Left-Right: Chris, Saleem, and Wesley
#SolidarityNotSolitary Harrisburg! On June 26th HRC spent the day in Harrisburg at the State Capital with Chris Kimmenez from Healing Communities and Wesley from the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) meeting with legislators to discuss legislation that would end long term solitary confinement. Afterwards we headed out to a joint CADBI, HRC, Healing Communities, and PA Council of Churches forum on ending long term Solitary Confinement and Death by Incarceration. For us the connection between DBI and Solitary is obvious, both practices treat human beings as disposable and beyond redemption. Both practices must be ended. Thanks to Saleem Holbrook, Andy Switzer, Kempis Songster, Carrington Keys, Shandre Delaney, Sunshine Griggs, Dana Lomax-Williams, John Rowland, Jose Alamo and everyone that turned out for making the forum a success. We will be having several more forums across the state in the upcoming months building a powerful coalition lead by impacted families, formerly incarcerated and allies.
*** Originally posted May, 2018 *** Shakaboona was granted a re-sentencing hearing as a result of the US Supreme Court’s ruling against the extreme sentencing of children which is common practice within the state of Pennsylvania (as of 2017 PA had the highest number of children serving LIFE sentences than any state in the U.S. or the world). The courtroom was packed inside and out into the corridors of 13th & Filbert, Philadelphia, PA on May 17th for the re-sentencing of juvenile lifer, Kerry ‘Shakaboona’ Marshall. Family, friends, and supporters stood for hours, some prayed, some held hands, and all waited with only one wish, “Free Shakaboona”. Those who were able to stay throughout the entire re-sentencing hearing posed for this astounding photo. Good News! The judge ruled “time served” with a life time of parole, but only if the Parole Board agrees that he is ready to return to the community. Shakaboona is one of the founding members of the Human Rights Coalition and proved to be (against all odds) a self-motivated, self-educated man. He went into prison as a boy and within the restraints of an unforgiving penal system he is now a certified ‘Peer Educator’ and a mentor to other prisoners; he is a community activist inside & outside of prison; he is a commentator on ‘Prison Radio’; serves on the Advisory Council of the Human Rights Coalition and is Co-Editor of ‘The Movement’ magazine; and he serves as adviser to several organizations (e.g., CADBI, DecarceratePA, Real Cost of Prisons).
Members of the Human Rights Coalition were blessed to go to Montgomery, Alabama for the Grand Peace and Justice opening sponsored by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), founded by Bryan Stevenson. For more information click link: https://eji.org/ When you are able, take the trip to Alabama to see with your own eyes the National Memorial – an awesome tribute in memory of the men, women, and children who were lynched in America. Then grasp the correlation between lynching and the judicial system of today that is represented at the Legacy Museum built exactly where slaves were bought and sold in Montgomery, Alabama. This all came to pass through the intensities of EJI. These photos do not fully represent the awesomeness of the National Memorial or the Legacy Museum; the real experience is 100 times more than you can imagine. The Legacy Museum 115 Coosa Street Montgomery, Alabama, 36104