This morning I had a weird conversation with a priest about my role as a community organizer with PACT and whether our methods of organizing are effective. He feels that we are much like “false prophets,” functioning as societal agitators who soften legislation rather than fixing the real problem, the broken family. In that conversation he called out Black Lives Matter, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc… for not doing enough. He has visible anger about living in an area of Miami Gardens where he goes to bed hearing gun shots. Visible anger after a black man was gunned down near his church and nothing was mentioned on the news. Visible anger about the fate of black men in our country. However, much of it was directed at black men for killing each other. That is also a problem, a devastating problem that angers me. But our criminal justice system is corrupt, and black men are killed by police officers before they even get a chance to be “judged” and those who are judged find themselves facing a broken criminal justice system. Eric Holder told VICE that our system is broken, that the war on drugs failed. A former Sergeant said our system is broken, that the war on drugs failed. A federal judge said our system is broken, that the war on drugs failed. Our president said the system is broken. The conversation should not be about whether we are softening laws–these laws are broken, they are biased.
There needs to be real anger about our broken legislative system. There needs to be anger about the 1.1 million fathers who may have actually committed non-violent drug crimes but are now serving 30, 40 years or life in prison. There needs to be real anger about the fact that America houses more inmates than any other country. There needs to be real anger about the correlation between young black and latino males being suspended out of school and prison sentences.
We have to fix this broken Criminal Justice System. We have to break the cycle. Yes, we need to have serious conversation about how to repair cities like Chicago and Miami Gardens where a gun has taken the place of a compassionate conversation between two black men, but we MUST fix this broken system and its backwards legislation.