My name is Karim Charles Diggs. I’m calling from SCI Phoenix, Pennsylvania, and the title of my subject is “COVID-19 and Reconstruction.”
A cure for all our diseases, including COVID-19, [inaudible] may very well be found in the period of Reconstruction. COVID-19 has inspired the medical community to produce several vaccines. The vaccines will perform a number of miracles. First it may prevent cured persons from catching COVID. Secondly it will cure some persons once they have the virus. There was a possibility that others will be unable to benefit from the vaccine because of underlying illnesses.
You would think with the numerous corporations developing vaccines, that federal, judicial, police, prison, and medical officials would ensure that the millions of persons that stayed in federal prisons would be on the first list of receiving vaccines because of our unique and cruel circumstances. There should have been a national network to deal with the citizens who are most likely to catch the disease from those in the community.
Prisoners did not create the COVID-19. It has been brought into the prisoners by the free people in the society. At least our Pennsylvania governor has made the decision that Pennsylvania prisoners will get the vaccine. This is good news, and we respect that decision. We need one man per cell. Instead there are two men in the cell. Of course, other states have dormitory and have primitive conditions. At least we have disinfect, shower, masks, and soap and water at all times. Besides releasing prisoners, I do not know what else could be done. Why has most states not included prisoners in the population that should be vaccinated as soon as possible? This may be the first time in American history that nobody can charge prisoners with creating COVID-19.
I am a student that pays attention to the political stories being [inaudible] each day in prison and society. I have been in this university 4+ decades. There has yet to be any summer vacations, graduation, ceremonies, marriages, births, retirement, or unification with females. Any solutions, cures, have been declared off-limits. It is evident that the legislatures and senators do not have any reason, empathy, or concern in recognizing the humanity of prisoners.
The only way to address the massive imprisonment is choose to seek solutions: first to accept inequity, inequalities, and injustice, unfairness, that [inaudible] process of massive imprisonment of people. The convictions are unjust. Most life sentences were not justified, nor was the arena of trial fair. Life sentences, unjust sentences, are founded on lies, false testimony, and racial animus by the prosecutors and the [inaudible] they use.
Thus to maintain over a hundred thousand women and men serving life in prison is morally, and actually legally, unjust. COVID-19 only adds to the host of injuries inflicted upon the millions of women, children, and men who languish in prisons across the land.
The root of the ongoing elimination of human beings from society dates back to slavery. Some Americans are still fighting the civil war. Some Americans believe America is only for white people. These are the people who are doing everything oppressive under the color of law to drive African-Americans into the sea. Trump was a reproduction of the civil war mentality. He does not know of any other way to function. How many are in the justice, court, judicial systems, prisons, police, medical systems, operating under the protection and color of law?
The prisons are CODE-19. They give us some idea of the disease or racism and how terror really works. I continued to state the Federalist Papers by Madison, number 51, warns us about the lawmakers oppressing the minority population and unwanted population. Mandatory sentences, severe punishment, and diseases is why we need Reconstruction: a chance to design and developa body where we could breathe and exist without being murdered by anyone, not just the police.
There- there has yet to be a dedicated movement that is consistent with finding a place for African-Americans to live in peace and happiness. Ever since our presence in America, we have sought acceptance by white people. Always seem to want just to be safe and get along, but we wanted most of all to be left alone, to make a life for ourselves and family. Reconstruction was our effort to lift ourselves out of slavery and all the residue of slavery. Reconstruction was the effort to [inaudible] men and design a community for the betterment and happiness as human beings, without depending and begging the white society.
This Reconstruction was an honest man’s way to earn his place in the history of humanity. This historical mission was aborted and crushed by the KKK and all of its supporters. It was destroyed on the worst violence ever inflicted on a nonviolent people. The end results was African people in America were put in a worse condition than slavery.
Some people believe that it was worse than slavery. Today we are suffering the result of repression, massive imprisonment, [inaudible] the intoxication of hate and violence. And [inaudible] had choked the desire to reconstruct our human dignity and nature. The imagination of a true freedom was polluted and corrupted of centuries of fear and suffering.
A new Reconstruction needs to be imagined with the principle theme is communities based upon a design created by us and where black lives dictate the world we want to live in. Shall we create a new Reconstruction? The diseases of COVID-19, racism, massive imprisonment, and legislative repression will continue to camouflage justice. President Nixon made a statement: “Everyone knows that the blacks are the problem in America.” nixon’s tape continues to haunt us. Reconstruct, reconsider rethink worship of the two-party system. We need solutions, not parties, every four years.
Thank you. Kareem Charles Diggs.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.