What’s up everybody. It’s Uptown Serg. And I just want to give some appreciation for Prison Radio.
I’ve had the privilege of reporting for Prison Radio now for nearly two years, and I can’t put into words how much I’ve grown because of this experience, so it brings me great pleasure to announce on Prison Radio that after serving more than 20 straight years in prison, I was finally granted parole in November of 2021. I’ll be home in less than a month.
For the past decade. I’ve been learning under some of the most powerful and respected men in prison. People such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Russell Maroon Shoatz, and Saleem Holbrook. It was them who originally pushed me to become a writer, but I never imagined that I would one day be in a position to report directly from prison on Prison Radio. Therefore, I want to thank everybody involved with Prison Radio, those whom I know, and those whom I don’t know, but especially Noelle, Tommy, Chris, and Suzanna.
As listeners and viewers, we sometimes take for granted what we see and hear on television or radio. We’ve become so used to these media platforms that we don’t always consider their significance. But today’s mainstream media is saturated with capitalist propaganda, spew by people who claim to be journalists but are really nothing more than gossip mongers. Real news makes people feel. It provokes. It inspires. It inflames passions and angers people without creating fear. And real reporters never hesitate to express their opinions on the issues being reported.
This is what makes Prison Radio so uniquely authentic and necessary. As I’ve stated in the past, prisons are America’s dirty little secret, tucked neatly and conspicuously away in rural areas who initially balked at their presence but now compete for the opportunity to have more. What goes on behind the ominous concrete walls and cold steel bars o prisons remains largely a secret to mainstream society. However, those living on society’s margins know all too well the violent and destructive forces at play on the inside of American gulags.
Without hesitation, I embraced the chance to report for Prison Radio, knowing that I’d be the target of these violent forces one day. Retaliation for challenging the terms of our confinement in prison is as American as apple pie. Still, if I learned anything from Saleem, Mumia, and Maroon, it’s that what you ignore, you empower. I can never in good conscience refuse to resist oppression or challenge injustice. I’m no hero. In fact, on several occasions, I’ve looked in the mirror and stared back into the eyes of a man who was entrenched in fear, but I’ve never allowed that fear to overpower my desire to defeat the enemy.
A person in my situation is always aware of the dangers associated with speaking out. I’ve had friends, comrades, and even family members try to discourage me from speaking truth to power for fear of reprisals. Some advise me to change my tone as my parole hearings drew near, but I refused to do so for a very specific reason. I, or better yet we, must take advantage of every opportunity to define ourselves, our ideologies, and our movement. Allowing mainstream media, prison authorities, and selfish politicians to control our narrative is the reason most Americans are blinded to the realities of prison.
We need more Prison Radio. We need more journalists on the inside of these human warehouses, who despite their fear, continue to boldly challenge this diseased and corrupt system. I can’t remember how I first began reporting for Prison Radio, but their my family now, and I’m encouraging each of you to be more involved. Without Prison Radio and other organizations such as Human Rights Coalition, the Coalition Against Death by Incarceration, and Decarcerate PA just the name a few, voices on the inside would continue to be muffled.
Our lives matter, and I must thank everybody at Prison Radio for giving me the platform which has allowed me to remind the world that I once existed. Others can think whatever they want about me, but after listening to my words, the only question that matters is: what do you think about me? Thank you Prison Radio or giving me this opportunity, and thank everybody for listening to my final commentary. I’m Uptown Serg, and you can follow me on Instagram @uptownserg and learn more about our struggle for human rights at hrcoalition.org. Thank you.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.