With Biden and Harris officially sworn into office, millions of people were full of relief and excitement. As correspondent Mumia Abu-Jamal said, “An American president loses his hard-fought re-election bid and, within moments, the streets are full of people who are beyond exalted.” It was an important victory, but our work is far from finished. In fact, this new chapter requires as much dedication and resilience as ever.
It is imperative that we continue to voice our demands. Abolition now. That is what we demanded yesterday, today, and what will continue to push for, with our family inside at the forefront of this fight.
History proves that a Democratic administration has just as much stake in the prison industrial complex as its competition. Following the lead of Reagan and Bush, Bill Clinton signed the Crime Bill of 1994, continuing to construct the world of prisons, using fear-mongering to evolve this system of white supremacy. The Obama administration took the same ruthless approach, pouring money into the criminal injustice system.
Many of our correspondents were sentenced and incarcerated under Democrat control. It is no illusion that the demands for abolition are vital during any administration. Correspondent Shakaboona explains why, “Pelosi, the CBC, nor the Democratic Party, has never had the interests of the working class or the working poor class of African-American people at heart. They gave us the shaft at every turn for the interest of the rich and middle classes of America, while giving we the people racial equality and justice pipe dreams, or feel-good racial empowerment speeches devoid of substance.”
We demand the Biden-Harris administration dare to be different, and act on their words.
Prison Radio’s demands for Biden and Harris are clear:
- First and Foremost: Decarcerate now. Dismantle this oppressive system that you helped create.
- Invest in the Black and Brown communities that the criminal injustice system has damaged for decades. Reinvest in schools, housing, and health. Invest in people.
- Listen to our people inside. Give them a platform and work with their voices and lived experiences as a roadmap to a future with no prisons. Understand the need for their leadership in the struggle for justice.
- End the Dealth penalty and Life without Parole. Abolition will always be the ultimate demand, but lives are currently at stake. Act now, and end the scheduled murders committed by the state.
- Lastly, as Amanda Gorman recited on Inauguration Day, “step into the past.” Pay reparations for the lives stolen and years lost.
And most importantly, understand that reform is not enough. As Sergio Hyland emphasized, reforming a system built to oppress will never be the path to liberation. “New days need new ways of thinking. They need creativity. They need deep change. That truly transforms. Not discussions, but relationships… New oppressive systems can only bring more of the same,” said Mumia Abu-Jamal.
When We Fight, We Win!
Prison Radio Staff