Church holds march to fight school-to-prison pipeline for Black children
Your Black World
On Good Friday of this year, a large group of people marched along the streets of Washington D.C., with the march ending at the Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue. One of those marching was Vincent DeForest, 77, whose daughter has been in prison for 10 years.
DeForest said that his daughter had mental problems which resulted in the death of a baby. “When I visit her, I see the numbers of African Americans and Latino Americans there, and wanted to express my feelings,” said DeForest.
DeForest said of the march to Freedom Plaza, “I see this as a continuation of the earlier marches for civil rights and freedom. The criminal justice system needs to be sensitized and we don’t think of those who are incarcerated.”
The march was held to help boost awareness of the uneven proportion of arrests and imprisonment of African Americans. It was also aimed at arousing support for ending the never-ending increase of gun violence which claims many African American lives.
Ron Moten, 43, a former inmate and now co-founder of Peaceoholics, an anti-gang organization said, “Even though marches won’t solve the problem, the fact that so many of us are unified behind this is good.” He continued, “We’ve been separated as a group and now we see mass incarceration and homicide as problems. United we stand, divided we fall.”
The pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church (MAMEC), Rev. Ronald E. Braxton, walked along the path carrying a large cross in remembrance of Jesus Christ. Other members of the march carried smaller crosses and some passed out booklets informing people of the African-American problem of mass incarceration.
At the rally, many exprisoners testified, and it quickly began to look like Sunday services at a church. Braxton said, “African Americans are imprisoned at four times the rate of other Americans.” He went on to say, “On Good Friday, the death nails were driven into the hands and feet of Christ, and we see the drugs and the pipeline to prison that are death nails to our community’s collective spirit and well being.”
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