By Rick Ayers | Medium
A book review of Ronald Kitchen’s memoir, My Midnight Years: Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row (written with Thai Jones and Logan McBride). 2018. Chicago Review Press.
Ronald Kitchen’s memoir, My Midnight Years: Surviving Jon Burge’s Police Torture Ring and Death Row, proceeds with the relentless rhythm of a horror story. You know what you’re getting into from the beginning — you expect a range of jolts and shocks along the way — and yet there’s an unanticipated surprise in Kitchen’s descent into the dungeons and catacombs of our vast prison system: the real horror is all of us. The peculiarly American gulag rides along on our willful blindness, manufactured ignorance, and passive participation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWK9m2Tfr8w A new campaign called Say Her Name addresses the lack of accountability for the deaths of black women and girls—and puts faces and names to the black and brown women whose lives have been cut short. But what do the survivors and families of victims have to say about the realities of policing black and brown communities?
By Phil Hartsfield | co-published by Praxis Center and Truthout
About 7:45 am on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, I muster the energy to get out of bed and walk the step to the sink from the bottom bunk and I hear it. Clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk, clunk. “Shit!” I say to myself as my cellmate and I look at each other wide-eyed. We know that sound anywhere. That’s three-foot-long, two-inch diameter solid wood batons hitting the steel bars as “Orange Crush” runs down the gallery clunking every bar along the way as they yell. Though it’s not our cell house, it’s E House right behind us. We’re able to hear them through the utility alley that the cell houses share behind the cells. They’re making their rounds due to an unauthorized pair of headphones found during a cell search in another cell house.
By Scholars for Social Justice
We, Scholars for Social Justice (SSJ) express our outrage over the political assassination of Marielle Franco and Anderson Pedro Gomes, both killed on March 14, 2018 with bullets proven to belong to Brazil’s Military Police. The loss of Marielle Franco is a singular, immense and painful loss for her family, for the black community and for those interested in social justice in Brazil, and around the world. It is also a solemn reminder of the systemic nature of anti-black state violence and genocide.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIhy8cs_cPU New York City has more than 5,000 police officers patrolling the city’s schools—that’s more than the combined number of school guidance counselors and social workers. What happens when students are arrested in the classroom? We look at what many experts call the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Democracynow.org – Democracy Now!, is an independent global news hour that airs weekdays on 1,300+ TV and radio stations Monday through Friday. Watch our livestream 8-9am ET: http://democracynow.org
By Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura, and Rick Ayers
In “You Can’t Fire the Bad Ones“: And 18 Other Myths about Teachers, educators Bill Ayers, Crystal Laura and Rick Ayers flip the script on many enduring and popular myths about teachers, teachers’ unions, and education that permeate our culture. By unpacking these myths, the authors aim to challenge readers to rethink their assumptions about teachers. Praxis Center shares an excerpt from Myth 16: Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.
“Teachers Are Unable to Deal Adequately with the Disciplinary Challenges Posed By Today’s Youth, and We Need More Police in Our Public School Buildings to Do the Job and Maintain Law and Order.”
Public schools are plagued by gangs and ﬁghting, assault and battery, drug dealing, and other criminal behavior, including, in extreme instances, actual shoot-outs between students. All of these hard realities demand an active and alert police presence to maintain safety, order, and discipline.
Schools must be safe havens for all kids, as well as for all school personnel. The good kids who want to learn and feel secure must be shielded from the actions of a minority of bad kids who get no discipline at home and have no respect for their classmates, the teacher, or learning itself. Suspending kids for bad behavior and sending them home may have made sense decades ago, but it’s no longer an adequate control: too often parents don’t believe in strong management and probably aren’t home anyway because the mother may be working two jobs, and in many cases the father isn’t home because he has left or is in prison.
Illinois Deaths in Custody Project
“Those who commit the murders write the reports.” — Ida B. Wells, Lynch Law In All Its Phases, 1893
In 2017, at least twenty-two people died at Chicago’s Cook County Jail (CCJ). This news is not readily available. Rather, multiple Freedom of Information (FOI) Requests filed by the Illinois Deaths in Custody Project (IDCP) with Cook County entities to confirm names and glean a few more institutionally produced “facts” produced the following: Clifford V. Nelson, 49, died while being transferred; Lopez House, 47, collapsed and died at the jail; Lindbert McIntosh, 57, died in his sleep; Jerome Monroe, 56, also died in his sleep at CCJ. By November of 2017, a few of these deaths, somewhat surprisingly, began to make local news.
Yet, the deaths are not actually that surprising. Death is business as usual in our nation’s prisons and jails.