Sunday, April 19, 2015

We Support and Encourage Participation in Hightstown May Day (May 2) March for Workers and Immigrant Rights

Dear Colleagues of Unidad Latina En Accion Nueva Jersey,

We are contacting you to confirm the endorsement of the May 2 event in Hightstown you are coordinating entitled

Saturday, May 2, 2pm, Memorial Park, Main Street, Hightstown, NJ (by lakefront)

As one of our members Cynthia Flood states, “We must (some kind of way) get our people to understand WE MUST BE TOGETHER IN ALL THINGS HERE, BECAUSE, We live together in the Hoods of America being divided with stereotyping and systematic division, and have to walk pass each other every day...”

Our organization, Decarcerate the Garden State is dedicated to bringing about an end to the repressive system of mass incarceration in NJ and throughout the United States.  One aspect of mass incarceration of course is mass detention of immigrants who are accused of being undocumented by government authorities.

While the two issues are different in some ways they are also rooted in systemic injustices, they enrich similar and in some cases the same entities that provide the facilities or services to the facilities and they are motivated by lobbyists contributing to elected representatives to create laws that result in caging humans in corrections facilities or detention facilities.

Both mass incarceration and mass detention are used as a means to control oppressed communities and to prevent the kind of unity and struggle needed by oppressed sectors of the population to oppose their own oppression.  We look forward to opportunities for the communities that are targeted by these policies to explore links between these issues and a means to unify the struggles around these related topics.  We recognize our struggles as two related focuses in a common fight against systemic oppression.

The event invitation reads:

“We are pleased to invite you to our annual commemoration of International Worker’s Day on Saturday, May 2, 2015 starting at 2pm and the March at 4pm. We are organizing an artistic and cultural event at Memorial Park, which will also include a march around the Borough of Hightstown and a rally in the downtown area. At last year’s march we had over 250 participants attend! We are sure that this year, 2015, with your collaboration, together and organized, we will have even more and our demands will be heard.”

One aspect that drives mass incarceration is the extreme poverty, the lack of full employment and the super exploitation, inadequate wages, lack of full time opportunity with benefits for those jobs that are available.  Debts mount for working people – often debts to government agencies or for family support – and the indebtedness is defined as a crime that can result in ones imprisonment.  If there is no adequate job, the individual has a choice between possible incarceration for inability to pay or engaging in an aspect of the “alternative” economy that also carries the risk of punishment.  So the struggles for full employment, $15 minimum wage, full time opportunities with benefits is directly linked to the struggle against mass incarceration.  When people emerge from incarceration the first thing they want is employment.  When employment is not available and the debts continue to mount – that is when recidivism – a return to incarceration – often results.

Decarcerate the Garden State will work to publicize this event and urge our membership to attend.  We will place this letter at our blog site and forward and tweet it often.  You can let us know of any other measures you would like us to take and we can attempt to do additional work in that regard.

We would also be interested in exploring the opportunity to work with you on a possible discussion in Hightstown that explores the links between the issues of mass incarceration, mass detention, workers issues and the challenges in building a unified struggle.  Of course the timing of any such proposed event can occur after the important May 2 date since we understand your focus right now is on building the most successful event possible.

We look forward to continuing to work with you for justice, human rights, workers respect, an end to mass detention and oppression of the immigrant workers of NJ and the US and an end to mass incarceration.

In Solidarity,
Membership of Decarcerate the Garden State

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