brown, Inner Voices/Host, “Crossroads,” WPFW
Ronald Daniels, Institute of the Black World 21st Century
King Downing, Esq., Human Rights/Racial Justice Center (NY)
Eddie Ferrer, D.C. Lawyers for Youth
Gary Flowers, Black Leadership Forum
Donald Freeman, Community Research, Inc.
Kymone Freeman, WPWC, We Act Radio
Dr. Sylvia Hill, Urban Affairs, Social Science & Social Work, Criminal Justice Program, Director/Professor
Robyn Holden/Carol Tyson, host/producer, “Robyn’s Place”, WPFW
Shirley Jones, Esq., Blacks in Government Region XI
Tony Jones, National Bar Association
Tony Lewis , Community Activist
Tiffany Loftin, U.S. Students Association
Rev. Courtnay Miller, Pastor, Norbeck Community Church (MD)
Ron Moten, Former CEO, Peaceaholics
Rev. Anthony Motley, Council of Churches of Greater Washington
Tyrone Parker, Alliance of Concerned Men
Anthony Paulk, Youth Detention Center Office, Laurel, MD
Debra Rowe, Returning Citizens United
Courtney Stewart, The Reentry Network for Returning Citizens
Akosua Tyus/Douglas Sloan, NAACP-DC Chapter
National Bar Association
National Black Law Students Association
William Shelton, Second Chance to Vote
Nkechi Taifa, Esq., Legacy Empowerment
Charles Tate, Booker T. Washington Foundation
United Black Community
University Legal Services
Josh Williams, Metropolitan Washington AFL-CIO
April Johnson, Georgetown Black Law Students Association
Yango, Movement for Love and Unity