Inside the Album:
Pink i – “Cop Lights”
This piece is warning to BIPOC everywhere in America, inspired by my experiences being pulled over by the police in Pennsylvania, co-written by Nick Reiner (DJ Salinger), Josh “Groovy” Mulberry, Carl Bahner, John Spurlock, and brought to life by Music for Everyone.
Dr. Amanda Kemp – “Walking While Black”
This spoken word piece first appeared as an essay in my book Say the Wrong thing: Stories and Strategies for Racial Justice and Authentic Community.
It was inspired by walking through my friend’s predominantly white neighborhood in suburban New Haven, CT. I noticed how the various police killings and white fears about “suspicious” Black people in their neighborhoods was affecting my subconscious.
My Inspiration came from the privatization of prisons and the money made by people being incarcerated unfairly and sometimes Wrongly and the prison system working against these people.
Eric Tonzola – “About Time”
Sir Dominique Jordan – Poet
Sir Dominique Jordan the Prolific One is a poetic vanguard hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania; whether it spoken word or on a page, he uses his unique verbiage to inspire others to use their vulnerability as a ‘super power’. He identifies as an Artivist, and teaches across the country about how Hip Hop culture and general creative expression are tools that can be used in the classroom/neighborhood to enhance the overall educational experience. He loves to challenge people to make a difference in their community as they see fit. The Prolific One is also the lead vocalist of the sensational, funky Hip Hop and R&B band, The Prolific Steppas. Lastly, Sir Dominique Jordan is the founder and CEO of both The Artivist Corp. (a social enterprise dedicated to youth mentorship through the lens of creative expression) and Nobody’s Pen (a poetic writers collective). Find him and his efforts on social media using the hashtag #WhatThatImpactDo
Hobie Crystle – Criminal Defense Attorney
Mr. Crystle has extensive jury trial experience in both Lancaster and Philadelphia and is a member of both the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In 2014, he was elected as a Director by the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
I cannot accept that our Country has the highest rate of incarceration on the planet. I cannot accept that black men are twice as likely to be arrested as white men. I believe the Criminal Justice system in the United State is broken, that the War on drugs has been a war on our citizenry, and that the results are not even mixed. Recidivism is over 70%, which means a success rate of less than 30%. The cost of incarceration is over $50,000 per inmate year. In Lancaster County we could send 3 young men to Stevens College of Technology for a 2 year degree for the same cost of locking up any single one of them for a year. We need to start re-thinking these problems, and re-funding our approach.
The Criminal Justice Reform Movement (CJR) seeks to promote treatment and education over punishment – and use incarceration only as a last resort, not a first response. CJR would end the ineffective and wasteful policies of Mass incarceration by limiting the use of cash bail to non-violent cases, turning substance abuse offenses into opportunities for treatment, and emphasizing community policing over the “broken windows” strict enforcement policies: which result in vastly disparate outcomes in the criminal justice system, depending on one’s wealth and race.
IT BURNS ME UP THAT:
More than 80% of all arrests are for low-level, nonviolent offenses and conduct related to poverty: This has resulted in vast racial disparities in arrests, sentencing, and more:
- Our jails and prisons are filled with people who have been targeted by overpolicing for conduct related to homelessness, substance use, and mental health.
- Too many people of color have been killed at the hands of the police.
- Many people who can’t pay court fines and fees or bail for minor violations face license suspensions and jail time, essentially criminalizing poverty.
- Prosecutors perpetuate an unjust system that imprisons more people than anywhere in the world
All of these conditions exist here in Lancaster. But, SURELY, we can do better. Become involved with organizations working for equity and justice in the criminal system. The NAACP, The Lancaster Bail Fund, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project and the ACLU are some examples of folks actively working to make the field more level, and more just. The Vera Institute is a prime advocate for these issues on the National Level. Get connected, get out, get loud!
MFE is proud to partner with local community benefit organizations who are doing exceptional social justice work. In this volume of Songs for Justice we highlight Lancaster Bail Fund.
The Lancaster Bail Fund
The Lancaster Bail Fund is a revolving fund using donations to post cash bail for people detained at the Lancaster County Prison who would otherwise remain incarcerated due to an inability to afford the often arbitrary price of their pretrial freedom. Our mission is to alleviate the inequity inherent in the cash bail and pretrial detention systems and restore the presumption of innocence through direct service, education and advocacy.