Prison Radio
Omar Askia Ali

My name is Omar Askia Ali, AKA Edward Sistrunk. I’m reading an article from a dear friend of mine. It doesn’t need to be repeated because it speaks for us all. It starts off: “Prisoner’s family family gets Krasner the win, current DA, uh, in Philadelphia now,” and it’s by Kerry Shakaboona Marshall.

No city poll, political commentator, or newspaper editor would tell the public that candidate Larry Krasner won the primary elections for district attorney because of billionaire George Soros’ 1.5 million check, nor the endorsement of board leaders, although it helped a great deal. No, Krasner won the democratic primary for DA because of the 5,000 Graterford prisoners, families, and their coalitions who campaigned on Krasner’s behalf in the whole city and turned out to vote for Krasner at the polls in the thousands.

From the beginning of the DA’s race, criminal justice reform, coalitions, and community organizations run by the families of prisoners formed to influence the dialogue and outcome of the DA’s race around reform of the DA’s office and the city’s criminal justice system. Those coalitions organized town hall meetings, forums, debates, voter registration drives throughout Philadelphia a month before the May 16 primary elections.

The coalitions conducted an impressive Get Out The Vote campaign for prisoners throughout many communities of Philly. This was a political campaign waged by Philadelphia’s much neglected grassroots working-class people, the left, and grassroots campaign financed all their dollars.

Also instrumental to Krasner’s primary win were the 5,000 incarcerated people at Graterford State Prison who, in partnership with the criminal justice reform coalitions in Philly, played an absolutely critical role by making Graterford Prison one of the DA’s political campaign stops. El-Shabazz and Krasner were invited to the prison. El-Shabazz attended an event at Graterford while Krasner went event [inaudible]. And as we all know, he is now the DA of Philadelphia because of that input.

Thank you very much.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.