Major August Kickoff Meetings for October Month of Resistance

Letter from Carl Dix

July 14, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


We received the following from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network.


To all those who have already been part of organizing for the Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration and all those who want to find out about it and get involved:

Just in the past few weeks we have witnessed:

**1,000s of children being driven across the border by U.S. devastation of their homelands and then finding themselves caught between Homeland Security round-ups and flag-waving racists

**The District Attorney in Santa Rosa, California, refusing to charge the cop who murdered 13-year-old Andy Lopez

**Two videos that went viral showing cops brutally and unjustly beating Black women

All these and more outrages only serve to underscore more than ever that we need to unleash powerful outpourings of resistance in October—as envisioned in the Call for a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation ( that was adopted at the meeting convened in New York in April 2014.

Already those of us who have been working very hard to realize this vision have accomplished important steps: the call has been taken out all over the country and new forces continue to sign on and lend their voices to it; plans are being made in many cities for protests and different ways of expressing the outrage and determination to put an end to mass incarceration; clergy and lay people have been active taking the call to many other religious institutions to play a role in October . But now we need to take things to a much higher level to succeed in making October a month that marks “the beginning of the end for mass incarceration in the U.S.”

I am convinced that the key link, now, for doing that is to have early August major kickoff meetings in as many cities as possible where we are looking to involve not only those who have already taken up the call in different ways but drawing in all those who need to be involved to be able to inspire and unleash the efforts of many thousands more. While there are different understandings of why this is happening and what should be done about it, we need to unite all those who agree that this must end to act together in October.

Each area should figure out who needs to attend these kickoff meetings—this means everyone who has already signed up to be part of these efforts, but also reaching out very broadly to those whose lives are most directly affected, to students, to concerned religious forces, to prominent voices of conscience, to all kinds of organizations who are outraged about the fact that so many people have been criminalized and locked up, and to many others who are just learning about this and don’t want to live in a country where millions are being treated this way. We should invite one and all via email, Twitter, phone calls, Internet postings, ads and PSAs.

We should learn from what was recently done in Dayton, where 200 people turned out and in Dallas where over 1,100 people came to hear Cornel West speak. These events brought together a broad array of the kinds of people we need to mobilize and act in October, and at these events people learned about and were called on to join in making October as powerful as possible. In Dallas there were hundreds of students, people from communities affected by this, and many others who came to hear from Cornel West, who along with me launched this whole effort to Stop Mass Incarceration.

At these kickoff meetings, we should draw forward the many voices who can bring to life what it means that this country has millions locked up in its jails, prisons, and detention centers, and how people’s lives are being destroyed by police terror and whole sections of people, especially young people, are being treated as suspects and targets to be killed or locked up. And we should hear from others who find this outrageous and want it to end! A powerful contribution would be participation and statements from some of those who have signed the call. These meetings need to get everyone’s ideas on how to make October a powerful Month of Resistance in a way that the whole country has to know about, and get people organized to do that. We need to make plans and have ways that people will know what to do and get to work on it. We will need materials that can equip people with what they need to be able to start organizing for this Month of Resistance as they leave the meetings.

Coming off of these kickoff meetings we will be in a whole better position to reach out to, inspire, and involve people all over the country to come together and demand No More! Mass Incarceration Must End! We will concretize plans for big demonstrations in major cities on October 22 and actions in cities all across the country. We will be able to get much broader endorsements and raise money to publish the call. Our website will be able to reflect all the ways people can get involved and learn about the efforts in different cities across the country. We will be able to develop a media strategy, fundraising, and publicity. We will be able to reach out ever more broadly to prisoners and their families, those who have lost loved ones to police or vigilante murder, those youth who have to live every day with a target on their backs, students, religious forces, prominent voices of conscience, all kinds of national organizations who are concerned about the fact that so many people have been criminalized and locked up, and others who are just learning about this.

As we go out and bring many new people forward to build up to October, our plans also need to include continuing to be involved in struggle against the outrages being perpetrated by the whole system of mass incarceration—the rounding up of immigrants, the murder the police inflict on the people, the criminalization of Black and Latino youth, police raids breaking into people’s homes terrorizing whole neighborhoods and more. All of this must be met with determined resistance, organizing the outrage of people at these crimes. We will bring to people the need and very real possibility to make a huge leap in the level of resistance to the whole program of mass incarceration. How? By making real a powerful Month of Resistance in October that can change the way millions of people look at this problem.

Right now, let’s go all out to mobilize for the kind of kickoff meetings in key cities that can loft the whole national effort for a powerful Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration to a whole other level! Don’t keep these meetings a secret—invite everyone who is outraged by the horrors of mass incarceration!!


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